Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Will Sadr declare open war?

Saker's mailbox: Hillary will nuke for Israel

I often get very interesting emails from my readers and friends. This morning, I got this from 'G' (emphasis in red added):


I just cannot believe how outrageous statements like these go unquestioned. Instead of being questioned regarding her sanity--she is after all committing America's nuclear forces to the defense of a country with which we have no treaty obligations to and is of absolutely no strategic importance in the defense of the US--she is allowed to go and make even more ridiculous assertions about how Iran acquiring nukes will destabilize the middle east as other countries might then want nukes and things will get crazy. Well, what about Israel's nukes? They are what? A "stabilizing" influence? Are the others not supposed to want nukes? Why wouldn't they want a deterrence against Israel's nukes?

Why doesn't anyone question her assertions and the premise that Israel is somehow important to the US?

Commentary: This is baffling indeed. 'Mind-boggling' is an even better description. See, when a country is willing to use nuclear weapons against another country this *by definition* means that is is willing to take the risk, however small, of being itself destroyed by a retaliatory nuclear strike. Now, it is rather clear that Iran does not have nukes at all, that it has no intention of ever getting them, that if it had them it would not use them against Israel (or any other country) since they would clearly be only useful as a deterrent, and that if the USA was to nuke Iran the latter would not have the delivery systems to retaliate against the US. Would that mean that the USA would be safe?


Again *by definition* using nuclear weapons against a country with nukes necessarily implies that the targeted country will do anything to defend itself or to retaliate. This could include the Iranians using a re-flagged cargo ship or a civilian airliner to bring a nuke inside the USA. They could even have a nuclear device in their UN mission in New York. However unlikely any of that would be, this is a risk which a President ordering the nuking of Iran would have to consider before giving the go ahead. And that clearly shows one thing: Hillary is willing to risk literally *anything* for Israel. She even wants *NATO* to join in the nuclear war. Why would that be?

The reason is painfully simple: this is what the Israel Lobby demands before allowing somebody to become President and that, in turns, proves that the Israel Lobby will only allow a traitor to the USA (somebody who puts the interests of Israel above the interests of his/her own country) to get into the White House.

The USA has allowed itself to become hijacked by a foreign power which cares very little about American national interests; all it wants is the use the USA for its own national interests (however mistakenly identified). The crazies in power in Israel will defend their interests to the last drop of American blood and the entire political elite in Washington has signed off on this.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sadr For "Open War if Gov't Abandons Path of Peace"

Al-Manar reports:

At least eight people have been killed and 22 others injured, including women and children, in renewed fighting between joint US-Iraqi forces and Mahdi Army fighters in Sadr City east of Baghdad. A security source said that the fighting that erupted Sunday predawn included US airstrikes on the City.

Loudspeakers at mosques in Baghdad's Sadr City blared out a call to arms soon after Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr warned of a new uprising by his Mahdi Army, residents said on Sunday.

"They (US) are calling for division. We demand that the siege of Sadr City be lifted." The messages also called on the Iraqi army "not to fight your brothers."

Sayyed Sadr late on Saturday threatened to declare "open war" if the crackdown by Iraqi and US forces against those loyal to him is not stopped.

"I am giving my last warning and my word to the Iraqi government to take the path of peace and stop violence against its own people, otherwise it will be a government of destruction," Sadr said in a statement his office issued in the holy city of Najaf.

"If it does not stop the militias that have infiltrated the government, then we will declare a war until liberation."

Sadr also lashed out at the Iraqi government's alliance with the US military. "The occupation has made us target of its planes, tanks, air strikes and snipers. Without our support this government would not have been formed. But with its alliance with the occupier it (government) is not independent and sovereign as we would like it to be," the cleric said.

The specter of a full-scale uprising by Sadr sharply raises the stakes in his confrontation with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has threatened to ban the anti-American cleric's movement from political life unless he disbands his militia.

In his statement, Sadr did not refer to the truce, but his spokesman in the holy city of Najaf, Salah al-Ubaidi, said the cleric was not bluffing. "We mean every word."

Iraqi and US forces have been engaged in fierce street battles with the Mahdi Army since March 25 in Sadr City and in the southern city of Basra.

Hundreds of people have been killed and scores wounded since then.

In Sadr City's new wall, shadows of Gaza

Aijaz Ahmad: Wall meant to partition Sadr City's residents is population control ahead of elections

As violence continued in Baghdad's Sadr City district on Friday, attention turned to the wall US forces are building through the neighborhood--a wall that is reminiscent of the one Israel built around the Palestinian territories, as well as US military tactics used during the Vietnam War.

The Real News analyst Aijaz Ahmad says that the ostensible purpose of the Iraqi government's wall--to keep insurgents under control--is only part of the story. Ahmad tells The Real News that it is meant to be a form of "population control" ahead of this year's elections, which the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a vocal opponent of the US occupation, is expected to sweep. The result of the decision to build the wall is the transformation of an entire Baghdad neighborhood into a virtual prison, Ahmad says.

Based in New Delhi, Aijaz Ahmad is The Real News Network Senior News Analyst; Senior Editorial Consultant, and political commentator for the Indian newsmagazine, Frontline. He has taught Political Science, and has written widely on South Asia and the Middle East.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IDF soldiers torture, choke, beat and murder Palestinians

source: Lenin's Tomb (an excellent blog, check it out!)

As Israel continues to build new colonies in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers stationed in the West Bank city of Hebron have confessed to numerous atrocities against Palestinian civilians. The full testimonies can be read here. Sometimes, what is striking is the pettiness of the causes that leads Israeli soldiers to behave like this. For example, one IDF soldier tried to steal an old man's tobacco box during a house raid. The old man protested, calling him a thief, and they all started to beat him up heavily. The thief then took the old man's hand and wrapped barbed wire tightly round it, explaining that "He lifted a hand on me, he'll be punished." That's the deal - if the Untermenschen even lift a hand to their oppressors, they get beaten and tortured. Another old man got too close to Israeli soldiers while out walking, so they shot him. "No reason, he just got close". And so on.

However, there are also calculated attacks with intent to kill everyone in sight, regardless of whether they are armed, or defend themselves, or are unarmed non-combatants. For example, there's the testimony about a great "honour" that soldiers were given, by being allowed to swoop on a refugee camp in Tul Karem. The IDF had found that whenever they tried to raid the camp on previous occasions, the residents huddled round campfires fought back, climbing to the rooftops to shoot at the invaders. So, they decided to sneak in:

The four lit campfires we spotted were quite near each other, and near the only two or three vehicle access routes into the camp. We were told to also post sharpshooters…Our firing orders were that each squatter around the campfires should be shot just like during a liquidation operation.

Without pretense? Without arms?

Yes, even unarmed people were to be shot.

Everyone around the campfire?

Yes, everyone present at the campfire during our entry at 2AM or 3AM was to be shot to death. Regardless whether…

Regardless whether or not he was armed?

Even if he was unarmed. That wasn’t considered of any consequence. Intelligence reported that there were about 10-15 people hanging around, regardless of age, regardless of anything, everyone that….




Clearly this mission was not described as an ‘execution’. If it were one, a projectile would have been fired (at the squatters). Rather, it is described a ‘Confrontational, or violent patrol’. (e.g.a patrol aiming to draw fire, or, in this case, to shoot) Let’s say everything went as planned, how would they explain it tomorrow to the press? ‘The IDF encountered a group of armed people, (as probably there were some armed people there), and someone got wounded’, and that’s the whole story. Did you understand? And that’s the end. No mention that we came to execute.

