Monthly Archives: March 2012

Arrogance of US Congress

Editor’s Note:A powerful article by A.G Noorani,seasoned columnist from Dawn .Also read: http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/1057

By:A.

 

THE political fallout of the highly offensive resolution on Balochistan, moved in the US House of Representatives by Dana Rohrabacher in February, is all but over.

What needs attention is a marked tendency in the US Congress, in the last two decades particularly, to pronounce on matters beyond its ken and competence and in wilful disregard of the interests and sentiments of other nations. It is this pattern of behaviour which demands notice and calls for strong censure. It affects the Third World as a whole.

There are three aspects to it namely, palpable and continuous violation of established rules of international law and the UN Charter; the responsibility in that law of the US government account to other states for the behaviour of Congress; and, more ominously, the political and diplomatic implications of congressional excess.

As Oppenheim’s classic on International Law says, “a state bears responsibility for its conduct in breach of its international obligations”.

Article 2 of the UN’s Charter lays down certain basic principles which bind its members. One (para 4) binds the members to refrain “from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”. The latter, a blanket ban, must be read with Article 1 which sets out those ‘purposes’. Chief among them is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights” of peoples.

As we shall see, the US Congress has been systematically fomenting regime change or secession or both in countries more than one; not by mere resolutions but by statutes, Acts of Congress.

This is incontestably a violation of international law. Equally incontestable, however, is the accountability of the US government for such transgressions to the aggrieved states. It cannot shirk its responsibility by pleading that it has no control over its legislature.

As Prof Ian Brownlie puts it, “a state cannot plead the principles of municipal law, including its constitution, in answer to an international claim”. The legislature is a vital part of state organisation. “It may happen that, particularly in the case of treaty obligations, the acts and omissions of the legislatures are without more creative of responsibility”; that is, if the legislature itself violates international law or a treaty. Oppenheim puts it even more clearly, that “a state bears full international responsibility for such legislative acts of parliaments as are contrary to international law”. The UN Charter is in law a binding treaty. Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is explicit. “A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as
justification for its failure to perform a treaty”.

The responsibility of the US is all the greater for the fact that successive administrations have merely gone along in the excesses by one Congress after another, for their own ends of domestic politics. The series of excesses should put the Third World on notice. How they react to an individual case is a matter of diplomatic prudence depending on the actual circumstances.

First in the series comes the Cuban Democracy Act, 1992. Its aim was made clear in the congressional ‘findings’ unique to American statutes. One such finding was to promote “a peaceful transition” in Cuba; i.e. regime change. Fidel Castro was unmoved.

In 1996 came the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act. Its declared purpose was “to seek international sanctions against the Castro government in Cuba, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba”.

The act was signed by the US president.

In 1996 was enacted also the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. The president was authorised to impose sanctions if a person had made an investment of $40m or more “that directly and significantly contributed to the enhancement of Iran’s ability to develop petroleum resources of Iran”. The same curb was applied to Libya. This law set a precedent.

The innovation continues to this day affecting many a state. The best statement of the law on this point was by Britain’s attorney-general, Sir John Hobson, on July 15, 1964. A state “acts in excess of its own jurisdiction when its measures purport to regulate acts which are done outside its territorial jurisdiction by persons who are not its own nationals and which have no, or no substantial effect within its territorial jurisdiction”.

The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 broke new ground by openly advocating regime change. Section 3 said “It should be the policy of the United States to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.” In the same arrogant spirit came the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.

These are open laws. However, Tim Weiner reported in the New York Times of Jan 26, 1996 that “a secret bill passed on Dec 31, 1995” authorised a “$18m covert action to change the nature of the government of Iran”. None can tell how many such bills were secretly enacted since and went unreported.

All this has passed muster because since 1992 the US emerged as the sole superpower. This further strengthened the myth of American exceptionalism. Its corollary, as the British lawyer, Philippe Sands, Q.C. put it “international law is only for others”.

The writer is an author and a lawyer based in Mumbai.

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American Morlocks: Another Civilian Massacre and the Savagery of Our Soldiers

The Independent UK reports today of Panetta having escaped  a bomb attack on his car during his “secret visit” to Afghanistan. By it’s ill conceived strategies, US has not only failed to play a role as a World Leader, in the true sense of the word,but sowed seeds of hatred where it has left foot prints. For news on attack on Panetta, click:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/attack-on-us-defence-chief-at-british-base-7570353.html

By Nima Shirazi

“Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare…there was an altogether new element in the sickening quality of the Morlocks — a something inhuman and malign…I wondered vaguely what foul villainy it might be that the Morlocks did under the new moon.”

– H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895

The bodies of Afghan civilians loaded into the back of a truck in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district of Kandahar (AFP)

March 14, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Nearly eight years ago, on April 1, 2004, former speech writer and Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, Peggy Noonan wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, where she was a contributing editor. It began like this (emphasis in original):

The world is used to bad news and always has been, but now and then there occurs something so brutal, so outside the normal limits of what used to be called man’s inhumanity to man, that you have to look away. Then you force yourself to look and see and only one thought is possible: This must stop now. You wonder, how can we do it? And your mind says, immediately: Whatever it takes.

