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Thursday, August 13, 2009

JAGO MOHAN PYARE : Defence hospitals to open four labs to test swine flu cases

Military hospitals will join the civilian efforts to test and treat patients in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore from Thursday as swine flu cases kept rising in the country.

Four laboratories will be opened at the military hospitals in these cities where tests on suspected swine flu cases will be conducted, Defence Ministry sources said on Wednesday.

The move comes after a senior Health Ministry official placed a request for help to manage the crisis in these major cities arising out of swine flu outbreak.

The military hospital doctors too would help in treating patients admitted in civilian hospitals in these cities, the sources said.

"We will join the efforts of civilian hospitals immediately," they said.

However, they said military hospitals did not possess testing kits, which they expected to get by tomorrow, either on their own or with Health Ministry supplies. "We had anticipated such a situation and have identified suppliers of both testing kits and medicines. We will certainly use our resources to good use in this hour of crisis," they said.

 http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=IndiaSectionPage&id=0ecc93ca-bb6d-4a49-b35a-4c0cbc01fffe&ParentID=f37270e2-db35-49ee-b9a

A serious matter that indicates conspiracy against public (info for all)

1. The Agriculture Minister alarmed the country by making a statement in Lok Sabha that sugar production was going to drop drastically.
2. A visit to the website of the Indian Sugar Mills Association on 4.8.2009, however, showed that the sugar situation was going to be comfortable. The reference of the webpage is :http://www.indiansugar.com/briefings/index.htm
3.As the statement of ISMA on the said page was not dated, a query was made on 4.8.2009 by email, seeking clarification on the same.
4. As no reply was received, a reminder was sent on 6.8.2009 and 7.8.2009. Kindly see both the emails attached.
5. Surprisingly, on the same day, i.e. 6.8.2009(GMT), the contents of the page were completely replaced by some other news item about release of 16.5 lakh tons of sugar by the centre in Aug. You may see the cached page by a google query which shows the cache snapshot as on 6.8.2009. (attached)
6. No reply is received to the email query till date.
7. This is very intriguing and serious as the matter is of utmost importance to the people.
8. It appears that there is a systematic effort on the part of the industry combined with concerned politicians to spread wrong information to the public otherwise there was no reason for ISMA to suddenly remove the sugar situation comfortable statement and replace it with another statement crediting govt. with release of sugar.
9. Unfortunately, the original page is no longer there on the website.
In greater public interest, it is imperative that the media investigates this matter thoroughly by confronting ISMA in the first instance and then following up with other investigations in the light of the findings.
This matter is being brought to your notice by an alert citizen and it is sincerely hoped that you will also respond as any responsible media should.
R Swamy
SOURCE : WHISPERS IN CORRIDORS

Balochistan civil war unnerves Pakistan

Any talk of granting democratic, human and development rights to the people of Balochistan, struggling to shake off the yoke of Islamabad 's rule for decades, touches a raw nerve in the military-political establishment. Pakistan has still not recovered from the shock of the Khan of Kalat choosing independence over accession to Pakistan in the wake of the partition in 1947. He was forced to sign an accession paper after his palace was bombed by the Pakistan Air Force, making it clear he was doing so under duress and to ensure autonomy for Balochistan.
Ever since Islamabad has launched four major military campaigns against the Baloch people, killing thousands, but has failed to subdue them. They have been denied full autonomy, a fair share of development and resources and control of their natural wealth. They have opposed fundamentalism and attempts to bring them under the control of the mullahs, whom Gen Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf had promoted. Islamabad has pushed in Al Qaeda and the Taliban into the province as a safe haven for operations against the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan , the people detest the presence of such foreign elements, as also the Army garrisons stationed in the province to continue military suppression of the nationalist forces.
To cover up its failure to integrate the Balochs, Pakistan has been looking for scapegoats and a hidden "Indian hand" for what is happening in Balochistan, with nationalists battling the Army and sabotaging vital communication links and the gas supply pipelines to show their resentment. The people continue to languish in poverty and ignorance, with little hope of relief with Islamabad having decided to tighten its military control. An informal media censorship has been clamped and nobody knows how many Baloch nationalists and Army personnel are getting killed in the continuing clashes.
Several Baloch leaders have even been critical of India for not promoting the cause of freedom and nationalism of the Baloch people, who are denied their fundamental freedoms, human rights and the right to conduct their own affairs, without outside interference. Balochistan is Pakistan 's largest province, comprising 43 percent of its territory, but with only 6.5 million inhabitants. The Baloch's now comprise nearly 50 per cent of the people as many of them have been forced to migrate to other provinces in search of livelihood. The literacy rate of the province is only 5 per cent, while it provides 80 per cent of Pakistan 's natural gas, saving Islamabad at least $ 350million annually, while getting a meager $ 1.5 million for it as royalty. Most of the natural gas is sent out and even capital city of Quetta does not get supplies for domestic use.
As regards unemployment, there are hardly any industries to provide the same. The development of Gwadar strategic port along the Makran coast being built by the Chinese and its housing infrastructure has occupied most of the coastal area, which was used for fishing. Even this activity has been hampered as fishermen have been asked to vacate their huts. Out of the 830 civilian officers in the province, less than 12 per cent are Baloch. Of the 20 administrative departments, only one is headed by a Baloch and the rest come mainly form Punjab province. The private sector of the economy, trade, contractors, land development for housing etc is in the hands of non-Balochs, who reap all the benefits, leaving the locals high and dry.
Thus, economically, Balochistan is the most backward province of Pakistan and during sixty years of Pakistan 's independence, there has been no significant socio-economic changes. Of the nearly 40,000 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary, only 500 are from the province. Only 3 per cent of the coast guards are ethnic Balochs; 62 per cent are from Punjab . Matters came to a head when former Prime Minister Z. A. Bhutto dismissed the provincial government headed by Sarder Attaullah Mengal, leading to the outbreak of civil war. Led by the Baloch Peoples Liberation Front and Balochi Students Organisation, some 10,000 guerrillas took on six division of the Pakistan Army, which was provided close air support, Napalm was used to destroy Baloch tribes' most valuable economic asset, their livestock.
As many as 5,300 Baloch nationalists, 3,300 Pakistani troops and tens and thousands of civilians were killed in the desperate fighting which dragged on until Bhutto was overthrown. Political engagement would have offered a way out, but the Pakistan Army was not interested. At the core of the problem was Army's efforts to remove the tribal sardars and replace them with its favourite Islamists. Balochistan and NWFP came under the rule of ultra-right Muttahida-Majlis-E-Amal. Though the Islamists never had a role in Pakistan politics, the army helped them to come to power in the two provinces, hoping that the MMA would be counter-weight to nationalist and democratic parties, as well, the tribal chiefs.
But the Sardars hit back, with numerous attacks by the Baloch National Army against gas installations, Army convoys and infrastructure. The gas supply to the rest of Pakistan remained disrupted for weeks, leading to the closure of the dependent industries. By sidelining mainstream parties in favour of Islamists. President Musharraf alienated both the old non-religious tribal leadership, as well as, the new secular urban middle class of Balochistan who saw no economic or political space for themselves in the new military-mullah dispensation. Thus the new military campaign started in 2004 which continues till this day. There was no respite despite the military killing one of the most popular Baloch leaders, Nawab Akbar Bugti in a bombing raid, which inflamed passions further and widened the divide between the Pakistan Government controlled by the Army and the people, seeking justice and human and democratic rights.
Much of Islamabad 's experiment in social and political engineering is deeply resented, as is the increasing dominance of Punjab in Islamabad . Gen Musharraf confronted the Sardars with a "do-or-die" choice. But the Sardars, who have considerable following, are completely united. The Balochs have kept up their insurgency and impose heavy costs on the Pakistani establishment for keeping them under military rule. The Sardars, leaders from ordinary backgrounds and civil society have come together under the banner of Ittehad. The present movement, consequently, is an inclusive movement representing wide Baloch national interests and there has been increasing popular consciousness of exploitation by Islamabad among the common people. This has translated into a calibrated and widely-dispersed campaign of attacks virtually across the length and breadth of Balochistan.
The insurgency is also linked mega projects being built in Balochistan -- Gwadar deep-sea port, Mirani Dam, Coastal Highway and Sandik Gold project. These projects hardly provide any employment to Balochs, and sare staffed by outsiders. Balochs regard them as instruments of exploitation of local resources, without any benefit to them and create avenues for outsiders to settle down and alter the demographic composition of the province. A parliamentary Committee set up in 2004 made a slew of recommendations to meet the demands and aspirations of the Balochs. It suggested increase in gas royalty, maximum representation to Balochs in development projects, crating job opportunities for them, ensure greater devolution of funds from Islamabad and grant autonomy to the province.
Though the autonomy demand found some support among the opposition parties at that time, the political turmoil that followed has shelved the entire question with the present government worried about its own survival. The people had hoped that the present PPP led Government would attempt reconciliation by coming up with a package of measures based on the recommendations of the parliamentary committee, but nothing of the sort is happening. On the other hands, the Army has intensified its campaign to suppress the people and arrest their leaders on a mass scale. Hundreds are missing from their homes and there is no knowledge about their whereabouts. The military-bureaucratic-intelligence structure continues to dictate policy, forcing the Balochistan Liberation Army to intensify its campaign for independence.
As A.Z.K. Sherdil, former Chief Secretary of Balochistan points out continued military rule has led to excessive interference of the armed forces in civilian affairs. He warns against further military action and stresses the need for dialogue to ensure stability and end insurgency, which has deep local roots. 
MK Dhar, NPA 