What were you told in the briefing?

It was not described as an execution mission. Absolutely not.

How then was it described?

Like I said. Firing orders for this particular mission: Entrance (into the camp) at 2:30AM. Anyone present in the alley at that time was to be shot. There are no innocent people there. That’s the mission. No one described it as an execution mission.

Another testimony has Israeli soldiers stationed outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and instructed to fire on worshipers as they exited. "We were supposed to shoot whoever came out – doesn’t matter if he’s armed or not." [Curious thing: while I've been writing this, the contents of the online testimonies have disappeared from the original website - literally everything, including text, images and videos, has been deleted. You can of course view some caches of older material here for as long as Google keeps them up, and the booklet can at any rate be read here.] Israel's latest enemy in Hebron is Palestinian orphans.

We are on the brink of the sixtieth anniversary of the Nakba, which Israel will be celebrating with the usual aplomb during Passover. To keep the celebrations safe, they will be keeping out the Arabs - an appropriate tribute, I think, to the garrison state that has emerged from the original purification of the territory. Its systems of segregation, expropriation, blockade, colonization, airborne occupation, assassinations, demolitions, raids, checkpoint massacres, protest shoot-ups, shellings, curfews and kidnappings, has all been for the purpose of maintaining racial supremacy over the indigenous Palestinian population and eventually eliminating the very possibility of Palestine for good. So this is a logical interlude in the tortuous conquest. Lights out for the natives. Pull up the drawbridges. Man the frontiers. Fire at anything that moves. Nothing can be allowed to disturb the repose of the executioners.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt'

By Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott, McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute.

The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush 's projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.

The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins , a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.

It was published by the university's National Institute for Strategic Studies , a Defense Department research center.

"Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle," says the report's opening line.

At the time the report was written last fall, more than 4,000 U.S. and foreign troops, more than 7,500 Iraqi security forces and as many as 82,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed and tens of thousands of others wounded, while the cost of the war since March 2003 was estimated at $450 billion .

"No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans' benefits or the total impact on service personnel and materiel," wrote Collins, who was involved in planning post-invasion humanitarian operations.

The report said that the United States has suffered serious political costs, with its standing in the world seriously diminished. Moreover, operations in Iraq have diverted "manpower, materiel and the attention of decision-makers" from "all other efforts in the war on terror" and severely strained the U.S. armed forces.

"Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there (in Iraq ) were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East ," the report continued.

The addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last year to halt the country's descent into all-out civil war has improved security, but not enough to ensure that the country emerges as a stable democracy at peace with its neighbors, the report said.

"Despite impressive progress in security, the outcome of the war is in doubt," said the report. "Strong majorities of both Iraqis and Americans favor some sort of U.S. withdrawal. Intelligence analysts, however, remind us that the only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after a rapid withdrawal of that army."

"For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a 'must win,' but for many others, despite obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a 'can't win.'"

The report lays much of the blame for what went wrong in Iraq after the initial U.S. victory at the feet of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld . It says that in November 2001 , before the war in Afghanistan was over, President Bush asked Rumsfeld "to begin planning in secret for potential military operations against Iraq ."

Rumsfeld, who was closely allied with Vice President Dick Cheney , bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the report says, and became "the direct supervisor of the combatant commanders."

" . . . the aggressive, hands-on Rumsfeld," it continues, "cajoled and pushed his way toward a small force and a lightning fast operation." Later, he shut down the military's computerized deployment system, "questioning, delaying or deleting units on the numerous deployment orders that came across his desk."

In part because "long, costly, manpower-intensive post-combat operations were anathema to Rumsfeld," the report says, the U.S. was unprepared to fight what Collins calls "War B," the battle against insurgents and sectarian violence that began in mid-2003, shortly after "War A," the fight against Saddam Hussein's forces, ended.

Compounding the problem was a series of faulty assumptions made by Bush's top aides, among them an expectation fed by Iraqi exiles that Iraqis would be grateful to America for liberating them from Saddam's dictatorship. The administration also expected that " Iraq without Saddam could manage and fund its own reconstruction."

The report also singles out the Bush administration's national security apparatus and implicitly President Bush and both of his national security advisers, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley , saying that "senior national security officials exhibited in many instances an imperious attitude, exerting power and pressure where diplomacy and bargaining might have had a better effect."

Collins ends his report by quoting Winston Churchill , who said: "Let us learn our lessons. Never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. . . . Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think that he also had a chance."

To read the report:


Iran should be "Set Up for an Attack"

The Agenda Behind The Anti-Sadr Agenda

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach for GlobalResearch.ca

When Gen. David Petraeus along with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker gave their testimony to the Senate on April 9, they did nothing more than to confirm in spades what had been being mooted and duly leaked by the Washington-based press: that the Bush-Cheney Administration had officially endorsed the line that Iran should be set up for attack, on grounds that it--and not any indigenous resistance--were responsible for the mounting death toll among American troops in Iraq.

While claiming security had improved, Petraeus said the violence involving the Mahdi Army of Moqtadar al Sadr "highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming and directing the so-called 'special groups'" which, he added, "pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq." (See Washington Post, April 9, 2008). Petraeus even granted that Syria had cut the alleged flow of fighters into Iraq, only to stress by con trast, that "Iran has fuelled the violence in a particularly damaging way, through its lethal support to the special groups." Finally, Petraeus specified that the "special groups" were run by Iran's Qods force, the Revolutionary Guards recently placed in the category of terrorists..

There was nothing new about the line: Dick Cheney had dispatched Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner last year to Iraq, with the task of finding a smoking gun, or, better, a couple of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with "made in Iran" stamped on them. What was new in the testimony of the top U.S. military and diplomatic officials in the war zone, were the categorical statements, uttered with an air of certainty usually backed up by courtroom evidence, that Iran was the culprit, and the implicit conclusion that Iran must be the target of U.S. aggression. In order to make sure that (as Nixon would have said), the point be perfectly clear, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was trotted out to tell an enthusiastic Fox News reporter on April 13, that indeed Iran was the casus belli; Iran is "training Iraqis in Iran who come into Iraq and attack our forces, Iraqi forces, Iraqi civilians." And, therefore, Hadley went on, "We will go after their surrogate operations in Iraq that are killing our forces, killing Iraqi forces." (www.foxnews.com). Although Defense Secretary Robert Gates was saying almost simultaneously that he thought "the chances of us stumbling into a confrontation with Iran are very low," he, too, repeated the mantra that the Iranians were sending weapons into the south of Iraq, etc. etc. President George W. Bush could not be left out of the dramatic build-up, and blessed Petraeus's testimony with an order for a halt in the troop reductions.

Pat Buchanon performed an important service in immediately blowing the whistle on this fraud, and his piece, "General Petraeus Points to War with Iran," has fortunately received wide coverage. (www.buchanon.org, 11.04.2008, globalresearch.ca, 12.04.2008) One would hope that Seymous Hersh would come forth with further ammunition in the fight to prevent an all-too-likely attack against Iran. They are at it again, they are serious, and must be stopped.

