Why Algeria Acted Alone

It came as a real surprise to many. Since 9/11 US forces became the dictionary definition of counter terrorism globally. To see Algerian special forces take armed confrontation is rare in Arab region.

Pakistan and west friendly countries are pliant states. Anti terror activities are expected to be conducted through a joint understanding and agreement. Unilateral actions could not part of the greater deal. Although Pakistanis might be thinking how their administration agreed to drone attacks from their country.

That Algeria didn’t inform the U.S.—much less collaborate with it—before launching the raid should come as no surprise. Since 9/11, both the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to cultivate a relationship with Algeria’s military, intelligence, and security ministries. There have been occasional successes.

Algerian officers have trained with the U.S. military; U.S. intelligence agencies shared overhead imagery of Algeria’s vast border; and the two sides at times cooperated against a common enemy, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group’s North African affiliate.

But in general, distrust has been a hallmark of the strained relationship between the U.S. and Algeria.

Under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algerian military has never agreed to the large kinds of defense aid packages other North African allies like Morocco and Egypt accepted. Known as foreign military financing, these kinds of grants can theoretically give the U.S. leverage over—and insight into—foreign militaries. (Algeria’s primary weapons supplier is Moscow, a relationship that goes back to the Cold War, when the Russians trained Algeria’s intelligence service and military.)

Since 2008, the U.S. has spent money from the International Military Education and Training Program to bring Algerian military officers to the United States for advanced military education. These exchanges are meant to give U.S. military officers a personal relationship with the future leaders of foreign militaries.

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of staff for Pakistan’s military, for example, studied at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. When he was there, he got to know a young officer named David Petraeus, who would go on to lead the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Algerian government also participated in military exchanges with the U.S., yet it wasn’t entirely convinced that the U.S. could teach it military and police about how to fight terrorists, according to current and former U.S. officials who worked on the program. In the 1990s, the Algerian government led a brutal campaign against the Islamist insurgency that eventually morphed into AQIM.

Ali Tounsi, who was the director general of Algeria’s national police until he was murdered in 2010, said the U.S. “keeps extending invitations to visit Quantico or Paris Island, but they have nothing to offer that we don’t already know.” Porter added, “The view was Algeria had an extremely bloody counter-insurgency, and then after September 11, the United States launches its war on terror and comes parading all these goodies like counterterrorism cooperation.”

In the last six months, the Obama administration has intensified its diplomacy with Algeria in light of the deteriorating situation in Mali. Outgoing secretary of state Hillary Clinton has spearheaded an effort with the Algerian government to form a new strategic dialogue to broaden the relationship beyond counter-terrorism. But the emphasis has been on closing Algeria’s border with Mali and targeting the mix of ethnic rebels and jihadists who are threatening to turn Mali into the next major al Qaeda safe haven.

To some extent, these efforts have been successful. Algeria allowed France, its former colonial master, to use its airspace for the new military initiative in Mali. The Algerians also moved troops to the Mali border after initially resisting the recommendation, according to three current U.S. officials. But the wariness nonetheless remains.

What happened in Algeria was a blowback from what happened in Mali. French invasion and re-colonization triggered the AQIM members in Algeria to exact blood for what they see as Algerian government’s betrayal. Its much like OBL’s dissatisfaction with the Al Saud family’s loyalty to US.

These blowbacks did not start in the Algerian or Malian deserts. Not in the mountains of Afghanistan or the streets of Baghdad. Whenever a person is killed unjustly anywhere a member of global humanity must stand and speak against it. Newton’s third law of motion says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Invasion of Kuwait lead to Desert Storm. That was a blowback. Foreign military base in his country lead to OBL’s jihadist movement from Sudan and then Afghanistan. That was the second blowback. 9/11 attacks can be connected through a series of dots starting from one event and leading to another.

Blowbacks due to foreign military interventions is an extension of an ideological fight. Post colonialism independent countries were fuelled by the passion of nationalism and experimentation of government models. Dysfunctional governments of many countries in South Asia and Africa gave birth to movements of anarchy, destruction, hatred and militancy. Malian government relied on its former masters to administer itself resembling a patient released from hospital only to remain in coma at home. A truly independent Mali existed only on paper.

Malian state’s poor achievements in governance, security, education, healthcare and overall bad resource management lead to Tuareg rebels enlistment in Qaddafi’s army in Libya. With their paymaster now gone Tuaregs teamed up with other armed militants to seize power. For few months militants ruled over a territory equal to the size of France itself. In time they could have mustered enough power to change the rules of the game in regional strategy surrounding Mali. That would have had a blowback effect on the north African region.

Sovereign state concept is an important concept as much as the chess board is important to the game of chess itself. In the post world war II era republics must perform on the international chess board of strategy and control as designed by world powers. International strategy as per the new world order would not work if sovereign states and republics begin to evolve and transform into unified blocks and alliances. A new chess board would be required in that situation introducing new rules and new players..

