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NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan

September 30, 2010 1 comment

On October 7 the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization military allies will begin the tenth year of their war in Afghanistan, over 3,000 miles from NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The following month midterm elections will be held in the U.S. and NATO will hold a two-day summit in Portugal. The American administration is eager to achieve, or appear to have achieved, a foreign policy triumph in an effort to retain Democratic Party control of the Congress and NATO something to show for the longest and largest military mission in its 61 years of existence.

President Barack Obama has tripled the amount of American combat troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 and along with forces from other NATO member states and partner nations there are now over 150,000 foreign troops in the nation, the most ever stationed in the war-wracked country. 120,000 of those soldiers are now under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the most ever serving in a North Atlantic Alliance-led military operation. NATO Kosovo Force at its peak had 50,000 troops, but they entered the Serbian province after an almost three-month air war had ended.

The 120,000 NATO forces currently in theater – from 50 nations already with more pegged to provide troops – are at the center of the world’s longest-lasting and increasingly deadly hot war. NATO’s first ground war, its first combat operations in Asia.

Last year was the most lethal for the U.S and NATO in what is now a nine-year conflict and this year has already proven even more costly in terms of combat deaths. And there are three more months to go.

Washington and Brussels could decide to save face and end the fighting through some combination of an internal political settlement and a true international peacekeeping arrangement – rather than the subversion of the International Security Assistance Force that was established by a United Nations mandate in December of 2001 but which is now the Pentagon’s and NATO’s vehicle for waging war in Afghanistan. And in neighboring Pakistan.

But the military metaphysic prevalent in Washington over the past 65 years will allow for nothing other than what is seen as victory, with a “Who lost Afghanistan?” legacy tarnishing the president who fails to secure it and the party to which he belongs being branded half-hearted and defeatist.

As for NATO, the Strategic Concept to be adopted in November is predicated upon the bloc’s expansion into a 21st century global expeditionary force for which Afghanistan is the test case. A NATO that loses Afghanistan, that loses in Afghanistan, will be viewed more critically by the populations of its European member states that have sacrificed their sons and daughters at the altar of NATO’s international ambitions. In the words of then-Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer six years ago: “What is NATO doing in Afghanistan? Defending values at the Hindu Kush in the present day international climate. We have to fight terrorism wherever it emerges. If we don’t do it at the Hindu Kush, it will end up at our doorstep. In other words, this perception gap [of the North Atlantic military alliance operating in South Asia] in the long run must be closed and must be healed – that is, for NATO’s future, of the utmost importance.” [1]

Not satisfied with the Vietnam that Afghanistan has become, NATO has now launched its Cambodian incursion. One with implications several orders of magnitude greater than with the prototype, though, into a nation of almost 170 million people, a nation wielding nuclear weapons. Pakistan.

As the U.S. delivered its 20th deadly drone missile attack of the month inside Pakistan on the 27th, five times the amount launched in August and the most in any month since they were started in 2004, NATO conducted a series of attacks with helicopter gunships in Northwest Pakistan. Claiming the “right of self-defense” and in “hot pursuit” of insurgents that had reportedly attacked a NATO camp, Combat Outpost Narizah, in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the Pakistani border, this past weekend NATO attack helicopters conducted two forays into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where U.S. drone strikes have killed a record number of people this month.

Estimates of those killed, dutifully referred to in the Western press as insurgents, militants or terrorists, were 30, then 50, afterward 60, 70 and later “82 or higher.” [2]

The amount, like the identify, of the dead will never be definitively known.

Press reports stated the targets were members of the Haqqani network, founded by veteran Afghan Mujahedin leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who when he led attacks from Pakistani soil against Afghan targets slightly over a generation ago was an American hero, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” Two years ago the New York Times wrote: “In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a ‘unilateral’ asset of the CIA and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in ‘The Bin Ladens,’ a recent book by Steve Coll. At that time, Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Coll wrote.” [3]

As to the regret that the otherwise praiseworthy Haqqani has of late allied himself with the Taliban, one voiced by among other people the late Charlie Wilson who once celebrated Haqqani as “goodness personified,” in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last year Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told his American audience that the Taliban “was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them together. And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that….” [4]

On September 27 two NATO helicopters attacked the Kurram agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, killing six people and wounding eight. A local Pakistani government official described all the victims as civilians. According to Dawn News, “Nato has also shelled the area before.” [5] Three attacks in three days and as many as 100 deaths.

