Friday, February 25, 2011


Mubarak, KSA and IRAN want Nukes, to deter Israel....and they are foolish not to do it.....they should soonest.

The United States does not rule out military action 'in response to the Libyan crackdown'. (Gun battles rage in Libya, US examines options )

Remember when NATO broke up Yugoslavia.

British special forces are ready to go to Libya (Libya: Special forces could help evacuate stranded oil workers)

UK and US special forces have already been working alongside Libyan special forces. (SAS trains Libyan troops - Telegraph)

The US and Libyan military sometimes work together.

On 23 February 2011, Yoichi Shimatsu, at New America Media, writes that America's Next War Looms in Libya

From this we learn:

1. On 22 February 2011, Gaddafi accused the USA of organising the current rebellion against his regime.

Now there are calls for the U.S. military to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace, as was done over Kosovo during the NATO campaign to partition Yugoslavia in the late 1990s.

"In the Balkans case, the no-fly policy led to shoot-downs followed by an invasion of ground troops."

The Pentagon has a special forces base in the southwestern region of Fezzan in Libya.

Under a $165 million contract, General Dynamics provided high-tech communications for Libya's mobile elite forces.

The US Embassy's Jared Caplan talking with Libyan officials in the south region of Libya.

3. As shown in U.S. diplomatic cables, the US intrigues against Gadhafi involve secret ties with the Islamic Fighting Group, or al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya al-Muqatilah, which is on the State Department list of terrorist groups.

4. When confronted by Libyan officials, Al Jazeera producers admitted to broadcasting faked tapes.

For example, fake tapes of jets flying (in daylight) over protesters (in nighttime darkness).

That admission of falsified images could back the regime's claims of atrocities against civilians being exaggerated and sometimes fabricated.

SAS in Libya, WWII

5. What is happening across North Africa, is a U.S.-sponsored Islamic uprising, similar to the bloody Muslim coup against Indonesian independence leader Sukarno.

6. Egypt and
IRAN want to have nuclear weapons in order to restrain Israeli aggression in Gaza and Lebanon....

The supplier of uranium would be Libya....

There has been a French-Libyan agreement to jointly build a civilian nuclear power plant, proposed during President Nicholas Sarkozy's visit to Tripoli in July 2007.

Libyan-Chadian uranium could be transported to Egypt via Ben Ali's Tunisia.

"Washington, as the protector of Israel's nuclear monopoly over the Mideast and Africa, went for a takedown of all three regimes."

MUCH MORE HERE: America's Next War Looms in Libya

La laicite francaise, socle de l'actuelle Ripoublik, est l'outil colonial des genocides de la franc maconnerie au service du sionisme et d'Israel...


Apres la fausse révolution franc-maconnique de 1789 en France, l'empire colonial d'une micro elite francaise qui a pris le pouvoir en chassant l'eglise et le clergé, s'est bati et developpé sur les reseaux franc macons et sur sa religion incréée du genocide, de la haine, des massacres et du pillage partout en Afrique, au Moyen Orient et en Turquie, qu'est la laicité. Aucun dirigeant au Maghreb n'a jamais été élu par le peuple, que ce soit Mohamed V, Ben Bella, Bouteflika ou Bourguiba, et tous ceux qui ont suivi, ceux-ci étaient et sont tous des franc macons de differentes loges, servant l'agenda neo-colonial sioniste de la franc maconnerie a Paris, elle-meme au service du 'grand Israel' et de son 'Grand Architecte', plus connu sous le nom d''Antechrist-Dajjal' chez les Musulmans et les Chrétiens.

L'agent juif sioniste tunisien Habib Bourguiba, dans sa parure franc-maconnique 'présidentielle'.

Behind Al Qaeda in North Africa there are Sarkozy and Netanyahu, who is in control of the CIA embassy in Tunisia where the fake 'Al Qaeda videos' were manufactured with the help of the harkas (traitors) of Algeria

US terror ally Mummar Gadhafi blames same fictitious 'Al-Qaeda' organisation for unrest in Libya....

The revolution for freedom which started in Tunisia is fast spreading to several other Arab countries, such as Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Algeria, Bahrein, and so on. It is not true that those are revolutions for European democracy which is a corrupt, capitalist, militaristic and repressive political system where votes are bought, and is a system based on the manipulation by a Zionist-controlled media. If anything, they are revolutions to dismantle those systems imposed by those corrupt European capitalist democracies and to replace them with a free and fair system appropriate to the peoples of those countries.

Zionist Muammar Qaddafi speaking the language of his masters in Tel Aviv about fake 'al Qaeda' in Libya (official translation). Does it not sound like mad dogs Netanyahu, Clinton, Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel when they insult Muslims and Islam ?

In an attempt to avoid such a revolution in ‘Saudi’ Arabia, the Saudi pro-West European dictators are increasing the salaries of Arabs in the democratic process of buying votes and acceptance of tyranny and corruption. Hence, the term ‘pro-democracy protestors’ is a complete misnomer and merely used for propaganda purposes. Those revolutions are about freedom, justice, the liberation of Arab countries, including Palestine, the establishment of a pan-Arab economic system much less dependent on West Europeans and a defence force to better defend Arab countries from the aggression and occupation they have been experiencing for nearly a century.

Lockerbie and US terror friendship with Gadhafi

As the predominantly Muslim Arab world reels under its peoples’ will to free themselves from pro-Zionist terror regimes, we hear the same Western and pro-Western European rhetoric of Al-Qaeda to justify the massacres and persecution of Muslims at home and abroad. The uprising against US-supported Gadhafi’s Libyan regime is no surprise. Gadhafi has been in power for 42 years. At one point, when his policy changed to denounce the US and Israel, he was branded the « mad dog of the Mediterranean ». On 15 April 1986, the US bombed the Libyan Capital Tripoli in an attempt to assassinate Gadhafi. They missed him and murdered his 15-month old adopted daughter Hanna instead. They accused Gadhafi of the Berlin discotheque bombing in 1986 and of supporting freedom movements, such as the IRA which wanted a unified Ireland and the removal of what they regarded as British armed terrorists from Irish soil, which the West Europeans branded as terrorist organisations.

Although there are clear indications that the bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December 1988 may have been the response of Iranians (and Palestinians) after the US Navy’s guided missile cruiser The USS Vincennes shot down, earlier, an Iranian Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988 over the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf murdering all the crew and passengers, the US, who originally pointed the finger at Iran, shifted against Gadhafi and Libya for the Lockerbie bombing and even named the suspects they wanted to try. After years of sanctions and with the intervention of Nelson Mandela, the Libyan leader allowed the two suspects to be released to Scottish custody, tried in the ‘neutral’ Netherlands in 2000. One suspect was freed but Libyan agent Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 on the most doubtful uncorroborated ‘recollection’, 12 years earlier, of the Maltese tailor Tony Gauci who allegedly identified Megrahi buying (in Malta) the clothes allegedly used to conceal the bomb. So flimsy was this evidence that even many parents and relatives of the victims did not believe Megrahi was the culprit (Ref. Robert Fisk & Mrs Irvine whose brother, Bill Cadman, was killed in the crash).

On 15th Oct 08, the High Court gave Megrahi leave of appeal to the Criminal Appeal Court against his conviction on the ground that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred. This appeal, which would have exculpated Magrahi, was never to be heard in 2009 because Megrahi (who is still alive) was, in the meantime, released on compassionate ground because he was terminally ill with prostate cancer. This saved the justice system a lot of embarrassment and the authorities would have had to look for other suspects. Parallel with Megrahi’s release, British Petroleum had clinched a deal worth billions of dollars to explore oil in Libya, while Gadhafi and the US had become new friends. Gadhafi also benefited many other juicy deals for him and his regime, including a Chair on the United Nations Human Rights Council, which includes the US, the greatest human rights violator of all – how vulgar! Now, the US want Libya out without stating on what ground Gadhafi’s Libya was admitted in the first place. Surely, if the tyrant Gadhafi is toppled, why should Libya be removed from the HRC? On the contrary Libya should remain as the people are fighting for their rights.

Gadhafi blames Bin Laden and Al Qaeda

Surely, the terror friendship between Gadhafi and US was not destined to last. The Libyan people opted to throw out the pro-US, tyrannical and oppressive Gadhafi regime where no political parties are allowed. The European West never campaigned for the freedom of the Libyans. They armed the regime to repress the people. The same arms, tanks, fighter planes and so on, are being used to murder protesting Libyans in the thousands like Palestinians are murdered by the European Israelis against whom no sanctions have ever been enforced. To legitimise such genocide, Muammar Gadhafi made out he was fighting Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda just like the US did when they put the blame of the 9/11 sophisticated military-precision attacks on the non-existent organisation. Gadhafi has clearly been well-trained by his masters. In a twist in the whole affair, Gadaffi’s Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil now speaks out against Gadhafi alleging that he had ordered the Pam Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie in a clear European Western strategy to promote him as Gadhafi’s successor.

Stealing assets of the Libyan people

When US President Obama says « By any measure, Muammar Gadhafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable », he fails to mention Israel and fails to point out that Gadhafi is his agent, bearing in mind that any sanctions will affect the people and not the Libyan regime. Similarly, when Switzerland, Germany, the US and other European countries freeze Gadhafi’s assets, they are effectively stealing the assets of the Libyan people like they did for Iran when the Shah was toppled. They will subsequently use those illegally frozen assets as a bargaining chip with any new government. This is one aspect which clearly demonstrates how they use the capitalist system and globalisation to subjugate countries. When people denounce capitalism, they are branded as anarchists. The Gadhafi’s story is not over yet? At the same time, people should also ask themselves why the West Europeans have gone so quiet on Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Why not freeze his assets too? How about freezing the assets of the Saudi dictators and tyrants?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The founding of Geopolitics...

