Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Be safe!

Information Dominance, Part 9

We continue from Part 8 reviewing The Writing on "The Wall" (by Thomas Ryan,, August 22, 2005); if you haven't already read Part 8, you may want to.

Possible Motives

Able Danger's intelligence on Atta was dismissed not only in 2000, but was ignored a second time in 2003 by the 9/11 Commission. In their article "9/11 Coverup Commission," Ben Johnson and Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu made the following observation:

Recent revelations about covert 'Able Danger' operations are forcing certain people to deal with subjects that they had thought swept under the rug. Despite apparent attempts to conceal the fact, the 9/11 Commission has had to admit it was informed that government agents knew of Mohammed Atta's affiliation with al-Qaeda two years before 9/11, that Clinton-era policies prevented intelligence officials from sharing that information with the FBI, that the amended time frame would allow Mohammed Atta to have made contacts with Iraqi intelligence, and – most damningly – that it kept all this out of its final report.

So, it was Clinton's fault. The reason "The Wall" was reinforced, beyond any legal requirement, was to keep counterintelligence from passing to criminal investigators information it had on Clinton's sale of missile technology to Communist China for contributions to Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign (see Part 8).

That "Wall" also kept the Army Information Dominance Center from passing what it had learned about Al Qaeda to the FBI, thus costing us an excellent opportunity to catch the terrorists and prevent the attack.

But, when this information was presented to the 9/11 Commission, the information was buried.

Here someone was asking why.

What could explain such a seemingly egregious lapse in judgment? To answer this, we must consider the role of President Clinton's Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Gorelick, in the 9/11 Commission. Gorelick, who (as noted earlier) authorized the creation of the communication wall between intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, was also a member of the 9/11 Commission. Thus a key individual who should have been testifying before the Commision was, instead, one of its sitting members. The seemingly inescapable conclusion is that Gorelick prevented the 9/11 Commission from including the Able Danger information so as to protect herself and the Clinton legacy from the condemnation they deserve.

Clintonite obstruction of justice on the 9/11 Commission to cover up past criminal conduct, which itself included obstruction of justice and a cover-up, as well as influence-peddling, bribery and treason...?

A second possibility is that any reference to the Able Danger intelligence was omitted (from the 9/11 Commission report) because it seemed to suggest that Iraq was somehow involved in planning or funding the 9/11 attacks. Such a revelation would constitute a deathblow to the argument that the Iraq War was unjustified because Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or terrorist threats against the United States. Admitting that the Able Danger intelligence, like the Czech intelligence, placed Atta at a meeting with an Iraqi agent in Prague on April 9, 2001 would strongly suggest that al-Qaeda and Iraq had worked in unison on the attacks. This conclusion would not sit well with the political enemies of George W. Bush. Of this possibility, Ben Johnson and Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu write in FrontPage:

If there was, in fact, covert direction from the top of the Commission to key members of its staff to cloak any link between Saddam and the September 11 attacks, to obfuscate evidence tying the Iraqi regime to al-Qaeda and Mohammed Atta, and to paint the most positive possible picture of the Clintons as implacable terror-warriors, then "Able Danger" had to be ignored and covered up...

By acknowledging the Iraq/al-Qaeda ties, not only to terrorism in general but to the September 11 attack, the war becomes completely justifiable as exactly what the Bush administration claimed it was: a defensive, if preemptive, war to protect the United States from a regime with cordial ties to anti-American terrorists.

Or an effort to put partisan politics ahead of foreign policy, so Bush could be bashed?

Congress had already given King George all the authority he needed for his war in Iraq; besides which, most of the Democrats that are criticizing Bush for the Iraq war now voted for it then.

Would the Clintonites put partisan politics ahead of the best interests of the United States? Oh, yes, and they did so many times. Was that the problem here, though?

Dismantling the Wall: The USA Patriot Act

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. House and Senate set about to create legislation that would provide new tools in combating the terrorist threat facing our country. On October 26, 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed, and with it new regulations regarding intelligence gathering were enacted, as well as new parameters that would pave the way for criminal investigators and intelligence agencies to cooperate on international terrorism cases. In March of 2002, the Justice Department asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which was responsible for the formation of the wall in 1978, to consent to new procedures that would, in effect, dismantle it. The Justice Department affirmed that the USA Patriot Act mandated such an action, and today, because of it, collaboration on vital anti-terrorism initiatives is occurring between different agencies.

So, Clintonites caused the problem, and the Bush Administration solved it, right?

Sibel Edmonds, on the other hand, has been telling us that people in Washington are abusing the system to cover up their own criminal activity -- and this had been going on for years as of 2002, when she was fired from the FBI as a contract translator, and we know this continues today with the ongoing gag order on her by the Bush Administration.

In his April 2004 testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Attorney General John Ashcroft said that by the end of the Clinton Administration, "the Justice Department was so addicted to the wall, it actually opposed legislation to lower the wall. Finally, the USA Patriot Act tore down this wall between our intelligence and law enforcement personnel in 2001. And when the Patriot Act was challenged, the FISA Court of Review upheld the law, ruling that the 1995 guidelines were required by neither the Constitution nor the law."

The way in which the Patriot Act succeeded in dismantling the wall was a simple change in the language of the law. Prior to the Patriot Act, FISA warrants were issued only when it could be demonstrated that the "primary purpose" of a particular surveillance was the collection of foreign intelligence information. The Patriot Act changed the language of the warrant to read as "significant purpose." This simple modification purged the divider that existed between threats classified as foreign in nature and those that were classified as domestic crimes.

Jamie Gorelick, who played such a key role in the formation and reinforcement of that wall, has criticized the Patriot Act. At an October 2004 symposium titled, "Pursuing Justice and the War on Terrorism," Gorelick remarked that "the President had yet to prove the effectiveness of the Patriot Act and other controversial national security legislation," and that the Bush Administration "has also failed to show that there exist proper checks and balances to curb its expanded powers."

Although critics of the Patriot Act regularly portray it as a threat to civil liberties and decry that no proper checks and balances are in place to restrain it, its merits in the post-9/11 world are unquestionable. With regard to abuses of civil liberties, the Justice Department's Inspector General, who monitors the ACT in an effort to prevent such abuses, has reported that none have yet occurred. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein agrees, stating, "I have never had a single abuse of the Patriot Act reported to me. My staff...asked [the ACLU] for instances of actual abuses. They...said they had none." Prior to 9/11, and because of the efforts of the Clinton Administration, the nation's intelligence and law-enforcement agencies were barred from sharing information with one another. The Patriot Act removed that barrier, and because of it, terrorist cells in Portland, Oregon; Lackawanna, New York; and Virginia were uncovered and eliminated.

Looking Ahead

The 9/11 Commission's decision to exclude any mention of Able Danger from its report merits an aggressive and immediate inquiry. As things now appear, corrupt politics enabled the 9/11 hijackers to carry out their horrifying mission. Compounding the sin, the very Commission entrusted with the task of shedding light on what led to 9/11 appears to be engaged in a cover-up that is a slap in the face to the grieving loved ones of 9/11's victims.

[End of article -- YD]

So, it was a bureaucratic rule, excessively strengthened by the Clinton Administration to cover up Slick Willie's own treasonous conduct -- selling missile technology to Beijing in exchange for money for Clinton and the Democrats in 1996 -- and the Bush Administration was the hero.

And any one of us from the conservative side of the house will believe that -- water is wet, fire is hot, and Clinton is a treasonous criminal; we know these things.

Except for one thing: why did the Bush Administration, days after this article was published, gag all military officers who were familiar with Able Danger and prevent them from testifying before Congress the following month?

What is there to hide, if it was a problem from the previous Administration that had been corrected?

Remember the words from the hearing: "Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer ... is under Rumsfeld's gag order".

Okay, so Bush didn't want to drag his predecessor through the mud; Bush is honest, Clinton is not, but Bush is taking the high road, and not exposing Clinton's treason. An accomplice after the fact is what that makes somebody.

But, why?

Recall that Able Danger, looking at Al Qaeda via open-source material, connected Condoleeza Rice to Chinese proliferation, too:

Representative Weldon. There were a combination of reasons. They had done a profile of Chinese proliferation in 1999 that John Hamre had asked for. I was aware of that presentation, and because it was massive data mined that had not yet been vetted, a couple of very sensitive names surfaced because they had been affiliated with Stanford University, where many of the students that were doing this very, very specific research, very sensitive to our country's security, were located, and I think partly because of that, there was a wave of controversy.