On the same day a U.S. drone-launched missile strike killed four people in the North Waziristan agency. “The identities of the four people killed in the attack were not known….” [6]

The above events occurred against the backdrop of the revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars that “a 3,000-strong secret army of Afghan paramilitary forces run by the Central Intelligence Agency had conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.” [7]

After mounting in intensity for two years and consisting in part – helicopter gunship attacks and special forces assassination team raids – of covert operations, the U.S. and NATO war in Northwest Pakistan is now fully underway and can no longer be denied.

The Pentagon – the helicopters used in the attacks on September 25 and 26 were American Apaches and Kiowas – defended the strikes over the weekend as falling within its rules of engagement and Defense Department spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. had adhered to “appropriate protocol” and “Our forces have the right of self-defense.” [8]

A spokesmen for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force initially denied that Alliance forces had launched any attacks inside Pakistani territory, although Afghan police officials had confirmed that they did. On September 27, however, the International Security Assistance Force verified that NATO forces had conducted the deadly strikes. As the third attack by NATO helicopters occurred on the same day, “Coalition officials said the cross-border attacks fell within its rules of engagement because the insurgents had attacked them from across the border.” [9]

A NATO official informed the press that “ISAF forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission.” [10]

Mehmood Shah, former top security official of the Pakistani government in the region where the helicopter gunship and drone strikes have killed over 200 people so far this month, said of the recent NATO attacks: “This should be considered a watershed event. They [Nato] must be warned: the next time you do this, it can lead to war. Our units should be deployed to fire upon them. This border has sanctity. Nato must realise they have a mandate to operate in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.” [11]

On September 27 Interior Minister Rehman Malik denounced the NATO raids as a violation of Pakistani territorial integrity and national sovereignty and told the nation’s Senate that the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad would be summoned to explain the attacks. Malik and the Pakistani government as a whole know that the Hamid Karzai administration in Kabul has no control over what the U.S. and NATO do in its own country, much less in Pakistan. The interior minister’s comment were solely for internal consumption, for placating Pakistani popular outrage, but as Pakistan itself has become a NATO partner and U.S. surrogate [12] its officials, like those of Afghanistan, will not be notified of any future attacks.

Nevertheless domestic exigencies compelled Malik to denounce the strikes inside his country and assert “I take the drone attacks in Pakistani territory as an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan.” A senator from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz “asked the government to inform the parliament about any accord it had reached with the US under which drone attacks were being carried out.” [13]

At the same time Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit went further and lodged what was described as a strong protest to NATO Headquarters in Brussels over the weekend’s air strikes, issuing a statement that said in part: “These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” as its mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghan border.

“There are no agreed ‘hot pursuit’ rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.” [14]

By the evening of September 27, after the Pakistani complaints were registered, NATO’s ISAF attempted to conduct damage control and reverted to the military bloc’s original position: That it has not launched attacks inside Pakistan at all. On that very day it had dispatched two more helicopter gunships for the third raid in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

NATO will continue to launch lethal attacks inside Pakistan against whichever targets it sees fit and will proffer neither warnings nor apologies. The U.S. will continue to escalate attacks with Hellfire missiles against whomever it chooses, however inaccurate, anecdotal and self-interested the reports upon which they are based prove to be.

The death toll in Pakistan this month is well over 200 and for this year to date over 2,000. The justification for this carnage offered by the U.S. and NATO is that it is intended to extend the policy of Barack Obama to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” insurgent networks in Afghanistan into Pakistan, supposedly the sooner to end the war.

Forty years ago Obama’s predecessor Richard Nixon began his speech announcing the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia with these words: “Good evening, my fellow Americans. Ten days ago, in my report to the nation on Vietnam, I announced the decision to withdraw an additional 150,000 Americans from Vietnam over the next year. I said then that I was making that decision despite our concern over increased enemy activity in Laos, in Cambodia, and in South Vietnam. And at that time I warned that if I concluded that increased enemy activity in any of these areas endangered the lives of Americans remaining in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.” [15]

He claimed that “enemy sanctuaries” in Cambodia “endanger the lives of Americans who are in Vietnam,” and “if this enemy effort succeeds, Cambodia would become a vast enemy staging area and a springboard for attacks on South Vietnam along 600 miles of frontier: a refuge where enemy troops could return from combat without fear of retaliation.”

