5/7 "Anti-War" Left OK with War; The Myth of Talibanization; Uses of "Failed States' & 'Pandemics"; CA 'Swine Flu' since '05?

digest note:
The mythical middle ground is no more. "Anti-war" /"peace"/"anti-imperialism" claims nothing but anti-bush-pro-obama neoliberalism. Hanging out for hope in the face of a fascist u.s agenda revving into higher gear by the hour, slaughter and devastation mounting in its wake, bleeding humanity to finance capitalism's final solution for world domination, with lies beyond goebbel's imagination, pretending change is 'round the corner, is outright complicity with the henchmen and handmaidens of the most brutal, criminal empire in modern history.

Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions
By James A. Lucas6
24 April, 2007
This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.
The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.
The overall conclusion reached is that the United States has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world. To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation...
An accurate count of the number of deaths is not easy to achieve, and this collection of data was undertaken with full realization of this fact. These estimates will probably be revised later either upward or downward by the reader and the author. But undoubtedly the total will remain in the millions.
37 VICTIM NATIONS (plus good sources)....
The author can be contacted at jlucas511@woh.rr.com

Inside the Numbers
Obama's War Budget
President Obama’s 2009 supplemental spending request to fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is currently before Congress.... Obama is seeking an additional $75.8 billion in supplemental war funds for this fiscal year. It is possible Congress will add to this amount before final passage. If Congress enacts Obama’s request, total war spending will come to $144.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2009 ( ends September 30, Fiscal Year 2010 beginning October 1)... In its summary "Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Request" the Department of Defense states that funding for the Afghanistan war will increase to $46.9 billion in 2009, a 31 percent increase over the $35.9 billion in 2008 and the $32.6 billion in 2007. This $11.3 billion increase includes an additional $2.8 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund; $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund; and $4.4 billion for MRAPs designed for use in Afghanistan. Increased troop levels will also account for a portion of the increase. Military construction projects in Afghanistan are expanded under Obama’s war budget. In the 2009 supplemental now before Congress, Obama seeks an additional $620 million to fund Army construction projects and $240 million to fund Air Force construction projects. The Army projects include construction and upgrade of air facilities at various bases to accommodate the CH-47 Chinook helicopters and to construct additional troop housing to accommodate the increased troop levels. The supplemental spending request also points towards the increased use of the MQ – 1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper drones in the war. Obama seeks $57.4 million to acquire 742 Predator Hellfire missiles and $196 million for ten new MQ-9 Reapers.... www.uruknet.info?p=53945 www.counterpunch.org/leys05042009.html

US Afghan strikes kill 100, 'mostly civilians'
AFP Graphic – Map of Afghanistan locating suspected US air strikes in Bala Buluk district in Farah province.
HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) – An Afghan provincial police chief said Wednesday that investigations showed more than 100 "non-combatants" had been killed in US-led coalition air strikes in western Afghanistan. "We confirm that in the military operation the other night more than 100 non-combatants have been killed," Farah province police chief Abdul Ghafar Watandar told AFP... "This information is based on the reports given to us by a delegation composed of ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) members and locals who went to the villages to investigate reports of civilian casualties."

Mr. Obama, Mr. Zardari and Mr. Karzai
If there is any hope of defeating the Taliban, Congress must support President Obama’s plan to deal with Pakistan and Afghanistan as an integrated regional problem.

“ Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger...
We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today. ”
Jones speech at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof on February 8, 2009
A transcript of the speech is posted on the Council on Foreign Relations website.

Afghanistan: General James Jones NATO's Top General Says Taliban Defeated
August 13, 2004
Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

stabilizing missions
Record bombs dropped in Afghanistan in April
By Bruce Rolfsen, Navy Times
Air Force, Navy and other coalition warplanes dropped a record number of bombs in Afghanistan during April, Air Forces Central figures show. In the past month, warplanes released 438 bombs, the most ever. April also marked the fourth consecutive month that the number of bombs dropped rose, after a decline starting last July. The munitions were released during 2,110 close-air support sorties... The actual number of airstrikes was higher because the AFCent numbers don’t include attacks by helicopters and special operations gunships. The numbers also don’t include strafing runs or launches of small missiles. Over Iraq, 26 bombs were released during 767 strike sorties. Transport crews airdropped 1.8 million pounds of supplies, mostly in Afghanistan, and tankers off loaded 85 million pounds of fuel.Reconnaissance aircraft flew 1,402 missions over Iraq and Afghanistan.http://www.uruknet.de/?p=54022

u.s. steps up state terror as it meets with its quislings in D.C....
High Civilian Toll Seen in U.S. Raid in Afghanistan
“Six houses were bombed and destroyed completely and people in the houses still remain under the rubble,” he said, “and now I am working with other villagers trying to excavate the dead bodies.” Villagers, crazed with grief, were collecting mangled bodies in blankets and shawls and piling them on three tractors... Mr. Agha, the villager from Granai, said that the bombing started at 5 p.m. and lasted until late into the night. “People were rushing to go to their relatives’ houses where they believed they would be safe, but they were hit on the way,” he said. ...“Everyone at the governor’s office was crying, watching that shocking scene.” Mr. Farahi said he had talked to someone he knew personally who counted 113 bodies being buried, including many women and children. Later more bodies were pulled from the rubble and some who had been taken to the hospital died.. the governor of the province where the strikes occurred overnight Monday said that as many as 130 civilians had been killed... The civilian toll of the war — more than 2,000 Afghans were killed last year alone, the United Nations says — has been a decisive factor in souring many Afghans on the war...
Jessica Barry, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said her group sent a team to the scene on Tuesday. The team saw houses destroyed and dozens of dead bodies, among them women and children. “It’s not the first time,” Ms. Barry said, but “really this is one of the very serious and biggest incidents for a very long time.” The dead included a volunteer with the Afghan Red Crescent and 13 members of his family, she said....
Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for the United States military in Kabul confirmed that United States Special Operations Forces were in the area and called in close air support on the villages Monday night, including bombs and strafing with heavy machine guns. “There is a heavy insurgent presence there,” he said. ...United States and NATO forces have sought to reduce civilian casualties....
The senior American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan... cautioned that... “It is certainly a technique of the Taliban and other insurgent groups to claim civilian casualties at every event,” he said, speaking as he and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived in Kabul... After a prominent incident last year in Azizabad, General McKiernan issued a directive in December saying that “all responses must be proportionate and the utmost of care should be taken to minimize any damage.” .. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/world/asia/07afghan.html?hp

Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War
Concern increases about American raids as the Obama administration prepares to increase forces in Afghanistan... American airstrikes that Afghan officials and villagers said Wednesday had killed dozens and perhaps more than 100 civilians in western Afghanistan threaten to stiffen Afghan opposition to the war just as the Obama administration is sending 20,000 more troops to the country. ...Defense Department officials said investigators were looking into the possibility that Taliban militants were responsible for the civilian deaths....“We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of the civilian casualties,” said the senior American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan.
“We cannot confirm the report that the Taliban executed these people,” said Capt. John Kirby, the spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon....

