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Hotel Attack Will Only Prolong American Adventurism in Afghanistan

June 30th, 2011 - by admin

Brian Beyer / AntiWar.com & Erin Cunningham / The National – 2011-06-30 01:06:52

Hotel Attack Will Only Prolong American Adventurism in Afghanistan

Hotel Attack Will Only Prolong American Adventurism in Afghanistan
Brian Beyer / AntiWar.com

( June 29, 2011) — A common misconception of blowback is that retaliation is limited to foreign governments and citizens. If this were to be the case, Chechen terrorists would not be bombing airports and the Taliban would not be bombing hotels. The Taliban’s coordinated attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was an attack against both foreign and domestic oppressive forces. The aim of the attack was straightforward:

“We had three main goals in attacking the hotel,” the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said after the attack. “We wanted to target as many foreign advisers as we could, as many provincial governors as we could, and bring tension to Kabul on the same day of the security-transition conference.”

Foreigners and Afghans alike were killed. This brazen attack also accomplished the third goal of bringing tension to the “transition” conference. As if the trust deficit between American and Afghanistan were not enough, this will surely widen it.

Additionally, this attack comes at a crucial time for Barack Obama who just recently announced plans to withdraw 33,000 American troops by the fall of 2012. One of Obama’s justifications for starting to withdraw troops, other than political stratagem to appease a war-weary American public, was that the Afghans are becoming increasingly capable of dealing with the Taliban and other security issues. As the Afghans were unable to stop a raid in a hotel, NATO air support was called in to ultimately finish the job.

While Obama has declared to bring home 33,000 troops by next fall, and all troops by 2014, it will be incidents like these that prolong American involvement in the “Graveyard of Empires,” despite all of the “progress” that Obama and his advisors claim to see.


Taliban Say Kabul Hotel Attack Aimed at NATO-Afghan Security Talks
Erin Cunningham / The National

KABUL (June 30, 2011) — A devastating Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul on Tuesday night has sharply underlined the challenges foreign troops face in handing security over to Afghan forces in the coming months.

At least nine civilians, including one foreign national, and two Afghan police, were killed after nine Taliban militants stormed the heavily-fortified InterContinental Hotel in the heart of Kabul.

The evening assault by the Taliban fighters was one of the insurgency’s most coordinated and high-profile attacks in the Afghan capital in recent years.

The assault, timed to thwart a government-sponsored conference on the Nato-Afghan security transition slated for yesterday morning, according to a Taliban spokesmen, was a symbolic strike at the heart of the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

“We had three main goals in attacking the hotel,” the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said after the attack. “We wanted to target as many foreign advisers as we could, as many provincial governors as we could, and bring tension to Kabul on the same day of the security-transition conference.”

A number of provincial-level officials were staying at the hotel for the security conference.

NATO forces will begin pulling soldiers out next month, marking the beginning of a gradual withdrawal of US and Nato troops from Afghanistan. All foreign forces are expected to have left by the end of 2014.

The Taliban announced in May the start of its violent spring and summer offensive against Afghan and foreign troops, vowing to attack military installations as well as “places of gathering”.

But if the militant assault on the InterContinental was a litmus test for how Afghan forces might handle security in a post-NATO Afghanistan, the Afghan army and police failed miserably, locals and analysts said.

After the initial attack, where Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers breached hotel security and stormed the premises, a gun and artillery battle between the attackers and Afghan and NATO forces lasted well past sunrise in the middle-class neighbourhood of west Kabul where the Intercontinental is located.

Several large explosions rocked the area, sending passersby fleeing for cover.

At midnight, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) fired by insurgents into the city left red tracers arcing across the midnight sky.

The Taliban said its fighters were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, sub-machine guns and suicide vests. “They could fight all night with the weapons we gave them,” Mr Mujahid said.

Dozens of Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, arriving in armoured-personal carriers, stormed the hotel at 2am to evacuate the hotel’s 60 to 70 guests. Some of the guests were covered in dirt from having scaled down walls or nearby hills to escape the onslaught.

Afghan police manning a makeshift checkpoint several hundred metres from the hotel were visibly nervous, charging vehicles with guns pointed and pulling Afghans from their cars.

The fighting only ended when Nato helicopter gunships were called in to provide air support for Afghan forces at about 3am.

The gunships fired missiles at three insurgents who had taken positions on the hotel roof, setting the complex ablaze.

Even after NATO and the Afghan interior ministry announced the battle was over at 5am, gunshots could be heard in the area surrounding the hotel.

One suicide bomber managed to hide inside the complex until Afghan forces discovered him at about 8am, both the Taliban and Afghan government said. The bomber then detonated his explosives, killing two Afghan policemen and one Spanish citizen who was a guest at the hotel.

It was unclear how many of the assailants had successfully detonated their suicide vests, security officials said.

“I thought I was going to die, that I would never see my family again,” said Faiz Ahmad, an American of Afghan and Indian descent who came to Kabul to begin research for his PhD, and was a guest at the hotel. “I knew when the power went out at the hotel, that something was wrong. Then I heard the gunshots,” he said. “I don’t feel safe here. I will never feel safe here.”

Violence is on the rise in Afghanistan as the Taliban-led insurgency gains strength against the weakening Afghan government.

The United Nations said 2010 was the country’s deadliest year since the US-led invasion in 2001. Civilian casualties were up 15 per cent from 2009-2010, with 2,777 conflict-related civilian deaths in 2010, according to the UN.

Some of the guests were visibly shaken as they exited the hotel in the early morning light.

Some cried, others made desperate phone calls.

“I saw everything, everything I never imagined I would see in my lifetime,” said Chetin Torgay, a Turkish engineer with the Afghan national air carrier, Ariana Airlines,who was in Afghanistan for work.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Confrontation Begins Before Gaza Flotilla Sets Sail

June 30th, 2011 - by admin

Apostolis Fotiadis / Inter Press Service – 2011-06-30 00:55:03

Confrontation Begins Before Gaza Flotilla Sets Sail

ATHENS (June 27, 2011) — Activists are engaged in a harsh confrontation with Israeli authorities days before the international “Freedom Flotilla II — Stay Human” sets sail toward the Gaza strip in an attempt to break the naval blockade Israel has imposed since 2007.

The flotilla will include 10 ships that have already reached Athens. Two are cargo boats carrying medical aid and construction material. The rest are passenger ships carrying hundreds of people, among them politicians, writers, religious leaders, people from the fields of art and culture, as well as 10 members of the European Parliament and 10 MPs from France, Norway, Sweden, and Spain.

“There is enormous pressure exerted on the Greek government by Israel and the United States. It is by now certain that they are going to use all technical and administrative means to discourage us. Their plan will not work. We are ready, and we will begin in a few days,” Vaggelis Pissias, a member of the coordinating committee who was physically abused during the previous trip by Israeli authorities but prepares to sail again, told IPS.