Senator Biden. Is there anything to the sort of, when you get into this, the sort of buzz that it was shut down because Able Danger exceeded its authority and was dealing with targeting Americans that the Defense Department and others were concerned would cause a real brouhaha? There were even some press accounts that the now-Secretary of State came up on a list as being a suspect somehow, or something ridiculous. What part did that play in it?

Representative Weldon. It was a significant part. In fact--

The "now-Secretary of State" would be Condoleeza Rice, formerly of Stanford University. She was there from -- what was it? -- 1981 to December 17, 2000, when she stepped down from her position at Stanford to serve in the Bush-43 Administration. She served as Provost, chief budget and academic officer, and full professor.

(See also Part 7.)

Then, was it not the Bush Administration that snubbed the Congressional hearing on the A. Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network? Was it not Bush, and his "now-Secretary of State" that failed to pressure Pakistan into making Khan available to answer some questions for international investigators of nuclear proliferation?

Recall how close Pakistan is to China, and how Pakistan is sharing its nuclear weapons with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is Bush's buddy, and Rice was connected to proliferation to China.

It is also interesting to recall how then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice had not imagined "that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile", when we know this idea had been circulating in the intelligence community for years, and that the President's Secret Service detail was supposedly warned about this very possibility in late August, 2001.

The highest levels of the Bush Administration know and have known for some time a great deal more than what they let on, and have been consistently obstructing any line of inquiry that might make a connection.

Are they covering up their own treasonous, criminal conduct?

Information Dominance, Part 8

This post follows Part 7, but is not a continuation per se. Up through Part 7 we were reviewing Congressional testimony; here we examine an article from from August 22, 2005, entitled The Writing on "The Wall" by Thomas Ryan; I preserved the formatting, and cleaned up a couple of typos. The Writing on "The Wall" has a great many links that I did not reproduce here.

In the days following 9/11, the names and faces of the terrorists who carried out the attacks became known to the world. Chief among these was Mohamed Atta, an al-Qaeda operative and terrorist ringleader, who, along with four accomplices, steered American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning. Prior to 9/11, scarcely any Americans had ever heard of Mohamed Atta. But his name was known well before 9/11 by a U.S. covert intelligence operation known as "Able Danger," which had identified Atta and three other future hijackers in 1999. The recent revelations about Able Danger's findings raise two questions of monumental importance: First, why wasn't Able Danger's information shared – in hopes of averting the disaster that was to come on 9/11 – with the FBI prior to September 11, 2001? possibly thwarting the worst attacks on U.S. soil? And second, why wasn't Able Danger's knowledge of Atta included in the 9/11 Commission report, which was ostensibly committed to unraveling all aspects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

The "Able Danger" Operation

From 1998 to 2001, the Army Intelligence and Special Operations Command initiated a small and highly classified intelligence-gathering endeavor titled Able Danger, whose mission was to investigate the al-Qaeda threat in the United States and abroad. Through its efforts to root out clandestine terrorist cells by means of data analysis and advanced technology, in 1999 Able Danger identified by name Mohammed Atta, as well as three other terrorists, as members of an al-Qaeda cell based in Brooklyn, New York.

Also monitoring terrorist activities at this time, including the movements of Atta, was the Czech Republic. It has been reported that Czech officials had observed Atta traveling to Prague on three separate occasions. On his first visit, on May 30 of 2000, Atta flew to Prague but, upon arrival, was not permitted to leave the airport because he had failed to secure a visa. On his second trip, on June 2, 2000, Atta arrived in Prague by bus, and was monitored and photographed by the Czech intelligence agency – the Security Information Service (BIS). Three days later, a large but undisclosed sum of money was transferred into Atta's personal bank accounts.

Atta's third visit to Prague, according to Czech officials, occurred on April 9, 2001. During this visit, Atta is believed to have met with Ahmed al-Ani, an Iraqi counsel, later revealed to be an Iraqi intelligence officer. Al-Ani was scheduled to meet with a "distinguished Arab student" on that date, and the BIS observed the meeting, which took place in a Prague restaurant. There is a dispute between U.S. and Czech officials as to whether or not that Arab student was indeed Atta (conflicting information from U.S. sources places Atta in Florida that day); however, three days later, an additional $100,000 was deposited into Atta's bank account (enough to help finance the planned attacks on New York and Washington), providing credible evidence of another visit to Prague.

The Defense Department's Able Danger program was as well aware of Atta's movements throughout this period but never transmitted its intelligence to the FBI. Had the FBI been informed of Atta's activities, his terror cell could have been broken and the 9/11 plot would likely have unraveled.

The Wall Between Agencies

On August 15, 2005, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the first member of Able Danger to speak publicly about his role with the operation, told the press about Able Danger's findings and detailed the policies that caused the crucial intelligence to go unheeded. Shaffer acknowledged that Able Danger had been actively monitoring Atta and tried to arrange a series of meetings in 2000 with the Washington field office of the FBI to share its information. Shaffer also noted that military lawyers intervened and canceled the meetings, citing, according to Shaffer, fear of controversy "if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States." At the root of this fear was a clearly defined prohibition against inter-agency intelligence sharing in terror investigations. This prohibition, commonly referred to as the "Wall" blocking such communications, had its roots in the first term of the Clinton administration.

In August of 2005, Lt. Col. Shaffer apparently could still speak about this matter; by the time of the September 21st Congressional hearing that I have quoted in this series, he had been gagged by the Bush Administration. For details, see the previous Information Dominance posts found on the sidebar or under the label Phoenix; specifically, see Information Dominance, Part 2.

In 1995, while America's intelligence agencies were still investigating the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (a time at which the sharing of intelligence to prevent future attacks should have been the highest priority), Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick was calling for increased separation between intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, and the halting of intelligence sharing. In her 1995 memo to then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, titled "Instructions on Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations," Gorelick wrote the following:

We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will more clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation.

As you recall from the Phoenix posts, we saw in the FBI's messages how the FBI agents in the field thought they had enough information for a criminal search warrant in the Summer, 2001, Moussaoui investigation. Also, they knew that information obtained on a criminal warrant can be passed to the intelligence side of the house easier than the other way around.

But, the FBI field agents opted for a FISA warrant because it would be easier to get. There was also the issue that if they tried for a criminal warrant and were turned down, an application for a FISA warrant might look suspicious -- presumably it would be scrutinized, and not granted. However, if they just went straight for the FISA warrant, it would be expected things would go smoother and quicker, and time was of the essence, as one suspect was about to be released and would then probably destroy incriminating evidence, and the other suspect was about to be deported on immigration charges.

The wall between agencies was not new; it had been created during the Carter administration via the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted to defuse allegations of FBI espionage abuses. But Gorelick's 1995 efforts served to strengthen the barrier and made it abundantly clear that cooperation between intelligence and law-enforcement agencies was forbidden. It should be noted that at the time Gorelick wrote the foregoing memo, the Clinton administration was contending with investigations into illegal Chinese contributions to Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns; thus, the memo served its intended purpose of stifling the inter-agency inquiry.

In testimony he delivered before the 9/11 Commission in April of 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft made his own observations about the wall, stating:

In the days before September 11, the wall specifically impeded the investigation into Zacarias Moussaoui, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. After the FBI arrested Moussaoui, agents became suspicious of his interest in commercial aircraft and sought approval for a criminal warrant to search his computer. The warrant was rejected because FBI officials feared breaching the wall. When the CIA finally told the FBI that al-Midhar and al-Hazmi were in the country in late August, agents in New York searched for the suspects. But because of the wall, FBI headquarters refused to allow criminal investigators who knew the most about the most recent al Qaeda attack to join the hunt for the suspected terrorists. At that time, a frustrated FBI investigator wrote headquarters, quote, "Whatever has happened to this--someday someone will die--and wall or not--the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.'"

Mary Jo White, a New York attorney and an experienced al-Qaeda prosecutor, vehemently objected to the barrier emplaced between agencies by Gorelick. In a letter she wrote to Gorelick and Attorney General Janet Reno, White noted, "The most effective way to combat terrorism is with as few labels and walls as possible so that wherever permissible, the right and left hands are communicating." The New York Post reported that White also wrote a second letter in which she warned that the policy enforced by Gorelick "could cost lives." But White's remarks were not heeded. Because of the guidelines that had been recently reinforced to protect President Clinton during the Chinese campaign-contribution scandal, the information gathered by Able Danger was not communicated to the FBI, and almost 3,000 innocent lives were indeed lost.