U.S. Admits Civilians Died in Afghan Air Raids
United States officials acknowledged Thursday for the first time that at least some of what might be 100 civilian deaths in western Afghanistan had been caused by American bombs. In Afghanistan, residents angrily protested the deaths and demanded that American forces leave the country. American military reports that some of the casualties might have been caused by Taliban grenades, not American airstrikes, were “thinly sourced,” a Pentagon official in Washington said Thursday, indicating that he was uncertain of their accuracy. “It looks like at least some of the casualties were caused by the airstrikes,” the official acknowledged. A second Pentagon official said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if it was a mix,” but added that it was too soon to tell. A more complete report was due from Afghan and American investigators at the scene within 24 hours. Both officials requested anonymity so that they could speak more candidly.
The deaths drew hundreds of Afghans into the streets to protest... Outside the governor’s office, police officers fired on demonstrators who threw stones, wounding three of them...
Villagers and Afghan lawmakers disputed the initial American claims that Taliban grenades had caused the casualties. Muhammad Naeem Farahi, a Parliament member who is from the area and has followed the case closely, laughed at the suggestion. “No, that’s not true,” he said, “and I am someone who supports the American presence.”...
The United States defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, questioned by journalists as he visited the capital, Kabul, apologized for any loss of innocent life. But he said that “exploiting civilian casualties and often causing civilian casualties are a fundamental part” of the insurgents’ strategy... Secretary Gates’s remarks did little to relieve the anger. He accused the Taliban of using civilians as shields and of causing civilian casualties by hiding among noncombatants during attacks in a tactic to divide the population from the government and its American supporters....

fake distinctions between 'civilian' and others to turn resistance into 'terrorists' promotes u.s. imperialist pretexts
America’s Afghan War: The Real World versus Obama’s Marketed Imagery
Bush then Obama and NATO allies killing twice as many civilian women and children than civilian men in America’s Afghan war
Prof. Marc Herold
..."for all the shifting words, Mr. Obama has left the bulk of Bush’s national security infrastructure intact..." Afghans and Pashtuns in the Pakistani border areas experience continuing brutality daily as I shall document... Americans are largely Recruiting an Afghan Militia, U.S. Faces a Test us remaining enthralled in the puffery of "Yes, We Can" and "Change We Can Believe In." The phrase "civilian casualties" is non-existent in Obama’s vocabulary as a search of Google reveals. Dead Afghan and Pashtun civilians have simply been redefined as non-existent..http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53388
Herold's Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm

More Troops Look Like Occupying Forces: Gates
04 May 2009
The US top official said additional troops would give an occupying face to the US forces in Afghanistan. The sole way to stablise the security in Afghanistan is to bolster Afghan security forces rather than pumping international troops to the country, Gates told CNN. "... that, plus the increased effectiveness and strength of the army and the police, are really the pathway forward," Secretary Gates told in the interview with the prominent American Channel. "We must be their partner and their ally. If we get to the point where the Afghan people see us as occupiers, then we will have lost."... Gates said there could be a spike in violence as the U.S. military moves thousands more troops into the southern region.... pressed that the United States must work to grow and train the Afghan security forces so they can establish an enduring presence in the small villages and districts that dot the country.... added development programmes crucial to overwhelm the insurgency and reconstruction the war-torn Afghanistan. Governance building in Afghanistan has been a centrepeice of the US mission in Afghanistan where lack of governance provokes multiple challenges in the country. http://quqnoos.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2965&Itemid...

2009 Witness for Jesus' in Afghanistan
Al Jazeera - Video and Text
US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22544.htm

US seeks Pakistan nuclear pledge
BBC interview VIDEO http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8032898.stm
General James I-take-my-daily-orders-from-dr. kissinger-Jones, US national security adviser said 'We have received assurances from the military'...Pakistan's army had repeatedly told him the stockpile was "under control", but "this is very much an ongoing topic"... that "things are moving in a more positive direction" in Pakistan, but that more assurances were needed about the safety of the country's nuclear weapons. "If Pakistan doesn't continue in the direction that it presently is and we're not successful there then, obviously, the nuclear question comes into view. Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the Taleban would be "the very very worst case scenario," said Gen Jones. "We're going to do anything we can within the construct of our bilateral relations and multilateral relations to make sure that doesn't happen."... Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is due to meet Barack Obama this week. On the subject of Iran, Gen Jones warned that the US would not "wait forever" for Iran to respond positively to President Obama's attempt to improve US relations with the country.

The Myth of Talibanistan
By Pepe Escobar
May 04, 2009 "Asia Times" -- Apocalypse Now. Run for cover. The turbans are coming. This is the state of Pakistan today, according to the current hysteria disseminated by the Barack Obama administration and United States corporate media - from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to The New York Times. Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said on the record that Pakistani Talibanistan is a threat to the security of Britain....
Moreover, there's no evidence the Taliban, in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, have any capability to hit a target outside of "Af-Pak" (Afghanistan and Pakistan). That's mythical al-Qaeda's privileged territory. As for the nuclear hysteria of the Taliban being able to crack the Pakistani army codes for the country's nuclear arsenal ...even Obama, at his 100-day news conference, stressed the nuclear arsenal was safe....the military institution itself is backed by none other than the American army - with which it has been closely intertwined since the 1970s...

So if Islamabad is not burning tomorrow, why the hysteria? There are several reasons. To start with, what Washington - now under Obama's "Af-Pak" strategy - simply cannot stomach is real democracy and a true civilian government in Islamabad; these would be much more than a threat to "US interests" than the Taliban, whom the Bill Clinton administration was happily wining and dining in the late 1990s. What Washington may certainly relish is yet another military coup - and sources tell Asia Times Online that former dictator General Pervez Musharraf (Busharraf as he was derisively referred to) is active behind the hysteria scene. It's crucial to remember that every military coup in Pakistan has been conducted by the army chief of staff. So the man of the hour - and the next few hours, days and months - is discreet General Ashfaq Kiani, Benazir's former army secretary. He is very cozy with US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen, and definitely not a Taliban-hugger...