Over the last few days Greek authorities have raised problems for two of the Greek boats participating in the flotilla. One was declared not seaworthy because of an engine problem. Activists paid a 10,000-euro repair sum to circumvent this problem. The second is not allowed to sail because of debts of a previous owner to the state.

On Sunday, the propeller of one of the Greek passenger boats was critically damaged while the boat still remained at the dock; the ship is likely to miss the trip to Gaza. The boat’s captain has spoken of sabotage.

Serious backstage talks between Israel and Greek authorities have been continuing, including communication between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

The Greek government has openly expressed concern that the flotilla could compromise the strategic rapprochement of Greece and Israel that Papandreou has pursued over the last year and a half. Last week the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly advised Greek citizens not to board the flotilla.

After similar talks with the Turkish government two weeks ago, Israel has managed to cancel the participation of the Turkish Islamic organization the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) in the flotilla. IHH was preparing to send back the MV Marmara boat. During the previous flotilla in May 2010, the Israeli navy attacked the boat, killing nine Turkish civilians.

Meanwhile, Israel has been putting pressure on all fronts. An Israeli government spokesman has warned journalists that joining the flotilla will mean a 10-year ban on entering Israel.

Jane Hirschman of the US delegation told IPS an anonymous complaint was filed when their boat docked in Athens. “Someone, using only a Greek first name, reported to the Greek Coastal Guard that our ship is not seaworthy, meaning that now we are expecting them to carry out an inspection on our boat. We managed to collect info and trail the source of the report, and it is sure it came from the organization called ‘Israeli Law Center.'”

In a similar case, Cherna Rosenberg, a 68-year-old citizen of both Canada and Israel, filed a complaint on June 2 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto against the Canadian Boat to Gaza. The complaint charges the initiative with collecting funds for and providing material support to Hamas, which governs Gaza and was declared a terrorist group by Canada in 2002.

Pissias says these are results of an Israeli propaganda campaign to distort the real aim of the flotilla by projecting it as a radical religious initiative against Israel. “People should not consume this propaganda. The flotilla is not an Islamist initiative against Israelis or Jews. It is an action fulfilled by citizens of all religions and many nationalities.”

Manuel Tapial, a Spanish activist planning to sail to Palestine, has condemned his government’s approach toward the flotilla. “Spanish government complicity with Israel is disturbing,” he told IPS. “Some of the people involved have faced short-term rendition by police. They were questioned and evidence of their documents was withheld because they are involved in preparations for the Freedom Flotilla II.”

This pressure has not stopped activists from reaching Athens, and according to Tapial, it is not going to stop them from sailing to Gaza. “We will go, by all possible means.”


Senator Wants US-Israeli Op Against Flotilla
Bryant Jordan / Military.com

(June 29, 2011) — A US senator wants US special operations forces to help Israel halt a Gaza-bound international aid flotilla that includes a vessel carrying a number of American veterans, one of whom is a Sailor who served aboard the USS Liberty, the ship that Israel infamously attacked in 1967.

In a report drafted following a visit to Israel in early June, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., says the United States should “make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk.”

Read more on line.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Pakistan Tells US to Leave ‘Drone’ Air Base: Threatens to Shoot Down US Aircraft

June 30th, 2011 - by admin

The Daily Times & AntiWar.com & The News – 2011-06-30 00:46:24

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011630story_30-6-2011_pg1_2

Pakistan Tells US to Leave ‘Drone’ Air Base
The Daily Times

RAWALPINDI (June 30, 2011) — Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said on Wednesday that Pakistan has told the United States to leave “drone” airbase.

“We have told them (the US officials) to leave the Shamsi airbase,” said the minister while talking to journalists at his office. He said the trust between the US and Pakistan had reduced to a great extent after the May 2 incident. “This mistrust could be reduced by sitting together and taking joint actions.” The minister pointed out that the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) had stopped its funding for the war on terror being fought in FATA that had been harming the country’s economy.

He said there was no need to change the military leadership against the backdrop of the Abbottabad incident. “The Inter-Services Intelligence’s director general had presented himself before parliament and offered resignation, but it reposed confidence into him,” he added.

Mukhtar said Pakistan’s nuclear assets were “safe” and were being “well maintained.” About the Pak-Russia defence cooperation, he said, it would depend on the results of forthcoming presidential elections in Russia. agencies.


Pakistan Air Force Chief: Forces Ready to Shoot Down US Drones
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(May 13, 2011) — Concerns that the US is once again escalating its attacks against Pakistan’s tribal areas appear all the stronger today, as drones attacked a vehicle in North Waziristan Agency, killing three suspects.

Future drone attacks might be a seriously risky matter, however, as Pakistan’s Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Rao Suleman reported that the air force is now prepared to shoot down future drones if given authorization to do so by the Zardari government.

The drones have been hugely unpopular in Pakistan, and the government has recently issued repeated demands for their halt. The fact that the attacks have continued and escalated have put the Pakistani military into a position of needing to assert itself.

Marshal Suleman also revealed an unusual fact about the drone flights, which have come out of an air base in Balochistan. According to Suleman, the Shamsi Air Base has actually been under the control of the United Arab Emirates since the 1990s.


Drones To Be Struck Down on Orders: Air Chief
The News

ISLAMABAD (May 13, 2011) — Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman Friday said that drones entering Pakistani air space would be struck down if such orders were issued (to the Pakistan Air Force), Geo News reported.

The Air Chief said this in reply to a question during the in-camera briefing by the military officials to the joint session of the parliament in the backdrop of the US unilateral assault in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011 that eliminated Osama bin Laden.

To another question regarding the operational control of Shamsi Air Base, the officials said UAE was operating the Air Base.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Shift Against War Spending a Sign of People Power

June 30th, 2011 - by admin

Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe / Huffington Post – 2011-06-30 00:23:55

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-greenwald-and-derrick-crowe/shift-against-war-spendin_b_885131.html

(June 27, 2011) — Here’s some good news for your morning: your agitation against profligate war spending is bearing fruit in Washington, DC. Public pressure, generated in part by the Rethink Afghanistan community, our allies and supporters, has put defense spending front-and-center in the budget debate, with representatives from both sides of the aisle now pushing for cuts. This once unthinkable shift is a good sign that people power in the US can still challenge the dominance of the military-industrial-congressional complex.

A June 24th National Journal article focusing on the dying cult of counterinsurgency shows how political pressure from the people is forcing a rethink of hyper-expensive military undertakings, emphasis ours:

“As the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way and the political debate centers on the debt ceiling and the deficit, the mounting cost of the war has eclipsed the casualty rate as Topic A. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed ‘a great deal’ to the nation’s debt — more than, say, increased domestic spending or the tax cuts enacted over the past decade. The public is clearly growing disenchanted with [counterinsurgency’s] expense and incremental progress. Even traditionally hawkish Republicans, particularly in the House, have begun to balk.”