Sibel Edmonds repeatedly points out that investigations and legal proceedings have been obstructed supposedly in the interests of national security, but that the obvious real motive behind it all was to protect the criminal conduct of certain Washington players. In this context, it is important to note that Edmonds worked at the FBI as a translator from late 2001 until early 2002, when the Bush Administration was fairly new in town; many of the documents she had access to dealt with issues going back to the 1990's.

The 9/11 Commission Turns a Blind Eye

In November of 2002, The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was established to serve as an "independent, bipartisan panel...directed to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned, and provide recommendations to safeguard against future attacks of terrorism." Though the 9/11 Commission's goal was to collect all information regarding the attacks, Able Danger's crucial intelligence about Atta was not included in the official 9/11 Commission Report -- despite at least two briefings made to the Committee on the subject. Moreover, members of the Committee have steadfastly denied ever having heard about the Able Danger intelligence.

One of the aforementioned briefings was given by a military officer, and the other by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the Able Danger operative who recently went public with details of his role in the operation. Lt. Col. Shaffer's briefing occurred during a trip that Commission staffers made to Afghanistan in October 2003, at which time Shaffer provided those staffers with an expansive account of the information Able Danger had gathered on Atta. In August of 2005, however, Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg oddly noted that none of the Commission staff members present during the Shaffer briefing could remember Atta's name being mentioned. "The name 'Atta' or a terrorist cell would have gone to the top of the radar screen if it had been mentioned," said Felzenberg. Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, repeated this erroneous account, saying, "The September 11 Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell. Had we learned of it obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation." Both Felzenberg and Hamilton later amended their statements, but only after The New York Times and the Associated Press went public with the fact that Commission staffers had been briefed on the two occasions.

Congressman Curt Weldon, R-PA, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, has been at the forefront of efforts to expose the fact that the two separate briefings occurred, and more pointedly, that neither briefing prompted the Commission to discuss Able Danger's findings. In a letter he wrote on August 10, 2005, addressed to 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chairman Hamilton, Weldon wrote:

The impetus for this letter is my extreme disappointment in the recent, and false, claim of the 9-11 Commission staff that the Commission was never given access to any information on Able Danger. The 9-11 Commission staff received not one but two briefings on Able Danger from former team members, yet did not pursue the matter. Furthermore, commissioners never returned calls from a defense intelligence official that had made contact with them to discuss this issue as a follow on to a previous meeting...

The Commission's refusal to investigate Able Danger after being notified of its existence, and its recent efforts to feign ignorance of the project while blaming others for supposedly withholding information on it, brings shame on the commissioners, and is evocative of the worst tendencies in the federal government that the Commission worked to expose.

Changing course from their earlier attempts at outright denial, 9/11 Commission members are now telling a revised story. Felzenberg now contends that no reference to Able Danger's findings were incorporated into the Commission's final report because it was "not consistent with what the Commission knew about Mohamed Atta's whereabouts before the attacks." In short, the Commission believes that Atta was not in Prague on April 9, 2001 but rather in Florida – basing this assertion on records showing that Atta's cell phone was used in Florida that day. No proof exists, however, that Atta was the one actually using the cell phone.

To be continued....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Cruise" Missiles

This is a round-up I have been meaning to do....

First, I would like to call your attention to English Rose. She was gone for a while, but is now back to blogging, and she is looking for a co-writer. She commented that she had lost her faith, and complimented my commentators here -- which I admit I have some great readers. :) Please stop in and encourage her!

A reminder that Spanish Pundit is at a new location, and is again serving up bilingual posts, so us linguistically-challenged people can follow the action.

Angel has written a cute post about scarves (but I was looking for chocolate brownies).

Sixth Column has, for some time now, been renamed Brushfires of Freedom. However they are having health issues, and have not been blogging. Please leave them a comment or send them an email wishing them the best.

If you're not familiar with Cinnamon Stillwell, she is a good writer and a blogger with tested conservative credentials -- worth stopping in.

Also for quality journalism, I suggest Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal.

Elsewhere on the serious side, check out Against All Enemies, where Lukery stays on top of the Sibel Edmonds case. Lukery hasn't been updating the blog lately, but that one and his other blog, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, have the kind of information that you can go back and re-read months later and still get something out of it.

The best laugh I have had lately comes from this post at Pela's blog, where we share our concerns about Islamic suicide bombers taking a back seat to "Cruise" missiles. (Does this qualify us as psychobloggers?)

On the Serbian Secret Service

I reproduce here a comment left for me on my recent post about the Balkans, Kosovo at Year's End:

Bardhyl said...
Matt! Get out of Serbian payroll. The "burocrats" in Washington get payed by uncle Sam and work for uncle Sam. You think you are doing a service to christian cause but in fact you are damaging it. Serbs are close allies with rusians and you know how much the Rusians love America.They(Serbs) are Rusian avantpost in Ballkans. A new Kosova state will for ever stop their dream of expanding further in Europa. They should remain where they belong in Asia. So Robertson stop the nonsense, do your god's work if you work for the church, and serve your country that fills up your belly. If Kosova was a danger no Europian state was going to support it.So do you understand now all your nonsence. Haw much the Serbs pay you for your services?

December 28, 2007 7:29 PM

It's not really a question of how much the Serbs pay me, as it is the fringe benefits I get -- the caviar, the champagne... and that's just what they offer in the back of the limo they have assigned for my use.


Seriously, Bardhyl brings up some points that do need to be addressed.

First, it is true that Serbia has traditionally been aligned with Russia.

We do see that being challenged today, as there is a current in Serbian politics toward alignment with the West, membership in NATO and the EU, and so on. However, this must be viewed in context, as only a few years ago NATO was conducting an air campaign in support of Kosovan separatists. It is hard to imagine that the ongoing issue of the West's support for Kosovan independence is not having an impact, perhaps pushing Serbia more into the hands of Russia.

However, to say that Serbia is an outpost of Russia in the Balkans is quite an exaggeration. Now, if the West pushes too hard for Kosovo's independence, in violation of international law and under threat of military force, then Serbia might feel compelled to snug up to Russia for security. However, it is my reading of the situation that Serbians have prized their independence; I believe this is part of the reason why Yugoslavia was not a Soviet satellite during the Cold War. Consequently, I do not see Serbia as an outpost of Russia in the Balkans.

Second, Bardhyl calls into question relations between the US and the Russian Federation.

It certainly seems to me that the winds of the Cold War are blowing up again. I blame both sides for this.

Under Clinton, US foreign policy in the Balkans supported narcotraffickers at the expense of Serbia and international law. Bush has greatly contributed to this process, and has even gone beyond it, using the War on Terror as an opportunity to ring Russia's southern periphery, areas that had previously been Moscow's sphere of influence, with US military bases.

As time has gone on, it has certainly become obvious to me, and so presumably to the Kremlin, that Bush is motivated by far more than a few terrorists in a cave somewhere. The Bush neocons certainly seem determined to secure oil, not just in Iraq, but in the Caspian Basin as well, bringing it to Western markets via pipelines, perhaps through the Caucusus and Turkey, perhaps through Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is definitely corruption at the highest levels of the Bush Administration as well, and that includes an obvious attempt to do the bidding of narcotraffickers who produce heroin in Afghanistan, and bring it to Western markets through Turkey and the Balkans, and along the Silk Road, both now secured by Western military power, NATO in Kosovo and these US military bases along the Silk Road. I write about this heroin connection extensively.

However, even in the presence of a relatively benign or benevolent US Administration, Putin is an old Cold Warrior, and is perhaps more of a symptom of a powerful anti-West undercurrent in Russia. While many, perhaps even most, Russians have some friendly feelings toward the United States, there is at the very least a great deal of suspicion regarding the intentions of the American government -- suspicion certainly justified by the conduct of the present and past administrations.

Consequently, it takes two to tango, and Putin and Bush, representing their factions in their respective governments, are naturally interacting to revive the Cold War along the traditional lines of the Great Game.

To America and Russia, Kosovo is only a small part of all this -- it is perhaps somewhat of a slap in Moscow's face from the EU and the US, a clear-cut violation of international law that will set a terrible precedent (one that is damaging to Russia as well as to the United States) despite what the Bush Administration says, and a not-so-obvious play in support of narcotraffickers on the part of those corrupt elements in Washington that Sibel Edmonds has warned us about.

It may not be very apparent, but just to clarify: none of my comments should be seen as a blanket approval of Serbian actions, neither should they be construed as a sign of anti-Albanian sentiment on my part. My main point is this: the Serbs have been getting painted as the ethnic-cleansing villians, and other groups, especially Balkan Muslims and Albanians, have been getting painted as oppressed victims; this picture, while containing some nuggets of truth, is far from comprehensively accurate.

