Thursday, December 15, 2011

STRATFOR : Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, Part 1: A Strategy of Deterrence


Iran holds keys to Persian Gulf

STRATFOR 
12/14/2011


Editor's Note: The ongoing debate over Iran's capabilities and intentions gives lasting relevance to the analysis within. Media reports continue to focus on efforts to disrupt Tehran's efforts to construct nuclear weapons, but the international community has a much greater strategic interest in ensuring the flow of oil through the Iranian-controlled Strait of Hormuz.

It has often been said that Iran’s “real nuclear option” is its ability to close — or at least try to close — the Strait of Hormuz, which facilitates the movement of 90 percent of the Persian Gulf’s oil exports (40 percent of the global seaborne oil trade) as well as all of the gulf’s liquefied natural gas exports. At a time when the world is crawling back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, this is a serious threat and warrants close examination.

While largely obsolete Iranian Nave packs punch
Iran actually has a broad range of military options for lashing out at energy exports in the strait, and this is not a new development. Almost since the founding days of the Islamic republic, Iran has been exercising military force in the Persian Gulf, starting with attacks against Iraqi tankers (and Kuwaiti tankers carrying Iraqi oil) during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. But in all this time, Iran has never exercised the full measure of its capability to close the Strait of Hormuz to maritime commerce — if indeed it has that capability. Although Iran has an array of options for limited strikes, our interests here are the dynamics of an all-out effort.

Deterrence and the Potential for Conflict

     Tehran has long been aware of the geostrategic significance of its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. The threat of mining the strait or targeting tankers with anti-ship missiles is a central component of Iran’s defensive strategy. By holding the strait at risk, Tehran expands the consequences of any military action against it to include playing havoc with global oil prices. Insofar as Iran has avoided military action to date, this strategy of deterrence to this point can be deemed a success.




     Yet the strategy has several weaknesses. For one, it can only discourage an attack, not directly prevent one. By the time an attack against Iran begins, Tehran’s military strategy has failed. Trying to close the strait after military strikes have begun cannot stop those strikes — it can only serve as a punitive measure. At best, an Iranian concession to stop its actions in the strait could serve as a card on the table in negotiating a cease-fire. But creating trouble in the strait is a hard sell internationally as a “defensive” measure. With the world just starting to recover from the global economic crisis, a move by Iran to close the strait could unite the world against Iran — perhaps more strongly than was the case against Iraq following Desert Storm in 1991.

Iranian subs capable of inflicting heavy damage
Another weakness has to do with one of the classic problems of nuclear deterrence — the military incentive to strike first. In this case, the United States would very much want to leverage the element of surprise, catching and hitting as many targets as possible — not just the nuclear program but also Iran’s offensive and defensive military capabilities — where it expects those targets to be. The flip side, of course, is that Iran also needs the element of surprise. Because high-priority targets in any U.S. airstrike would include Iran’s capabilities to retaliate directly — its anti-ship missile sites, its mine warfare facilities, its ballistic missile arsenal — any retaliation by Iran after an American strike begins would be degraded, perhaps considerably, depending on the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence (Iran presents considerable intelligence problems for the United States).

     As a result, while Iran’s deterrence strategy has thus far delayed conflict, a line can be crossed that puts everything on its head. Instead of delaying matters further, each side will have more incentive to act aggressively in order to pre-empt the other. And the problem is not simply that this line exists. The line is defined for each side by its subjective, fallible perceptions of the other’s intentions, leaving considerable room for miscalculation.

     So, despite the considerable disincentives for Iran to try and close the strait, it can hardly be ruled out. Indeed, at the moment, with so much in motion politically, not just between Washington and Tehran but also between Washington and Moscow — and factoring in the Israeli wild card — the risks of miscalculation on all sides are very high.