A recent Washington Post story goes into more detail about the war spending revolt going on behind the scenes in the debt ceiling negotiations:

“In listening sessions with their rank and file, House Republican leaders said they have found a surprising willingness to consider defense cuts that would have been unthinkable five years ago, when they last controlled the House. While the sessions have sparked heated debate on many issues, Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), the deputy GOP whip, said there are few lawmakers left who view the Pentagon budget as sacrosanct.

“‘When we say everything is on the table, that’s what we mean,’ said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 leader who has been hosting the listening sessions in his Capitol offices.”

As an example, WAPO highlights freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-Ill.) successful slapdown of a $100 million request for unneeded new flight suits for Air Force pilots. A senior administration official told the Post that “It’s clear that any package is going to have to have significant spending reductions, including in Pentagon spending.”

This shift didn’t just happen. It’s the result of persistent agitation from outside Washington, D.C. begun years in advance by people who refused to let partisanship or jingoism silence their concerns about the damage caused by blank-check Pentagon budgets.

For example, our organization’s Rethink Afghanistan project launched one of the first major public critiques of the counterinsurgency strategy’s cost in Afghanistan in our 2009 documentary film. At the time, our critique was met with a wall of partisan resistance, but that wall has now crumbled under pressure from a public reeling from military sticker shock.

Since the initial launch of Rethink Afghanistan, we’ve continued to raise the issue of the cost of war in partnership with other groups, including conservative organizations. For example, just prior to Tax Day 2011, we created a War Tax Calculator that let users see how much they pay for military spending on their taxes and allowed them to send an IOU to Congress.

We delivered the IOUs at a bipartisan press event attended by progressive and conservative Members of Congress, along with experts outside experts from across the ideological spectrum, all arguing for slashing spending on the Afghanistan War. That gathering foreshadowed the current bipartisan push-back against continued monster Pentagon budgets while other popular programs go under the budget knife.

We can’t afford to spend a trillion dollars a year on the war budget. Thanks to constant pressure from fed-up Americans, Washington, D.C. is starting to get the message.

If you’re fed up with wars that aren’t making us safer and that aren’t worth the costs, join Rethink Afghanistan on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AfghanistanDocu

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Obama’s Secret Wars

June 29th, 2011 - by admin

John Barry / The Daily Beast – 2011-06-29 03:01:43

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-news-section/43-43/6400-john-barry-the-daily-beast

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2011) — The morning after President Barack Obama ordered a substantial and money-saving reduction of US forces in Afghanistan, his point man in that conflict was already preparing for his next assignment: fostering a type of warfare that is mostly out of public view, far less costly and promises to reshape the way America fights.

“I wanted this job,” Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at his confirmation hearing to become CIA director last Thursday. “This is something that was not, you know, a month or two or three in the making,” Petraeus went on, explaining how he and soon-to-be-departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates “discussed this all the way back last year.”

As Petraeus sails toward becoming the nation’s 22nd CIA chief, his carefully planned transition from four-star general to civilian intelligence boss likely foreshadows a larger transformation of US warfare.

As America draws down its conventional military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is increasingly fighting national security threats in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen through covert operations uniting Pentagon special forces, CIA paramilitary troops, and sophisticated drones, some that can launch powerful missiles while others are small enough to eavesdrop unnoticed in the shadows.

The goal is to disrupt terrorist plots and training facilities, thin out the terrorist ranks, and pre-empt insurgencies before they can escalate into threats to US security.

Petraeus seems well-suited for the job. He already knows the consequences of letting such threats fester: He inherited the fraught task of quelling raging insurgencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan that had been allowed to spin out of control before his arrival. His approach–beginning with oversight of the crafting of the military’s new counterinsurgency field manual in 2005-06–is widely credited with stabilizing both warfronts.

He compelled Army and Marines to set aside their mastery of high-intensity conventional warfare to learn the superhuman patience and contrarian skills of counterinsurgency. And he worked to orchestrate more effective collaboration between the military and the intelligence community.

Ironically, Petraeus discussed moving to the CIA for months with a boss who made the transition in reverse. Gates rose through the CIA to become director in the early 1990s before retiring from government service — only to be called back to the Pentagon at the end of 2006. As such, both men appreciate the power in harmonizing intelligence and military operations to combat 21st century threats, associates say. “As budgets draw down, we have no option but to learn to fight smarter with less,” Gates observed recently.

In persuading the president to send Petraeus to the CIA, Gates hopes, among other goals, to give the decorated general the institutional base from which he can nurture what promises to be a new sort of warfare.

A debate already rages in the war colleges and halls of Congress about the military’s role in future counterinsurgencies. Cost figures loom large in these discussions. The campaign in Afghanistan is expected to cost $120 billion this year; at its peak in 2006 through 2008, the Iraq campaign cost roughly the same.

To a Pentagon confronting the inevitability of deep budget cuts, the number of troops needed to fight counterinsurgency campaigns and the ancillary requirements for ambitious civic reconstruction programs look increasingly unaffordable.

So there is growing interest in developing a second generation of counterinsurgency warfare. And the early lab is Yemen, where a covert war has raged for nearly three years against the terrorist group calling themselves al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

As sketched by participants, the campaign inside Yemen looks like this. Contingents of America’s “white” Special Operations Forces — the groups at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the Rangers at Fort Benning in Georgia — are training Yemen’s own special forces.

Meanwhile, teams of “black” special forces — Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, and their helicopter-flying colleagues — are operating in the country in tandem with those trained Yemenis.

Operatives from the CIA’s paramilitary Special Activities Division are in-country running agents. The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which runs the “black” special forces, is flying overhead an armada of drones, many of designs (and sizes) that are still classified.

The CIA, already flying a covert air force of Predator and Reaper drones over Pakistan, has now acquired enough that it’s begun patrols over Yemen to provide more consistent surveillance and heavier firepower than most of JSOC’s fleet can supply.

Meanwhile, a mini-carrier — currently the Marines’ amphibious assault vessel USS Boxer — is on permanent station in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen’s coast with a squadron of Harrier aircraft to fly strike-missions against targets in-country identified either by the CIA, special forces on the ground or the drones.

When the target warrants, the submarine escorting the amphib is called into action, to launch one of its battery of land-attack cruise missiles. In the command center of this covert campaign, video feeds from a drone over the target have allowed commanders to witness real-time the cruise missiles’ impact.

The campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen is thus far more ambitious than has been disclosed. No element in the campaign is new. What is new is their integration — CIA, “white” and “black” special operations forces, and conventional forces — into a unified effort under a single command.