The corruption, the heroin-, arms- and human-trafficking, and other aspects of this need to be more thoroughly addressed, and only then, with honest government in Washington (fat chance?), can US foreign policy begin to be shaped for the benefit of America -- and perhaps the world? -- instead of for the benefit of influential lobby groups and powerful underworld forces.

I will be interested in reading everyone's input, especially regarding my comments on the Balkans.

So, now that it has been established that I am working for the Serbs....

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Islamic Bomb, Part 2

Continuing our look at The Islamic Bomb, we now review in its entirety an article from Asia Times Online from November 7th, 2003, entitled Saudi Arabia's nuclear gambit by Stephen Blank.

The war against Saddam Hussein, along with the current crises involving North Korea and Iran's nuclear activities, underscore the centrality of the issue of nuclear proliferation in today's politics. Many governments, not just the United States, have concentrated on the danger of terrorists or of states who sponsor them getting hold of nuclear weapons.

However, apparently defying those international concerns, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are now reported to have arranged a deal by which Pakistan will provide Saudi Arabia with nuclear technology in return for cheap oil. The US-based Defense and Foreign Affairs Daily even goes so far as to say that Pakistan will station nuclear weapons on Saudi territory. These weapons will be fitted to a new generation of Chinese-supplied long-range missiles with a reach of 4,000 to 5,000 kilometers.

This "cheap oil" is still a concern. Several days ago, the following article appeared, Government paying Rs 13 bln per month subsidy to check POL prices, of which an excerpt is reproduced here (variations of this article can be found at many Pakistani news sources):

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22 (APP): Interim Finance Minister Dr Salman Shah Saturday said that the government is paying Rs 13 billion per month as subsidy to keep the oil prices in check.

Talking to Dawn News he said, global oil prices have increased to unprecedented level from $20 to $100 per barrel within a few years. Government will have no option but to ultimately pass on the increase to consumers as huge subsidy is increasing budget deficit.

In next six months of current financial year the oil increase will have to be passed on to the consumers in small chunks, he added.

Oil prices are a powerful domestic political issue, not just for developed nations like the United States, but for developing nations like Pakistan, as well. In Pakistan, the government has been subsidizing oil prices, and this has kept food prices low. But, that can't continue forever.

So, the issue is so serious in Pakistan that Islamabad is willing to trade its nuclear weapons for a good price on Saudi oil.

Regarding new generation Chinese missiles, in the late 1980's, the Saudis procured from China the Dongfeng 3 (CSS-2) surface-to-surface missile with conventional warheads. The Dongfeng 3 is an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), and it gave the Saudis the capability to strike Iran, Israel and other regional powers; the Dongfeng 3 is now quite obsolete, hence the need for newer Chinese missiles.

It is worth keeping in mind that in the 1980's, Iran and Iraq were at war, and one weapon often used in that war was surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. There was a reasonable assumption that the US could keep any situation from flaring up between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but Iran was a loose cannon in the Persian Gulf, and there was no love lost between Saudi Arabia and Iran. First, there was old-fashioned power politics (Arabs and Persians; oil); second, Iran's fanatical Shi'ism and Saudi Arabia's hateful Wahhabism don't mix, either.

Consequently, although Israel could be considered a nuclear threat to Saudi Arabia, it is far more likely that the Saudis had Iran in mind when developing their surface-to-surface ballistic missile program, hoping to deter the SSM's that Iran already had and was using against Iraq.

Continuing with the 2003 article Saudi Arabia's nuclear gambit:

There are numerous motives for this deal, as reported by different sources. In the Saudi case there is evidently growing disengagement with Washington due to the "war on terrorism" and the war on Iraq. These events have created an atmosphere where Saudi elites evidently feel less inclined to rely on American protection in the face of regional threats, specifically the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear weapon. They also see no pressure from Washington being directed against Israel's nuclear arsenal, even though there is no sign or even consideration of an attack on Saudi Arabia. They also clearly resent the evidence of a Saudi connection to al-Qaeda and accusations against them of less than wholehearted cooperation with Washington and other Western capitals in efforts to break up al-Qaeda and its source of financing.

Some Saudis probably are serious about battling terrorists, but, sorry -- where there's Wahhabi hatred....

At the same time, Saudi Arabia has refused to stop supporting the financing of Palestinian terrorism, even as its officials and elites' ties through various intermediary organizations to al-Qaeda remain a source of anxiety to Western and Israeli officials. Nor is it only Pakistan that Saudi Arabia might use as a source for nuclear weapons. Speculation by Jane's that Saudi Prince Abdullah's recent visit to Moscow might indicate an interest in arms trading with Russia, and it also raised the possibility of Saudi Arabia buying an entire weapon rather than technology.

Pakistan's fears of an Israeli-Indian alliance are well known and out in the open. As India is reported to have some 200-400 nuclear weapons, Pakistan is seeking equalizers to deter India, and weapons located outside India's targeting reach offer that possibility. At the same time, because its other oil sources are located in areas that might be unreliable, like the Gulf or Central Asia, a deal with Saudi Arabia eases fears of an energy boycott or blockade in time of crisis.

The links between Israel and India seem to slip under the American public's radar.

Even farther under the radar were the ties between New Dehli and Saddam's Baghdad.

Another consideration is that a possible Saudi nuclear deterrent might also check Iran, with whom Pakistan has issues, especially over Afghanistan. Thus, a possible Riyadh-Islamabad axis would offer those two capitals, both of which continue to sponsor terrorism in Palestine and Kashmir respectively, a way to check India and its allies or partners, Iran and Israel.

It is important to keep in mind the role of China. India is a strategic opponent of China; China is the source of the Saudi IRBM's; China is a supplier of military equipment to Pakistan, China is helping Pakistan in various economic and industrial endeavors -- in short, China and Pakistan are close allies.

Currently, China is investing heavily in developing the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, which is a very large province in the west of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, on the Arabian Sea at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Thus, while important for a variety of reasons, perhaps some of the key reasons that Gwadar is important are that it offers Pakistan a deepwater port for trade and power projection toward the Persian Gulf, enhancing its ties with regional allies, and making its shipping (including imports of oil) and any naval units based there less vulnerable to Indian attack in the event of war -- goals which are in China's strategic interests as well.

Returning to the 2003 article Saudi Arabia's nuclear gambit:

Although both governments have firmly denied these allegations of nuclear cooperation, the explosion of reports from different sources in the US and Europe, many allegedly based on sources with access to these governments, appears to have some basis in reality.

Reportedly, President George W Bush and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage have confronted Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and other officials about these reports. Certainly, if they possess any element of truth, the news would represent a further escalation of the proliferation threat, but this time it would be clear that one is dealing with states which sponsor terrorism as proliferators.

Obviously, that kind of transformation of the proliferation situation raises the possibility of several more crises in different regions of the world, all of which could occur in relatively simultaneous fashion and which would all involve the linked threats of either terrorists with access to nuclear weapons or states possessing those weapons which extend their protection and deterrence to those terrorists.

Furthermore, there are still more considerations. If one looks at the history of Pakistan's nuclear program there immediately arises the issue of Pakistan's widely-reported assistance to North Korea, which at the same time is apparently proliferating missiles all over the Middle East. Adding Saudi Arabia to this chain of proliferators only extends the process of secondary or tertiary proliferation by which new nuclear powers assist other nuclear "wannabes" to reach that state. Thus, the threat expressed by the US of being at the crossroads of radicalism and technology becomes that much more real.

That's it in a nutshell.

Then, as I alluded to above:

Finally, there is the role of China. Beijing has been the main foreign supplier to Pakistan, and has a long record of supplying missiles to Saudi Arabia. Although some analysts claim that China is becoming a good citizen of the proliferation regime, and certainly now shows considerable anxiety about Pyongyang, its military ties to Pakistan remain as robust as ever, if not stronger.

The history of Chinese policies to orchestrate a network of such secondary and tertiary proliferation to include North Korea, Pakistan and Iran, and the reports that the missiles involved in this Saudi-Pakistani deal come from China, all lead one to ponder to what degree China knows about this relationship and supports it as another way of weakening the US by undermining its alliances and by disseminating nuclear know-how around the world to multiply potential threats to American forces and capabilities abroad.

While one cannot know what role China may have here; it is clear that this issue of a Saudi-Pakistani connection has the potential to become a major threat to many states and to trigger another international crisis in both the Middle East and South Asia. If there is anything the world does not need now it is a further escalation of the threat posed by proliferation to and from states with a record of extensive support for terrorism against their neighbors.