THE GR8 PAKI THINK TANK : 'India has designs to destabilise Pakistan'




In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal's Jeremy R Hammond, former Inter Services Intelligence chief Lieutenant General Hamid Gul responds to charges that he supports terrorism, discusses 9/11 and ulterior motives for the war on Afghanistan, claims that the US, Israel, and India are behind efforts to destabilise Pakistan.
Hamid Gul was the director general of Pakistan's ISI directorate from 1987 to 1989, during which time he worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide support for the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Though once deemed a close ally of the United States, in more recent years his name has been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been outspoken with the claim that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were an 'inside job'. He has been called 'the most dangerous man in Pakistan', and the US government has accused him of supporting the Taliban [ Images ], even recommending him to the United Nations Security Council for inclusion on the list of international terrorists.
I asked the former ISI chief what his response was to these allegations. He replied, "Well, it's laughable I would say, because I've worked with the CIA and I know they were never so bad as they are now." He said this was "a pity for the American people" since the CIA is supposed to act "as the eyes and ears" of the country. As for the charge of him supporting the Taliban, "it is utterly baseless. I haveno contact with the Taliban, nor with Osama bin Laden [ Images ] and his colleagues." He added, "I have no means, I have no way that I could support them, that I could help them."
After the Clinton administration's failed attempt to assassinate Osama bin Laden in 1998, some US officials alleged that bin Laden had been tipped off by someone in Pakistan to the fact that the US was able to track his movements through his satellite phone. Then counter-terrorism advisor to the National Security Council Richard Clarke said, 'I have reason to believe that a retired head of the ISI was able to pass information along to Al Qaeda [ Images ] that the attack was coming.' And some have speculated that this 'retired head of the ISI' was none other than Lt Gen Hamid Gul.
When I put this charge to him, General Gul pointed out that he had retired from the ISI on June 1, 1989, and from the army in January, 1992. "Did you share this information with the ISI?" he asked. "And why haven't you taken the ISI to task for parting this information to its ex-head?" The US had not informed the then Pakistan army [ Images ] chief, Jehangir Karamat, of its intentions, he said. So how could he have learned of the plan to be able to warn bin Laden?
"Do I have a mole in the CIA? If that is the case, then they should look into the CIA to carry out a probe, find out the mole, rather than trying to charge me. I think these are all baseless charges, and there's no truth in it... And if they feel that their failures are to be rubbed off on somebody else, then I think they're the ones who are guilty, not me."
General Gul turned our conversation to the subject of 9/11 and the war on Afghanistan. "You know, my position is very clear," he said. "It's a moral position that I have taken. And I say that America has launched this aggression without sufficient reasons. They haven't even proved the case that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda."
He argued that "There are many unanswered questions about 9/11," citing examples like the failure to intercept any of the four planes after it had become clear that they had been hijacked.
He questioned how Mohammed Atta, "who had had training on a light aircraft in Miami [ Images ] for six months" could have maneuvered a jumbo jet "so accurately" to hit his target (Atta was reportedly the hijacker in control of American Airlines Flight 11, which was the first plane to hit its target, striking the North Tower of the World Trade Centre at 8:46 am).
And he made reference to the flight that hit the Pentagon [ Images ] and the maneuver its pilot had performed, dropping thousands of feet while doing a near 360 degree turn before plowing into its target. "And then, above all," he added, "why have no heads rolled? The FBI, the CIA, the air traffic control -- why have they not been put to question, put to task?"
Describing the 9/11 Commission as a "cover up", the general added, "I think the American people have been made fools of. I have my sympathies with them. I like Americans. I like America. I appreciate them. I've gone there several times."
'American generals lack character'
I turned to the war in Afghanistan, observing that the ostensible purpose for the war was to bring the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, to justice. And yet there were plans to overthrow the Taliban regime that predated 9/11.
The FBI does not include the 9/11 attacks among the crimes for which bin Laden is wanted. After the war began, General Tommy Franks responded to a question about capturing him by saying, 'We have not said that Osama bin Laden is a target of this effort.'
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, similarly said afterward, 'Our goal has never been to get bin Laden.'
And President George W Bush [ Images ] himself said, 'I truly am not that concerned about him.' These are self-serving statements, obviously, considering the failure to capture bin Laden.
ut what, I asked General Gul, in his view, were the true reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan, and why the US is still there?
"A very good question," he responded. "I think you have reached the point precisely." It is a "principle of war," he said, "that you never mix objectives. Because when you mix objectives then you end up with egg on your face. You face defeat. And here was a case where the objectives were mixed up. Ostensibly, it was to disperse Al Qaeda, to get Osama bin Laden. But latently, the reasons for the offensive, for the attack on Afghanistan, were quite different."
First, he says, the US wanted to "reach out to the Central Asian oilfields" and "open the door there", which "was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that's why they were talking at that time very hotly about 'greater Middle East'. They were redrawing the map."
Second, the war "was to undo the Taliban regime because they had enforced Shariah", or Islamic law, which, "in the spirit of that system, if it is implemented anywhere, would mean an alternative socio-monetary system. And that they would never approve."
Third, it was "to go for Pakistan's nuclear capability", something that used to be talked about "under their lip", "but now they are openly talking about". This was the reason the US "signed this strategic deal with India, and this was brokered by Israel. So there is a nexus now between Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi ."
While achieving some of these aims, "there are many things which are still left undone," he continued, "because they are not winning on the battlefield. And no matter what maps you draw in your mind, no matter what plans you make, if you cannot win on the battlefield, then it comes to naught. And that is what is happening to America."