LONDON 15 Feb 2011; 150th birth anniversary of influential Geo-strategist observed.

Halford John Mackinder: LSE observed 150th anniversary of geographer.

The founding of Geopolitics...

The London School of Economics is among institutions that will observe the 150th anniversary of the birth of geographer Halford John Mackinder, whose Heartland Theory has guided pivotal thinking about statecraft and politics since 1904. Hitler invoked it; the United States built Cold War strategies on it, and it has found its way in recent years into debate about the Afghanistan conflict and China's rising clout. And Mackinder has a fan club on Facebook.

Mackinder was a co-founder of the London Scool of Economics in 1895 and its director from 1903 to 1908.

His landmark 1904 paper, "The Geographical Pivot of History," was presented at the Royal Geographical Society. The presentation of the paper is widely regarded as the founding of Geopolitics as a field of study.

He formulated his hypothesis as:

" Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland
Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island
Who rules the World-Island commands the world "

Mackinder saw the vast zone of continental and Arctic drainage of Central Asia as the geographical pivot of world politics. As a consequence of this legacy, he posited that the history of Europe was ultimately subordinate to Asia’s history.

Historian Dimitri Kitsikis, a professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada, established the Heartland Theory as a working geopoltical model in the 1970s.

Mackinder’s 150th anniversary will be observed at a time when the United States, Western Powers and countries in Asia-Pacific, such as Russia, India, Australia, Japan and Vietnam, are wary of the rise of China in international affairs.

Mackinder's Facebook "fans" say their goal is to make the Mackinder Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on the topic. They request anyone with a “passion for Halford Mackinder” to sign up and offer their help.

Mackinder was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England on 15 Feb 1861. He served as president of the Oxford Union in 1883. At Oxford, Mackinder was the driving force behind the creation of a School of Geography in 1899. (WRITTEN Oct 2010)

Halford John Mackinder

Date of birth : 1861-02-15
Date of death : 1947-03-06
Birthplace : Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England
Nationality : British
Category :
Arhitecture and Engineering
Last modified : 2010-10-06 11:09:45

Sir Halford John Mackinder was an English geographer and politician. He was knighted for his work in 1920. Mackinder was instrumental in establishing geography as a unified and recognized academic discipline. He is famous for his geopolitical conception of the globe as divided into two parts—the superior Eurasian “heartland” and the inferior rest of the world. Mackinder warned that whoever controlled the "heartland" would control the world, and proposed that an Atlantic community be formed to maintain balance. Unfortunately, his ideas were adopted by Karl Haushofer and influenced Germany's efforts at world domination. Many aspects of his theories have been proved inaccurate, yet his efforts to understand the conflicts and shifts in power across the world laid a foundation for continued geopolitical studies. A deeper understanding of international relations requires consideration of all factors pertinent to human life, taking into account historical, social, and spiritual aspects, as well as the physical, geographic nature of each nation.


Halford John Mackinderwas born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England, the eldest son of Draper and Fanny Anne Hewitt Mackinder, both of Scottish descent. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Gainsborough (now Queen Elizabeth's High School), after which he attended Christ Church at Oxford, specializing in biology. He received the highest honors in his class in 1883, and continued on to study modern history. His interest gradually shifted toward geography, which at the time was not regarded as a single science, but was divided into physical and human geography.

After graduating from the University of Oxford, he went on to apply for the bar studying law in the Inner Temple. He became a barrister in 1886.

In 1887, Mackinder was appointed reader in geography at the University of Oxford, then by far the most senior position for a British geographer. He advocated that physical and human geography should be treated as a single discipline, and by 1899, he had drawn together a single school—the Oxford School of Geography. Mackinder became the first president of the school. In 1899, Mackinder led an expedition to East Africa and climbed Mount Kenya.

Mackinder was a member of the Coefficients Dining Club of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb. He joined the London School of Economics (LSE) on its foundation in 1895, and remained on the staff as reader and professor until 1925. He served as director of the school from 1903 to 1908.

Mackinder stayed at Oxford until 1904, when he accepted the position of the director of the London School of Economics. He then dedicated his energies completely to the administration and the leadership of the school. During that time however, he continued his connection with geography, teaching classes in economic geography.

In 1910, Mackinder resigned his position at LSE to enter politics. He became a member of the Parliament in 1910, as a Unionist Party member for the Camlachie division of Glasgow. He was a strong supporter of British imperialistic policies. He retained his seat in parliament until he was defeated in the 1922 election.

In 1919, Mackinder was sent as British high commissioner to southern Russia, to try to unify White Russian forces against communists. Upon his return to Britain in 1920, he was knighted.

He served as chairman of the Imperial Shipping Committee from 1920 to 1945 and of the Imperial Economic Committee from 1926 to 1931. Among many honors he received were the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1946), and the Charles P. Daly Medal of the American Geographical Society (1943).

Mackinder died on March 6, 1947, in Parkstone, Dorset, England.


In 1902, Halford Mackinder published his famous Britain and The British Seas, which included the first comprehensive geomorphology of Great Britain. This work, together with his 1904 paper “The Geographical Pivot of History” formulated the "Heartland Theory," which is often considered as the founding moment of geopolitics as a field of study (although Mackinder did not use the term). While the Heartland Theory initially received little attention outside geography, this theory would influence the foreign policies of world powers for decades.

Mackinder argued that interior Asia and Eastern Europe (the heartland) had strategic importance for the world. As the sea power declined in the twentieth century, marking the end of the "Columbian epoch," the mainland and land power become the strategic center of the “World Island” (by “World Island,” he meant the Euro-Asian-African landmass). He believed that the railroads paved the way for that change. That is why he believed that the inner areas of the Eurasian continent, which were in the “heart” of the world, with easy accessibility to all the other regions of the world, would have special geostrategic importance in the twentieth century.

The Heartland theory hypothesized the possibility for a huge empire to be brought into existence in the Heartland, which would not need to use coastal or transoceanic transport to supply its military industrial complex, and that this empire could not be defeated by all the rest of the world coalitioned against it. Comparing countries to cogs in a machine, he theorized that the Heartland was the largest cog, and countries surrounding it were the smaller cogs that moved as it moved. Mackinder emphasized the role of Britain and the United States to preserve a balance between the powers trying to control the heartland.

Mackinder’s next major work was in 1919—Democratic Ideals and Reality—which was a perspective on the 1904 work in the light of peace treaties of World War I and Woodrow Wilson's idealism. This work contains his most famous quote:

Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
Who rules the heartland commands the World Island;
Who rules the World Island commands the World (Mackinder 1919).

This message was composed for world statesmen at the Treaty of Versailles. Mackinder emphasized the need for long-lasting peace, trying to find the way to ensure geostrategic stability in Europe. He emphasized East Europe as the strategic route to the Heartland and proposed establishing a strip of buffer states to separate Germany and Russia. However, these buffers proved to be ineffective bulwarks in 1939.

The Heartland Theory was enthusiastically taken up by the German school of Geopolitik, in particular by its main proponent Karl Haushofer. Whilst Geopolitik was later embraced by the German Nazi regime in the 1930s, Mackinder was always extremely critical of the German exploitation of his ideas.

Mackinder was a convinced anti-Bolshevik. The principal concern of his work was to warn of the possibility of another major war—between Germany and communist Russia. Mackinder’s ideas were in many ways prophetic, predicting that the chaos in a defeated Germany would lead to dictatorship. He also elaborated on the concept of “one world,” and the need for establishment of regional powers. He proposed the theory of the Atlantic community, which became a reality after World War II with the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


Mackinder's work paved the way for the establishment of geography as a distinct discipline in the United Kingdom. The University of Oxford would not appoint a chair until 1934, but the University of Liverpool and University of Wales both did so in 1917. Mackinder was given a personal chair at the London School of Economics in 1923. His role in fostering the teaching of geography is probably greater than that of any single British geographer.

Mackinder's work in establishing the field now known as geopolitics is also significant. Although he did not himself use the term, his analysis of the connection between geography and political power in the world was foundational. He is also credited with introducing the concept of the "heartland"—the central landmass of the world—and the distinction between the land powers and the sea powers, which he saw as in recurring conflict throughout world history.

His doctrine was influential during the World Wars and the Cold War, as Germany and later Russia each attempted to seize and fortify the Heartland, attempts Mackinder had anticipated and about which he had given warnings. His theory was discredited, however, when Hitler's efforts failed and when the Soviet empire, which occupied the Heartland, dissolved into separate republics amid economic chaos and rebellion.


