January 14, 2012

Balochistan: Pakistan's other war

Devi Shetty takes affordable health care closer to US


In a first for Indian medical infrastructure industry, the renowned surgeon will set up a super-speciality hospital in Cayman Islands, in a JV with the govt there

Internationally noted cardiac surgeon and medicare promoter Dr Devi Shetty has made Bangalore proud again as he takes his formula of quality, affordable health care offshore — to be exact, the tiny Cayman Islands located south of Cuba and west of Jamaica, around 700 km south of Miami in the US.

In a first for the Indian medicare industry, Dr Shetty will be setting up a super-speciality hospital on the biggest of the three-island group, Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands are a noted financial centre and tax haven, and the facility will beef up the islands’ medical infrastructure and boost medical tourism there.

Almost a year after an MoU was signed between Dr Shetty and the government of the Cayman Islands, work will shortly commence on the doctor’s ambitious project, Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre. Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Dr Shetty said the project would get underway in a month.

“The government of the Cayman Islands is our partner in the venture. We will be in charge of equipping and managing the hospital. The project will be completed in a phased manner and will eventually comprise a 2,000-bed hospital and assisted living quarters for about 1,500 families of employees. The first phase of the project will see us set up a 200-bed facility, the university and assisted living quarters,” he said.

The first phase will primarily focus on cancer, cardiac, orthopaedic and major general surgical treatment and the entire 2,000-bed hospital will take more than a decade to be put in place. The facility will be set up across 200 acres on the island of Grand Cayman, on its East End seaport.

India-trained doctors and nurses will be among the 100 doctors and 600 nurses to man the first phase of Dr Shetty’s project. “Doctors trained in India have to often take exams to qualify to practise in countries like the US and the UK. But the Cayman Islands was the first country to recognise our degrees, and we had insisted on this being one of the conditions for us to work there. There will be India-trained doctors in the facility,” he said.

“The prime minister of the Cayman Islands visited our Bangalore facility and stayed for two days. The project was explained to them in detail. All in all, we have taken close to two years to start work on the project,” he said.

The facility will be welcome news for the tiny group of islands, a British overseas territory, which sees at least 700 patients airlifted every year to Miami in the US because of its inadequate medical infrastructure. Given the prohibitive cost of medical care in the US, Dr Shetty’s project promises to bring his tried and tested formula of affordable medicare to the islands.

He has helped the Cayman government put in place a regulatory structure to ensure that costs do not become a deterrent to quality care. “In the US, a doctor loses almost three months of his salary on an average in paying for litigation against malpractices — which raises the overall costs. We have put in place comprehensive tort law which will limit the claims of malpractice to $500,000. This will automatically reduce the insurance costs as well,” said Dr Shetty.

The hospital will be a boon not just to the local population. It will also target patients from the US, Canada, South America and Europe, where medicare is staggeringly expensive. This in turn is certain to boost medical tourism in the islands.

Dr Shetty refused to go into the financial details of the project. “I cannot disclose that because of the contract I have with the government. But let me put it this way. As of now, we own 50 acres of the 200 acres of land that has been earmarked for the hospital, with the option of buying the rest of it in the next two years. We are looking at local entrepreneurs to invest in the actual structure itself. Our part of the deal is to equip and manage the hospital,” he said. However, sources say his investment could be around $1 billion.

So, will Dr Devi Shetty be dividing his time between Bangalore and George Town? “No, the hospital in the Cayman Islands will have its own team. I will visit the facility occasionally, but my primary work is still in Bangalore,” he said.

Medi-dollars from western patients

The Cayman Islands is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean Sea. It comprises three islands — Little Cayman, Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. The islands are located south of Cuba on the east coast of the US mainland. Florida is the closest US state. The islands have an estimated population of 70,000 people, and a reputation as a tax haven.

The Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre is primarily being planned as an affordable medicare facility for patients from the West. It is located on Grand Cayman at the High Rock site, to provide natural protection against flooding. It will include a tertiary-care hospital, an educational facility, a biotech park and an assisted living community.

Among the conditions in the MoU, the Cayman government is required to provide water at a price acceptable to the company, including a preferential rate for a fixed period of time.

The hospital will also receive a 20-year exemption from paying taxes which may be imposed in the future.

The hospital management on its part is looking to provide energy-efficient solutions for the facility, including a possible air-conditioning technology called a Seawater Air Conditioning System (SWACS) for the complex, given its proximity to cold seawater. The technology will help reduce operational costs by saving almost 70 per cent energy compared to conventional AC systems.

Post Gaddafi Libya;Under Western Imperialism


LIBYA and the NTC: 12,000 U.S. troops to Libya

by Cynthia McKinney (six times US Congresswoman)

Global Research, January 13, 2012

It is with great disappointment that I receive the news from foreign media publications and Libyan sources that our President now has 12,000 U.S. troops stationed in Malta and they are about to make their descent into Libya.

For those of you who have not followed closely the situation in Libya, the resistance to the rule of the National Transitional Council is strong. The National Transitional Council (NTC) cast of characters has about as much support on the ground as did Mahmoud Abbas before the United Nations request for Palestinian statehood or Afghanistan's regal-looking but politically impotent Hamid Karzai or for that matter, George W Bush after eight years.

The NTC not only has to contend with a vibrant, well-financed, grassroots-supported resistance, but the various militias of the NTC are now also fighting each other. I believe this "sociocide" of Libyan society, as we previously witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan before it, is part of a carefully crafted plan of destabilization that ultimately serves U.S. imperial interests and those of a Zionist state and its US agents who are bent on Greater Israel's suzerainty over huge swaths of Arabic-speaking populations. Pakistan is also on the list for neutering in Muslim and world affairs, saddled with its own unpopular civilian leadership that finds itself in the hip pocket of the United States for survival, often getting sat upon by its fiscal guarantor.

The "Arab Spring" has sprung and the indelible fingerprints of malignant foreign financed operations must be erased if the people are to have a chance to truly govern themselves. Unfortunately, these foreign-inspired organizations are present and operating in just about every country in the world. The threat is ever-present like sleeping cells--all that is needed is that the right word to "activate" be given. Both Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez can write tomes on the impact of the National Endowment for Democracy in the political life of their countries.

In other words, those who create the chaos have a plan and in the midst of chaos, they usually are the ones who will win. Those who wrote the plan of this chaos were affiliated with the Project for a New American Century--read A Clean Break if you already haven't. General Wesley Clarktold us of the plan to invade and destroy the governments of seven countries in five years: Iraq,Syria Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. "These people took control of the policy in the United States," Clark continues. He concludes, "This country was taken over by a group of people with a policy coup: Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and . . . collaborators from theProject for a New American Century: they wanted us to destabilize the Middle East." Richard Perle, Bill Kristol publicize these plans and "could hardly wait to finish Iraq so they could go into Syria," Clark goes on. "The root of the problem is the strategy of the United States in this region. Why are Americans dying in this region? That is the issue," he finishes.

Now, from Libya, reports are that even while the Misrata rebels (NATO allies responsible for the murder of hundreds of Libyans, including Moatessem Qaddafi) attempted to scale the petroleum platforms in Brega (an important oil town in Libya), they were annihilated by the Apache helicopters of their own NATO allies. A resistance Libyan doctor-become-journalist reported yesterday that all of the petroleum platforms are occupied by NATO and that warships occupy Libya's ports. Photographs show Italian encampments in the desert with an announcement that theFrench are to follow.

Another news outlet reports that Qataris and Emiratees are the engineers now at the oil plants, turning away desperate Libyan workers. While long lines exist for Libyan drivers to get their gas, foreign troops ensure the black gold's export. Libyans lack enough food and the basics, the country has been turned upside down, and contaminated with uranium while the true number of dead and unaccounted for remains high and unknown. Thousands of young Libyans, supporters of the Jahamiriya, languish under torture and assassination in a Misrata prison where a humanitarian disaster is about to unfold because Misrata rebels want to kill them all and have already attacked the prison once to do so. An urgent appeal to contact the International Red Cross was issued yesterday to help save the lives of the prisoners. And finally, Black Libyans continue to be targeted for harassment and murder in Libya by US/NATO allies on the ground. Teaching hate, given the images of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan released yesterday, urinating on Afghani dead bodies, is not a difficult thing to do, it would seem. Videos are posted of Black Libyans being beaten, whipped, threatened, harassed, and humiliated. These videos remind me of the antebellum South--reminiscent of the days of slavery and The Confederacy. So, when I use the word "descend" to describe U.S. anticipated actions, I mean just that: U.S. troops are about to descend into the hell on Earth created by their President and the leaders of other countries who approved of, aided, or participated in the death of Libyan-owned society. A report from last night indicates that one militia, fearing other militias even invited foreigners in to protect them.

I hope the report that I'm reading from 12 January 2012 is not true. I hope our President has not sent 12,000 troops of occupation to Malta destined for Libya. Lucy Grider-Bradley (of our DIGNITY Delegation) just yesterday reminded me of the words of a high-ranking Libyan Jahamiriya Foreign Ministry representative who just happened to be at the Tunisia/Libya border office at the same time we were waiting there. He said, "Let the Americans come. We want them to taste our sandwiches. We will give them the same serving they got in Vietnam."

Please write to our President (at www.whitehouse.gov) and ask him not to send troops of occupation (or whatever "euphemism de jour" this Administration chooses to use) to Libya.