The myth of Talibanistan anyway is just a diversion, a cog in the slow-moving regional big wheel - which in itself is part of the new great game in Eurasia. During a first stage - let's call it the branding of evil - Washington think-tanks and corporate media hammered non-stop on the "threat of al-Qaeda" to Pakistan and the US. FATA was branded as terrorist central - the most dangerous place in the world where "the terrorists" and an army of suicide bombers were trained and unleashed into Afghanistan to kill the "liberators" of US/NATO.
In the second stage, the new Obama administration accelerated the Predator "hell from above" drone war over Pashtun peasants. Now comes the stage where the soon over 100,000-strong US/NATO troops are depicted as the true liberators of the poor in Af-Pak (and not the "evil" Taliban) - an essential ploy in the new narrative to legitimize Obama's Af-Pak surge....
Zardari government is starting to consider that the previous uber-bogeyman, a certain Osama bin Laden, is no more than a ghost. Drones can incinerate any single Pashtun wedding in sight. But international bogeymen of mystery - Osama, Baitullah, Mullah Omar - star players in the new OCO (overseas contingency operations), formerly GWOT ("global war on terror"), of course deserve star treatment.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com

make 'em & break 'em: 'failed' or 'collapsed' u.s.- dependent states to secure global hegemony
Obama Administration Seeks Extraordinary Military Powers in Pakistan
By Bill Van Auken
May 03, 2009 "WSWS" The Obama administration is increasingly treating its growing intervention in Pakistan as a separate counter-insurgency war for which it is demanding the same kind of extraordinary military powers obtained by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq. This was the main message delivered by Pentagon officials on Capitol Hill over the last few days, together with increasingly dire warnings that without immediate and unconditional US military funding for Pakistan, the government could collapse.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Congress Thursday that unless it quickly approved some $400 million requested by the Pentagon for a new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund the Pakistani military would run out of funding within weeks for its operations against insurgents in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and other areas of western Pakistan... The proposed $400 million in military aid for Pakistan is part of an $83.5 billion supplemental funding bill requested by Obama, the vast majority of which goes to pay for continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.... Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Gates said that the Pentagon was requesting that full control of the military aid be vested with Gen. David Petraeus, the chief of the US military’s Central Command. He claimed that the Pentagon needed “this unique authority for the unique and urgent circumstances we face in Pakistan—for dealing with a challenge that simultaneously requires wartime and peacetime capabilities.”...
The military aid program envisions a major expansion of US training of Pakistani security forces, beyond the 70 US special operations troops whom Islamabad has quietly allowed to train elements of the Frontier Corps and Pakistani special forces units. Pakistani officers and troops would be trained outside the country. In addition, Washington would supply extensive new military hardware, including helicopters, night-vision goggles and small arms....
Under US law, the State Department is supposed to oversee military aid programs and ensure that they are carried out in accordance with US foreign policy and legal restrictions on such aid. An exception is made when the US is at war, the grounds claimed by the Bush administration in bypassing civilian authorities in implementing similar programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Post quoted Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell as saying that the use of similar arguments in Pakistan involved “walking a pretty fine line.” ... “This is not a war zone for the US military. But given the urgency of the situation, we need similar authorities in order to help Pakistan train and equip its troops for counterinsurgency operations ASAP.”...

In his testimony, Gates also revealed that, even after the planned closure of the Guantanamo detention center, the US government may still imprison up to 100 of the inmates without charges or trials. The administration asked Congress for $50 million to build prison facilities in the US for detainees it claims are dangerous but cannot be tried, principally because the supposed evidence against them was extracted through torture.

Iraq deja: u.s. terror attacks face increasing resistance aka taleban
Pakistan could collapse within six months: US expert
7 Apr 2009
NEW YORK: Pakistan could collapse within six months in the face of the snowballing insurgency, a top expert on guerrilla warfare has said. The dire prediction was made by David Kilcullen, a former adviser to top US military commander General David Petraeus. David Kilcullen is the best known practitioner of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and had advised Gen Petraeus on the counter-insurgency programme in Iraq. Few experts understand the nature of the insurgency in Af-Pak as well and he is now advising Petraeus in Afghanistan...
former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, who visited Washington last fall to meet some of the people who are now officials in the new administration, was quoted as saying. "Fighting the insurgency is commonly seen in Pakistan as an American cause, not a Pakistani one," he said. "After such a long time of being with the Americans, the country has been through such stress and strain and nothing good has come of it," Sherpao told Another section is not happy but not vocal. About 1 to 2% would say this policy of America should continue." http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pak-could-collapse-in-6-months-...

America and the Pakistan government’s actual target is the people of the region
06 May 2009
The government is spilling the blood of innocent people under the banner of writ of state and fighting militancy. We demand the immediate cessation of the campaign of fire and bombs against the oppressed Muslims of Dir and Bunir. The government must abandon America’s war of terror and stop unjustly spilling the blood of Muslim brethren which is actually the American agenda.
The war in the name of fighting militancy that began in Waziristan has now spread to the entire tribal region; indeed, it is now spreading to the settled areas, examples of which could be seen in the form of drone attacks in Bannu and months long military operation in Sawat. And now this military operation has further spilled over to Dir and Bunier whereas the whole region before the American invasion was peaceful and calm. The analogy of these operations is of a man smashing his face with a hammer in order to rid himself of a fly on his nose, the fly is gone but the face is not recognizable. This is exactly what was seen during the Bajour and Waziristan operations where the real damage was to the people, whose houses, markets and schools were razed to the ground, half a million were displaced, and a large number of women, children and elderly were killed whilst the militants merely moved on to new areas. The government is pursuing this witch hunt policy with media backing. The purpose of this operation is to engage the people of the region so that they are not able to turn their attention to the American occupation in Afghanistan and help their Muslim brothers. Hence, this civil war is to turn the weapons away from the real enemy, America, and onto their own Muslim brothers.

Iraq deja vu: "sectarian warfare" made-in-usa
Pakistan…Faking Iraq-like Sectarian Tension
By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent
ISLAMABAD — Already reeling under suicide bombing, Pakistan is seeing a surge in attacks targeting mosques and religious congregations, in what analysts describe as part of a scheme to trigger Shiite-Sunni clashes and distract growing public anger over US drone attacks in the tribal belt. "It seems to me a calculated conspiracy to trigger sectarian violence in the country in line with Iraq so that the public attention could be diverted from real issues," Abdul Khalique Ali, a Karachi-based senior political analyst, told IslamOnline.net. "I believe that bombings of mosques and religious congregations of rival sects are aimed at diverting the public attention from increasing drone attacks in line with new Afghan-Pakistan policy of the US," says Ali....
"The timing of attacks suggests to me that there was something wrong in the wind," said Ali."This all is happening at a time when (US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan) Richard Halbrooke and the US military leadership are in Pakistan and have made it clear that there would be no respite in drone attacks despite a growing criticism among Pakistanis."
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Holbrooke held two days of talks with Pakistani leaders in the first such top-level visit since President Barack Obama put Pakistan at the heart of his new strategy to defeat Al-Qaeda. "We believe that... the US and Pakistan face a common strategic threat, a common enemy and a common challenge and therefore a common task," Holbrooke told a news conference in Islamabad Tuesday. Halbrooke reportedly informed the Pakistani leadership that there will be an increase in drone attacks in the near future. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned the attacks, which killed over 360 people since August 2008, fuel extremism and deepen public resentment....
"My view is that they are working to the advantage of the extremists."