"If there is anything the world does not need now it is a further escalation of the threat posed by proliferation to and from states with a record of extensive support for terrorism against their neighbors."

And now, Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in Pakistan, causing just that.

The China connection is particularly interesting in light of what the Army's Information Dominance Center came up with through Able Danger in the 1999-2000 time frame. As addressed in previous posts (see Information Dominance, Part 7 and Information Dominance, Part 4), while this automated Able Danger system was going through open source information looking for leads and connections dealing with Al Qaeda, it came up with Condoleeza Rice's name in connection with proliferation to China.

How bizarre!

Bizarre, unless one considers 1) the connections described here among China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and 2) the A. Q. Khan network addressed in The Islamic Bomb, Part 1.

It should be recalled from Part 1 that the Bush Administration did not cooperate with the Congressional hearing on Khan's network, nor did Bush pressure Islamabad for access to Khan so international investigators could question him.

Perhaps Able Danger's result -- connecting Condoleeza Rice to Chinese proliferation while investigating Al Qaeda -- is not so bizarre after all.

Perhaps Bush, Rice et al., deliberately decided not to pursue the Khan issue for the same reason they shut down inquiries regarding Able Danger: because they already knew where it would lead -- to their buddies in Riyadh, and ultimately to themselves in Washington.

Perhaps this is the same reason the Bush Administration has gagged Sibel Edmonds -- to cover up international criminal activity, involving terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering and the nuclear black market.

Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

Reports now blame Al Qaeda, and possibly the Taliban, for the death of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. Here are some excerpts.

Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto killing by Syed Saleem Shahzad Dec 29, 2007:

KARACHI - "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat mujahideen." These were the words of al-Qaeda’s top commander for Afghanistan operations and spokesperson Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, immediately after the attack that claimed the life of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto on Thursday (December 27).


"This is our first major victory against those [eg, Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf] who have been siding with infidels [the West] in a fight against al-Qaeda and declared a war against mujahideen," Mustafa told Asia Times Online by telephone.


Bhutto was the only Pakistani leader who regularly spoke against al-Qaeda.

Taliban, al-Qaida blamed in Bhutto death by ASHRAF KHAN, Associated Press Writer:

"We have the evidence that al-Qaida and Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto," Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz said.


Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said that on Friday, the government recorded an "intelligence intercept" in which militant leader Baitullah Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act."

But, does that make sense?

Main suspects are warlords and security forces by Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent, December 28, 2007:

The main suspects in the assassination are the foreign and Pakistani Islamist militants who saw Ms Bhutto as a Westernised heretic and an American stooge, and had repeatedly threatened to kill her.

But fingers will also be pointed at the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, (ISI) which has had close ties to the Islamists since the 1970s and has been used by successive Pakistani leaders to suppress political opposition. Ms Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in October, when a suicide bomber struck at a rally in Karachi to welcome her back from exile.

Earlier that month two Pakistani militant warlords based in the country's northwestern areas had threatened to kill her.

One was Baitullah Mehsud, a top militant commander fighting the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan, who has ties to al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taleban. The other was Haji Omar, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought with the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

So the Islamist militants are certainly implicated, and that's not surprising. After all, "Bhutto was the only Pakistani leader who regularly spoke against al-Qaeda."

Ms Bhutto said after the attack that she had received a letter, signed by someone claiming to be a friend of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, threatening to slaughter her like a goat. But she also accused Pakistani authorities of not providing her with sufficient security, and hinted that they may have been complicit in the Karachi attack.

She indicated that she had more to fear from unidentified members of a power structure that she described as allies of the "forces of militancy".

Analysts say that President Musharraf is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the Army and intelligence service stood to lose money and power if she became prime minister. The ISI includes some Islamists who became radicalised while running the American-funded campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan and were opposed to her on principle. Saudi Arabia is also thought to have frowned on Ms Bhutto as being too secular and Westernised and to have favoured Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister.

Agreed that Mushy "is unlikely to have ordered her assassination," and tellingly true "that elements of the Army and intelligence service stood to lose money and power if she became prime minister."

As we learned in The Islamic Bomb, Part 1, Musharraf basically shut down the inquiry into A. Q. Khan's nuclear black market network.

What would have happened if Bhutto had come back into power?

Not only would there presumably have been some real fighting against the Islamist militants -- Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies in the Pakistani military -- but perhaps this nuclear black market might have finally come under some scrutiny.

As it is, we know Mushy is trying to have it both ways, seemingly doing enough about Al Qaeda to keep Western public opinion quiet, but not enough to seriously jeopardize Pakistan's ties with Al Qaeda, and thus Al Qaeda's use of Pakistan as a base.

Bhutto's assassination, apparently at the hands of Al Qaeda, serves multiple purposes:

1) Al Qaeda is once again in the news as the boogey man;

2) Democratization can be seen as playing into the hands of the militants, empowering Mushy to crack down again -- not on the terrorists, but on those who call for democratization; and

3) No significant change in power in Pakistan means Khan's nuclear network will continue to work the backroom deals so vital to keeping the Islamic world armed and to keeping Pakistan in good graces with Saudi Arabia.

Again from Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto killing by Syed Saleem Shahzad Dec 29, 2007:

Bhutto returned to Pakistan in the face of death threats from Islamist militants. Within 24 hours of landing in Karachi on October 18, she narrowly escaped with her life when two bombs were detonated near her motorcade, killing at least 130 people.

Addressing a press conference the following day, a defiant Bhutto pointed to the involvement of Pakistan's intelligence agencies in the attack.

Pakistan's ISI was behind this one. Al Qaeda was probably a bunch of witting dupes, and Mushy is likely a dupe-after-the-fact.

A snip from Al-Qaeda's New Terror Tactic? by BRUCE CRUMLEY/PARIS, December 28, 2007:

"Going after a well-protected leader or politician is harder, so the situation has to be just right," says a French intelligence official. "That usually means ambient chaos, possible help from within security forces, and good chance of success."

All those elements may have been in place ahead of the attack on Bhutto. The problem is determining exactly who exploited them. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had both previously threatened her for her pledges to modernize Pakistan, and promises to allow U.S. forces to hunt down jihadists on Pakistani soil. Military and intelligence forces in the country also considered her a threat. (Members of both Pakistani agencies have long been accused of ties with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.) Even members of the Musharraf government viewed Bhutto with hostility in the run-up to the Jan. 8 elections.

"So many people had a motive for killing her it's impossible to know who was responsible despite the theories and claims now being made," says the intelligence official. "There is so much scheming and double-dealing in Pakistan that the country is the analyst's worst nightmare. We may never really know what group was responsible, and what kind of help it got."

New SAMs for Iran

Here's a good one -- Iran to get missile system from Russia: report, Wednesday, December 26th, 2007:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Russia has agreed to sell an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Iran's defense minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday, a report likely to irritate the United States.

S-300 missiles are longer-ranging than the TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles which Russia, in a deal criticized by the West, earlier this year said it had delivered to the Islamic Republic under a $1 billion contract.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions over its refusal to halt sensitive atomic work that Western powers suspect it wants to master so that it can build nuclear bombs, but they do not ban conventional weapons sales to the country.

"The S-300 system, under a contract signed in the past with Russia, will be delivered to Iran," Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar told Fars News Agency, without giving details.

"The timing of the delivery ... will be announced later," he said. The ISNA news agency carried a similar report.

The United States and Israel -- Tehran's arch foes -- have said Iran could use the TOR-M1 system to attack its neighbors. Russia says it is a short-range system and purely defensive.

The S-300 is a more modern surface-to-air missile system which will make it more costly to conduct airstrikes on defended parts of Iran. Since Israel would likely only conduct an airstrike, and any US activity would be at a minimum heavily dependent upon airpower, this is a significant increase in Iran's ability to deter US or Israeli military strikes.


The S-300 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems by the Almaz Scientific Industrial Corporation all based on the initial S-300P version. It was developed as a system against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Anti-Air Defence branch of the military, but later variations were also developed to intercept ballistic missiles.

The closest western equivalent is the United States of America MIM-104 Patriot system or the US Navy RIM-66 Standard Missile 2 (SM-2). Both systems can engage multiple targets simultaneously, employ advanced guidance methods, and rely on a single phased array guidance radar to guide the missiles in the air. The S-300 deployment time is five minutes.[1] The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime.