Mali intervention is not over yet. First blowback from this invasion was the kidnapping and killing of 32 people. Blowbacks don’t die easily. Therein hangs the danger of something horrible waiting to happen. Series of previously unimagined events should unfold before us in next few weeks. In those events we must hope another destructive ideology will not be born.


Conspiracy Theorists’ Fake Terror (must read)

Conspiracy theories bring a smile and a “ya right!” to any reader. But I must admit they are fun to read. They play the role of a palace clown where the king emperor is usually the target of the clown’s sarcastic venom. Its just that the foolish king and his cronies dont understand the clown. But most commoners understand the clowns’ art work.

Anyways, check out the post below on the 21st century’s most important topic. You know what it is…


Michael Rivero

It’s the oldest trick in the book, dating back to Roman times; creating the enemies you need.
In 70 BC, an ambitious minor politician and extremely wealthy man, Marcus Licinius Crassus, wanted to rule Rome. Just to give you an idea of what sort of man Crassus really was, he is credited with invention of the fire brigade. But in Crassus’ version, his fire-fighting slaves would race to the scene of a burning building whereupon Crassus would offer to buy it on the spot for a tiny fraction of its worth. If the owner sold, Crassus’ slaves would put out the fire. If the owner refused to sell, Crassus allowed the building to burn to the ground. By means of this device, Crassus eventually came to be the largest single private land holder in Rome, and used some of his wealth to help back Julius Caesar against Cicero.
In 70 BC Rome was still a Republic, which placed very strict limits on what Rulers could do, and more importantly NOT do. But Crassus had no intentions of enduring such limits to his personal power, and contrived a plan.Crassus seized upon the slave revolt led by Spartacus in order to strike terror into the hearts of Rome, whose garrison Spartacus had already defeated in battle. But Spartacus had no intention of marching on Rome itself, a move he knew to be suicidal. Spartacus and his band wanted nothing to do with the Roman empire and had planned from the start merely to loot enough money from their former owners in the Italian countryside to hire a mercenary fleet in which to sail to freedom.
Sailing away was the last thing Crassus wanted Spartacus to do. He needed a convenient enemy with which to terrorize Rome itself for his personal political gain. So Crassus bribed the mercenary fleet to sail without Spartacus, then positioned two Roman legions in such a way that Spartacus had no choice but to march on Rome.Terrified of the impending arrival of the much-feared army of gladiators, Rome declared Crassus Praetor. Crassus then crushed Spartacus’ army and even though Pompey took the credit, Crassus was elected Consul of Rome the following year.
With this maneuver, the Romans surrendered their Republican form of government. Soon would follow the first Triumvirate, consisting of Crassus, Pompeii, and Julius Caesar, followed by the reign of the god-like Emperors of Rome.The Romans were hoaxed into surrendering their Republic, and accepting the rule of Emperors.
Julius Caesar’s political opponent, Cicero, for all his literary accomplishments, played the same games in his campaign against Julius Caesar, claiming that Rome was falling victim to an internal “vast right wing” conspiracy in which any expressed desire for legislative limits on government was treated as suspicious behavior. Cicero, in order to demonstrate to the Romans just how unsafe Rome has become hired thugs to cause as much disturbance as possible, and campaigned on a promise to end the internal strife if elected and granted extraordinary powers.
What Cicero only dreamed of, Adolph Hitler succeeded in doing. Elected Chancellor of Germany, Hitler, like Crassus, had no intention of living with the strict limits to his power imposed by German law. Unlike Cicero, Hitler’s thugs were easy to recognize; they all wore the same brown shirts. But their actions were no different than those of their Roman predecessors. They staged beatings, set fires, caused as much trouble as they could, while Hitler made speeches promising that he could end the crime wave of subversives and terrorism if he was granted extraordinary powers.Then the Reichstag burned down; a staged terrorist attack.

The Germans were hoaxed into surrendering their Republic, and accepting the total rule of Der Fuehrer. Hitler had German troops dressed in Polish uniforms attack the radio station at Gleiwitz, then lied to the Germans, telling them Poland had invaded, and marched Germany off into World War Two

The state-sponsored schools will never tell you this, but governments routinely rely on hoaxes to sell their agendas to an otherwise reluctant public. The Romans accepted the Emperors and the Germans accepted Hitler not because they wanted to, but because the carefully crafted illusions of threat appeared to leave no other choice.Our government too uses hoaxes to create the illusion that We The People have no choice but the direction the government wishes us to go in.