Ansar Abbasi, an Islamabad-based political analyst, agrees that sectarian violence, uncertainty and chaos serve America's interests in Pakistan. "I don’t know whether America is involved in fomenting sectarian tension in Pakistan in line with Iraq but what I know is that it serves its purpose here," he told IOL.
Abbasi says the government is aware of the involvement of different international spy agencies in Pakistan’s northern tribal belt, but keeps mum about that in public.
"We have been informed by security officials in different briefings about the involvement of MI-6, RAW, Mossad, CIA and other intelligence agencies in the tribal belt," he claimed, naming the spy agencies of the UK, India, Israel and the US.

Analysts believe that despite attacks on mosques and religious congregations, a large-scale Shiite-Sunni violence remains unlikely.
"I don’t think that there are any chances of clashes between common Sunnis and Shiites in Pakistan in the wake of such bombings, because there is a general realization that there is a common enemy behind these attacks," maintains Abbasi. Syed Shabbar Raza, a prominent Shiite leader and secretary general of the Jafria Alliance Pakistan, regrets that local extremists are serving America's agenda of creating chaos and uncertainty in Pakistan.
www.uruknet.info?p=5324 www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1237705963227&page...

America’s ‘Pakistan Experts’ & Their Local Poodles
Internationally, as Pakistan makes headlines, we have an army of writers, thinkers, experts, analysts and talk show guests scattered worldwide who seem to know Pakistan better than Pakistanis.
Most are comfortably ensconced in fully funded think tanks and their livelihood depends on the amount of 'wisdom' they can spout on Pakistan, Afghanistan, India or other regional hot spots. The flavor of the month is Pakistan. Their favorite topics are the Pakistan Army, the ISI, nuclear weapons, Taliban, Al Qaeda, the political government, aid to Pakistan and of course U.S.-Pakistan relations.
On Pakistan they have to tell a gullible American audience that Pakistan is about to implode, fragment or be overrun by the militant hordes of Taliban and Al Qaeda. They do not ever mention what percentage of the total land mass of Pakistan is actually controlled by the militants, how many there are and exactly how they are going to overrun Pakistan if it does not want to be run over.
On the Pakistan Army the refrain is Punjabi (pronounced Poonjabi) Pakistan Army and its lack of motivation in fighting those who threaten the state. And on ISI the constant in all utterances and writings is the linkage with Taliban and extremists. Conveniently ignored is the fact that it is NOT a Punjabi army—it is Pakistan's Army and its proudest sons have been and are Pashtuns, along with everyone else. Again if the Pakistan Army's 'morale is down' then pray tell us who is doing the fighting? If there is any truth in these wild unsubstantiated allegations by these so-called experts then why haven't all these baddies banded together with the Pashtuns and Taleban to turn the tide in Afghanistan? Surely not for the dollars that the U.S. dishes out with all sorts of conditions. They must also tell us how many of these dollars never make it out of Washington and how many find their way back there.
Some expert called Ralph Peters started the 'balkanization' scenario and produced his own maps to support it. Others have carried on from there. The latest is Selig Harrison with his 'State of the Federation of Pakistan' apparently funded by the Ploughshares Fund. In his doomsday writings he conjures up the old hat about 'Pashtunistan' and Baluchistan and of course the Poonjabi Army and the ISI and so on. Ploughshares should seriously consider if what they want is all this muck pulled out of the woodwork.

CENTCOM's resident expert adviser who predicted the implosion of Pakistan in six months has now targeted the Pakistan Army and ISI in his testimony to Congress. He wants U.S. dollars to go to the Police just like in Afghanistan. Does he want the same results? He apparently wants to create a gap between Pakistan’s military and civil institutions because right now no such disconnect exists. And then there is the nuclear proliferation genie that can always be trotted out and paraded to terrify Americans that hordes of Taliban after overrunning Pakistan will nuke them. Even high level officials who should know better mouth the same things over and over again.
These ‘experts’ might be doing a good job of scaring the dumb Americans. But in Pakistan, they have no buyers. Ghalib Sultan

D.C. dictated, designed and special forces 'supported' terror campaign to drive out mass resistance AKA 'taliban/qaeda terrorists'
Pakistani Army Poised for New Push Into Swat
An estimated half million people have been displaced by the fighting in the tribal areas and in the North-West Frontier Province over the past two years. Those fleeing Buner and Swat, many of whom will now stay in camps or with relatives in cities like Mardan or Peshawar, have criticized the military operations as heavy handed...The American special envoy for the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, said Tuesday that the situation in Pakistan was fragile, but he welcomed the turn toward wider military action. “Until yesterday, the momentum did not appear to be in the right hands,” he told Congress. “The army has now begun a major offensive. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.” ...
Under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, an energetic and determined commander, the Frontier Corps, a local Pashtun paramilitary force, has become better armed and equipped, with the help of the United States. Supported by army units, the Frontier Corps has proven itself better able to push back the Taliban, first in the tribal areas in Bajaur last year, and now in Buner, though at a considerable cost to civilians caught up in the operations....“It is a manageable problem,” he said, when asked whether Pakistan can contain the militant threat.American support has been important, he said, and the police are hoping for the same help, he said. “If Uncle Sam shows the same generosity to our force, I don’t see why we cannot be a good supporting force,” he said. In Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province, antiterrorist police units have killed 88 people suspected of being militants in the past four months... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/world/asia/06pstan.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

propaganda from every angle...
Pakistan’s Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel Militancy
Pakistan’s poorest families have turned to Islamic schools that feed and house children while pushing a militant brand of Islam.

Obama’s withdrawal pledge at risk as militias paid by the US begin to rejoin the insurgency
IRAQ is threatened by a new wave of sectarian violence as members of the “Sons of Iraq” – the Sunni Awakening militias that were paid by the US to fight Al-Qaeda – begin to rejoin the insurgency. If the spike in violence continues, it could affect President Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraqi cities by the end of June. All US troops are due to leave the country by 2012.... Richard Haass, president of the US Council on Foreign Relations, who returned from a visit to Iraq last week, said: “It is obvious there are still multiple faultlines in society. In my view, Iraq and the United States are going to have to adjust the timelines and leave a residual force of tens of thousands beyond 2011.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article6211364.ece

Can You Feel The Love?
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
An article just out on the rise of domestic Violence against Iraqi women... starts with this heart throbbing introduction : The vast majority of Iraqi women face domestic violence on a regular basis and many commit suicide because of it... Iraq and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan should take measures to stop violence against women, including honour killings and genital mutilation.. To "escape the cycle of violence", many women turned to suicide. (...) We did not have this SHIT before our being "liberated". This came with "democracy and freedom", Western style... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53858

Seamless Continuity From Bush Time: "Two States"
A false claim is wafting through the press: Obama is hanging tough with Benjamin Netanyahu, he’s going to "twist Israel’s arm" and at long last force the Jewish state into a two-state agreement, settling the Israel-Palestine question for good....even talk that Obama backs the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, complete with its main demand: Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders. There’s no proof for any of this. Obama has said nothing about when, where, and with what boundaries a Palestinian state might be established. Neither did George Bush. The slide from one regime to the next has been seamless on the score of Israel and Palestine as on much else. http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53859

Palestine – History in Pictures
Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53841

revealing settlements: focus on just trees in the Israeli swamp helps hide the genocidal forest
Secrecy News Blog, http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
Last January 30, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed a secret Israeli government database on settlements in the occupied West Bank, and posted the Hebrew text of the database on their website. Last month, the ODNI Open Source Center completed an English translation of the 200-page document. Secrecy News obtained a copy which we are publishing today.
The database provides a concise description of each of the dozens of settlements, including their location, legal status, population, and even the origins of their names, often Biblically-inspired. Crucially, the database makes clear that unauthorized and illegal construction activity has taken place in most of the settlements.

