Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Middle East oil has undermined Arab independence.

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

While important transformations are taking place within the thinly populated oil producing Arab states (APC) due to their wealth, the capital-hungry nonoil producing Arab states are barely managing to feed their populations. The APC states invest hundreds of billions of dollars in the West and too little in the Arab nonoil states. And they are not using their political and economic influence with the industrialized nations to support a just solution to the Palestinian issue. Oil producing countries failed or refused to utilize oil as a strategic commodity for political advantage to back up the Palestinian cause. The 1973 Arab oil embargo supports the view that dependency on oil as the only industry and no national economic diversification limits the Arab states individually and collectively from exerting sustained political pressures on the oil users. When the APC spokesman coined the expression "oil and politics do not mix", he meant that exploiting the oil as a weapon would very likely harm their own economies and they were not willing to sacrifice.

Only in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Arab oil-producing countries used oil as an instrument of economic and diplomatic pressure on the West for a while. They decided to reduce their oil output and imposed embargoes on oil shipments to the US, Holland, Portugal and South Africa to force a change in their policy toward the Israeli occupation of Arab lands. They demanded a total withdrawal of Israel's military from all Arab territory occupied in the 1967 war and the restoration of the Palestinian's rights. President Nixon proclaimed the US full support of Israel and granted Israel $2.2 billion in additional military assistance as a response to the Arab demands. The commitment of the Arab oil-producing countries to achieve political goals has faltered and lost credibility. They scaled down their demands in a December 8 of 1973 resolution by asking for only that the US guaranteed a promised phased Israeli withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967. Then in March 1974, they decided to lift the embargo indefinitely without accomplishing any of their declared demands. Neither Israeli withdrawal nor restoration of Palestinian rights was achieved.

Arab oil-producing countries stood by and watched in 2008 when the Palestinians had been crying for help while Israeli tanks and jets destroyed Gaza Strip killing and injuring thousands. They promised billions of dollars to reconstruct Gaza but nothing has been forthcoming.

The industrial countries demand for Arab oil has increased significantly since 1973 and the US political and military actions in the Middle East suggest that oil has become a major factor in its policy formation. The US has strengthened its military, political and economic influence in its oil-producing protectorates and allies and created false pretexts to wage war against oil-rich Iraq in 2003. At the same time, the US has been strengthening Israel, its strategic ally and its military policeman in the region.

The discovery of oil has the effect of inaugurating the era of modern Arab economic and political dependency on the West, protectionism, the colonizing of Palestine, the Jihadists and the wars that took the lives of millions and de-stabilized the region. Oil is viewed by the West as a strategic commodity, and control of such a resource should not be left to the governments of the oil producing countries. The wars and interventions waged and the establishment of Israel by the West in the Middle East has been to establish themselves as the principle power to control the oil-rich region.

If Iraq and the Gulf region had no oil, the history and the geography of the region east of the Mediterranean would have been different. The dream of Sharif Hussein Ibn Ali of Mecca to establish one Arab kingdom in the Arab parts of Asia would have better chance to be materialized and Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and the Emirates would have been one country. And Egypt would have been a prosperous industrialized country rather than dependant on remittances from the Gulf States and foreign aid from the West.

Since the end of World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the European imperial powers dominated all aspects of the Arab world including its political institutions and recast the role of its economies to be dependent on the colonial masters. Britain that had controlled Egypt since 1882 and converted the Gulf region into a British protectorate, extended its control to Palestine, Iraq and Trans-Jordan; then Britain planted the State of Israel in the Arab lands.
The strategic interest in the petroleum reserves in the Gulf and Mosul areas and the transportation of their oil through pipelines to the Mediterranean must have played an important role in the British policies to divide the area and create Israel. To meet the need for oil to run the newly installed combustion engines of the Royal Navy ships, "the British government formed a special committee, the Petroleum Imperial Policy Committee in 1918 to draw a plan for securing control of adequate world oil resources", according to the historian Marian Kent. The plan that was later on implemented included the Balfour Declaration and building a modern port in Haifa with a large oil refinery to process the pumped oil from Iraq through the pipeline and facilities to export the refined oil to Britain. They believed then that the whole area east of the Mediterranean was floating on a vast pool of oil.
The politics of the big powers toward the Middle East since the twentieth century have always been for oil. For almost 100 years, the British, then the US, have declared wars, dispatched navy armadas, stationed troops, created, installed and supported friendly states and regimes and toppled others to secure the region's oil.
Threat to oil sources by Iran nationalism in the 1950s and since the establishment of its Islamic Republic, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the 1990s brought the two Middle East states into conflict with the US. The false pretexts used by the US and Britain to wage war against Iraq in 2003 suggests that oil was the only reason behind the decision to invade it. Iraq had large reserves of oil and "the US was afraid that Saddam, who looked upon himself as the defender of the Arab political order, would control OPEC and turn it into a bona fide well-disciplined cartel."
With the rising demand for the Arab only commodity by the international community, Arab countries became peripheries for the industrial countries which buy their crude oil and defend their national boundaries and territorial integrity. Middle East oil has undermined Arab independence, created a consuming culture of imported luxury goods, limited the economies of the Arab oil producing countries and their neighboring Arab states, and undermined their political and social development.
Oil created the APC political economy of dependency; it rendered them as a market for the military-industrial complex weapons that gave them false feeling of security. US officials declared in many occasions that military equipment sales to the Gulf States and even to Egypt "serve the interest of Israel and the US". Arab nations that bought fighter airplanes had to abide by certain conditions that compromise their sovereignty over their own territories regarding the positioning and operation of the fighters. The US has the option of not providing spare parts should the buyers ignore the US stipulation, according to Abbas Alnasrawi. The AWACS intelligence-gathering airplanes that Saudi Arabia bought in the 1980s for six billion dollars had to be operated only by US personnel.

Another problem the Arab countries have to contend with in the post-oil-discovery period is the lack of industrial economy. A sustained competitive industrial development in the Arab world has lagged behind other developing countries. The most striking example is Egypt which had been the most developed Arab country since the nineteenth century. Forced peacetime industrialization in Egypt started in the first half of the nineteenth century when Muhammed Ali, the titular ruler of Egypt, tried to establish it as a powerful industrialized European-style state. Egypt had a college of engineering in early nineteenth century long time before India had a technical college, and Cairo University was officially established in 1908.
Industrialization is not a goal by itself, but it is a means for development that produces quality products demanded by the public at competitive price, provides employment to the work force and the necessary research facilities to continue productivity improvement. It requires planning, capital, trained labor, managerial skills, domestic and foreign markets, diversification as a means of compensating for the spent assets, and political stability for long-term industrial planning and for creating conditions conducive to attracting foreign investment.

The generations that governed Arab countries in the second-half of the last century were influenced by Pan-Arab nationalism, oil and the establishment of Israel. The alliance between middle class socialists and military officers in Egypt, Syria and Iraq adopted the development of Third World socialist policies and the Soviet Union management style where the inefficient public sector rather than the private sector was entrusted to accomplish their goals. It produced import substitute products that were sold locally and exported only to the Communist Block countries. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Arab products lost their markets in the Eastern block and could not establish markets in the West due to generally inferior quality of their goods. Arab regimes in these countries have rejected communism but failed to embrace real free-market economy in their major industries. Even the renowned Egyptian textile industry could not compete with the European and Japanese imports. Arab states failed to reform their industries including the agribusiness to meet the growing demand for food by their own people because of the structural constraints that had been inherited from their former centralized economy. Arab states are known for their cumbersome bureaucracy which controls many sectors of society and obstructs change and development.