The Anti-Shi'ite Surge

But, if war is indeed on the agenda, as Global Research has documented over months, one question to be raised, is: how does the recent "surge" in military actions against the Moqtadar al-Sadr forces, in Basra, Baghdad and numerous other Iraqi cities, fold into the current military-political gameplan? The massive joint U.S.-Iraqi operations at the end of March, against the Mahdi Army, were, militarily speaking, a fiasco. The news reported by AFP on April 14 that the Iraqi government has sacked 1,300 Iraqi troops for not having performed as expected (i.e., for having deserted or joined the enemy) is a not-so-eloquent acknowledgement of this embarrassing fact. And, as has been generally acknowledged by now, it was only due to the diplomatic intervention of Iranian authorities, that the conflict was ended, leading to the decision of al-Sadr to cease hostilities.

Now, however, that ill-conceived offensive has been relaunched in the wake of the performances by the Petraeus-Crocker-Hadley trio, and with a vengeance. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told CNN on April 7, that the offensive against al-Mahdi would continue "until a decisive victory is achieved .. a victory that will not allow these people to attack the Green Zone or other areas." To signal the renewed thrust, Riyad al-Nuri, the director of al Sadr's Najaf office, and his brother-in-law, was brutally murdered in the holy city on April 11. Joint U.S.-Iraqi military incursions have continued in Sadr City. Where will this lead? To victory? If so, how does one define victory? If the joint U.S.-Iraqi military operations physically eliminate al-Sadr's forces, it will only be as a result of the deployment of massive brute force as has not yet been used. In this tragic case, the political effect would likely not be the decimation of that political force, but its enhancement. It should not be forgotten that Moqtadar al-Sadr himself comes from a family of martyrs.

One consideration in the minds of the U.S. strategists of the anti-Sadr war, is that they must wipe his organization off the Iraqi political map well before elections take place next October, elections in which his followers could make significant gains, expanding their current 30-seat presence in parliament to a considerable power. The Al-Sadr phenomenon in Iraq is, in this sense, not so different from the Hamas phenomenon in Palestine; both are militant (and military) formations fighting against foreign occupation, while also providing crucial social services to their people, be it schools, clinics, hospitals or the like. It is in this light that one must read the decision by the Iraqi cabinet on April 14 to exclude militias from that vote, i.e. to exclude any political parties that have armed militias. Clearly, this is aimed at al-Sadr. If one were to ask: What about the Badr Brigade, which is the militia of the Shi'ite party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), le d by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim? one might get the answer: that is no longer to be considered a separate militia, but works as part of the Iraqi military forces.

Intra-Shi'ite Conflict Targets Iran

But there is more to the story. The usual assumption made by U.S. military and political leaders, and shared by too many press outlets, is that the conflict inside Iraq should now be reduced to a fight among rival Shi'ite factions: that the ISCI and al-Sadr group are competing for control over Basra, an oil-rich and strategically situated province; that al-Maliki, whose own Shi'ite party Al Dawa, depends on the support of al-Hakim's faction to survive; that, in sum, the name of the game is intra-Shi'ite conflict.(1)

Yes, the political rivalries among the three main Shi'ite factions in Iraq do exist. To be sure, neither al-Maliki nor al-Hakim would welcome the emergence of a majority force in parliament led by the al-Sadr group. But this is not the salient feature of the situation. Rather, as was shown in the recent, short-lived halt to the operations against al-Sadr, it was Iran which was decisive. The most important factor to be considered, in understanding the current crisis, at least from the inside, is this: Iran has excellent relations with {all three} major Shi'ite factions in Iraq, despite their internal differences. The ISCI, it will be remembered, was given hospitality in Iran, during its years-long exile under the Saddam Hussein regime. Moqtadar al-Sadr enjoys support from Iran. And the greatest foreign support that the al-Maliki government has, is from Tehran.

So, who can be expected to gain from exacerbating the intra-Shi'ite conflict? Most obviously, the U.S. as the occupying power. As qualified Iranian sources have stressed to this author, Iran's power lies in its ability to promote and mediate cooperation among all these factions, as dramatically demonstrated in its mediating the end to the first anti-Sadr offensive at the end of March. The occupying power is seen as intent on utilizing intra-Shi'ite conflict to damage each of these factions, and to hurt Iran.

One generally ignored, but important factor noted by the same Iranian sources, is the factionalized situation {within} the al-Sadr movement. Moqtadar al-Sadr is seen by these sources as a fervently committed fighter, who, however, views the situation from a somewhat narrowly defined local standpoint: he wants to style himself as the leader of the Shia in Iraq, indeed as the national leader--even more national than al-Maliki. His ambitions, according to some, go beyond this; he sees himself as a future leader of the Muslims overall. At the same time, there is a faction within the al-Sadr movement, considered a "sub-group," which is controlled by outside forces, in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and also the U.S. This sub-group is seen as responsible for provocative actions designed to destabilize Iraq, and therefore welcoming any U.S.-Iraqi joint offensive against al-Sadr. The main reason for this, is that the foreign sponsors of this sub-group, whether Saudi or Emirate or America n, are intent on weakening, discrediting and ultimately replacing al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq, while at the same time undermining the role of al-Hakim. A slaughter against al Sadr's forces could doom the al-Maliki government. To put it simply: these outside influences, who are thinking strategically, are hoping to pit al-Sadr against both al-Hakim and al-Maliki; the al-Sadr forces, who are thinking on a more limited, local level, see themselves as competitors to the other two groupings, for future political leadership in Iraq, and miss the point about the broader strategic picture.

In short, the U.S.'s enthusiastic order to al-Maliki to launch his anti-al-Sadr purge, is actually a ploy to discredit and destroy al-Maliki himself, and prepare for permanent occupation. Vice President Dick Cheney has made no secret of the fact that he would like to replace al-Maliki, whom he has always accused of being too close to the Iranians, with one of his own, like Iyad Allawi, and that might be what is in the offing. Another benefit to discrediting al-Maliki is that the Cheney-Bush crew can further argue that, since al-Maliki and. co. have proven unable to deal with the al-Sadr threat alone, U.S. occupying forces should remain for a longer priod of time, if not for the one-hundred years that John McCain is fantasizing about.

Enter Condi Rice

To complete the picture, a couple of other developments should be mentioned. First, Condi Rice's trip to the region. She follows in the footsteps of Cheney, who toured the region to whip up Arab support for, or at least acquiescence to, a military assault on Iran. This had been Cheney's aim during his late 2006 visit, and now he has returned with the same agenda. Rice, then as now, will be following the same script. She will be meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus Egypt and Jordan, the famous "GCC + 2" that she and Cheney have been forging as a Sunni bloc against Iran. Her message will be: prepare for the repercussions of a new assault on Iran. In parallel, the Israelis have been working overtime to heat up tensions in the region, not only against Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, but also Iran. While National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer threatened to "detsroy the Iranian nation," if it attacked Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Arab conference attendees in Qatar that their real enemy was not Israel, but Iran.

At the same time, an ominous event occurred on April 12 in Shiraz, when an explosion rocked a mosque during prayers, killing 12 and wounding more than 200. Although initial Iranian reports ruled out sabotage, the causes of the blast were not immediately identified, and, according to latest press reports, Iranian authorities are still "uncertain" about the affair. If, in the end, it turns out to have been a terror attack, the most likely suspects would be found among the Mujahedeen e Qalk (MKO/MEK) terrorist organization that still enjoys U.S. refuge in Iraq, and the Kurdish terrorists in the PKK-allied Pejak. The PKK also enjoys the protection of the U.S. occupying forces in northern Iraq. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Pejak (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) warned on April 13, that it would "carry out bombings against Iranian forces" inside the country. Perhaps this is what President Bush has in mind, when he makes his periodic appeals to the "Iranian people" to rise up ag ainst their government.