The Strait of Hormuz

     Connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the world’s oceans, the navigable waters of the Strait of Hormuz are roughly 20 miles wide at their narrowest point. Commercial and naval maritime traffic, which includes 16 or 17 million barrels of crude oil aboard some 15 tankers per day, transits two designated shipping lanes inside Omani waters. Each lane (one into the Gulf, one out) is two miles wide and is separated by a two mile-wide buffer. (Almost the entire strait south of Qeshm and Larak islands is deep enough to support tanker traffic, so there is certainly room to shift the traffic further from the Iranian coast.) The importance of this waterway to both American military and economic interests is difficult to overstate. Considering Washington’s more general — and fundamental — interest in securing freedom of the seas, the U.S. Navy would almost be forced to respond aggressively to any attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian destroyer
Tehran appreciates not only its strategic proximity to the strait but also the asymmetric military options related to it. A conventional interdiction in the strait by Iranian surface warships and submarines is perhaps the least likely scenario. Larger corvettes and frigates are few in number and would be easily targeted by U.S. naval and air power that is constantly within striking distance of the strait. While up to two of Iran’s three Russian-built Kilo-class submarines could probably be sortied on short notice, the cramped and shallow waters of the strait make submarine operations there particularly challenging.

     The challenges mean that the proficiency of Iranian submarine crews (questionable at best) would likely be severely tested in a genuine operational scenario. The United States also recognizes Iran’s Kilos as an important Iranian asset and would make every effort to quickly neutralize them (whether at sea or in port) in any attack scenario. In any event, the Iranian navy does not have enough Kilos to have any confidence in its ability to sustain submarine operations for any meaningful period after hostilities began.

Iranian frigate
Well aware of its qualitative weaknesses vis-a-vis the U.S. Navy, Iran has a number of more asymmetric options. The most “conventional” of these are its fast attack missile boats, particularly 10 French-built Kaman guided missile patrol craft (Iran has begun to build copies domestically, though the first three appear to have been built in the Caspian). Smaller than a corvette, each of these boats has a medium-caliber naval gun and two to four anti-ship missiles. These very vessels comprised some of the most active Iranian naval units in the Iran-Iraq War. Although the U.S.-built Harpoon anti-ship missiles with which they were originally equipped appear to have all been expended during that conflict, the missile boats have reportedly been equipped with Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missiles, which are based on the U.S. Harpoon and French Exocet designs. Employed in a surprise strike, these missile boats could score some early hits on traffic in the strait.

    Even with the fast missile boats, however, there is still the issue of port dependence and vulnerability. Iran’s conventional navy, of which the fast attack missile boats are a part, would have to leave port immediately to avoid destruction alongside the pier — particularly challenging if the U.S. struck first. Of course, due to superior American naval and air power, Iran’s ships and subs — including the fast missile boats — wouldn’t be much safer at sea. Even if the missile boats succeeded in surviving long enough to expend their ordnance, they wouldn’t have a port to return to capable of rearming them.

     Iran, however, has other asymmetrical tricks up its sleeve.

This STRATFOR Intelligence Report is republished with permission and thanks from The 5th Estate.


Obama to Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture of Americans


Free Americans should give leaving and living to fight another day serious thought

RT
12/15/2011

Less than a month after he threatened to veto terrifying legislation that would cease constitutional rights as we know it, Obama has revoked his warning and plans to authorize a bill allowing indefinite detention and torture of Americans.

    After passing in the House of Representatives earlier this year, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 went before the US Senate last week, where it was met with overwhelming approval. In the days before, the Obama administration issued a policy statement on November 17 saying explicitly that the president would veto the bill, as it would challenge “the president’s critical authorities to collect intelligence incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation.”

Guantanimo
Opposition from the White House seemed all but rampant until RT revealed earlier this week that Senator Carl Levin told lawmakers that the legislation was altered because “the administration asked us to remove the language which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that those last minute changes yielded legislation that would “not challenge the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the American people,” and therefore “the president’s senior advisers will not recommend a veto.”

    Originally the White House said that the administration objected to matters in the bill that applied to detainees. Under the act, Americans could be arrested and held indefinitely in military-run prisons and tortured without charges ever being brought forth, essentially making Guantanamo Bay a threat for every American citizen.

    Under the legislation, a literal police state will be installed over the United States. Republican Congressman Ron Paul said earlier this week that “this should be the biggest news going right now,” as the legislation would allow for “literally legalizing martial law.”

    “This step where they can literally arrest American citizens and put them away without trial….is arrogant and bold and dangerous,” said the congressman and potential Republican Party nominee for president.

    In its threat of a veto last month, the White House said it had similar sentiments, writing in an official statement from Washington that “The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects.”

“This unnecessary, untested and legally controversial restriction of the President's authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals,” added the White House.