To save the lives of the young men in prison, please e-mail the International Red Cross at any or all of the e-mail addresses given below:

in Tripoli 218213409262 / Croix rouge
218919418066 / 218925236582
والبريد اللاكتروني : tri_tripoli@icrc.org

January 13, 2012

India-China Relations: The Yiwu Incident

By Bhaskar Roy

Small incidents sometimes reveal deep malice resting somewhere deep down in the body. The recent incident in which two Indian employees of a Yemeni company were abducted by owners and employees of a local company is not only related to India- China business relations, but how Chinese business entities deal with their foreign partners with support from local authorities.

Yiwu is a trading town in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. It is bustling business center where businessmen and traders from all over the world come. Business is a two-way street and sellers and buyers are interdependent partners. Therefore, Yiwu will continue to function and flourish.

In this particular case, a Yemeni businessman and owner of the defaulting company, vanished overnight, leaving a substantial debt which his Chinese partners. The two Indian who were illegally held by the Chinese company were employees, and not owners. To get out of this situation the two Indians offered to pay whatever they had in their personal savings. But that was not obviously enough. They were ill treated and beaten up. Even this could have been sorted out, but things took a bizarre turn in the hallowed precincts of a court room.

An Indian diplomat from the Shanghai Consulate, Balachandran, who under diplomatic rights guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions, went to Yiwu to hear the court proceedings, was held in the court house with the two Indians for over seven hours without access to food, water and even medicines with support of the local court officials and law enforcers.

Balachandran’s detention has two aspects. One is medical. Denial of medicine and food to a diabetes patient can result in death due to diabetes shock. This is well known. Balachandran fainted. Had he died it would have been a major incident.
The other is diplomatic. Diplomatic impunity enjoins the host country to allow the diplomat to perform his duties without hindrance. In fact, the host government is supposed to facilitate a diplomat to do his work and enjoy certain privileges including protection from arrest or confinement. Any violation of these codes by the host government means violation of a very important international agreement and can destroy the established diplomatic behavior.

If there is so security to the life and dignity of a diplomat, what can Indian traders expect. A combination of all these factors apparently led to the Indian Embassy to issue a travel advisory to Indian businessmen planning to visit Yiwu. The Indian Embassy’s move may be questioned by some as an over reaction. But the issue had grown to proportions in India especially on the treatment meted out to the diplomat that some visible steps had to be taken by the Ministry of External Affairs. Without these steps the two Indian businessmen would be still languishing in some jail in Yiwu, and Indian diplomat’s confinement would have been brushed under the carpet.

After recouping, the Chinese official and media propaganda arm has decided to hit back in the most unfortunate manner. Arrogance and acting with impunity appears to have become the hallmark of the Chinese authorities.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hon Lei (Jan-05) suggested India to educate its businessmen in China to “practice honest and trustworthiness: and abide by Chinese laws and regulations. The State owned news agency The Xinhua (Jan 06) alleged that the Indian diplomat had tried to sneak out the two businessmen out of the court house on the pretext of going to the toilet. As with propaganda some flaws are always there. The Xinhua report did not think where the Indians would escape to when surrounded by China in Yiwu.

The Global Times, a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, not only questioned the business ethics of Indian businessmen involved, but took the attack to the Indian Foreign Ministry. It described the actions of MEA in this case as “full of narrow nationalism, which is not wiser that the editors of Indian media”.

Certainly, there are honest businessmen and dishonest businessmen in all countries. China had its own share of dishonest businessmen, a large number of whom are absconding abroad with a substantial amount of Chinese money. Adulteration of food stuff by Chinese companies, which are also exported are well known. Tainted milk, chemically treated lean meat, tainted suchi are just among a few. These manufacturers have their own supporters among the authorities. Chinese business unscrupulousness is of legendary proportions.

One significant example of Chinese official business collaboration to coerce a foreign partner has become a must reading for businessmen doing business in China. The Australian mining giant, Rio Tinto, had its top executive in China, standby Hu, jailed on corruption charges. Hu, an Australian citizen of Chinese origin was Rio Tinto Chief Executive in China. The company had prevented a Chinese conglomerate from a $18 billion partial takeover bid. There were other political and strategic issues.

The Indian and Australian examples are only examples. There are other Indian experiences in China, and many countries have suffered more. On the contrary Chinese companies and workers have got away lightly and with dignity when their shoddy work led to an accident killing 41 Indians.

China’s national slogan is China can do no wrong. Its national driving force is making money by whatever means. The mixture of the two make for heady concoction there reason and truth are the main casualties.

It must also be admitted that China’s Central government’s control over the provinces and countries are not strong enough. The business mafia-party officials-government officials – police/security have established such a strong nexus to usurp and cheat there own countrymen with impunity, that a serious backlash from their people is only a matter of time.

The world and India will continue to do business with China, as China will do business with the outside world. The Chinese must realize that despite its overall economic strength, it is still a largely developing country, and is export dependent. The India-China trade is around $60 billion and is poised to expand much more. China holds a huge trade advantage over India, and its exports are manufactured low cost industrial goods. Chinese misbehaviour with Indian businessmen and diplomats may cause them to lose substantial portion of this market eventually. It is not only India, but many other countries have complained about China’s business ethics.

India, China can ill afford to remain adversaries

India and China are bound to remain strategic adversaries, believe some experts in both the countries. But they ignore the ability, experience and wisdom of leaders in the two countries to manage differences since 1988 at least. Nevertheless, dialogue and communication between business, media and scholars hold the key to better relations

Shiv Shankar Menon

BEIJING: Top Chinese diplomat Dai Bingguo and Indian Ambassador to China, S. Jaishankar (Right) at the valedictory function of India-China year of exchanges at the new Indian Embassy premises in Beijing. — PTI Photo

TODAY India-China relations attract attention beyond our two countries. International developments and achievements in domestic construction by our peoples in the last few decades have given our relationship wider significance. Relations between India and China and their new equilibrium hold an important key to the emerging economic and strategic landscape of Asia and, to a certain extent, the world.

Let us look briefly at the context within which we conduct our relations and then look at the content of our relations today.

The Context

l Bilateral trade reached over US $ 67 billion in the first 11 months of 2011
l China has remained India’s largest trading partner in goods since several years
l Indian investment in China in 676 projects is today worth US$433 million
l Chinese investment in India worth US$300 million
l India is China’s most important market for project exports with the cumulative value of the contracted projects at US$53.5 billion
l 7,000 Indian students studying in China today

The basic facts are evident and well known. India and China are the two most populous nations on earth, are the two largest developing countries, and are among the societies and economies in the world that are transforming themselves most rapidly. They are the largest and the third biggest economies in Asia. China has the distinction of being the second largest economy in the world. The two countries are building a strong domestic economic base and rapidly training scientific and technical manpower. When much of the world is reeling under recession or grappling with political turmoil, our two countries have managed to register reasonably healthy rates of growth and maintain stability.

We share a common geopolitical space and similar socio-economic aspirations for ourselves. The future is less certain or evident. Uncertainty in the international system is at unprecedented levels. The economic and security situation facing both India and China has become far more complicated in the last few years. On the positive side, thanks to sustained growth rates, high savings rates and a prudent financial approach, Asia and the developing world have witnessed a greater accretion of relative economic power following the financial crisis of 2008. In Asia, larger economies like China, Japan, India, South Korea and Indonesia, all members of the G-20, have increased their ability to influence economic outcomes. The BRICS process has also gained ground. These are welcome developments.

At the same time, risks remain for economies which are still developing. An early return to robust growth and spending in the developed world are necessary for world economic recovery. The US, Europe and Japan still account for approximately $20 trillion of consumption expenditure as against about $2.5 trillion by China and India together.

A re-balancing of economic structures in our countries in the face of such differences could be difficult. More generally speaking, the relatively benign external environment in the last two decades is changing negatively and is threatened by protectionism in the developed world.

World politics also faces new challenges. The balance of power is in flux in Asia and the world. As uncertainty rises, powers follow hedging strategies. The mechanisms of strategic communication and consultation and a common security outlook are evolving slower than the changes in objective reality.

Besides, both India and China are increasingly linked to the rest of the world, through trade, investment and their Diasporas. The impact of changes in West Asia on our energy security, for instance, is an example of how developments further away from our shores also affect India and China more and more profoundly. It is therefore natural for us to take ever greater interest on global issues.

Equally, global issues like climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyber and space security matter more to both India and China in this globalised world as they influence our development, peace and prosperity.

India-China relations

What does this context imply for India-China relations?

Both India and China currently give the highest priority to their domestic transformation, which will take time. A peaceful periphery, a stable and benign world environment and continued prosperity among our economic partners are of utmost importance to both of us. This will remain so for quite some time. It is in our mutual interest to work together, bilaterally and with other partners, to reduce uncertainty and create an international environment that is supportive to our domestic transformation efforts. Economics and development are not zero-sum games.

It is for this reason that we believe that there is enough space for both India and China to realise their development aspirations.

Economically, we are already integrated with each other to an unprecedented extent. Our bilateral trade reached over US$67 billion in the first 11 months of last year, and China has consistently remained our largest trading partner in goods for several years.

However, investment flows between us have not kept pace with trade. Indian investment in China worth a total of US$ 433 million is spread over 676 projects, while Chinese investment in India is worth nearly US$ 300 million. There are several opportunities for cooperation in developing infrastructure. India is already one of China’s most important markets for project exports, with a cumulative value of contracted projects at US$ 53.5 billion and turnover realised at US$ 24.6 billion.