The brutal, inhuman event she was referring to was the killing in the Iraqi city of Fallujah of four American civilian contractors, whose SUV wasambushed by rocket-propelled grenades the day before.  The four men, all employees of the infamous mercenary outfit Blackwater, were shot, their bodies burned, mutilated, and dragged through the streets in celebration.  The charred corpses of two of those killed that day were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.  The news, and accompanying photographs, sent shockwaves of horror and disgust through the United States and prompted endless editorials from coast to coast.

Noonan described “the brutalization of their corpses” as “savage, primitive, unacceptable” and decried that the “terrible glee of the young men in the crowds, and the sadism they evinced, reminds us of the special power of the ignorant to impede the good.” She wrote that the Iraqis responsible for such gruesome actions “take pleasure in evil, and they were not shy to show it. They are arrogant. They think barbarity is their right.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan condemned the killings as “despicable, horrific attacks” and “cowardly, hateful acts,” saying, “it was inexcusable the way those individuals were treated.” He called those responsible for the deaths “terrorists” and “a collection of killers” and vowed that “America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins.”

A few days later in the San Diego Union-Tribune, editor Robert J. Caldwell wrote of the “grisly horror,” the “shocking slaughter,” the “barbarism” and “butchery,” the “homicidal hatred,” and insisted that “if we permit atrocities like the one in Fallujah to drive the U.S.-led coalition into retreat and premature withdrawal” and “[i]f we falter in Iraq, we let the mob in Fallujah win.”  Similarly, Noonan suggested,

It would be good not only for elemental justice but for Iraq and its future if a large force of coalition troops led by U.S. Marines would go into Fallujah, find the young men, arrest them or kill them, and, to make sure the point isn’t lost on them, blow up the bridge.

Whatever the long-term impact of the charred bodies the short term response must be a message to Fallujah and to all the young men of Iraq: the violent and unlawful will be broken. Savagery is yesterday; it left with Saddam.

In fact, in retaliation, savagery returned with a vengeance as United States Marines immediately bombarded Fallujah, killing over 600 Iraqis, most of them women, children, and the elderly in the very first week of the assault in early April 2004, eleven months after George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.”  By the end of the year, after two massive assaults on the city by the U.S. military, over 2,000 Iraqis, including hundreds of women and children, had been killed by American soldiers, thousands more injured and at least 300,000 displaced.

Such is the American capacity for blood-thirsty revenge.

Nowhere has this vengeance been more tragically demonstrated than Afghanistan and upon an innocent and terrorized civilian population that bares absolutely no responsibility for the events that led the United States to invade and occupy the country over a decade ago.

According to the official U.S. government story, the attacks of September 11, 2001 were carried out by 19 hijackers, none of whom were from Afghanistan. Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and another from Lebanon. None of them lived in Afghanistan. They lived in Hamburg, Germany. They didn’t train in Afghanistan, but rather in Sarasota, Florida. They didn’t attend flight school in Afghanistan; their school was in Minnesota. The attacks were reportedly planned in many places, including Falls Church, Virginia and Paris, France, but not in Afghanistan.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan offered repeatedly “to hand bin Laden over to a neutral Islamic country for trial, if there is proof of his crimes.” In response, George W. Bush replied, “We know he’s guilty. Turn him over.”

On October 1, 2001, the Taliban repeated their offer, telling reporters in Pakistan, “We are ready for negotiations. It is up to the other side to agree or not. Only negotiation will solve our problems.” The next day, when Bush was asked about this offer at a press conference, he replied: “There’s no negotiations. There’s no calendar. We’ll act on our time.” Refusing to provide any evidence of bin Laden’s guilt, U.S. officials stated that the Taliban offer was “inadequate” and instead “dispatched war planes and ships towards Afghanistan,” beginning its illegal bombing campaign on October 7, 2001.

By early December 2001, over 6,500 tons of munitions had been dropped on Afghanistan by US-led NATO forces, including approximately 12,000 bombs and missiles. By the end of March 2002, over 21,000 bombs and missiles had been dropped, murdering well over 3,000 Afghan civilians in air strikes. In the first two months alone, Afghan civilians were killed at an average rate of 45 per day.

The killing has continued unabated for over ten years and is routinely ignored by the mainstream media, which choose instead to praise American soldiers for their duty, their heroism, and their sacrifice.

Just last month, on February 8, 2012, a NATO air strike killed several children in the eastern Kapinsa province of Afghanistan, with “young Afghans of varying ages” identified among the casualties.  Similar strikes were responsible for the murders of nearly 200 civilians last year alone.  Furthermore, in less than ten months from 2010 to early 2011, well over 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. and NATO forces in night raids, a brutal occupation tactic that has been embraced – along with drone attacks – by Barack Obama.  According to a September 2011 study by the Open Society Foundation, “An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night, resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” These raids produce heavy civilian casualties and often target the wrong people.

And earlier today, Sunday March 11, 2012, Reuters reported,

Western forces shot dead 16 civilians including nine children in southern Kandahar province on Sunday, Afghan officials said, in a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk.

One Afghan father who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district at around 2 am, enter homes and open fire.

The New York Times reported that “a United States Army sergeant methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children,” after “[s]talking from home to home.”

