Monday, March 12, 2012

378 The Collapse Of Western Morality - Paul Craig Roberts

The Collapse Of Western Morality - Paul Craig Roberts 

(1) The Collapse Of Western Morality - Paul Craig Roberts 
(2) - (3) U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says
(4) Obama admin wants to affix GPS devices to suspects' vehicles
(5) How the CIA runs a secret army of 3,000 assassins
(6) Paramilitary force is key for CIA
(7) Afghanistan: three options - Eric Walberg
(8) Stuxnet virus aimed at Iranian power stations & water plants
(9) Cold War hotted up when sabotaged Soviet pipeline went off with a bang

(1) The Collapse Of Western Morality - Paul Craig Roberts 

From: Max <> Date: 27.09.2010 05:07 AM

The Collapse Of Western Morality

By Paul Craig Roberts

Yes, I know, as many readers will be quick to inform me, the West never had any morality. Nevertheless things have gotten worse.

In hopes that I will be permitted to make a point, permit me to acknowledge that the US dropped nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities, fire-bombed Tokyo, that Great Britain and the US fire-bombed Dresden and a number of other German cities, expending more destructive force, according to some historians, against the civilian German population than against the German armies, that President Grant and his Civil War war criminals, Generals Sherman and Sheridan, committed genocide against the Plains Indians, that the US today enables Israel’s genocidal policies against the Palestinians, policies that one Israeli official has compared to 19th century US genocidal policies against the American Indians, that the US in the new 21st century invaded Iraq and Afghanistan on contrived pretenses, murdering countless numbers of civilians, and that British prime minister Tony Blair lent the British army to his American masters, as did other NATO countries, all of whom find themselves committing war crimes under the Nuremberg standard in lands in which they have no national interests, but for which they receive an American pay check.

I don’t mean these few examples to be exhaustive. I know the list goes on and on. Still, despite the long list of horrors, moral degradation is reaching new lows. The US now routinely tortures prisoners, despite its strict illegality under US and international law, and a recent poll shows that the percentage of Americans who approve of torture is rising. Indeed, it is quite high, though still just below a majority.

And we have what appears to be a new thrill: American soldiers using the cover of war to murder civilians. Recently American troops were arrested for murdering Afghan civilians for fun and collecting trophies such as fingers and skulls.

This revelation came on the heels of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s alleged leak of a US Army video of US soldiers in helicopters and their controllers thousands of miles away having fun with joy sticks murdering members of the press and Afghan civilians. Manning is cursed with a moral conscience that has been discarded by his government and his military, and Manning has been arrested for obeying the law and reporting a war crime to the American people.

US Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican, of course, from Michigan, who is on the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, has called for Manning’s execution. According to US Rep. Rogers it is an act of treason to report an American war crime.

In other words, to obey the law constitutes “treason to America.”

US Rep. Rogers said that America’s wars are being undermined by “a culture of disclosure” and that this “serious and growing problem” could only be stopped by the execution of Manning.

If Rep. Rogers is representative of Michigan, then Michigan is a state that we don’t need.

The US government, a font of imperial hubris, does not believe that any act it commits, no matter how vile, can possibly be a war crime. One million dead Iraqis, a ruined country, and four million displaced Iraqis are all justified, because the “threatened” US Superpower had to protect itself from nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that the US government knew for a fact were not in Iraq and could not have been a threat to the US if they were in Iraq.

When other countries attempt to enforce the international laws that the Americans established in order to execute Germans defeated in World War II, the US government goes to work and blocks the attempt. A year ago on October 8, the Spanish Senate, obeying its American master, limited Spain’s laws of universal jurisdiction in order to sink a legitimate war crimes case brought against George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, Tony Blair,and Gordon Brown.

The West includes Israel, and there the horror stories are 60 years long. Moreover, if you mention any of them you are declared to be an anti-semite. I only mention them in order to prove that I am not anti-American, anti-British, and anti-NATO, but am simply against war crimes. It was the distinguished Zionist Jewish Judge, Goldstone, who produced the UN report indicating that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of Gaza. For his efforts, Israel declared the Zionist Goldstone to be “a self-hating Jew,” and the US Congress, on instruction from the Israel Lobby, voted to disregard the Goldstone Report to the UN.