In 1898, Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal were arguing for American intervention in Cuba. Hearst is reported to have dispatched a photographer to Cuba to photograph the coming war with Spain. When the photographer asked just what war that might be, Hearst is reported to have replied, “You take the photographs, and I will provide the war”. Hearst was true to his word, as his newspaper published stories of great atrocities being committed against the Cuban people, most of which turned out to be complete fabrications.On the night of February 15, 1898, the USS Maine, lying in Havana harbor in a show of US resolve to protect her interests, exploded violently. Captain Sigsbee, the commander of the Maine, urged that no assumptions of enemy attack be made until there was a full investigation of the cause of the explosion. For this, Captain Sigsbee was excoriated in the press for “refusing to see the obvious”. The Atlantic Monthly declared flat out that to suppose the explosion to be anything other than a deliberate act by Spain was “completely at defiance of the laws of probability”.

Under the slogan “Remember the Maine”, Americans went to war with Spain, eventually winning the Philippines (and annexing Hawaii along the way).

In 1975, an investigation led by Admiral Hyman Rickover examined the data recovered from a 1911 examination of the wreck and concluded that there had been no evidence of an external explosion. The most likely cause of the sinking was a coal dust explosion in a coal bunker imprudently located next to the ship’s magazines. Captain Sigsbee’s caution had been well founded.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed a war. He needed the fever of a major war to mask the symptoms of a still deathly ill economy struggling back from the Great Depression (and mutating towards Socialism at the same time). Roosevelt wanted a war with Germany to stop Hitler, but despite several provocations in the Atlantic, the American people, still struggling with that troublesome economy, were opposed to any wars. Roosevelt violated neutrality with lend lease, and even ordered the sinking of several German ships in the Atlantic, but Hitler refused to be provoked.Roosevelt needed an enemy, and if America would not willingly attack that enemy, then one would have to be maneuvered into attacking America, much as Marcus Licinius Crassus has maneuvered Spartacus into attacking Rome.
The way open to war was created when Japan signed the tripartite agreement with Italy and Germany, with all parties pledging mutual defense to each other. Whereas Hitler would never declare war on the United States no matter the provocation, the means to force Japan to do so were readily at hand.The first step was to place oil and steel embargoes on Japan, using Japan’s wars on the Asian mainland as a reason. This forced Japan to consider seizing the oil and mineral rich regions in Indonesia. With the European powers militarily exhausted by the war in Europe, the United States was the only power in the Pacific able to stop Japan from invading the Dutch East Indies, and by moving the Pacific fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Roosevelt made a pre-emptive strike on that fleet the mandatory first step in any Japanese plan to extend its empire into the “southern resource area”.

Roosevelt boxed in Japan just as completely as Crassus had boxed in Spartacus. Japan needed oil. They had to invade Indonesia to get it, and to do that they first had to remove the threat of the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. There never really was any other course open to them.

To enrage the American people as much as possible, Roosevelt needed the first overt attack by Japan to be as bloody as possible, appearing as a sneak attack much as the Japanese had done to the Russians. From that moment up until the attack on Pearl Harbor itself, Roosevelt and his associates made sure that the commanders in Hawaii, General Short and Admiral Kimmel, were kept in the dark as much as possible about the location of the Japanese fleet and its intentions, then later scapegoated for the attack. (Congress recently exonerated both Short and Kimmel, posthumously restoring them to their former ranks).
But as the Army board had concluded at the time, and subsequent de-classified documents confirmed, Washington DC knew the attack was coming, knew exactly where the Japanese fleet was, and knew where it was headed.On November 29th, Secretary of State Hull showed United Press reporter Joe Leib a message with the time and place of the attack, and the New York Times in its special 12/8/41 Pearl Harbor edition, on page 13, reported that the time and place of the attack had been known in advance!

The much repeated claim that the Japanese fleet maintained radio silence on its way to Hawaii was a lie. Among other intercepts still held in the Archives of the NSA is the UNCODED message sent by the Japanese tanker Shirya stating, “proceeding to a position 30.00 N, 154.20 E. Expect to arrive at that point on 3 December.” (near HI)

President Lyndon Johnson wanted a war in Vietnam. He wanted it to help his friends who owned defense companies to do a little business. He needed it to get the Pentagon and CIA to quit trying to invade Cuba. And most of all, he needed a provocation to convince the American people that there was really “no other choice”.On August 5, 1964, newspapers across America reported “renewed attacks” against American destroyers operating in Vietnamese waters, specifically the Gulf of Tonkin. The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” on the USS Maddox while it was on “routine patrol”.

The truth is that USS Maddox was involved in aggressive intelligence gathering in coordination with actual attacks by South Vietnam and the Laotian Air Force against targets in North Vietnam. The truth is also that there was no attack by torpedo boats against the USS Maddox. Captain John J. Herrick, the task force commander in the Gulf, cabled Washington DC that the report was the result of an “over-eager” sonar man who had picked up the sounds of his own ship’s screws and panicked. But even with this knowledge that the report was false, Lyndon Johnson went on national TV that night to announce the commencement of air strikes against North Vietnam, “retaliation” for an attack that had never occurred.