Continuing with Iran to get missile system from Russia: report:

Najjar said last month Iran would never launch an attack against another country but warned that anybody trying to invade Iran would "face a crushing response."

Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian arms firms have aggressively pushed sales abroad as the Kremlin seeks to reassert its role as a global power in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Russia's drive to boost arms exports have raised tensions with the United States, which last year imposed sanctions on Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport for cooperating with Iran, a move Moscow has called illegal.

The United States is pushing for a third set of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its disputed atomic activities, even though a U.S. intelligence report this month said Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Iran says it has never had plans to build nuclear bombs, insisting its program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity so that it can export more of its oil and gas.

Russia said on December 17 it had delivered the first shipment of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr power plant in southern Iran, a step Moscow and Washington said should persuade Tehran to shut down its own controversial uranium enrichment program, which can have both civilian and military uses.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, Writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Richard Meares)

Iran has now gotten its second fuel shipment, as well.

Kosovo at Year's End

Here, in its entirety, is Messy Kosovo breakaway stokes fear of partition by Matt Robinson, December 28, 2007:

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia is telling Serbs in Kosovo to ignore an Albanian declaration of independence early next year, raising the prospect of an ethnic partition of the breakaway province that the West has long ruled out.

Serbs dominate a thin slice of northern Kosovo, frustrating efforts by leaders of Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority and their U.N. overseers to extend control over the entire territory of Serbia's southern province.

Kosovo's 2 million Albanians are expected to declare independence in the first months of 2008, almost nine years since NATO drove out Serb forces to halt the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in a Serb counter-insurgency war.

This term "ethnic cleansing" has been bantered about so much that it has lost its effect. Any military-style act by a Serb is now classified as "ethnic cleansing".

The Albanians have Western backing after almost two years of failed Serb-Albanian negotiations. But the flag-raising is unlikely to extend beyond the Ibar river that slices through the flashpoint town of Mitrovica, forming a natural boundary between Serbs in the north and Albanians in the south.

Beyond formally rejecting Kosovo's secession, Serbia promises to "intensify" a network of parallel structures that service the 120,000 remaining Serbs. It has opened a government office in north Mitrovica, to U.N. accusations of "provocation."

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, promoting a resolution implicitly rejecting EU and NATO membership if the two recognize Kosovo, told parliament this week Serbs in Kosovo "should ignore any unilateral declaration as an illegal act."

It is the international community that is cowering before the mafiosos that run Kosovo, and that is provoking Serbia.

Cabinet minister Mladjan Dinkic was more explicit on Friday. Western recognition of Kosovo "would certainly open the question of Serbs living in Kosovo and it would lead to the necessary integration (into Serbia) of the territories where Serbs live," he said.


Dinkic, Serbia's economy minister and a pro-Western reformer, told the Belgrade daily Blic that Kosovo's secession would also reopen the question of the Serb Republic half of neighboring Bosnia "and its integration with Serbia."

Serbia has hinted broadly at the possible breakup of postwar Bosnia, in a tactic meant to scare the West off Kosovo.

But Albanians in Kosovo are also not beyond using the taboo prospect of "Greater" ethnic states to drive their argument for independence and warn Serbia to keep its hands off the north.

"Albanians live in four countries other than Albania," outgoing Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku was quoted as saying this week, in reference to Kosovo and Serbia's southern Presevo Valley, western Macedonia and Montenegro.

"If Kosovo is partitioned along ethnic lines, those would want to discuss uniting with Albania," he said.

Talk of a Greater Albania, officially rejected by Albania and played down by most ethnic Albanian leaders, is unlikely to go down well in Western capitals. It would appear to justify their fear of partition as an almost certain trigger for Balkan land swaps and forced population movements.

"It would appear to justify their fear of partition as an almost certain trigger for Balkan land swaps and forced population movements." -- Similar to what happened in the Nazi era.

But the failure of the Western states with the lion's share of responsibility for running Kosovo to extend their control over the renegade Serb north means they will be faced with the territory's de facto partition whether they like it or not.

Half of Kosovo's Serb community lives in scattered enclaves south of the Ibar, but the rest are in the north with their backs to Serbia proper. It has been off-limits to Albanian leaders since NATO peacekeepers deploying in 1999 set down a dividing line at the Ibar to separate the fighting factions.

Serbia has cemented that divide ever since.

Serbia should have cemented the divide at the Serbian border, including (as opposed to excluding) the region of Kosovo -- but that was difficult amidst cries of "ethnic cleansing" and a rain of NATO bombs.

I quote here in its entirety a recent work by Dr. Trifkovic -- The Kosovo Drama Escalates by Srdja Trifkovic, December 20, 2007:

A deeply divided UN Security Council failed to break the deadlock over Kosovo on Wednesday. Russia and China remain adamant that there can be no imposed solution, and no valid proclamation of independence outside the Security Council framework. The United States, Britain and France—which support Kosovo's independence—say further talks between the parties are pointless. They appear intent on encouraging Pristina's unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) and its subsequent recognition through NATO and the European Union, thus bypassing the Russian veto at the UN.

The exact timing of Kosovo's UDI will depend on Serbia's domestic politics. Almost a year ago, the unveiling of the infamous Ahtisaari plan—the blueprint for the province's illegal secession from Serbia—was delayed by the United States and her West European allies from January 1, 2007, until after the parliamentary election in Serbia on January 21. The reason was frankly stated in Washington and Brussels: the need to help the "pro-Western, reformist" Democratic Party (DS) of President Boris Tadic in its bid to secure as many seats in the national legislature as possible by pushing its old agenda of "Euro-Atlantic [i.e., EU-NATO] integrations."

It was assumed, reasonably enough, that Tadic's starry-eyed Europhoric supporters may have second thoughts about continuing their support for Serbia's integration into those same institutions that underwrite and condone amputation of one-seventh of her sovereign territory for the benefit of a bunch of Albanian heroin kingpins.

We are witnessing the same ploy all over again. Tadic and his allies in the Assembly of Serbia have conspired with the European Union to gerrymander a "quickie" presidential election on January 20, in order to preempt the looming unilateral declaration of "independence" by Kosovo and the subsequent recognition by the United States and some of the EU countries.

Just one day after the election was announced—illegally and unconstitutionally, according to Prime Minister Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), which is still DS's partner in the current coalition—a top EU official was quoted as saying that "it may take until the spring" before the status of Kosovo is finally determined.

The DS, the Bush Administration, and the EU bureaucratic machine have a common agenda in pushing ahead with the election now. If the presidential race is over before Kosovo declares its independence, Hashim Thaci's pending declaration, aided and abetted by Washington and Brussels, supposedly won’t impact the outcome of the race. Tadic gets duly reelected, to provide a "reasonable" voice in the Serbian leadership that will not veer away from the cherished Euro-integrations come what may.

Cheat me once, shame on you; cheat me twice, shame on me. The latest public opinion surveys indicate that Serbia will not fall for the same ruse again. Most people reject "integration" into the European Union—let alone NATO—on the condition of self-mutilation. If the European Union persists in its transparent attempt to recognize Kosovo's pending illegal secession by default, it will be actively opposed by Serbia. As Kostunica declared at his UN Security Council address on Wednesday, any unilateral declaration of independence would be “null and void” and would never be recognized by Serbia.

All negotiations on Kosovo were doomed to fail because the U.S. Administration had declared from the outset that independence was the preordained outcome which would be reached "one way or another" (in the memorable phrase of Dr. Rice). The Kosovo Albanian leaders—a repellant crew of war criminals and dope peddlers with jihadist ties—could afford to sit back and dismiss out of hand any proposal that fell short of what the Americans had promised.

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who will retain his post regardless of the outcome of the presidential contest, has a number of options if this happens. They range from the blockade of the secessionist province—which gets two-thirds of its food and consumer goods and essential electricity supplies from central and northern Serbia—to the declaration, supported by parliamentary vote, that Serbia is no longer seeking EU membership (let alone that of NATO) and would henceforth develop closer political, economic and military ties with the resurgent Russia. Breaking off or severely downgrading diplomatic relations will those countries that recognize Kosovo, and effecting the province's partition by Belgrade while continuing to claim sovereign rights over all of it, is also imminent.

Serbia's response will have a limited impact on the countries outside the region, but that will not be the end of the story. Russia, China and India, and dozens of Asian and African countries with secessionist problems—including South Africa and the most populous predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia—will deem the move illegal and invalid. The theory that outside powers can award part of a state’s sovereign territory to a violent ethnic or religious minority, only if that minority is able to provoke a violent government response and secure a "humanitarian" intervention from abroad, would put in question the borders of at least two-dozen states.