    “Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

    Despite Obama’s promise from last month, a veto seemed questionable after it was revealed that the bill, which approves the budget for the Department of Defense, came at a price tag much lower than the president had asked for.

    It is expected to be in Obama’s hands anytime this week.



Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

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POLICE STATE USA: Explaining to a 5-Year Old Why the Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to U.S. Citizens on U.S. Soil


"OGA's" such as the CIA, NSA, BATF, DIA can all attempt to kill Americans abroad, however potential Exile/expatriate victims can also legally kill them in self-defense according to the laws regarding deadly force of the country they are living in if attacked


Washington's Blog
12/14/2011

U.S. government assassins must obey laws of other countries
In response to my essay documenting that the indefinite detention bill does apply to American citizens on U.S. soil, a commentator posted:

Can somebody explain to me like I am 5, why [one of the bill's provisions - which discusses U.S. citizens] does not protect citizens?

Yes, let me explain it in words that even a 5-year-old can understand …

The bill says that the military must indefinitely detain anyone SUSPECTED of helping bad guys.

One provision says that the mandatory (“must”) indefinite detention doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens … but the government CAN indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen it feels like without trial, without presenting evidence, without letting the citizen consult with a lawyer, and without even charging the citizen.
This would destroy our Constitutional rights to trial, to face our accuser and to consult with an attorney.

Indeed, it would destroy rights created in England in 1215.

In other words, it’s like saying “you don’t HAVE to lock up Joey for the rest of his life because he called you a mean name, but you CAN lock him away and throw away the key and then falsely accuse him of being a suspected terrorist if it would make you happy”.

Get it?

That is why Congressman Justin Amash wrote:
Senators McCain and Levin have teamed up to promote one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime, S 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act. This bill would permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President. It is destructive of our Constitution.
… A few commenters have suggested that the dangerous provisions in S 1867 (discussed in my previous post) do not apply to American citizens because of this language in Sec. 1032: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” This language appears carefully crafted to mislead the public. Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary.
Amash subsequently wrote:
Pres. Obama and many Members of Congress believe the President ALREADY has the authority the bill grants him. Legally, of course, he does not. This language was inserted to keep proponents and opponents of the bill appeased, while permitting the President to assert that the improper power he has claimed all along is now in statute.
***
They will say that American citizens are specifically exempted under the following language in Sec. 1032: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” Don’t be fooled. All this says is that the President is not REQUIRED to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial. It still PERMITS him to do so.
The ACLU notes:
Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.
 Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Orwell, Obama and Beyond: Legislating Tyranny in America


As the curtain of dictatorship draws tight around U.S., Americans have no right to complain, were warned well in advance

Global Research
By Stephen Lendman
12/14/2011

Obama won't prosecute CIA torturers, Wall Street crooks, other corporate criminals, lawless war profiteers, or other venal high-level civilian or government officials.

Instead, expect him to sign into law (or at least tacitly approve) indefinite military detentions of US citizens allegedly associated with terrorist groups, with or without corroborating evidence.

Post-9/11, US freedoms and other democratic values dramatically eroded. Enactment of police state provisions in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act comes closer to ending them entirely.

    On December 5, the ACLU headlined, "Indefinite Detention, Endless Worldwide War and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)," saying:

Free Americans will see inside of Guamtanimo cells
"Enactment of this measure will authorize "the military to pick up and imprison people, including US citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial."

Secretly with no hearings, both Houses are rushing to complete a "joint version" before leaving for Christmas break. "Fundamental American values and freedoms are on the line." Given the stakes, they're perilously hanging by a thread.

    On December 13, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) urged Obama to veto NDAA in its present form. Otherwise, he'll "be responsible for signing into law one of the greatest expansions of executive power in our nation's history, allowing the government to lock up citizens and non-citizens without the right to fair trials."

   Indefinite detentions violate core democratic freedoms, including fundamental Bill of Rights ones already gravely eroded.

    On November 27, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt issued Proclamation 2524, declaring December 15 Bill of Rights Day to commemorate its 150th 1791 ratification. 

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
At the time, he hailed "America('s) charter of personal liberty and human dignity," including "freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the free right to petition the Government for redress of grievances."

    Although American freedom then was far less than he claimed, today it hangs by a thread and may pass entirely any time for any reason.

   In response to global imperial wars, corporate favoritism, unbridled private sector criminality, and political corruption at the highest levels, causing economic crisis conditions at home, thousands began protesting nationwide for social justice.