1. See Robert Dreyfuss, in "The Lessons of Basra," aljazeera.com, April 3, and also Ramzy Baroud, in "Basra battles: Barely half the story," aljazeera.com, April 13.

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Source: U.S. Strike on Iran Nearing

by Jim Meyers for Newsmax

Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Iran’s nuclear weapons program, a leading member of America’s Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table – but likely. (note: does anyone else wonder why this "leading member of America's Jewish community" would have such advanced warning, or is it just me? VS)

“Israel is preparing for heavy casualties,” the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution.(note: that makes sense, hence the recent maneuvers and civil defense exercises in Israel, VS)

“Look at Dick Cheney’s recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack,” the source said.

Cheney’s hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories.

Tensions in the region have been rising.

While Israel was conducting the largest homefront military exercises in its history last week, Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned Tehran about expected attacks on the Jewish state.

“An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation,” he said. (Note: there is nothing in Israel's conventional arsenal which could even approach that kind of level of destruction; so the guy is talking about nukes. VS)

He predicted that in a future war, “hundreds of missiles will rain on Israel,” but added that Iran “is definitely aware of our strength.”

In addition to long-range missiles Iran has been developing to strike Israel, Israel’s military strategists see the Iranians using terror groups they back like Hamas operating from Palestine and Hezbollah from Lebanon to launch attacks.

Iran has supplied Hezbollah with an arsenal that now contains “tens of thousands of missiles,” according to the Washington Post.

Israel’s recent war exercises, including preparations for chemical and biological weapons attacks, drew a sharp response from Syria which held its own military drills. The Syrian government accused Israel of preparing for a war which Damascus predicted would be begin anytime between May 1 and the end of June.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told foreign journalists that Israel needs to confront the threat posed by Iran. Privately he has been telling associates his number one priority is have the Israeli military strike Iran if the U.S. is unwilling.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that Israel is concerned that North Korea has transferred technology and nuclear materials to Iran to aid Tehran’s secret nuclear weapons program.

Iran remains intransigent to international pressure that it offer full transparency relating to its nuclear program. On Sunday the head of Iran’s nuclear program “abruptly canceled a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dealing a blow to the U.N. monitor's efforts to investigate allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms, an agency official said,” according to an AP report.

“But a senior diplomat had told the AP that IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] head Mohamed ElBaradei likely planned to use the meeting with Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear program, to renew a request for more information on allegations Tehran had tried to make atomic arms.”

A number of signs indicate that, contrary to the belief President Bush is a lame duck who will not act before he leaves office, the U.S. is poised to strike before Iran can acquire nuclear weapons and carry out the threat of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to “wipe Israel off the map”: (Note: of course, Ahmadinejad never said any such thing. VS)

# According to intelligence sources, the administration now rejects the National Intelligence Estimate report issued in December that asserted Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in late 2003.

The French daily Le Monde reported in March that newly surfaced documents show that Iran has continued developing nuclear weapons. In late 2006, U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted a phone conversation in Iran’s Defense Ministry in which the nuclear weapons program was discussed.

# The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon, resigned in March amid media reports that he broke with President Bush’s strategy on Iran and did not want to be in the chain of command when the order comes down from the President to launch a strike on the Islamic Republic.

Democrats suggested he had been forced out because of his candor in opposing Bush’s Iran plans, and Esquire magazine contended that Fallon’s departure signaled that the U.S. is preparing to attack Iran.

# According to a Tehran-based Iranian news network, Press TV, Saudi Arabia is taking emergency steps in preparing to counter any “radioactive hazards” that may result from an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Saudi newspaper Okaz disclosed that the Saudi government has approved nuclear fallout preparations, and the Iranian network reported that the approval came a day after Cheney met with the kingdom’s high-ranking officials, further stating that the U.S. “is now informing its Arab allies of a potential war.”

# The American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, has stepped up criticism of Iran, telling Congress last week that Iranian support for Shiite militias posed the most serious threat to Iraq’s stability. He told senators : “Iran has fueled the violence in a particularly damaging way.” Last week, the U.S. said Iran was providing insurgents with missiles that were killing Americans and hitting targets within the U.S. occupied Green Zone in Baghdad.

MSNBC Commentator Pat Buchanan said Petraeus’ remarks to Congress lay the groundwork for a U.S. attack on Iran.

# President Bush said in a speech at the White House on April 10 that Iran, along with al-Qaida, are “two of the greatest threats to America.”

He said Iran “can live in peace with its neighbors,” or “continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups which are terrorizing the Iraqi people … If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners.”

He later told ABC News that if Iran continues to help militants in Iraq, “then we’ll deal with them.”

Members of Congress are said to have been briefed by the administration about the rising Iran threat.

Iran did little to cool tensions when it announced that it had begun installing 6,000 new centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

Centrifuges can enrich uranium to a low level to produce nuclear fuel or a high level for use in weapons.

The announcement of the new centrifuges by President Ahmadinejad came on April 8, Iran’s National Day of Nuclear Technology, which marked the second anniversary of Iran’s first enrichment of uranium.

Iran already has about 3,000 centrifuges operating in Natanz, and the new announcement was widely seen as a show of defiance to international demands to halt a nuclear program that the U.S. and its allies insist is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sadr City is being "Gazatized", turning it into yet another Imperial Gulag

We all now that Gaza was, until now, the biggest open air prison in the world, a Gulag for Palestinians, so to speak. Now the Empire is in the process of "Gazatizing" (as in "Gitmoize Abu Ghraib") and creating an even bigger (3'000'000+ people!) Gulag for Iraqis.

Check out Pepe Escobar's report for Real News Network:

One needs to remember that the Empire just suffered a rather humiliating defeat in the battle of Basra. As Clinton had done after failing in Kosovo, and just as Olmert did after having his "elite" forces defeated by Hezbollah, Bush is now making the civilians pay for their support for the Sadrists.

It is also quite apparent that the Zio-Americans have learned their lesson from the Hamas election debacle and that they have no intention of allowing the Sadrist to participate in the next elections. So in this sense, the upcoming Iraqi elections are also being

So there we have it. The Israelis have taught their American puppets well: Gaza has become the nightmarish "model home" for the many Gulags in which the Empire intends to house all those who dare oppose it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Petraeus's Iran Gaffe

By Amir Arfa, Press TV, Tehran

In a CNN interview after two days of Iran bashing before Congress and less than a month after "presumptive" Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain made himself butt of all media jokes by suggesting that [Shia] Iran was "taking [Sunni] al-Qaeda" into its soil "training them and sending them back."

US top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus put his boot in it and suggested that Iraq had "no desire to be the 51st state of Iran".

For your information General, Iran has 30 not 50 provinces/Ostans and not states.

Nor did Iran invade and occupy Iraq in 2003.

Nor did it send an "administrator" to Iraq.

Nor did it draft Iraq's constitution.

Nor did it draft Iraq's oil law.

Nor does it have over 150,000 troops in Iraq.