"Besides, the American generals, I have a professional cudgel with them," Gul added. "They lack character. They know that a job cannot be done, because they know -- I cannot believe that they didn't realise that the objectives are being mixed up here -- they could not stand up to men like Donald Rumsfeld and to Dick Cheney. They could not tell them. I think they cheated the American nation, the American people. This is where I have a problem with the American generals, because a general must show character. He must say that his job cannot be done. He must stand up to the politicians. But these generals did not stand up to them."
As a further example of the lack of character in the US military leadership, General Gul cited the 'victory' in Iraq. "George Bush said that it was a victory. That means the generals must have told him 'We have won!' They had never won. This was all bunkum, this was all bullshit."
Segueing back to Afghanistan, he continued: "And if they are now saying that with 17,000 more troops they can win in Afghanistan -- or even double that figure if you like -- they cannot. Now this is a professional opinion I am giving. And I will give this sound opinion for the good of the American people, because I am a friend of the American people and that is why I always say that your policies are flawed. This is not the way to go."
Furthermore, the war is "widely perceived as a war against Islam. And George Bush even used the word 'Crusade'." This is an incorrect view, he insisted. "You talk about clash of civilizations. We say the civilisations should meet."
Alluding once more to the US charges against him, he added, "And if they think that my criticism is tantamount to opposition to America, this is totally wrong, because there are lots of Americans themselves who are not in line with American policies." He had warned early on, he informed me, including in an interview with Rod Nordland in Newsweek immediately following the 9/11 attacks, that the US would be making a mistake to go to war.
"So, if you tell somebody, 'Don't jump into the well!' and that somebody thinks you are his enemy, then what is it that you can say about him?"
'This state of anger is being fuelled'
I turned the conversation towards the consequences of the war in Afghanistan on Pakistan, and the increased extremist militant activities within his own country's borders, where the Pakistani government has been at war with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or Pakistan Taliban). I observed that the TTP seemed well funded and supplied and asked Gul how the group obtains financing and arms.
He responded without hesitation. "Yeah, of course they are getting it from across the Durand Line, from Afghanistan. And Mossad is sitting there, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is sitting there they have the umbrella of the US. And now they have created another organisation which is called RAMA. It may be news to you that very soon this intelligence agency -- of course, they have decided to keep it covert -- but it is Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan. That's the name. The Indians have helped create this organisation, and its job is mainly to destabilise Pakistan."
General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, former deputy minister of defence of the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Massoud and the chief of staff of the Afghan National Army since 2002 -- "whom I know very well", General Gul told me -- "had gone to India a few days back, and he has offered bases to India, five of them: Three on the border, the eastern border with Pakistan, from Asadabad, Jalalabad, and Kandhar; one in Shindand, which is near Heart; and the fifth one is near Mazar-e Sharif. So these bases are being offered for a new game unfolding there."
This is why, he asserted, the Indians, despite a shrinking economy, have continued to raise their defence budget, by 20 percent last year and an additional 34 percent this year.
He also cited as evidence of these designs to destabilise Pakistan the US Predator drone attacks in Waziristan, which have "angered the Pathan people of that tribal belt. And this state of anger is being fuelled. It is that fire that has been lit, is being fuelled, by the Indian intelligence from across the border. Of course, Mossad is right behind them. They have no reason to be sitting there, and there's a lot of evidence. I hope the Pakistan government will soon be providing some of the evidence against the Indians."
Several days after I had first spoken with General Gul, the news hit the headlines that the leader of the TTP, Baitullah Mehsud, had been killed by a CIA drone strike. So I followed up with him and asked him to comment about this development.
"When Baitullah Mehsud and his suicide bombers were attacking Pakistan armed forces and various institutions," he said, "at that time, Pakistan intelligence were telling the Americans that Baitullah Mehsud was here, there. Three times, it has been written by the Western press, by the American press -- three times the Pakistan intelligence tipped off America, but they did not attack him. Why have they now attacked and killed him, supposedly?"
"Because there were some secret talks going on between Baitullah Mehsud and the Pakistani military establishment. They wanted to reach a peace agreement, and if you recall there is a long history of our tribal areas, whenever a tribal militant has reached a peace agreement with the government of Pakistan, Americans have without any hesitation struck that target."
Among other examples, the former ISI chief said "an agreement in Bajaur was about to take place" when, on October 30, 2006, a drone struck a madrassa in the area, an attack "in which 82 children were killed".
"So in my opinion," General Gul continued, "there was some kind of a deal which was about to be arrived at -- they may have already cut a deal. I don't know. I don't have enough information on that. But this is my hunch, that Baitullah was killed because he was trying to reach an agreement with the Pakistan army. And that's why there were no suicide attacks inside Pakistan for the past six or seven months."

http://news.rediff.com/special/2009/aug/13/india-has-designs-to-destabilise-pakistan.htm


H1N1 Pandemic: Pentagon Planning Deployment of Troops in Support of Nationwide Vaccination

I WONDER : What are you planning Mr Health Minister Sir.......??????
ANSWER : Deploying IAS officers for it.....

According to CNN, the Pentagon is "to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials."

"The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command's Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.

It has yet to be determined how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces.

Civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts in the event of a major outbreak, the official said. The military, as they would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients.

As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called "execution order" that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.

Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said." (CNN, Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak, July 2009, emphasis added)

The implications are far-reaching.

The decision points towards the militarization of civilian institutions, including law enforcement and public health.

A nationwide vaccination program is already planned for the Fall.

The pharmaceutical industry is slated to deliver 160 million vaccine doses by the Fall, enough doses to vaccinate more than half of America's population.

The Pentagon is already planning on the number of troops to be deployed,. with a view to supporting a mass vaccinaiton program.

It is worth noting that this involvement of the military is not being decided by the President, but by the Secretary of Defense, which suggests that the Pentagon is, in a key issue of of national interest, overriding the President and Commander in Chief. The US Congress has not been consulted on the issue.

This decision to mobilise the Armed Forces in the vaccination campaign is taken in anticipation of a national emergency. Although no national emergency has been called, the presumption is that a national public health emergency will occur, using the WHO Level 6 Pandemic as a pretext and a justification.

Other countries, including Canada, the UK and France may follow suit, calling upon their Armed Forces to play a role in support of the H1N1 vaccination program.

US Northern Command

Much of the groundwork for the intervention of the military has already been established. There are indications that these "regional teams" have already been established under USNORTHCOM, which has been involved in preparedness training and planning in the case of a flu pandemic (See U.S. Northern Command - Avian Flu. USNORTHCOM website).

Within the broader framework of "Disaster Relief", Northern Command has, in the course of the last two years, defined a mandate in the eventuality of a public health emergency or a flu pandemic. The emphasis is on the militarization of public health whereby NORTHCOM would oversee the activities of civilian institutions involved in health related services.

According Brig. Gen. Robert Felderman, deputy director of USNORTHCOM’s Plans, Policy and Strategy Directorate: “USNORTHCOM is the global synchronizer – the global coordinator – for pandemic influenza across the combatant commands”(emphasis added) (See Gail Braymen, USNORTHCOM contributes pandemic flu contingency planning expertise to trilateral workshop, USNORTHCOM, April 14, 2008, See also USNORTHCOM. Pandemic Influenza Chain Training (U) pdf)

“Also, the United States in 1918 had the Spanish influenza. We were the ones who had the largest response to [a pandemic] in more recent history. So I discussed what we did then, what we expect to have happen now and the numbers that we would expect in a pandemic influenza.”

The potential number of fatalities in the United States in a modern pandemic influenza could reach nearly two million, according to Felderman. Not only would the nation’s economy suffer, but the Department of Defense would still have to be ready and able to protect and defend the country and provide support of civil authorities in disaster situations. While virtually every aspect of society would be affected, “the implications for Northern Command will be very significant.”

“[A pandemic would have] a huge economic impact, in addition to the defense-of-our-nation impact,” Felderman said. The United States isn’t alone in preparing for such a potential catastrophe. (Gail Braymen, op cit)

A REVISIT TO INDIA'S 9/11....

The Mumbai terror attacks were part of a carefully planned and coordinated operation involving several teams of experienced and trained gunmen.

The operation has the fingerprints of a paramilitary-intelligence operation. According to a Russian counter terrorist expert, the Mumbai terrorists "used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus attacks where entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized". (Russia Today, November 27, 2008).

The Mumbai attacks are described as " India's 9/11".

The attacks were carried out simultaneously in several locations, within minutes of each other.

The first target was in the main hall of Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (CST), where the gunmen fired indiscriminately into the crowd of passengers. The gunmen " then ran out of the station and into neighboring buildings, including Cama Hospital"

Attacks by separate groups of gunmen took place at two of Mumbai's luxury hotels - the Oberoi-Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace, located at the heart of the tourist area, within proximity of the Gateway of India.

Taj Mahal Hotel

The gunmen also opened fire at Café Leopold, a stylish restaurant in the tourist area. The third target was Nariman House, a business center which houses Chabad Lubavitch, Mumbai's Jewish Center. Six hostages including the Rabbi and his wife were killed.

The domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and the Mazgaon Dockyard were also targeted.

"The attacks occurred at the busiest places. Besides hotels and hospitals, terrorists struck at railway stations, Crawford Market, Wadi Bunder and on the Western Express Highway near the airport. Seven places have been attacked with automatic weapons and grenades.(Times of India, 26 November 2008),

Indian troops surrounded the hotels. Indian Special Forces commandos were sent into the two hotels to confront the terrorists. Witnesses at the hotels said that the gunmen were singling out people with US and British passports.

Members of the Indian security forces taking up firing positions between fire trucks and ambulances on the grounds of the Taj Hotel on Friday. (Ruth Fremson/ The New York Times )

Casualties, according to reports, are in excess of 150 killed. Most of those killed were Indian nationals, many of whom died in the attack on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway Terminus.

At least 22 foreigners were killed in the attacks. Fourteen police officers, including the chief of the anti-terror squad, were killed in the attacks.

Who was Behind the Attacks?

A virtually unknown group called "the Deccan Mujahideen", has according to reports, claimed responsibility for attacks. The Deccan Plateau refers to a region of central-Southern India largely centered in the State of Andhra Pradesh. This unknown group has already been categorized, without supporting evidence, as belonging to the Al Qaeda network of terrorist organizations.

Police reports confirm that nine "suspected attackers" have been arrested and three of the attackers have, according to unconfirmed police sources, confessed to belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba [Lashkar-e-Tayyiba], a Pakistani Kasmiri separatist organization, covertly supported by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI). At least one of the arrested, according to the reports, is a British citizen of Pakistani descent.

In chorus, both the Western and Indian media are pointing fingers at Pakistan and its alleged support of Islamic terrorist organizations:

"Strategic gurus and security analysts in the US and from across the world are examining Pakistan's role in terrorism following yet another terror episode in India ending with fingers pointed at its widely-reviled neighbor.

While initial reports from India suggested the Mumbai carnage was a localized attack by militant malcontents in India because of the "Deccan Mujahideen" decoy that was used to claim responsibility, evidence cited by Indian army and security experts based on phone intercepts, nature of weaponry, mode of entry by sea etc., has quickly focused the attention on Pakistan." (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The US media has centered its attention on the links between the Mumbai attacks and the "resurgent terrorist groups [which] enjoy havens in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as alleged protection or support from elements of Pakistani intelligence." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008).

"Clash of Civilizations"

In Europe and North America, the Mumbai attacks by Islamic fundamentalists are perceived as part of the "Clash of Civilizations". "Militant Islam is involved in a war against civilization".

The dramatic loss of lives resulting from the attacks has indelibly contributed to reinforcing anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the Western World.

The outlines of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are becoming clear. The terrorists targeted India, the U.S. and Britain, and the Jewish people. (Market Watch, November 28, 2008)

According to the media, the enemy is Al Qaeda, the illusory "outside enemy " which has its operational bases in the tribal areas and North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Washington's self-proclaimed holy mandate under the "Global War on Terrorism" is to take out bin Laden and extirpate Islamic fundamentalism.