"An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements - about 75 percent - construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued," according to the Haaretz account. "The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and eve police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents."
A copy of the database had been requested by Israeli citizens groups under that country's freedom of information law, but release was denied by the Defense Ministry. Haaretz obtained a copy independently and, notwithstanding Israel's military censorship apparatus, proceeded to publish it. See "Secret Israeli Database Reveals Full Extent of Illegal Settlement"
by Uri Blau, Haaretz, February 1, 2009: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060043.html

An English translation of the settlement database prepared by the ODNI Open
Source Center is now available here: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/israel/database-e.pdf

Another carefully politically - economically calculated 'natural disaster' ... like Katrina

Obama and US commander discuss military intervention in Mexico
By Bill Van Auken
March 10, 2009
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen briefed President Barack Obama over the weekend on the so-called drug war in Mexico and the prospect of increased US military involvement in the conflict south of the border. Mullen had just returned from a six-day tour of Latin America, which took him on his last and most important stop to Mexico City. There he held meetings with Mexico's secretary of national defense and other top military officials and discussed proposals for rushing increased US aid to Mexico under the auspices of Plan Merida, a three-year, $1.4 billion package designed to provide equipment, training and other assistance to the Mexican armed forces.
In a telephone press conference conducted as he returned from Mexico, Mullen said that the Pentagon was prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US military, he said, was "sharing a lot of lessons we have learned, how we've developed similar capabilities over the last three or four years in our counterinsurgency efforts as we have fought terrorist networks." He added, "There are an awful lot of similarities."...
In a March 1 television interview, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sounded a similar note, praising Calderon for having "taken on the battle" against drug trafficking by deploying the army and claiming that the "old biases against cooperation" between Mexico and the Pentagon were "being set aside." As a result, Gates added, Washington was prepared to provide the Mexican military "with training, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities."
The indications of more direct US military involvement follow a growing chorus of official as well as media reports portraying Mexico as a potential "failed state" and a mounting threat to US national security. n its annual report assessing global security threats, the Pentagon's Joint Forces Command lumped Mexico together with Pakistan as countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse." The document added a warning: "Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response, based on the serious implications for homeland security as well." This was followed by a report released at the US Military Academy in January by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton. Mexico, he wrote, is "fighting for survival against narco-terrorism" and required greater US intervention.[...] http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/mar2009/mexi-m10.shtml

not fit to mention by NYT or most u.s. media
Swine flu broke out in California: CDC
03 May 2009
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said on Saturday that the state [CA] preceded Mexico, the alleged source of the virus, in reporting cases of the affliction. "As we do our investigations here in the US, we may find that there were cases earlier," CDC spokesman, Scott Bryan was quoted by AFP as saying. As early as March, patients San Diego County and California County were diagnosed in California with a new type of viral infection resulting from the A(H1N1) -- the new strain of the swine flu virus, H1N1...The patients had neither been to Mexico nor had they come into contact with pigs....12 suspects had also tested positive for a strange strain from December 2005 to January 2009, Bryan added... About 160 lab-confirmed cases have been reported in 21 US states with one leading to death. Two-thirds of the patients had not had any contact with Mexico

wall street journal analysis hasn't been picked up across u.s. where media's still fanning racist fear fever
California Cases Suggest Border Origin
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Doctors tracking swine flu in this state are investigating a new theory: What if it didn't originate in Mexico but instead had been floating around the border region for months Growing evidence in California suggests that early flu cases had no apparent origin in Mexico. Many of the early California victims -- including the first two cases -- say they hadn't traveled to Mexico and had no contact with pigs. Some may have fallen ill before the first Mexicans did. Those cases contradict the conventional understanding of how the strain originated.
Michael Shaw, associate director for laboratory science for the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the flu theoretically could have appeared first in California, but he cautioned against drawing any conclusions since the strain also exhibited genetic characteristics traceable to Eurasia. The first case discovered in California was a 10-year-old boy in San Diego County, who fell ill with a fever March 30. [...] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124113696409275445.html

In an average flu season, 36,000 Americans die from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And between 5 to 20 percent of all Americans get the flu.

Outbreak in Mexico May Be Smaller Than Feared
Even as swine flu spread to more countries, test results seemed to alter the image of the outbreak in Mexico.

Immigrants’ Rallies Draw Small Crowds in Flu Scare
Immigrants turned out for May Day demonstrations across the country in much smaller numbers than last year, with marchers pointing to uneasiness about the flu scare and job worries in the recession to explain why many people stayed home ... some participants said the low attendance was related to disappointment that Mr. Obama has not acted to end a crackdown on illegal immigrants. “People had hoped to see change sooner with our new president,” said Sandra Cajas, an immigrant advocate. in New York, a major annual Cinco de Mayo festival was canceled because of fears of flu contagion. Mexicans around the country said the fallout from the swine flu had arrived in more subtle ways, from remarks that struck them as prejudicial [see, Mexicans are lazy, dirty, diseased, with have emotionally childlike 'perceptions'].....
Jay Severin, conservative radio talk show host on WTKK-FM Boston, known for outrageous banter, was suspended indefinitely from his afternoon show after he referred to Mexican immigrants in insulting terms, executives at the station said Friday. In comments about the flu epidemic in recent days, Mr. Severin had called Mexicans “primitives,” “leeches,” and “criminaliens.” .... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/us/02immig.html?ref=world

Questions Linger Over the Value of a Global Illness Surveillance System
It could take weeks to know if a system was sensitive enough to quickly catch a serious outbreak of swine flu or too sensitive, scaring people needlessly.
perceptive reader comments:
Where have the Media hype achieved to improve the situation for the people of Mexico. I have yet to find articles where US reporters have been speaking to people on the ground in Mexican soil, without the use of sensationalized pictures of people with masks and regular officers patrolling the city. (Yes, officers do carry those guns even in days pre Swine Flu). What damages have these fears contributed to the economies of different regions of Mexico and Baja California. What responsibility can be placed on the media and Americans that have changed their everyday behavior and hurt thousands of people trying to bring in bread and butter to their homes. What is it in the culture of the US to consistently promote fear and act defensively, and more importantly, who is benefiting from our current panic stricken behaviors. Is this behavior really looking out for the best interest of Americans and other nation’s citizens.
— Mexican American