The course he ordered was to “go to the heart of the trouble. And that means cleaning out major North Vietnamese and Vietcong occupied territories, these sanctuaries which serve as bases for attacks on both Cambodia and American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.”

The practical application of the policy was that “attacks are being launched this week to clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border.”

In language that has been heard again lately in Washington and Brussels – with nothing but the place names changed – Nixon claimed: “We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam….”

Washington indeed expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia, with what disastrous effects the world is fully aware, and soon thereafter departed Southeast Asia in defeat, leaving vast stretches of Vietnam and Cambodia in ruins.

Afghanistan and Pakistan will not fare any better.

Iran and Pakistan sign gas export agreement

Iran and Pakistan formally signed yesterday an export deal which commits the Islamic republic to supplying its eastern neighbour with natural gas from 2014.

The contract is the latest step in completing a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan within the next four years.

“This is a happy day,” Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Javad Ouji told reporters at the contract signing ceremony in Tehran. “After decades of negotiations, we are witnessing today the execution of the agreement… to export more than 21 million cubic metres of natural gas daily from 2014 to Pakistan,” he added.

He said that from today, Iran will start building the next 300-kilometre leg of the pipeline from the southeastern city of Iranshahr to the Pakistani border, through the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Iran has already constructed 907km of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran’s giant South Pars field. Pakistan’s Deputy Energy Minister Kamran Lashari, who was present at the signing ceremony, said Islamabad will conduct a one-year feasibility study for building its section of the pipeline.

It will then “take three years for constructing the 700km pipeline” from the Iranian border to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, he added. The pipeline was originally planned between Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year. Pakistan plans to use the gas for its power sector.

India left out. Iran and Pakistan ink $7.5 billion Pipeline deal

India left out. Iran and Pakistan ink $7.5 billion Pipeline deal

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Iran on Friday signed a “sovereign guarantee” agreement paving the way for the completion of a 7.5-billion-dollar gas pipeline project within the next four years.

The 900-kilometre (560-mile) pipeline will be between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, near the border with Pakistan, and will carry natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field.

Pakistan petroleum minister Syed Naveed Qamar told reporters after a signing ceremony in Islamabad that originally the pipeline was planned between Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter withdrew from the project last year.
“I am extremely pleased that after 17 long years this project is finally starting. It would help us generate energy for our industrial growth,” Qamar said of the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) between the two countries.
Qamar added that “Iran had assured us that they would complete the project between two-and-half to three years, ahead of schedule.”

The imported natural gas — whose volume is estimated at nearly 20 percent of Pakistan?s current gas production — will be dedicated to the power sector.

Electricity generation through gas would result in “significant” annual savings when compared with other fuels, a petroleum ministry statement said.

Supply is contracted for a period of 25 years, the statement said, renewable for another five years.
“While all other CPs (Conditions Precedent) of the GSPA are completed, the project is now ready to enter into its implementation phase,” the ministry statement said.

“As per current project implementation schedule, the first gas flow is targeted by end 2014.
“The capital cost for the Pakistan section is estimated at 1.65 billion dollars.”

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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U.S. Forces Leave Afghan ‘Valley of Death’

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

U.S. Forces Leave Afghan ‘Valley of Death’

KORENGAL OUTPOST, Afghanistan—For five years, U.S. troops fought their way up and down the cedar-studded slopes of the Korengal Valley. The ferocity of the fighting inspired a video-game scenario, thrust the remote valley into the media glare, and famously forced a U.S. soldier to fight in his underwear. In all, 42 U.S. troops have been killed here.

On Wednesday, the fight for Korengal officially ended when the final U.S. soldiers were airlifted from a ridge above this collection of stone buildings, sandbagged bunkers and jury-rigged plumbing built on the grounds of a former lumber mill. The Americans pulled out because they determined that instead of bringing a measure of stability to Korengal, they had largely proven “an irritant to the people,” said the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

“We’re not living in their homes, but we’re living in their valley,” Gen. McChrystal said on a visit to Korengal last week as the withdrawal was getting under way. “There was probably much more fighting here than there would have been” if U.S. troops had never come.