What is less noticed is the range of contact between our two societies. For instance, over 7,000 Indian students are studying in China today. This scale of interaction never occurred before in history.

Naturally, the corollaries of such an intensification of economic and social engagement are issues of trade imbalance, diversifying the trade basket and commercial disputes. The two governments have taken several initiatives to make our trade more balanced and harmonious, and to facilitate and streamline our business engagement. More remains to be done and we will learn by doing.

For instance in September last year we held the first Strategic Economic Dialogue between India and China which identified several areas of promise for the future. Equally the business communities and their Chambers need to take advantage of growing opportunities while sharpening competitive edge. I am convinced that our business and economic engagement with each other and with other countries will intensify as we seek to overcome the prospect of sluggish recovery in the traditional engines of growth in the world economy.

Our Governments have common or similar positions on the global development agenda, in WTO and on climate change, which has made it possible for us to work together internationally.

Adversaries ?

A few vocal experts in our two countries and elsewhere argue that notwithstanding the numerous cooperative elements in our economic relations and approach to international issues, India and China are bound to be strategic adversaries. I find such determinism misplaced. It ignores the successful experience and demonstrated expertise of both governments in managing differences and building on commonalities for over three decades and particularly since the Rajiv Gandhi visit to China in 1988. It also ignores the wisdom of the leaders of the two countries, who have consistently worked to ensure that problems are managed in a mature manner.

The issue is whether we can continue to manage the elements of competition within an agreed strategic framework which permits both of us to pursue our core interests. I see no reason why that should not be so. Indeed I would go further and say that the rapid changes in the international situation today also create an opportunity for India and China to work with others to shape benign international outcomes.

The boundary question remains unresolved, and there is no denying that it is a difficult issue. However, a number of mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the border stays peaceful while we seek a settlement of the boundary question. On the settlement itself, we are in the second stage of the three stage process of agreeing principles, a framework and finally a boundary line.

Similarly, on other bilateral issues of potential difference there exist mechanisms of dialogue and communication to address them. We appreciate China’s assistance to us in tackling floods and natural disasters in the downstream areas of our shared rivers. There is a need to widen the scope and deepen the level of our communication in some areas. These include new challenges and new issues in the changing context of our relations. I am confident that we will do so.

Indeed, some security challenges, especially of the non-traditional variety, are common to India and China, and offer an opportunity to work together. Both India and China face the challenge of terrorism in our shared neighbourhood. It requires common effort by all members of the international community to tackle terrorism.

Energy is the key to domestic transformation in both India and China, which is why both of us have a common stake in energy security, and in the freedom and security of transportation on the global commons. We both have an interest in global public goods like a peaceful order, freedom of the seas and open sea lanes. We similarly need to address issues of piracy with common resolve. As important maritime nations, we can contribute to each other’s maritime security by coordinating approaches.

Asia’s security is interlinked across this great continent. India has therefore argued for an open, inclusive Asian security architecture. India and China will have key roles to play in forging a new compact for common and collective security for Asia. We should also contribute within our capacity to the global public goods that are increasingly important to our well being.

The robustness of our bilateral relation will depend on dialogue and communication so that the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation is limited. This dialogue process must not be limited to the two Governments.

Today, there are multiple stakeholders in our relations as also multiple determinants of these relations. Each of them, be it businessmen, media or scholars of the two countries, has a responsibility to take our relations to the desired level of equilibrium. It is therefore absolutely essential that they acquire an informed understanding of their neighbour. Today, as both India and China change fast, our understanding of each other needs to keep pace. Both the quality and the scale of our interactions have also grown so rapidly that we need to learn new ways of dealing with the relationship.

To conclude, India and China have demonstrated an ability to deal with difficult issues and to build a cooperative partnership based on common interests. Its regional and global impact, and its long term significance to our own development, is what makes the India-China relationship strategic in the true sense of the term.

I do hope that I have been successful in giving you some idea of why I am confident that by working together India and China will be able to successfully face the challenges that the new geopolitics are throwing up, and would best serve their own national interests by further deepening their strategic cooperative relationship.

The address delivered by the National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon this week in Beijing on India-China Relations

Western Values, Barbarian Conduct

Another Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated in cold blood; but does the West care?

IRD: Different pictures, the same impression: early Wednesday morning, a magnetic bomb chops off the upper half of the head of a young Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, in northern Tehran. A few hours later, AlJazeera published a video showing four blissful US Marine soldiers, brave heroes in the “War against Terror”, urinating on the corpses of Taliban insurgents, clearly ignorant of how much Islam -like any other religion- cares about the dignity of dead bodies.

Colonialism might be history, at least in its bold, arrogant guise of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but apparently its residue still runs deep in the psyche of certain Western politicians and commentators when it comes to the Middle East; thus, who cares if an Afghan family is torn to pieces in a wedding ceremony by state-of-the-art drones designed by the “progressive” Americans? Or would it really matter if an Iranian woman actually witnessed the head of his husband, quantum theorist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, just blown off by a remote-controlled bomb? After all, Ali-Mohammadi and his fellow victims, three, to speak accurately, were nuclear scientists working for a “fundamentalist” country trying to produce nukes to wipe Israel off of the map, or its Western patrons, in a modern-day Armageddon --damn the fact that throughout all those years of close inspection, credible evidence to prove Iran's so-called “nuclear ambitions” amount to exactly zero.

Andrew Cummings feels free to comment in Guardian that such killings are among the few options left, “the lesser of many evils,” to quote him, as Tehran refuses to settle the nuclear dispute through negotiations (Cummings might have put a pin in the fact that Tehran actually did make a deal in 2010 with proxy negotiators Brazil and Turkey to consign its enriched uranium stockpile –just to be rejected forthrightly by Madam Hillary Clinton even though she was the one who had initially encouraged the Turkish PM Erdogan to sit at the table and convince Iran.) His forefathers probably thought in the same vein, when in WWII they occupied Iran –despite the country’s declaration of a policy of neutrality—to curb Germany’s advances into Soviet territory: thousands of Iranians died of hunger as wheat crops were confiscated by the British to satiate their soldiers who were fighting against the Nazis. That, too, was rife with “physical, diplomatic and legal risks”, but again, it was “the lesser of many evils”, not of course for the Iranians, but for the British. On the higher profile, Rick Santorum, the pious Catholic, man of the family would-be-president has already made it quite clear what he thinks if Iranian nuclear scientists are killed: “wonderful”, in his own candid words.

One day after Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was killed by the bomb, President Obama basked in the pleasure of a friendly conversation with Bibi Netanyahu, to discuss “developments in Iran” and to assure the hawkish Israeli PM of his “unshakeable commitment to Israel's security.” That’s the word: unshakeable, even if means shaking the foundations of core Western values.
13 Friday January 2012 11:31

Report Reveals US Presidential Candidates' Clandestine Ties with MKO

TEHRAN (FNA)- A recent report by an American journalist revealed that the US presidential candidates have long had secretive ties with the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and contributed a major part in the terrorist group's campaign to be taken off the US blacklist.

In his article on Antiwar.com on Monday, Justin Raimondo has unveiled MKO's advocates among the US presidential candidates, saying that Washington's renowned politicians have extended strong support to the MKO campaign for striking the name of their group off the US list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The American author says "Bolton has long championed the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (Peoples' Mujahideen Organization of Iran, or PMOI, MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult) a Marxist cult widely hated in Iran".

Earlier last month Newt Gingrich promised to appoint the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations for President George W. Bush, John Bolton, to be secretary of state if elected president.

The analyst also warned that under a Gingrich administration we would witness the spectacle of the US Army "installing in power a group currently on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations".

Some months earlier Republican figures, including John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, also took part in the campaign to remove MKO from US blacklist.

He made reference to another Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, and stated that "Romney, too, has his MEK (MKO) connection," alluding to Romney's especial advisor, Mitchell Reiss, who is a leading supporter for the MKO terrorist group.

The editorial director of Antiwar.com also pointed out that the MKO enjoys "widespread support on Capitol Hill", and stated that "this is the only terrorist group I know of that is allowed to maintain an unofficial embassy in Washington through various front groups".

He then raised the question "could it have something to do with the large amounts of cash the MEK front groups in Washington are throwing around", concluding that some of these supporters are somehow motivated to take part in the campaign in Washington to remove the MKO from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations mostly by the desire for private gain and, in fact, are charged by MKO's front groups.

120 World Countries Condemn Assassination of Iranian Scientist

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), with 120 member states from across the globe, issued a communiqué to condemn the Wednesday assassination of an Iranian university professor and scientist.

"The Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau, while reaffirming that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that occurred in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, on 11 January 2012, causing the death of another prominent Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and the injury of a number of others," NAM said in its statement on Thursday.

"The Movement expresses its deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of this heinous act and to their families, and to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran," it added.

Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old chemistry professor and deputy director of commerce at Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was killed in a terrorist bomb blast in a Northern Tehran neighborhood on Wednesday morning.

The magnetic bomb which was planted by an unknown motorcyclist under Roshan's car also wounded two other Iranian nationals, including his driver who died at a nearby hospital a few hours later on Wednesday.

NAM further reminded a similar statement that it had issued to condemn the assassination of several other Iranian scientists in the last two years.

"The NAM Coordinating Bureau further recalls paragraph 205.14 of the Bali Final Document adopted by the 16th NAM Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, on 25 and 26 May 2011, that strongly condemned a number of terrorist attacks against Iranian scientists, which resulted in the loss of valuable human resources essential to the development of any country," the world bloc said.