The existing economic system in the Arab states can hardly be described as a real capitalist. The actual investment in the nonoil producing states has been mostly for importing consumer goods including those sought by the returning expatriates, commissions and accumulating profit by few rather than productive enterprises that may contribute to any tangible industrialization effort. The lack of sound management led to the spread of corruption and increased the gap between the rich and the poor.

If all Arab countries were considered collectively as one integrated economic base with population that exceeds 200 million and area larger than the US, their substantial needs for long-term development investment can be met by the oil revenues of the thinly populated states. Nonoil producing countries that rely on industry, agriculture and services have more diversified economies and manpower than those of oil-producing countries. Saudi Arabia failed to diversify by inviting foreign firms with experience in high technology to establish projects in the kingdom. The problem they faced was lack of Saudi labor force. They would have to depend on foreign labor, and with the high standards of living in Saudi Arabia due to the oil economy, using foreign labor would be too costly to develop competitive products. The salaries and the cost of accommodating foreign skilled and middle management personnel are outrageously high.

The oil economy attracted millions of skilled and unskilled workers from other Arab countries to attend to service and bureaucratic jobs that the indigenous natives do not have the skills or the desire to perform. The magnitude of the worker migration from nonoil states to the APC has significant impact on their economies. The migrants include teachers, medical doctors, engineers, architects, lab technicians, nurses, administrators, gardeners, machine operators, cooks, domestics and nannies. Egypt is an example. More than three million Egyptians have been employed in the APC countries at any time since 1973 except during the official censure of Egypt in the 1980s. Their remittances have become a major component of the Egyptian GNP, but the brain drain due to the migration of the millions of teachers, physicians and engineers means loss to Egypt's human resources.

The complete dependency of the APC on the oil revenue and the increased derivative dependency of the nonoil countries on repatriates' remittances from the oil states have precluded both groups from developing strong diversified economies.
Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Sudanese engineers and architects helped building Gulf States cities, the most modern cities in the world, while the declining infrastructures in their countries need renovation and modernization. Their agronomists developed desert farming and irrigation in the Gulf States but they never had the opportunity to reclaim lands back home in their states. Thousands of Arab technical experts who were trained and excelled in the West and could not find market for their skills in Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Beirut or Jeddah are working in Canada, Texas, Washington State and California Silicon Valley high tech industry.
The flow of the remittances established a culture of consumption that demands products which cannot be supplied by the local economy. The migrant workers have been exposed to higher standards of living in the host countries and tried to maintain the same pattern of luxury consumption when returning back to their own countries. This meant more demand for more imported consumer durable and nondurable goods which impacted their countries' foreign trade balance of payment, increased the external debt and worsened their economic conditions.

The APC overseas investment in the form of fixed interest bonds, direct investment in industry and property, portfolio investments, bank deposits in the oil consuming Western countries has become the destination for the APC surplus capital. The concentration of the petrodollar investment in the West forced the APC to have limited control over their wealth. During the US painful 1980-1986 recession, "the OPEC countries combined oil revenue declined from $287 billion to $77 billion." Oil price dropped in 1991-92 and 2008 recessions. The 2008 financial meltdown caused by US banks deceptively mortgage investment has cost the APC economy untold billions of dollars.

The dependency on oil by both oil and nonoil producing countries led the Arabs to neglect the industrial and agricultural sectors, and became increasingly dependent in their growth, stability, defense and national causes on the policies of the US and Western Europe. It is the curse of the Arab-oil and the mismanagement of the Arab elites!

- Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on Amazon.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Britans "Official" Reason for War on Iraq

What this report fails to state is that IF Iraw had any WMDs, it was because the US supplied them with same during the Gulf Wars when they were our allies;

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Afghanistan Awash in US Depleted Uranium

US, Israel, Vote NO on International Ban for DU Weapons

(Please sign the petition at the bottom of this page calling for an international ban on DU weapons. Thanks)

UN First Committee Passes DU Resolution in Landslide Vote
1 Novemner, 2007 - ICBUW

Late last night the UN First Committee passed, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution highlighting concerns over the military use of uranium.

The resolution entitled 'Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium' was passed by 122 votes to six at the UN First Committee in New York; with 35 abstentions. The resolution urges UN member states to re-examine the health hazards posed by the use of uranium weapons.

The resolution was drafted by the Movement of Non Aligned States and submitted by Indonesia. It requests that states and international bodies submit information on DU to the Secretary General, who will then produce a report on DU for next year's session of the General Assembly; depleted uranium weapons will also feature on the Assembly's agenda. A second vote confirming the resolution will take place early in December.

“This is a good result for our campaign,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “States around the world are no longer content to accept the claims by the users of these weapon systems that exposure to uranium dust is not linked to ill health. The last few years have seen great advances in our understanding of the health hazards posed by depleted uranium and it's high time that the international standards caught up with this research.”

The vote comes after a year of intense campaigning by ICBUW and its member organisations, and follows calls by the European Parliament for a ban. In March this year, Belgium became the first country in the world to introduce a domestic ban on the use of uranium in all conventional weapon systems. The decision by Brussels to take this step sent a clear message to all NATO members and users of uranium weapons that the continued use of chemically toxic and radioactive weapon systems is incompatible with international humanitarian legal standards.

How the voting went:
For: 122 countries (including Japan)
Against: 6 countries (US, UK, France, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Israel)
Abstentions: 35 countries

'Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium' A/C.1/62/L.18/Rev.1

Full text (select your language of choice):

Full list of voters:

Vote on Use of Depleted Uranium in Armaments

The draft resolution on the effects of the use of armaments and
ammunition containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/62/L.18/Rev.1)
was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 6 against, with 35
abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El
Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy,
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi,
Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius,
Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia,
Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan,
Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saint
Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone,
Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname,
Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia,
Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania,
Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Czech Republic, France, Israel, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia,
Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary,
Iceland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova,
Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian
Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and
Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.

Sign the petition calling for an international ban on DU Weapons; http://web.bandepleteduranium.org/campaign/?id_topic=1&id=1

Bernard Lewis: Monarchy Best for Iraq

Originally posted in NewsMax.Com

Bernard Lewis, considered by many to be the world’s foremost historian of Islam and the Middle East, has often been cited as a major player in convincing the George W. Bush administration to invade Iraq.
But Lewis says he did not urge invasion at all. Rather, what he discussed in talks with Vice President Dick Cheney and others was a U.S. declaration of support for an independent Kurdish northern Iraq, which he felt would have led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
He also supported the idea of replacing Saddam with a monarchy, Lewis said in an interview with The Spectator magazine.
“One idea, favored by Lewis, was for Prince Hassan of Jordan (the late King Hussein’s brother) to become Iraq’s king,” wrote interviewer Sholto Byrnes. “He was a member of the same Hashemite family as the country’s former monarchs.”
Lewis said, “A number of people thought the best prospect for democracy would have been a monarchy on British lines.”
He also believes that the type of government Afghanistan had under its monarchy could lead to a form of democracy compatible with Islam. As for Iran, Lewis said: “There is opposition to the regime and there is opposition within the regime. It can be replaced by internal change.”
Trying to “make nice” with Iran, he opined, “seems to me absurd.” But he opposes military intervention: “We must not give them a gift they do not enjoy, patriotism.”