I live in Monterrey, Mexico and the world media hasn’t realized the brutal effect that they have done to the Mexican economy. So far only 12 people have died from this flu, 12 PEOPLE!! Seasonal flu kills more than 30,000 a year. I think the United States and the world should be more concerned on the economic consequences this media hype will have on the social structures in Mexico. It’s seems amazing that as of today there hasn’t been any cases in [tourist areas] Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and all of the sudden everybody is canceling their trips and panicking because of the “deadly virus”. This will have grave results for an struggling economy.
— Christian Marcelo http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/fighting-the-swine-flu-media...

quarantines and imperialist 'soft power'
What a flu pandemic could cost the world
"In 2006, we estimated the likely global economic consequences of an influenza ... minor flu outbreak in Mexico City can send markets reeling in Tokyo. ..."
In 2006, we estimated the likely global economic consequences of an influenza pandemic using several epidemic scenarios. The study began with a multi-country, multi-sector, dynamic model capable of describing the trade and financial linkages between and within economies. We then fed the model with a series of shocks meant to simulate the effect of pandemic: a decreased labor force, increased business costs, a shift in consumer preferences due to social distancing, and changes to risk premiums. We took into account the geography of each region and the strength of its health system. Labor supply shocks varied depending on the infection rate and mortality in a given country.... The mild scenario, estimated to cost the world 1.4 million lives, reduces total output by nearly 1 percent or approximately $330 billion (in constant 2006 prices) during the first year. In our model, as the scale of the pandemic increases, so do the economic costs. A massive global economic slowdown occurs in the next-worst scenario, with more than 142 million people killed and some output in economies in the developing world shrinking by half. The loss in output in this scenario could reach $4.4 trillion, 12.6 percent of global GDP in the first year. Of course, the composition of the slowdown would differ sharply across countries, with a major shift of global capital from the affected economies to the less-affected safe havens of North America and Europe.... Wealth and income effects are larger in developing countries, and the contraction of demand is therefore much larger than in Europe and North America (Japan is caught in the middle). The destructive cycle feeds itself; Worse epidemiological outcomes in poorer countries perversely send much-needed capital flowing out and into industrialized economies. This exacerbates the current-account positions of the receiving countries and puts downward pressure on developing-country exchange rates. In essence, entire developing markets could become junk assets....
So far, our real-world swine flu pandemic appears to be less severe than the dire scenarios used in our modeling. But even now, the global economy is seeing some signs of capital retreat. The Mexican peso, for example, has taken a hit. And just five days after news of the outbreak, it looked likely that Mexico's government would have to tap its $47 billion credit line with the International Monetary Fund. [all emphases in this issue added by the digest]... http://experts.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/28/what_a_flu_pandemic_co...
FOREIGN POLICY is published by the Slate Group, a division of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC.

ANALYSIS-Mexico flu outbreak could add to economic pain
Mexico's economy has been battered by a U.S. recession that has hit the country's export-dependent manufacturing sector hard...The tourism sector has been a bright spot, however, with the number of visitors rising in early 2009 despite grim headlines about drug violence that has killed over 2,000 people this year."Tourism tends to get affected rather quickly. It's all about perception, and when you've got a disease of this nature that's being described as unusual, that tends to flow into the psyche of people planning trips," said Enrique Alvarez of IDEAglobal in New York. Analysts polled by the central bank at the end of March predicted Mexico's economy would shrink 3.3 percent this year. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N24446037.htm

manufacturing a 'failed stste': how dependence and domination by U.S./WB/IMF works
Flu heightens Mexico’s economic sickness
Reliance on exports has left country short of options. Even before the H1N1 swine flu brought much of Mexico to a standstill, its economy faced the worst slump since the 1930s....
“This was already an extremely serious situation,” said Rogelio Ramírez de la O, director of Mexico’s Ecanal consultancy. The roots of Mexico’s crisis lie in its reliance on exports to the US to generate a fifth of GDP. The country is discovering the dark side of the NAFTA free-trade accord with the Anglo-Saxons, which has broken the old model of economic nationalism – or “import substitution” – pursued for nearly 70 years by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. “They put all their eggs in one basket by relying so much on the US,” said Luis Carlos Nino, Latin America strategist at Capital Economics. A belt of plants in north Mexico that supply the US auto, aerospace, plastics, and electronics industries has been ravaged. http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2241828/posts

Moody's 'calculations' via CDC
Calculating the Economic Cost of Swine Flu
By Ed Friedman
April 28, 2009
So far, the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico City has resulted in about 1,600 illnesses and 150 deaths, with another 100 to 200 confirmed cases elsewhere in the world....

This commentary is produced by Moody's Economy.com (MEDC), a division of Moody's Analytics, Inc. (MAI), engaged in economic research and analysis...M oody's Economy.com, a division of Moody's Analytics, is a leading independent provider of economic analysis, data, and forecasting and credit risk services. Our Clients Our worldwide client base includes the largest commercial and investment banks, insurance companies, financial services firms, mutual funds, governments at all levels, regulators, manufacturers, utilities, and industrial and technology companies.

Swine flu quarantine hurts Mexican economy
For a nation in quarantine, it is a haunting question: what if the real danger is not the virus but fear of the virus? Mexico was told last week to brace for battle between infection and the body's immune system. But yesterday the health minister, José Angel Córdova, revised down the suspected death toll from swine flu from 176 to 101, indicating that the outbreak may not be as bad as was initially feared. Mexico's economy, already reeling from recession before the epidemic, risks freefall from the collapse in tourism and the five-day shutdown of all "non-essential" economic activities. The next batch of economic statistics will be a "bloodbath", said Edgar Amador, deputy director-general at Dexia bank....
"Did you hear that Mexico has become a world power?" goes one [gag] . "When it sneezes, the whole world gets the flu."

No Signs of Sustained Global Spread of Swine Flu --- Canada said the virus had been found in pigs but the infection posed no increased threat to the food supply...
the first report of the swine flu’s actually being found in swine. Previously, there had been heated debate about whether the virus could infect pigs, even though its genetic makeup clearly points to its having originated in swine at some point. But people were infecting each other, and until Saturday, no pigs had been found with the virus — a fact that the pork industry used to bolster its argument that the virus should not even be named for swine. But researchers, busy with human cases, were not really looking for the disease in pigs.... David Butler-Jones, the chief public health officer of Canada... emphasized that the infection of the pigs by the human virus does not pose any increased threat to human health or the food supply. “The eating of pork is absolutely not a problem,” Dr. Butler-Jones said.... Brian Evans, the executive vice president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said that the Canadian government had informed the United States about the finding in Alberta. American officials... indicated that they did not plan to ban Canadian products....