As the Israeli official said, we are only doing to the Palestinians what the Americans did to the American Indians.

The Israeli army uses female soldiers to sit before video screens and to fire by remote control machine guns from towers to murder Palestinians who come to tend their fields within 1500 meters of the inclosed perimeter of Ghetto Gaza. There is no indication that these Israeli women are bothered by gunning down young children and old people who come to tend to their fields.

If the crimes were limited to war and the theft of lands, perhaps we could say it is a case of jingoism sidetracking traditional morality, otherwise still in effect.

Alas, the collapse of morality is too widespread. Some sports teams now have a win-at-all-cost attitude that involves plans to injure the star players of the opposing teams. To avoid all these controversies, let’s go to Formula One racing where 200 mph speeds are routine.

Prior to 1988, 22 years ago, track deaths were due to driver error, car failure, and poorly designed tracks compromised with safety hazards. World Champion Jackie Stewart did much to improve the safety of tracks, both for drivers and spectators. But in 1988 everything changed. Top driver Ayrton Senna nudged another top driver Alain Prost toward a pit wall at 190 mph. According to AutoWeek (August 30, 2010), nothing like this had been seen before. “Officials did not punish Senna’s move that day in Portugal, and so a significant shift in racing began.” What the great racing driver Stirling Moss called “dirty driving” became the norm.

Nigel Roebuck in AutoWeek reports that in 1996 World Champion Damon Hill said that Senna’s win-at-all-cost tactic “was responsible for fundamental change in the ethics of the sport.” Drivers began using “terrorist tactics on the track.” Damon Hill said that “the views that I’d gleaned from being around my dad [twice world champion Graham Hill] and people like him, I soon had to abandon,” because you realized that no penalty was forthcoming against the guy who tried to kill you in order that he could win.

When asked about the ethics of modern Formula One racing, American World Champion Phil Hill said: “Doing that sort of stuff in my day was just unthinkable. For one thing, we believed certain tactics were unacceptable.”

In today’s Western moral climate, driving another talented driver into the wall at 200 mph is just part of winning. Michael Schumacher, born in January 1969, is a seven times World Champion, an unequaled record. On August 1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, AutoWeek Reports that Schumacher tried to drive his former Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, into the wall at 200 mph speeds.

Confronted with his attempted act of murder, Schumacher said: “This is Formula One. Everyone knows I don’t give presents.”

Neither does the US government, nor state and local governments, nor the UK government, nor the EU.

The deformation of the police, which many Americans, in their untutored existence as naive believers in “law and order,” still think are “on their side,” has taken on new dimensions with the police militarized to fight “terrorists” and “domestic extremists.”

The police have been off the leash since the civilian police boards were nixed by the conservatives. Kids as young as 6 years old have been handcuffed and carted off to jail for school infractions that may or may not have occurred. So have moms with a car full of children (see, for example, ).

Anyone who googles videos of US police gratuitous brutality will call up tens of thousands of examples, and this is after laws that make filming police brutality a felony. A year or two ago such a search would call up hundreds of thousands of videos.

In one of the most recent of the numerous daily acts of gratuitous police abuse of citizens, an 84-year-old man had his neck broken because he objected to a night time towing of his car. The goon cop body-slammed the 84-year old and broke his neck. The Orlando, Florida, police department says that the old man was a “threat” to the well-armed much younger police goon, because the old man clenched his fist.

Americans will be the first people sent straight to Hell while thinking that they are the salt of the earth. The Americans have even devised a title for themselves to rival that of the Israelis’ self-designation as “God’s Chosen People.” The Americans call themselves “the indispensable people.”

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

(2) U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says
From: CLG_News <> Date: 27.09.2010 04:38 AM

News Updates from Citizens For Legitimate Government

27 Sep 2010

All links are here:

U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says --U.S. military has new Cyber Command to begin operations 1 October 26 Sep 2010 Cyberterrorism is such a threat that the U.S. president should have the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of an attack, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said. Hayden made the comments during a visit to San Antonio where he was meeting with military and civilian officials to discuss cyber security. Hayden said the president currently does not have the authority to shut down the Internet in an emergency. [Yes, 'emergencies' such as exposing and resisting inevitable false flags, phony pandemics, and inside terror jobs.]