Residents of three villages in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province described a terrifying string of attacks in which the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. At the first, the man gathered 11 bodies, including those of four girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.

The Guardian added, “Among the dead was a young girl in a green and red dress who had been shot in the forehead. The bodies of other victims appeared partially burned. A villager claimed they had been wrapped in blankets and set on fire by the killer.”

The mainstream media was quick to follow the lead of “U.S. military officials” who “stressed that the shooting was carried out by a lone, rogue soldier, differentiating it from past instances in which civilians were killed accidentally during military operations.”

While Reuters noted that, while ” U.S. officials” asserted “that a lone soldier was responsible,” this conflicted with “witnesses’ accounts that several U.S. soldiers were present.”

“I saw that all 11 of my relatives were killed, including my children and grandchildren,” said a weeping Haji Samad, who said he had left his home a day earlier.

The walls of the house were blood-splattered.

“They (Americans) poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them,” Samad told Reuters at the scene.

Neighbors said they had awoken to crackling gunfire from American soldiers, who they described as laughing and drunk.

“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” said neighbor Agha Lala, who visited one of the homes where killings took place.

“Their (the victims’) bodies were riddled with bullets.”

A senior U.S. defense official in Washington rejected witness accounts that several apparently drunk soldiers were involved. “Based on the preliminary information we have this account is flatly wrong,” the official said. “We believe one U.S. service member acted alone, not a group of U.S. soldiers.”

“Some villagers reported that more than one US soldier was involved,” wrote Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian‘s Kabul-based correspondent, “but Afghan officials and the NATO-led coalition said they believed the killer worked alone.”

The Washington Post quoted Fazal Mohammad Esaqzai, deputy chief of the Kandahar provincial council, as saying, “They entered the room where the women and children were sleeping, and they were all shot in the head. They were all shot in the head.”  Esaqzai was “doubtful of the U.S. account suggesting that the killings were the work of a lone gunman…About an hour later, residents in a nearby village heard gunshots, and they later discovered the corpses of five men inside two houses located near each other, Esaqzai said.”

reporter for The New York Times “inspected bodies that had been taken to the nearby American military base counted 16 dead, and saw burns on some of the children’s legs and heads. ‘All the family members were killed, the dead put in a room, and blankets were put over the corpses and they were burned,’ said Anar Gula, an elderly neighbor who rushed to the house after the soldier had left. ‘We put out the fire.'”

One of the survivors from the attack, Abdul Hadi, 40, said he was at home when a soldier broke down the door. 

“My father went out to find out what was happening, and he was killed,” he said. “I was trying to go out and find out about the shooting, but someone told me not to move, and I was covered by the women in my family in my room, so that is why I survived.”

 U.S. officials were also quick to express their “deep sadness” as they described the “individual act” as an “isolated episode.”  Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, deputy commander of the international coalition in Afghanistan, called the murders “callous.” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta toldAfghan president Hamid Karzai, “I condemn such violence and am shocked and saddened that a U.S. service member is alleged to be involved.”  U.S. President Barack Obama declared, “I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident…does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”

These isolated incidents and that kind of respect have been obliterating the lives of Afghan civilians for over a decade.  Such exceptional character was responsible for the premeditated murders of at least three Afghan civilians in Kandanhar in the first half of 2010. Between January and May 2010, members of a U.S. Army Stryker brigade, who called themselves the “Kill Team,” executed three Afghans – a fifteen-year-old boy, a mentally-retarded man, and a religious leader – staged combat situations to cover-up the killings, snapped commemorative and celebratoryphotographs with the murdered corpses, and took fingers and teeth as trophies.  To date, eleven soldiers have been convicted in connection to the murders.  Last year, one of the soldiers, Specialist Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the killings.  One of the leaked Kill Team photos shows “Morlock smiling as he holds a dead man up by the hair on his head.” At the beginning of his court-martial, Morlock bluntly told the judge, “The plan was to kill people, sir.”  Nevertheless, he may be eligible for parole in less than seven years.

Last month, a video posted online showed four giddy U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three slain Afghan men while saying things like “Have a good day, buddy” and “Golden like a shower.”  One of the soldiers was the platoon’s commanding officer.  Just a few weeks later, American troops at Bagram Air Base deliberately incinerated numerous copies of the Qur’an and other religious texts, sparking mass riots across Afghanistan and leading to a rash of killings of U.S. and NATO soldiers by Afghans armed and trained by NATO.  Just two days ago, in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa, “NATO helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents instead fired on civilians, killing four and wounding three others.”

2011 military report determined – shockingly – that the treatment of Afghans by the occupying armies was one reason why members of the Afghan National Security Force sometimes kill their NATO comrades. The report credited such actions to “a crisis of trust and cultural incompatibility.”  One would hope that night raids, drone strikes, the willful execution of men, women, and children, mutilating, desecrating and pissing on corpses would be “incompatible” with any “culture.”

In the wake of the Qur’an burnings, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “We can’t forget what the mission is – the need to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda remains,” and stressed that “the overall importance of defeating al-Qaeda remains.”

