Showing posts from 2009

Obama administration prepares public opinion for Yemen attacks

US involvement in Yemen has been going on under the radar for some time. Recent events have made US actions more obvious. My guess is that the US is also helping Yemen against the Houthis as they have reported being bombed by US planes. In return Yemen has agreed to go after Al Qaeda. The result will likely be further destabilising of an already weak government facing opposition now on three fronts. This in turn will create a demand for more US involvement. This will then lead to Obama's third surge, more debt, and more cutbacks in the US social safety net. This is from wsws.

Obama administration prepares public opinion for attack on Yemen
By Patrick Martin
31 December 2009
Five days after the unsuccessful attempt by a Nigerian student to set off a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet, US military and intelligence officials are said to be preparing expanded military action against targets in Yemen, the Arab country where the student allegedly received terrorist training and was …

Yemen: One more surge.

At one time not so long ago Obama was opposed to a surge, the one in Iraq. Now that he has seen that surge worked, or sort of worked, he is keen to start as many of his own as he can. First there was the surge in Afghanistan, then the drone surge in Pakistan, and now the surge in Yemen. I guess Somalia cannot be far behind. It doesn't really matter that Al Qaeda seems to be actually a very small group globally or that much of their attempted attacks are botched, for they will help keep the US spending more and more when its debt increases are unsustainable. More and more restrictions will be placed upon citizens so that the government will look more and more like Big Brother and the rights that are so proudly trumpeted as the jewels of the free world will have all have been lost sold out to fund the war on terrorism.

- News From - -

Obama Vows ‘Accelerated Offensive’ in Yemen

Posted By Jason Ditz
Taking time out from his Hawaii vacation to comment o…

US Special Forces in Afghanistan kill 10 Afghan civilians

So much for McChrystal's concern about civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Since regular forces are withdrawing from remote areas Special Forces are now operating to try and disrupt Taliban leadership in the areas but this is the result. The forces operate clandestinely and with impunity it would seem. They are in effect part of the department of dirty tricks. McChrystal led these forces formerly. He will use them in areas where regular forces have withdrawn no doubt along with air support that will cause even more civilian casualties. Drones are also part of this grab bag of new programs that are part of a new offensive. The drone attacks kill even more civilians but probably much less than Pakistani attacks in the tribal area which seem to involve a scorched earth policy that kills many civilians and causes massive refugee problems. But who cares about that except for the Taliban who find the camps good grounds for recruiting.

News From -
NATO Forces Kill 10 Afghan Civ…

US missiles kill 13 more in Pakistan

Obama certainly deserves to be called the war president. The Afghan war is now the Af-Pak war with the US and Pakistani forces both involved in operations in Afghanistan but the US limited to drone attacks but also no doubt with some intelligence operatives and perhaps special forces and even contractors such as Xe (Blackwater).
Every official statement claims only militants were killed but local accounts almost always claim that civilians were killed or even only civilians were killed. This is from presstv.

US missiles mow down 13 in Pakistan

US drone attacks continue to claim lives in the Pakistani border area of North Waziristan amid Washington's failure to push Islamabad into major offensives on the area.

The surveillance aircraft on Saturday attacked the Saidgi village in the tribal area reportedly killing 13 people, AFP reported. The raid marked the third of such attacks over the past ten days.

Quoting a local intelligence official, CNN said the projectiles had hit a mi…

Egypt delaying Gaza aid.

You would think the caravan was trying to get permission to travel through Israel given the troubles that Egypt is making for them. Egypt certainly does not seem to be much a friend of the Palestinians. It is much more interested in good relations with the US and even Israel. This is from presstv.

Egypt using 'bureaucracy' against besieged Gazans

British lawmaker and anti-war activist George Galloway says Egypt is using bureaucracy as a pretext to impede humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Galloway and 449 other human rights activists who are part of the Viva Palestina aid convoy are currently stuck in Jordan, since Cairo has denied them permission to Egypt via the Red Sea.

Galloway said "it does not seem sensible to allow hundreds of tons of medicine to go off and to be spoiled and vital equipment for ill and injured people in Gaza to be stopped just because of a bureaucratic and technical difference."

The Egyptian authorities have barred the convoy from taking the most …

Holbrooke: US spies but no troops in Pakistan.