America's right to intervene militarily inside Pakistan in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty is therefore upheld. Bombing villages in the tribal areas of North West Pakistan is part of a "humanitarian endeavor", in response to the loss of life resulting from the Mumbai attacks:

"Before these awful raids, news from South Asia had been encouraging. The central problem remains pacifying Afghanistan, where U.S. and other NATO forces struggle to stamp out Taliban and al-Qaeda elements." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008)

"Washington, however, wants the Pakistani army's cooperation in fighting terrorism. In recent weeks, U.S. officers in Afghanistan reported better results, crediting the Pakistanis with taking the offensive against the Taliban on Pakistani territory."

Media Disinformation

US network TV has extensively covered the dramatic events in Mumbai. The attacks have served to trigger an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across America.

The Mumbai attacks are said to be intimately related to 9/11. Official US statements and media reports have described the Mumbai attacks as part of a broader process, including the possibility of an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack on US soil.

Vice President Elect Joe Biden during the election campaign had warned America with foresight that "the people who... attacked us on 9/11, -- they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks". (emphasis added)

These are the same people who were behind the terror attacks in Mumbai.

These are also the same people who are planning to attack America.

Immediately following the Mumbai attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put New York City's subway system "on high alert" based on "an unsubstantiated report of potential terrorism here in New York. This report led the New York Police Department to take precautionary steps to protect our transit system, and we will always do whatever is necessary to keep our city safe," Bloomberg said in a statement" (McClatchy-Tribune Business News, November 28, 2008, emphasis added).

It just so happens that one day before the Mumbai attacks, "the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had warned that there is a 'possible but uncorroborated' Al -Qaeda threat against the New York transportation system." (Ibid)

"As the attacks in Mumbai were carried out, U.S. authorities issued a warning that Al-Qaeda might have recently discussed making attacks on the New York subway system. A vague warning, to be sure. 'We have no specific details to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspirational planning, but we are issuing this warning out of concern that such an attack could possibly be conducted during the forthcoming holiday season,' the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said." (Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2008)

Pakistan's Military Intelligence is America's Trojan Horse

The media reports point, in chorus, to the involvement of Pakistan's Military Intelligence, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), without mentioning that the ISI invariably operates in close liaison with the CIA.

The US media indelibly serves the interests of the US intelligence apparatus. What is implied by these distorted media is that:

1. The terrorists are linked to Al Qaeda. The Mumbai attacks are a "State sponsored" operation involving Pakistan's ISI

2. The Mumbai gunmen have ties to terrorist groups in Pakistan's tribal areas and North West Frontier Province.

3. The continued bombing of the tribal areas by the US Air Force in violation of Pakistan's' sovereignty is consequently justified as part of the "Global War on Terrorism".

The ISI is America's Trojan Horse, a de facto proxy of the CIA. Pakistani Intelligence has, since the early 1980s, worked in close liaison with its US and British intelligence counterparts.

Were the ISI to have been involved in a major covert operation directed against India, the CIA would have prior knowledge regarding the precise nature and timing of the operation. The ISI does not act without the consent of its US intelligence counterpart.

Moreover, US intelligence is known to have supported Al Qaeda from the outset of the Soviet Afghan war and throughout the post-Cold War era. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the War on Terrorism, Global Research, January 20, 2008)

CIA sponsored guerilla training camps were established in Pakistan to train the Mujahideen. Historically, US intelligence has supported Al Qaeda, using Pakistan's ISI as a go-between.

"With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". (Dipankar Banerjee, "Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry", India Abroad, 2 December 1994).

In the wake of 9/11, Pakistan's ISI played a key role in the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, in close liaison with the US and NATO military high command. Ironically, in October 2001, both US and Indian press reports quoting FBI and intelligence sources, suggested that the ISI was providing support to the alleged 9/11 terrorists.(See Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration, The Role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI) in the September 11 Attacks, Global Research, November 2, 2001)

Pakistan's Chief Spy Appointed by the CIA

Historically, the CIA has played an unofficial role in the appointment of the director of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

In September, Washington pressured Islamabad, using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext to fire the ISI chief Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj.

"Washington is understood to be exerting intense pressure on Pakistan to remove ISI boss Nadeem Taj and two of his deputies because of the key agency's alleged "double-dealing" with the militants.( Daily Times, September 30, 2008

President Asif Ali Zardari had meetings in New York in late September with CIA Director Michael Hayden. (The Australian, September 29, 2008), Barely a few days later, a new US approved ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed by the Chief of the Army, General Kayani, on behalf of Washington.


Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha

In this regard, the pressures exerted by the Bush administration contributed to blocking a parliamentary initiative led by the PPP government to put the country's intelligence services (ISI) under civilian authority, namely under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.

In other words, Washington exerts more control over the ISI than the duly elected civilian government of Pakistan.


Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha (right) next to Gen. Ashfaq Kayani on the USS Abraham Lincoln talking with Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
.

The U.S. Violates Pakistan's Territorial Sovereignty

The US is currently violating Pakistan territorial sovereignty through the routine bombing of villages in the tribal areas and the North West Frontier Province. These operations are carried out using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext. While the Pakistani government has "officially" accused the US of waging aerial bombardments on its territory, Pakistan's military (including the ISI) has "unofficially" endorsed the air strikes.

In this regard, the timely appointment of Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha to the helm of the ISI was intended to ensure continuity in US "counter-terrorism" operations in Pakistan. Prior to his appointment as ISI chief, Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was responsible, in close consultation with the US and NATO, for carrying out targeted attacks allegedly against the Taliban and Al Qaeda by the Pakistani military in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).


Upon his appointment, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha implemented a major reshuffle within the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), replacing several of the ISI regional commanders. ( Daily Times, September 30, 2008). In late October, he was in Washington, at CIA headquarters at Langley and at the Pentagon, to meet his US military and intelligence counterparts:

"Pakistan is publicly complaining about U.S. air strikes. But the country's new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, visited Washington last week for talks with America's top military and spy chiefs, and everyone seemed to come away smiling." (David Ignatieff, A Quiet Deal With Pakistan, Washington Post, November 4, 2008, emphasis added).

The Timing of the Mumbai Attacks

The US air strikes on the Tribal Areas resulting in countless civilians deaths have created a wave of anti-US sentiment throughout Pakistan. At the same token, this anti-American sentiment has also served, in the months preceding the Mumbai attacks, to promote a renewed atmosphere of cooperation between India and Pakistan.

While US-Pakistan relations are at an all time low, there were significant efforts, in recent months, by the Islamabad and Delhi governments to foster bilateral relations.