     In response, militarized police confront them violently as NDAA heads for enactment to stop anyone from challenging US hegemony and corporate power by throwing them indefinitely in military dungeons to rot. 

Corrupt, drug addled pigs go for easy targets, elderly, children
 Equity and justice are fast eroding entirely to advance America's imperium. On May 26, the House passed HR 1540, 322 - 96. Doing so took a giant step toward abolishing freedom entirely.


    On December 1, the Senate's S. 1867 followed suit, 93 to 7. Both versions assure no one anywhere is now safe, including law-abiding US citizens.

   Enactment means anyone anywhere, including US citizens, may be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all.

    No reasonable proof is required, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Under subsection (b)(1), indefinite detentions can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.

    Presidents will have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat. 
 
NYPD predator pigs molest Occupy Wall Street protester
Constitutional, statute and international laws won't apply. Presidential diktats will replace them.

US military personnel will be authorized to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone globally, including US citizens. No one anywhere will be safe.

    Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness will be null and void. Presidents could order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial. Abuse of power will replace rule of law protections. It can happen in days.

    Ahead of their holiday break, leaders from both Houses are meeting secretly to resolve final language differences before sending NDAA to Obama to sign.

    Promising a veto, he lied. He broke every major promise made. This one's no exception at a time he can go either way, given enough congressional votes to override him.

    Moreover, Senate bill sponsor Carl Levin said administration officials, in fact, lobbied against language excluding US citizens from indefinite military detentions without trials or due process. According to Levin:

    "The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved....and the administration asked us to remove (it) which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section." 

U.S. Marine Scott Olsen targeted, shot by coward Oakland pigs
 "It was the administration that asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee. (W)e removed it at the request of the administration. It was the administration which asked us to remove the very language, the absence of which is now objected to."

    In other words, Obama wants US citizens indefinitely detained in military prisons whether or not charged. He fully supports police state repression. Only his disingenuous rhetoric says otherwise.

    Earlier by Executive Order, he authorized indefinite detentions with or without military commission trials for persons designated national security threats. Intended specifically for Guantanamo detainees, it could be stretched to include anyone.

    In addition, he authorized CIA operatives and Special Forces death squads to kill targeted US citizens abroad. As a result, they may be hunted down and murdered in cold blood for any reason or none at all. 

Loud-mouthed fool:  Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki gets self KIA
Outspoken Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen living in Yemen at the time, was killed for opposing Washington's imperium, not alleged or committed crimes. His murder comes perilously close to replicating assassinations at home, whether covertly or openly.

    In fact, administration lawyers called US citizens legitimate targets if deemed national security threats, with or without corroborating evidence. As a result, indeed no one's safe, whether or not NDAA passes in its current form.

    According to CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson, US citizens at war with America have no immunity. Executive branch officials, not courts, will decide guilt or innocence issues.

    In other words, anyone voicing opposition to America's imperium risks being targeted for arrest, detention or assassination. 

   With regard to Obama's NDAA position, his White House November 17 Statement of policy said: 

    "The Administration supports Senate passage of (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012."

    "Section 1031 attempts to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) (the "AUMF"). The authorities granted by the AUMF, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people from the threat posed by al-Qaida and its associated forces...."

   "Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk....While the current language minimizes many of those risks, future legislative action must ensure (against) unintended consequences that could compromise our ability to protect the American people."

    Senate bill S. 1867, Section 1031, affirms the "authority of the armed forces of the United States to detain covered persons," including US citizens.

Out of control pigs hogtie Portland protester
Section 1032 requires suspects held in military custody, outside constitutionally mandated civil protections, without habeas rights, due process, and other judicial procedures.

Obama may object to legislative language, not its intent. As a result perhaps, wiggle room wording changes may assuage his concerns, while leaving sweeping indefinite military detention authorization unchanged.

    In other words, presidents henceforth may order anyone indefinitely detained in military prisons uncharged, including US citizens.

A Final Comment

   Even before 9/11, Washington began militarizing police forces nationwide. Sophisticated weapons and training are provided, including military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and other weapons previously used only by military forces.

      In 1997, the so-called 1033 Program (formerly the 1208 Program) let the Defense Secretary "transfer, without charge, excess US Department of Defense (DoD) personal property (supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs)." 