The concept behind the operation took shape during Petraeus’ spell running Central Command from fall 2008 to mid-2010. After Petraeus shifted last summer to take over the effort in Afghanistan, the campaign was amped up by JSOC commander Vice Admiral William McRaven and Michael Vickers, the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Intelligence (and a veteran of both US Special Forces and the CIA’s Special Activities Division). At the CIA, Director Leon Panetta vigorously backed their efforts — which is one reason why Obama picked Panetta to succeed Gates.

Petraeus was likely referring very obliquely to the Yemen campaign when, at his confirmation hearing, he talked of the need to combat the network of al Qaeda “franchises” — the Yemen-based spinoff from Osama bin Laden by far the most threatening — with “networks of our own.”

“One of the major developments since 9/11 has been the establishment of this network, in many cases led by the Joint Special Operations Command of the military, but with very, very good partnering with elements of the Central Intelligence Agency, other elements of the intelligence community, and in fact with conventional military forces, the white SOF as well as the special mission units,” Petraeus told senators.

The focus of the Yemen campaign is counterterrorism. That’s the mission of the Joint Special Operations Command. But the integrating principle behind it has been applied in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One reason the Pakistan military has tolerated the CIA’s rain of drone strikes against Afghan insurgents grouping in Pakistan is that, according to a knowledgeable source, the drones have saved Pakistani lives. In the Pakistan army’s big 2008 offensive into the rugged lands along its border with Afghanistan, special forces teams accompanied the advance, taking downloads on their laptops from CIA drones circling overhead to warn the lead Pakistani units of ambushes in waiting ahead of them. Despite worsening relations between Pakistan and Washington, information from drone surveillance is still being fed to the Pakistan military.

In Afghanistan, the combination of CIA-run assets and night raids by “black” special operations forces are reckoned to have decimated the ranks of the Taliban’s field commanders. Several thousand “white” special operations forces are, meanwhile, feverishly training up Afghan soldiers.

The conflict in Yemen is far from over — its future complicated now by the near civil war against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who gave the go-ahead for the US campaign against the al-Qaeda branch in his country.

But within the Pentagon, there is growing interest in the campaign as a possible harbinger of a new sort of warfare.

Nobody thinks the days of high-intensity conventional warfare are past. Impending challenges like Iran and North Korea, and potential future challenges by, say, China, would tax the full panoply of American military capabilities.

Equally, though, whatever America’s present war-weariness, nobody believes that Afghanistan will be the last “small war” that US forces will be sent to fight. For those conflicts, the Yemen campaign — enabled essentially by the revolution of real-time surveillance of the battlefield — may offer a new and less costly way to fight.

Winding down the US commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan will save billions. But it’s prudent to expect that America’s forces will remain engaged around the world — albeit less visibly.

Admiral Eric Olson, the former SEAL who is soon to retire as commander of Special Operations Command (SOCOM) — the umbrella command for both “white” and “black” special forces — has noted that special forces have nearly doubled in number in the decade since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, their budget has nearly tripled, and their overseas deployments have quadrupled.

The Special Operations Command’s overall strength now stands at roughly 60,000, according to spokesman Kenneth McGraw. Of these, some 13,000 were deployed last week, he said, in 79 countries.

That’s a lot of activity that most Americans can’t see. And it gives Petraeus and Panetta — as they swap agencies — the foundation for designing a new blueprint for covert warfare.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Comment
John Barry seems to report from a perspective that accepts US military intervention in foreign lands as a, “national security” necessity. However, Barry does a poor job of examining the potential dangers of using military force as a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Nonetheless, Barry does a good job of illustrating where the process is going.
— Editor / Reader Supported News

Libya’s Mysterious Rebel Leaders: Undemocratic? Islamic? Pro-Israel?

June 29th, 2011 - by admin

Philippe Wojazer / RFI & Anissa Haddadi / Agence France-Presse & International Business Times – 2011-06-29 02:52:01

http://allafrica.com/stories/201106141859.html

Libya’s Anti-Kadhafi Rebels No Democrats, Report Claims
Philippe Wojazer / RFI & Reuters

(June 27, 2011) — The anti-Kadhafi uprising in Libya is neither democratic nor spontaneous, according to a delegation, which visited the country last month. Their report, published by two French-based thinktanks, claims the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) wants to impose Islamic sharia law and that the uprising is motivated by regional resentment and vindictiveness.

While condemning Moamer Kadhafi’s regime, the group says that “true democrats” are a minority in the TNC, which has been recognised by France and a number of other countries.

The group, organised by French thinktanks Ciret-AVT and CF2R, visited Tripoli and Tripolitania, under the control of Moamer Kadhafi’s forces, and rebel-controlled Benghazi and Cyrenaica in April. It included former French intelligence chief Yves Bonnet, former Algerian minister Saida Ben Habyles and Franco-Bulgarian writer Roumania Ougartchinska.

The democrats are working alongside monarchists, radical Islamists and Kadhafi regime defectors, like the council’s chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a former justice minister who twice confirmed the death sentences passed on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for allegedly deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV.

And, the observers point out, only 13 of the 31 TNC members’ names have been made public, with representatives of the west of the country, most of which is under Kadhafi’s control, kept secret for “debatable” reasons.

Despite its dubious past, the Kadhafi regime may have been trying to reform, according to the report, thanks largely to Kadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam. It points out that a new constitution was being planned with the help of well-known intellectuals who were members of the Kadhafi Foundation, including US academics Francis Fukuyama, Joseph Nye and Benjamin Barber and the UK’s Anthony Giddens.

The movement is “an armed uprising of the east of the country… which tries to present itself as part of the Arab ‘spring,’ with which it has nothing in common,” their report says.

The report seems most concerned at the threat of establishing a base for Islamists in the region.

Article I of the CNT’s National Charter states that sharia should be the basis of the country’s laws and the report claims that the Libyan Islamic Combatant Group and Al-Qaeda both claim to have fought against Kadhafi’s forces during the uprising.

The revolt has inspired three to four million migrant workers to flee the country, “at a time when their own countries are suffering a high level of unemployment,” it says, adding that “all blacks in eastern Libya were considered to be mercenaries in the service of Kadhafi.”

And it dubs the Western intervention in the country “adventurist,” threatening to destabilise Africa and the Middle East by providing a base for radical Islamism in the region.

NATO air strikes have hit a hospital in Mizda, wounding about 40 civilians and Korean doctors, and other non-military targets in Misrata and Ziaouia, the report adds.

Accusing France, the UK and the US of going much further than the UN resolution authorising air strikes allowed, the delegation says that secret services were operating in the country before the motion was passed and continued to do so afterwards.

France, in particular, could lose business and influence in Libya if Kadhafi is not overthrown, thanks to an “exaggeration” of its role in supporting the rebels both in Paris and Beghazi, it claims.