Barely a week prior to the attacks, Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari "urged opening the Kashmir issue to public debate in India and Pakistan and letting the people decide the future of IHK."

He also called for "taking bilateral relations to a new level" as well as forging an economic union between the two countries.

Divide and Rule

What interests are served by these attacks?

Washington is intent on using the Mumbai attacks to:

1) Foster divisions between Pakistan and India and shunt the process of bilateral cooperation and trade between the two countries;

2) Promote internal social, ethnic and sectarian divisions in both India and Pakistan;

3) Justify US military actions inside Pakistan including the killing of civilians in violation of the country's territorial sovereignty;

4) Provide a justification for extending the US led "war on terrorism" into the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia.

In 2006, the Pentagon had warned that "another [major 9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets" (Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006). In the current context, the Mumbai attacks are considered "a justification" to go after "known targets" in the tribal areas of North Western Pakistan.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that "external forces" forces carried the attacks, hinting to the possible role of Pakistan. The media reports also point in that direction, hinting that the Pakistani government is behind the attacks:

US officials and lawmakers refrained from naming Pakistan, but their condemnation of "Islamist terrorism" left little doubt where their anxieties lay.

....

What has added potency to the latest charges against Islamabad is the Bush administration's own assessment - leaked to the US media - that Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI was linked to the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul some weeks back that killed nearly 60 people including a much-admired Indian diplomat and a respected senior defense official. (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The Attacks have Triggered Anti-Pakistani Sentiment in India

The attacks have served to foster anti-Pakistani sentiment within India as well as sectarian divisions between Hindus and Muslims.

Time Magazine has pointed in no uncertain terms to the insidious role of "the powerful Inter Services Intelligence organization — often accused of orchestrating terror attacks on India", without acknowledging that the new head of the ISI was appointed at Washington's behest. (Time online).

The Time report suggests, without evidence, that the most likely architects of the attacks are several Pakistani sponsored Islamic groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure), "which is part of the 'al-Qaeda compact'", Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Kashmiri separatist organization belonging to Al Qaeda which claimed responsibility in the December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Union parliament in Delhi and The Students Islamic Movement of India, (SIMI). (Ibid)

Both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are known to be supported by the ISI.

Islamabad-Delhi Shuttle Diplomacy

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari indicated that his government would fully collaborate with the Indian authorities.

Pakistan's newly elected civilian government has been sidetracked by its own intelligence services, which remain under the jurisdiction of the military high command.

The Pakistan's People's Party government under the helm of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has no control over the military and intelligence apparatus, which continues to maintain a close rapport with its US counterparts. The Pakistani civilian government, in many regards, is not in control of its foreign policy. The Pakistani Military and its powerful intelligence arm (ISI) call the shots.

In this context, president Asif Ali Zardari seems to be playing on both sides: collusion with the Military-Intelligence apparatus, dialogue with Washington and lip service to prime minister Gilani and the National Assembly.

On November 28, two days following the Mumbai attacks, Islamabad announced that the recently appointed ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha would be dispatched to Delhi for consultations with his Indian counterparts including National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and the heads of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau, responsible for internal intelligence. RAW and Pakistan's ISI are known to have been waging a covert war against one another for more than thirty years.1

On the following day (November 29), Islamabad cancelled the visit of ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to India, following Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee's "very aggressive tone with Pakistani officials [in a] telephone [conversation] after the Mumbai attacks". (Press Trust of India, November 29, 2008 quoting Geo News Pakistan).

Tense Situation. Deterioration of India-Pakistan Relations

The Mumbai attacks have already created an extremely tense situation, which largely serves US geopolitical interests in the region.

Islamabad is contemplating the relocation of some 100,000 military personnel from the Pakistani-Afghan border to the Indian border, "if there is an escalation in tension with India, which has hinted at the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage." (Pakistan news source quoted by PTI, op cit).

"These sources have said NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far more important," (Ibid, Geo News quoting senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir).

US Interference in the Conduct of the Indian Police Investigation

Also of significance is Washington's outright interference in the conduct of the Indian police investigation. The Times of India points to an "unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel."

Both the FBI and Britain's Secret Service MI6 have liaison offices in Delhi. The FBI has dispatched police, counter-terrorism officials and forensic scientists to Mumbai "to investigate attacks that now include American victims..." Experts from the London's Metropolitan Police have also been dispatched to Mumbai:

"The U.S. government's "working assumption" that the Pakistani militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are suspects in the attacks "has held up" as Indian authorities have begun their investigation, the official said. The two Kashmiri militant groups have ties to al Qaeda." (Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2008)

The role of the US-UK-Israeli counter terrorism and police officials, is essentially to manipulate the results of the Indian police investigation.

It is worth noting, however, that the Delhi government turned down Israel's request to send a special forces military unit to assist the Indian commandos in freeing Jewish hostages held inside Mumbai's Chabad Jewish Center (PTI, November 28, 2008).

Bali 2002 versus Mumbai 2008

The Mumbai terrorist attacks bear certain similarities to the 2002 Bali attacks. In both cases, Western tourists were targets. The tourist resort of Kuta on the island of Bali, Indonesia, was the object of two separate attacks, which targeted mainly Australian tourists. (Ibid)

The alleged terrorists in the Bali 2002 bombings were executed, following a lengthy trial period, barely a few weeks ago, on November 9, 2008. (Michel Chossudovsky, Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings? Global Research, November 13, 2009). The political architects of the 2002 Bali attacks were never brought to trial.

A November 2002 report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA. The links of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to the Indonesian intelligence agency (BIN) were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation --which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA. Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard "admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning." (Christchurch Press, November 22, 2002).

With regard to the Bali 2002 bombings, the statements of two former presidents of Indonesia were casually dismissed in the trial procedures, both of which pointed to complicity of the Indonesian military and police. In 2002, president Megawati Sukarnoputri, accused the US of involvement in the attacks. In 2005, in an October 2005 interview with Australia's SBS TV, former president Wahid Abdurrahman stated that the Indonesian military and police played a complicit role in the 2002 Bali bombing. (quoted in Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings?, op cit)

Note

1. In recent months, the head of India's external intelligence (RAW), Ashok Chaturvedi has become a political target. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is intent upon firing him and replacing him with a more acceptable individual. It is unclear whether Chaturvedi will be involved in the intelligence and police investigation.

SOURCE :
Global Research, November 30, 2008

Italy, Germany and Japan: Former World War II Axis Nations Repudiate Bans against "Preparing for War"



A press report on August 10 revealed that the government of Italy is planning to modify if not dispense with its post-World War II constitutional limitations on conducting offensive military operations; that is, to reverse a 61-year ban on waging war.