U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretapping on the Internet --Mandate would include ability to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages 27 Sep 2010 Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is "going dark" as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications -- including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct "peer to peer" messaging like Skype -- to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order.

Money transfers could face anti-terrorism scrutiny --The new rule would require banks to disclose even the smallest transfers. 27 Sep 2010 The Obama administration wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. Officials say the information would help them spot the sort of transfers that helped finance the 'al-Qaeda hijackers' who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

hram Weekly You can reach him at

(3) U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says
From: CLG_News <> Date: 24.09.2010 10:16 AM

Bill would let feds block pirate websites worldwide

Copyright enforcement as censorship

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco

Posted in Law, 21st September 2010 21:22 GMT

US lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the federal government to quickly block websites anywhere in the world if they are dedicated to sharing copyrighted music or other protected content.

The “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” would empower the US Department of Justice to shut down, or block access to, websites found to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” Sites that use domain names registered by a US-based company, or a top-level-domain administered by a US-based company, would find their internet addresses frozen.

The bill also contains provisions to block sites with domain names and TLDs that are maintained by overseas companies, which are immune to US laws. Under the legislation, US attorneys would be authorized to obtain court orders directing US-based internet service providers to stop resolving the IP addresses that allow customers to access the sites. That would have the effect of making the sites inaccessible to US-based web users who don't use some sort of proxy service.

The bill, which was introduced on Monday, is sponsored by Senators Orin Hatch and Patrick Leahy and has support from at least 10 other senators. It is scheduled to be added to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for a Thursday hearing.

As points out, it's one of the most ambitious copyright enforcement bills introduced since 2008. That was the year a bill with similar language was introduced, and then ultimately watered down amid threats of a veto by the Bush administration, which worried it would result in the feds serving as pro bono lawyers for the RIAA and other private copyright holders.

Freedom to Tinker blogger Wendy Seltzer calls piracy enforcement an “all-purpose” charge akin to tax evasion and reminds us of the recent hazards in allowing the Russian government to police Microsoft's copyrights. ®

(4) Obama admin wants to affix GPS devices to suspects' vehicles

GPS tracking we can believe in: Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in 'Public Places' 21 Sep 2010

Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in ‘Public Places’

By David Kravets     September 21, 2010  |  3:29 pm  |  Categories: Surveillance, privacy

The Obama administration has urged a federal appeals court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move.

The Justice Department is demanding a federal appeals court rehear a case in which it reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month, without a court warrant. The authorities then obtained warrants to search and find drugs in the locations where defendant Antoine Jones had travelled.

The administration, in urging the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse a three-judge panel’s August ruling from the same court, said Monday that Americans should expect no privacy while in public.

“The panel’s conclusion that Jones had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public movements of his Jeep rested on the premise that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of his or her movements in public places, ” Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Smith wrote the court in a petition for rehearing.

The case is an important test of privacy rights as GPS devices have become a common tool in crime fighting, and can be affixed to moving vehicles by an officer shooting a dart. Three other circuit courts have already said the authorities do not need a warrant for GPS vehicle tracking, Smith pointed out.

The circuit’s ruling means that, in the District of Columbia area, the authorities need a warrant to install a GPS-tracking device on a vehicle. But in much of the United States, including the West, a warrant is not required. Unless the circuit changes it mind, only the Supreme Court can mandate a uniform rule.

The government said the appellate panel’s August decision is “vague and unworkable” and undermines a law enforcement practice used “with great frequency.”

The legal dispute centers on a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning a tracking beacon affixed to a container, without a court warrant, to follow a motorist to a secluded cabin. The appeals court said that decision did not apply to today’s GPS monitoring of a suspect, which lasted a month.

The beacon tracked a person, “from one place to another,” whereas the GPS device monitored Jones’ “movements 24 hours a day for 28 days.”

The government argued Monday that the appellate court’s decision “offers no guidance as to when monitoring becomes so efficient or ‘prolonged’ as to constitute a search triggering the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”

The appeals court ruled the case “illustrates how the sequence of a person’s movements may reveal more than the individual movements of which it is composed.”