Evil sonic weapons tested in Fallauja Iraq, now being used in U.S.
As a result, they've been supplied with land, air and sea vehicles, weapons, computer equipment, body armor, fingerprint equipment, night vision equipment, radios and televisions, first aid equipment, tents, sleeping bags, photographic equipment, and more.

    In 2011 alone, about $500 million in military related hardware was supplied. Next year's amounts are expected to increase fourfold. Doing so coincides with OWS crackdowns.

    More than ever, America is being militarized to quash popular social justice protests at a time equity and justice are fast disappearing. Moreover, military forces may intervene if local cops need help.

   Post-9/11, police state terrorism was institutionalized. It's being hardened more than ever to crush dissent.

    Constitutional, statute, and international law protections no longer apply. Planned tyranny will replace them, leaving no one safe anywhere henceforth.



Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.





America's War on Pakistan: Death From The Skies, NATO In Search of an Enemy


Obama, CIA's drone assassination program is illegal, needs to be dismantled, all participants prosecuted for war crimes

News International
By Roedad Kahn
12/14/2011

-It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan.  Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy.

-Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things.  In his inaugural address he focused more on “soft power” and told the Muslim world that he wants “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”.  All that seems to have changed.  His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else.  This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us.  This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.


Saturday, November 26 will go down in our history as a black day. On that day, America’s “war on terror” reached Pakistan’s Salala Post, in Mohmand Agency, manned by jawans of the Pakistan army. While our soldiers were sleeping, US and Nato gunships targeted the post without any provocation. Innocent blood was spilled in pursuit of Obama’s ambitions and nightmares. Missiles rained down killing 24 soldiers, including two officers, and injuring many others.

Pakistanis pissed off, burn Obama effigy
The deadly Nato operation led by an American general lasted for three hours. Dead bodies lay all around the post. It was not a mistake, it was targeted. No apology from President Obama, the Secretary of State or the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, anger in Pakistan reached a fever pitch. People all over Pakistan boiled over in righteous indignation.

   When the US strikes, an apology for a wrong committed is unnecessary because, of course, the United States is never at fault. America has never apologised to the Iraqi people for years of carnage carried out in the name of WMDs, weapons that were never found because they were never there. Obama dodges the need to apologise on the premise “that we are up against people who show no shame, no remorse, no hint of humanity”. “The unfortunate”, Mirabeau once said, “are always wrong”, even when they are the victims. Our moment of truth arrived on November 26. We are at the crossroads.

    On the eve of Mr Jinnah’s departure, from New Delhi for Karachi, Henry F. Grady, the American ambassador to India, paid him a farewell call.

Obama/CIA Predator drone responsible for hundreds of deaths
Expressing great admiration for the United States, Mr Jinnah reiterated his hope that America would assist Pakistan “in its many problems”. When Grady asked whether he desired to indicate any specific matter, Jinnah replied laconically, “not at this time”. It did not take him long to realise that Pakistan faced a much stronger and wily adversary, determined to strangle it in the crib; and that Pakistan stood alone in the ring. Faced with the prospects of such a desperate situation, the Quaid-e-Azam turned to the United States for assistance. This was the beginning of our romance with the United States. What went wrong?

    The alienation between the people of Pakistan and the United States has never been more intense. Relations between Pakistan and the US have never been as stormy as they are today. Relations have been steadily deteriorating ever since a Navy Seal team killed Osama bin Laden near Abbottabad in May. Matters became still worse in September, when Admiral [Michael] Mullen, [then-] Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, accused Pakistan of supporting an attack on the American embassy in Kabul. On Saturday, November 26, the relationship hit a new low when a Nato air strike killed two dozen soldiers in Salala.

Predator "Hellfire" missiles do not discriminate, kill blindly
On July 12, 1961, when President Ayub visited Washington, he told a Joint Session of the Congress of the US: “The only people who will stand by you are the people of Pakistan provided you are also prepared to stand by them. So, I would like you to remember that whatever may be the dictates of your commitments, you will not take any steps that might aggravate our problems or in any fashion jeopardise our security. As long as you remember that our friendship will grow in strength”.

    In his welcome address, President Kennedy said that Pakistan was ‘a friend of immediacy and constancy’, and observed that ‘Americans in private and in their public life appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friends’. Fine words and noble sentiments but they ring so hollow today. In the real world, as every student of international relations knows, there are no permanent friends, only permanent national interests.