Carney said this despite the fact that, in late June 2010, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta judged that the number of al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan was “at most…maybe 50 to 100, maybe less.”  In April 2011, General David Petraeus told reporters in Kabul that al-Qaeda’s total strength in Afghanistan is “generally assessed at less than 100 or so” combatants, of whom only “a handful” were seen to pose a threat to Western countries.  Months later, in November 2011, The Washington Post quoted a “senior U.S. counterterrorism official” as saying, “We have rendered the organization that brought us 9/11 operationally ineffective.” The official also stated that al-Qaeda’s entire leadership consisted only of two top positions and described the group as having none of “the world-class terrorists they once had.”

As such, the U.S. military and its coalition partners have been waging a war against a civilian population, allegedly in pursuit of what remains of a leaderless and powerless band of potential terrorists affiliated with the group accused (but never charged, tried or convicted) of planning and executing the 9/11 attacks.

To make matters even more appalling, hardly any Afghans even know the “reason” why foreign armies have invaded and occupied their land and have been killing their family and friends for years.  A survey released by the International Council on Security and Development in November 2010 revealed that, “in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, the two provinces currently suffering the most violence” and where Obama had recently sent thousands of American soldiers, “92% of respondents in the south are unaware of the events of 9/11 or that they triggered the current international presence in Afghanistan,” after being read a three-paragraph description of the attacks. Furthermore, of those interviewed (one thousand Afghan men ages fifteen to thirty), 40% “believe the international forces are there to destroy Islam, or to occupy or destroy Afghanistan.”  Chances are, incinerating their holy scripture and bombing their villages don’t help challenge this perception.

Consequently, when American missiles and bullets tear through villages, rooftops, windshields, and the living, breathing bodies of Afghan men, women, boys and girls, the carnage is devoid of “context” – not that a deadly attack on U.S. soil over a decade ago can possibly, in any conceivable, legal, or human way, justify the atrocities, trauma, terror, dehumanization and devastation that have befallen the Afghan people at the orders and hands of American soldiers, officers, and commanders-in chief.

Such criminal brutality is obviously not limited to Afghanistan.  Sunday’s massacre of 16 human beings in Kandahar recalls the massacre in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.  Following the death of one soldier (and wounding of two others) by a roadside bomb, a squad of Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women, an elderly man, children, some of them toddlers.

Led by Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich (who told his men to “shoot first and ask questions later”), Marines ordered a taxi driver and four students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah out of their car and shot them dead in the street, the Marines raided three nearby homes, slaughtering everyone they came in contact with.

Haditha Massacre, Iraq, 2005

Along with his 66-year-old wife Khamisa Tuma Ali, three grown sons, a 32-year-old woman and a four-year-old child, 76-year-old, wheelchair-bound Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali was killed in his own home after having his chest and abdomen riddled with bullets.  Nine-year-old Eman Walid witnessed the slaughter of her family. “First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Koran and we heard shots,” she said. “I couldn’t see their faces very well—only their guns sticking into the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.”

Younis Salim Khafif, 43, his wife Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41, their 8-year-old son Muhammad, 14-year-old daughter Noor, 10-year-old daughter Sabaa, 5-year-old daughter Zainab, 3-year-old daughter Aisha and a one-year-old baby girl who was staying at their home were all attacked with hand grenades and shot to death at close range.  In the third house, four adult brothers, Jamal, Marwan, Qahtan and Chasib Ahmed were all killed by the Marines.  Another brother, Yousif, who survived the attack, recalled, “The Americans gathered my four brothers and took them inside my father’s bedroom, to a closet. They killed them inside the closet.”  The soldiers then took photos of the dead and desecrated their bodies by urinating on them.

Despite overwhelming evidence, only a single solider, Wuterich, stood trial for these murders. All charges against the other Marines who committed these atrocities were dropped or dismissed.  Wuterich, whose own charges of assault and manslaughter were also dropped, was convicted on January 24, 2012 of only negligent dereliction of duty. He got a demotion and a pay cut.  His sentence did not include any jail time.

This kind of American impunity is hardly surprising.

Over the past decade, the United States military has invaded and occupied two foreign countries (illegally bombing and drone striking at least fourothers), and has overseen the kidnapping, indefinite detention without charge or trial, and the physical and psychological torture of thousands of people, including at places like GuantanamoBagram, and Abu Ghraib, where detainees were raped by their American captors.  Prisoners held by the United States in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, in addition to being “chained to the ceiling, shackled so tightly that the blood flow stops, kept naked and hooded and kicked to keep them awake for days on end,” have also been beaten to death by their American interrogators. Of the fifteen soldiers charged with detainee abuse ranging from “dereliction of duty to maiming and involuntary manslaughter,” all but three have been acquitted. Those three received written reprimands and served, at most, 75 days in prison for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In response to the lethal rampage in Kandahar today, the Taliban condemned the “sick minded American savages” and vowed to “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.” The official Taliban statement continued,

A large number from amongst the victims are innocent children, women and the elderly, martyred by the American barbarians who mercilessly robbed them of their precious lives and drenched their hands with their innocent blood.

The American terrorists want to come up with an excuse for the perpetrator of this inhumane crime by claiming that this immoral culprit was mentally ill.

If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenceless Afghans without giving a second thought.