President George H. W. Bush wanted a war in Iraq. Like Crassus, George Bush is motivated by money. Specifically oil money. But with the OPEC alliance failing to keep limits on oil production in the Mideast, the market was being glutted with oil pumped from underneath Iraq, which sat over roughly 1/3 of the oil reserves of the entire region.
George wanted a war to stop that flow of oil, to keep prices (and profits) from falling any further than they already had. But like Roosevelt, he needed the “other side” to make the first move.Iraq had long been trying to acquire greater access to the Persian Gulf, and felt limited confined a narrow strip of land along Kuwait’s northern border, which placed Iraqi interests in close proximity with hostile Iran. George Bush, who had been covertly arming Iraq during its war with Iran, sent word via April Glaspie that the United States would not intervene if Saddam Hussein grabbed a larger part of Kuwait. Saddam fell for the bait and invaded.

Of course, Americans were not about to send their sons and daughters to risk their lives for petroleum products. So George Bush arranged a hoax, using a public relations firm which has grown rich on taxpayer money by being most industrious and creative liars! The PR firm concocted a monumental fraud in which the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States, went on TV pretending to be a nurse, and related a horror story in which Iraqi troops looted the incubators from a Kuwaiti hospital, leaving the premature babies on the cold floor to die. The media, part of the swindle from the start, never bothered asking why the “nurse” didn’t just pick the babies up and wrap them in blankets or something.

Enraged by the incubator story, Americans supported operation Desert Storm, which never removed Saddam Hussein from power but which did take Kuwait’s oil off of the market for almost 2 years and limited Iraq’s oil exports to this very day. That our sons and daughters came home with serious and lingering medical illnesses was apparently not too great a price to pay for increased oil profits.

Following the victory in Iraq, yet another war appeared to be in the offering in the mineral rich regions of Bosnia. Yet again, a hoax was used to create support for military action.The photo (right) of Fikret Alic staring through a barbed wire fence, was used to “prove” the existence of modern day “Concentration Camps”. As the headline of “Belsen 92” indicates, all possible associations with the Nazi horrors were made to sell the necessity of sending yet more American troops into someone else’s nation.
But when German Journalists went to Trnopolje, the site of the supposed Concentration Camp. to film a documentary, they discovered that the photo was a fake! The camp at Trnopolje was not a concentration camp but a refugee center. Nor was it surrounded by barbed wire. Careful examination of the original photo revealed that the photographer had shot the photo through a broken section of fence surrounding a tool shed. It was the photographer who was on the inside, shooting out at the refugees.Once again, Americans had been hoaxed into support of actions they might otherwise not have agreed with.
While several American Presidents have willingly started wars for personal purposes, perhaps no President has ever carried it to the extreme that Bill Clinton has.Coincident with the expected public statement of Monica Lewinsky following her testimony, Bill Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack on Sudan and Afghanistan, claiming to have had irrefutable proof that bogeyman extraordinaire (and former Afghani ally) Osama Bin Ladin was creating terrorist chemical weapons there.
Examination of the photos of the debris revealed none of the expected structures one would find in a laboratory that handled lethal weapons-grade materials. Assurances from the CIA that they had a positive soil test for biological weapons fell on their face when it was revealed that there had been no open soil anywhere near the pre-bombed facility. Sudan requested that international observers come test the remains of the factory for any signs of the nerve gas Clinton had insisted was there. None was found. The Sudanese plant was a harmless aspirin factory, and the owner has sued for damages.

Later examination of the site hit in Afghanistan revealed it to be a mosque.

Click for larger image

Meanwhile, back in Kosovo, stories about genocide and atrocities were flooding the media (in time to distract from the Sudanese embarrassments), just as lurid and sensational and as it turns out often just as fictional as most of William Randolph Hearst’s stories of atrocities against the Cubans.Again, the government and the media were hoaxing Americans. The above photo was shown on all the American networks, claiming to be one of Slobodan Milosovic’s Migs, shot down while attacking civilians. Closer examination (click on the photo) shows it to be stenciled in English!

Like Germany under Chancellor Hitler, there have been events in our nation which strike fear into the hearts of the citizens, such as the New York World Trade Tower bombing, the OK City Federal Building, and the Olympic Park bomb (nicely timed to divert the media from witnesses to the TWA 800 shoot down). The media has been very quick to blame such events on “radicals”, “subversives”, “vast right wing conspiracies”, and other “enemies in our midst”, no different than the lies used by Cicero and Hitler.

But on closer examination, such “domestic terrorist” events do not appear to be what they are made out to be. The FBI had an informant inside the World Trade Tower bombers, Emad Salam, who offered to sabotage the bomb. The FBI told him “no”. The so-called “hot bed” of white separatism at Elohim City, occasional home to Tim McVeigh in the weeks prior to the OK City bombing, was founded and run by an FBI informant!