* Mackinder, Halford J. 1902. Britain and the British Seas. New York: D. Appleton and Co. ISBN 0837127548
* Mackinder, Halford J. [1904] 2004. "The Geographical Pivot of History." The Geographical Journal 170(4): 298–321.
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1906. Money-power and Man-power: The Underlying Principles rather than the Statistics of Tariff Reform. London: Simpkin.
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1914. The Modern British State: An Introduction to the Study of Civics. London: G. Philip.
* Mackinder, Halford J. [1919] 1981. Democratic Ideals and Reality. Greenwood Press Reprint. ISBN 0313231508
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1921. "Geography as a Pivotal Subject in Education." Geographical Journal 57(5): 376–384.
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1921. The Nations of the Modern World: An Elementary Study in Geography and History. London: G. Philips & Son.
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1924. The World War and After: A Concise Narrative and Some Tentative Ideas. London: G. Philip & Son.
* Mackinder, Halford J. 1990. The First Ascent of Mount Kenya. Athens: Ohio University Press. ISBN 0821409875


He is almost unknown, but the ideas of Sir Halford Mackinder dominate global thinking (Times 17 Sep 2009)

Facebook forum

Why we need democracy in Afghanistan (Macon-special to The Telegraph 12 Sep 2010)

The Geography of Chinese Power ( Foreign Affairs May/Jun 2010)

The geographical pivot of history (1904) (The Geographical Journal 1 Dec 2004)

Sir Halford John Mackinder (186 -1947)

Mackinder and Spykman and the New World Energy Order ( Exploring Geo-Politics)


The Geography of Containment

Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction. By Halford J. Mackinder. Henry Holt, 1919.
China rising: what would Mackinder do? (Open Democracy 6 Aug 2010)

China’s grand-strategy in a post-western world (Open Democracy 1 Jul 2010)

Paul Kennedy, “Mahan versus Mackinder,” Strategy and Diplomacy 1870-1945, Allen & Unwin, London, 1983, pp. 41-85.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Global Energy Security, choke points and swirling Crisis

Global Energy Security, choke points and swirling crisis

February , 2011

The political turmoil in Egypt has prompted renewed concerns about the security of oil and gas supplies from the Middle East. The country's proximity to two key chokepoints -- the Suez Canal and the Bab al-Mandab Strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden -- is significant. Yet concerns about these routes highlight the vulnerability of an even more critical energy chokepoint: the Strait of Hormuz, the only exit from the Persian Gulf. The Egyptian crisis should serve as an opportunity to reexamine contingency plans for avoiding or limiting energy supply disruptions. Whether stemming from political upheaval, direct interference by Iran, or other factors, such disruptions could have a devastating effect on the global economy.

Gas Exports Hit by Sabotage

So far, the crisis has resulted in only one energy disruption: the February 5 sabotage of a pumping station in the Sinai Peninsula, which cut off natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. Both countries use this gas to generate electricity, and Jordan is particularly dependent on it. Egypt is expected to restore the flow shortly; in the meantime, Amman will have to rely on limited stocks of fuel oil and perhaps seek additional supplies from Iraq or Saudi Arabia. For its part, Israel can turn to fuel oil or coal stocks, though the incident will likely prompt early exploitation of recently discovered offshore gas reserves in the Mediterranean.

In addition to the Sinai line, Egypt exports liquefied natural gas (LNG) by ship. It also uses its large oil refinery capacity to process and re-export foreign crudes, although it is no longer an oil exporter itself. Its two main energy transit routes -- the Suez Canal and the SuMed oil pipeline from the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean -- remain open, but their relative importance has declined as Asian energy demand has increased at a faster rate than European and North American demand.

Given the glut of LNG shipments worldwide, any disruptions resulting from the Egyptian crisis (e.g., labor strikes) would have relatively little impact. But closure of the Suez Canal, either by blockage or government edict, would force ships to travel around Africa, adding to the length and cost of their voyage. Indeed, the largest oil and gas tankers already have to take this route due to the canal's longstanding limitations.

Strait of Hormuz Is Crucial

In 2010, the volume of oil transiting Egypt via the Suez Canal and SuMed pipeline was about 2 million barrels per day, or roughly 5 percent of global seaborne oil trade. By comparison, the figure for the Strait of Hormuz was approximately 15.5 million barrels. Although the strait is less constricted -- its east- and westbound shipping lanes are each two miles wide compared to the narrow and shallow Suez -- it is the only maritime option for exporting crude oil from Persian Gulf countries.

During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Iranian military action halted Iraqi oil exports via the Gulf and forced Baghdad to build a pipeline across Saudi Arabia. Yet Riyadh has since taken over the pipeline and converted it to part of its domestic gas distribution system. Therefore, aside from an Iraqi pipeline across Turkey to the Mediterranean, Baghdad is without an alternative if Iran once again closes off the Gulf option.

As for the Saudis, they could channel two-thirds of their exports via a pipeline from the kingdom's Gulf oil fields to ports on the Red Sea if the need arose. Yet the Saudi pipeline to the Lebanese Mediterranean coast -- a route that would be useful for supplying energy-strapped Jordan, among other benefits -- has been closed since 1990. The only new overland route circumventing the Strait of Hormuz lies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where a 230-mile pipeline built with Chinese help is scheduled for completion by August. Although it will have the capacity to carry more than half of the UAE's exports past the Hormuz chokepoint, its route and loading terminals will still be vulnerable to sabotage or air attack.

U.S. Policy Considerations

The United States obtains more than half its oil imports from the Western hemisphere, principally Canada, Venezuela, and Mexico; only 17 percent of its imports come from the Persian Gulf. The significance of the Strait of Hormuz is therefore more profound for Asian markets such as China, Japan, India, and South Korea, which overwhelmingly depend on Gulf supplies. The U.S naval presence in the Gulf contributes to the security of these energy flows, whether by combating piracy, supporting residual ground forces in Iraq, backing Arab allies apprehensive of Iran, or supporting coalition forces in Afghanistan (much of whose air support comes from U.S. aircraft carriers operating off the Pakistani coast). This situation stands in sharp contrast to the period before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution -- a time when all the Gulf oil producers were at peace and allied with Washington, and the only permanent U.S. military presence in the Gulf was a headquarters ship anchored off Bahrain.

Many have suggested that the proper solution to this burdensome state of affairs is to reduce or eliminate U.S. dependence on imported oil by increasing domestic production or, more ambitiously, substituting alternative forms of energy. Although this is a fine long-term aspiration, it will not dissipate Middle East energy security concerns in the foreseeable future. On February 10, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) chief Richard Newell told a congressional committee that American dependence on oil imports -- which stood at 60 percent in 2005 and fell to 52 percent in 2009 -- was nevertheless projected to remain as high as 42 percent in 2035. EIA forecasts, which are intended to provide independent statistics and analysis for the U.S. government and businesses, already include generous assumptions about gains in energy efficiencies and renewable supplies.

Even as the United States reduces its own dependence on imported oil, a shock in the Middle East would still affect the price of domestically produced oil, as it is a globally traded commodity. And expanded use of alternative energy sources would still leave America vulnerable to swings in the prices of other goods that use oil as an input (e.g., food and many manufactured goods), as well as to other effects arising from economic shocks in Middle Eastern countries.

In short, no domestic energy policy choices will eclipse the need to safeguard Middle Eastern oil supplies in the near future, even if the United States is not the buyer of those supplies. Accordingly, Washington should consider the following broad lines of action:

  • Bolster international strategic reserves. Although the United States and many industrialized countries have sizeable strategic petroleum reserves, smaller economies may be more vulnerable. For example, Jordan had only thirty days of diesel and heavy oil reserves at the time of the February 5 Sinai pipeline attack and was therefore heavily affected by disruption in gas supplies.

  • Strengthen options to bypass the Strait of Hormuz. Although U.S. military officials have repeatedly expressed their willingness and ability to keep the strait open in the event of Iranian interference, developing contingency plans for a potential closure is still the most prudent course. The United States should focus on increasing the capacity of existing bypass routes such as the Saudi East-West pipeline. In the longer term, it should encourage or sponsor the construction of new pipelines or interconnection of existing networks (e.g., a new line across Saudi Arabia or Jordan to the Red Sea, which could carry Iraqi and Kuwaiti exports).

  • Invest even more in critical energy infrastructure protection. The primary security threats in the region are asymmetric, such as transnational terrorist groups and Iran's growing arsenal of missiles. The United States should shift a portion of its security assistance away from conventional military armaments and training toward critical energy infrastructure protection and training, including cybersecurity for key facilities and networks. For several years, the United States has been helping the Saudis on these fronts; the UAE and Kuwait are also building up their capacity in these areas. Washington should expand these efforts to ensure comprehensive regional coverage, cooperation between states, and the implementation of best practices.

So far, the Egyptian crisis has not spurred the sort of oil disruptions that occurred in 1956 (when Cairo blocked the Suez Canal to protest British and French attempts to seize it) or between 1967 and 1975 (when Israel occupied the Sinai). But it should serve as a potent reminder of both the vulnerability of Persian Gulf oil supplies and the measures that need to be taken to improve global energy security...

"... The downside to all this unpleasantness is that Bahrain is the U.S.'s most important post in the Persian Gulf. It's ground zero when it comes to monitoring the oil flow -- nearly one gallon of every five used worldwide -- down the gulf and through the narrow Strait of Hormuz. It's also a key base from which to eyeball Iran on the other side of the gulf.
The 5th Fleet and a base used by the U.S. Air Force both call Bahrain home... And there's a welcome bonus for sailors in Bahrain. Unlike most other nations in the region, alcohol is available. In fact, it's so popular that the Navy has a "Tipsy Taxi" program so sailors who have had a bit too much to drink while out on the town can flash a special card at taxi drivers and get a free ride back to base."

Monday, February 14, 2011




Adm. Arun Prakash (Retd)

Amongst the strategic analysts on the Indo-US horizon, few are as incisive and diligent as Ashley J Tellis. In this context Tellis has the advantages of an Indian background and, consequently, a profound insight into India’s security issues. Uniquely, he is as much at home on Raisina Hill as in Foggy Bottom or the White House. I recall, as a middle-ranking officer, reading, with fascination, his laser-sharp analysis of India’s naval build-up of the 1980s accompanied by a compelling, if somewhat surreal, prognosis about our maritime strategy.

In recent times, Tellis has been an influential opinion-maker; his post-26/11 Congressional testimony, as well as his advice and writings during the Indo-US nuclear negotiations have, no doubt, had a deep impact on policy-making in Washington and Delhi.

His latest offering is a January 2011 report, commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (where he is a senior associate), on India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) selection process, currently underway. This elephantine ritual, now said to be in its final stages, is being watched with bated breath by six contending international aerospace companies and eight nations straddling the Atlantic.