The court said that a person “who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

(5) How the CIA runs a secret army of 3,000 assassins

By Julius Cavendish in Kabul

23 Sep 2010

Although the CIA has long been known to run clandestine militias in Afghanistan, including one from a base it rents from the Afghan president Hamid Karzai's half-brother in the southern province of Kandahar, the sheer number of militiamen directly under its control have never been publicly revealed.

Woodward's book, Obama's Wars, describes these forces as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qa'ida and Afghan Taliban havens there. Two US newspapers published the claims after receiving copies of the manuscript.

The secret army is split into "Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams", and is thought to be responsible for the deaths of many Pakistani Taliban fighters who have crossed the border into Afghanistan to fight Nato and Afghan government forces there.

There are ever-increasing numbers of "kill-or-capture" missions undertaken by US Special Forces against Afghan Taliban and foreign fighters, who hope to drive rank-and-file Taliban towards the Afghan government's peace process by eliminating their leaders. The suspicion is that the secret army is working in close tandem with them.

Although no comment has been forthcoming, it is understood that the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, approves of the mission, which bears similarities to the covert assassination campaign against al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which was partially credited with stemming the tide of violence after the country imploded between 2004 and 2007.

The details of the clandestine army have surprised no one in Kabul, the Afghan capital, although the fact that the information is now public is unprecedented. There have been multiple reports of the CIA running its own militias in southern Afghanistan.

The operation also has powerful echoes of clandestine operations of the 1990s, when the CIA recruited and ran a militia inside the Afghan border with the sole purpose of killing Osama bin Laden. The order then that a specially recruited Afghan militia was "to capture him alive" – the result of protracted legal wrangles about when, how and if Osama bin Laden could be killed – doomed efforts to assassinate him before 9/11.

(6) Paramilitary force is key for CIA

By Craig Whitlock and Greg MillerWashington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 23, 2010

On an Afghan ridge 7,800 feet above sea level, about four miles from Pakistan, stands a mud-brick fortress nicknamed the Alamo. It is officially dubbed Firebase Lilley, and it is a nerve center in the covert war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The CIA has relied on Lilley, part of a constellation of agency bases across Afghanistan, as a hub to train and deploy a well-armed 3,000-member Afghan paramilitary force collectively known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. In addition to being used for surveillance, raids and combat operations in Afghanistan, the teams are crucial to the United States' secret war in Pakistan, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The existence of the teams is disclosed in "Obama's Wars," a forthcoming book by longtime Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. But, more broadly, interviews with sources familiar with the CIA's operations, as well as a review of the database of 76,000 classified U.S. military field reports posted last month by the Web site WikiLeaks, reveal an agency that has a significantly larger covert paramilitary presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan than previously known.

The operations are particularly sensitive in Pakistan, a refuge for senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders where U.S. units are officially prohibited from conducting missions.

The WikiLeaks reports, which cover the escalation of the Afghan insurgency from 2004 until the end of 2009, include many descriptions of the activities of the "OGA" and "Afghan OGA" forces. OGA, which stands for "other government agency," is generally used as a reference to the CIA.

In clipped and coded language, the field logs provide glimpses into the kinds of operations undertaken by the CIA and its Afghan paramilitary units along the Pakistani border. In addition to accounts of snatch-and-grab operations targeting insurgent leaders, the logs contain casualtyreports from battles with the Taliban, summaries of electronic intercepts of enemy communications and hints of the heavy firepower at the CIA's disposal.

The CIA declined to comment on the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. A Pakistani official said the government will not comment on Woodward's book until after it is released.

A U.S. official familiar with the operations, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described the teams as "one of the best Afghan fighting forces," adding that they have made "major contributions to stability and security."

The official said that the teams' primary mission is to improve security in Afghanistan and that they do not engage in "lethal action" when crossing into Pakistan. Their cross-border missions are "designed exclusively for intelligence collection," the official said.

In addition to Firebase Lilley, in Paktika province, the WikiLeaks logs reveal the existence of an "OGA compound"at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, another U.S. military installation in Paktika.

The field reports show that casualties are common for Afghan paramilitary forces training and operating there.