The news story, reminding readers that "Italy's post-World War II constitution places stringent limits on the country's military engagements," stated the Italian government intends to introduce a new military code "specifically for missions abroad," one that - in a demonstration of evasiveness and verbal legerdemain alike - would be "neither of peace nor of war." [1]


On August 10 and 11, respectively, the nation's Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini were interviewed in the daily Corriere della Sera in in tandem they bemoaned what they described as undue restrictions on the Italian armed forces in performing their combat roles in NATO's war in Afghanistan.


Commenting on La Russa's and Frattini's assertions, another news account summarized them as follows:


"Italy's 2,800 soldiers operate under a military peace code, which largely restricts them to shooting back if they are attacked. Changes could give the troops heavier equipment and allow them to go on the offensive."


Frattini is quoted as saying, "We need a code for the missions that aim to bring peace, which cannot be achieved only through actions for civilians but also through real military actions." [2]


The tortuous illogicality of that claim is an attempt to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Article 11 of the 1948 Italian Constitution which reads in part that "Italy repudiates war as an instrument offending the liberty of the peoples and as a means for settling international disputes."


The rest of the Article includes, and in doing so anticipates the nation's inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the following year, "it agrees to limitations of sovereignty...."


Article 11 is emblematic of similar ones in the post-World War II constitutions adopted by, or rather imposed on, those powers responsible for unleashing history's deadliest war in Europe and Asia: The members of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis or Tripartite Pact.


The 1949 Constitution of the Federal Republic, amended and extended to all of the country after unification in 1990, contains a Ban on preparing a war of aggression, Article 26, which reads: Activities tending and undertaken with the intent to disturb peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for aggressive war, are unconstitutional. They shall be made a punishable offense.


The 1947 U.S.-authored Japanese constitution contains an equivalent, Article 9, which states:


"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.


"In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."


U.S. military, especially air, bases in Germany, Italy and Japan have been used in every major military campaign waged by the Pentagon from the Korean War to the current one in Afghanistan for basing bombers and for the transit of troops, weapons and equipment.


So despite constitutional requirements to repudiate and renounce and bans against preparing for war, the three former Axis nations have indeed been partners to a series of armed conflicts for sixty years.


But for most of that period, indeed for almost a half century, the nations' legal prohibitions against direct military aggression have been observed even in the breach. Italy was a founding member of NATO in 1949, though unlike most others didn't send troops for the Korean War. Along with the United States, Britain, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg did.


Greece and Turkey deployed contingents as a precondition for NATO membership, which they received in 1952, but West Germany, which joined in 1955, didn't.


Although Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand supplied troops, Japan didn't.


The war proscriptions were abandoned by two of the three nations, Germany and Italy, in NATO's war against Yugoslavia in early 1999. Both countries supplied military aircraft for the 78-day air war and the U.S. and NATO air base at Aviano served as the main hub for daily bombing runs against military targets, non-military infrastructure and civilians. U.S., British, Canadian, Spanish, Portuguese and other warplanes operated out of the base.


The semantic acrobatics of the current Italian Foreign Minister Frattini in attempting to deny that war is war have already been examined, and comparable statements by German and Italian cabinet ministers and parliamentarians in 1999 were no less convoluted and transparently false. Germany and Italy had gone to war against a nation (with no troops outside its own borders) for the first time since the days of Hitler and Mussolini and, moreover, against a nation that the two fascist leaders had attacked 59 years earlier.


The post-World War II, post-Nuremberg restriction against military aggression by the defeated Axis powers was violated and for the past decade Germany, Italy and Japan have continued asserting themselves as military powers on a regional and international scale, culminating in the three nations participating in various degrees in the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan currently.


Germany now has the maximum amount of troops parliamentary limitations - at least for the time being - allow: 4,500 and another 300 manning NATO AWACS recently deployed for the escalation of the war. It has the fourth largest contingent in Afghanistan after the U.S., Britain and Canada.


Italy has the sixth largest amount of troops, 3,250, in command of Western Afghanistan near the Iranian border, and just as the 1999 war against Yugoslavia was the first air war either nation had engaged in since World War II, so Afghanistan is the first ground war.


Germany has lost 38 soldiers so far and Italy 15.


A poll conducted by a major Italian daily in late July showed that 56% of Italians want a withdrawal of their nation's troops from the Afghan war theater, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Foreign Minister Frattini and Defense Minister La Russa insist they will stay and have recently added 500 more troops and committed to deploying more Predator drones, Tornado warplanes and military helicopters.


Late last month defense chief La Russa said, "It is possible we will also increase the number of helicopters to have better aerial coverage, as well as deploying our Tornadoes offensively." [3]


At the same time Foreign Minister Frattini spoke in a similar vein: "We will increase the use of Predator (unmanned surveillance aircraft) and Tornado (fighters), not just for reconnaissance but for real coverage (of
troops)."


An Italian news account at the time added, "He also said Italy would reinforce the armour of its Lince troop carriers and send new generation armoured vehicles." [4]


Five previous articles in this series have documented Germany's rise as a post-Cold War global military power [5,6,7,8,9], including the ongoing transformation of the Bundeswehr into an "international intervention force," [10] and the Merkel administration's policy "to drop some of [Germany's] post-World War II inhibitions about robust security measures, including the use of military force abroad and at home" [11] and a 2006 German Defense Ministry White Paper demanding that the army "be thoroughly restructured into an intervention force" [12], with one of its authors stating "it is time that Germany moved on from its postwar inhibitions about force." [13]


On August 8, weeks after "German troops embarked on their largest military offensive since World War II in Kunduz," it was reported that "German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in a newspaper interview...that the country's armed forces could be in Afghanistan for up to 10 more years." [14]


That the German government is openly advocating the use of its army at home as well as abroad, and did just that by deploying Bundeswehr forces in Kehl this April against anti-NATO protesters during the 60th anniversary Alliance summit, was dangerous ground first trod by the Berlusconi government in Italy a year ago when 3,000 troops were deployed in Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin against immigrants and Roma (gypsy) communities as well as - allegedly at least - crime syndicates.


The use of the military for domestic purposes is a disturbingly reminiscent of practices not seen in Italy and Germany since the era of Mussolini and Hitler.


Two months afterwards it was reported in an article called "NATO pours rent money into Mafia coffers" that in Naples, where NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples was established in 2004, "government funding earmarked to support NATO end[ed] up in the pockets of Italy's most violent criminal organisation." [15]


Another news story last November recounted this:


"The head of Naples’ anti-mafia task force, Franco Roberti, censured NATO and U.S. officials for knowingly leasing houses to suspected mob bosses in a story published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Rent paid by Americans and NATO personnel garner landlords between 1,500 and 3,000 euros a month — fees that can be two or three times above the market value." [16]


Italian troops were back on the streets of the nation's cities and the Casalese camorra was not only unmolested but enriched.