At the end of the MMRCA competition lies a veritable pot of gold, not only because the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) notional requirement of 126 fighters may actually exceed 200, but also because the winner of the competition will have privileged access to the huge, growing market of a rising power. Just the initial worth of this purchase could be anything from US$ 10-15 billion – with much more to follow. These are lean times, world-wide, and bagging this colossal contract could have a significant impact on economies - especially the smaller ones. For some of the competing European companies it could even spell the difference between prosperity and looming oblivion.

This 140 page monograph is, thus, aptly titled; “Dogfight!”*, and its striking cover could serve admirably as a promo for a Hollywood blockbuster. However, optics apart, this is a well-timed document; meticulously researched, thoughtfully composed and logically argued. That Tellis falters in his gallant attempt at objectivity, only towards the end, should not detract from the value of this report – at least for the cognoscenti. He is, no doubt, rooting for the US industry, but he would have performed a valuable service if he succeeds in his attempt to enlighten the uninformed Indian policymaker- both politician and bureaucrat.

*Available on the Internet at:

Before discussing the substance of this report, the MMRCA competition needs to be placed in its proper context. Peacetime aircraft attrition and creeping obsolescence are the twin spectres which haunt every Air Chief, and make him ask for more. In the case of the IAF the problem has been aggravated by the fact that a significant proportion of its combat strength consisted of Soviet era MiG-21s of which about 850 were licence-produced by HAL. Apart from its high accident rate, the MiG-21 also, had many operational limitations. Its planned indigenous replacement, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), promised by the DRDO by the early 1990s, has come 20 years later, as a case of “too little, too late.” Notwithstanding the up-gradation of a certain number of MiG-21s to the more capable ‘Bison’ standard, and the induction of some 125 Sukhoi-30MKI, the IAF order of battle has, over the past decade, seen major erosion; in numbers as well as in capability.

The IAF dilemma has been compounded by the ongoing modernization of the air forces of neighbouring China and its ally, Pakistan, which happen to be significantly complementary. By the end of this decade, the PLA Air Force will deploy a formidable force of nearly 2000 aircraft, of which 500 will be air-superiority fighters from the Sukhoi bureau, with an equal number of Chinese-built 4thgeneration machines, leavened with a small number of 5th generation stealth aircraft. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is slated to receive 200-250 Chinese fighters in the next few years, in addition to all the F-16 C/D fighters it can squeeze out of the US. Equipped with airborne early-warning & control (AWACS) aircraft, long-range fighter radar and beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, this 4thgeneration force poses a formidable challenge to the IAF.

Against this opposition, the IAF currently fields approximately 600-700 combat aircraft, only some of which can be classified as 4thgeneration. Operating in synergy with the newly inducted air-to-air re-fuelllers as well as the airborne early-warning AWACs, they represent a substantive capability for homeland defence, close support and limited trans-national operations. In the offing is the PAK-FA, 5th generation fighter to be “jointly developed” with Russia. However, the IAF faces an onerous challenge, and needs to ensure that it can field combat aircraft of appropriate capability in sufficient numbers to fight a simultaneous war on two fronts against well-equipped adversaries.

The initial IAF plan to tackle its problems of obsolescence, attrition and declining strength by inducting substantial numbers of the tried and trusted French Mirage-2000, did not find favour with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Air HQ was, then, asked to write up the Air Staff Requirement (ASR) for a new aircraft. Six years later, in 2007, emerged a comprehensively drawn up, 211-page Request for Proposals (RFP).

Once the responses to the RFP were examined, the IAF wasted no time in initiating a rigorous 8-stage evaluation process in which each of the six competing aircraft have been assessed over the full range of climatic, altitude and terrain conditions as well as many other environmental, maintenance and operational criteria laid down in the ASR. However an already complex process seems to have been rendered even thornier by the IAF because the RFP cast its net too wide. The six aircraft, short-listed for evaluation, fall into distinctly different categories, but will have to be judged by the same set of criteria.

Firstly, new 4th generation machines, like the, Swedish Gripen, European Eurofighter and French Rafale, have got mixed up with others like the US F-16 Super Viper and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, whose early marks first flew in the 1970s, and whose upgraded versions now on offer, are described as “technologically mature”. The Russian MiG-35, a derivative of the MiG-29K falls somewhere in-between. Secondly, in a “medium-weight” competition, the participants range from light machines like the Gripen and F-16 (17-21 tons), to middle-weights like MiG-35, Typhoon and Rafale (22-24 tons), to a true heavy-weight like the F/A-18 (30 tons). Finally, single-engined fighters like the F-16 and Gripen, are vying with twin-engined counterparts like the MiG-35, F/A-18, Rafale and Eurofighter.

Perhaps a more stringent RFP – one that specified a weight range or number of engines - could have cut down the candidates and simplified selection. But then vagueness has the merit of permitting a lot of flexibility.

As it stands, many of the performance, technical and cost parameters of these competitors are bound to vary hugely, and selecting the “best” will be akin to picking a winner from a mixed box of “apples, oranges and plums”; a difficult and hazardous professional task fraught with pitfalls. At a higher, non-professional, level, intense political pressures – internal and external – are likely to cast their shadow on this exercise, to sway this decision one way or the other.

It is into this, somewhat confused, “dogfight” scenario that Ashley Tellis attempts to bring some order and enlightenment with his monograph. He offers to “help the Indian policymakers and security elites think through the complexities of an acquisition decision with long-range ramifications.”, and in this endeavour, he sets out two broad objectives for himself, namely:

 To elucidate the kind of aircraft relevant for the IAF in the foreseeable environment, and

 To synthesise the diverse considerations and evolve a cohesive selection matrix.

Tellis offers the sum total of his advice under the rubric of three broad injunctions or Commandments for the consideration of policymakers in New Delhi. He commences his arguments by enjoining upon India’s decision-makers to “Conclude the MMRCA competition expeditiously.” While this may appear to be superfluous and gratuitous advice, we must remember that we have a pretty dismal track-record of slothful decision-making. Projects involving acquisition of the Advanced Jet Trainer, construction of the Air Defence Ship, re-starting of the submarine production line and the artillery modernization plan are just a few recent examples where apathy and indolent decision-making has cost us dearly, not just in financial terms but also in terms of eroded security. To buttress his advice Tellis graphically outlines the developing South-Asian air threat scenario, and the opportunity-costs of delay.

His next injunction, “Do not split the MMRCA purchase”, arises from the, not unrealistic, apprehension that India’s political leadership, might attempt to “satisfy defence and geo-political objectives simultaneously” and to “assuage different international allies” by splitting the lucrative MMRCA purchase and buying smaller numbers of two aircraft types instead of one. A very recent example of such a politically driven compromise was the splitting of a large commercial aircraft purchase between Boeing and Airbus Industrie. However, as Tellis rightly points out, the Indian armed forces are already burdened with the immense handicap of excessive diversity in their weapon inventories, and adding two new types to the IAF stable will be yet another unkind blow.

Subsequently, while providing a balance-sheet of the political pros and cons of each aircraft choice, he offers sound advice for the US administration. In order to overcome the disadvantage of fielding relatively older (albeit equally capable) aircraft for the MMRCA selection, the USA must not only provide assurance of “supplier reliability” but it must “fight and win in the arena of technology transfer.”

It is for the last, and most unexceptionable, of his three Commandments, “To buy the best aircraft for the mission”, that Tellis saves his firepower. In what can only be termed a tour de force, for a person with no aviation background (other than a million miles logged on United Airlines), he defines the operational context in which the IAF seeks a new combat aircraft, identifies the essential performance and hardware capabilities which must be used for evaluating the MMRCA contenders, discusses the technology and cost issues, and finally provides a lucid comparative assessment of the six aircraft in the field.

Tellis examines the “multi-role” aspect of the new induction from the IAF viewpoint and discusses the degree of optimization that can be attained between the air-to-air and anti-surface roles in a single airframe. He concludes that, because of the traditional bias of the Service towards fighter aviation, and the primacy assigned to homeland defence, whichever aircraft is finally selected in the competition, “…its fundamental worth will be assessed, first and foremost by its air-to-air performance, with its capacity to undertake precision strike missions being……somewhat secondary in assessed importance.”

Detailed discussion follows on arcane issues like the air-defence environment, the role of AWACS, as well as the counter-AWACS operations, airborne electronic attack (EA) and within visual range (WVR) as well as beyond visual range(BVR) engagements. Adequate note is taken of land as well as maritime anti-surface mission requirements before concluding that the MMRCA candidate selected will have to be an utterly versatile platform that can shift from air-combat to ground-attack by day or night with felicity.

Having established the future operational milieu in South Asia, Tellis defines six criteria for judging the MMRCA candidates, which may well be identical with those used by the IAF: sensors and avionics; weapons; aerodynamic effectiveness; mission performance; technology-transfer and cost. However, he sensibly adds a seventh criterion which is unlikely to figure in any official Indian matrix; political considerations.

Having done his homework conscientiously, Tellis undertakes an enlightened discussion that would be heard with rapt attention in any fighter crew-room. He dwells, knowledgeably, on a range of complex technical issues including; active electronically scanned array (AESA) and low probability of intercept (LPI) radars, infra-red search and tracking (IRST) systems, defensive avionics suites (DAS), BVR combat, wing loadings, thrust/weight ratios, instantaneous turn-rates and overall mission performance et al.

Acknowledging the great hopes pinned by India on the MMRCA deal being accompanied by substantive technology transfer – both through offsets and direct knowledge-sharing – he compares the ability and willingness of the competing nations in this regard. At the same time he notes the current limitations of Indian industry to actually absorb technology. Significantly, he urges US industry to“bend over backwards to offer the most generous technology transfer packages possible to India, because this component – along with lower fly away costs – could make the fundamental difference to their ability to carry the day in the MMRCA competition.”