Nor is it building a secret army outside Iraq's mainstream armed forces by arming hundreds of thousands tribesmen under the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda all despite outspoken opposition by Iraq's "sovereign" government.

Nor is it signing "presence of forces", "strategic relationship" and "declaration of principles" agreements with Iraq's "sovereign" government.

Nor is it torturing Iraqis in Iraqi jails such as the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Nor is it giving carte blanche to trigger-happy "defense contractors" such as Blackwater to kill innocent Iraqi civilians.

Nor is it renewing the contract of these "defense contractors" outlawed by the "sovereign" Iraqi government.

Nor is it giving green light to its NATO allies to invade Iraq without even cluing in the Iraqi government.

Nor is it capturing diplomats invited by the "sovereign" Iraqi government and/or refuse to release them even after frequent calls by Iraq's "sovereign" president.

Nor is it pitting every one against every one and blaming everyone else for the mess in Iraq and

Petraus's Freudian slip of tongue however does have a point. Iraq indeed has "no desire to be the 51st state of…" any country and that's why according to a recent poll conducted by The British ORB/Channel 4 News survey, more than two-thirds of Iraqis believe US-led occupation forces should leave their country; A stunning mirror figure of Americans who want their troops back home.

But who cares about the polls?

US president George W Bush has time and again uttered his sheer disdain for public opinion over 80 percent of which (over TWO HUNDRED FORTY MILLION Americans) according to a new CBS/New York Times poll are dissatisfied with the direction of their country under his leadership. 89 percent (TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY MILLION AMERICANS) see a direct link between the "3-trillion dollar war" and their morbid economy.

Vice President Dick Cheney couldn't be more frank when he said "So?" to ABC's Martha Raddatz's question about the 70 percent (over TWO HUNDRED TEN MILLION) popular opposition to the War in Iraq.

Seven months after earning the nickname General Betrayus by Moveon.org, the General is at it again and how!

The General's Iraq Progress report comes against the backdrop of unspeakable carnage, unemployment and starvation in Iraq.

Just a few days ago the United Nations launched an appeal for $265 million for Iraq aid in 2008 warning the country is still suffering from a humanitarian crisis; that as the Bush administration pumps a weekly 12 billion tax payer dollars into the so called "war effort".

According to David Shearer, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, "Four million Iraqis need food assistance while only 40 percent of the population has reliable access to safe drinking water."

According to the UN refugee agency, 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003, including 750,000 who found refuge in Jordan and 1.4 million in Syria. Another two million or so are displaced within the country.

And civilian Iraqi death toll since the beginning of the invasion is put anywhere between tens of thousands to the British polling agency ORB's over 1,000,000.

The report however paints a different picture. It's mostly roses and peaches in Iraq except the "I" word, "Iran".

The 4400-word-or-so report boils down to:

"Since Ambassador Crocker and I appeared before you seven months ago there has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq."

"Al Qaeda-Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows, the capabilities of Iraqi Security Force elements have grown, and there has been noteworthy involvement of local Iraqis in local security."

Al-Qaeda is in "disarray" and "retreating", Sunni insurgents are now "sons of Iraq" 91000 of whom are on our payroll, even Shia militia have been disrupted, However " the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible", If we leave hell breaks loose and Iraq fails and of course, "A failed state in Iraq would pose serious consequences for the greater fight against Al Qaeda, for regional stability, for the already existing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and for the effort to counter malign Iranian influence."

In other words, it's all quiet along the MesS.o.po.ta.mi.a except for Iran and its "Malign" actions, so, we have no choice but to stay.

Iran Rhetoric;

-none of us earlier this year appreciated the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq, something about which we and Iraq's leaders all now have greater concern.

-Malign actions by Syria and, especially, by Iran fuel that [ethno-sectarian] violence. Lack of adequate governmental capacity, lingering sectarian mistrust, and various forms of corruption add to Iraq's challenges.

The General's anti-Iran rhetoric was well embraced and echoed a day later by his boss at the White House.

Collocating Iran and Al-Qaeda as "two of the greatest threats to America in this new century" Bush told a small but friendly audience that included Vice President Dick Cheney, the secretaries of State and Defense and representatives of veterans' organizations, "The regime in Tehran also has a choice to make: They can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties, or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran." Adding, "If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners."

Trite as it may sound such rhetoric still generates headlines about a possible US attack on Iran among them, Allen L Roland's "COUNTDOWN TO ATTACK ON IRAN BEGINS THIS WEEK" appearing in OpEdNews

According to Roland whose article predates Petraeus's appearance before Congress, "The stage is set. This is build up week for attacking Iran. General Patraeus will testify before Congress laying out the pretext for war with Iran. McCain will support him and Obama and Clinton will have to acquiesce or make a political stand to protect their base. Cheney has already briefed the region, Admiral Fallon has been relieved and three Navy carrier attack groups are on station, ready and awaiting Bush's orders ~ it's the final countdown and Congress will not stop Bush."

I bet Allen is now adding to his list the visit by Petraeus and Crocker to Saudi Arabia on their way back to Iraq.

From Seymour Hersh's "shifting targets" last year to L Roland's "COUNTDOWN" today the media world is full of speculations, reasons and counter reasons for a possible US attack.

On March 11, 2008 , shortly after US Centcom chief Adm. Fallon's resignation US news and world report published a highly sensational article titled" the 6 Signs the US May Be Headed for War in Iran"

The 6 signs were listed as:
1. Fallon's resignation
2. Vice President Cheney's peace trip
3. Israeli airstrike on Syria Israel's airstrike deep in Syria
4. Warships off Lebanon Two U.S. warships took up
5. Israeli comments
6.Israel's war with Hezbollah

Washington Post's William M. Arkin countered by, "Six Signs the US Is Not Headed for War in Iran"

Before giving his signs, William wrote, "There are a couple of military adages -- "An Army marches on its stomach" and "Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics" -- that should adequately explain why the United States is not headed for war with Iran." Adding" There is no actual preparation for such a war going on. Moreover, the US military is not in a position to carry off such an operation.

I personally tend to agree with William Arkin except his premises are based on logic and rationality.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Interview with the leader of the Islamic Army of Iraq

(many thanks to datta for this submission)

Note: It turns out that this article comes from the blog of Layla Anwar.

The original link is this: http://arabwomannews.blogspot.com/

I had not been made aware of this since I had received this text by email. I apologize to Layla for not linking to her piece.

I am removing this article, but I will leave the comments. Anyone interested in reading the original article should go to Layla Anwar's blog.

The Saker

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is the CIA behind the "Free Tibet" campaign?

The Dalai Lama has been on the CIA payroll since the late 1950s. He is an instrument of US intelligence.

by Michael Backman (Mathaba News)

An understanding of this longstanding relationship to the CIA is essential, particuarly in the light of recent events. In all likelihood US intelligence was behind the protest movement, organized to occur a few months prior to the Beijing Olympic games.

Rarely do journalists challenge the Dalai Lama.

Partly it is because he is so charming and engaging. Most published accounts of him breeze on as airily as the subject, for whom a good giggle and a quaint parable are substitutes for hard answers. But this is the man who advocates greater autonomy for millions of people who are currently Chinese citizens, presumably with him as head of their government. So, why not hold him accountable as a political figure?