Israeli Strike on Iran Could Shake Up Regime

From NewsMax.Com

Many pundits and observers have argued that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could actually play into the hands of the hardcore Iranian regime by destroying the pro-democracy movement that threatens it.
That’s one of the possible negative repercussions of an Israeli strike on the autocratic regime led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Those observers believe an Israeli strike “could fatally compromise the pro-democracy Green Movement in Iran, which is the only hope the West has for an end to the nuclear menace by means of regime change,” former CIA agent Reuel Marc Gerecht writes in The Weekly Standard.
“This concern was expressed halfheartedly before the tumultuous Iranian elections of June 12, 2009, but it is now voiced with urgency by those who truly care about the Green Movement spawned by those elections and don’t want any American or Israeli action to harm it.”
Gerecht for one does not agree with that view, writing that an Israeli strike is more likely to “shake” the regime. “If anything can jolt the pro-democracy movement forward, contrary to the now passionately accepted conventional wisdom, an Israeli strike against the nuclear sites is it.”
Gerecht does acknowledge, however, that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime is becoming increasingly fragile, facing opposition not only from the democracy movement but also from senior members of Iran’s clergy who are appalled by Khamenei’s abuses — including the use of rape to “pacify the political opposition.”
The regime “lives in fear of a ‘velvet revolution,’” according to Gerecht, and Khamenei’s decision to throw the disputed June 2009 election to Ahmadinejad has “compromised all future elections. He has permanently destabilized the country . . . We have a supreme leader whom millions loathe and even more distrust.”
So those who maintain that a strike by Israel would strengthen the regime’s grip on power, Gerecht states, believe that “America’s pre-eminent job should therefore be to calm the Israelis down — or, failing that, arm-twist them into inaction.”
Editor's Note:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WikiLeaks Founder Comes Out of Hiding (for a bit)

"Broken Arrows," a History of Nuclear Accident by the U.S. Gov't

February 13, 1950/B-36/Pacific Ocean, off Coast of British Columbia:

The B-36 was enroute from Eilson AFB to Carswell AFB on a simulated combat profile mission. The weapon aboard the aircraft had a dummy capsule installed. After six hours of flight, the aircraft developed serious mechanical difficulties, making it necessary to shut down three engines. The aircraft was at 12,000 feet altitude. Icing conditions complicated the emergency and level flight could not be maintained. The aircraft headed out over the Pacific Ocean and dropped the weapon from 8,000 feet. A bright flash occurred on impact, followed by a sound and shock wave. Only the weapon's high explosive material detonated. The aircraft was then flown over Princess Royal Island where the crew bailed out. The aircraft wreckage was later found don Vancouver Island. (*1)

April 11, 1950 /B-29/ Manzano Base, New Mexico:

Aircraft departed Kirtland AFB at 9:30 p.m. and crashed into a mountain on Manzano Base approximately three minutes later, killing the crew. Detonators were installed in the bomb on board the aircraft. The bomb case was demolished and some high explosive (HE) material burned in the gasoline fire. Other pieces of unburned HE were scattered throughout the wreckage. Four spare detonators in their carrying cases were recovered undamaged. There were no contamination or recovery problems. The recovered components of the weapons were returned to the Atomic Energy Commission. Both the weapon and the capsule of the nuclear material were on board the aircraft but the capsule was not inserted for safety reasons. A nuclear detonation was not possible. (*1)

July 13, 1950 /B-50/ Lebanon Ohio:

The B-50 was on a training mission from Biggs AFB, Texas. The aircraft was flying at 7,000 feet on a clear day. Aircraft nosed down and flew into the ground killing four officers and twelve airmen. The high explosive portion of the weapon aboard detonated on impact. There was no nuclear capsule aboard the aircraft. (*1)

August 5, 1950 /B-29/ Fairfield/Suison AFB, California:

A B-29 carrying a weapon, but no capsule, experienced two runaway propellers and landing gear retraction difficulties on takeoff from Fairfield/Suison AFB (now Travis AFB). The aircraft attempted an emergency landing and crashed and burned. The fire was fought for 12-15 minutes before the weapon's high explosive material detonated. Nineteen crew members and rescue personnel were killed in the crash and/or the resulting detonation, including General Travis. (*1)

November 10, 1950 /B-50/ Over Water, outside United States:

Because of an in-flight aircraft emergency, a weapon containing no capsule of nuclear material was jettisoned over water from an altitude of 10,500 feet. A high-explosive detonation was observed.

March 10, 1956 /B-47/ Mediterranean Sea:

The aircraft was one of a flight of four scheduled for non-stop deployment from MacDill AFB to an overseas air base. Takeoff from MacDill and first refueling was normal. The second refueling point was over the Mediterranean Sea. In preparation for this, the flight penetrated solid cloud formation to descend to the refueling level of 14,000 feet. Base of the clouds was 14,000 feet and visibility was poor. The aircraft, carrying two nuclear capsules in carrying cases, never made contact with the tanker.

An extensive search failed to locate any traces of the missing aircraft or crew. No weapons were aboard the aircraft; only two capsules of nuclear weapons material in carrying cases. A nuclear detonation was not possible. (*1)

July 27, 1956 /B-47/ Lakenheath Air Base, Suffolk, England :

A B-47 aircraft with no weapons aboard was on a routine training mission making a touch and go landing when the aircraft suddenly went out of control and slid off the runway, crashing into a storage igloo containing several nuclear weapons. The bombs did not burn or detonate. There were no contamination or cleanup problems. The damaged weapons and components were returned to the Atomic Energy Commission. The weapons that were involved were in storage configuration. No capsules of nuclear materials were in the weapons or present in the building. (*1)

May 27, 1957 /B-36/ Kirtland AFB, New Mexico:

The aircraft was ferrying a weapon from Biggs AFB, Texas, to Kirtland AFB. At 11:50 a.m. MST, while approaching Kirtland at an altitude of 1,700 feet, the weapon dropped from the bomb bay taking the bomb doors with it. Weapon parachutes were deployed but apparently did not fully retard the fall because of the low altitude. The impact point was approximately 4.5 miles south of the Kirtland control tower and .3 miles west of the Sandia Base Reservation. The high explosive material detonated, completely destroying the weapon and making a crater approximately 25 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep. Fragments and debris were scattered as far as one mile from the impact point. The release mechanism locking pin was being removed at the time of release. (It was standard procedure at that time that the locking pin be removed during takeoff and landing to allow for emergency jettison of the weapon, if necessary). Recovery and cleanup operations were conducted by Field Command, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. Radiological survey of the area disclosed no radioactivity beyond the lip of the crater at which point the level was 0.5 milliroentgens. There were no health or safety problems. Both the weapon and capsule were on board the aircraft but the capsule was not inserted for safety reasons. A nuclear detonation was not possible. (*1)

July 28, 1957/C-124/Atlantic Ocean:

Two weapons were jettisoned from a C-124 aircraft on July 28 off the east coast of the United States. There were three weapons and one nuclear capsule aboard the aircraft at the time. Nuclear components were not installed in the weapons. The C-124 aircraft was enroute from Dover AFB, Delaware when a loss of power from number one and two engines was experienced. Maximum power was applied to the remaining engines; however, level flight could not be maintained. At this point, the decision was made to jettison at 4,500 feet altitude. The second weapon was jettisoned at approximately 2,500 feet altitude. No detonation occurred from either weapons. Both weapons are presumed to have been damaged from impact with the ocean surface. Both weapons are presumed to have submerged almost instantly. The ocean varies in depth in the area of the jettisonings. The C-124 landed at an airfield in the vicinity of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the remaining weapon and the nuclear capsule aboard. A search for the weapons or debris had negative results.(*1)