U.S. soldiers responded to Taliban fire outside their bunker in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, May 11, 2009. This photo, made available by World Press Photo in Amsterdam, won second prize in the People in the News Singles category of the 2010 World Press Photo contest by American photographer David Guttenfelder for the Associated Press.

Asked about moving out of the valley after losing so many men here, Gen. McChrystal said: “I care deeply about everyone who’s been hurt here. But I can’t do anything about that. I can do something about people hurt in the future.”

American officials say the exit from Korengal represents neither a victory nor a loss—just changing priorities. The focus since President Barack Obama’s Afghan strategy review has switched to seizing key population centers back from the Taliban and restoring the Afghan government’s battered authority and credibility. That thinking underpinned the coalition offensive in the southern town of Marjah in February and the plans now being drawn up for a massive surge of forces into Kandahar province, the Taliban’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.

The flipside of the counterinsurgency strategy is the withdrawal of troops from sparsely populated areas where an American presence is deemed unnecessary to defeat the Taliban and potentially harmful in creating a violent environment. Many of the soldiers are in the remote valleys of eastern Afghanistan, forested slivers where outsiders—even those from elsewhere in Afghanistan—have never been welcome and the government’s writ never really existed.

“If you don’t understand the dynamics, you have no chance of getting it right,” Gen. McChrystal said.

U.S. forces have already pulled out of much of Nuristan province to the north, where last year eight American soldiers were killed when two of their bases were stormed by insurgents. More withdrawals are planned. Reporters were allowed to visit soldiers in Korengal on the condition they didn’t report on the withdrawal until the military said the valley was clear.

Regional Violence

“We’ve got to come out of these valleys,” said Lt. Col. Brian Pearl, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. “This is going to free up a full company”—roughly 120 men—”and that’s going to give us a lot more flexibility to focus on places where there are more people.”

Korengal, with its 4,500 people who speak their own dialect of Pashto and practice a particularly ascetic form of Islam, definitely didn’t fit into the new counterinsurgency plan. Even when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they never established their authority over the valley.

Its topography—a six-mile long, two-mile wide gorge lined by steep, forested slopes with rocky outcroppings—and a toxic mix of angry locals, Taliban, and foreign insurgents coming over the border from Pakistan prompted Time magazine to call it the “Valley of Death.” Vanity Fair dedicated nearly 14,000 words spread over two stories to Korengal, noting in a January 2008 story that nearly a fifth of all combat in Afghanistan at the time took place in the valley.

The valley also produced one of the most iconic images of the war: a May 2009 Associated Press photograph of a U.S. soldier fighting off an attack on his base clad in flip flops, a red T-shirt and pink boxer shorts emblazoned with little “I love NY” logos.

One of the observation posts in the valley, Firebase Phoenix, later renamed Firebase Vimoto, was even featured in a scenario in the best-selling video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”

“I’ve never had to tell war stories because everyone’s heard of this place,” said Pfc. Chris Huggins, 22 years old, of Baker Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. The Gloucester, Virginia-native spent his last few weeks in the valley at Vimoto, a tiny collection of stone buildings crowned by a wooden, sandbagged observation post. The base comes under fire almost daily.

Still, “I was always telling people back home it wasn’t as bad as they thought here,” Pfc. Huggins said.

It wasn’t good, either. One of the Americans’ first forays into the valley was an effort by U.S. Navy Seals to capture a local Taliban leader in July 2005. The initial four-man team that dropped into the valley was quickly attacked, and then a Chinook helicopter packed with men sent to save them was shot down by Taliban forces. In total, 19 U.S. service members were killed.

Nearly a year later, in April 2006, U.S. forces moved back in to stay. They set up the Korengal Outpost in the valley’s north end on the site of the defunct saw mill, whose owner, Haji Matin, is now one of the valley’s main insurgent leaders. Over the next two years, U.S. forces established two more large observation posts and two small fire bases in Korengal.