The 40 most interesting pages of this slim volume are devoted to a comparative assessment of the six MMRCA contestants. Tellis first makes a tabular comparison of the competing six under the major heads of: engine, airframe, avionics and weapons, and then undertakes a detailed appraisal of individual machines; providing a summary of advantages and disadvantages in each case. It is as fair, comprehensive and professional a comparison of the six diverse machines as one can lay hands on today.

However, at the end of this comparison, he dismisses the MiG-35 for being merely a “souped up MiG-29K” and a“developmental platform”; the Gripen for being overly dependent for its vital systems on “third parties including the US”, and the Typhoon and Rafale (in spite of their other merits) for being too expensive!

The last word is, understandably, kept for the US duo of F-16IN Super Viper and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. Tellis sees them as the best possible bargain for India, both financially (they claim, by far, the least expensive fly-away cost) and politically. He skillfully wields the availability of a fully developed AESA radar (which finds specific mention in the RFP), offered by both US candidates, as a useful tool to counter common Indian perceptions of their older provenance.

The political carrot is dangled rather blatantly by Tellis in the following words: “The political benefits of buying the F-16IN (or F/A-18E/F) would be unparalleled because of the gains accruing to New Delhi from a stronger partnership with the US. Such a development would … send important signals to all of India’s neighbours – especially its adversaries, China and Pakistan.”How well this far from subtle message actually goes down in South Block, remains to be seen.

In the concluding section of his report, Tellis makes an attempt to rationalize the IAF’s contemplated force structure, taking into account the 5th generation fighter, MMRCA selectee, LCA and other known inductions. He goes so far as to offer a few alternative force structure models circa 2020 and 2030.

The MMRCA contract will be amongst the biggest arms deals ever inked. India’s keenness to “get it right” at last, to bring transparency to the selection process and to maximise benefits to the indigenous aerospace industry has also, arguably, made it one of the most convoluted selection processes ever.

The motivation behind the Carnegie Endowment commissioning Ashley Tellis to write this report is obvious; to buttress the case for US industry in the MMRCA competition. However, as bewildered as India’s civilian decision-makers may feel in the unfamiliar and arcane jungle of hardware performance issues couched in military jargon, the US bureaucrat and industry executive is equally at sea in India’s complex geo-political scenario, with its unique operational compulsions, and Byzantine rules, regulations and procedures.

Tellis has therefore rendered a public service by compiling and analyzing most of the factors that have a bearing on the MMRCA selection process, in one slim compendium which can be read in one sitting. While the eventual decision in the MMRCA selection may not be based on any of the logic put forth by him, “Dogfight!” would have achieved its purpose if it serves to educate all the actors involved in the MMRCA competition; Indian and foreign.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

American Police State: FBI Abuses Reveals Contempt for Political Rights, Civil Liberties

The US Police State....

As mass revolt spreads across Egypt and the Middle East and citizens there demand jobs, civil liberties and an end to police state abuses from repressive, U.S.-backed torture regimes, the Obama administration and their congressional allies aim to expand one right here at home.

Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released an explosive new report documenting the lawless, constitutional-free zone under construction in America for nearly a decade.

That report, "Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008," reveals that the domestic political intelligence apparat spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, continues to systematically violate the rights of American citizens and legal residents.

A rather ironic state of affairs considering the free passes handed out by U.S. securocrats to actual terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11, as both WikiLeaks and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds disclosed last week.

Although illegal practices and violations were reported by the FBI to the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) after an unexplained two-and-a-half-year delay, a further violation of lawful guidelines, lawbreaking continued unabated; in fact, it accelerated as the Bureau was given a green light to do so by successive U.S. administrations.

The IOB is a largely toothless body created in 1976 by the Ford administration in the wake of disclosures of widespread spying and infiltration of political groups by America's secret state agencies during the sixties and seventies.

Reeling from revelations uncovered by Congress, investigative journalists and citizen activists in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Ford's caretaker government was forced to call a halt to the more egregious practices employed by the FBI to keep the lid on and crafted guidelines governing intelligence and surveillance operations.

In fact, the Attorney General's Guidelines regulating both FBI National Security Investigations and Foreign Intelligence Collection (NSIG) stipulate that "all government intelligence operations occur with sufficient oversight and within the bounds of the Constitution and other federal laws."

While it can rightly be argued these protocols were largely ineffective, and had been breeched more often than not by the 1980s under President Reagan, as revealed during the Iran-Contra scandal, and that antiwar, environmental and solidarity groups continue to be spied upon and destabilized by agents provocateurs and right-wing corporate scum, they were thrown overboard entirely by the Bush regime in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Today the "looking forward, not backward" Obama administration has whole-heartedly embraced Bushist lawlessness while charting an even more sinister course of their own, now asserting they have the authority to assassinate American citizens the Executive Branch designate as "terrorists" anywhere on earth without benefit of due process or court review.

According to EFF, more than 2,500 documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that:

* From 2001 to 2008, the FBI reported to the IOB approximately 800 violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations, although this number likely significantly under-represents the number of violations that actually occurred.
* From 2001 to 2008, the FBI investigated, at minimum, 7000 potential violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.
* Based on the proportion of violations reported to the IOB and the FBI's own statements regarding the number of NSL [National Security Letter] violations that occurred, the actual number of violations that may have occurred from 2001 to 2008 could approach 40,000 possible violations of law, Executive Order, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008, January 30, 2011)

But FBI lawbreaking didn't stop there. Citing internal documents, EFF revealed that the Bureau also "engaged in a number of flagrant legal violations" that included, "submitting false or inaccurate declarations to courts," "using improper evidence to obtain federal grand jury subpoenas" and "accessing password protected documents without a warrant."

In other words, in order to illegally spy on Americans and haul political dissidents before Star Chamber-style grand juries, the FBI routinely committed perjury and did so with absolute impunity.

Reviewing the more than 2,500 documents EFF analysts averred that they had "uncovered alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices" and that the "documents suggest the FBI's intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed."

According to EFF, the "documents show that the FBI most frequently committed three types of intelligence violations--violations of internal oversight guidelines for conducting investigations; violations stemming from the abuse of National Security Letters; and violations of the Fourth Amendment, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other laws governing intelligence investigations."

"Based on statements made by government officials and the proportion of violations occurring in the released reports," EFF estimates that "the FBI may have committed as many as 40,000 intelligence investigation violations over the past ten years."

The civil liberties' watchdogs revealed that the type of violation occurring most frequently involved the Bureau's abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs), onerous lettres de cachet, secretive administrative subpoenas with built-in gag orders used by the FBI to seize records from third-parties without any judicial review whatsoever.

Although National Security Letters have been employed by investigators since the 1970s, after 9/11 Congress passed the repressive USA PATRIOT Act which "greatly expanded the intelligence community's authority to issue NSLs."

"During the course of a terrorism or counterintelligence investigation," EFF writes, "NSLs can be used to obtain just three types of records: (1) subscriber and 'toll billing information' from telephone companies and 'electronic communications services;' (2) financial records from banks and other financial institutions; and (3) consumer identifying information and the identity of financial institutions from credit bureaus."

Abuses have been well-documented by the Justice Department's own Office of the Inspector General. In their 2008 report, the OIG disclosed that the FBI issued some 200,000 requests and that almost 60% were for investigations of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

Given the symbiosis amongst American secret state agencies and grifting corporations, EFF discovered that "the frequency with which companies [received] NSLs--phone companies, internet providers, banks, or credit bureaus--contributed to the FBI’s NSL abuse."

"In over half of all NSL violations reviewed by EFF, the private entity receiving the NSL either provided more information than requested or turned over information without receiving a valid legal justification from the FBI."

In fact, "companies were all too willing to comply with the FBI's requests, and--in many cases--the Bureau readily incorporated the over-produced information into its investigatory databases."

This too is hardly surprising, given the enormous profits generated by the surveillance state for their corporate beneficiaries. As The Washington Post revealed in their investigative series, Top Secret America, more than 800,000 corporate employees have been issued top secret and above security clearances. Beholden to their employers and not the public who foots the bill and is the victim of their excesses, accountability is a fiction and oversight a contemptible fraud.

In a follow-up piece, Monitoring America, investigative journalists Dana Priest and William M. Arkin revealed that the FBI "is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously."

In other words, in order to "keep us safe" unaccountable securocrats are constructing a Stasi-like political intelligence system that has overthrown the traditional legal concept of probable cause in favor of a regime rooted in fear and suspicion; one where innocent activities such as taking a photograph or attending an antiwar rally now serves as a pretext for opening a national security investigation.

According to Priest and Arkin, the Bureau database "is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain," and used by employers to terminate political dissidents or other "undesirable" citizens merely on the basis of allegations emanating from who knows where.

As Antifascist Calling reported in October, "predictive behavior" security firms, generously funded by the CIA's venture capitalist arm, In-Q-Tel, have increasingly turned to monitoring social media sites such as Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube and are exploiting powerful computer algorithms for their clients--your boss--thereby transforming private communications into "actionable intelligence" that just might get you fired.

In one case, EFF discovered that the FBI "requested email header information for two email addresses used by a U.S. person." In response, researchers averred "the email service provider returned two CDs containing the full content of all emails in the accounts. The FBI eventually (and properly) sequestered the CDs, notified the email provider of the overproduction, and re-issued an NSL for the originally requested header information; but, in response to the second NSL, the email provider again provided the FBI with the full content of all emails in the accounts."

To make matters worse, "third-parties not only willingly cooperated with FBI NSLs when the legal justification was unclear, however: they responded to NSLs without any legal justification at all."

In conclusion, EFF wrote that "while the reports documenting the FBI's abuse of the Constitution, FISA, and other intelligence laws are troubling, EFF's analysis is necessarily incomplete: it is impossible to know the severity of the FBI's legal violations until the Bureau stops concealing its most serious violations behind a wall of arbitrary secrecy."