No mere spiritual leader, he was the head of Tibet's government when he went into exile in 1959. It was a state apparatus run by aristocratic, nepotistic monks that collected taxes, jailed and tortured dissenters and engaged in all the usual political intrigues. (The Dalai Lama's own father was almost certainly murdered in 1946, the consequence of a coup plot.)

The government set up in exile in India and, at least until the 1970s, received $US1.7 million a year from the CIA.

The money was to pay for guerilla operations against the Chinese, notwithstanding the Dalai Lama's public stance in support of non-violence, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).

The funds were paid to him personally, but he used all or most of them for Tibetan government-in-exile activities, principally to fund offices in New York and Geneva, and to lobby internationally.

Details of the government-in-exile's funding today are far from clear. Structurally, it comprises seven departments and several other special offices. There have also been charitable trusts, a publishing company, hotels in India and Nepal, and a handicrafts distribution company in the US and in Australia, all grouped under the government-in-exile's Department of Finance.

The government was involved in running 24 businesses in all, but decided in 2003 that it would withdraw from these because such commercial involvement was not appropriate.

Several years ago, I asked the Dalai Lama's Department of Finance for details of its budget. In response, it claimed then to have annual revenue of about $US22 million, which it spent on various health, education, religious and cultural programs.

The biggest item was for politically related expenditure, at $US7 million. The next biggest was administration, which ran to $US4.5 million. Almost $US2 million was allocated to running the government-in-exile's overseas offices.

For all that the government-in-exile claims to do, these sums seemed remarkably low.

It is not clear how donations enter its budgeting. These are likely to run to many millions annually, but the Dalai Lama's Department of Finance provided no explicit acknowledgment of them or of their sources.

Certainly, there are plenty of rumours among expatriate Tibetans of endemic corruption and misuse of monies collected in the name of the Dalai Lama.

Many donations are channelled through the New York-based Tibet Fund, set up in 1981 by Tibetan refugees and US citizens. It has grown into a multimillion-dollar organisation that disburses $US3 million each year to its various programs.

Part of its funding comes from the US State Department's Bureau for Refugee Programs.

Like many Asian politicians, the Dalai Lama has been remarkably nepotistic, appointing members of his family to many positions of prominence. In recent years, three of the six members of the Kashag, or cabinet, the highest executive branch of the Tibetan government-in-exile, have been close relatives of the Dalai Lama.

An older brother served as chairman of the Kashag and as the minister of security. He also headed the CIA-backed Tibetan contra movement in the 1960s.

A sister-in-law served as head of the government-in-exile's planning council and its Department of Health.

A younger sister served as health and education minister and her husband served as head of the government-in-exile's Department of Information and International Relations.

Their daughter was made a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile. A younger brother has served as a senior member of the private office of the Dalai Lama and his wife has served as education minister.

The second wife of a brother-in-law serves as the representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile for northern Europe and head of international relations for the government-in-exile. All these positions give the Dalai Lama's family access to millions of dollars collected on behalf of the government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama might now be well-known but few really know much about him. For example, contrary to widespread belief, he is not a vegetarian. He eats meat. He has done so (he claims) on a doctor's advice following liver complications from hepatitis. I have checked with several doctors but none agrees that meat consumption is necessary or even desirable for a damaged liver.

What has the Dalai Lama actually achieved for Tibetans inside Tibet?

If his goal has been independence for Tibet or, more recently, greater autonomy, then he has been a miserable failure.

He has kept Tibet on the front pages around the world, but to what end? The main achievement seems to have been to become a celebrity. Possibly, had he stayed quiet, fewer Tibetans might have been tortured, killed and generally suppressed by China.

In any event, the current Dalai Lama is 72 years old. His successor — a reincarnation — will be appointed as a child and it will be many years before he plays a meaningful role. As far as China is concerned, that is one problem that will take care of itself, irrespective of whether or not Australia's John Howard or Kevin Rudd meet the current Dalai Lama.


Risky Geopolitical Game: Washington Plays ‘Tibet Roulette’ with China

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, April 10, 2008

Washington has obviously decided on an ultra-high risk geopolitical game with Beijing’s by fanning the flames of violence in Tibet just at this sensitive time in their relations and on the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. It’s part of an escalating strategy of destabilization of China which has been initiated by the Bush Administration over the past months. It also includes the attempt to ignite an anti-China Saffron Revolution in the neighboring Myanmar region, bringing US-led NATO troops into Darfur where China’s oil companies are developing potentially huge oil reserves. It includes counter moves across mineral-rich Africa. And it includes strenuous efforts to turn India into a major new US forward base on the Asian sub-continent to be deployed against China, though evidence to date suggests the Indian government is being very cautious not to upset Chinese relations.

The current Tibet operation apparently got the green light in October last year when George Bush agreed to meet the Dalai Lama for the first time publicly in Washington. The President of the United States is not unaware of the high stakes of such an insult to Beijing. Bush deepened the affront to America’s largest trading partner, China, by agreeing to attend as the US Congress awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal.

The immediate expressions of support for the crimson monks of Tibet from George Bush, Condi Rice, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel most recently took on dimensions of the absurd. Ms Merkel announced she would boycott attending the August Beijing Summer Olympics as her protest at the Beijing treatment of the Tibetan monks. What her press secretary omitted is that she had not even planned to go in the first place.

She was followed by an announcement that Poland’s Prime Minister, the pro-Washington Donald Tusk, would also stay away, along with pro-US Czech President Vaclav Klaus. It is unclear whether they also hadn’t planned to go in the first place but it made for dramatic press headlines.

The recent wave of violent protests and documented attacks by Tibetan monks against Han Chinese residents began on March 10 when several hundred monks marched on Lhasa to demand release of other monks allegedly detained for celebrating the award of the US Congress’ Gold Medal last October. The monks were joined by other monks marching to protest Beijing rule on the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

The geopolitical game

As the Chinese government itself was clear to point out, the sudden eruption of anti-Chinese violence in Tibet, a new phase in the movement led by the exiled Dalai Lama, was suspiciously timed to try to put the spotlight on Beijing’s human rights record on the eve of the coming Olympics. The Beijing Olympics are an event seen in China as a major acknowledgement of the arrival of a new prosperous China on the world stage.

The background actors in the Tibet “Crimson revolution” actions confirm that Washington has been working overtime in recent months to prepare another of its infamous Color Revolutions, these fanning public protests designed to inflict maximum embarrassment on Beijing. The actors on the ground in and outside Tibet are the usual suspects, tied to the US State Department, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the CIA’s Freedom House through its chairman, Bette Bao Lord and her role in the International Committee for Tibet, as well as the Trace Foundation financed by the wealth of George Soros through his daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the latest unrest to sabotage the Olympic Games “in order to achieve their unspeakable goal”, Tibetan independence.

Bush telephoned his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao, to pressure for talks between Beijing and the exiled Dalai Lama. The White House said that Bush, “raised his concerns about the situation in Tibet and encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives and to allow access for journalists and diplomats.”

President Hu reportedly told Bush the Dalai Lama must “stop his sabotage” of the Olympics before Beijing takes a decision on talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

Dalai Lama’s odd friends

In the West the image of the Dalai Lama has been so much promoted that in many circles he is deemed almost a God. While the spiritual life of the Dalai Lama is not our focus, it is relevant to note briefly the circles he has chosen to travel in most of his life.