   The Washington Times’ portrayal of Pakistan as America’s ‘retriever dog’ deeply offended the people of Pakistan and sparked a wave of protest all over the country. The cartoon clearly shows what the Americans think of Pakistan and its people. They do not appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friendship. They use Pakistan whenever the need arises, throwing it away when no longer needed.

CIA Predator drones have wiped out entire Pakistani families
Who says we are friends? We have never been friends. There can be no friendship between the strong and the weak. There can be no friendship between unequals, neither in private life nor in public life. “The strong do what they can”, the Athenians told the intractable Melians, “and the weak must suffer what they must”.


    The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. The father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter”. “It is folly in one nation”, George Washington observed, “to look for disinterested favours from another...it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character”. No truer words have been spoken on the subject.

    Today say “Pakistan” and what comes to mind: sham democracy, fraudulent referendum, rigged elections, a corrupt president, a rubber stamp parliament, a figurehead prime minister. Democracy in the West means a political system marked not only by free, fair and impartial elections, but also by rule of law, and an independent election commission. All these institutions are non-existent in Pakistan. So how can Pakistan resist American pressure and be secure in its independence when it is not free in its spirit; when it is not free in its institutions?

Pakistan - U.S. "alliance" in tatters thanks to madman Obama
It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan. Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy. It had been created, in Lord Ismay’s famous words, “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down”. Confronted by a Western Europe still in ruins and a Soviet Union triumphantly consolidating its conquests, Europeans joined hands, in 1949, with Americans and Canadians to create a military alliance to stem the further encroachment of the Soviet tide. Soviet Union died long ago. What is Nato doing so close to our border? That is the question.

    Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things. In his inaugural address he focused more on “soft power” and told the Muslim world that he wants “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”. All that seems to have changed. His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else. This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.

Insane Obama now has more time to play golf as world burns
“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)”, Obama said recently, “comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies”. This is not true. All our major problems stem from American occupation of Afghanistan and its frequent intrusions into our tribal territory. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

    Once we could do no wrong in the American eyes. Now we are in the dock, alone in the ring, facing all kinds of charges. We have achieved the impossible. We have the dubious distinction of alienating both the superpowers. And to add insult to injury, America has found a new dance partner in India. Today Pakistan is out in the cold, marooned, rejected, discarded. One thing is clear: the belief that Pakistan has no alternative but to slavishly obey its master’s voice could turn out to be one of seminal strategic miscalculations of the 21st century.

The writer is a former federal secretary of the government of Pakistan.

Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


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VIDEO : Former Ambassador Ranjit Singh Kalha: 'US to control Iraq oil always'


Obama and oil company masters have already solidified control of Iraq oil fields

GRTV
12/14/2011

Despite the US's declared withdrawal of its military personnel and contractors out of Iraq, Washington has prepared to control the country's rich oil reserves in any case, shared Ranjit Singh Kalha, former India's ambassador to Iraq in the 1990s.

Ranjit Singh
Having spent $3 trillion in Iraq, a country with harsh weather conditions (+50 C most of the time) and absolutely nothing valuable but oil reserves, the Americans simply cannot give up the plentiful and very high quality oil they went there for.

"It takes $1.50 to take out this oil that's just below the surface. Anybody who has access to this oil can be a game changer -- as far as the politics of oil is concerned," Ranjit Singh Kalha concluded.

   The problem Americans encountered in Iraq is that once given "some symbols" of democracy, the Iraqi voted for a Shia-led government. The headache is that the Shia traditionally have close links with Iran, the core territory of this affiliation.

    "That is the present dilemma. If you withdraw from Iraq completely, you leave this vast oil wealth of Iraq in the hands of Shia (Iran-oriented) government. And therefore it upsets the political balance in the Middle East," Ranjit Singh Kalha explained.

    He said that to counter such adverse developments the US will have almost 20,000-strong embassy in Baghdad (the largest US embassy in the world) and consulates in Basra, Kerkuk and in northern Kurd-inhabited territory, each consulate 1,000-strong.



    "Americans cannot afford to be completely absent from Iraq," the former ambassador argued, adding he does not see any lessening of American influence in Iraq.