On Oct. 6, 2009, for example, an "OGA-trained" fighter was ambushed near Orgun-E while off duty, according to one log; he was treated on the base for gunshot wounds to the face, lower leg and hand.

(7) Afghanistan: three options - Eric Walberg

From: WVNS <> Date: 23.09.2010 12:43 PM

Afghanistan: The evil of three lessers

Which fork will Obama impale himself on, muses Eric Walberg

US endgame in Afghanistan: The evil of three lessers
Eric Walberg

In his school-boyish Oval Office "Mission accomplished!" speech 31 August, United States President Barack Obama heaped faint praise on Bush's invasion of Iraq, averring that no one could doubt Bush's support for the troops, love of his country and commitment to its security when he wrote this most "remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq". True, it was written at a "huge price" to the US (apparently it was provided free of charge for the fortunate Iraqis).

He vaguely talked of "a transition to Afghan responsibility", vowing to stick to his promise to begin withdrawal of troops next year, reiterating the Obama Doctrine: "American influence around the world is not a function of military force alone. We must use all elements of our power -- including our diplomacy, our economic strength, and the power of America's example -- to secure our interests." The fact that as a senator, he opposed Petraeus, the mastermind behind the surge in Iraq in 2007 and the one Obama is now staking his presidency on in Afghanistan, was not raised.

The lack of fighter jet and battleship for his "Mission accomplished!" sound byte was just as symbolic as was Bush's bomber-jacket hubris. Obama is looking more and more like a White House caretaker, a prisoner of the Pentagon, if in fact he ever had any policy freedom in the first place. Hillary famously cracked "Whatever Stanley [McChrystal] wants, give it to him." Now, with the unceremonious dumping of McChrystal, Dave will most certainly get what he wants, and an early exit from Afghanistan is not on his check list. On the contrary he now wants to surge the surge with an extra 2,000 troops. So what are Obama/Petraeus's real options?

There is little to differentiate McChrystal and Petraeus apart from the latter's pomposity. He oversaw the preparation of the Army-Marine Corps's counterinsurgency field manual and its application in Iraq, and will try to smoke out the "enemy" just as did his predecessor. Obama droned on, so to speak, about Al-Qaeda (counterterrorism in Washington-speak), but made clear the current surge was really to stem the Taliban hordes (counterinsurgency or COIN in Washington-speak). Counterterrorism elements "are absolutely part of a comprehensive civil-military counterinsurgency campaign", Petraeus told, meaning he, like Obama, still confuses Taliban and terrorism, or rather tries to confuse anyone bothering to listen.

McChrystal's unpopular (among GIs) order for troops to stop killing civilians at random will continue: "You cannot kill or capture your way out of a substantial insurgency." He has sort-of endorsed Karzai's attempt to "win Afghan hearts and minds" through the new High Peace Council which would lead to "reintegration of reconcilable elements of the insurgency,. This has been tried now for two years without any success. It looks like a repeat of the Iraqi Sunni Awakening movement of 2005, which paid former Sunni resistance fighters as ad hoc militias, which had nothing to do with Petraeus, being a spontaneous development by local sheikhs. Whether it was successful is still debatable.

Trying to apply this to Afghanistan is a pipe dream in any case, where hostile mountains, warlords and a decentralised state were and are the norm, unlike pre-2003 Iraq. Apart from the dubious surge theory, there is nothing that Petraeus adds to the equation, nothing to suggest he will have any chance of budging the Taliban from their bottom line: the unconditional exit of all foreign troops and evacuation of all bases. None of this remotely reflects the so-called Obama Doctrine of diplomacy vs military solutions to international problems, talking vs killing, but hopes for Obama long ago dried up. His tired Oval Office spiel neither surprised nor disappointed. It induced only yawns.