Yes, pro-Albanian lobbyists will say, but the Serbs' mistreatment of their Albanian minority has disqualified Belgrade from running the province ever again. Well, first of all, there has never been any "genocide" in Kosovo by any definition. At it very peak in 1998 it was a medium-sized local conflict that killed some 2,000 people on all sides: as lethal, proportionate to the population, as the lethal crime in Washington, D.C., during that same period.

By accepting at face value the standard claim of "genocide" by, say, Tamils, Chechens, Palestinians, Kurds, Kashmiris, etc., etc., the "International Community" (i.e., the United States and a few pliant West Europeans) will create endless problems for itself. Furthermore, the theory that parts of a state's sovereign territory should belong to a "discriminated against" ethnic or religious minority with a localized plurality would also be an argument for the extension of "Aztlan" or La Repubblica del Norte to the Bay Area, Denver and Dallas.

Several EU member-countries (Spain, Slovakia, Rumania, Greece, Cyprus, Malta . . . ) will not toe the line whatever Brussels says. Israel is understandably apprehensive of the precedent that a solution to an intractable political and territorial quarrel can and should be imposed by outside countries, even if one of the parties rejects the proposed solution as contrary to its vital national interests.

On balance, U.S.-sponsored Republic of "Kosova"—while apparently difficult to avoid at the moment—is likely to be as stillborn legally as it is already collapsed economically, socially and morally.

We are facing yet another Balkan drama of mainly American making that promises to be . . . well, interesting, which is to say highly destabilizing for the region, detrimental to European security and incomprehensible to at least half the world.

State Department bureaucrats still claim that Kosovo would not set a precedent, but their words cannot change reality: it will. The "frozen conflicts" in the former Soviet Union may be defrosted with a bang, and the best Kosovo could hope for is to become a frozen conflict itself.

The only beneficiaries to this will be arms dealers and drug runners.

An independent Kosovo, aside from doing very serious injury to international law due to the way in which it gained its independence, will only be a hot-spot for criminal activity and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in the Balkans.

As the Balkans descend into further instability and move towards another regional war, the arms industry will gain important new clients, and contraband smugglers will find it easier to move narcotics, kidnapped sex slaves, and other commodities through the region.

Sibel Edmonds spoke of US foreign policy being held subservient to the interests of arms- and narcotics-trafficking and other criminal activities. Well, here we see it happening.

Find the guy in Washington who has been pushing for an independent Kosovo, and you have found a recipient of bribes from foreign heroin traffickers.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Islamic Bomb, Part 1

By now, you likely have heard that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today in Pakistan.

Now for some history.

The House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations (now the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as of the 110th Congress), of the 109th Congress held a hearing on Thursday, May 25, 2006, entitled THE A.Q. KHAN NETWORK: CASE CLOSED? The Chairman of the Committee, the Hon. Edward R. Royce, was presiding. (I fixed a couple of typos.)

Mr. ROYCE. This hearing will come to order. The title of the hearing today is, "The A.Q. Khan Network: Is the case closed?" and that is what we want to explore, and that is why we have these witnesses here with us.

The A.Q. Khan network has been described as the "Wal-Mart of private sector proliferation for the world." Its handiwork has helped deliver to us two of the most threatening security challenges faced in the West, one is North Korea and the other is Iran.

"Its handiwork has helped deliver to us two of the most threatening security challenges faced in the West, one is North Korea and the other is Iran."

That's the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil -- the third was, of course, Hussein's Iraq.

A.Q. Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan's bomb, for over a decade ran a sophisticated and multinational clandestine network built around Pakistan's own nuclear weapons program, which provided advanced nuclear enrichment technology and expertise to a number of hostile countries, as well as to Libya, and perhaps others.

Khaddafy-duck may be "dethpicable", but he knows how to sniff the wind and change sides at an opportune moment.

In October 2003, Italian authorities seized sophisticated centrifuge components bound for Libya aboard the ship BBC China, forcing the Pakistan Government and President Musharraf to confront A.Q. Khan and to confront A.Q. Khan's cohorts publicly. This should have been done years earlier.

Khan's network has done incalculable and potentially catastrophic damage to international security. It has opened an era in which many states, including among the most unstable and most hostile to the U.S., can now expect to develop nuclear weapons. This is the grim legacy of A.Q. Khan.

Here we are going after these nations for developing weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq was invaded for that reason, although the evidence was disputed at the time, and has not since been found.

Iran is being threatened over this very issue.

North Korea is safe for the moment, in part because the Bush Administration is already tied up in Iraq and seems to have its sights on neighboring Iran anyway.

Perhaps more to the point, though, is that Pyongyang claims to already have nuclear weapons.

It is far less scary to invade a country that is claimed to be developing nuclear weapons than it is to invade a country that may already have them.

Bush can sniff the wind pretty well, too.

United States policy rightly attempts to work with and pressure the Pakistan Government on counterterrorism, proliferation and other concerns, but not to a destabilizing degree. The possibility of radical Islamists seizing control of Pakistan's Government and nuclear arsenal is a serious concern.

Four months after the BBC China was interdicted, Khan appeared on Pakistani television, and on that show he apologized. The following day, President Musharraf apparently felt compelled to call Khan a national hero. Or does he believe that? I wonder.

This month, Pakistan released Mohammad Farooq, who allegedly was responsible for coordinating the Khan network's foreign supply activities. He was the last of 12 or so detainees being held for their network involvement. There have been no Pakistani prosecutions of Khan's network members. Khan himself was pardoned by President Musharraf, and that sent a very unfortunate signal to would-be proliferators.

At the time of Farooq's release, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced in so many words that the Khan case was closed. It also said that Khan would remain off limits to foreign investigations, despite requests by the IAEA, the U.S. and others to interview him.

Pakistan receives some 700 million annually in United States aid. President Bush has designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally. Given this support, the grave consequences of Khan's acts and his role in the Iranian military crisis of today, the United States and the international community should expect more from Pakistan's Government.

Khan claims to have acted without Pakistani Government support, yet former Pakistani President Zia spoke about acquiring and sharing nuclear technology, in his words, with the entire Islamic world. Khan advanced Zia's mission well. Some of Khan's exports were transported by Pakistani military aircraft. Many ask how can the network aggressively market its nuclear products, including the glossy brochures, without Pakistan's Government taking notice?

Either the Pakistani Government was complicit to some degree, or Khan was able to proliferate enrichment technology for years without attracting its attention. Both scenarios are deeply troubling. In light of what is now known about the Khan network, we should be gravely concerned about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The idea that Pakistan should be offered the same civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement being proposed for India is a non-starter.

"In light of what is now known about the Khan network, we should be gravely concerned about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal."

Some question whether the A.Q. Khan network is truly out of business, asking if it is not merely hibernating. We would be foolish to rule out that chilling possibility. Vigilance and greater international pressure on Pakistan to air out the Khan network is in order, and that is what we intend to begin today.

I would like to turn to the Ranking Member of this Committee, Mr. Brad Sherman, for any opening statement he might have.

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of Congress is to ask the questions the Administration doesn't want to answer, and the proof that we are fulfilling that duty is the fact that we are talking about A.Q. Khan and the Bush Administration hasn't sent anyone to these hearings. There is no greater proof that they would prefer that we simply say that the case has been closed.

Here is the guy who armed two of the three members of Bush's Axis of Evil.

Bush went to war because he claimed Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. Possibly the only reason why he hasn't invaded Iran is because Iraq hasn't gone as well as had been hoped.

Yet, Bush seems uninterested in the guy who helped provide the nuclear technology to his Axis of Evil -- the very nuclear technology he has gone to war over. He didn't even send a representative to Congress for hearings on this guy!


Pakistan warns against nuclear weapons grab by Staff Writers, Islamabad (AFP) Nov 12, 2007

Pakistan warned Monday it had sufficient "retaliatory capacity" to defend its nuclear weapons, after a report the United States had made contingency plans to stop them falling into the wrong hands. Denouncing "irresponsible conjecture," the foreign ministry said Pakistan was ready and able to defend its nuclear arsenal and there was no risk of the arms being taken.

Its reaction followed a Washington Post report that with Pakistan in the throes of a political crisis, the United States had drawn up contingency plans in case the Pakistani military risked losing control of the weapons.

"If there is any threat to our nuclear assets and sovereignty, we have the capacity to defend ourselves," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told AFP.