Click for larger image

And nobody has ever really explained what this second Ryder truck was doing in a secret camp half way from Elohim City to Oklahoma City two weeks before the bombing.So, here we are today. Like the Romans of Crassus’ and Cicero’s time, or the Germans under a newly elected Hitler, we are being warned that a dangerous enemy threatens us, implacable, invisible, omnipresent, and invulnerable as long as our government is hamstrung by that silly old Bill of Rights. Already there have appeared articles debating whether or not “extraordinary measures” (i.e. torture) are not fully justified under certain circumstances such as those we are purported to face.

As was the case in Rome and Germany, the government continues to plead with the public for an expansion of its power and authority, to “deal with the crisis”.

However, as Casio watch timers are paraded before the cameras, to the stentorian tones of the talking heads’ constant dire warnings, it is legitimate to question just how real the crises is, and how much is the result of political machinations by our own leaders.

Are the terrorists really a threat, or just patsies with fake bombs and Casio watches, paid for by Cicero and given brown shirts to wear by Hitler?

Is terrorism inside the United States really from outside, or is it a stage managed production, designed to cause Americans to believe they have no choice but to surrender the Republic and accept the totalitarian rule of a new emperor, or a new Fuhrer?

Indeed, given that acts of terror undermine the very public support needed by the so-called “terrorists” to bring about change, it may be argued that there are in fact no genuine acts of terror; that they are all manufactured events to be blamed on the groups wishing to challenge the status quo.

Once lost, the Romans never got their Republic back. Once lost, the Germans never got their Republic back. In both cases, the nation had to totally collapse before freedom was restored to the people.

Remember that when Crassus tells you that Spartacus approaches.

Remember that when thugs in the streets act in a manner clearly designed to provoke the public fear.

Remember that when the Reichstag burns down.

Remember that when the President lies to you about weapons of mass destruction.

France Boss of Africa

A Pink Floyd lyric goes like this “so you think you could tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pale….”. I want to ask you the same question. Do you think man has really changed that much in the last 50 to 60 years since the end of world-war II, or are we being naïve about our own selves?

I don’t think our desire for power and control has changed one bit since the first man learned to make weapons. It is in our human nature to compete for survival. It’s the animal instinct in us which makes us explore, invade, kill, dominate and oppress our fellow man. At the same time something inside us also makes us stand up for liberty, freedom, justice, equality and security. Both categories of individuals and nations exist today as they did in the past. Only the players changed over time.

Colonial system was not invented by the Europeans. Egypt’s Firaoun was an imperial colonizer as was Babylon’s Nimrod and the Roman Kaiser. British and French only picked up from someone who went before them as in a relay race one runner passes the torch. To whom then did the British and French empires pass the torch after their defences were broken by the Germans in world war II?

The invasions and subsequent colonization of Palestine, Afghanistan and Kashmir leads one to believe that the torch of colonization is very much burning like the Olympic flame. It always did. Recently that flame has touched an African country Mali, once famed for its rich mineral resources and elegant mausoleums, is now an icon of poverty, hunger and indigence. French troops re-colonized Mali and sent a strong message to the rest of the African nations.

Africans should know by now who is the real boss of Africa. What they must also bear in mind is that the foolish militants carrying Islamic flags paved the way for the French invasion. Just as Baathist mercenaries of Saddam in 1990 paved the way for colonization of Arabs. The domestic responsibility of making foreign invasions happen is nothing new. Mir Jafar, Mir Sadiq, Musharaf, Karzai, Sadat are some common household names recognized as traitors of the highest degree.

Below is an article on the recent Mali invasion written by Crescent International, Washington, USA.

French president Francois Holland, confronting declining popularity at home, ordered airstrikes in the African nation of Mali, as well as authorizing a larger French military bootprint in the country, declaring that French military presence in Mali will reach 2,500. Among the reasons that Holland has given is to protect the lives of French citizens in northern Mali, and to safeguard the Mali state until the African Union can send troops there.

But perhaps the most puerile reason given for the French invasion is the need to combat “terrorism.” “We — not just the French, but all nations — have to combat terrorism,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during a visit to the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf, announcing that donors would meet later this month, probably in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss financing an offensive against the rebels in Mali, Reuters reported. “If we had not taken up our responsibility and if on Friday morning (January 11) we had not acted with this intervention, where would Mali be today?” Holland asked, his Socialist credentials inverted into Napoleon-esque posturing.

The fact that Fabius made this announcement in the UAE highlights the hypocrisy of the enterprise. The civil violence spread after Al-Qaeda groups took over northern part of the country, which ties violence in Mali squarely with the ideology being exported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar across the globe as funded by petrodollars. France has made no objections to Saudi and Gulf states’ activities, treating them as NATO Inc. allies.