The man in control, Petraeus, is himself in need of an awakening. Someone should tell him his surge, COIN and whatnot are too late: the Taliban are already the de facto government. NGOs seriously working in Afghanistan have known this for quite a while. The tragic deaths of ten International Assistance Mission (IAM) staff recently in Badakshan province was a direct result of forgetting this important political fact. At 44, IAM is the longest serving NGO in Afghanistan, and has successfully manoeuvred the various royal, republican, communist, Islamist regimes for over four decades by scrupulously avoiding any identification with local government and occupation forces, acknowledging whichever side is in power, and sticking to its relief work. But NATO abandoned the area in July just as new aid workers were arriving, and this time the new volunteers got caught in the transition. Says IAM director Dirk Frans sadly, "They were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The case was all the more poignant as there has been increasing cooperation with the Taliban and fewer targeted killings of aid workers as a result of NGOs reaching out to the Taliban and respecting their right to govern. Mullah Omar even wrote a letter of approval for one aid group. "The chain of command is more coherent in 2010 than 2004," says Michiel Hofman, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) rep in Afghanistan. MSF has access to Taliban-controlled areas so long as its employees wear clearly marked vests with the group's insignia, front and back, to differentiate them from the occupiers.

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation work with both the Taliban and Karzai officials to provide polio vaccinations, once condemned by clerics as a conspiracy to poison or sterilise Muslim children. Volunteers carry a precious letter of approval from Mullah Omar. Red Cross spokesman Bijan Famoudi told April Rabkin at that Red Cross workers coordinate with the Taliban almost daily concerning their movements and can reach Taliban leaders within hours if there is a problem.

The Taliban are not the ogre they are made out to be by the Western media. They respect genuine international aid workers, unlike foreign fighters from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, who have a "reputation much tougher when it comes to foreigners", notes Hofman. But then the MSF honcho could say the same of the other foreign fighters, the occupiers, who in a desperate bid to use such workers are human shields, have increasingly insisted on NGO cooperation as part of their effort to "win hearts and minds". The US and German military have put conditions on grants to aid organisations, requiring them to work with the occupiers. Caritas refused a chunk of $12.9m worth of aid because it would have been part of the German army's reconstruction work.

Karzai too tries to pressure NGOs. In April, he had Italian and Afghan employees of the Italian aid organisation Emergency, which ran a hospital in Helmand, charged with "terrorist activities", including plotting to assassinate the governor. The charges were nonsense, a case of sour grapes, as the group successfully negotiated the release of a foreign journalist, no thanks to Karzai et al.

The US has three choices at this point: the easy one is to just pull out and leave the Taliban to disarm the Western-created warlord militias and to work with the less odious members of the Karzai regime to create a viable regime in a peaceful, if very poor and devastated country. There are genuine NGOs on the ground now that can help coordinate a non-imperialist international aid effort. Yes, some heads will roll, but the sooner the process gets underway, the fewer deaths there will be all round. This is what Pakistan and Saudi Arabia want, leaving them in the driver's seat.

Its second option is to let the regional governments take over in stabilizing the current regime. This, however, would require a revolution in US thinking: mend fences between it and Iran. Iran is eager and willing to do just this and has been since it provided the US with valuable assistance in routing the Taliban after 9/11. Iran supports the Karzai regime, which is dominated by the Persian-speaking Tajiks, and strongly opposes making any deals with the Taliban. In a meeting in New Delhi in August, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Fathollahi said, "Empowering the military forces of Afghanistan and also the police of Afghanistan are points on which countries of the region should help, and Iran voices its readiness to help in this regard.... We don't have any doubt in the capability of the government of Afghanistan."

Sounds like Petraeus/ Obama, right? The US plans to spend $11.6 billion next year and another $25b by 2015 precisely to create an Afghan army and policy force to support Karzai. Iran has offered to help do this. It holds the fate of this US endgame in its hands. The advantage of this option is that peace would break out in the region without US occupation of Afghanistan and subversion of Iran, and the US would still have quite a bit of influence in post-pull out Afghanistan. Both India and Russia would be solid supporters of such a scenario and the latter would ensure the support of the "stans" on Afghanistan's northern borders. Pakistan and the Saudis would have no choice but to tag along.

Its third option is a lame compromise between the above. Council for Foreign Relations President Richard Haass suggests partitioning Afghanistan, handing over Pashtun areas to the Taliban and arming the other ethnic groups to defend themselves. Syed Saleem Shahzad reports in Asia Times that the US is finally talking to the Taliban commanders, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, mediated by Pakistan and the Saudis, offering to cede control of the south to the Taliban while keeping control of the north. This is a recipe for unending civil war too horrible to contemplate. ***

Eric Walberg writes for  Al-Ahram Weekly.