    Iraq is a multi-confessional country and to curb religious extremism all previous country's rulers had to be very tough with the population, the diplomat stressed. In Saddam's Iraq most of the military and law enforcement was Sunni and the rule of law was first of all a rule of military power preventing sectarian violence. Today's Iraq is ruled by Shia government which does not have the necessary experience of ruling with an iron fist, so the country risks a full fledged civil war to start at any time given.

    American troops will not go far from Iraq -- they will be re-deployed to next door Kuwait.

    "This is just a re-shuffle of the cards. Americans could always come back because the bases will be kept intact, while 20,000 personnel means that most of the staff will be there," Ranjit Singh Kalha said.

    The US has made sure Iraq does not have any Air Force whatsoever so Iraqi airspace will remain under American control, "which means you can bring force in whenever you want, however you want, and prevent anyone else from coming in."

    The Iran-Iraq border is very long and porous, the population on both sides is blood-interlinked, so the threat of Iran interfering into Iraqi internal affairs is always present.

    As for Afghanistan, occupied by the allied forces, the same tactics might be used there and even if the troops depart, the military bases with thousands of servicemen will stay anyway.

Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




Hasty Afghan withdrawal would be a disaster, US military warns


U.S. military commanders, JCOS should have thought about this before obeying illegal orders from War Criminals Bush/Cheney/Rice; Afghanistan has never lost a war, Taliban not going away

The Independent
By Kim Sengupta
12/14/20111

Any large-scale withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan would help the enemy and undermine gains, according to a confidential US military report. The drawdown should instead, the report says, be avoided until as late as possible before the 2014 deadline for an end of the combat operations.

    The blunt assessment of a security situation balanced on a knife edge is in a document seen by The Independent, and it comes as Barack Obama and David Cameron face intense pressure to bring troops home as quickly as possible from the decade-long war.

Recent bombing killing Afghan Haqqani in "secure" area
The study highlights the need for about 2,000 more battle-hardened veterans to be brought for deployment alongside Afghan forces. Although providing the reinforcements is a decision for the US Central Command, the British military, with its extensive experience of serving in Helmand, is likely to receive a request for help. Yesterday, the UK's National Security Council (NSC) met to consider the scale and pace of the British pullout, with some ministers in the Coalition Government apparently demanding that the size of the 9,500-strong contingent be cut by almost a half in the next 18 months.

    Senior commanders, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, have stressed that too precipitous a withdrawal could rebound, undermining the exit strategy.

    The NSC recommendations will be sent to Downing Street. A senior British general said: "We hope the Prime Minister is content to take military advice. But everyone is really watching to see what the Americans do. If they go for a faster drawdown, then David Cameron may feel he cannot expose his political flanks. But we all know the problems getting out too fast would lead to."

Afghan Haqqani Taliban
The Pentagon document is said to have taken on board the views of the US General John Allen, the head of international forces in Afghanistan. It states that taking out additional troops next year – excluding the 33,000 troops sent by President Obama in the recent "surge" – would make it difficult to hold ground captured from insurgents.

   The Pentagon analysts concluded that, even with an accelerated training programme, the Afghan army and police would not be in a position to take over a workable level of responsibility for security until 2014. This is one of the reasons given for the 2,000 extra mentors to be embedded with designated Afghan units in the intervening period.

    An official familiar with the report said: "This may not be as easy as it sounds. We are looking at experienced personnel, senior non-commissioned officers, captains, majors, prepared to do some hard tasking.

Afghan forces too busy guarding CIA opium to do the job
"This is where the Brits can come in. They have done a great mentoring job in Helmand and can provide the right qualities. Another option would be private military contractors, but that is not a path we want to go down."


    The Afghan local police force, which is around 8,300 strong, and trained by a team under the US Special Operations Commander, Admiral William McRaven, could be expanded. The force, however, has proved to be controversial with members accused of abusing their positions.

   The analysts caution that the "fluid situation in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan" must be borne in mind when working out the withdrawal timetable. An addendum to the document mentions "persistent rumours" of a "soft coup" in Pakistan with the President, Asif Ali Zardari, being pushed aside by the army. Speculation about the future of President Zardari, who is highly unpopular, has grown since he went to Dubai to receive medical treatment for what was described as a "mild stroke". US military thoughts on the possibility of a coup were redacted in the copy of the addendum seen by The Independent.