October 11, 1957/B-47/Homestead AFB, Florida:

The B-47 departed Homestead AFB shortly after midnight on a deployment mission. Shortly after liftoff one of the aircrafts outrigger tires exploded. The aircraft crashed in an uninhabited area approximately 3,800 feet from the end of the runway. The aircraft was carrying one weapon in ferry configuration in the bomb bay and one nuclear capsule in a carrying case in the crew compartment. The weapon was enveloped in flames and burned and smoldered for approximately four hours after which it was cooled with water. Two low order high explosive detonations occurred during the burning. The nuclear capsule and its carrying case were recovered intact and only slightly damaged by heat. Approximately one-half of the weapon remained. All major components were damaged but were identifiable and accounted for.(*1)

January 31, 1958/B-47/ French Morocco :

A B-47 with one weapon in strike configuration was making a simulated takeoff during an exercise alert. When the aircraft reached approximately 30 knots on the runway, the left rear wheel casting failed. The tail struck the runway and a fuel tank ruptured. The aircraft caught fire and burned for seven hours. Firemen fought the fire for the allotted ten minutes fire fighting time for high explosive contents of that weapon, then evacuated the area. The high explosive did not detonate, but there was some contamination in the immediate area of the crash. After the wreckage and the asphalt beneath it were removed and the runway washed down, no contamination was detected. One fire truck and one fireman's clothing showed slight alpha contamination until washed. Following the accident, exercise alerts were temporarily suspended and MDS B-47 wheels were checked for defects.(*1)

February 5, 1958/B-47/Savannah River, Georgia:

The B-47 was on a simulated combat mission that originated at Homestead AFB, Florida. While near Savannah, Georgia, the B-47 had a mid-air collision with a F-86 aircraft at 3:30 a.m. Following the collision, the B-47 made three attempts to land at Hunter AFB, Georgia, with a weapon aboard. Because of the condition of the aircraft, its airspeed could not be reduced enough to insure a safe landing. Therefore, the decision was made to jettison the weapon rather than expose Hunter AFB to the possibility of a high explosive detonation. A nuclear detonation was not possible since the nuclear capsule was not aboard the aircraft. The weapon was jettisoned into the water several miles from the mouth of the Savannah River (Georgia) in Wassaw Sound off Tybee Beach. The precise weapon impact point is unknown. The weapon was dropped from an altitude of approximately 7,200 feet at an aircraft speed of 180-190 knots. No detonation occurred. After jettison the B-47 landed safely. A three square mile area was searched using a ship with divers and underwater demolition team technicians using Galvanic drag and handheld sonar devices. The weapon was not found. The search was terminated April 16, 1958. The weapon was considered to be irretrievably lost. (*1; **2)

March 11, 1958/B-47/Florence, South Carolina:

On March 11, 1958 at 3:58 p.m. EST, a B-47E departed Hunter AFB, Georgia, as number three aircraft in a flight of four enroute to an overseas base. After leveling off at 15,000 feet, the aircraft accidentally jettisoned an unarmed nuclear weapon which impacted in a sparsely populated area 6 1/2 miles east of Florence, South Carolina. The bomb's high explosive material exploded on impact. The detonation caused property damage and several injuries on the ground. The aircraft returned to base without further incident. No capsule of nuclear materials was aboard the B-47 or installed in the weapon. (*1; **2)

November 4, 1958/B-47/Dyess AFB, Texas:

A B-47 caught fire on takeoff. Three crew members successfully ejected; one was killed when the aircraft crashed from an altitude of 1,500 feet. One nuclear weapon was aboard when the aircraft crashed. The resultant detonation of the high explosive made a crater 35 feet in diameter and six feet deep. Nuclear materials were recovered near the crash site. (*1; **2)

November 26, 1958/B-47/ Chennault AFB, Louisiana:

A B-47 caught fire on the ground. The single nuclear weapon on board was destroyed by the fire. Contamination was limited to the immediate vicinity of the weapon residue within the aircraft wreckage. (*1; **2)

January 18, 1959/F-100/ Pacific Base:

The aircraft was parked on a reveted hardstand in ground alert configuration. The external load consisted of a weapon on the left intermediate station and three fuel tanks (both inboard stations and the right intermediate station). When the starter button was depressed during a practice alert, an explosion and fire occurred when the external fuel tanks inadvertently jettisoned. Fire trucks at the scene put out the fire in about seven minutes. The capsule was not in the vicinity of the aircraft and was not involved in the accident. There were no contamination or cleanup problems.(*1)

July 6, 1959/C-124/ Barksdale AFB, Louisiana:

A C-124 on a nuclear logistics movement mission crashed on take-off. The aircraft was destroyed by fire which also destroyed one weapon. No nuclear or high explosive detonation occurred--safety devices functioned as designed. Limited contamination was present over a very small area immediately below the destroyed weapon. This contamination did not hamper rescue or fire fighting operations.(*1; **2)

September 25, 1959 /P-5M/ Off Whidbey Island, Washington:

A U.S. Navy P-5M aircraft ditched in Puget Sound off Whidbey Island, Washington. It was carrying an unarmed nuclear antisubmarine weapon containing no nuclear material. The weapon was not recovered.

October 15, 1959 /B-S2/KC-135/ Hardinsberg, Kentucky:

The B-52 departed Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi at 2:30 p.m. CST, October 15, 1959. This aircraft assumed the #2 position in a flight of two. The KC-135 departed Columbus Air Force Base at 5:33 p.m. CST as the #2 tanker aircraft in a flight of two scheduled to refuel the B-52s. Rendezvous for refueling was accomplished in the vicinity of Hardinsberg, Kentucky, at 32,000 feet. It was night, weather was clear, and there was no turbulence. Shortly after the B-52 began refueling from the KC-135, the two aircraft collided. The instructor pilot and pilot of the B-52 ejected, followed by the electronic warfare officer and the radar navigator. The co-pilot, navigator, instructor navigator, and tail gunner failed to leave the B-52. All four crewmembers in the KC-135 were fatally injured. The B-52's two unarmed nuclear weapons were recovered intact. One had been partially burned but this did not result in the dispersion of any nuclear material or other contamination. (*1; **2)

June 7, 1960 /BOMARC/ McGuire AFB, New Jersey:

A BOMARC air defense missile in ready storage condition (permitting launch in two minutes) was destroyed by explosion and fire after a high-pressure helium tank exploded and ruptured the missile's fuel tanks. The warhead was also destroyed by the fire although the high explosive did not detonate. Nuclear safety devices acted as designed. Contamination was restricted to an area immediately beneath the weapon and an adjacent elongated area approximately 100 feet long, caused by drainoff of firefighting water. (*1; **2)

January 24, 1961 /B-52/ Goldsboro, North Carolina:

During a B-52 airborne alert mission structural failure of the right wing resulted in two weapons separating from the aircraft during aircraft breakup at 2,000-10,000 feet altitude. One bomb parachute deployed and the weapon received little impact damage. The other bomb fell free and broke apart upon impact. No explosion occurred. Five of the eight crew members survived. A portion of one weapon, containing uranium, could not be recovered despite excavation in the water-logged farmland to a depth of 50 feet. The Air Force subsequently purchased an easement requiring permission for anyone to dig there. There is no detectable radiation and no hazard in the area. (*1; **2)

March 14, 1961/B-52/Yuba City, California:

A B-52 experienced failure of the crew compartment pressurization system forcing descent to 10,000 feet altitude. Increased fuel consumption caused fuel exhaustion before rendezvous with a tanker aircraft. The crew bailed out at 10,000 feet except for the aircraft commander who stayed with aircraft to 4,000 feet steering the plane away from a populated area. The two nuclear weapons on board were torn from the aircraft on ground impact. The high explosive did not detonate. Safety devices worked as designed, and there was no nuclear contamination.(*1; **2)

November 13, 1963/Atomic Energy Commission Storage Igloo/Medina Base, Texas:

An explosion involving 123,000 pounds of high explosive components of nuclear weapons caused minor injuries to three Atomic Energy Commission employees. There was little contamination from the nuclear components stored elsewhere in the building. The components were from obsolete weapons being disassembled.