Libyan Rebels Seek Diplomatic Ties with Israel Says French Writer
Anissa Haddadi / Agence France-Presse & International Business Times

(June 2, 2011) — As the news that 270 people went missing after a fishing boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy broke down just off the Tunisian coast hit, French writer Bernard Henri Levy announced he delivered a message on Thursday from Libyan rebel leaders to Israel’s premier saying they would seek diplomatic ties with Israel if they came to power.

Levy told AFP he passed on the verbal message from Libya’s National Transitional Council during a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

“The main point was that the future Libyan regime would be moderate and anti-terrorist and will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel,” Levy said. “The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel,” he added.

Levy a French philosopher and writer, who helped engineer France’s recognition of Libya’s fledgling rebel authority, visited the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata last weekend.

Talking about his encounter with the Israeli Prime minister he said that Netanyahu “did not appear surprised” at the content of the Libyan message.

Netanyahu’s office confirmed the meeting with the French writer and philosopher but refused to further comment on the discussion. “The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals,” a spokesman said.

In early March, Levy went to the eastern Libyan town of Benghazi, days after its capture by rebel forces.
While Levy went to eastern Libya and visited Benghazi in early March, he met members of newly formed National Transitional Council and arranged for some of them to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on March 10.

Following the meeting with the rebel representative, France became the first country to recognise the provisional body as legitimate and to call for NATO’s involvement.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Libya Unveils Its Latest Weapon against NATO: Women at Arms

June 28th, 2011 - by admin

David Smith / The Guardian – 2011-06-28 01:03:41

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/26/libya-weapon-nato-women

TRIPOLI (June 26, 2011) — Screaming and chanting his name, the 500 women and girls vowed their undying love for one man. Not a pop star or Hollywood actor, but Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

“Kill all the people in Libya first, then come for Muammar Gaddafi,” said 14-year-old Fatima Hassan. “I will kill myself if Muammar Gaddafi is killed. I know our people will kill themselves if he dies.”

The event in Tripoli on Sunday was billed as a graduation ceremony for women who had been given weapons training in defence of the regime. Around 50 international journalists, invited and escorted by government minders, arrived to find them clapping, singing, ululating, punching the air and waving green flags in a tented hall set up with chandeliers and two colossal flatscreen TVs.

There were elderly women and little girls in the hall, and every age in between. Some held aloft pictures of a luminous Gaddafi, one framed in green Christmas tinsel. A woman waved a green flag and wore a sparkly green cape, green scarf and green bandana with badges showing Gaddafi’s face. Next to her was a woman wearing a watch that displayed his image.

Reporters pondered whether the event had been stage managed entirely for their benefit. The Gaddafi groupies painted the first dozen rows green, but behind them were hundreds of empty seats. Outside was a rattle of gunfire as some enthusiastic graduates fired their new weapons into the air with little regard for where the ammunition might land.

There was also much idolatry, most of all from the teenager Fatima, who said her father is an engineer and she attended an international school near Edgware Road in London. “We love Muammar Gaddafi and we want to save our country,” she said.

“He made us happy. He makes us eat and makes the country free to do what we want. Before, we weren’t free. My grandparents tell us that before Gaddafi, it was bad, there was no bread. He saved us.”

Pledging to fight for the man depicted on her necklace, she explained: “There are no women and children now.”

Fatima claimed her five brothers have gone to fight for the regime against rebels in Benghazi and Misrata. Asked how she would feel if they were killed, she replied: “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. It’s for the leader.”

With government minders hovering nearby, there was similar fervour from Habib Abdul Qasem, 39, a nanny dressed in military fatigues. “Of course I will defend myself and my country,” she said. “We are an armed nation; everyone in this country has weapons. I keep a gun in my house. I’ve never used it but if the conditions change I will use it against the Crusasders.”

Nadia Ali, 30, an unemployed interior designer, added: “We want a Libya that’s strong. Muammar Gaddafi is our father. There is some problem in the rebels’ head. Muammar Gaddafi is a good man who loves the Libyan people. He gave us something.”

Gaddafi’s detail of female bodyguards has become the stuff of legend during his near 42-year rule. It is not yet clear what role the newly-trained women will play militarily and whether they could be pressed into action if the Libyan army is overstretched.

Moussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said: “Libyan women are now joining the armed forces against NATO. We are training them. Their main role is defending homes. We have no plan to send them to the front line. They are not trained for that, and our army is very effective.”

But he added with a rhetorical flourish: “We are going to make sure that every mother, the symbol of love and creation, is a bomb, a killing machine.”

Ibrahim insisted that the regime is stronger than ever and there has been no discussion of surrender. “We are prepared to give 1.2m weapons away and we have been training many, many, many ordinary Libyans.”

The set piece over, journalists were shepherded back to their official bus, but it remained stationary for long minutes as the celebratory gunfire came ever closer. There was growing anxiety on board over the potential for stray bullets. When this was expressed to a government minder, he replied tartly: “Your planes are bombing the Libyan people and you are afraid of a bullet?”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Don’t Believe Everything You See and Read about Gaddafi

June 28th, 2011 - by admin

Patrick Cockburn / The Independent – 2011-06-28 01:01:48

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-dont-believe-everything-you-see-and-read-about-gaddafi-2302830.html

Don’t Believe Everything You See and Read about Gaddafi
Patrick Cockburn / The Independent

LONDON (June 26, 2011) — In the first months of the Arab Spring, foreign journalists got well-merited credit for helping to foment and publicise popular uprisings against the region’s despots. Satellite TV stations such as Al Jazeera Arabic, in particular, struck at the roots of power in Arab police states, by making official censorship irrelevant and by competing successfully against government propaganda.

Regimes threatened by change have, since those early days, paid backhanded compliments to the foreign media by throwing correspondents out of countries where they would like to report and by denying them visas to come back in.

Trying to visit Yemen earlier this year, I was told that not only was there no chance of my being granted a journalist’s visa, but that real tourists — amazingly there is a trickle of such people wanting to see the wonders of Yemen — were being turned back at Sanaa airport on the grounds that they must secretly be journalists.

The Bahrain government has an even meaner trick: give a visa to a journalist at a Bahraini embassy abroad and deny him entry when his plane lands.

It has taken time for this policy of near total exclusion to take hold, but it means that, today, foreign journalistic coverage of Syria, Yemen and, to a lesser extent, Bahrain is usually long-distance, reliant on cellphone film of demonstrations and riots which cannot be verified.

I was in Tehran earlier this year and failed to see any demonstrations in the centre of the city, though there were plenty of riot police standing about. I was therefore amazed to find a dramatic video on YouTube dated, so far as I recall, 27 February, showing a violent demonstration. Then I noticed the protesters in the video were wearing only shirts though it was wet and freezing in Tehran and the men I could see in the streets were in jackets. Presumably somebody had redated a video shot in the summer of 2009 when there were prolonged riots.