But they never made it to the southern, Taliban-infested end of the valley, and fighting was a daily occurrence. By last year, officers as high ranking as Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were questioning why the U.S. was tying down a whole company here.

The valley never became one of those places in Afghanistan where the coalition could measure progress in schools and clinics and irrigation projects built. Whatever they built, the Taliban destroyed. There is no local Afghan government here to work with.

“Everybody hates them in the valley,” Haji Nizamuddin, a tribal elder in Korengal, said of the Americans. U.S. forces “shoot at people, they raid our houses and kill our women and children.” Mr. Nizamuddin stressed that he wasn’t pro-Taliban. He, like many people in the valley, simply wanted to be left alone, he said.

“If the foreigners leave the Taliban will stop harassing my people,” he said during a telephone interview from the provincial capital, Asad Abad. “We have our tribes and our tribes can protect us against the insurgents when the Americans leave.”

The U.S. withdrawal involved 84 runs by helicopters down the twisting, narrow gorges that lead into the valley and back out. It was kept secret to avoid tipping off the Taliban; commanders feared that if the insurgents found out the timing of the withdrawal, they would try to mass fighters and launch one last coordinated attack on the exposed and retreating soldiers.

Instead, the Taliban appeared to have missed its chance to do a final “complex” operation, Baker Company’s commander, Capt. Mark Moretti, told Gen. McChrystal during a briefing last week at the Korengal Outpost. Communications intercepts by U.S. intelligence showed the Taliban’s chief figure in the valley, Abdul Rahim, was recently across the border in Pakistan with $18,000 and trying to raise a force of 200 fighters even as the Americans pulled out.

No officer here, including Gen. McChrystal, believes Korengal will become a haven from which Taliban fighters can launch attacks beyond the valley. There remains a coalition base at the valley’s northern end to keep fighters from coming into the more populous Pech River Valley, which runs perpendicular to Korengal. And teams of soldiers can always be airdropped back into Korengal on specific missions, officers said.

Can the CIA sabotage Iran’s nuclear project?

WASHINGTON: The reported defection of an Iranian scientist to the United States has renewed speculation about a CIA plot to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme through covert action.

But it remains unclear whether Shahram Amiri, the young physics researcher who reportedly joined forces with the US spy agency, represents an intelligence coup for Washington or a minor setback for Tehran, former CIA officers said. ABC television reported that Amiri, who went missing without explanation in Saudi Arabia last year, had defected and resettled in the United States in cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Amiri, in his thirties, worked at Tehran’s Malek-Ashtar University of Technology, part of a network of research centers with close ties to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards and the country’s weapons industry. The scientist did not appear to play a senior role in the country’s nuclear project, and his knowledge may have been confined to a single aspect of the programme.

“It’s really impossible to say how much of a window this kind of a defector could provide without knowing how much he was reading into aspects of the entire programme, as opposed to chipping away at one part of the programme,” CIA veteran Paul Pillar told AFP.

“One ought to be very cautious about how much a difference any one individual might make,” said Pillar, now at Georgetown University. Some media reports suggested the scientist may have helped inform the Americans about a secret enrichment site near Qom, which caused international outrage when it was revealed in September.

Amiri’s disappearance appeared to confirm reports in recent years that US intelligence agencies have tried to lure away key civilian and military figures to undercut Iran’s nuclear drive in an operation dubbed “Brain Drain.”

The fate of a former Iranian deputy defence minister who disappeared in Istanbul in 2007, General Ali Reza Asgari, remains unresolved, amid speculation he defected as well and offered his knowledge of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. The suspected defections offer a glimpse into a secret struggle between Western intelligence agencies and Iran, with the United States and its allies working to delay Tehran’s nuclear project by clandestine means even as they seek international support for tougher sanctions.

“The one thing that we have done, and this has come out in the open press… is to feed faulty components into the supply chain for Iran’s nuclear weapons programme,” said Clare Lopez, who worked for the CIA during and after the Cold War. Working through a family of Swiss engineers, the CIA reportedly managed to provide Libya and Iran with flawed parts for several years, according to The New York Times and other media.

In 2006, a sabotaged power supply failed at the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, reportedly causing 50 centrifuges to explode and setting back Tehran’s nuclear fuel work.