January 13, 1964/B-52/Cumberland, Maryland:

A B-52D was enroute from Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, to its home base at Turner Air Force Base, Georgia. The crash occurred approximately 17 miles SW of Cumberland, Maryland. The aircraft was carrying two weapons. Both weapons were in a tactical ferry configuration (no mechanical or electrical connections had been made to the aircraft and the safing switches were in the `Safe' position). Prior to the crash, the pilot had requested a change in altitude because of severe air turbulence at 29,500 feet. The aircraft was cleared to climb to 33,000 feet. During the climb, the aircraft encountered violent air turbulence and aircraft structural failure subsequently occurred. Of the five aircrew members, only the pilot and co-pilot survived. The gunner and navigator ejected but died of exposure to sub-zero temperatures after successfully reaching the ground. The radar navigator did not eject and died upon aircraft impact. The crash site was an isolated mountainous and wooded area. The site had 14 inches of new snow covering the aircraft wreckage which was scattered over an area of approximately 100 yards square. The weather during the recover and cleanup operation involved extreme cold and gusty winds. Both weapons remained in the aircraft until it crashed and were relatively intact in the approximate center of the wreckage area.(*1; **2)

December 5, 1964/LGM 30B (Minuteman ICBM)/Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota:

The LGM 30B Minuteman I missile was on strategic alert at Launch Facility (LF) L-02, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. Two airmen were dispatched to the LF to repair the inner zone (IZ) security system. In the midst of their checkout of the IZ system, one retrorocket in the spacer below the Reentry Vehicle (RV) fired, causing the RV to fall about 75 feet to the floor of the silo. When the RV struck the bottom of the silo, the arming and fusing/altitude control subsystem containing the batteries was torn loose, thus removing all sources of power from the RV. The RV structure received considerable damage. All safety devices operated properly in that they did not sense the proper sequence of events to allow arming the warhead. There was no detonation or radioactive contamination.(*1)

December 8, 1964/B-58/Bunker Hill (Now Grissom) AFB, Indiana:

SAC aircraft were taxiing during an exercise alert. As one B-58 reached a position directly behind the aircraft on the runway ahead of it, the aircraft ahead brought advanced power. As a result of the combination of the jet blast from the aircraft ahead, the icy runway surface conditions, and the power applied to the aircraft while attempting to turn onto the runway, control was lost and the aircraft slid off the left hand side of the taxiway. The left main landing gear passed over a flush mounted taxiway light fixture and 10 feet farther along in its travel, grazed the left edge of a concrete light base. Ten feet farther, the left main landing gear struck a concrete electrical manhole box, and the aircraft caught on fire. When the aircraft came to rest, all three crew members aboard began abandoning the aircraft. The aircraft commander and defensive systems operator egressed with minor injuries. The navigator ejected in his escape capsule, which impacted 548 feet from the aircraft. He did not survive. Portions of the five nuclear weapons on board burned; contamination was limited to the immediate area of the crash and was subsequently removed.(*1)

October 11, 1965/C-124/Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio:

The aircraft was being refueled in preparation for a routine logistics mission when a fire occurred at the aft end of the refueling trailer. The fuselage of the aircraft, containing only components of nuclear weapons and a dummy training unit, was destroyed by fire. There were no casualties. The resultant radiation hazard was minimal. Minor contamination was found on the aircraft, cargo, and clothing of explosive ordnance disposal and fire fighting personnel, and was removed by normal cleaning.(*1)

December 5, 1965/A-4/At Sea, Pacific:

An A-4 aircraft loaded with one nuclear weapon rolled off the elevator of a U.S. aircraft carrier and fell into the sea. The pilot, aircraft, and weapon were lost. The incident occurred more than 500 miles from land.

January 17, 1966/B-52/KC-135/Palomares, Spain:

The B-52 and the KC-135 collided during a routine high altitude air refueling operation. Both aircraft crashed near Palomares, Spain. Four of the eleven crewmembers survived. The B-52 carried four nuclear weapons. One was recovered on the ground and on April 7, one was recovered from the sea. Explosive materials exploded on impact with the ground, releasing some radioactive materials. Approximately 1400 tons of slightly contaminated soil and vegetation were removed to the United States for storage at an approved site. Representatives of the Spanish government monitored the cleanup operation.(*1;**2)

January 21, 1968/B-52/Thule, Greenland:

A B-52 from Plattsburgh AFB, New York, crashed and burned some seven miles southwest of the runway at Thule AB, Greenland while approaching the base to land. Six of the seven crewmembers survived. The bomber carried four nuclear weapons, all of which were destroyed by fire. Some radioactive contamination occurred in the area of the crash, which was on the sea ice. Some 237,000 cubic feet of contaminated ice, snow and water, with crash debris, were removed to an approved storage site in the United States over the course of a four-month operation. Although an unknown amount of contamination was dispersed by the crash, environmental sampling showed normal readings in the area after the cleanup was completed. Representatives of the Danish government monitored the cleanup operations.(*1;**2)

May 22, 1968/At Sea, Atlantic:

The submarine USS SCORPION (SSN-589) sank May 22, 1968 in more than 10,000 feet of water about 400 miles southwest of the Azores. SCORPION is in two major sections. The forward hull section including the torpedo room and most of the operations compartment is located in a trench that was formed by the impact of the hull section with the bottom. The sail is detached. The aft hull section including the reactor compartment and engine room is located in a separate trench that was formed by the impact of the hull section with the bottom. The aft section of the engine room is inserted forward into a larger diameter hull section in a manner similar to a telescope. There were two Mark 45 ASTOR torpedoes with nuclear warheads aboard SCORPION when she was lost in 1968. The warheads were low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. The special nuclear material from the warheads has not been recovered.