As of Saturday morning, Mexico had confirmed 473 cases of H1N1, out of the 1,303 suspected cases that had been tested, indicating that the outbreak may be much smaller than it initially seemed. The death toll was raised Saturday night to 19. Mexico had 159 deaths thought to be caused by swine flu. But many had other causes: 66 have now been attributed to other illnesses. Other cases have yet to be tested. [no mention of CDC 'S 'CONFIRMATION']
Dr. Schuchat of the C.D.C. took a cautious view of the optimistic reports from Mexico. “I’m encouraged by what I’ve heard out of Mexico, but it’s important that we remain vigilant,” she said. “We’ve seen times when things appeared to be getting better and then got worse. Infectious disease experts say it will be important to watch what this virus does over the coming weeks and months, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, which will soon confront its winter flu season. If H1N1 takes hold there, that will be a red flag to scientists.

“What could indeed happen is that this virus could dampen here during the summer per usual, and go to the Southern Hemisphere and pick up steam there and come back to bite us in our winter season next January and February, and it might come back in a more virulent form,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a public health and infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.

how a Fortune 500 company based in Virginia operates in far-flung outposts....from Eastern Europe to Africa
U.S. Hog Giant Transforms Eastern Europe
Smithfield Foods...the U.S. agribusiness giant has moved into Eastern Europe with the force of a factory engine, assembling networks of farms, breeding pigs on the fast track, and slaughtering them for every bit of meat and muscle that can be squeezed into a sausage.The upheaval in the hog farm belts of Poland and Romania, the two largest E.U. members in Eastern Europe, ranks among the Continent’s biggest agricultural transformations. It also offers a window on how a Fortune 500 company based in Virginia operates in far-flung outposts. Smithfield has a joint venture in a Mexican hog farm located near where United Nations scientists are investigating a potential link between pigs and the new strain of influenza in humans...

As Smithfield flourished, the number of American hog farms plunged 90 percent — to 67,000 in 2005 from 667,000 in 1980. Some farm states grew wary. When Hurricane Floyd struck North Carolina in 1999, torrential rain breached six pig waste lagoons, prompting the authorities to impose a construction moratorium on new pig farms using lagoons. Missouri, too, pressed Smithfield to install technology to reduce odor. In Iowa, Smithfield lobbyists fended off efforts to force meatpackers to purchase hogs on the open market instead of using only their livestock. Facing more restrictions in the United States, Smithfield took its North Carolina game plan to Poland and Romania, where the company moved nimbly through weak economies and political and regulatory systems.... When the East beckoned in 1999, Smithfield exported a vertical integration strategy, copied from the poultry giant Tyson Foods....It moved with such speed that sometimes it failed to secure environmental permits or inform the authorities about pig deaths — lapses that emerged after swine fever swept through three Romanian hog compounds in 2007, two of which were operating without permits. Some 67,000 hogs died or were destroyed, with infected and healthy pigs shot to stanch the spread...

Smithfield’s lobbyist, the Virginia firm McGuireWoods, set up a Bucharest office in 2007 to liaise between Smithfield and the Romanian government. In many ways McGuireWoods was the perfect choice; it had also represented Romania for three years to press its NATO-membership campaign....In Eastern Europe, as in American farm states where Smithfield developed its business strategy, the question is whether the savings are worth the considerable costs.... Mr. Basescu, the president, was not shy in acknowledging the company, which he praised at a joint news conference with President George W. Bush at a NATO summit meeting last year. Smithfield was also very visible in its appreciation: It contributed €20,000 to pay for Romanian ceremonial uniforms at the summit meeting, according to the Foreign Ministry.Mr. Taubman said that access was vital. “It’s extremely difficult to do business there unless you have someone like the prime minister or someone in the prime minister’s office who reaches down to whomever is concerned and says this is what to do,” he said.... lobbying on the part of a big firm from the United States — the superpower that East Europeans seek to please — raised some eyebrows. “We understand public diplomacy and political lobbying,” noted Steen Steensen, an agriculture expert at the Danish Embassy, whose country has also expanded hog farms into Eastern Europe. ‘’But we trust that the business and commercial channels operate in a normal and fair way.” “Smithfield’s dominance and manifest aggressive approach is worrying,” Mr. Steensen said in one agricultural report.

The connections in the upper reaches of government meant that Smithfield could weather protests from local communities. The company was fined €9,000 for spilling manure on a local highway while transporting waste from a leaking container; €35,000 for a leaking bin that seeped hog waste into soil; another €35,000 for four farms operating without permits in Arad County; and €18,500 for not preventing water pollution....

Smithfield’s global rise is part of a broader “livestock revolution that has created cities of pigs and chickens” in poorer nations with weaker regulations. “The price tag goes up for small farmers.” In Romania, the number of hog farmers has declined 90 percent ... In Poland, there were 1.1 million hog farmers in 1996. That number fell 56 percent by 2008...
The impact on the environment is even more marked. With almost 40 farms in western Romania, Smithfield has built enormous metal manure containers to inject waste into the soil. “We go crazy with the daily smell,” said Aura Danielescu, the principal of a school... Smithfield farms in Romania’s Timis County are among the top sources of air and soil pollution, according to a local government report, which ranked the company’s individual farms No. 13 through No. 40. The report also indicates that methane gases in the air rose 65 percent between 2002 and 2007. Taxpayers footed part of the bill; Smithfield tapped into millions of euros in subsidies — from a total of €50 billion available in the E.U. last year — meant to encourage modern farming balanced with care for the environment...

Smithfield found it hard to overcome fallout from the swine fever outbreak that struck Cenei. At the time, hog corpses lay in heaps, and residents remember chaotic efforts to shoot and burn them....scientists have found elements of swine viruses — one from Europe or Asia, the other from North America — in the genetic code of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus.... When it came to cleanup, Smithfield again turned to special E.U. subsidies, requesting $11.5 million in compensation. But the local authorities — those with the power to dole out the money — balked at the demand, outraged that the epidemic was taking place on unlicensed farms which they accused of lax biosecurity measures....

In a similar chain of consequences, separate subsidies mined by Smithfield helped support the export of cheap pork scraps from Poland to Africa, where some hog farmers also are giving up because they cannot compete.... some villagers in the new hog country are dazed. “...“They fulfill the idea of conquering the East with the methods of the Wild West.”

When Mr. Neag, the former hog farmer, strides his land, only two animals trail him: battered mutts. He is a cereal farmer now, like many other former hog farmers who complain their annual incomes have fallen by about half to €5,000. “I didn’t think they were the enemy like someone who comes to take the bread from our mouth,” Mr. Neag said, recalling the arrival of Smithfield. That lament echoes as far away as the Ivory Coast.
Patrice Yao’s pig farm in Abidjan, near a local prison, is part of a cluster where farmers like him and Basile Donald Yao are trying to survive despite a flood of cheap frozen pork from Europe. “My farm isn’t working,” said Mr. Yao, 27, who owns about 45 hogs, compared with 100 three years ago. “The Europeans are sending all their cheap meat to our market.”
The Animex packing house spokesman, Andrzej Pawelczak, declined to identify where the Smithfield pork products were sent in West Africa. But in Polish Farmer Magazine he identified the countries as Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast. According to Polish agricultural officials, Animex collected more than €3 million in export funds.... Ivorian farmers cannot compete. Fresh local pork sells for under $2.50 a kilo, while Europe’s frozen offal is a bargain in bustling markets at $1.40... many pig farmers have left, in search of work. Like Romanian ex-farmers combing Europe’s construction sites for work, he is considering becoming an export himself....