With so many countries out of bounds, journalists have flocked to Benghazi, in Libya, which can be reached from Egypt without a visa. Alternatively they go to Tripoli, where the government allows a carefully monitored press corps to operate under strict supervision. Having arrived in these two cities, the ways in which the journalists report diverge sharply.

Everybody reporting out of Tripoli expresses understandable scepticism about what government minders seek to show them as regards civilian casualties caused by Nato air strikes or demonstrations of support for Gaddafi. By way of contrast, the foreign press corps in Benghazi, capital of the rebel-held territory, shows surprising credulity towards more subtle but equally self-serving stories from the rebel government or its sympathizers.

Ever since the Libyan uprising started on 15 February, the foreign media have regurgitated stories of atrocities carried out by Gaddafi’s forces. It is now becoming clear that reputable human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been unable to find evidence for the worst of these. For instance, they could find no credible witnesses to the mass rapes said to have been ordered by Gaddafi. Foreign mercenaries supposedly recruited by Gaddafi and shown off to the press were later quietly released when they turned out to be undocumented laborers from central and West Africa.

The crimes for which there is proof against Gaddafi are more prosaic, such as the bombardment of civilians in Misrata who have no way to escape. There is also proof of the shooting of unarmed protesters and people at funerals early on in the uprising. Amnesty estimates that some 100-110 people were killed in Benghazi and 59-64 in Baida, though it warns that some of the dead may have been government supporters.

The Libyan insurgents were adept at dealing with the press from an early stage and this included skilful propaganda to put the blame for unexplained killings on the other side. One story, to which credence was given by the foreign media early on in Benghazi, was that eight to 10 government troops who refused to shoot protesters were executed by their own side. Their bodies were shown on TV. But Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty International, says there is strong evidence for a different explanation. She says amateur video shows them alive after they had been captured, suggesting it was the rebels who killed them.

It is a weakness of journalists that they give wide publicity to atrocities, evidence for which may be shaky when first revealed. But when the stories turn out to be untrue or exaggerated, they rate scarcely a mention.

But atrocity stories develop a life of their own and have real, and sometimes fatal, consequences long after the basis for them is deflated. Earlier in the year in Benghazi I spoke to refugees, mostly oil workers from Brega, an oil port in the Gulf of Sirte, which had been captured by Gaddafi forces. One of the reasons they had fled was that they believed their wives and daughters were in danger of being raped by foreign mercenaries. They knew about this threat from watching satellite TV.

It is all credit to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that they have taken a sceptical attitude to atrocities until proven. Contrast this responsible attitude with that of Hillary Clinton or the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who blithely suggested that Gaddafi was using rape as a weapon of war to punish the rebels.

Equally irresponsible would be a decision by the ICC to prosecute Gaddafi and his lieutenants, thus making it far less likely that Gaddafi can be eased out of power without a fight to the finish. This systematic demonization of Gaddafi – a brutal despot he may be, but not a monster on the scale of Saddam Hussein – also makes it difficult to negotiate a ceasefire with him, though he is the only man who can deliver one.

There is nothing particularly surprising about the rebels in Benghazi making things up or producing dubious witnesses to Gaddafi’s crimes. They are fighting a war against a despot whom they fear and hate and they will understandably use black propaganda as a weapon of war. But it does show naivety on the part of the foreign media, who almost universally sympathize with the rebels, that they swallow whole so many atrocity stories fed to them by the rebel authorities and their sympathizers.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.


Gaddafi — Our Best Enemy.
Documentary

(May 12, 2011) — Born in a tent in the Libyan desert, this Arab nationalist gained notoriety at 27 after toppling King Idris I. He went on to survive revolts, military strikes and embargoes while showing a knack for playing to Western interests, namely geopolitical security and oil reserves. It’s no surprise many of the interviews about hidden dealings are tainted by realpolitik. These personal accounts from key players are fascinating foray into the diplomatic world of riddles, theatrics and
hidden agendas.

Top Admiral Admits US Goal: Illegal Assassination of Head of State

June 28th, 2011 - by admin

The Cable: Foreign Policy.com & Congressional Research Service – 2011-06-28 00:55:50

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/24/exclusive_top_us_admiral_admits_we_are_trying_to_kill_qaddafi

Exclusive: Top US admiral admits we are trying to kill Qaddafi
Josh Rogin / The Cable: Foreign Policy.com

(June 24, 2011) — The top US admiral involved in the Libya war admitted to a US congressman that NATO forces are trying to kill Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. The same admiral also said he anticipated the need for ground troops in Libya after Qaddafi falls, according to the lawmaker.

House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner (R-OH) told The Cable that US Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command in Naples, Italy, told him last month that NATO forces are actively targeting and trying to kill Qaddafi, despite the fact that the Obama administration continues to insist that “regime change” is not the goal and is not authorized by the UN mandate authorizing the war.

“The UN authorization had three components: blockade, no fly zone, and civil protection. And Admiral Locklear explained that the scope of civil protection was being interpreted to permit the removal of the chain of command of Qaddafi’s military, which includes Qaddafi,” Turner said. “He said that currently is the mission as NATO has defined.”

“I believed that we were [targeting Qaddafi] but that confirmed it,” Turner said. “I believe the scope that NATO is pursuing is beyond what is contemplated in civil protection, so they’re exceeding the mission.”

Later in the same briefing, Turner said, Locklear maintained that the NATO mission does not include regime change. “Well, certainly if you remove Qaddafi it will affect regime change,” Turner said that he replied. “[Locklear] did not have an answer to that.”

Locklear also said that, upon Qaddafi’s removal, ground troops would be needed during the immediate period of instability, Turner said. In fact, Locklear said publicly that a “small force” might be necessary following the collapse of the Qaddafi regime in a May 30 conference in Varna, Bulgaria.

Turner joined hundreds of other lawmakers in voting against authorizing the Libya war on Friday morning. The authorization resolution was defeated 123 to 297. A subsequent vote on a bill to defund the Libya mission also failed 180-238.

Turner has been opposed to the Libya war from the start and even introduced a resolution opposing the effort. For him, Friday’s chaotic Libya debate was a direct result of the administration’s neglect and disrespect of Congress throughout the debate over the mission.

“The president hasn’t come to Congress and said any of this, and yet Admiral Locklear is pursuing the targeting of Qaddafi’s regime, Qaddafi himself, and contemplating ground troops following Qaddafi’s removal,” Turner said. “They’re not being straightforward with Congress… It’s outrageous.”

Ignoring Congress allowed the administration to ignore the large, looming questions about the Libya war that congressmen are asking — especially today, as another vote to defund the mission looms before the House next month, when the defense appropriations bill is set to be debated. But if the House does vote to defund the mission, Turner said, Obama will have nobody to blame but himself.

“I believe that this administration has handled this so badly, that if they had come to Congress, I think they would have done more of their homework. They have not done a full assessment of their mission, its scope, or the consequences if they’re successful. Congress would have required that,” Turner said. “Now it’s a little late.”