The words could be Peggy Noonan’s. One would assume, as the victims of this latest massacre were not trained, uniformed combat troops, heavily-armed and armored, serving in a military occupation of an invaded and destroyed foreign country, but rather innocent civilians, many of them children, that the Noonans of the world would similarly cry out for justice, for vengeance, for retribution.

But don’t hold your breath.

Their silence – or worse, equivocation – will be thunderous.Nima Shirazi – Brooklyn, NY: Staunch humanist. Opinionated egoist. Skeptical solipsist. Frustrated optimist. Hobbesian idealist.www.wideasleepinamerica.com

CROSS POST FROM INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE.

Dear Mr. President: Letters from Israel partisans that took America to war

Maidhz O’Cathail is a writer who bases each article on thorough research. Josh Ruebner’s article on US clear partisanship towards Israel, is a must read ” The phony war over which US party loves Israel most” :http://www.uruknet.info/?p=84700

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

 

According to its June 3, 1997 Statement of Principles, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was created to advance a “Reaganite foreign policy of military strength and moral clarity,” a policy PNAC co-founders, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, had advocated the previous year in Foreign Affairs to counter what they construed as the American public’s short-sighted indifference to foreign “commitments.” Calling for a significant increase in “defense spending,” PNAC exhorted the United States “to meet threats before they become dire.”

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

The idea of preemptive war also known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine—subsequently dubbed the “Bush Doctrine” by PNAC signatory Charles Krauthammer—can be traced as far back as Paul Wolfowitz’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East,” which was based on “a raft of top-secret documents” his influential mentor, Cold War nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter, somehow “got his hands on” during a post-Six Day War trip to Israel. The “top-secret” Israeli documents supposedly showed that Egypt was planning to divert a Johnson administration proposal for regional civilian nuclear energy into a weapons program. Among those who signed PNAC’s Statement of Principles were Wohlstetter protégés Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Wolfowitz, who despite having been investigated for passing a classified document to an Israeli government official through an AIPAC intermediary in 1978 would be appointed Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, where he would be the first to suggest attacking Iraq four days after 9/11; Wolfowitz protégé I. Lewis Libby, who later “hand-picked” Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff mainly from pro-Israel think tanks; Elliott Abrams, who would go on to serve as Bush’s senior director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs, his mother-in-law, Midge Decter, and her husband, Norman Podhoretz; and Eliot A. Cohen, who would later smear Walt and Mearsheimer’s research on the Israel lobby’s role in skewing U.S. foreign policy as “anti-Semitic.”

On January 26, 1998, PNAC wrote the first of its many open letters to U.S. presidents and Congressional leaders, in which they enjoined President Clintonthat “removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power […] now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.” Failure to eliminate “the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use” its non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the letter cautioned, would put at risk “the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil.” An additional signatory this time was another Wohlstetter protégé, Richard Perle, a widely suspected Israeli agent of influence whose hawkish foreign policy views were shaped when Hollywood High School classmate and girlfriend, Joan Wohlstetter, invited him for a swim in her family’s swimming pool and her father handed Perle his 1958 RAND paper, “The Delicate Balance of Terror,” thought to be an inspiration for Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

Having helped sow the seeds of the Iraq War five years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, PNAC wrote a second letter to Clinton later that year. Joining with the International Crisis Group, and the short-lived Balkan Action Council and Coalition for International Justice, they took out an advertisement in the New York Times headlined “Mr. President, Milosevic is the Problem.” Expressing “deep concern for the plight of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo,” the letter declared that “[t]here can be no peace and stability in the Balkans so long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.” It urged the United States to lead an international effort which should demand a unilateral ceasefire by Serbian forces, put massive pressure on Milosevic to agree on “a new political status for Kosovo,” increase funding for Serbia’s “democratic opposition,” tighten economic sanctions in order to hasten regime change, cease diplomatic efforts to reach a compromise, and support the Hague tribunal’s investigation of Milosevic as a war criminal. Now that “the world’s newest state” (prior to Israel’s successful division of Sudan) is run by a “mafia-like” organization involved in trafficking weapons, drugs and human organs, there appears to be much less concern for the plight of the ethnic Serbian population of Kosovo.

A New Pearl Harbor

One year after the publication of its September 2000 report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” the “new Pearl Harbor” PNAC implied might be necessary to hasten acquiescence to its blueprint for “benevolent global hegemony” occurred on 9/11. Nine days after that “catastrophic and catalyzing event,” itwrote to endorse President Bush’s “admirable commitment to ‘lead the world to victory’ in the war against terrorism.” However, capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, the letter stressed, was “by no means the only goal” in the newly-declared war on terror. “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq,” cautioned the PNACers. “Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.” Disingenuously characterizing Israel’s enemy Hezbollah as a group “that mean[s] us no good,” the Israel partisans called on the administration to “consider appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they refused to “immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah.” Touting Israel as “America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism,” they counseled Washington to “fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism.” The letter concluded by urging President Bush “that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.”