The Wednesday blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the Wednesday bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani - who is now the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. Abbasi Davani survived the attack, while Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei blamed the CIA and Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, for the recent killing of an Iranian scientist, but meantime underlined that terror attacks cannot halt or undermine the country's progress.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast, who was martyred Wednesday, was the third Iranian nuclear scientist to be killed by a bomb placed underneath his car in the past two years. A fourth survived a similar assassination attempt.

Roshan's death shows that "the global arrogance spearheaded by the US and Zionism has reached a deadlock in confrontation with the determined, devout and progressive nation of Islamic Iran," the Supreme Leader said in a message released to mark the martyrdom of the Iranian university professor and a deputy director at Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment site.

Those responsible will not own up, Ayatollah Khamenei said, but the attack "has been carried out by the planning or support of CIA and Mossad [spy] services, like all other crimes of the network of international state terrorism".

He ended his message of condolence with a warning. "We shall persist in punishing the perpetrators of this crime, as well those supporting them behind the scenes."

Other Iranian officials also blamed the killings on Israel and the United States



Before 9/11, there was a counter-terrorism centre( CTC ) in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US, which had officers from various agencies,that formed part of the counter-terrorism community of the US. It worked under a CIA Officer. Its task was co-ordination of the functioning of the counter-terrorism divisions of various agencies to facilitate the analysis, assessment and fusion of the intelligence relating to terrorism flowing from different agencies and ensure effective follow-up action. Its main role was in prevention. It had no role in investigation and prosecution.

2. When it was created, this Centre was placed under the CIA for the following reasons:

(a).Before 9/11, the conventional wisdom in the US was that threats from terrorists would be mainly to US nationals and interests abroad. Since the CIA was an external intelligence agency, it was felt that the nodal set-up for the co-ordination of follow-up action should function under the supervision of the CIA.
(b). Till 2004, Director,CIA, wore two hats. He was the head of the CIA. He was also designated as Director, Central Intelligence. In the second capacity, he was responsible for the co-ordination of the functioning of all agencies of the US intelligence community. Since the Counter-Terrorism Centre was to co-ordinate follow-up action on all terrorism-related intelligence, it was felt that the responsibility for c-ordination should vest in the Director, CIA, in his second capacity as the Director, Central Intelligence.

3. The enquiry by the National Commission appointed by President George Bush into the 9/11 terrorist strikes brought home to the US the dangers posed to US Homeland security from home-grown terrorists as well as terrorists based abroad. It also revealed deficiencies in the co-ordinating roles of the Director, Central Intelligence, and of the CTC of the CIA. It was felt that there was no effective analysis, assessment and fusion of the intelligence flowing from the counter-terrorism divisions of the various agencies and no effective and co-ordinated follow-up to neutralise the threats revealed by the flowing intelligence.

4. The National Commission enquiry led to the following decisions:

(a). To create an NCTC to co-ordinate the functioning of the counter-terrorism divisions of all agencies which form part of the counter-terrorism community and to co-ordinate follow-up action to prevent acts of terrorism.
( b ).To divest the Director,CIA, of his responsibilities as the Director, Central Intelligence, and to create a post of Director, National Intelligence, (DNI) directly under the President to co-ordinate the functioning of various intelligence agencies.

( c ). To place the NCTC under the supervision of the DNI and not under the heads of any of the intelligence agencies which will continue to have the responsibility for the collection of terrorism-related intelligence.

5. Since 2005, the US Counter-Terrorism architecture is as follows:

(a) Each agency has its own counter-terrorism division for the collection, analysis,assessment and fusion of intelligence and follow-up action.
(b) The NCTC co-ordinates the functioning of the counter-terrorism divisions of all agencies and ensures co-ordinated follow-up action. Its role is preventive and not in investigation and prosecution.
(c) The NCTC functions under the DNI. The heads of the agencies have no control over its functioning.

6.The GC Saxena Task Force on intelligence revamp, set up by the Government in 2000, studied the working of the CTC of the CIAand recommended the creation of a similar counter-terrorism centre to be placed in the IB consisting of officers of various agencies and headed by an IB officer. The Government created it in the IB, but for reasons not clear to me, called it a Multi-Agency Centre and not a counter-terrorism centre. It did not get going for a long time because of the reported reluctance of the R&AW and MI to depute their officers to work in the MAC under an IB officer.

7.The 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland exposed deficiencies in the functioning of the CTC of the CIA. Normally, the recommendation of the Saxena Task Force for the creation of a CTC in the IB should have been re-examined in the light of the 9/11 strikes in the US and the exposed deficiencies in the functioning of the CTC of the CIA, which led to the decision to create the NCTC under the DNI. This was not done till the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai.

8. The 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai revealed more or less the same deficiencies in our counter-terrorism architecture as the deficiencies in the counter-terrorism architecture of the US revealed by the 9/11 terrorist strikes. Namely, inadequate intelligence and lack of co-ordinated follow-up action even on the intelligence that was available. In his first statement to the LokSabha on the 26/11 terrorist strikes after taking over as the Home Minister, ShriP.Chidambaram said that the responsibility for follow-up action on available intelligence was found to be diffused.

9. Shortly thereafter, he had visited the US to study the working of the Department of Homeland Security and the NCTC, both of which came into being after 9/11. He came back a strong votary of two ideas: For the creation of a separate Ministry of Internal Security patterned after the Department of Homeland Security of the US and for the creation of an NCTC patterned after its US counterpart.

10. Shri Chidambaram’s ideas differed in one important respect from the Counter-terrorism architecture created in the US. In the US, the newly set up DNI oversees the functioning of the NCTC. Shri Chidambaram reportedly wanted that the entire counter-terrorism architecture, including the proposed NCTC, should function under the Minister for Home Affairs till his idea of a Ministry of Internal Security was accepted and implemented. That is, he wanted the National Security Adviser to be divested of all counter-terrorism responsibilities and the Home Minister to be made the counter-terrorism Czar of the Government of India.
11. There was speculation ( seemed well-informed) in the media at that time that Shri M.K. Narayanan, the then National Security Adviser, viewed this as a negative reflection of his handling of the 26/11 terrorist strikes and strongly opposed the ideas of Shri Chidambaram. There was a long examination of Shri Chidambaram’s ideas. What has come out on January 12,2012, as a result of this examination is neither an ass nor a mule, but something in between and not recognisable.

12. There will be an emaciated-at-birth NCTC which will not be independent , but will form part of the IB. Thus, there will be no independent supervision over the performance of the follow-up action role. The NSA will have no responsibility for counter-terrorism. As desired by him, Shri Chidambaram will be the Czar for counter-terrorism, but he will be a Czar in Indian colours, not given the necessary tools for being an effective Czar.

13. In the US too, the NSA has no responsibility for counter-terrorism. This role is performed by an Adviser on Homeland Security to the President who is commonly referred to as the Adviser on Counter-Terrorism.

14. In my view, the proposed NCTC is unlikely to improve our capability for preventive action through effective follow-up action on the intelligence collected.( 14-1-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