Of course there is no reason to believe Holbrooke. In the war on terror or whatever it is now called the first casualty as the saying goes is truth. In an drone attacks it is always militants and even leaders who are killed not civilians. Usually the opposite is probably the case. Some leaders seem to be like cats with nine lives. The response of course makes no reference to contractors such as Blackwater (Xe) and if there were special forces in operations which there probably are this would not be mentioned either.

US spies, not combat troops in Pak: Holbrooke
Dec 26 04:20 PM
Washington, Dec. 26 (ANI): US President Barack Obama's Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke has admitted that there are American spies on Pakistani soil, but has rebuffed reports about the presence of any combat troops inside the troubled country.

"There are no American troops in Pakistan, but there are members of our intelligence services in every country in the world," Holbroo…

US govt-run radio fears coup in Pakistan

No doubt the US already has plenty of contacts and feelers out both to the generals and to the opposition politicians. There does not seem to be any big hurrahs from the US as the judicial system restores constitutional order in Pakistan. The decision to void the amnesty simply makes things more difficult for the US and weakens Zardari's government as both he and some of his key ministers were covered by the amnesty. Given that the US seems to be upping drone attacks it may be difficult for any overtly pro-US government to govern successfully in Pakistan.

US govt-run radio fears coup in Pakistan

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
WASHINGTON: “Conditions in Pakistan have been ripening, like the mango fruit eaten there, for another military coup d’etat. The economy has slumped, corruption is rampant, and terrorism is endemic. People are losing faith in the officials they brought to power,î US Congress funded Radio Free Liberty (RFE) said in a political commentary on Pakistan on Monday.

RFE is…

International Crisis Group lay blame on Arroyo government for patronage of Ampatuan clan.

While the Arroyo government is not directly to blame for the alleged Ampatuan massacre certainly it is so indirectly. The government both supported the clan rule and also the arming of what are in effect private Ampatuan militia. The government obviously looked the other way when the clan used strong arm tactics not only against rebels but also against any people who mounted any opposition to their rule. The ICG is not that far off the mark. This is from ABS-CBN.

ICG ‘stretching logic’ in report, says Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz


Malacañang yesterday described as a “stretch of logic” the report of the Brussels-based Inter-national Crisis Group (ICG) blaming President Arroyo’s government’s political pat-ronage of the Ampatuan clan for the massacre of 57 individuals in Maguindanao last Nov. 23.

The ICG report said Arroyo’s patronage of the clan allowed the Ampatuans to amass great wealth and unchecked powers, including the possession of a private arsenal with mortars, rocket laun…

Greenwald: Cruise Missile Attacks in Yemen

While these attacks are condemned in reports in the Muslim world they are praised in the west, for example by Admiral Mullen. The attacks represent a clear escalation in the conflict and of US involvement.
Cruise Missile Attacks in Yemen At the same time Defence Secretary Gates is pressing for a 2 billion dollar fund to help stabilise unstable regimes. This is from informationclearinghouse.

By Glenn Greenwald

December 21, 2009 - "Salon" -- Given what a prominent role "Terrorism" plays in our political discourse, it's striking how little attention is paid to American actions which have the most significant impact on that problem. In addition to our occupation of Iraq, war escalation in Afghanistan, and secret bombings in Pakistan, President Obama late last week ordered cruise missile attacks on two locations in Yemen, which "U.S. officials" say were "suspected Al Qaeda hideouts." The main target of the attacks, Al Qaeda member Qasim al Rim, wa…

Health care in U.S. will suffer from cuts and will be starved of funds rather than grow.

The health care industry has hundreds of lobbyist in Washington who understand and can manipulate the system. Given that this is the case there is simply no way that the system can be reformed so as to give more equitable coverage at lower cost as happens in every other developed nation. This situation is vastly aided by the fact that many Americans believe that it is government involvement not the corporate interests that is the problem. It is almost certain that the government will cut programs and increase copays in areas where it is now involved. This is one point upon which protesting seniors have it right but then the solution is not for the government to get out of the area and let private enterprise take over. If that happened their costs would be even higher for no private insurer is going to insure high risk seniors by offering bargain premiums!

Rupert Russell

Healthcare to suffer fate of Welfare, not Medicare or Social Security

Bear in mind also the lessons of history: social …

Billions of earmarks in Defense Bill

The system of earmarks seems really odd to an outsider. Things totally unrelated to a bill get added on just to please important legislators or buy votes. I guess the practice is not banned simply because such means of distributing pork is found of great use in keeping constituents happy and ensuring re-election of more pork barrel politicians.