PNAC’s concern for “America’s staunchest ally” was even more evident in its next letter to the White House. On April 3, 2002, it wrote to thank Bush for his “courageous leadership in the war on terrorism,” commending him in particular for his “strong stance in support of the Israeli government as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism.” Evoking the memory of the September 11 attacks “still seared in our minds and hearts,” the Israel partisans thought that “we Americans ought to be especially eager to show our solidarity in word and deed with a fellow victim of terrorist violence […] targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles—American principles—in a sea of tyranny, intolerance, and hatred.” Returning to its favorite theme of regime change in Iraq, PNAC cautioned, “If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors.” Prefiguring the cheerleading of Kristol and Kagan et al. for the “Arab Spring,” they assured Bush that “the surest path to peace in the Middle East lies not through the appeasement of Saddam and other local tyrants, but through a renewed commitment on our part […] to the birth of freedom and democratic government in the Islamic world.”

PNAC Redux

Having “developed, sold, enacted, and justified” a disastrous war over non-existent WMD, PNAC’s final report in April 2005 entitled “Iraq: Setting the Record Straight” claimed that “the case for removing Saddam from power went beyond the existence of weapons stockpiles.” Smugly concluding à la Madame Albright that “the price of the liberation of Iraq has been worth it,” PNAC soon after quietly wound up its operations. However, in 2009, PNAC co-founders Kristol and Kagan were instrumental in setting up its successor organization, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), whose self-appointed mission is to address the “many foreign policy challenges” facing the United States “and its democratic allies,” allegedly coming from “rising and resurgent powers,” such as China and Russia, and, perhaps most significantly, from “other autocracies that violate the rights of their citizens.”

FPI’s February 25, 2011 letter to President Obama gave a clear indication of the significance of that mission statement. Approvingly citing the president’s declaration in his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that “Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later,” they told him that he “must take action in response to the unfolding crisis in Libya.” Warning of an impending “moral and humanitarian catastrophe,” the letter recommended establishing a no-fly zone, freezing all Libyan government assets, temporarily halting importation of Libyan oil, making a statement that Col. Qaddafi and other officials would be held accountable under international law, and providing humanitarian aid to the Libyan people as quickly as possible. “The United States and our European allies have a moral interest in both an end to the violence and an end to the murderous Libyan regime,” averred FPI. “There is no time for delay and indecisiveness. The people of Libya, the people of the Middle East, and the world require clear U.S. leadership in this time of opportunity and peril.”

With Libya in the midst of a genuine catastrophe brought on by that “humanitarian intervention,” FPI turned its attention to the foreign-stoked strife in Syria. On February 17, 2012, it joined the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank closely aligned with the Israel lobby whose leadership council is dominated by PNAC alumni, in urging President Obama “to take immediate steps to decisively halt the Assad regime’s atrocities against Syrian civilians, and to hasten the emergence of a post-Assad government in Syria.” Acknowledging that Syria’s future is “not purely a humanitarian concern,” the letter writers revealed their primary concern about Syria in their remark that “for decades, it has closely cooperated with Iran and other agents of violence and instability to menace America’s allies and partners throughout the Middle East.”

Wars of Muslim Liberation

Commenting on Obama’s reluctance to intervene in Libya, Bill Kristol mocked the president’s “doubts and dithering” about “taking us to war in another Muslim country.” Declared the founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, “Our ‘invasions’ have in fact been liberations. We have shed blood and expended treasure in Kuwait in 1991, in the Balkans later in the 1990s, and in Afghanistan and Iraq—in our own national interest, of course, but also to protect Muslim peoples and help them free themselves. Libya will be America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation.” In a follow-up note to the Weekly Standard, Paul Wolfowitz had “one minor quibble”: “Libya, by my count, is not ‘America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation,’ but at least the seventh: Kuwait – February 1991, Northern Iraq – April 1991, Bosnia – 1995, Kosovo – 1999, Afghanistan – 2001 and Iraq – 2003.” With Syria awaiting its “liberation” in 2012, perhaps it’s too early yet to say, “Shukran, Israel.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on the Israel lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy. Original posting link: http://maidhcocathail.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/dear-mr-president-letters-from-israel-partisans-that-took-america-to-war/

THE INDUS ACCORD 1960

By Naveed Tajammal

The article lll of the above mentioned treaty, binds the Government of India not to hinder the flow of the western rivers, i.e. Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, to Pakistan, and India cannot store any water or construct any storage works, on the above cited rivers, having been given total rights since march 1973,of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, we get flood surplus of these rivers which is released in case of excessive rains, which helps in recharging our ground waters levels, but that too will cease after the second Ravi-Beas Link is made.

Today while we slumber, India has started works on, the following projects; Pakal Dul 1000MW, Kiru 600MW,Karwar 520 MW, Baglihar (eventual 900MW),Sawalkot 1200MW (two 600mw units),Salal 390 MW, Sewa-ll 120 MW, and finally the Bursur project on the Marusudar river, which, is a major tributary of Chenab river, here the Foxland intends to build a massive water storage dam, which will control and regulate the flow to maintain levels of Pakal dul, Dul Hasti, Rattle, Baglihar, Sawalkot and Salal Hydro-projects, on the Chenab.

Jhelum will be blessed by the foxland with Kishanganga 330MW and Uri-ll 240MW.