Former intelligence officers said defections are a delicate, risky business, and it remained uncertain whether Amiri had cooperated with the Americans over a long period of time.

“By and large defections like this are what you call walk-ins, that is they come to you,” said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA officer and fellow at The Brookings Institution think-tank. “Typically, a response for a walk-in is, ‘Hey wait, we rather you stay in place and provide an ongoing stream of intelligence.’” Iran remains a difficult target for US spies, as Washington has not had an embassy in Tehran for 30 years, cutting off opportunities to develop intelligence sources and contacts.

Moreover, Iran has honed an effective counterintelligence service with “a good track record” of exposing foreign espionage, Riedel said. Amiri could be a gold mine, offering a trove of information about the nuclear program, which US and European governments insist is a cover for a clandestine nuclear weapons project.

“The other alternative is we’re so desperate to gain information on the Iranian nuclear programme that we’ll take anything we can get,” Riedel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.”

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=232660

Gordon Duff: Terrorism, Always Suspect A “False Flag” First

March 31, 2010 1 comment

Gordon Duff: Terrorism, Always Suspect A “False Flag” First

Gordon Duff, Veterans Today

Real Terrorists are rare and usually easily caught always ask: “Who gains from this?

Every time there is a terrorist attack, the nations blamed say that it was a “false flag” operation. This is what America did to cover up My Lai. We were lying. Germans claimed Poland invaded Germany in 1939. An educated guess is that 75% of terrorist attacks we hear of were staged, never happened or were done by “radical groups” that were first infiltrated, then controlled and eventually financed and supplied by intelligence agencies. Intelligence agencies are, in actuality, the biggest terrorist organizations in the world. The CIA has blown up more buses, airplanes and markets than any almost anyone else. The Mossad may be number one, followed by, well, everyone, the RAW, ISI, MI-6, IRA and dozens of others.

Either directly or through idiots, clones (operatives using false identity to look like “terrorists”) or through simply doing it themselves, these groups promote national policy by destabilizing nations, swinging elections or defaming religious, national or political groups by staging attacks and using the press to place the blame. The popular video game Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 even has a terrorist attack on a transportation center in Moscow built into it, a “false flag” attack. Today, the real thing happened.

FRANCESCO COSSIGA, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR OF ITALY SPILLS HIS GUTS

With communism threatening to overrun Europe, NATO set up terrorist groups under Operation Gladio (short sword) to act as guerrilla armies in case Europe was overrun. As this became less and less likely, intelligence services began using the terrorist groups meant to fight Russia to manipulate politics in Europe through terrorist acts, such as bombings. We wouldn’t know the details if Cossiga, one of the planners of Operation Gladio, hadn’t spilled his guts about this and other “false flag” operations in Europe and elsewhere. This is what Cassiga told Robert Maroni, Italian Minister of the Interior about methods employed to control civil protests in Italy:

“Maroni should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior.

“University students? … infiltrate them with agents provocateurs … and let the agents provocateurs devastate shops, set fire to cars and put cities to the sword for ten days.

“Then, having won the sympathy of the public … the police should pitilessly beat the shit out of protesters and send them all to hospital. “

One of the operational leaders of Operation Gladio, representing NATO with the CIA, was Vincezo Vinciguerra who stated under oath:

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened.”

When the Italian parliament investigated, a number of allegations arose. It seemed that one of the Gladio operations was a train bombing in Bologna in 1980 which killed 85 people. This was supported by both physical evidence and significant testimony. It was also discovered that “Palestinian terrorists” operating in Europe including Abu Nidal were working for the CIA and Mossad. Investigations by the Italian parliament reported the following about Stefano delle Ciaie.

A neo-fascist group tied to extremist Masonic lodges in Italy had formed a political action cell called “P2.” Though none of this was reported in the US, this group, tied directly to NATO intelligence services was linked to terrorist acts throughout Europe and even in South America. The report reads as follows:

“In December 1985 magistrates in Bologna issued 16 arrest warrants, including at least three to P-2 members, accusing members of the Italian intelligence service SISMI of first planning and then covering up the Bologna bombing. One of these 16 was P-2’s leader Licio Gelli, who had spent most of the post-war years in Argentina. A small group of anarchists, penetrated by delle Chiaie’s man Mario Merlino, were blamed at first for the Piazza Fontana bombing, even though Sismi knew within six days that delle Chiaie was responsible, and Merlino had planted the bomb.”