January 12, 2012

Dialogue of dangerous kind

Games being played by US, Pakistan and Taliban
by D. Suba Chandran


DURING the last two months, there have been media reports relating to three parallel dialogues involving the Taliban — all of them having serious consequences for the future of Afghanistan and the stability of the entire region. While the major players engaged in these dialogues include the US, Pakistan and numerous Taliban factions across the Durand Line, the others in the region — the Karzai government, members of the erstwhile Northern Alliance, Iran and, hopefully, India — are likely to respond to these initiatives and their end-games.
The first and foremost of this dialogue is between the Taliban and the US. By now, it is no more a secret that the US administration has been engaged in a negotiation with the Taliban — moderate or otherwise. While Washington DC may project this American dialogue as that with a “moderate” Taliban, this is more for domestic consumption rather than based on any reality. Whoever represents the “moderate” Taliban? Whoever is willing to speak to the US? Or whoever uses less the suicide bombing tactic?
Whether moderate or not, a section within the Taliban is engaged in a dialogue with the US. It is highly improbable that this dialogue is happening without the knowledge of Mullah Omar. If that is the case, it is even more dangerous, for it would be highly unproductive. Talking to a few Pashtun warlords and criminals, who may use the Taliban tag, may even be counter-productive.
The recent report on the Taliban wanting to open an office in Qatar should be read against this background. It is widely believed that this initiative to have a Taliban office in Qatar is primarily to facilitate the dialogue between the two primary military actors in Afghanistan — the US and the Taliban.
It appears that the US has tacitly agreed to such an initiative. It is also reported that the negotiations would include the release of some Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo prison in return for the Taliban’s agreement to take part in a future set-up in Kabul.
One could understand why the US is desperate to reach out to the Taliban. This has been a part of its exit strategy and perhaps the American Plan-B, if its Plan-A (a stable government under Karzai) fails. Clearly, Plan-A is unlikely to succeed, for Karzai needs time and more support, and not an exit route by 2014. Moreover, given the inherent weaknesses of Karzai and his government (being corrupt, not having the ability to govern and being incapable to fight the Taliban), the present regime is nowhere close to making Plan-A work.
But why would the Taliban agree to negotiate with the US? This is what would make this dialogue between the US and the Taliban (moderate or otherwise) dangerous. Both Taliban factions — led by Mullah Omar and the Haqqanis — are desperate and may have any deadline to take care of. Both the Afghan factions of the Taliban, in recent months, have been on an offensive and there are no visible signs of either fatigue or failure syndromes afflicting them. Both are waiting for the American-led international troops to leave Afghanistan to regain Kabul. If that is the case, why should they enter into a dialogue with the US now?
Perhaps, for the Taliban, this is a tactical move. They have nothing to lose. If what they want to achieve after a bloody fight in 2014 is about to be delivered on a platter to them, that too with an international recognition, why would they refuse?
The dangerous part is, what would they commit in return? Deception and treachery have always been a part of the various Pashtun militias. If the Americans have any doubt, they should read Afghanistan’s history, especially since the Anglo-Afghan wars. From the “journal” of Lady Florentina Sale (wife of General Sir Robert Henry Sale), who was captured by the Pashtuns before the British troops ultimately rescued her, to that of British priest TL Pennel, who lived “among the wild tribes of the Afghan frontier,” numerous accounts highlight how treacherous the Pashtun militias have been in the past. Or ask the Pakistanis who have concluded multiple deals with them during the last decade. These militias consider treachery as a part of their tactic, and browbeat how they fooled and foiled the plans of a bigger power. One only wishes the Americans read the Afghan history; if they had, they would not have invaded Afghanistan in the first place!
Karzai is apprehensive and upset with the dialogue between the Taliban and the US about deciding the future of Afghanistan. Though there have been a few statements from his administration, the US would dictate him to keep quiet and adhere to the outcome of the dialogue. Besides Karzai, members of the erstwhile Northern Alliance are also equally apprehensive of any dialogue with the Taliban. What is even more worrisome for the above two Afghan sections — Pashtun and Non-Pashtun — is the fact that they are not a part of this dialogue. They will be provided with an American-led solution while it is they who have been facing the problem.
The second dialogue is what makes the first one even more dangerous. In the first week of this year, various Taliban factions, both Afghan and Pakistan varieties, formed a five-member council — Shura-e-Murakbah, representing Mullah Omar, the Haqqanis, Hakimullah Mehsud, Waliur Rehman and Mulla Nazir. The primary objectives of this Shura are threefold. First, to unite all the Taliban factions — Afghan and Pakistan. Currently, there are two major Afghan factions led by Mullah Omar and the Haqqanis. Fortunately for the Afghan Taliban, despite the divide, they do not fight each other; the Haqqanis, in principle, owe their allegiance to Mullah Omar. However, this is not true about the various Taliban factions within Pakistan. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is more an umbrella than a monolithic organisation. Besides the intra-tribal differences among the various Pashtun tribes in FATA, especially between the Mehsuds and the Wazirs, there are clear divides on how they see and fight the Pakistani security forces.
The second objective of this five-member Shura formed in early January is to stop fighting the Pakistani security forces. While Pakistan would welcome this development, what makes this Shura dangerous for regional stability is their next objective — to combine their strength and fight the NATO-led international troops in Afghanistan. If the Taliban factions are indeed engaged in a dialogue with the US, why would they form a Shura and make a combined effort to wage a war against the international troops in Afghanistan?
What would be the calculations of the Taliban in pursuing a parallel strategy, contradicting each other? Either the Taliban feels that this would give their movement a leverage against the US during negotiatiions or they could get what they want in the negotiations — release of prisoners, a role in the future set-up in Kabul, international recognition and, at the same time, ensuring that the exit for the international troops is anything but a face-saving exercise. Or is it possible that the US is negotiating with a Taliban faction that neither belongs to the Mullah Omar camp nor the Haqqanis?
The last set of the dialogue involving the Taliban has been taking place for the last few months between the Pakistani security forces and sections of the TTP. During November 2011 itself, the local media in Pakistan reported about this negotiation. The ANP, which has formed the government in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, has publicly announced that it is not aware of this negotiation and not a part of it. Clearly, this was a negotiation between the security forces (to be read as the ISI?) and the TTP. Perhaps, one of the objectives of the American attack on the Pakistani posts during end-November was to scuttle the dialogue.
Since the killing of Nek Mohammad in 2004, there have been multiple instances of drone attacks during such secret negotiations. While the US would negotiate with the Taliban, it would object to Pakistan doing the same.
Whatever may be the objectives of these three dialogues, these are certainly not complimentary. In fact, these are contradictory, and that makes the development dangerous for regional stability.
The writer is Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Visiting Professor, Pakistan Studies Programme, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Armed UAV Operations 10 Years On

January 12, 2012 | 1417 GMT

One of the most iconic images of the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- as well as global U.S. counterterrorism efforts -- has been the armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), specifically the MQ-1 "Predator" and the MQ-9 "Reaper." Unarmed RQ-1 Predators (which first flew in 1994) were flying over Afghanistan well before the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month after the attacks, an armed variant already in development was deployed for the first time.

In the decade since, the Predator has clocked more than a million flight hours. And while U.S. Air Force procurement ceased in early 2011 -- with more than 250 airframes purchased -- the follow-on MQ-9 Reaper has already been procured in numbers and production continues. Predators and Reapers continue to be employed in a broad spectrum of roles, including close air support (CAS), when forward air controllers communicate with UAV operators to release ordnance with friendly troops in the vicinity (CAS is one of the more challenging missions even for manned aircraft because of the heightened risk of friendly casualties). Officially designated "armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long endurance, remotely piloted aircraft," the second to last distinction is the Predator and Reaper's principal value: the ability to loiter for extended periods, in some cases for more than 24 hours.

This ability affords unprecedented situational awareness and physical presence over the battlefield. The implications of this are still being understood, but it is clear that it allows, for example, the sustained and constant monitoring of main supply routes for attempts to emplace improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or the ability to establish a more sophisticated understanding of high-value targets' living patterns. In addition, live, full-motion video for ground controllers is available to lower and lower echelons to an unprecedented degree.

As the procurement of Predators and Reapers and the training of operators accelerated -- particularly under the tenure of former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, beginning in 2006 -- the number of UAV "orbits" skyrocketed (an orbit is a single, continuous presence requiring more than one UAV airframe per orbit). There are now more than 50 such orbits in the U.S. Central Command area of operations alone (counting several maintained by the larger, unarmed RQ-4 "Global Hawk"). The U.S. Air Force expects to be capable of maintaining 65 orbits globally by 2013, with the combined total of flight hours for Predator and Reaper operations reaching about 2 million around the same time. In 2005, UAVs made up about 5 percent of the military aircraft fleet. They have since grown to 30 percent, though most are small, hand-launched and unarmed tactical UAVs.

The Counterterrorism Value

One of the most notable uses of the Predator and Reaper has been in the counterterrorism role, both as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform and as an on-call strike platform. These armed UAVs are operated both by the U.S. Air Force and, in some cases (as with operations conducted over Pakistan), the CIA. Even before the 9/11 attacks, the armed Predator then in development was being considered as a means not only of keeping tabs on Osama bin Laden but also of killing him. Since then, armed UAVs have proved their worth both in the offensive strike role against specific targets and as a means of maintaining a constant level of threat.

The value of the counterterrorism ISR that can be collected by large UAVs alone is limited since so much depends on how and where they are deployed and what they are looking for. This mission requires not only sophisticated signals but also actionable human intelligence. But as a front-line element of a larger, integrated collection strategy, the armed UAV has proved to be a viable and enduring element of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy worldwide.

The ability to loiter is central and has a value far beyond the physical capabilities of a single airframe in a specific orbit. Operating higher than helicopters and with a lower signature than manned, jet-powered fighter aircraft, the UAV is neither visibly or audibly obvious (though the degree of inconspicuousness depends on, among other things, weather and altitude). Because UAVs are so discreet, potential targets must work under the assumption that an armed UAV is orbiting within striking distance at all times.

Such a constant threat can place considerable psychological pressure on the prey, even when the predator is large and loud. During the two battles of Fallujah, Iraq, in April and November of 2004, AC-130 gunships proved particularly devastating for insurgents pinned in certain quadrants of the city, but AC-130s were limited in number and availability. When it was not possible to keep an AC-130 on station at night (in order to keep the insurgents' heads down), unarmed C-130 transports were flown in the same orbits at altitudes where the distinctive sound of a C-130 could be clearly discerned on the ground, thus maintaining the perception of a possible AC-130 reprisal against any insurgent offensive.

Indeed, it is difficult to overstate the psychological and operational impact of this tactic on a group that experiences successful strikes on its members, even if the strikes are conducted only rarely. Counterterrorism targets in areas where UAVs are known to operate must work under tight communications discipline and constraints, since having their cellular or satellite phone conversations tapped risks not only penetration of communications but immediate and potentially lethal attacks.

The UAV threat was hardly the only factor, but consider how Osama bin Laden's communiques declined from comparatively regular and timely videos to rare audiotapes. In 2001, bin Laden was operating with immense freedom of maneuver and impunity despite the manhunt already under way for him. That situation changed even as he fled to Pakistan, and the combination of aggressive signals as well as UAV- and space-based ISR efforts further constrained his operational bandwidth and relevance as he was forced to focus more and more on his own personal survival.

The UAV threat affects not only the targeted individuals themselves but also their entire organizations. When the failure to adhere to security protocols can immediately yield lethal results, the natural response is to constrict communications and cease contact with untrusted allies, affiliates and subordinates. When the minutiae of security protocols start to matter, the standard for having full faith, trust and confidence among those belonging to or connected with a terrorist organization become much higher. And the more that organization's survival is at stake, the more it must focus on survival, thereby reducing its capacity to engage in ambitious operations. On a deeper level, there is also the value of sowing distrust and paranoia within an organization. This has the same ultimate effect of increasing internal distrust and thereby undermining the spare capacity for the pursuit of larger, external objectives.