The trillion Dollar Question remains that safe guard the interests of our country. As has been seen, after the failure of Foreign Secretary level talks on the Baglihar dam, on the Chenab, between 4-6 January 2005, the GOP contacted the World Bank, to resolve the issue with Foxland, however the feed back of World Bank was well said, as per their letter dated 19 January 2005, to GOP, nutshell being, World Bank is indeed a signatory of the Indus treaty 1960, but, it is Not the ”Guarantor” of the treaty!!!!

However we did go for a case against the Baglihar dam, But we lost it due to gross professional INCOMPETENCE of our Team, the GOP had hired the services of a white man, a lawyer, by the name of Mr. James Crawford, who forgot to bring the Memorials of the case during the final hearing of the case !!!

Now Nehru had, in the past, hired the services of an outstanding German international Lawyer and an expert on river waters, a Professor F.J. Berber, and for years till the signing of the Indus Water Treaty, he remained an employee of Foxland, though he did join the Munich University later, but remained a Consultant of GOI (govt. of India).

The works, of P.J. Berber translated in English i.e, Rivers in international Law’ to date remains an authority, the London Institute of World Affairs, had the book published.

The other reason why Nehru had the date of ratification of Indus treaty, back dated from September 1960 to 1st April, was because on 1st April 1948, they had shut down our waters, from the UBDC!!!

Two sets of laws govern the water disputes, first is the Harmon Doctrine, named after, a ”Judson Harmon”, who was the Attorney General of USA in 1895,when arose a dispute between Mexico and USA over the usage of RIO GRANDE waters, Mexico was a lower riparian, the doctrine above cited gives ”ABSOLUTE TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY;” to the upper riparian, as goes the usage of water resources passing through its lands, though the matter was resolved, by a convention held between USA and Mexico, on may 21, 1906,by which Mexico got its share of waters.

Indus valley river system is an ‘International Drainage Basin’, as the geographical area extends and covers the Administrative boundaries of more then two states, from Afghanistan to Chinese administered Tibet, in the north east, and to Indian occupied Kashmir. Technically India cannot claim sovereignty over Kashmir as it remains a disputed state, and matter in reference before the world courts, having over a million troops holding it.

The ILA (international Law Association) drafted in 1966, a set of rules, called as ”THE HELSINKI RULES”, the said rules define the perimeters in case of water related disputes, in the cases where the Drainage of a Basin is International, as stated above, eleven main points/clauses govern the rights of a lower riparian, they being briefly, all about the geography of the Basin, extent of Drainage, and area in the territory of each basin state, the Hydrology of the Basin, past history of water flow, population dependent on the waters, economic and social needs of each Basin state, and the degree to which the needs of a Basin state may be satisfied without causing injury to a co-basin state !!

India as is seen follows the HARMON DOCTRINE, while we twiddle our thumbs!!!!

This article was initially carried by Pakistanpal’s Blog : http://pakistanpal.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/indus-water-treaty-1960

Naveed Tajammal is a renowned historian with many research papers on historical investigative research to his credit.He has over 28 years of research in the field to his credit. He is a regular contributor to Pakpotpourri Group of Blogs. 