A ministry statement went further, saying in response to the daily's report that "suffice it to say that Pakistan possesses adequate retaliatory capacity to defend its strategic assets and sovereignty."

Given the ongoing crisis in Pakistan, which, since the publishing of the article being quoted has heightened with the Bhutto assassination, Pakistan's position should be one of cooperating with the international community to ensure the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

Instead, the concern is about Pakistan's sovereignty, and protecting that sovereignty from possible US infringement.

The ministry strongly denied its weapons were at any risk. "Our strategic assets are as safe as that of any other nuclear weapons state," it said.

A number of US officials and lawmakers have voiced concern that President Pervez Musharraf's government could lose control over its nuclear arsenal amid the crisis triggered by his imposition of a state of emergency.

I wonder if the assassination today of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto makes everyone


comfortable about those nukes.

The Post cited several former US officials saying that the plans envision efforts to remove a nuclear weapon at imminent risk of falling into the hands of terrorists.

Of course, some terrorists already have nuclear weapons.

However it reported that US officials were worried their limited knowledge about the location of the arsenal could pose a problem.

That was laughed off by the Pakistani foreign ministry.

"If they cannot locate Pakistan's nuclear weapons despite their satellites, how can people sitting on a mountain know where they are," it said.

Ah, but there are non-Pakistani players who know exactly where Pakistan's nuclear weapons are.

Pakistan, a crucial Washington ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has amassed some 50 nuclear weapons since detonating its first atomic devices in May 1998.

There is no doubt that Pakistan is a crucial ally in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Now, if we only knew whose ally they are....

But, what terrorists have nuclear weapons?

And, who else besides the Pakistanis knows about Pakistan's nuclear weapons?

Ah, but this is a long post already -- stay tuned for Part 2, under a new label entitled Islamic Bomb!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kurds in the Way, Part 3

The PKK is a marxist-oriented organization. As such, its appeal among Kurds in Turkey seems to be less than that of organizations that stress more Islamic ideology. From TURKEY’S KURDS OPT FOR ISLAM OVER THE PKK by Gareth Jenkins, Tuesday, August 7, 2007:

The results of the Turkish general election of July 22 suggest that Turkey’s Kurdish minority is looking increasingly to Islam rather than the secular nationalism of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) is generally regarded by both its opponents and its supporters as being very closely associated with the PKK (EDM, July 27). [snip]

Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces have traditionally been not only the most underdeveloped in the country but also the most devout. The PKK was founded as an explicitly Marxist organization. In recent years it has downplayed its communist credentials in favor of secular Kurdish nationalism. But to the majority of Turkey’s Kurds it is regarded as being, at best, indifferent to Islam and, at worst, anti-Islam. During the early 1990s the PKK even fought a war against the most powerful violent Islamist organization in eastern Turkey, the Turkish Hezbollah, which is unrelated to the Lebanese organization of the same name.


In recent years, other non-violent Islamist organizations, such as the Sufi brotherhoods known as tariqah, have also stepped up their activities in eastern and southeastern Turkey. The most active has been the Naqshabandi, which, like Hezbollah, has been vigorously conducting propaganda activities and social work in the region, including soup kitchens, free Koran courses and scholarships and subsidized housing in dormitories for students wishing to attend university in western Turkey. Although there are no organic links between the Naqshabandi and the AK Party, many of its leading members, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have close ties with the order. In conversations with Jamestown, leading Naqshabandis have never made any secret of their support for the AK Party.

In comparison, the DTP lacks both the financial resources and the ideological appeal of either militant organizations like Hezbollah or the Sufi orders. The DTP’s brand of secular nationalism is a very new phenomenon for Turkey’s Kurds. The results of the July 22 election suggest that it is already losing ground to Islam.

The bottom line is that the PKK has long been designated a terrorist organization by the United States. Perhaps that helps explain why the US is cooperating with Turkey to attack it.

From Turkey says U.S. intelligence led to Iraq raids, 20.12.07 04:31:

(Reuters) - U.S. intelligence shared with Turkey led to the weekend raids in northern Iraq on Kurdish militants, Turkey's ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday.

"There is no doubt that this operation was possible due to, of course, the information shared by the United States of America," Turkey's Ambassador Nabi Sensoy told reporters.

He declined to say whether the United States had directly pinpointed targets for Turkish warplanes but he said the U.S. intelligence-sharing was very important.

The Pentagon has said Washington gave Turkey intelligence to track Kurdish fighters hiding in Iraq, but would not say whether it gave precise targets used in the raids.

But what might be the ramifications of this? The PKK is a terrorist organization, but not an Islamic terrorist organization. In some ways, it is a natural enemy of Al Qaeda, which is opposed to secularism and marxism.

The ambassador said the Turkish offensive in northern Iraq on Sunday involved about 50 fighter jets that launched two waves of attacks against positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

He said the attacks had seriously damaged infrastructure used by the PKK. "This must be a strong message to the PKK terrorists that the Turkish military is capable of tracking them down wherever they might be under any weather conditions, any time of the year," Sensoy said.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the U.S. military was given ample notification of the air strikes from Turkey via a joint coordination center set up in Ankara.

"This (center) has been open for some months now, I think it dates back to this summer, in which you have Turkish military personnel along with U.S. military personnel working to share intelligence," said Morrell.

Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since it began an armed struggle for a separate Kurdish homeland in 1984. It says some 3,000 PKK fighters are based in camps in northern Iraq.

Understandably, Turkey will not want to allow the PKK a safe haven.

Sensoy did not rule out further raids based on U.S. intelligence-sharing.

"This is not a once-and-for-all operation but I think it has served its purpose because of the fact that all of the targets have been hit with precision," said the ambassador.

"The ultimate target is the elimination of the PKK terrorist organization and Turkey will do whatever is necessary to achieve that," he added.

The United States has been trying to get Turkey and Iraq to cooperate over eradicating the PKK via a so-called tripartite mechanism involving the three countries.

Sensoy said this group had not produced any tangible results so far and the Iraqi government had failed to cooperate.

"I do hope that arrangement will be more useful to both sides in the future and that will depend on the determination of the Iraqi side," he added.

Turkey has also been critical in the past of what it saw as a lack of U.S. cooperation in trying to root out the PKK in northern Iraq but Sensoy said his government was happy with recent intelligence-sharing that followed a meeting last month between the U.S. president and Turkish premier in Washington.

But he said European countries such as Denmark, France and Austria must do more to curb PKK activities.

For example, he said Denmark was allowing a television station based on its territory to broadcast news on behalf of the PKK.

Also, US backs military strikes on PKK Tuesday, 25 December, 2007:

US President George W. Bush Monday spoke to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and stressed their common fight against Kurdish rebels operating out of Iraq, officials said.

White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the two leaders spoke by telephone, while Turkish news agency Anatolia said Bush gave his backing for military strikes on bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"The president and the prime minister exchanged greetings and best wishes for the New Year," Johndroe said.

'Working together'

"They also discussed their common efforts to fight terrorism, and the importance of the United States, Turkey and Iraq working together to confront the PKK," he said.

According to Anatolia, the two men hailed the cooperation in Ankara's battle against the outlawed PKK, which has seen Turkey launch air raids and a limited ground incursion into northern Iraq.

They agreed to continue sharing intelligence and again classed the PKK as a "common enemy", Anatolia said, stressing that Erdogan told Bush that Turkey's military operations were only targeting rebels.

In the wake of 9/11, the United States was targeting terrorist organizations that had a global reach. The PKK, while classified as a terrorist organization, never seemed to be on the list (?).

PKK headquarters bombed

The Turkish air force on December 16 bombed Qandil, the headquarters of some 3,500 PKK fighters according to Ankara, with a brief ground incursion the next day.

A second set of air raids took place on Saturday, with Turkish planes attacking rebel positions in the far northeast of Iraq again on Sunday.

No loss of life or damage was reported, according to Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish government security forces.

Long battle for self-rule

The Turkish military has yet to confirm Sunday's raids.

Since 1984, the PKK's armed rebellion against Turkey for Kurdish self-rule has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

The group is classed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The logical move for the PKK would be to retaliate against the US somehow.

The PKK no longer has a safe haven in Iraq, as Turkish forces are now attacking the PKK in Iraq, and doing so with US assistance. At this point, what does the PKK have to lose?

Since US forces are in Iraq, where the PKK operates, will this lead to PKK attacks on US forces there?

With the rest of Iraq seeming to quiet down, if the Kurdish areas suddenly erupt in anti-US violence, what would that mean for the Bush Administration, particularly in regards to the war in Iraq?

What does this mean for our troops?