The Evolving Geography

While armed Predators first operated in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, it was the darkest days of the Iraq War, at the height of the violence there from 2005 to 2007, that saw the strongest demand for them. As the main effort shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan, UAV operations began to shift with them. While UAVs will remain in high demand in Afghanistan even as the drawdown of forces continues there in 2012, the end of armed UAV operations in Iraq and the continued expansion of the U.S. Air Force's Reaper fleet mean that considerable bandwidth is being freed up for operations in other parts of the world. (In Iraq, some UAVs may continue to be operated over northern Kurdish areas in coordination with Turkey, and some private security contractors are operating a small fleet of unarmed UAVs as part of protection efforts in coordination with the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.)

There are obvious diplomatic and operational limitations to the employment of armed UAVs. Diplomatically, however, they also have demonstrated some value as an intermediate step between purely clandestine operations run by the CIA and the overt deployment of uniformed personnel and manned aircraft. Operationally, while Predators and Reapers lack the sort of low-observability profile of the RQ-170 (one of which was lost over Iran in 2011), UAVs lack pilots and pose no risk of human personnel being taken captive. A UAV that crashes in Iran has far fewer political ramifications than a piloted aircraft, making its deployment an easier decision for political leaders.

Indeed, the last decade has seen the maturation of the armed UAV, including its underlying architecture and doctrines. And while more than 50 Predators and Reapers have been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and in training over the past decade, the aircraft are now essentially as safe and reliable as a manned F-16C/D but far cheaper to procure, maintain and operate. And over the next 10 years, the Pentagon plans to grow its UAV fleet about 35 percent. The U.S. Air Force plans to buy 288 more Reapers -- 48 per year from now through 2016 -- and money for UAVs has remained largely untouched even as budget cuts intensify at the Pentagon.

So while armed UAVs are merely one tool of a much broader and more sophisticated counterterrorism strategy, they can be expected to be valuable for the foreseeable future, and employed in areas of the world beyond Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen (even along the U.S.-Mexico border in an unarmed role for border patrol and counternarcotics missions). And despite an enormous breach in U.S.-Pakistani relations following the deaths of two dozen Pakistani military personnel in a cross-border incident in November and the consequent ejection of the CIA from Shamsi airfield in Pakistan (from which it had operated armed UAVs since October 2001), existing UAV orbits have been largely maintained. On Jan. 10, the first strike on Pakistani territory since November took place in North Waziristan agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.



The War of Nerves in Pakistan, which has degenerated into a War of the Institutions of the State, shows no signs of ending.

2. The lack of self-restraint on the part of the three institutions involved in the war---the elected executive, the Army and the judiciary--- has kept the country on the brink. The inflexible stand taken by the three institutions has created the danger of a possible institutional collapse, the main beneficiaries of which could be neither the elected executive, nor the army nor the judiciary, but the jihadi elements opposed to a liberal democracy who are waiting in the wings for the collapse of the State.

3.The jihadi elements, who had always advocated the end of the liberal democracy on the ground that it gives greater importance to the will of the people than to the will of Allah, are hoping that the present civil war of the institutions, might pave the way for the replacement of a liberal democratic State by a jihadi State. If this happens, the implications will be serious not only for the people of Pakistan, but for the international community as a whole.
4. There is a real danger of Pakistan becoming a failed State not as a result of a collapse of its economy and/or system of governance, but as a result of the civil war being waged by the institutions of the State.

5. The Army has united behind Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). According to reliable sources, the Corps Commanders and the Principal Staff Officers, who held a strategy session at the GHQ in Rawalpindi on January 12,2012, threw their weight behind Kayani and Lt.General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and decided that the ISI should provide security to MansoorIjaz, the US citizen of Pakistani origin, who unwittingly or deliberately triggered off the present confrontation, to enable him to testify before the Judicial Enquiry Commission appointed by Chief JusticeIftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury to enquire into the allegations made by Ijaz against HussainHaqqani, former Pakistani Ambassador to US, in connection with the so-called Memogate.

6.The same sources say that the Army is firm that HussainHaqqani must be punished for what it looks upon as an act of treason in complaining to the US Government against the Pakistan Army and seeking Washington’s intervention in the matter. Punishment of Haqqani is the minimum that the Army demands as a price for relenting in its fight against the elected executive.
7. The seeming support of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister YousefRazaGilani to Haqqani even before the serious allegations made by Ijaz against him had been formally enquired into and their action in providing security to Haqqani while dragging their feet on the question of security to Ijaz have added to the anger of the Army.

8.The judiciary’s determination to go ahead with its enquiry into the allegations of Ijaz despite the non-cooperation of the executive has encouraged the inflexible stand of the Army.

9. Despite whatever one might say about the domination of the Army in the Pakistani State, the anger of the military class against the political class in general and Haqqani in particular for allegedly seeking the intervention of the US against the Pakistan Army has to be understood instead of being ridiculed. The credibility of Kayani as the leader of the military class---in the eyes of his senior officers as well as the rank and file--- could suffer if he is seen as taking a soft line on this issue.

10. To save Pakistan from a looming institutional collapse, three steps are necessary:

(a). A statement by the Government that the law will be allowed to take its course against Haqqani and that the Government will not stand in the way of the judicial enquiry into the matter.
(b).A public assurance by Kayani that all the Army wants is action against Haqqani and that it has no intention of staging a coup to overthrow the elected Government.
( c ). A reiteration by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the judiciary’s determination not to provide ex-post facto validation to any coup staged by the Army.

11. At a time when there is a crying need for wisdom, discretion and self-imposed restraint on the part of the political class as a whole, the opportunistic attempts of Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan to exploit the situation for their partisan purposes could push Pakistan down the precipice.

12.US policy-makers, who have nothing to learn and nothing to forget from their experiences in Pakistan, are adding to the complexities of the situation by coming out with statements and remarks which are seen by the military class as sympathetic to Haqqani. The US has to realise that it no longer has the same influence over the Pakistan Army as it used to have before May 2 last when its special forces unilaterally raided Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden. (13-1-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Why Washington is opposed to Vladimir Putin election as Russian President

There seems to be no limit to Washington’s idiocy in international relations, when clearly as a premier economic power US is declining fast and like a seriously diseased patient, on drip, just about surviving. Yes , it spends over $ 700 billion on defense at the behest of military and energy combine underpinned by corrupt financiers and bankers , who benefit .American people be damned .Like a rogue beast it goes around damaging nations and threatening everyone around the world .Yes ,it still has great destructive power with Iran in its sights since 2003 .But US and Israel would not remain unscathed of the terrible consequences . It is not 1945 and WE or Israel would not get away using nukes against a non-nuke state. Not only would the Muslim world including Saudi Street, the whole world not tolerate such an action.

US debt equals its GDP and has a trade deficit of $500 billion and survives only by increasing its debt to other nations including China , whom it treats as an adversary with regular menaces .To counter the US a financial bully , because the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement made US dollar the reserve currency by mid 1950s ,which Washington is manipulating and exploiting with IMF and the World Bank help guard US interests ,many nations like China, Russia, Iran ,India ,Brazil ,Venezuela among others are making arrangements for settlement of bilateral trade in their own currencies thus avoiding the use of US dollar as reserve currency . Apart from Iraq’s oil which Washington coveted , Saddam Hussein’s decision not to sell oil in US dollars was an unforgivable act for US loot to continue , so the illegal US invasion of Iraq and its destruction .Not that US has been able to exploit Iraq oil .

USA has destroyed international law and Human rights and Geneva conventions, beginning with George Bush who soon after election tore up more international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest of the world in past 20 years. Former president Billy Carter, a respected elder statesman moaned in the Washington Post as early as September 2002 that, "formerly admired almost universally as the pre-eminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life." Since then US along with poodle England and now Sarcozy have broken innumerable treaties and conventions.

Caught in the Iraqi quagmire, US had to withdraw its forces from Iraq. It had little choice .Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, decorated Marine Col Murtha had said in end 2005 that the US army in Iraq was 'broken, worn out' and would be withdrawn. It is not an exact parallel but the people of USSR and its military had destroyed 80% of Nazi war machine , but the Anglo-Saxons by false narratives and helped by propaganda and films like ‘The longest day’ ,’Gen Patton’ etc have fooled the people that US alone won the war . It is lie.

It is the people of Iraq and their resistance against the occupation which brought the US ground forces to its knees and leading to the withdrawal of US troops .For history of Iraq invasion and brutal occupation see here.

As for the situation in Afghanistan, where US wants to hang on to the bases in non-Pushtun areas , likely to come under the control of the former Northern Alliance , the backbone of president Hamid Karzai’s power base, Washington is now pathetically dependent to supply its troops in Afghanistan via northern routes i.e. central Asian republics , whose leaders do not trust Washington .It is to be seen how the fundamental differences in an unequal marriage between Washington and Islamabad , would be resolved for supplies to Afghanistan, now under suspension . A peaceful solution will and can come about only by the consent of all stakeholders, specially the countries in the region.

Faced with terrible economic and other fundamental problems the suffering people of America are protesting daily all over America, but the Nobel Peace (?) Prize Laureate president Obama is now obsessed with his re-election, as the nominee of the corporate interests, who have brought US to this miserable state and finance all presidential candidates. What a galaxy of candidates? The American people deserve better .A busy and humming armament industry US suits the corporate interests. French president Sarcozy also believes and is following US leadership and macho military behavior, in his re-election campaign.