This sordid state of affairs is likely to continue given Congress's utter lack of interest in protecting Americans' constitutionally-protected right to privacy, free speech and assembly.

With new moves afoot in Congress to pass a data retention law that requires internet service providers to retain records of users' online activity or, as in the repressive Egyptian U.S. client state, handing the Executive Branch a "kill-switch" that would disconnect the American people from the internet in the event of a "national emergency," the U.S. oligarchy is planning for the future.

As the World Socialist Web Site points out, "The US government is well aware that the Internet provides a forum for rapid communication and organization, as demonstrated by the events in Egypt this week. In an attempt to block communication within Egypt and with the external world, US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak cut off the country's access to the Internet altogether."

"Similarly," left-wing journalist Patrick Zimmerman writes, "the fundamental goal of the US government in its attempts to gain control of the Internet and monitor user activity has nothing to do with the 'war on terror' or prosecuting criminals. Under conditions of growing social inequality, government austerity, and expanding war abroad, the government anticipates the growth of social opposition in the United States."

The Bush regime's "preemptive wars" doctrine has been fully incorporated into the Obama administration's "homeland security" paradigm....The formidable police state apparatus that accompanies America's imperial adventures abroad are now deployed at home where they have devastating effects on an already dysfunctional democracy sliding ever-closer towards an authoritarian abyss....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

أكد شباب مصر وتونس ان مقولة «كما تكونوا يولَّ عليكم» ليست صحيحة

رفض الفجـور - غسان سلامة

...أكد شباب مصر وتونس ان مقولة «كما تكونوا يولَّ عليكم» ليست صحيحة

تلك اللحظة في يوم من أيام كانون الأول. لحظة حاول عديدون إعادة إنتاجها هنا وهناك، في مصر أو الجزائر أو غيرها من البلدان، بدون ان يفلحوا، فاحترقت اجسادهم هباء. تلك اللحظة التي دامت رفّة جفن، بين ردع شرطي والإتيان ببعض المحروقات ورشها وإشعال النار فيها، فيها جمال الفعل الأقصى بل إنها الجمال عينه

وهي الجمال، لأنها ما قبل السياسة وما فوقها. عجز الكلام عن التعبير عن الغضب المتراكم فجاء عود الثقاب يسعف اللسان الفاشل. هذا شاب قبل أن يعيش في مدينة من بر تونس، بينما تنعم مدن الشاطىء بعوائد السياحة وحلاوة السواح، وقبل أن يضع شهادته الجامعية في الدرج بعدما اكتشف انها ليست المفتاح السحري الذي اعتقد وهو يراجع دروسه على ضوء قنديل خافت للفوز بفرصة عمل لائقة، وهو ارتضى الاكتفاء ببيع الخضراوات على عربة بعد أن تلاشت آماله الأخرى جميعاً. لكن تنازلاته، وهو بها أعلم، بقيت له، بل وجاء شرطي يجادله حتى في ممارسة ما يعتبره نوعاً من الذل المعيشي الذي ارتضاه بعدما تلاشت الاحلام الاخرى. فيا للشعور بالظلم المطلق، بالظلم العاري: أنا أقبل بقليل القليل كي اعتاش ولكني، حتى من القليل القليل أُحرم. يعجز اللسان ويشتعل عود الكبريت.

علّمنا محمد البوعزيزي الكثير، ومنه أن السياسة التي نتعاطى ليست كل شيء، لا الأفكار ولا الأيديولوجيات، ولا الصراعات على السلطة، ولا مشاريع التحرير والتحرر. ذكّرنا، وجسده شعلة نار، أننا قبل كل هذا، وفوق كل هذا، نعيش في عصر الفجور، ونصمت عنه متحججين باهتمامنا البائس بالسياسة، أو بولعنا الخائب بالأفكار الكبيرة. الفجور. نعم الفجور. منذ نحو عقود ثلاثة تهاوت كلّ الحدود أمام الإثراء الفاحش والإنفاق التظاهري وعبادة المال، سيّما إن كان حراماً. لن يبرىء أحد الجيل السابق من رجال الشأن العام من حب الفلوس ومن دفع الرُّشى ولا من قبضها. ولكن فورة النفط بعد 1972، وتكدّس المليارات، ونهم الاقتناء الدائم والإنفاق غير المحدود، والغرام غير المسبوق بالسيارات الفارهة والشقق العديدة الموزعة على غير عاصمة، وبالطائرات الخاصة وباليخوت السياحية، أدخل في المجتمعات العربية مستويات غير معهودة من الفجور يتندّر بها على حسابنا العالم بأسره. وتساوت النظم المعدمة بالدول النفطية في ممارسة هذا الفجور، وجوهره هوّة سحيقة تزداد عمقاً كل يوم بين من تطال يده المال الحلال والحرام، ومن يبقى معدماً وهامشياً

دعك يا صاحبي من التمييزات الخائبة بين دول النفط ودول القحط، أو بين الملكيات والجمهوريات، أو بين دول الاعتدال ودول الممانعة، فكلّها اعتبارات في الحقيقة شكلية. دعك من ذلك، وانظر يا صاحبي الى تلك الآلاف المعدودة (إن لم تكن المئات) من الافراد التي استولت في كل بلد عربي أعرفه على 20 او 30 او 40 بالمئة من كامل الثروة المحلية. انظر الى دول المشرق، انظر الى مصر والسودان، ودول الخليج ودول المغرب. في كل بلد مجموعة ملتصقة بالسلطة السياسية، تشكل نواتها او تدور في فلكها او تشكل امتداداً لها، قد استولت على سبل الإثراء السريع، وما اكثرها، يوم فتح الحاكم أمامها المجال كي تشاركه بالمغانم او ان تحققها وتعود اليه بعد ذلك لتقتسمها معه

كل منا يعرف ذلك، وبعض من التقيهم قد تخصص فعلا في متابعة الصفقات المشبوهة والرُّشى الهائلة والاثراء الفاحش. بل اني تعرفت على كثيرين يكادون لا يتحدثون الا عن هذا. ولكن اهتمامهم بدا لي دوماً ملتبساً، مشوباً بالكثير من الحسد. فهم يتحدثون عن إثراء الآخرين لأنهم بالاساس قد حُرموا من فرص الاثراء ذاتها، لا لأنهم ينتقدون مبدأ مدّ اليد للمال العام، ونهم تكديس الاموال، انهم مصابون بالنهم عينه، لكنهم عاجزون عن ممارسته، او عن مزاولته بالنسبة نفسها من المداخيل.

البوعزيزي لم يكن يعرف على الأرجح أرقام ثروة هذا او ذاك من اقرباء رئيسه ومن افراد حاشيته. ربما لو ادرك حجم ثروة بعضهم ما كان تمكّن من تخيّل الرقم، وما كان قد صدّق ما يقال له. وتونس بالمناسبة لا تحتمل ارقاماً من الثروة الفردية والعائلية، بهول الارقام التي يتم تداولها في دول عربية اخرى. إني لمدرك ان الايديولوجيا النيوليبرالية قد عمّقت الهوة بين الثري والفقير في مختلف انحاء العالم، في الولايات المتحدة، في الصين او في الهند، في روسيا. مشاهد مرعبة عن الفجور نفسه: قصور وشقراوات في الأحضان وحياة عاطلة شبه دائمة في الكاريبي وسردينيا ومراكش، بينما رجالك يزيدون من ثروتك وأنت تتمتع بالحياة المرفهة. 7 ملايين بشري من اصل 7 مليارات يملكون اليوم اكثر من ثلث الثروة الدولية واللامساواة في المداخيل على تعمّق يزداد حدّة في كل بلدان العالم، سوى استثناءات معدودة

لكن فجورنا أبشع لأن اثرياءنا أقل إنتاجاً من زملائهم في العالم، واكثر اعتماداً على الريع، وأكثر التصاقاً بالسلطات السياسية بل إنهم أحياناً عماد تلك السلطات.ومن بعض ما علّمنا البوعزيزي في لحظة عابرة من الزمن، أن هذا الفجور لا يواجه إلا بالعودة إلى الأخلاقيات البسيطة. هذا الفجور لا يواجه لا بالسفسطائيات الماركسية، ولا بالتعويذات الدينية، إنما فقط بالرجوع الى الغضب العاري والعفوي، بالعودة الى الرفض البسيط للظلم بدون أي محاولة لتوصيفه أو تفسيره. مجرّد الرفض بإشعال عود كبريت، وإذا بالخوف الذي في باطنك يتحول فجأة الى هلع عند خصمك الحاكم المستبد المثري.