September 19, 1980/Titan II ICBM/Damascus, Arkansas:

During routine maintenance in a Titan II silo, an Air Force repairman dropped a heavy wrench socket, which rolled off a work platform and fell toward the bottom of the silo. The socket bounced and struck the missile, causing a leak from the pressurized fuel tank. The missile complex and the surrounding area were evacuated and a team of specialists was called in from Little Rock Air Force Base, the missile's main support base. About 8 1/2 hours after the initial puncture, fuel vapors within the silo ignited and exploded. The explosion fatally injured one member of the team. Twenty-one other USAF personnel were injured. The missile's reentry vehicle, which contained a nuclear warhead, was recovered intact. There was no radioactive contamination.(*.1)

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Word from WikiLeaks Hero

Who he is and what is WikiLeaks? - http://gothamist.com/2010/07/18/wikileaks_founder_no-show_at_nyc_ha.php

Hello to all my friends and fans in domestic and international surveillance [audience laughter]. I am here today because I believe we can make a better world. Julian, unfortunately, can’t make it because we don’t live in that better world right now, because we haven’t yet made it. I wanted to make a little declaration for the Federal agents that are standing in the back of the room, and the ones that are standing in the front of the room, and to be very clear about this: I have on me, in my pocket, some money, the Bill of Rights, and a driver’s license, and that’s it. I have no computer system, I have no telephone, I have no keys, no access to anything. There’s absolutely no reason that you should arrest me or bother me. And, just in case you were wondering, I’m an American, born and raised, who’s unhappy. I’m unhappy with how things are going [audience: huge applause]. I’ve dedicated my life to helping other people who need help, in general, and, specifically, I work with human rights activists. I work with people who care about a woman’s right to choose, the ability to freely vote; I work with people who are working for some kind of social change that is positive in this world. This is extremely important
to me, and I don’t expect all of you to do this as well, but I expect you to support me, and I expect you to support the activities that take place that are in support of these things. To quote from Tron, “I fight for the user.”

I’ve done some other things, they’re not really that important, but they’re in line with what I believe Wikileaks is in line with: I want to teach people, I want people to learn, I want them to collaborate, I want them to cooperate. And, I want them to be able to speak freely without fear of retribution. That’s why I work on Noisebridge and that’s why I work on Tor. I think that if you can, you should organize. You should organize locally in order to make things like this possible. You should help people in whatever way that it is possible. You should also write free software if you have the opportunity, because it is only then that people will be able to trust what you do. There are people whose lives depend on software the hacker community writes. It’s kind of a scary thing to think of that, considering some of the quality [audience: laughter], but, in general, it’s extremely
important. So you should consider the fact that it’s not just about politics. And, I am here speaking on behalf of Wikileaks. I am not here as a representative of the Tor project, who employs me. I’m sure that they probably would not be too unhappy with me speaking here right now, but they certainly didn’t know about it before this moment.

So, I believe that we are complicit in crimes against humanity when we know about
them, and when we don’t stop them. I think that it is quite clear, to me, that every single person in this room has in some way contributed to the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. And I wonder how you all feel about knowing that you are the ones, I am the one, that has funded every bullet that has shot a child, and every woman who has to come home to a family that has been decimated by troops. Where there is no justice, where people don’t have recourse of any kind whatsoever, where the standard operating procedure is for someone to take a 50-caliber machine gun and shoot across the engine block and kill the driver. I’m not sure that that’s the world I want to live in, and I’m not sure that that’s the world I want to fund. I’m pretty sure it’s not. How about you guys, what do you think? Is that what you want? [audience: “No!”] So what are you doing to change it?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Georgia on My Mind

The Georgia - Russia Conflict - Whats it all about?

Note the US Role in all of this; When Mikheil Saakashvili was elected President of Georgia in 2003, he made his goals clear to return (the two breakaway) regions of Georgia under central control. He chose NATO, especially the U.S. as his key allies in foreign policy, in exchange he received financial and material support from western countries. U.S. advisers started to train Georgian forces to make them professional in unequal style fighting against militants under the aegis of "War on Terrorism". Georgia became the third largest participant of U.S. coalition in terms of numbers after U.S. and U.K.. Georgia received free weapons from U.S., Israel, Germany, and Baltic states. The country's military budget, replenished with U.S. aid, increased steadily since Saakashvili's entering to office. In this situation, tensions between Georgia and its breakaway republics were on the rise. In


A Prophetic POV; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8b3eA5H4w0&feature=related

Blaming Russia; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121988657412478425.html

First Hand Witnesses Names (US Backed) Georgia (Police / Troops) as the Agressors in this attack; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=224rT_kGYos&NR=1&feature=fvwp

US Russian relations; http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/od/newsissue1/a/georgia.htm

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Global Sentiment Builds to Attack Iran

Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010 11:04 AM
By: Arnaud De Borchgrave

There is no better illustration of the futility of the $1 trillion Iraq war than news photos of a long line of gasoline tankers lined up bumper to bumper as they leave Iraq to enter Iran.

The U.N. Security Council’s decision to strengthen economic measures against Iran and President Barack Obama’s signing into law draconian new legislative sanctions against Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions leave Iraq's defeated government unable to act.

The Iraq Study Group, led by Lee Hamilton, the prominent Democrat who heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and James Baker, whose Institute for Public Policy is at Houston's Rice University, warned in 2006 that Iran, now rid of erstwhile enemy Saddam Hussein, already was wielding more influence in Iraq than the United States.

The only sanction that would undermine the mullah's military regime seriously is a severe shortage of gasoline. Iran is awash in oil but lacks refining capacity and has to import 60 percent of its gasoline. A lack of governance in Baghdad has allowed Iran to strike a sub-rosa deal for gasoline imports.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition government narrowly lost national elections (89 to 91 seats, both rivals short of the 163 seats needed to govern alone) in March. Endless palavers since then have failed to produce a new coalition. With suicide bombers trying to reignite a bloody trail of sectarian violence, Joe Biden flew into Baghdad over the Fourth of July weekend for his fifth visit since becoming vice president. He urged Iraq's political leaders to form an all-party coalition ASAP.

On his first night there, sirens wailed and a voice shouted over an extensive loudspeaker system: "Duck and cover." Five mortar rounds exploded in the Green Zone, a large maximum-security area in the heart of Baghdad that houses the $700 million, 100-acre U.S. Embassy, now the world's largest.

There was a time when Hussein, the dictator who was executed on Dec. 30, 2006, was the most effective barrier to Iran's regional ambitions. In 1980, he launched an invasion of Iran that led to a Mexican standoff that lasted eight years and caused 1 million deaths on both sides.

Iranian teenagers were pressed into service as "suicide volunteers" with a golden key around their necks — for the gates of paradise that would allow them to meet up with 72 virgins.

Until now those advocating military action against Iran's nuclear installations were found mostly in Israel and among the "neocon" lobby in Congress, and its sympathizers in think tanks and the media. In recent weeks, the ranks of those who now concede the inevitability of a military showdown with Iran's theocracy-cum-military regime have widened to include normally less bellicose politicians and their military friends.

Three former CENTCOM commanders have said on different occasions that we should learn to live with an Iranian bomb, much the way the United States adjusted to Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s breaking America's atomic and then nuclear monopoly. Later, China's Mao Zedong boasted that hundreds of millions of people would die in a nuclear war, and China would emerge victorious because it would still have several hundred million survivors. That was just as much of an existential threat for the United States as Iran is to Israel.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also expressed reservations from time to time. The Joint Chiefs and former CENTCOM commanders know better than most experts that Iran has formidable asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities.

For example, all of these are vulnerable to Iranian sabotage or hundreds of Iranian missiles on the eastern side of the Gulf: from the narrow Straits of Hormuz, which still handles 25 percent of the world's oil traffic; to Bahrain, the U.S. Fifth Fleet’s headquarters where the population is two-thirds Shiite and the royal family is Sunni; to Dubai, where about 400,000 Iranians live, including many who are "sleeper agents" or favorable to Tehran; to Qatar, now the world's richest country with per-capita income at $78,000, which supplies the United States with the world's longest runway and sub-headquarters for CENTCOM, and whose LNG facilities are within short missile range of Iran's coastal batteries; to Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura, the world's largest oil terminal, and Abqaiq, nerve center of Saudi's eastern oil fields.