As poverty and environmental degradation engulfs Western Africa, Saudi and Gulf funded militias spread over vulnerable nations like Mali, given poverty stricken Tuareg boys food (these days, a rarity in the region) and money to join their groups. Many Tuareg had simply fled Libya after western intervention and murder of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi in October 2011. The dirt poor Tuareg had served in Qaddafi’s army but when the western-backed rebellion erupted, they were especially targeted and accused of being “mercenaries”.

There are three main groups operating in Mali: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA). These groups are also responsible for the destruction of historic monuments in the Muslim world. Ansar Dine is extremely proud of destroying the Islamic heritage of Mali, targeting monuments that Wahhabi ideology deems forbidden in Islamic Sharia law. Sanda Ould Bamana, a spokesman for the militant Ansar Dine, stated: “…his movement had now completed nearly 90% of its objective to destroy all mausoleums that are not in line with Islamic law.”

As France transforms Mali into an Afghanistan-style battleground, the violence in the poverty-stricken African nation only promises to escalate. Despite intensive bombardments, the fundamentalist insurgents pushing south towards the capital, Bamako, overran the central town of Diabaly, just 250 miles to the north. An Islamist militant leader warned the French government that its intervention in Mali had opened the “gates of hell”.

France also announced on January 16 that its troops were heading north to confront the “Islamists”. Both Britain and Canada have sent support to the French recolonization project in Africa. Britain has sent fighter planes while Canada has dispatched a C-17 cargo plane that will be used to ferry equipment across the desert country.



Example of Justice from Indonesia

This is truly Islamic Sharia!
A salute to the Indonesian judge:
When justice is tampered with mercy…

An Indonesian judge by the name of Marzuki was sitting i…n judgment of an old lady who pleaded guilty of stealing some tapioca from a plantation.

In her defense, she admitted to the judge that she was indeed guilty of the crime because she was poor and her son was sick while her grandchild was hungry.

The plantation manager insisted that she be punished as a deterrent to others.

The judge going through the documents then looked up and said to the old lady, “I’m sorry but I cannot make any exception to the law and you must be punished.”

The old lady was fined Rp.1 million (USD 100) and if she could not pay the fine then she will be jailed for 2 and a half years as demanded by the law.

She wept as she could not pay the fine.

The judge then took off his hat and put in Rp. 1 million into the hat and said, “In the name of justice, I fine all who are in the court Rp.50 thousand (USD 5.50) as dwellers of this city for letting a child to starve until her grandmother has to steal to feed her grandchild. The registrar will now collect the fines from all present.”

The court managed to collect Rp 3.5 million (USD 350) whereby once the fine was paid off, the rest was given to the old lady … including the fine collected from the plantation manager.

This Indonesian Judge acted according to the true Islamic Sharia as practiced by Hazrat Ali SA. That if a person is hungry, then the punishment for stealing is NOT meted out to such a person and society must feed that poor person.

Amin ya Rabbal Al-amin

Existential Threat for Pakistan

Pakistan faces an existential threat not from external enemies but from its own parasitical elites that thrive on its body sucking its blood and strangling the state slowly to death. Writes Waseem Shehzad.

The Western perspective on Pakistan is limited to its utility as a conduit for US-NATO weapon supplies into Afghanistan, fighting the West’s war on terror that has now become a war of terror, and using Pakistan as a scapegoat for all the West’s foreign policy failures. As far as the people of Pakistan are concerned, they are of no interest to the West. They are viewed as awkward interlopers standing in the wasy of the “lofty goals” — democracy, freedom and other goodies — the US dispenses globally. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is mutual hatred between the people of Pakistan and the West, especially the US, which is seen as the principal cause of much of their misery.

If a survey were conducted in Pakistan to ask people whether they are better off today than they were a year, two years, four years, or even a decade ago, it is virtually certain few people would give a positive response. Irrespective of how one defines “better off,” Pakistanis are reeling from multiple crises. The social compact has collapsed. The state exists only in name and only when it wants to create problems for the people. As far as providing any services is concerned, the state machinery has broken down completely.

This is not to suggest that Pakistan lacks resources or talent. Its people are industrious and willing to take risks but the ruling elite is so thoroughly corrupt and incompetent that it is seen as a major hindrance to the country’s progress. Had it been involved in the management of industry, it would have been sacked a long time ago. Its only concern in life is to put its grubby paws on whatever resources it can get.

The list of Pakistan’s ailments is long. It would be tedious to recall all the negatives but certain bitter facts must be faced. For more than six decades, the elite has tried to force nationalism down the throats of people; this has resulted in creating more divisions in society. Nationalism is a concept alien to Muslims; the Qur’an talks about the concept of one Ummah, rising above ethnicity, tribe, language, class or caste. What the Pakistani elite has achieved through this artificial construct since 1947 is a heightened sense of provincialism. Thus, most Pakistanis think of themselves as Punjabis, Pathans, Sindhis or Baloch. Even within these narrow confines, the Punjabis usually go with castes and beraderis. The same holds true for most people in other provinces.