Post Balkan Wall Fall Eurasia

After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumphant US led capitalist West went about dismantling the Union of Socialist Republics and ‘induced’ Moscow’s erstwhile allies in Europe to join NATO. US & NATO forces dismembered the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual Slav and orthodox Yugoslavia , which with religious and ethnic affinities was strategically closer to Russia .

Using the pretext the 119 attacks on US symbols of economic and military might in New York and Washington, which more and more people are now coming round to believe was an inside job or at best allowed to happen like "Pearl Harbor" which brought US into WWII, Washington, instead of attacking Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from where most of the hijackers originated, first bombed Afghanistan, coercing ally Pakistan into joining it or get bombed to stone age and installed a former UNOCOL consultant Hamid Karzai as the new ruler in Kabul after the Taliban leadership disappeared into Pakistan and northern Alliance marched into Kabul. Then on flimsy grounds US illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 for its oil.

Taking advantage of the unraveling of USSR into many states now in utter disarray, under the pretext of US led 'War on terror' in Afghanistan, Washington acquired bases in the heart of central Asia; in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the last adjoining China’s turbulent Turkic speaking Uighur province of Xinjiang.

Washington then organized US franchised (like McDonalds, KFC outlets) street revolutions financed by US non-governmental fronts and organizations, CIA and Washington’s envoys in former Russian allies in Europe and in Moscow’s near abroad. It succeeded in Serbia (from which Montenegro was detached making it landlocked), Georgia and Ukraine , but failed in Belarus . In Uzbekistan, where the regime change was attempted a few weeks after Kyrgyzstan regime change in March 2005, feisty Islam Karimov expelled the US forces from its base. In Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan ,US puppets were replaced .Georgia was bashed up 3 years ago .Washington is now begging the central Asian states to let supplies go to Afghanistan for its troops .

How West organizes its Franchised Revolutions:

“Elections are a moment of triumph,” gloated USA Today after the so called Orange Revolution. It added that “ the potential is clear: Ukraine's Orange Revolution was fueled by young voters in Kiev, who created Web sites and wrote rap songs to inspire voters. They ate at the McDonald's off Independence Square and lined up at Coca-Cola kiosks for drinks. The Orange Revolution is the latest in what appears to be a slow trend toward more democracy among the former Soviet republics and satellite states, including Georgia in 2003, Serbia in 2000 and years earlier in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Yes, the same tactics were applied by the US triumphantly in Serbia in 2000 to topple Slobodan Milosevic. Michael Kozak, the US ambassador in Minsk, then sought to emulate the success in elections in Belarus against the authoritarian Alexander Lukashenko, but failed.

There were many write ups in Guardian, Globalsearch and other websites which have documented western agencies’ support to such revolutions. According to New Statesman Yushchenko was supported covertly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Freedom House and George Soros' Open Society Institute, the very entities, which had helped oust Shevardnadze last year. The NED has four affiliate institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). They” provide technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide."

“In Ukraine, the NED and its constituent organizations funded Yushchenko's party Nasha Ukraine (Our Ukraine), as well as the Kiev Press Club. Freedom House, along with “The Independent Republican Institute (IRI) “were involved in assessing the "fairness of elections and their results". IRI had its staff in "poll watching" in 9 districts, and local staff in all 25 districts. "There are professionals outside election monitors from bodies such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups. ... They also organized exit polls which gave Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed."

Of course, western media and governments are committed to the "Freedom of the Press". They organize exit polls and then feed disinformation into the Western news chain, create and fund "pro-Western", "pro-reform" student groups, who then organize mass displays of civil disobedience. (Read Traynor, in Guardian) “In the Ukraine, the Pora Youth movement ("Its Time") funded by the Soros Open Society Institute is part of that process with more than 10,000 activists. Supported by the Freedom of Choice Coalition of Ukrainian NGOs, Pora is modeled on Serbia's Otpor and Georgia's Kmara. The Freedom of Choice Coalition acts as an Umbrella organization. It is directly supported by the US and British embassies in Kiev as well as by Germany, through the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (a foundation linked to the ruling Social Democrats). For full Ukraine Elections Confirm Rollback of US Hegemony

Russia’s Putin a major obstacle against Western domination.

Vladimir Putin remains a major obstacle in US led western policy to continue and lengthen their dominance over the rest of the world. Russia in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to Western hegemony and law of the jungle (beasts –are more considerate in destruction than say US and UK in Iraq).

So the standard lies and propaganda against Putin.

USA with blatant political and financial support tried to organize street revolutions ( as discussed above) in Russia against the recent parliament polls in which Putin’s party did badly .But basically these were aimed at stopping Putin becoming president again in March ,2012 .Dr William Engdahl , a world reputed independent journalist, historian and economist , has a very perceptive , detailed and documented essay on the subject below ;
Amb (Retd) K.Gajendra Singh, 12 January ,2012 ,Mayur Vihar, Delhi

Why Washington Wants ‘Finito’ with Putin
The Shady National Endowment for Democracy & The Prime Agenda of ‘Whoever’ is Next US President
By F. William Engdahl
January 10, 2012 "BFP" -- Washington clearly wants ‘finito’ with Russia’s Putin as in basta! Or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya–enough! Hillary Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia’s prospective next president, Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to a world dominated by one sole superpower.

On December 8 several days after election results for Russia’s parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in popularity for Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party, Putin accused the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fuelling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests. Putin stated, “The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers.”[1]
Putin went on to claim that Clinton’s premature comments were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US Government would back their protests. Clinton’s comments, the seasoned Russian intelligence pro stated, became a “signal for our activists who began active work with the US Department of State.” [2]
Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political processes of his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen or even Egypt. It is the world’s second nuclear superpower, even if it might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear fire.
Democracy or something else?
No mistake, Putin is not a world champion practitioner of what most consider democracy. His announcement some months back that he and current President Medvedev had agreed to switch jobs after Russia’s March 4 Presidential vote struck even many Russians as crass power politics and backroom deal-making. That being said, what Washington is doing to interfere with that regime change is more than brazen and interventionist. The same Obama Administration which just signed into law measures effectively ripping to shreds the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution for American citizens[3] is posing as world supreme judge of others’ adherence to what they define as democracy.
Let’s examine closely Putin’s charge of US interference in the election process. If we look, we find openly stated in their August 2011 Annual Report that a Washington-based NGO with the innocuous name, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is all over the place inside Russia.
The NED is financing an International Press Center in Moscow where some 80 international NGOs can hold press briefings on whatever they choose. They fund numerous “youth advocacy” and leadership workshops to “help youth engage in political activism.” In fact, officially they spent more than $2,783,000 in 2010 on dozens of such programs across Russia. Spending for 2011 won’t be published until later in 2012. [4]
The NED is also financing key parts of the Russian “independent” polling and election monitoring, a crucial part of being able to claim election fraud. They finance in part the Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties “GOLOS.” According to the NED Annual Report the funds went “to carry out a detailed analysis of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections.”[5]
In September, 2011, a few weeks before the December elections the NED financed a Washington invitation-only conference featuring the Russian “independent” polling organization, the Levada Center. According to NED’s own website Levada, another recipient of NED money, [6] had done a series of opinion polls, a standard method used in the West to analyze the feelings of citizens. The polls profiled “the mood of the electorate in the run up to the Duma and presidential elections, perceptions of candidates and parties, and voter confidence in the system of ‘managed democracy’ that has been established over the last decade.”
One of the featured speakers at that Washington conference was Vladimir Kara-Murza, member of the federal council of Solidarnost (“Solidarity”), Russia’s democratic opposition movement. He is also “advisor to Duma opposition leader Boris Nemtsov” according to NED. Another speaker came from the right-wing neo-conservative Hudson Institute. [7]
Nemtsov, one of the most prominent of the Putin opposition today is also co-chairman of Solidarnost, a name curiously enough imitated from the Cold War days when the CIA financed the Polish Solidarnosc workers’ opposition of Lech Walesa. More on Nemtsov later.
And on December 15, 2011, again in Washington, just as the series of US-supported protests were being launched against Putin, led by Solidarnost and other organizations, the NED held another conference titled, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference? The featured speaker was Tamirlan Kurbanov, who according to the NED, “most recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was involved in developing and expanding the capacities of political and civic organizations; promoting citizen participation in public life, youth engagement in particular.” [8] The National Democratic Institute is an arm of the NED.
The shady history of NED
Helping youth engage in political activism is precisely what the same NED did in Egypt over the past several years in the lead up to the toppling of Mubarak. The same NED was instrumental by informed accounts in the US-backed “Color Revolutions” in 2003-2004 in Ukraine and Georgia that brought US-backed pro-NATO surrogates to power. The same NED has been active in promoting “human rights” in Myanmar, in Tibet, and China’s oil-rich Xinjiang province. [9]
As careful analysts of the 2004 Ukraine “Orange revolution” and the numerous other US-financed color revolutions discovered, control of polling and ability to dominate international media perceptions, especially major TV such as CNN or BBC is an essential component of the Washington destabilization agenda. The Levada Center would likely be in a crucial position in this regard to issue polls showing discontent with the regime.
By their description, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.”[10]
It couldn’t sound more noble or high-minded. However, they prefer to leave out their own true history. In the early 1980’s CIA director Bill Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan to create a plausibly private NGO, the NED, to advance Washington’s global agenda via other means than direct CIA action. It was a part of the process of “privatizing” US intelligence to make their work more “effective.” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”[11] Interesting. The majority of funds for NED come from US taxpayers through Congress. It is in every way, shape and form a US Government intelligence community asset.
The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow it more freedom of action. NED board members are typically drawn from the Pentagon and US intelligence community. It has included retired NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999. Key figures linked to clandestine CIA actions who served on NED’s board have included Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, founder of the ultraconservative organization, Empower America, and campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush. Current NED chairman is John Bohn, former CEO of the controversial Moody’s rating agency which played a nefarious role in the still-unraveling US mortgage securities collapse. As well today’s NED board includes neo-conservative Bush-era ambassador to Iraq and to Afghanistan, Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad.[12]
Putin’s well-rehearsed opposition
It’s also instructive to look at the leading opposition figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The current opposition “poster boy” favorite of Russian youth and especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin’s jail for partaking in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December 25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd, “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House (Russia’s Presidential home-w.e.) right now…”[13]
Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny. England’s BBC described Navalny as “arguably the only major opposition figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years,” and US Time magazine called him “Russia’s Erin Brockovich,” a curious reference to the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a trade union organizer. However, more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a “Yale World Fellow.” [14]
The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on the payroll of Washington’s regime-destabilizing National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny’s own blog, LiveJournal, he was financed in 2007-2008 by the NED. His Washington NED contact person was Frank Conatser.[15] A facsimile of an email exchange between Navalny and Conatser fronm November 17, 2007 is partially reproduced here.