American Law and Policy on Assassinations of Foreign Leaders: The Practicality of Maintaining the Status Quo
Nathan Canestaro / Law Digital Commons

Abstract
Suspending the ban on assassinations-as established in Executive Order 12333-serves no practical purpose. The Executive Order is not an obstacle to effective prosecution of the War on Terrorism; in fact, its reach is very limited. Although common sense might suggest that “assassination” equates with the targeted killing of a specific individual, the term is in fact a legal term of art with a very narrow definition derived from the Law of War.

As a result, Executive Order 12333 only prohibits a very narrow spectrum of attacks in wartime or against clear threats to national security. As the United States has not typically engaged such means to attack “leadership targets” for several decades, publicly rescinding the offer now would grant no more freedom to act and only would serve to undermine the United States’ public diplomacy abroad.

Recommended Citation
Nathan Canestaro, American Law and Policy on Assassinations of Foreign Leaders: The Practicality of Maintaining the Status Quo, 26 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2003), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/iclr/vol26/iss1/2


Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333:
A Brief Summary

Elizabeth B. Bazan Legislative Attorney American Law Division / Congressional Research Service

WASHINGTON (January 4, 2002) — In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon, some attention has been focused upon the assassination ban contained in Executive Order (E.O.) 12333, Section 2.11, and whether it would prohibit the United States from responding to the attacks by targeting those who orchestrated these acts of terrorism.

In considering the challenges involved in effectively combating terrorism and protecting the United States from future terrorist attacks, there has been wide-ranging debate as to what approaches might be beneficial. Part of that discussion has centered around whether assassination of terrorist leaders is, or should be, one of the options available. This report offers a summary discussion of the assassination ban in E.O. 12333, its context, and possible interpretations of its scope.

On December 4, 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 on “United States Intelligence Activities.” Section 2.11 of the order provides: “Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” Section 2.12 of the order prohibits indirect participation in activities prohibited by the order, stating: “Indirect participation. No agency of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this Order.” E.O. 12333 is still in force.

E.O. 12333 is the latest in a series of three executive orders, which included assassination bans. The first, Executive Order 11905, Sec. 5(g),1 41 Fed. Reg. 7703, 7733 (President Gerald Ford, 2/19/76), was part of an executive order issued by President Ford in response to concerns raised in the 1970’s with respect to alleged abuses by the U.S. intelligence community.

A select committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (the Church Committee), in its interim report, addressed allegations of possible U.S. involvement in assassination plots against certain foreign leaders. In its recommendations section, the Church Committee condemned assassination and rejected it as an instrument of American policy. 2

The assassination ban in E.O. 11905 was superseded by Executive Order 12036, Sec. 2-305 (assassination prohibition) and Sec. 2-309 (indirect participation prohibition),3 43 Fed. Reg. 3674, 3688, 3689 (President Jimmy Carter, 1/26/78). The pertinent provisions in President Reagan’s E.O. 12333, in turn, superseded those in President Carter’s order.

What does the assassination ban in E.O. 12333 cover?
The term “assassination” is not defined in E.O. 12333, nor was it defined in the predecessor orders. 4 In general, it appears that an assassination may be viewed as an intentional killing of a targeted individual committed for political purposes. However, the scope of the term seems to be the subject of differing interpretations, both generally, and depending upon whether the killing at issue took place in time of war or in time of peace.

For example, it might be contended that the Ford executive order and its successors were responding to concerns raised with respect to killing of foreign officials or heads of state, and may not have been intended to extend to killing of others. Such an interpretation would be consistent with the focus of the Church Committee’s investigation, to which the Ford executive order responded.

In his “Special Message to the Congress Proposing Legislation To Reform the United States Foreign Intelligence Community,” (Special Message to Congress) delivered Feb. 18, 1976, accompanying the issuance of E.O. 11905, President Ford did not refer to the assassination ban in the order explicitly, but did indicate that he would “support legislation making it a crime to assassinate or attempt or conspire to assassinate a foreign official in peacetime.” 5

President Carter made only a passing reference to the assassination ban in his statement accompanying issuance of E.O. 12036,6 and did not refer to it in his remarks on signing the executive order.

Nor did President Reagan reference the assassination ban in his “Statement on United States Intelligence Activities” of Dec. 4, 1981, accompanying the issuance of E.O. 12333.7

Others might argue for a broader interpretation of the assassination ban, contending that any killing of a targeted individual for political purposes would be within the assassination ban in the sweep of the Ford, Carter, and Reagan executive orders. Alternatively, it might be suggested that the assassination ban’s inclusion within an executive order on U.S. intelligence activities may serve to distinguish it from, and limit its applicability to, a use of military force in response to a foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil or against U.S. nationals.

Such an argument might place reliance on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which recognizes that nations have an inherent right of self-defense:
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The right of the United States to defend itself against armed attack has been the focus of some of the recent debate as the United States considers its options in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 .8

In the process of rewriting the U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, The Law of War, a “Memorandum of Law: EO 12333 and Assassination” (hereinafter Memorandum of Law 27-1a) was prepared to explain the term “assassination” in the context of military operations.

In , it is suggested that, in time of peace, an element of covert action or surprise attack may be required for a killing for political purposes to be deemed an assassination, particularly where the target is a private individual rather than a public figure or national leader. The murder for political purposes of a national leader in time of peace may be regarded by some as an assassination solely because of the target, while others might also consider whether a surprise attack was involved.

For example, the 1978 “poisoned-tip umbrella” killing of Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov by Bulgarian State Security agents on the streets of London falls into the category of an act of murder carried out for political purposes, and constitutes an assassination. In contrast, the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a private citizen, by the terrorist Abu el Abbas during the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, though an act of murder for political purposes, would not constitute an assassination.

The distinction lies not merely in the purpose of the act and/or its intended victim, but also under certain circumstances in its covert nature.

Finally, the killing of Martin Luther King and Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy generally are regarded as assassination because each involved the murder of a public figure or national leader for political purposes accomplished through a surprise attack. 9

In time of war, assassination appears to be distinguished in some discussions from cases of lawful killing, because the former is carried out in a “treacherous” manner. 10

“Treacherous” is not defined in the Hague Convention IV, but does not appear to be interpreted to foreclose operations in time of war involving the element of surprise.11 However, putting a price on the head of an enemy appears to be regarded by some as an act which would render a resulting killing an assassination, as distinguished from a lawful attack on legitimate military targets, including the enemy chain of command. 12

A review of historical discussions of assassination suggests that this may be, in part, because by putting a price on the head of an enemy, one could be encouraging treachery by those close to the target. 13

Can the President revoke the assassination ban in E.O. 12333?
As it is part of an executive order, the President may modify or rescind the assassination ban in E.O. 12333, Section 2.11, by executive order. Except in specific circumstances, an executive order revoking a previous order would have to be published in the Federal Register under 44 U.S.C. § 1505(a) if it is deemed to be an order of general applicability.