Such divisions can be further sub-divided. In Sindh province, for instance, there has emerged — or it was deliberately created to serve certain vested interests — the muhajirs. These are people whose forefathers came from India at the time of partition but they still call themselves muhajirs and are unwilling to tolerate the presence of other Pakistanis, especially those that have migrated from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province (formerly called the North-West Frontier Province). The industrial city of Karachi has become a battleground for an odd assortment of groups where turf warfare is waged on a daily basis. There is the Muhajir-Pathan conflict; the Sunni-Shi`i conflict (mostly narrow-minded salafi-type Sunnis killing Shi`is) and even Deobandi-Barelvi conflict (both groups are Sunnis but cannot tolerate each other), all tearing the fabric of society. Each group is driven by hatred of the other, not by any higher purpose to achieve anything positive in society. There is widespread belief among many Pakistanis that such conflicts are deliberately instigated by the elite to keep the ordinary people busy in their internal problems while the elite continues its plunder.

While the people in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province live in fear for their lives because of car and suicide bombings (there was one on December 22 that killed provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Balore and eight others) and kidnappings, in Balochistan, there is a low-intensity insurrection underway. The rulers allege such problems are being instigated by outside forces. There is no doubt some truth in this assertion but have they not contributed to this state of affairs by their own short-sighted policies? And what have they done, if anything to confront the external forces that are creating havoc in Pakistan?

When the human body’s immune system becomes weak, it falls prey to viruses and bacteria, making it sick. Similarly weakness in the social fabric of society creates openings for external forces to interfere. Numerous external forces have invaded the Pakistani body politic like viruses making it sick and therefore, weak and vulnerable. Unless Pakistan’s immune system is strengthened, it will continue to succumb to such alien invasions.

The cohesion of the Pakistani people is what constitutes its immune system and working toward a common set of goals will strengthen it. Pakistan’s dilemma lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of its people want to go in a direction different from what the ruling elites are pushing them into. This has created a state of permanent tension in Pakistan. Let us consider some examples. According to recent polls (Pew Research and others), at least 74 % of Pakistanis consider the US government as their enemy. The rulers and the greedy elites cannot imagine life without American support and patronage. People hate the government of the United States for what it is doing to ordinary Pakistanis — drone attacks, terrorist operations, Blackwater mercenaries roaming freely and killing at will — while the rulers cannot do enough to ingratiate themselves to Washington’s overlords. With such dichotomy, how can Pakistan move forward?

Let us enumerate some of the commonly heard complaints of ordinary Pakistanis. During winter months, they do not get gas to heat their homes or cook food. In summer’s blistering heat, there is no electricity so people cannot run air conditioning units to cool themselves. Industrial units have either shut down or been moved out of the country because of lack of basic facilities. Industrial production has been badly affected. Prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and ordinary people cannot make ends meet while the elite live such an extravagant lifestyle that it would be the envy of most people in the West. It should come as no surprise that in some instances frustrated people have to resort to violence to equilibrate the balance of power and use of resources. Many observers wonder why the masses have not staged an uprising so far to consign the corrupt rulers to the dustbin of history. According to all empirical evidence, Pakistan is ripe for a revolution.

Let us consider some other indicators. At least 60% Pakistanis suffer from food insecurity. This despite the fact that Pakistan produces 36 million tons of grains but consumes only 28 million tons, as Asma Razzaq, writing in the Business Recorder, reported in October 2011. So what happened to the 8 million tons of surplus grain? Feudal lords are disproportionately present in the government and occupy both houses of parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate). These feudals have vast land holdings and pay no tax on the agricultural produce. The government buys wheat at much higher prices than the market rate. The argument used is that it acts as incentive to the land holding elite to produce more to feed the people. If so, why is there such widespread poverty and hunger in Pakistan?

By purchasing grain at much high prices year after year, there is a net transfer of the country’s meagre resources to the feudal lords while the prices of basic food items such as wheat flour, bread, and cooking oil, etc. are kept artificially high and therefore, beyond the reach of the majority. According to the Pakistan National Nutrition Survey for 2011, sponsored by UNICEF, 44% of Pakistani children under the age of five are stunted because of malnutrition. Food deficiency in a grain surplus country like Pakistan reflects what is wrong with the decision-making process and why people are not only hungry but also getting angry.

The elite is not only incompetent but also thoroughly corrupt. There is little long-term planning even in policies that are fundamentally sound. For instance, more than a decade ago, a new policy was instituted to reduce import of oil to make gasoline; this was replaced by compressed natural gas (CNG) to be used in vehicles. Pakistan produces only a few thousand barrels of oil but has plenty of natural gas. Besides, CNG is less polluting than burning gasoline in vehicles — cars, buses and trucks. The plan was launched with much fanfare by the dictator General Pervez Musharraf. He presented himself as a great “reformer” and “modernizer.”