Officially, all the Arab rulers of the Persian Gulf and other Arab leaders strenuously oppose any Israeli or U.S. airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. But that opposition is eroding rapidly.

Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Colorado last week, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba said publicly — before denying it — "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion, there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country. That is going to happen, no matter what."

And he added, "If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran,’ my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.'"

A former Arab leader, in close touch with current leaders, speaking privately not for attribution, told this reporter July 6, "All the Middle Eastern and Gulf leaders now want Iran taken out of the nuclear arms business and they all know sanctions won't work."

In a joint Op-Ed, former U.S. Sen. Chuck Robb, D-Va., and retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Chuck Wald, the air commander in the opening stages of Operation "Enduring Freedom" in October 2001, say the time is now to credibly prepare for a U.S. military strike.

"Sanctions can be effective only if coupled with open preparation for the military option as a last resort . . . publicly playing down potential military options has weakened our leverage with Tehran, making a peaceful resolution less likely."

The temptation for Obama to double down on Iran will grow rapidly as he concludes that Afghanistan will remain a festering sore as far as anyone can peer into a murky future, hardly a recipe for success at the polls in November. With a war in Afghanistan that is bound to get worse and a military theater in Iraq replete with sectarian violence, the bombing of Iran may give Obama a three-front war — and a chance to retain both houses of Congress.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Afghanistan & The beginning of US Involvment

1978: CIA Begins Covert Action in Afghanistan The CIA begins covert action against the Communist government in Afghanistan, which is closely tied to the Soviet Union. Some time this year, the CIA begins training militants in Pakistan and beaming radio propaganda into Afghanistan. By April 1979, US officials are meeting with opponents of the Afghan government to determine their needs. [Blum, 1995, pp. 344] Robert Gates, who will become CIA Director in the early 1990s, will later recall that in a meeting on March 30, 1979, Under Secretary of Defense Walter Slocumbe wonders aloud whether there is “value in keeping the Afghan insurgency going, ‘sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire.’” [Gates, 1996, pp. 145] In March 1979, there is a major revolt in Herat province, and in June and August there are large scale army mutinies. [Cooley, 2002, pp. 5] President Carter will formally approve covert aid to opponents of the government in July (see July 3, 1979), which will result in a Russian invasion in December (see December 8, 1979).
Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Robert M. Gates, Walter Slocumbe
Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, War in Afghanistan

July 3, 1979: President Carter Approves Covert Aid to Anti-Soviet Forces in Afghanistan President Carter authorizes covert aid for opponents of the Communist government in Afghanistan. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Adviser, will state in 1998, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the mujaheddin began… after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan… But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.… We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” [Le Nouvel Observateur (Paris), 1/15/1998] After Brzezinski’s confession, other US officials who denied US involvement prior to the Soviet invasion will change their story as well. For instance, Charles Cogan, who is head of the CIA covert aid program to Afghanistan at this time, will call Carter’s approval on this day a “very modest beginning to US involvement.” [Cooley, 2002, pp. 10] In fact, even this is not correct because the CIA had been aiding the rebels since at least the year before (see 1978 and 1973-1979). The Soviets invade Afghanistan by the end of 1979 (see December 8, 1979).
Entity Tags: Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., Charles Cogan
Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan

December 8, 1979: Soviet Forces, Lured in by the CIA, Invade Afghanistan
Soviet tanks entering Afghanistan in late 1979. [Source: Banded Artists Productions]The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. The Russians were initially invited in by the Afghan government to deal with rising instability and army mutinies, and they start crossing the border on December 8. But on December 26, Russian troops storm the presidential palace, kill the country’s leader, Haizullah Amin, and the invitation turns into an invasion. [Blum, 1995, pp. 342] Later declassified high-level Russian documents will show that the Russian leadership believed that Amin, who took power in a violent coup from another pro-Soviet leader two months before, had secret contacts with the US embassy and was probably a US agent. Further, one document from this month claims that “the right wing Muslim opposition” has “practically established their control in many provinces… using foreign support.” [Cooley, 2002, pp. 8] It has been commonly believed that the invasion was unprovoked, but the Russians will later be proven largely correct. In a 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, will reveal that earlier in the year Carter authorized the CIA to destabilize the government, provoking the Russians to invade (see July 3, 1979). [Le Nouvel Observateur (Paris), 1/1998; Mirror, 1/29/2002] Further, CIA covert action in the country actually began in 1978 (see 1978), if not earlier (see 1973-1979). The US and Saudi Arabia will give a huge amount of money (estimates range up to $40 billion total for the war) to support the mujaheddin guerrilla fighters opposing the Russians, and a decade-long war will ensue. [Nation, 2/15/1999]
Entity Tags: United States, Saudi Arabia, Haizullah Amin, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Central Intelligence Agency
Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, War in Afghanistan

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bradley Manning, Soldier Tied To WikiLeaks Iraq Attack Video, Charged In Federal Court, and Pal "Lamo" is a Rat

BARBARA SURK | 07/ 6/10 02:37 PM | AP


The classified video was taken from the cockpit during a 2007 fire fight and posted last April on the website Wikileaks.org. It was an unflattering portrait of the war that raised questions about the military's rules of engagement and whether more should be done to prevent civilian casualties.

Among those believed to have been killed in the attack were a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. Two children were wounded.

Hours after the military announcement, Wikileaks sent out a tweet complaining that while Manning was charged, the "trigger-happy Apache crew remain uncharged."

Manning, 22, from Potomac, Md., was detained in Baghdad in early June and is now being held in Kuwait.

A military version of a grand jury hearing will determine if Manning should face a trial by court-martial, the Army's statement said.

No date has been set for the hearing that will take place in Baghdad, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Bloom told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

A criminal investigation is still open, the Army statement said, detailing charges against Manning including "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system."

Manning was also charged with "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source" and with "disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States."

An internal military investigation concluded that the troops in the helicopters acted appropriately. According to a last year's summary of the results of the inquiry, Reuters employees were likely "intermixed among the insurgents" and difficult to distinguish because of their equipment, the document states.

Former computer hacker Adrian Lamo of Sacramento, Calif., said he alerted the military after Manning confided in him online that he had leaked the video in addition to 260,000 classified diplomatic cables.

Lamo, who first provided his account to Wired.com, told The AP last month that he agonized over the decision.

"I turned him in because, for the rest of my life, I'd wonder if something he leaked would have cost a human life," Lamo said.

In 2004, Lamo had pleaded guilty to breaking into The New York Times' computer system and still owes $62,800 in federal restitution. He said he has received no financial benefit from turning in Manning and that the money he owes was never discussed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Iran expects EU to rectify mistakes

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, July 6, IRNA -- Iran expects the European Union to rectify its mistakes consistent with national nuclear program, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili said on Tuesday.

He said in his letter to EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, that the European states are expected to abandon double-standard policies and correct mistakes.

Jalili sent the letter in response to a request made earlier by Ashton to resume talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Jalili said that Iranians have lost confidence in the EU policymaking.

"You need to win confidence of Iranian people more than ever."

"It is very interesting that despite of efforts made by Brazilian and Turkish foreign ministers for resumption of talks, you have been reluctant in the past three months, but, immediately after passing the resolution 1229 at the Security Council against Iran, you have voiced readiness to resume talks," Jalili said.