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ما إن فر زين العابدين من قصره المتطاول على شاطىء قرطاج حتى اشتعل السؤال المضني: من ذا الحاكم الذي يليه على دروب التقاعد المبكر؟ أهذا الرئيس أو ذاك الملك أو ذلك الامير؟ شعرت عند أبناء جلدتي بعطش مستجدّ لمشهد الرؤوس المتدحرجة، أو على الأقل لمشهد المداخلات البائسة أمام الكاميرا وصاحب العمر الطويل يستجدي مواطنيه أن يتحملوه لسنوات ثلاث اضافية فقط لأنه والله! والله! لم يفكر يوما برئاسة مدى الحياة. كثيرون اعتقدوا ان الحكام الآخرين أصابهم الهلع من عدوى الفيروس التونسي سيّما وأن أقربهم لتونس انبرى يدافع عن جاره المخلوع. ورأينا شعراء البلاط هنا وهنالك يردون بالحجة البائسة نفسها: الخصوصية التونسية مرض محدد لا أثر له خارج حدود تلك الجمهورية الهانئة البسيطة، ولا خطر بالتالي من أي عدوى. فالعرب، على عكس أوروبا الشرقية منذ نحو عقدين، لا يمارسون لعبة الشطرنج، وهم بالتالي عصيون عن أن يصبحوا ضحايا موجة من الانتفاضات. يا لبؤس المنظرين الذين كتبوا المجلدات عن وحدة المجتمع العربي، وعن التواصل والتشابه والتفاعل بين البنى المجتمعية العربية والذين راحوا الان يحدثوننا ببلاغة فصيحة عن خصوصية تونس، وعن عدم فاعلية نموذجها، وانعدام عدواها كنوع من اللقاح ضد تلك العدوى التي يعرفون في أعماقهم أنها ممكنة.
لكن شتان بين الشوق لرؤية الرؤوس المتدحرجة، والوجوه الرئاسية الهلعة وبين تكرار التجربة التونسية هنا أو هناك. أعترف أني من الذين سيهنأون بانقطاع الرئاسات التي لا تنتهي، وأني لم أقبل يوماً بالتحايل العربي العام على مبدأ التداول الدوري والسلمي للسلطة. لكن مشهد الرئاسات المنقطعة على حين غرة له شروط ومواصفات.

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فما هو مغزى الحالة التونسية خارج تونس؟ الحق يقال إن من أرقى ما في الحدث التونسي هو بالذات تونسية الحدث، بمعنى الدور الهامشي (وربما المنعدم تماما) للقوى الخارجية في صناعة الحدث مهما جدت قناة "الجزيرة" في البحث عن تلك القوى، وأيضاً بمعنى أن صانعي الحدث من المنتفضين التوانسة لم يتنطحوا للعب دور يتجاوز حدود بلادهم، ولم ينظروا الى انفسهم بوصفهم قادة الثورة الفرنسية أو بلاشفة القرن الحادي والعشرين. الحدث التونسي في جوهره انتفاضة محلية في نوعية المحفزات وهوية الأطراف وآفاق التحرك الجماعي. وهذه الطبيعة المحلية ضمانة حقيقية لأبناء الانتفاضة إن عرفوا الحفاظ عليها

لكن نجاح التوانسة (أم عدمه) في ترجمة انتفاضة جوهرها اخلاقي، وذات طابع محلي، وبدون قيادة وطنية مؤطرة إلى مشروع حكم بديل للحكم المخلوع مسألة تتجاوز تونس، شاء التوانسة أم أبوا. بمعنى ان تونس قد دخلت الامتحان الذي فرض تباعاً على غير بقعة عربية: هل إن سقوط النظام يعني بالضرورة حالة طويلة من انعدام الاستقرار بل والفوضى أم أنه بالإمكان تصور سيناريو انتقالي شبه سلبي بعد فرار المستبد الفارض للأمن بالقوة؟ إن كان الجواب التونسي ايجابياً تصبح العدوى اكثر احتمالاً. أما إن عجز التوانسة عن انتاج نظام بديل في فترة معقولة من الزمن، أو إن سمحوا للخارج ان يتدخل في شؤونهم او ذهبوا الى حد توسّل التدخل الخارجي المستمر (كما لم يخجل اللبنانيون يوماً عن القيام بذلك)، فقد يتحول حدثهم الجميل الى فزاعة يهدد بها زملاء بن علي من المستبدين العرب شعوبهم: تحملوني كما أنا وإلا فالفوضى ستضربكم

وإن كان من المبكر الجزم بمآل الحدث التونسي فالحق يقال إن بعض عناصره، غداة فرار بن علي، تبعث على القلق عليه. كمثل المطالبة باقصاء مطلق لمنتسبي حزب الحاكم المخلوع، أو الحنين إلى بورقيبية تجاوزها الزمن، على الرغم من محاسنها، أو محاولة إسقاط تيار ديني على حدث لم يلعب فيه ذلك التيار دوراً يذكر في الوقت الذي سيحاول كثيرون في محيط تونس المغاربي او الاوروبي التدخل في شؤونها لدفع أدواتهم المحلية الى الصدارة. لذا فالسؤال الأول هو في مناعة الحدث التونسي امام دعوات التطرف والراديكالية في الداخل (وهي برأيي طفولية أو مشبوهة) وأمام محاولات التدخل من الخارج. جوهر المسألة يتعلق بطبيعة السلطة العربية الراهنة وباحتمالات تطورها. المسألة ليست كما يردد عديدون، في ظواهر التوريث وما شابه. المسألة في العمق هي في نظرة الحاكم الى السلطة، بوصفها ملكاً له، والى الدولة بوصفها متاعاً يحق له التصرف به للاثراء الذاتي او للتوريث لمن يشاء او للبيع والشراء والمقايضة. هذه ثقافة سياسية غالبة قد فرضت على مختلف الأنظمة العربية. مهما كان شكلها الدستوري المعلن، تحديداً لعلاقة الحاكم بالدولة بوصفها علاقة تملّك مطلق، كمثل تملّك فلان لأرض زراعية وتملّك آخر لمصنع. ومن فضائل تملّك دولة بدلاً من ارض او مصنع، هو ان الدولة تعطيك في الآن معاً عوائد عديدة متكاملة: السلطة على الآخرين، الثروة بوصفها عنصراً مرافقاً للسلطة، والجاه الذي يسعد قلب زوجتك واقربائك. هذه عوائد مادية ورمزية في الآن معاً لا يتيحها تملّك اي وسيلة انتاج اخرى. من هنا إلحاح من في الحكم على البقاء فيه، ومن هنا ايضاً اعتباره ان من حقه التصرف به كمثل توريثه لاحد اولاده. فاشراك العائلة الراهن في فوائد الحكم وعائداته، كما توريث الحكم اللاحق لاحد الاولاد كلاهما صورة عن الاساس، وهو ان الحكم عبارة عن تملّك بالمعنى الحرفي للكلمة.

ما العمل والحال كذلك؟ الحدث التونسي ضرب تلك المعادلة في الاساس إذ ان احتراق جسد في بلدة بعيدة فجّر ما في القلوب من عواطف ضامرة ضد تحديد تملّكي للسلطة من قبل من لا يستحق، في وطن لا يتحمّل هذا النزوع، حتى قال احدهم لي بالهاتف: لو طلّق بن علي زوجته في الوقت المناسب لربما نجا بنفسه، ومعناها ان التحول الى ممارسة التملّك الاسري للدول في جوهره مرفوض. هذا هو العنصر الذي إن تم إيضاحه في تونس وغيرها من البلدان من شأنه أن يجعل من ذلك البلد المغربي مختبراً مفيداً لإعادة النظر في طبيعة السلطات القائمة، وبالتالي في إرغام الحكام على الخروج من مواقعهم أو على الاقل على الخروج من مفهوم تملّك الدولة من خلال الحكم غير المرتبط بزمن أو من خلال توزيع الثروة على السلالة الافتراضية أو من خلال محاولة فرض التوريث. وإن لم نفلح في بلورة هذا الانحراف المفهومي السائد في مفهوم الحكم فلن نفلح في فرض العودة لتحديد سليم له

ثم يأتيك طبعاً دور المجتمع الاهلي من خلال أحداث كتلك التي تمرّ بتونس. هناك مجتمع أهلي في تونس، كما في غيرها ودوره أساسي، خنوعه كنز للسلطة القائمة، وتحرّكه سبب هلعها الاول. لكن الاساسي هو في مدى استجابته للتضحية، وفي مدى نبذه للظلم. أنا لا أشك في وجود مخزون شعبي حقيقي معادٍ للظلم والفجور. ولكن هذا المخزون بحاجة الى عود ثقاب فعال كي لا يقدم على هبّات شعبية عقيمة. لكن أفضل أنواع المجتمع الاهلي هو ذلك الذي لم يصب بانقسامات عمودية مديدة، طائفية ومذهبية وجهوية أو لغوية. من حسن حظ تونس ذلك الضعف في الولاءات المحلية، كما انعدام الاختلافات العرقية والمذهبية، بحيث عندما يحصل حراك اجتماعي ما يصعب إطلاق صفة فئوية عليه، ويمكن لصداه أن يطال عموم المجتمع. لكن هذه الشروط غير متوافرة في الاردن أو في اليمن أو في العراق، لذلك فالحراك الاجتماعي موسوم فيها بالفئوية منذ انطلاقته. هنا يتميز النموذج التونسي، لا بمحليته فقط، وإنما ايضاً بانعدام فئويته التي على المجتمعات العربية الاخرى أن تتمكن من تجاوزها أو من معالجتها قبل أن تتحدى السلطات القائمة. من هنا أهمية الكف عن التغني الطوباوي بعظمة المجتمعات الاهلية، وفتح الأذهان على تنوعها واختلافها من مكان الى آخر، قبل الجزم بتحولها الى شارع، تلك العبارة البذيئة بحق الناس التي ما زال المتفوهون التلفزيونيون يلجأون اليها عن غباء أو عن تكبّر.