From: Frank Conatser [mailto:frankc@NED.ORG]
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2007 12:12 AM
To: Navalny Alexey; Aleksey Navalny
Cc: John Squier; Marc Schleifer
Subject: NED Agreements No. 2006-576 & No. 2007-688

Frank Conatser
Grants Administrator for Eurasia
National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004
202-378-9660 (phone)
202-378-9860 (fax)
(Excerpt from email exchange between Alexey Navalty and NED)[16]

Along with Navalny, key actors in the anti-Putin protest movement are centered around Solidarnost which was created in December 2008 by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others. Nemtsov is hardly one to protest corruption. According to Business Week Russia of September 23, 2007, Nemtsov introduced Russian banker Boris Brevnov to Gretchen Wilson, a US citizen and an employee of the International Finance Corporation, a financing arm of the World Bank. Wilson and Brevnov married. With the help of Nemtsov Wilson managed to privatize Balakhna Pulp and Paper mill at the giveaway price of just $7 million. The enterprise was sucked dry and then sold to the Wall Street-Swiss investment bank, CS First Boston bank. The annual turnover of the mill was reportedly $250 million. [17]
CS First Boston bank also paid for Nemtsov’s trips to the very expensive Davos World Economic Forum. When Nemtsov became a member of the cabinet, his protégé Brevnov was appointed the chairman of the Unified Energy System of Russia JSC. Two years later in 2009 Boris Nemtsov, today’s “Mr. anti-corruption,” used his influence reportedly to get Brevnov off the hook for charges of embezzling billions from assets of Unified Energy System. [18]
Nemtsov also took money from jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 1999 when the latter was using his billions to try to buy the Russian parliament or Duma. In 2004 Nemtsov met with exiled billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky in a secret gathering with other exiled Russian tycoons. When Nemtsov was detailed by Russian authorities for allegations of foreign funding of his new political party, “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption,” US Senators John McCain and Joe Liberman and Mike Hammer of the Obama National Security Council came to support of Nemtsov. [19]
Nemtsov’s close crony, Vladimir Ryzhkov of Solidarnost is also closely tied to the Swiss Davos circles, even founding a Siberian Davos. According to Russian press accounts from April 2005, Ryzhkov formed a Committee 2008 in 2003 to “draw” funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally “democratic” forces against Putin. On May 23, 2011 Ryzhkov, Nemtzov and several others filed to register a new Party of Peoples’ Freedom to ostensibly field a presidential candidate against Putin in 2012.[20]
Another prominent face in the recent anti-Putin rallies is former world chess champion turned right-wing politician, Garry Kasparov, another founder of Solidarnost. Kasparov was identified several years ago as being a board member of a Washington neo-conservative military think-tank. In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a “non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security.” Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president. [21]
In 2009 Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov met with no less than Barack Obama to discuss Russia’s opposition to Putin at the US President’s personal invitation at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Nemtsov had called for Obama to meet with opposition forces in Russia: “If the White House agrees to Putin’s suggestion to speak only with pro-Putin organizations… this will mean that Putin has won, but not only that: Putin will become be assured that Obama is weak,” he said. During the same 2009 US trip Nemtsov was invited to speak at the New York Council on Foreign Relations, perhaps the most influential US foreign policy think-tank. Significantly, not only has the US State Department and US-backed political NGOs such as NED poured millions into building an anti-Putin coalition inside Russia. The President personally has intervened into the process.[22]
Ryzhkov, Nemtzov, Navalty and Putin’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin were all involved in organizing the December 25th Moscow Christmas anti-Putin rally which drew an estimated 120,000.[23]
Why Putin?
The salient question is why Putin at this point? We need not look far for the answer. Washington and especially Barack Obama’s Administration don’t give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern is the obstacle to Washington’s plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet that a Putin Presidency will represent. According to the Russian Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office in the Russian Federation. He will take direct control of defense and foreign policy.
We must ask what policy? Clearly strong countermeasures against the blatant NATO encirclement of Russia with Washington’s dangerous ballistic missile installations around Russia will be high on Putin’s agenda. Hillary Clinton’s “reset” will be in the dustbin if it is not already. We can also expect a more aggressive use of Russia’s energy card with pipeline diplomacy to deepen economic ties between European NATO members such as Germany, France and Italy, ultimately weakening the EU support for aggressive NATO measures against Russia. We can expect a deepening of Russia’s turn towards Eurasia, especially with China, Iran and perhaps India to firm up the shaky spine of resistance to Washington’s New World Order plans.
It will take more than a few demonstrations in sub-freezing weather in Moscow and St. Petersburg by a gaggle of corrupt or shady opposition figures such as Nemtsov or Kasparov to derail Russia. What is clear is that Washington is pushing on all fronts—Iran and Syria, where Russia has a vital naval port, on China, now on Russia, and on the Eurozone countries led by Germany. It has the smell of an end-game attempt by a declining superpower.
The United States today is a de facto bankrupt nuclear superpower. The reserve currency role of the dollar is being challenged as never since Bretton Woods in 1944. That role along with maintaining the United States as the world’s unchallenged military power have been the basis of the American Century hegemony since 1945.
Weakening the role of the dollar in international trade and ultimately as reserve currency, China is now settling trade with Japan in bilateral currencies, side-stepping the dollar. Russia is implementing similar steps with her major trade partners. The primary reason Washington launched a full-scale currency war against the Euro in late 2009 was to preempt a growing threat that China and others would turn away from the dollar to the Euro as reserve currency. That is no small matter. In effect Washington finances its foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere through the fact that China and other trade surplus nations invest their surplus trade dollars in US government Treasury debt. Were that to shift significantly, US interest rates would rise substantially and the financial pressures on Washington would become immense.
Faced with growing erosion of her unchallenged global status as sole superpower, Washington appears now to be turning increasingly to raw military force to hold that. For that to succeed Russia must be neutralized along with China and Iran. This will be the prime agenda of whoever is next US President.
F. William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.


[1] Alexei Druzhinin, Putin says US encouraging Russian opposition, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 8, 2011
[2] Ibid.
[3] Jonathan Turley, The NDAA’s historic assault on American liberty, guardian.co.uk, 2 January 2012, accessed inhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty .
[4] National Endowment for Democracy, Russia, from NED Annual Report 2010, Washington, DC, published in August 2011, accessed in http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/eurasia/russia.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] NED, Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives, September 14, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/elections-in-russia-polling-and-perspectives.
[8] NED, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?, December 15, 2011, accessed inhttp://ned.org/events/youth-activism-in-russia-can-a-new-generation-make-a-difference .
[9] F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, 2010, edition.engdahl press . The book describes in detail the origins of the NED and various US-sponsored “human rights” NGOs and how they have been used to topple regimes not friendly to a larger USA geopolitical agenda.
[10] National Endowment for Democracy, About Us, accessed in www.ned.org.
[11] David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September-6 October,1991, 24-25.
[12] F. William Engdahl, Op. Cit., p.50.
[13] Yulia Ponomareva, Navalny and Kudrin boost giant opposition rally, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 25, 2011.
[14] Yale University, Yale World Fellows: Alexey Navalny, 2010, accessed inhttp://www.yale.edu/worldfellows/fellows/navalny.html.
[15] Alexey Navalny, emails between Navalny and Conatser, accessed in Russian (English summary provided to the author bywww.warandpeace.ru ) on http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Business Week Russia, Boris Nemtsov: Co-chairman of Solidarnost political movement, Business Week Russia, September 23, 2007, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1648.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Russian Mafia.ru, Vladimir Ryzhkov: Co-chairman of the Party of People’s Freedom, accessed inhttp://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1713.
[21] Russian Mafia.ru, Garry Kasparov: The leader of United Civil Front, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1518.
[22] The OtherRussia, Obama Will Meet With Russian Opposition, July 3, 2009, accessed inhttp://www.theotherrussia.org/2009/07/03/obama-will-meet-with-russian-opposition/.
[23] Yulia Ponomareva, op. Cit.