However, under 44 U.S.C. § 1505(c):
In the event of an attack or threatened attack upon the continental United States and a determination by the President that as a result of an attack or threatened attack — (1) publication of the Federal Register or filing of documents with the Office of the Federal Register is impracticable, or (2) under existing conditions publication in the Federal Register would not serve to give appropriate notice to the public of the contents of documents, the President may, without regard to any other provision of law, suspend all or part of the requirements of law or regulation for filing with the Office or publication in the Federal Register of documents or classes of documents.

Such a suspension would remain in effect until revoked by the President or by concurrent resolution of Congress.

Can Congress revoke the assassination ban in E.O. 12333?
To the extent that an executive order relies upon statutory authority, Congress may also legislate to modify or repeal it. In issuing E.O.12333, President Reagan relied upon the authority vested in him “by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, including the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and as President of the United States of America, in order to provide for the effective conduct of United States intelligence activities and the protection of constitutional rights.”

While there is no express parallel to E.O.12333’s assassination ban in federal statutes, there is a provision in 18 U.S.C. § 1116 which provides criminal penalties for murder, manslaughter, or attempted murder or manslaughter of foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons. 14

This section applies to murder, manslaughter, or attempted murder or manslaughter committed within the United States. In addition, the U.S. may exercise jurisdiction over such acts committed against internationally protected persons outside the United States if “(1) the victim is a representative, officer, employee, or agent of the United States, (2) an offender is a national of the United States, or (3) an offender is afterwards found in the United States.” 15

“Internationally protected person” is defined to mean “a Chief of State or the political equivalent, head of government, or Foreign Minister whenever such person is in a country other than his own and any member of his family accompanying him;” or “any other representative, officer, employee, or agent of the United States Government, a foreign government, or international organization who at the time and place concerned is entitled pursuant to international law to special protection against attack upon his person, freedom, or dignity, and any member of his family then forming part of his household.” 16

“International organization” is defined to mean “a public international organization designated as such pursuant to section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288) or a public organization created pursuant to treaty or other agreement under international law as an instrument through or by which two or more foreign governments engage in some aspect of their conduct of international affairs.” 17 “International organization” does not appear to encompass terrorist organizations or networks, nor does “internationally protected person” appear to reach the leaders of such organizations or networks.

The earliest version of this provision was first added in 1972, P.L. 92-539, Title I, Section 101 (Oct. 24, 1972), 86 Stat. 1071, which predates the Ford executive order. However, it was not referenced by President Ford in his Special Message to Congress accompanying issuance of E.O. 11905. Repeal or modification of 18 U.S.C. § 1116 would not necessarily have any clear bearing on the scope of the assassination ban in E.O. 12333. On the other hand, recent joint resolutions of Congress, discussed presently, may pertain.

Role of Congress/Legislation
On Friday, September 14, 2001, both the House and the Senate passed joint resolutions, S.J.Res. 23 and H.J. Res. 64, authorizing the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.” 18

In addition, the “Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.” 19

S. J. Res 23 was signed by the President, and became P.L. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224 (Sept. 18, 2001). This law makes no explicit reference to the assassination ban in E.O. 12333, section 2.11.

However, if the assassination ban were to be interpreted to cover U.S. responses to terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the breadth of the authority provided by these joint resolutions might be viewed as sufficient, insofar as U.S. responses to the events of September 11, 2001 are concerned, to encompass actions that might otherwise be prohibited under the assassination ban.

Other legislation has been introduced to expressly revoke the express prohibition against assassination in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan executive orders. See, e.g., H.R. 19 (introduced 1/3/01 and referred to House Committee on International Relations).

$20 Billion: Annual Cost for Air Conditioning Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

June 28th, 2011 - by admin

Daily Mail Reporter – 2011-06-28 00:46:27

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2008422/U-S-military-spends-cool-20billion-air-conditioning-annually-Iraq-Afghanistan.html?ITO=1490

US Military Spends a Cool $20 Billion on Air Conditioning Annually in Iraq and Afghanistan
Daily Mail Reporter

LONDON (June 26, 2011) — The US military forks out a whopping $20.2billion a year on keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan cool, it has emerged. The alarming figure is more than NASA’s entire annual budget and trumps the amount the G-8 has pledged to aid Egypt and Tunisia. It’s even more than the clean up cost of BPs Gulf oil spill.

Why?

An air conditioning unit at a remote Afghanistan outpost takes a gallon of fuel, which soon goes in the searing 125 degree heat.

This has to be shipped into Karachi, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to the war-torn country on atrociously bad roads.

‘And you’ve got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way,’ Steven Anderson, a retired brigadier general who served as General David Patreaus’ chief logistician in Iraq, told National Public Radio (NPR).

Fuel convoys remain key targets for attack, and according to Anderson, more than 1,000 troops have died while delivering vital supplies.

For Anderson the military would save money by going green. He claims experiments with polyurethane foam insulation tents in Iraq cut energy use by a staggering 92 per cent, taking 11,000 fuel convoys off the road.

But getting the top commanders to embrace change has been hard. ‘People look at it and say “It’s not my lane. We don’t need to tie the operational commanders’ hands” — things like this,’ he said. A simple policy signed by the secretary of defense — a one or two-page memo, saying we will no longer build anything other than energy-efficient structures in Iraq and Afghanistan would have a profound impact.’

It was thought President Obama’s decision to bring 30,000 American troops home soon would act as a relief on the coffers. But according to experts, the savings made by the withdrawal do not equal the $30 billion cost of putting the soldiers there in the first place.

‘What history has told us is that you don’t see a proportional decrease in spending based on the number of troops when you draw them down,’ Chris Hellman, a senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project, said. ‘In Afghanistan that’s going to be particularly true because it’s a very difficult and austere environment in which to operate.’

The infrastructure being built in Iraq is the main expense, according to American University professor Gordon Adams. ‘We’re building big bases,’ the costs of which are ‘sunk’ costs, he said. ‘We’re seeing this in Iraq. We’re turning over to the Iraqis — mostly either for a small penny or for free — the infrastructure that we built in Iraq. But we won’t see back any money from that infrastructure,’ he added.

The Obama administration has also requested $13 billion to train and equip Afghan security forces in the next year. But Afghan president Hamid Karzai also hinted a couple of years ago that Afghanistan would be in no position to support its own forces 15 even 20 years from now.

It’s likely the US will pick up that bill as well.

However critics claim the military is not the biggest cost coming out of Washington. Lawrence Kaplan, a visiting professor at the US Army War College said Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security swallow far more than the Pentagon’s $107 billion budget for Afghanistan next year.

Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd. Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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