(8) Stuxnet virus aimed at Iranian power stations & water plants

Stuxnet virus: worm 'could be aimed at high-profile Iranian targets'

Security experts have identified malicious software, thought to be aimed at power stations and water plants in Iran.

By Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor
Published: 5:19PM BST 23 Sep 2010

The complexity of the Stuxnet worm has lead some experts to speculate that it could be an act of cyber terrorism, a virus written and sanctioned by one country with the aim of impacting the infrastructure of another.

Stuxnet can be used to reprogram software to force a computer to carry out different commands. 23 Sep 2010 Security experts have identified malicious software, thought to be aimed at power stations and water plants in Iran.

"The fact that we see so many more infections in Iran than anywhere else in the world makes us think this threat was targeted at Iran and that there was something in Iran that was of very, very high value to whomever wrote it," Liam O'Murchu, an expert at Symantec, told the BBC.

The Stuxnet worm first came to light in June, and has been monitored by security and cyber terrorism experts ever since. It is transferred between machines by USB memory stick, which means that even computers that are not connected to the internet for security reasons are still susceptible to it.

It searches for software, made by computer giant Siemens, that is often used to control systems in industrial facilities such as power plants. It can then be used to reprogram a computer’s commands, and issue it with a new set of instructions.

The worm is based on complex code that combines several known ‘hacking’ techniques to make it quicker to spread and more difficult to eradicate. It also exploits known vulnerabilities in Windows operating systems that are not running the most recent security updates.

There is growing concern in many countries about the threat of cyber terrorism. Robert Mueller, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the threat was “real” and “troubling”.

“A cyber-attack could have the same impact as a well-placed bomb,” he said at a recent security conference. “The cyberterrorism threat is real and rapidly expanding. Terrorists have shown a clear interest in hacking skills and combining real attacks with cyber attacks.”

(9) Cold War hotted up when sabotaged Soviet pipeline went off with a bang

Sydney Morning Herald, February 28 2004

By David Hoffman

The former US president Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the former Soviet Union, which resulted in "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space" a Reagan White House official says.

The CIA covertly transferred technology containing malfunctions, including software, that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline in mid-1982, Thomas Reed, a former air force secretary, then a member of the National Security Council, writes in a new memoir.

Reed says the pipeline explosion was just one example of "cold-eyed economic warfare" the CIA carried out, under its director William Casey, during the final years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

The US was trying to stop western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas, and there were also signs that the Russians were trying to steal Western technology. A KGB insider then gained access to Russian purchase orders and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Russians.

"The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space," Reed recalls in At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War, to be published next month.

"While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy," he writes. "Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end.

"In time the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus. All was suspect, which was the intended endgame for the entire operation."

The CIA learnt of the full extent of the KGB's pursuit of Western technology in an operation code-named Farewell Dossier. Portions of the operation have been disclosed earlier, including in a 1996 paper in Studies in Intelligence, a CIA journal. The paper was written by Gus Weiss, an expert on technology and intelligence who served with Reed on the National Security Council and was instrumental in devising the plan to send the flawed materials to the former Soviet Union. He died last year.

In January 1982 Weiss proposed slipping the Russians technology that would work for a while, then fail. Reed said the CIA "would add 'extra ingredients' to the software and hardware on the KGB's shopping list".

"Reagan received the plan enthusiastically," Reed writes. "Casey was given a go."

The sabotage of the gas pipeline has not been previously disclosed, and at the time was a closely guarded secret. When the pipeline exploded, Reed writes, the first reports caused concern in the US military and at the White House.

"NORAD [North American Air Defence Command] feared a missile lift-off from a place where no rockets were known to be based," he said. "Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device." However, satellites did not pick up any telltale signs of a nuclear explosion. "Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis, Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow [National Security Council] staffers not to worry."

The Washington Post ==

How the CIA "helped the Soviets with their shopping"

Thomas C. Reed, At the Abyss: an Insider's History of the Cold War (Ballantine
Books, New York, 2004).


If Reed's allegation is correct, could the CIA have had a hand in the Chernobyl explosion?

Mossad and the CIA also sold the bugged Promis computer software to the Communist bloc:

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