ومن الشروط الجديرة بالبحث ايضاً مسلك المؤسسات القائمة عند قيام الانتفاضة. من الواضح أن الجيش التونسي لم يهب هبّة رجل واحد للدفاع عن بن علي (القادم اساساً من الأمن)، بل ربما أنه لعب دوراً أكبر في دفعه نحو المنفى. هذا أمر في غاية الاهمية، خصوصاً إذا ساندها دور فعال للادارات المدنية، بمعنى أن يستمر القيّمون عليها بخدمة المواطنين في شتى المجالات من تعليم وصحة وطرق وما شابه، لكي لا يزيدوا من قلقهم، ولكي يثبتوا لهم استقلال أجهزة الدول عن الحاكم المستبد، وبالتالي إمكانية استمرارها حتى حين تبدأ الكرسي الرئاسية بالاهتزاز

إن من أهم شروط نجاح المجتمع الاهلي هو القدرة على الفصل بين الدولة والنظام، بالحفاظ على الاولى ومقارعة الثاني. ومن أهم شروط الاستبداد، على العكس، هو تمكّن الحاكم من المزج بين النظام والدولة بحيث تتعطل الثانية إن مُسَّ الاول بأذى. هنا ايضاً تبدو تونس محظوظة بارتفاع مستوى الشعور بالمواطنة بين أهلها، وبالتالي بقدر عالٍ من الوضوح في التفريق بين النظام والدولة مما جعل مسلك الجيش ومسلك الادارات المدنية ايجابياً، بمعنى أنه كان في الحد الأدنى محايداً، وفي حدّه الأقصى متفهماً الانتفاضة، داعماً لها

قد لا يكون الفصل مطلقاً في تونس، ولكنه افضل من حاله في غير بلد عربي. ويقيني أن نجاح انتفاضة اخرى مرتبط بمدى الفصل المسبق في اذهان الضباط والموظفين وعموم الناس بين الدول والنظام، مما لم نجد له صدى يذكر في العراق غداة سقوط النظام هناك سنة 2003، حيث استولى قادة الميليشيات على منازل رجال النظام السابق، بينما نهب الناس ممتلكات الدولة نفسها، وكأنهم يجهلون انهم اصحاب تلك الممتلكات الحقيقيون

اما الفصل المهم الآخر فهو بين اصحاب السلطة واصحاب الثروة، او على الاقل ارباب العمل. ان التصاقاً بالحكم يؤمن اجمالا مزايا غير مستحقة لأرباب العمل الذين يعلمون كيف يُكافأ على تساهله مع مصالحهم واطماعهم. هكذا تتكون النواة المثلثة الاضلاع (سلطة/ ثروة/ جاه) من حاكم يريد حصة له ولأقربائه من ارباح المنتفعين من نظامه الى سعي مشترك نحو الجاه لدى اصحاب السلطة واصحاب الثروة وقد تقاربا الى حد الاندماج الفعلي في عدد من الاحيان. لذا فالمرض الذي يصيب السياسة العربية له جذور عميقة في طبيعة الاقتصاد الريعي، كما في مدى التصاق اصحاب المشاريع بأصحاب القرار السياسي. ومن اسباب ضعف المجتمع الاهلي خلوه اجمالا من ارباب العمل الذين كثيراً ما يفضلون الالتصاق بالحاكم، ودفع الجزية الضرورية له للإبقاء على الصلة به، عوض التأطر في بنى نقابية ومهنية تدافع عن استقلال المجال الانتاجي، عن المجال الامني والسياسي. لذا كانت الرهانات على الطبقات الوسطى ضعيفة خلال العقود الماضية، بالذات لأن تلك الطبقات الجديدة والهشة في الكثير من مفاصلها، فضلت وصفة استتباع السلطات لها على الدفاع المهني عن مصالحها الذاتية. وكان على علماء الاجتماع العرب المزيد من الاهتمام بأثرياء السلطان، ورجال اعمال الدولة المحظوظين، بدل الاهتمام بشعراء البلاط ذوي الصوت العالي والقليل الاثر.

انما نكتب والحدث التونسي مفتوح على أكثر من سيناريو، والامل بأحداث شبيهة، ان لم تكن مماثلة، في غير بلد عربي لم يخبُ بعد. ونكتب في السياسة والاقتصاد والاجتماع بينما الغضب العاري، الاخلاقي في جوهره، يتجاوز السياسة والاقتصاد والاجتماع الى نوع من تلقائية رفض الفجور. والفجور سمة الحكم الاولى في هذه الايام العربية التي استفحلت طولا. ورفض الفجور هو شرط انتقال الخوف من ضفة الناس الى ضفة الحكام، وهو مفتاح التغيير وعلة الأمل


"... The Arab world is almost dead. Tunisia and Egypt's revolutions are trying to revive it....
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, pillars of the Arab order, are exhausted, bereft of a cause other than preventing their own decline. For Egypt, which stood tallest, the fall has been steepest. But long before Tahrir Square Egypt forfeited any claim to Arab leadership. It has gone missing in Iraq, and its policy towards Iran remains restricted to protestations, accusations and insults. It has not prevailed in its rivalry with Syria and has lost its battle for influence in Lebanon. It has had no genuine impact on the Arab-Israeli peace process, was unable to reunify the Palestinian movement and was widely seen in the region as complicit in Israel's siege on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Riyadh has helplessly witnessed the gradual ascendancy of Iranian influence in Iraq and the wider region. It was humiliated in 2009 when it failed to crush rebels in Yemendespite formidable advantages in resources and military hardware. Its mediation attempts among Palestinians in 2007, and more recently in Lebanon, were brushed aside by local parties over which it once held considerable sway....
Arab states suffer from a curse more debilitating than poverty or autocracy. They have become counterfeit, perceived by their own people as alien, pursuing policies hatched from afar. One cannot fully comprehend the actions of Egyptians, Tunisians, Jordanians and others without considering this deep-seated feeling that they have not been allowed to be themselves, that they have been robbed of their identities. Taking to the streets is not a mere act of protest. It is an act of self-determination. Where the United States and Europe have seen moderation and co-operation, the Arab public has sensed a loss of dignity and of the ability to make free decisions....
Alienated from their states, the people have in some cases searched elsewhere for guidance. Some have been drawn to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, which have resisted and challenged the established order. Others look to non-Arab states such as Turkey, which under its Islamist government has carved out a dynamic, independent role, or Iran, which flouts western threats and edicts. The breakdown of the Arab order has upended natural power relations. Traditional powers punch below their weight, and emerging ones, such as Qatar, punch above theirs. Al-Jazeera has emerged as a fully fledged political actor because it reflects and articulates popular sentiment. It has become the new Nasser. The leader of the Arab world is a television network. Popular uprisings are the latest step in this process. They have been facilitated by a newfound fearlessness and feeling of empowerment – watching the US military's struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Israel's inability to subdue Hezbollah and Hamas, Arab peoples are no longer afraid to confront their own regimes.
For the US, the popular upheaval lays bare the fallacy of an approach that relies on Arab leaders who mimic the west's deeds and parrot its words, and that only succeeds in discrediting the regimes without helping Washington. The more the US gave to the Mubarak regime, the more it lost Egypt. Arab leaders have been put on notice: A warm relationship with the United States and a peace deal with Israel will not save you in your hour of need....
Some policymakers in western capitals have convinced themselves that seizing the moment to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will placate public opinion. This is to engage in both denial and wishful thinking. It ignores how Arabs have become estranged from current peace efforts; they believe that such endeavours reflect a foreign rather than a national agenda. And it presumes that a peace agreement acceptable to the west and to Arab leaders will be acceptable to the Arab public, when in truth it is more likely to be seen as an unjust imposition and denounced as the liquidation of a cherished cause. A peace effort intended to salvage order will accelerate its demise....
For decades, the Arab world has been drained of its sovereignty, its freedom, its pride. It has been drained of politics. Today marks politics' revenge...."

A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook! --Bertolt Brecht

By way of influence, the power behind the power in America, lobbies and campaign contributions, et al, the U.S. elite utterly controls the apparatus of government, with worldwide ramifications.... Naturally, this 'ruling elite' favors economic policies which enrich them to the detriment and/or impoverishment of everyone else... This is the reductio ad absurdum of the Scrooge (Herbert Spencer) position which maintains, wrongly and fallaciously, that the rich are rich because they are smarter and better....They often resort to economic hit-men or wars to get their way, if all else fails....

I am of the opinion that at present, when the U.S. empire is illegally embroiled and mired, when the military of the United States has proven its corruption to the entire world, when the armed forces of the U.S. have been videotaped in acts of atrocity and otherwise exposed to have committed numerous war crimes to include tortures resulting in death, mass murders of civilians (captured on video tape), when the criminal nature of numerous U.S. occupations, aggressions, extra-judicial assassinations in the Levant, through the infamous White House Murder INC, and Asef Shawkat..., incursions most of which violate every international treaty to which the U.S. is signatory it is unconscionable not to yell 'fire in a crowded theater!!

Al-Qaeda, Aka Al-CIAda.... was a U.S.A./Israeli creation, specifically a product of inverted right wing pseudo logic. If 'Al-Qaeda' did not exist, never mind --the shills would invent it and cite it to justify wars abroad, crackdowns on freedom at home! They would bestow upon it a virtual existence via press releases, propaganda and outright lies --deliberate attempts to mislead the American people!

The "basis" for the specific principles of International Law to which the U.S. is "obliged", indeed, even insisted upon are as follows:

An excerpt:

(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
I also recommend ‘Preventive War’ and International Law After Iraq. An excerpt from the introduction and executive summary:
However if change is to be effected, it must be carried out in way(s) that promotes international peace and security through multilateral action and the rule of law. This may be time consuming and frustrating, but the alternative danger is a weakening or even abandonment of the rule of law and undermining the prohibition on the use of force which has been the product of not only the international consensus to avoid war following two world wars but decades of consensus. --‘Preventive War’ and International Law After Iraq, Duncan E. J. Currie LL.B. (Hons.) LL.M., 22 May, 2003

To conclude that because one has power its exercise is always right is, simply, wrong! It's a non sequitur! On trial for his Nazi crimes at Nuremberg, Goering called it "victor's justice"!
What remains then is the truth: Bush and some members of his administration conspired with agents of the CIA, DIA, OSP, COG and MOSSAD/Aman to commit the crimes of mass murder and high treason against the people of the United States, the good citizens of New York and the World. Let the trials begin....