THE “BUZZ WORDS” OF MURDER

We now use terms like “Low Intensity Conflict” and “Surrogacy Warfare” to describe terrorism operated by governments against either foreign governments or, more often, their own people. Most “false flag” attacks are used to influence elections or to push through “Patriot Act” and “FISA” type legislation or to justify acts like the invasion of Iraq. Control of both the press and any potential investigation makes such operations a mainstream effort of national policy, so commonplace that those who work in intelligence or at the highest levels of law enforcement automatically write off major terrorism incidents as staged.

In Vietnam, Operation Phoenix was terrorism, meant to kill civilian “communists” including doctors, nurses, teachers and even religious leaders. We ran similar programs in Central America for years, killing thousands, nuns, reporters, union leaders and moderate politicians we were afraid would eventually join with communists. It was a horrible embarrassment to the CIA that the “communist dictatorship” in Nicaragua was voted out of office in an open election they sponsored. We had been running death squads throughout that country from our bases on Honduras for years.

Similar operations have been staged all over the world, from Chile to Korea to Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States. Half the bombings during the 60s and 70s were planned or influenced by “informants” or “agent provocateurs” as described by Cossiga. The massive infiltration of the militia movements of the 80s and 90s brings the Oklahoma City bombing into question.

EVERY DAY, ALL OVER THE WORLD

If a train or bus blows up in London, it is best to look at who is visiting, what political party is going to gain or what scandal needs to be pushed off the front page. In India, the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan, did nothing for Pakistan. Who gained? Israel gained as did India, gained massively. When a school is blown up in Pakistan and blamed on the Taliban, Pakistan doesn’t believe the Taliban had anything to do with it. When Iran is attacked from Balochistan, it knows nobody in Balochistan planned the attack.

Yes, there are real terrorists, people without hope who are pushed to extremism through exploitation, often by religious fanatics or hucksters. For every Maddrassa in Pakistan, there is a church in the US, perhaps ten, advocating beliefs that can lead nowhere but to violence.

BREEDING TERRORISM AT HOME

Radicals within the United States have always been a serious problem. A good analytical tool is the simple public poll. It reveals how gullible a population is and how easy they would be to fool. The primary groundwork for terrorism is control of the press and the molding of public opinion. With foreign governments with highly suspect intelligence agencies infiltrating the press, as they have in the United States, there is little doubt that providing cover for “false flag” terrorism is in the cards.

RECENT HARRIS POLL REVEALS THE FOLLOWING BELIEFS BY ONE AMERICAN PARTY DEEMED “RIGHT OF CENTER”:

* 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist
* 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
* 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
* 57 percent of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim
* 24 percent of Republicans believe President Obama may be the AntiChrist

And it gets worse:

* 57% of Republicans either believe or are not sure that health care reform is a diabolical government plot to create death panels
* 91% of conservative Republicans call Obama a socialist, Marxist, communist, or fascist
* 72% of Republicans either think or haven’t made up their minds about whether Obama was born in the USA. 42% are solid birthers
* 80% of Republicans support extending the Patriot Act
* 67% of Republicans oppose the choice of a public health insurance option (only 40% of all Americans oppose)
* 70% of Republicans oppose a woman’s right to chose having an abortion
* 60% of Republicans oppose making it easier for workers to organize
* 60% of Republicans are creationists
* Only 6% of scientists are Republican
* 68% of Republicans are not at all concerned about Climate Change
* Only 23% of Republicans believe in natural evolution
* Only 38% of Republicans support funding embryonic stem cell research

HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO BLAME THE EASTER BUNNY FOR 9/11 WITH FOLKS LIKE THIS AROUND?
The basic rule is simply this, if terrorists suffer as a result of an attack, bring down massive retaliation, if new laws are passed or a public is aroused, then we are probably dealing with a “false flag” attack, not a genuine terrorist act. If a terror attack, such as the phony “Crotch Bombing” in Detroit are staged and individuals tied directly to security agencies make millions in profits overnight, you can be absolutely certain, no questions asked.

Who benefits from today’s attack on Moscow?

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