President Obama Won't Rule Out Torture
" .... I will be judged as commander-in-chief on how safe I'm keeping the American people. That's the responsibility I wake up with and it's the responsibility I go to sleep with. And so I will do whatever is required to keep the American people safe. But I am absolutely convinced that the best way I can do that is to make sure that we are not taking short cuts that undermine who we are.
And there have been no circumstances during the course of this first 100 days in which I have seen information that would make me second guess the decision that I have made. OK? ..."
So there, in a passing comment, is the answer to the broadest question of all: Would President Obama ever condone "enhanced interrogation techniques" (favored euphemism for "torture")? He "will do whatever is required," especially if he sees "information that would" change his mind about the use of torture. http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=53911&s2=03

'hoping' it goes down easier with friendly-fascism
Torture Memos: Inquiry Suggests No Prosecutions
A draft of a Justice Department report found serious errors of judgment in secret memos authorizing brutal interrogations, but opposed prosecuting the authors.

The Big Lie About Torture
Bernard Chazelle
May 2, 2009
The story goes like this: The US didn't torture until the Bush gang came to power. Some say we're a nation of laws and criminal investigations are the only way to return to our virginal past; others share the same objective but reject prosecutions as needlessly divisive; a third group advocates torture as the new post 9/11 norm. A running theme in the liberal commentariat is that things have gotten much worse. But have they? Glenn Greenwald reminds us that even Reagan opposed torture, so see how low we've fallen. Harvard built a whole center to legitimize human rights violations. And of course it called it, what else, "The Carr Center for Human Rights." That great center for human rights supported every American war throughout its existence. They even advised General Petraeus on counter-insurgency strategy. When you advocate for mass killing, you might as well stick the words "human rights" in your title....

It's been amply documented that the US has condoned, taught, and practiced torture since WWII. The military created a whole university to teach such things as electrocution, confining detaines in coffin-like boxes, kidnapping their parents, etc. The Phoenix program institutionalized torture in Vietnam. So what's all the current commotion about? Why are we so shocked, shocked? ATR will tell you why. Throughout the Cold War, torture was built around the doctrine of plausible deniability. We never did it: the Vietnamese did it; the Greeks did it; the Guatemalans did it; the Nicaraguans did it; etc. We never stopped torturing, of course -- not for a minute -- but we always made sure we could blame a nonwhite guy with a funny accent. Whenever the truth came out (eg, Dana Priest's "revelation" about SOA), the "rotten apple" theory would kick in, followed by cosmetic changes, and then a swift return to the good old days.

...The torture memos were simply the price to pay for shedding the doctrine of plausible deniability....

When Obama says no to torture and adds "We must adhere to our values," we should ask "What values?" So Tom Brokaw can tell us again about the Greatest Generation, when America did not torture. Or as the New York Review of Books tells us: "The Americans had used methods similar to those employed by the SS in Dachau." When abuse of German prisoners was investigated in the US-run Schwaebisch Hall prison near Stuttgart in 1945, " of the 139 cases examined, 137 had had their testicles permanently destroyed."
www.uruknet.info?p=53908 www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002944.html

Officials: Gitmo court system likely [sic] to stay open
The Obama administration may revamp and restart the Bush-era military trial system for suspected terrorists ... "To revive a fatally flawed system that was specifically designed to evade due process and the rule of law would be a grave error and a huge step backward," Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"NYT flash... upbeat verdict...U.S. Says 19 Banks Need $75 Billion in Extra Capital"

...FEMA wants its trailers back, even though it plans to scrap or sell them for a fraction of what it paid for them...
Katrina Victims Are Losing Temporary Housing
Earnest Hammond, 70, with cans he collects to pay for repairs to his hurricane-damaged home.
Earnest Hammond has lived in a trailer while he tries to raise money to repair the apartment building he owns. He has not received any federal aid for repairs. He failed to qualify for one federal program, and was told he missed the deadline on another. But he did get a trailer to live in while he carries out his own recovery plan: collecting cans in a pushcart to pay for the renovations to his storm-damaged apartment, storing them by the roomful in the gutted building he owns. It is a slow yet steady process — before the price of aluminum fell to 30 cents a pound, from 85 cents, he had accumulated more than $10,000, he said, almost enough to pay the electrician. But despite such progress, last Friday a worker from the Federal Emergency Management Agency delivered a letter informing him that it would soon repossess the trailer that is, for now, his only home. “I need the trailer,” said Mr. Hammond, 70. “I ain’t got nowhere to go if they take the trailer.”

Though more than 4,000 Louisiana homeowners have received rebuilding money only in the last six months, or are struggling with inadequate grants or no money at all, FEMA is intent on taking away their trailers by the end of May. The deadline, which ends temporary housing before permanent housing has replaced it, has become a stark example of recovery programs that seem almost to be working against one another. Thousands of rental units have yet to be restored, and not a single one of 500 planned “Katrina cottages” has been completed and occupied. The Road Home program for single-family homeowners, which has cost federal taxpayers $7.9 billion, has a new contractor who is struggling to review a host of appeals, and workers who assist the homeless are finding more elderly people squatting in abandoned buildings...

As of last week, there were two groups still in the agency’s temporary housing program: more than 3,000 in trailers and nearly 80 who have been in hotels paid for by FEMA since last May, when it shut down group trailer sites. Most are elderly, disabled or both, including double amputees, diabetes patients, the mentally ill, people prone to seizures and others dependent on oxygen tanks. Of those in trailers, more than 2,000 are homeowners who fear that the progress they are making in rebuilding will come to a halt if their trailers are taken. They had helped me out up until this point, and I couldn’t believe that they suddenly decided, no, we’re not going to let you finish the house, we’re just going to take the trailer, and you can sit here on an empty lot,” said Philipp Seelig, 70, a retired handyman. He said he was about two months from being able to move back into his duplex...

FEMA officials also say that residents can buy their trailers, sometimes for as little as $300. But virtually all of the residents interviewed said they had offered to do so and been told they could not. Residents said FEMA workers had started visiting them in the past two months, advising them not to move out and saying extensions would be available to those who showed hardship or progress in rebuilding. But agency officials said that was not the case. Jane Batty, Mr. Seelig’s longtime tenant, who has her own trailer next to his, was not surprised. “There is only one way to categorize this kind of behavior: it’s crazy making,” she said. “They’ve always had a different answer or had a different ploy to get us out of trailers that we had already agreed to buy.” ... FEMA wants its trailers back, even though it plans to scrap or sell them for a fraction of what it paid for them.