Billions in earmarks inflate defense bill's cost
Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Department of Defense didn't ask for money to update the old officers club in San Francisco's Presidio into a visitors information center and exhibition space. Neither did any other member of Congress - except House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Her $5 million earmark request for the Presidio Heritage Center was approved by the Senate on Saturday as part of the $626 billion defense appropriations bill, the largest of the end-of-year government spending measures.

The bill, which includes $128 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is expect…

Iran and Iraq agree to clear up oil well fracas.

This is interesting in that Mottaki the Iranian foreign minister seems to be denying that Iran actually seized the oil well involved although the use of weasel wording implies that something happened. The Iraqi claim was obviously not based on simply rumours! It is rather surprising that Iran would take any action that might provoke friction between Iran and Iraq at this time. Iran needs all the support and good relations in the area it can get right now and it had won a tremendous advantage as a result of the US invasion. The Shia majority in Iraq is powerful in the new Iraqi government unlike the situation under Hussein when the Sunni minority predominated. Iran has a Shia majority as well and good relations with many Iraqi politicians. This is from presstv.

Iran, Iraq agree to clear up oil well misunderstanding

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (L) and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari (R) held a phone conversation on Saturday.
Iran and Iraq have decided to establish an a…

Afghan Killing and a Karzai family feud

I don't usually report stuff such as this. What is significant is the degree to which there is voluntary silence about all this in most of the press. It would seem that the Afghan government is in coverup mode as well. What is of more general interest in the article are the details about family members being involved in lucrative government contracts Hashmat Karzai being a good example. The article is from the NewYorkTimes.

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now.


December 20, 2009
Afghan Killing Bares a Karzai Family Feud
WASHINGTON — On Oct. 16, four sport utility vehicles barreled into Karz, Afghanistan…

Suspected Al-Qaeda leader in Yemen escapes raid.

Most headlines I have seen in other media note the claim that the deputy leader was killed. Of course there is no mention of any civilians being killed. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable the so-called collateral damage is not mentioned. The media usually but not always co-operates in this silence campaign. Note that the Yemen govt. denies that the US was involved in the attack. This is standard as the US is not exactly favored by many Yemenis.

Suspected al-Qaida leader in Yemen escapes raid

Yemeni official: US didn't fire missiles in strike against al-Qaida; deputy commander killed

AP News

Dec 19, 2009 07:23 EST

A military strike on al-Qaida's network in Yemen killed the deputy commander of the terrorist network's cell in Abyan province, the Yemeni government said.

Embassy spokesman Mohammed Albasha identified the dead man as Mohammed Al Kazimi, but said suspected al-Qaida leader Qasim al-Raymi, the intended target of this week's raid, escaped.

Al-Raymi is one of 23 mi…

Seymour Hersh: Pakistan, defending the arsenal

This is a detailed insightful article on how the US attempts to gain information about Pakistan's nuclear weapons and make sure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. However, Hersch makes it clear also that US policy could actually further radicalise Pakistanis. The Pakistanis are rightfully suspicious of the US and its intentions many thinking that the US would love to destroy Pakistan's nuclear capability. As the Pakistanis note the US does not seem to have the same worries about India's nuclear weapons -nor those of Israel of course! Obama's increase in drone strikes may also serve to furth radicalise parts of Pakistan. This is from the New Yorker..the rest is at that site.

Defending the Arsenal
In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?
by Seymour M. Hersh
America’s dealings with Pakistan may be increasing the risk of radicalization.

TalibanIn the tumultuous days leading up to the Pakistan Army’s ground offensive in the tribal area of South Wazir…

US Ambassador to Honduras meets Zelaya

This issue has gone completely off the press radar at least the anglophone press. Zelaya achieved absolutely nothing and the coup govt got absolutely everything they wanted. No word though about what the aid situation is. I expect the aid that was stopped has begun flowing from the US already. Many Latin American countries may not recognise the new elected president although we will see what happens. The US is no doubt happy except that it would like to do something to ensure that more countries recognise the new government. Of course countries such as Colombia , Panama and Costa Rica will do so. Costa Rica's recognition is sort of a bad joke since Micheletti snubbed and undercut Arias at every turn but then Arias no doubt is getting some goodies from the US for being such a nice guy! This is from presstv.

US Amb. meets Zelaya at Brazil embassy
Sun, 20 Dec 2009 14:05:00 GMT
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FWashington Ambassador to coup-hit Honduras Hugo Llorens has met with ousted leader Manuel Zelaya …