Afghan government forces ineffective in formal military role
Last week's bombing of Shias in Afghanistan is not part of the report, but one of the analysts said: "We know some in the Afghan government are convinced it was the Taliban, but we don't think so. It seems likely it was the responsibility of the group which claimed it, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, who have had friction with the Taliban. So there lies another problem about the International Security Assistance Force going. People say we must talk to the insurgents, but the insurgency itself is fractured."

Plan of inaction: Withdrawal options

    A controversial scheme that pays and arms Afghans to defend their villages in areas with a strong insurgent presence is likely to be expanded and extended, a senior officer from the Nato-led coalition has said.
Result:  More Marines dead in illegal war
The Afghan Local Police (ALP) was a project of General David Petraeus, who stepped down as commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan this year. It has been criticised by human rights groups. It aims to build or formalise local protection networks in areas with little army or police presence. Original plans called for up to 30,000 members, though only around 10,000 are in place.

    The scheme, launched in 2010, was expected to last no more than five years. But commanders from the International Security Assistance Force consider it a key part of their success in loosening the Taliban's grip on areas such as the Arghandab valley.

 Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



  

Obama lies to troops about "coming home," calls his illegal Iraq war "success"


Obama, Clinton have no intention to bring U.S. troops home; Iraq withdrawal soldiers immediately shifted to Jordan to surround Syria prior to U.S. invasion

Khaleej Times
12/15/2011

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina —


President Barack Obama saluted troops returning from Iraq Wednesday, declaring that the nearly nine-year conflict is ending honorably, “not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home.”


     Marking the conclusion of the war at this military base that’s seen more than 200 deaths over nearly nine years of fighting in Iraq, Obama never tried to declare victory. It was a war that he opposed from the start, inherited as president and is now bringing to a close, leaving behind an Iraq that is still struggling.

Obama leaves behind many fans of Abu Grahib
But he sought to declare a noble end to a fight that has cost nearly 4,500 American lives and left about 32,000 wounded.

“The war in Iraq will soon belong to history, and your service belongs to the ages,” he said, applauding their “extraordinary achievement.”

All U.S. troops are to be out of Iraq Dec. 31, though Obama has pledged the U.S. will continue civilian assistance for Iraq as it faces an uncertain future in a volatile region of the world. Even as majorities in the U.S. public favor ending the war, some Republicans have criticized Obama’s withdrawal, arguing he’s leaving behind an unstable Iraq that could hurt U.S. interests and fall subject to influence from neighboring Iran.
 

    Obama, appearing with first lady Michelle Obama, highlighted the human side of the war, reflecting on the bravery and sacrifices of U.S. forces now on their way back home. He recalled the start of the war, a time when he was only an Illinois state senator and many of the warriors before him were in grade school.

   He noted the early battles that defeated and deposed Saddam Hussein and what he called “the grind of insurgency” — roadside bombs, snipers and suicide attacks.

Images from hell:  American soldiers at Abu Grahib torture prison
“Your will proved stronger than the terror of those who tried to break it,” he said.

Upon his arrival in Fort Bragg Wednesday, Obama met with five enlisted service members who had recently returned from combat. He also met with the family of a soldier killed overseas.
 

    Obama has on several occasions addressed his reasons for ending the war, casting it as a promise kept after he ran for president as an anti-war candidate and speaking of the need to refocus U.S. attention on rebuilding the troubled economy at home.

    Obama’s approval rating on handling the situation in Iraq has been above 50 percent since last fall, and in a new Associated Press-GfK poll, has ticked up four points since October to 55 percent. Among independents, his approval rating tops 50 percent for the first time since this spring.


   With the economy foremost on people’s minds, fewer now consider the war a top issue. Fifty-one percent said it was extremely or very important to them personally, down from 58 percent in October, placing it behind 13 of 14 issues tested in the poll.

American military families can look forward to a lot more of this
It was the president’s first visit to Fort Bragg, which is home to Army Special Operations, the 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne, among others. Special Forces troops from Fort Bragg were among the first soldiers in Iraq during the 2003 invasion and its paratroopers helped lead the 2007 troop increase. 

    North Carolina, which Obama narrowly won in 2008, also is an important state for the 2012 presidential election and will host the Democratic convention.

    In his speech, Obama said that Iraq “is not a perfect place.” 

    But he added that “we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We are building a new partnership between our nations.”


Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
 

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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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