To use CNG, vehicles had to be equipped with special engines. The government promoted import of such equipment and issued thousands of licenses to open CNG stations. Both the import permits and licenses for stations were issued to people linked with the ruling elite. They made tons of money very quickly. In order to encourage people to switch, the government also kept the price of CNG low. The program was a huge success; in fact, far too successful. Within a decade, Pakistan has 3.5 million vehicles using CNG as fuel. These vehicles have to compete with power plants, fertilizer companies and other businesses that rely on the fuel.

The country is now gripped by an acute shortage of CNG. Long line-ups of vehicles at stations have led to tempers flaring up. What has caused this latest crisis? In October, the Supreme Court, the only institution that aggrieved parties can turn to for redress, examined the pricing structure of gasoline and CNG and determined that station owners were gouging people. State regulators then drastically dropped the maximum price at which CNG station owners could sell fuel. This immediately resulted in at least 1,800 of the country’s 3,395 CNG stations closing. The government closed another 800 stations for not paying their bills. The chaos that has ensued is the natural consequence of such mismanagement and corruption that pervades every facet of life in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan’s Petroleum Institute, the country’s energy consumption has grown 80% over the last 15 years. Again, gross mismanagement and a large number of customers, many of them elites and their cronies, not paying bills has contributed to the crisis. There is also widespread theft and losses due to inefficiencies across the energy grid.

If this were the only area of mismanagement, the people could live with it. Financial mismanagement and massive theft from the national treasury by the ruling elites and their cronies are depleting whatever little reserves the exchequer has. The International Monetary Fund estimates Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves at $12 billion. This will only cover three months’ imports. In addition to external borrowing, the government has had to go with a begging bowl to the country’s banks. In the first 7.5 months of the last fiscal year (July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012), the government broke the previous full year’s record by borrowing 674 billion rupees (US$7.4 billion). The country’s debt now stands at $130 billion. Considering that Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $211 billion, it is pretty close to bankruptcy. The elites live in the hope that the West, especially the US, would not allow Pakistan to default on its loans because of its unsettling consequences on the global financial system. The West might be reaching the point of getting tired of Pakistan’s self-inflicted problems and may call it quits.

This tragic situation has arrived because of the massive corruption that eats away at the vital organs of state. This is not mere allegation. The chairman of Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Admiral (retired) Fasih Bokhari revealed at a press conference in Islamabad on December 6 that Pakistan loses somewhere between five to seven billion rupees a day (in dollar terms it comes to $51 to $72 million). “This is the average data I’m giving you,” he told reporters. Even if we take the lower figure, it would amount to $18.6 billion annually. This is an astronomical figure for a country; even at $51 million losses a day, this equals 11.34% of the country’s total GDP.

The NAB chief outlined how the losses occur: from leaks, corruption and incompetence, tax losses, land grabbing, loans and defaults, overstaffing, energy losses, project delays, cost overruns, administrative costs and foreign exchange outflow. Each of these would require detailed explanation to understand the depth of corruption that pervades every facet of society.

Let us consider just one aspect: taxation. The tax base in Pakistan is so low as to be non-existent. Only 260,000 out of a total population of 180 million paid tax consecutively for the last three years, according to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Most politicians who earn billions of rupees each year hardly pay any tax. Nawaz Sharif, who served as prime minister twice, is just one example. He hardly pays 6000 rupees per year in tax.

Similarly, Pakistani President Asif Zardari and his late wife Benazir Bhutto seldom paid taxes. Instead, throughout their lives, they gained notoriety for massive corruption. There were multiple corruption charges against the couple in Switzerland, Italy, Britain and other countries. Zardari was called Mr. 10% when Benazir was prime minister. Now he is known as Mr. 90%; this is the percentage of bribe he takes on any deal he approves.

How did such a corrupt and venal character assume the highest office in Pakistan? Through a political deal in 2007, Musharraf amnestied 8,000 people, including politicians, to escape charges related to 3,478 cases ranging from murder, embezzlement and abuse of power to writing-off bank loans worth millions of dollars. What this meant was that corrupt politicians like Benazir and her even more corrupt husband Zardari were granted amnesty. This deal was facilitated by the British and Americans to enable Musharraf to share power with Benazir. Unfortunately for her, Benazir was killed on December 27, 2007 before she could participate in elections.

The Supreme Court overturned the amnesty in December 2009 but Zardari continues to occupy the presidential palace where he dishes out favours to party members so they remain faithful to him and the party. Pakistanis will go to the polls sometime in early 2013. Not many people hope there will be major changes in the political landscape as the country is slowly strangled to death by a large number of parasites that thrive on its already weakened body.