Baluchistan & Negativism of our media

Asif Haroon Raja

Balochistan these days is making headlines and all patriotic elements are feeling deeply perturbed over the worsening security situation in Balochistan owing to excessive interference by several foreign powers. The print and electronic media instead of playing a positive role and highlighting the true facts is reinforcing misperceptions and portraying Balochistan as a lost case. Runaway dissident Baloch leaders spewing venom against Pakistan are given lot of space by our print and electronic media, particularly Geo channel. They are allowed to spit poison on Pakistan and to preach independence of Balochistan and no pointed questions are asked. This is exactly what the adversaries of Pakistan wish for and is in harmony with propaganda of western media. While our print and electronic media is feverishly engaged in tarnishing the image of Army and ISI on the basis of human rights violations, foreign media blames the two premier organizations on charges of abetting cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, India and Occupied Kashmir and their linkage with Afghan Taliban.
While the focus of local and foreign media as well as Baloch nationalists and the US officials is upon so-called human rights violations against the Baloch, there is no mention of target killings by Baloch terrorist groups against settlers, Hazara community, pro-government Balochis and security forces. Punjabi settlers and Hazaras are being systematically cleansed by target killers and all Baloch dominated towns have been cleared of their presence. Tens of thousands of settlers have migrated to other provinces while those who have risked staying on and the marooned Hazaras who have nowhere to go have got locked up in specified localities in Quetta. There is not a single non-local residing in Baloch dominated districts.
Hardly a day passes without an incident of target killing, attack on convoys of security forces, passenger trains and buses, on gas pipelines and installations. In January-February, dozens of Frontier Corps (FC) personnel died at the hands of terrorists. On 3 March, three mutilated bodies of FC men were recovered. Each act of terrorism is proudly claimed by the BLA or BRA but ironically no word of sympathy is uttered by our media and pseudo intellectuals; acts of terrorists are not censured; evil design of Indo-US-Israeli nexus is not exposed. Burning of Pakistan flag, prohibition on hoisting of Pakistan flag and singing of national anthem in schools/colleges and other anti-state activities are ignored.
Most of the mutilated bodies of Baloch nationalists are the ones who had got fed up of living in the hills and wanted to renounce militancy and resume normal life. They are the victims of Blackwater or BLA/BRA/BLF. Inter-tribal rivalries are also behind mysterious killings of Baloch. The blame is, however, conveniently put on the intelligence agencies and FC. One of the reasons put forward for their suspicions is that the abductees were clad in militia uniform.
The US funded Human Rights Watch under Ali Dayan Hasan is working on foreign agenda and is openly espousing the cause of separatists and criticising the security forces and ISI. He is a great fan of Asma Jahangir since she too is fond of hurtling invectives against the Army. Dayan was instrumental in colouring the perceptions of Dana Rohrabachar and two other Republicans about Balochistan and making them move a bill in the Congress seeking self-determination right for the people of Balochistan. Pak security forces employed in Balochistan are now being dubbed as occupiers and oppressors and the terrorists as innocent victims.
The dissident Sardars wanting to break away from Pakistan initially wanted the Army to return to the barracks. Under persistent demand, the Army was forced to return to barracks and to hand over security duties to the FC. Now that the entire security has been taken over by the FC and the terrorists have been unable to gain an edge over it, the FC is being demonized. Kharotabad incident is link of the same chain to defame and demoralize the FC. The FC is being portrayed as an occupation force and in collusion with the ISI involved in abductions and murders of Baloch nationalists. The rebels want the FC not to carryout counter terrorism so that they could invite foreign troops to step in and occupy Balochistan. Demand for withdrawal of FC from security duties is getting louder and many pseudo intellectuals have ganged up to lend strength to this gory scheme.
Since 2002, deliberate efforts have been put in to address the grievances of the people of Balochistan. Significant ones are grant of provincial autonomy, greater share in NFC, additional vacancies in federal jobs and in armed forces. Between 1947 and 2002, total development budget of Balochistan was Rs 152 billion whereas between 2002 and 2008, the budget shot up to Rs 302 billion. Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan (Beginning of Right of Balochistan) initiated by the government is a Rs 120 billion socio-economic-political package, out of which Rs 12 billion in outstanding debts from gas revenues has already been released. In addition, $1.77 billion budget has been announced. Mehran Coastal Highway has been built and lot of work done on improvement of road infrastructure in interior Balochistan as well as on several water dams including Mirani dams.
Gwadar has been converted into a seaport and Ormara is being built as Jinnah naval base. Judicial inquiry into Akbar Bugti killing has been ordered. Gen Musharraf has been declared a proclaimed absconder and his red warrant issued to get him back through Interpol. Issue of missing persons is under scrutiny of Supreme Court. Amnesty has been announced for all the Baloch leaders who are in self-exile and it has been decided to withdraw all cases against them. A call for All Parties Conference has been given by the PM. 15000 young gradates and post graduates from Balochistan would be given employment under special internship program and Rs 15000 monthly stipend given to them. Rs 4 billion will be paid to Wapda as subsidy for farmers of Balochistan. 2400 federal government’s jobs would be reserved for the Balochis on merit. Petroleum Ministry will provide jobs to the Baloch youth in all its departments more than the fixed quota. Strength of Levies is being increased.
In deference to the wishes of the Baloch nationalists, plan to construct military cantonments in Sui and Kohlu has been abandoned; instead the two are being converted into educational cities where number of army public schools, colleges and technical/vocational institutes are being opened both for boys and girls free of cost. The Army has planned to recruit 20,000 Baloch youth by 2013-14. ISSB selection standards have been lowered for them and special education cadres arranged to enable them to get inducted into Army as officers. Likewise, the Navy is also working upon a comprehensive program to induct Baloch youth in Navy. The FC has also undertaken host of welfare projects. Greater induction of Baloch youth in the FC and Frontier Constabulary is taking place. The FC requisitioned by provincial government to restore law and order cannot be possibly involved in acts of terrorism. Its determination to combat foreign aided terrorists is what troubles the separatists and their patrons.
The Army, Navy and FC are in direct communication with the common Balochis and addressing their day to day problems and striving to better their lives. The US, Britain and India on the other hand are providing huge funds to the rebellious Sardars to keep them on warpath. These countries are providing arms as well as intelligence and guidance to the terrorist groups which they have pitched against security forces and provided them sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Whenever they find that the insurgency is dying down, they stir it up and even go to the extent of killing the uncooperative wanting to give up militancy and return home.
Massive development works undertaken by the government, the Army and Navy have never been highlighted by partisan media. Neither the impotency of law courts in the province is mentioned. Not a single terrorist arrested by the FC has been sentenced. All are given bail, allowing them to re-continue their acts of terror. It is not brought to light that about 2500 dissidents are involved in insurgency and within this lot; half has been forced to follow the path of violence. Each militant is paid Rs 30,000 a month and special cash awards are doled out on each successful act of terror. Instead of forcefully condemning the blatant interference of foreign powers in our internal affairs and exposing their nefarious agenda in Balochistan, our liberal journalists, TV anchors and intellectuals sing the tunes of their foreign paymasters and whack the Army, FC and ISI.
 The writer is a retired Brigadier of Pakistan Army.