The Dalai Lama travels in what can only be called rather conservative political circles. What is generally forgotten today is that during the 1930’s the Nazis including Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler and other top Nazi Party leaders regarded Tibet as the holy site of the survivors of the lost Atlantis, and the origin of the “Nordic pure race.”

When he was 11 and already designated Dalai Lama, he was befriended by Heinrich Harrer, a Nazi Party member and officer of Heinrich Himmler’s feared SS. Far from the innocent image of him in the popular Hollywood film with Brad Pitt, Harrer was an elite SS member at the time he met the 11 year old Dalai Lama and became his tutor in “the world outside Tibet.” While only the Dalai Lama knows the contents of Harrer’s private lessons, the two remained friends until Harrer died a ripe 93 in 2006.1

That sole friendship, of course, does not define a person’s character, but it is interesting in the context of later friends. In April 1999, along with Margaret Thatcher, and former Beijing Ambassador, CIA Director and President, George H.W. Bush, the Dalai Lama demanded the British government release Augusto Pinochet, the former fascist dictator of Chile and a longtime CIA client who was visiting England. The Dalai Lama urged that Pinochet not be forced to go to Spain where he was wanted to stand trial for crimes against humanity. The Dalai Lama had close ties to Miguel Serrano2, head of Chile’s National Socialist Party, a proponent of something called esoteric Hitlerism. 3

Leaving aside at this point the claim of the Dalai Lama to divinity, what is indisputable is that he has been surrounded and financed in significant part, since his flight into Indian exile in 1959, by various US and Western intelligence services and their gaggle of NGOs. It is the agenda of the Washington friends of the Dalai Lama that is relevant here.

The NED at work again...

As author Michael Parenti notes in his work, Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, “during the 1950s and 60s, the CIA actively backed the Tibetan cause with arms, military training, money, air support and all sorts of other help.” The US-based American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA front, publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in the group. The Dalai Lama’s second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA in 1951. It was later upgraded into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet, according to Parenti.4

According to declassified US intelligence documents released in the late 1990s, “for much of the 1960s, the CIA provided the Tibetan exile movement with $1.7 million a year for operations against China, including an annual subsidy of $180,000 for the Dalai Lama.” 5

With help of the CIA, the Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India where he lives to the present. He continues to receive millions of dollars in backing today, not from the CIA but from a more innocuous-sounding CIA front organization, funded by the US Congress, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED has been instrumental in every US-backed Color Revolution destabilization from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Myanmar. Its funds go to back opposition media and global public relations campaigns to popularize their pet opposition candidates.

As in the other recent Color Revolutions, the US Government is fanning the flames of destabilization against China by funding opposition protest organizations inside and outside Tibet through its arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The NED was founded by the Reagan Administration in the early 1980’s, on the recommendation of Bill Casey, Reagan’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), following a series of high-publicity exposures of CIA assassinations and destabilizations of unfriendly regimes. The NED was designed to pose as an independent NGO, one step removed from the CIA and Government agencies so as to be less conspicuous, presumably. The first acting President of the NED, Allen Weinstein, commented to the Washington Post that, “A lot of what we [the NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” 6

American intelligence historian, William Blum states, “The NED played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North's shadowy "Project Democracy." This network privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs, and engaged in other equally charming activities. In 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED "run Project Democracy." 7

The most prominent pro-Dalai Lama Tibet independence organization today is the International Campaign for Tibet, founded in Washington in 1988. Since at least 1994 the ICT has been receiving funds from the NED. The ICT awarded their annual Light of Truth award in 2005 to Carl Gershman, founder of the NED. Other ICT award winners have included the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Czech leader, Vaclav Havel. The ICT Board of Directors is peopled with former US State Department officials including Gare Smith and Julia Taft. 8

Another especially active anti-Beijing organization is the US-based Students for a Free Tibet, founded in 1994 in New York City as a project of US Tibet Committee and the NED-financed International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). The SFT is most known for unfurling a 450 foot banner atop the Great Wall in China; calling for a free Tibet, and accusing Beijing of wholly unsubstantiated claims of genocide against Tibet. Apparently it makes good drama to rally naïve students.

The SFT was among five organizations which this past January that proclaimed start of a "Tibetan people's uprising" on Jan 4 this year and co-founded a temporary office in charge of coordination and financing.

Harry Wu is another prominent Dalai Lama supporter against Beijing. He became notorious for claiming falsely in a 1996 Playboy interview that he had “videotaped a prisoner whose kidneys were surgically removed while he was alive, and then the prisoner was taken out and shot. The tape was broadcast by BBC." The BBC film showed nothing of the sort, but the damage was done. How many people check old BBC archives? Wu, a retired Berkeley professor who left China after imprisonment as a dissident, is head of the Laogai Research Foundation, a tax-exempt organization whose main funding is from the NED.9

Among related projects, the US Government-financed NED also supports the Tibet Times newspaper, run out of the Dalai Lama’s exile base at Dharamsala, India. The NED also funds the Tibet Multimedia Center for “information dissemination that addresses the struggle for human rights and democracy in Tibet,” also based in Dharamsala. And NED finances the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

In short, US State Department and US intelligence community finger prints are all over the upsurge around the Free Tibet movement and the anti-Han Chinese attacks of March. The question to be asked is why, and especially why now?

Tibet’s raw minerals treasure

Tibet is of strategic import to China not only for its geographical location astride the border with India, Washington’s newest anti-China ally in Asia. Tibet is also a treasure of minerals and also oil. Tibet contains some of the world's largest uranium and borax deposits, one half of the world's lithium, the largest copper deposits in Asia, enormous iron deposits, and over 80,000 gold mines. Tibet's forests are the largest timber reserve at China's disposal; as of 1980, an estimated $54 billion worth of trees had been felled and taken by China. Tibet also contains some of the largest oil reserves in the region.10

On the Tibet Autonomous Region’s border along the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is also a vast oil and mineral region in the Qaidam Basin, known as a "treasure basin." The Basin has 57 different types of mineral resources with proven reserves including petroleum, natural gas, coal, crude salt, potassium, magnesium, lead, zinc and gold. These mineral resources have a potential economic value of 15 trillion yuan or US$1.8 trillion. Proven reserves of potassium, lithium and crude salt in the basin are the biggest in China.

And situated as it is, on the “roof of the world,” Tibet is perhaps the world’s most valuable water source. Tibet is the source of seven of Asia's greatest rivers which provide water for 2 billion people.” He who controls Tibet’s water has a mighty powerful geopolitical lever over all Asia.

But the prime interest of Tibet for Washington today is its potential to act as a lever to destabilize and blackmail the Beijing Government.