"Following your request for resumption of talks, the US government along with the European Union imposed a new series of sanctions which is in contradiction with your approach in the context of 'pressure and dialogue' which is totally out of question."

The international community regards dialogue under pressure as ‘dictatorship’, he said adding that resumption of dialogue for escalation of pressures or enmity with a nation is doomed to failure.

Jalili advised the EU foreign policy chief to avoid pursuing dual approach and do something to correct mistakes of the past by opting for true and rational culture of dialogue.

He criticized the European leaders for failure to focus on interaction and cooperation instead of confrontation.

"This time the European leaders are expected to make up their mind whether or not they prefer interaction with Iran or confrontation. The double track or the so-called 'dialogue and pressure' proved not helpful."

Recalling background of Iran-EU dialogue, Jalali said that the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2008, offered a package for negotiations on international concern about proliferation of nuclear weapons and during Geneva talks on June, 21, 2008 and September 24, 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran explicitly declared that it is ready to hold talk on the package.

"The issue was raised in press conferences and in negotiations with former EU Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana. Therefore, adopting any different approach would be reactionary and non-constructive method which will be ruled out by Iranian nation.

"It is necessary to remind that this has already mentioned in the package offered by Iran that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to resume talks on expansion of mutual cooperation, Disarmament of nuclear weapons, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as studying the chance for collective cooperation of all members for peaceful nuclear energy.

"There is no doubt that to attain the goal all the negotiating sides should be remained committed to Non-Proliferation Treaty and express their concern about the illegal nuclear activities of the Zionist regime.

"The move could help materialize the mottos of Tehran Conference on 'Nuclear Weapons for None and Nuclear Energy for All' which got approval of representatives of all participating states. Active presence of those pursuing the same policy will be very constructive for resumption of talks."

“We are now witnessing that many countries have welcomed such initiatives and cooperation,” he said.

"Tehran Conference on Revision of Non-Proliferation Treaty and Disarmament in which some 189 countries actively took part, proved that many countries abide by NPT and Disarmament and call for the Zionist regime to sign up to NPT.

“If prospects of such dialogue are crystal clear, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to employ all its political, economic, regional and international capabilities and facilities to help promote constructive international cooperation consistent with NPT and Disarmament.

"Based on the aforesaid points as declared by Iranian president, you are required to answer the following questions prior to resumption of talks with Iran:

"1.The aim of talks will be expansion of mutual understanding and cooperation or continued hostility with Iran and opposition to the legitimate rights of Iranian nation.

"2. Will you remain committed to the logic of dialogue which requires to avoid exerting any pressures?

"3. Please explicitly define your principles in dialogue on Israeli stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

"Your reply to the above-mentioned questions could prepare grounds for resumption of talks and removal of common concerns of international community about proliferation of nuclear weapons in presence of representatives of other nations sharing the common concerns," Jalili said.


End News / IRNA / News Code 1215980

U.S., EU and U.N. sanctions on Iran

06 Jul 2010 11:32:31 GMT
Source: Reuters

July 6 (Reuters) - Iranian planes continued to refuel at airports around the world, an official said on Tuesday, a day after an Iranian news report that the country's aircraft had been denied fuel in Germany, Britain and a Gulf Arab state.

Iran has been hit by a new wave of international sanctions and the United States has also stepped up its push to isolate Tehran economically. On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching sanctions that aim to squeeze the Islamic Republic's fuel imports and deepen its international isolation.

Following are some details of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union:


-- Sanctions imposed after Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took diplomats hostage in 1979 included a ban on most U.S.-Iran trade.

-- Goods or services from Iran cannot be imported into the United States, either directly or through third countries, with the following exceptions: gifts valued at $100 or less; information or informational materials; foodstuffs intended for human consumption; certain carpets and other textile floor coverings and carpets used as wall hangings.

-- In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued executive orders preventing U.S. companies from investing in Iranian oil and gas and trading with Iran. Tehran has looked for other customers.

-- The same year, Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. government to impose sanctions on foreign firms investing more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector. It was extended for five years in September 2006. No foreign firms have yet been penalised, though many have severely curtailed their operations in Iran.

-- In October 2007 Washington imposed sanctions on Bank Melli, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat and branded the Revolutionary Guards a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. In October 2009, the Treasury also sanctioned Bank Mellat in Malaysia and its chairman.

-- The Treasury this month added Post Bank of Iran to its list of specially designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. It is the 16th bank in Iran that Washington has sought to cut off from the international financial system.

-- The Treasury identified some 20 petroleum and petrochemical companies as being under Iranian government control -- an action that puts them off limits to U.S. businesses under a general trade embargo.

-- Congress approved on June 24 tough new unilateral sanctions aimed at squeezing Iran's energy and banking sectors, which could also hurt companies from other countries doing business with Tehran.

-- The legislation will sanction companies for supplying Iran with refined petroleum products with a fair market value exceeding $1 million or that during a 12-month period have an aggregate fair market value of $5 million or more. The companies that fail to abide by the sanctions will face tough penalties, such as being banned from the U.S. financial system or being denied US contracts.

-- The legislation also will sanction international banking institutions involved with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its nuclear programme or what Washington calls its support for terrorist activity.

-- It would effectively deprive foreign banks of access to the U.S. financial system if they do business with key Iranian banks or the Revolutionary Guards. -- U.S. sanctions against Iran can be found on the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control website: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/iran/iran.shtml
and http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2194/text


-- The Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran, in December 2006, March 2007, March 2008 and June 2010.

-- The first covered sensitive nuclear materials and froze the assets of Iranian individuals and companies linked with the nuclear programme. It gave Iran 60 days to suspend uranium enrichment, a deadline Iran ignored.

-- The second included new arms and financial sanctions. It extended an asset freeze to 28 more groups, companies and individuals engaged in or supporting sensitive nuclear work or development of ballistic missiles, including the state-run Bank Sepah and firms controlled by the Revolutionary Guards.

-- The resolution invoked Chapter 7, Article 41 of the U.N. Charter, making most of its provisions mandatory but excluding military action. Iran again ignored an order to halt enrichment.

-- The third measure increased travel and financial curbs on individuals and companies and made some of them mandatory. It expanded a partial ban on trade in items with both civilian and military uses to cover sales of all such technology to Iran, and added 13 individuals and 12 companies to the list of those suspected of aiding Iran's nuclear and missile programmes. In September 2008, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution again ordering Iran to halt enrichment. Iran again disregarded the order.

-- The Security Council resolution passed on June 9 called for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programmes is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.

-- It also expanded a U.N. arms embargo against Tehran and blacklisted three firms controlled by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The resolution also called for setting up a cargo inspection regime similar to one in place for North Korea.

-- Annexed to the draft resolution was a list of 40 companies to be added to an existing U.N. blacklist of firms.


-- The EU has imposed visa bans on senior officials such as Revolutionary Guards chief Mohammad Ali Jafari, former Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and former atomic energy chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh, and on top nuclear and ballistic experts.

-- Britain announced last October it was freezing business ties with Bank Mellat and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, both of which have previously faced sanctions from the United States. Britain cited fears they were involved in helping Iran develop nuclear weapons.

-- New sanctions, which the EU agreed on Thursday and could come into force within weeks, will focus on trade, Iran's transport sector, and key sectors of the gas and oil industry.

-- Energy sector sanctions would prohibit "new investment, technical assistance and transfers of technologies, equipment and services related to these areas, in particular related to refining, liquefaction and liquefied natural gas technology".

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