Washington’s ‘nonviolence as a form of warfare’

The events in Tibet since March 10 have been played in Western media with little regard to accuracy or independent cross-checking. Most of the pictures blown up in European and US newspapers and TV have not even been of Chinese military oppression of Tibetan lamas or monks. They have been shown to be in most cases either Reuters or AFP pictures of Han Chinese being beaten by Tibetan monks in paramilitary organizations. In some instances German TV stations ran video pictures of beatings that were not even from Tibet but rather by Nepalese police in Kathmandu. 11

The western media complicity simply further underlies that the actions around Tibet are part of a well-orchestrated destabilization effort on the part of Washington. What few people realize is that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was also instrumental, along with Gene Sharp’s misnamed Albert Einstein Institution through Colonel Robert Helvey, in encouraging the student protests at Tiananmen Square in June 1989. The Albert Einstein Institution, as it describes itself, specializes in "nonviolence as a form of warfare." 12

Colonel Helvey was formerly with the Defense Intelligence Agency stationed in Myanmar. Helvey trained in Hong Kong the student leaders from Beijing in mass demonstration techniques which they were to use in the Tiananmen Square incident of June 1989. He is now believed acting as an adviser to the Falun Gong in similar civil disobedience techniques. Helvey nominally retired from the army in 1991, but had been working with the Albert Einstein Institution and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation long before then. In its annual report for 2004 Helvey’s Albert Einstein Institution admitted to advising people in Tibet. 13

With the emergence of the Internet and mobile telephone use, the US Pentagon has refined an entirely new form of regime change and political destabilization. As one researcher of the phenomenon behind the wave of color revolutions, Jonathan Mowat, describes it,

“...What we are seeing is civilian application of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "Revolution in Military Affairs" doctrine, which depends on highly mobile small group deployments "enabled" by "real time" intelligence and communications. Squads of soldiers taking over city blocks with the aid of "intelligence helmet" video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment, constitute the military side. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones constitute the doctrine's civilian application.

“This parallel should not be surprising since the US military and National Security Agency subsidized the development of the Internet, cellular phones, and software platforms. From their inception, these technologies were studied and experimented with in order to find the optimal use in a new kind of warfare. The "revolution" in warfare that such new instruments permit has been pushed to the extreme by several specialists in psychological warfare. Although these military utopians have been working in high places, (for example the RAND Corporation), for a very long time, to a large extent they only took over some of the most important command structures of the US military apparatus with the victory of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon of Donald Rumsfeld.14

Goal to control China

Washington policy has used and refined these techniques of “revolutionary nonviolence,” and NED operations embodied a series of ‘democratic’ or soft coup projects as part of a larger strategy which would seek to cut China off from access to its vital external oil and gas reserves.

The 1970’s quote attributed to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a proponent of British geopolitics in an American context comes to mind: “If you control the oil you control entire nations...”

The destabilization attempt by Washington using Tibet, no doubt with quiet “help” from its friends in British and other US-friendly intelligence services, is part of a clear pattern.

It includes Washington’s “Saffron revolution” attempts to destabilize Myanmar. It includes the ongoing effort to get NATO troops into Darfur to block China’s access to strategically vital oil resources there and elsewhere in Africa. It includes attempts to foment problems in Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and to disrupt China’s vital new energy pipeline projects to Kazakhstan. The earlier Asian Great Silk Road trade routes went through Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Almaty in Kazakhstan for geographically obvious reasons, in a region surrounded by major mountain ranges. Geopolitical control of Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan would enable control of any potential pipeline routes between China and Central Asia just as the encirclement of Russia controls pipeline and other ties between it and western Europe, China, India and the Middle East, where China depends on uninterrupted oil flows from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries.

Behind the strategy to encircle China

In this context, a revealing New York Council on Foreign Relations analysis in their Foreign Affairs magazine from Zbigniew Brzezinski from September/October 1997 is worth quoting. Brzezinski, a protégé of David Rockefeller and a follower of the founder of British geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder, is today the foreign policy adviser to Presidential candidate, Barack Obama. In 1997 he revealingly wrote:

‘Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world's most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's population; 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential power overshadows even America's.

‘Eurasia is the world's axial super-continent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy....’15 (emphasis mine-w.e.).

This statement, written well before the US-led bombing of former Yugoslavia and the US military occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, or its support of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, puts Washington pronouncements about ‘ridding the world of tyranny’ and about spreading democracy, into a somewhat different context from the one usually mentioned by George W. Bush of others.

It’s about global hegemony, not democracy. It should be no surprise when powers such as China are not convinced that giving Washington such overwhelming power is in China’s national interest, any more than Russia thinks that it would be a step towards peace to let NATO gobble up Ukraine and Georgia and put US missiles on Russia’s doorstep “to defend against threat of Iranian nuclear attack on the United States.”

The US-led destabilization in Tibet is part of a strategic shift of great significance. It comes at a time when the US economy and the US dollar, still the world’s reserve currency, are in the worst crisis since the 1930’s. It is significant that the US Administration sends Wall Street banker, former Goldman Sachs chairman, Henry Paulson to Beijing in the midst of its efforts to embarrass Beijing in Tibet. Washington is literally playing with fire. China long ago surpassed Japan as the world’s largest holder of foreign currency reserves, now in the range of $1.5 trillions, most of which are invested in US Treasury debt instruments. Paulson knows well that were Beijing to decide it could bring the dollar to its knees by selling only a small portion of its US debt on the market.


1 Ex-Nazi, Dalai's tutor Harrer dies at 93, The Times of India, 9 Jan 2006, in

2 Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity, New York University Press, 2001, p. 177.

3 Goldner, Colin, Mönchischer Terror auf dem Dach der Welt Teil 1: Die Begeisterung für den Dalai Lama und den tibetischen Buddhismus, March 26, 2008, excerpted from the book Dalai Lama: Fall eines Gottkönigs, Alibri Verlag,, new edition to appear April 2008, reproduced in

4 Parenti, Michael, Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, June 2007, in www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html.

5 Mann, Jim, CIA funded covert Tibet exile campaign in 1960s, The Age (Australia), Sept. 16, 1998.

6 Ignatius, D., Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups, The Washington Post, 22 September 1991.

7 Blum, William, The NED and ‘Project Democracy,’ January 2000, in www.friendsoftibet.org/databank/usdefence/usd5.html

8 Barker, Michael, ’Democratic Imperialism’: Tibet, China and the National Endowment for Democracy, Global Research, August 13, 2007, www.globalresearch.ca.

9 McGehee, Ralph, Ralph McGehee’ s Archive on JFK Place, CIA Operations in China Part III, May 2, 1996, in www.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/RM/RM.china-for.

10 US Tibet Committee, Fifteen things you should know about Tibet and China, in

11 Goldner, Colin, Mönchischer Terror auf dem Dach der Welt Teil 2: Krawalle im Vorfeld der Olympischen Spiele, op cit.

12 Mowat, Jonathan, The new Gladio in action?, Online Journal, Mar 19, 2005, in

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 Brzezinski, Zbigniew, A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997.

On the same topic, I want to share two videos made by Chinese bloggers on the topic of Tibet:

Commentary: I suppose that after posting all of the above I might appear to some as hopelessly anti-Tibetan or pro-Chinese. I am neither. In fact, I don't have much knowledge of this issue, much less so a real opinion. What I do know is the following:

1) That while the politically correct world is screaming about the "Free Tibet", nobody seems to care that Kurds, Palestinians and many others are slaughtered and tortured on a daily basis.

2) That the anti-Chinese Olympics campaign has all the hallmarks of a US strategic psychological operation.

3) That the PRC is gradually being pushed by the Neocons into the "next threat" role.

4) That the case for independence of Tibet is very far fetched at best.

5) That the Western media has been promoting the Dalai Lama as some kind of "holiest of holies" figure for decades, and that makes me deeply suspicious.

6) That we are all swamped with the "Free Tibet" propaganda. Another point of view is - by definition - something interesting.

These are the reasons why I post all of the above. Don't seek any other, there are none.

The Saker