Last year Berlusconi also confirmed that the plans reached during his previous tenure as prime minister to expand the U.S. Camp Ederle at Vicenza with the nearby Dal Molin airport into "the biggest American military base outside the US" [17] would continue apace. Camp Ederle already hosts 6,000 U.S. troops and will soon house all six battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, some currently in Germany. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.


Late last July U.S. troops from the Vicenza-based Southern European Task Force (Airborne) contributed to a force of 1,000 soldiers deployed to Georgia for the NATO Immediate Response 2008 exercises - the largest number of American troops deployed to the Caucasus nation at one time - to train the armed forces of their host nation for a war with Russia that would ensue within days.


"U.S. personnel responsible for training members of the Georgian military remain stationed inside the volatile country, where fighting erupted Friday [August 8] between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.


"The U.S. European Command said on Monday that there were no plans at this time to withdraw the U.S. military trainers from the country." [18]


In January of 2008 the Italian government announced that it was building a highway to connect Vicenza with the Aviano air base. "Airborne soldiers based at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza use Aviano for training and for hooking up with planes for long deployments: The 173rd Airborne Brigade’s last three deployments downrange have all involved launches from Aviano." [19]


Decades-long interpretations of the Japanese Constitution's Article 9 against remilitarization have agreed that the nation could not rearm for military actions abroad and could not engage in what is euphemistically called collective self-defense. The first is a self-evident prohibition against deploying troops, warships and warplanes outside of Japanese territory and waters to participate in armed hostilities.


The second is a ban on entering into bilateral and multilateral military treaties and alliances that obligate Japan to aid other nations engaged in war and join programs like the U.S.-led global missile shield project.


Over the past eight years successive Japanese governments have violated both components of the constitutional ban on stationing troops in conflict zones and on entering into joint defense arrangements which are in truth only partially defensive in nature. 


Tokyo first tested the waters on stationing troops abroad when it deployed 600 soldiers to East Timor in 2002 to join those from Australia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.


The following December the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi  authorized 600 soldiers and hundreds of more support personnel to be sent to Iraq nine months after the invasion of the country by the U.S. and Britain.


The Iraqi deployment marked the first time that Japanese military forces were sent to an active war zone since World War II.


Much as with Italian and German leaders who cannot pronounce the word war even while prosecuting one, Tokyo called its deployment force the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group. The name aside, Japaneses troops were stationed in support of allies who had invaded Iraq in violation of international law and without United Nations sanction and were at the time conducting large-scale combat operations. The nation's soldiers remained there until 2006 when the focus of the U.S. and its NATO allies started shifting back to Afghanistan.


In 2006 Japan compensated for its troop withdrawal by providing the occupation forces airlift operations in Iraq, then ended that mission last December when the Afghan War emerged as the uncontested priority of its Western military allies.


Japan has supported the latter war from its inception and "Despite its pacifist constitution, Japan has participated in an Indian Ocean naval mission since 2001 that provides fuel and other logistical support to the US-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan." [20] It provided the majority of fuel to U.S. and NATO warships in the Indian Ocean, including those firing Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan. Japan briefly withdrew its naval forces at the end of 2007, but redeployed them a year later where they remain in support of the world's major war.


What is remarkably still referred to as pacifist Japan, then, has actively supported the West's last two wars.


In an interview last month with the U.S. Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes Japanese Democratic Party Diet member Keiichiro Asao, touted to become the nation's next defense minister should his party, substantially ahead in current national polls, win the next election, spoke of the Afghan War and said "If peace talks proved successful in part of Afghanistan, even if other areas were still combat zones, 'then we might send ground troops to that area to help build back civil society.'" [21]


Troops on the ground in the world's preeminent theater of war would strip away the remaining vestiges of Japan's post-World War II demilitarization and the nation would fully join the ranks of Germany and Italy as war belligerents.


And just that has been planned for years, as in January of 2007 the Japan Defense Agency was transformed into the Ministry of Defense, a ministry that hadn't existed since the nation's defeat in World War II.


In the same month it was reported that then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma were "considering authorizing [Japan's] troops to launch pre-emptive strikes during international peacekeeping operations" and planned "to study ways to ease the constitutional ban on Japan to use force to defend its allies in so-called 'acts of collective self-defense.'


"The government plans to achieve the goal by changing the interpretation of the constitution," stated the Yomiuri daily newspaper. [22]


Three months later a report titled "Japan To Consider Fighting for Allies Under Attack" detailed that "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leaning toward allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense in four cases," which include "the use of Japan’s missile defense system against a ballistic missile attack on an allied country, such as the U.S.," the Kyodo News Agency revealed. [23]


The other three instances in which Tokyo would be prepared to violate the constitutional ban against so-called collective defense are cases of "a counterattack when a warship sailing along with a Japanese vessel comes under attack, or when a military unit in a multinational forces is attacked, and in some situations when Japan is working as part of a UN peacekeeping operation." [24]


It's worth recalling that Prime Minister Abe continued the tradition of his predecessor Koizumi in paying annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine where  Japanese war dead including 14 convicted World War II era war criminals are buried.


"'It's not appropriate for the government to specifically draw a conclusion' on the war responsibility of the war criminals," Abe told the Japanese Diet on October 3, 2006. [25]


The visits by Japanese prime ministers to the shrine from 2001-2006 outraged China, the two Koreas, Thailand, the Philippines and other nations that had already "specifically draw[n] a conclusion" about the war crimes perpetrated against their countries and peoples and the rehabilitation of the guilty parties in a bid to revive Japanese militarism.


The most dangerous application of Japanese plans for preemptive military attacks and the first of the four scenarios laid out by the government in 2007 to justify joint military action is that pertaining to so-called missile defense, which in fact is incorporating Japan into a US-led global interceptor missile grid which includes land, air and sea components and which will be integrated with the deployment of surveillance satellites and missiles in space.


On August 11 the commander of the Russian Air Force, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, warned that "By 2030...foreign countries, particularly the United States, will be able to deliver coordinated high-precision strikes from air and space against any target on the whole territory of Russia." [26]


The following day Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi addressed the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and warned against an "arms race in outer space," stating that "Outer space is now facing the looming danger of weaponization" and "Countries should neither develop missile defense systems that undermine global strategic stability nor deploy weapons in outer space." [27]


In 2005 the U.S. and Japan agreed to establish a missile defense facility at the American Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. A local news sources, Kyodo, said of the project that "Japan's success will have an impact on the nuclear potential of China and Russia in East Asia. There is no doubt that the two countries will step up their efforts to develop missiles with a higher performance." [28]


In May of 2007 Pentagon chief Robert Gates "urged Japan to declare the right to collective defense so its missile defense shield can be used to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles targeted at the United States...." [29]


North Korea is the pretext employed to expand the global missile shield system with its threat of nuclear blackmail and threat of a first strike against Russia and China to the East. However, as reported of the Gates' initiative at the time, "The U.S. demand on collective defense reflects its strategy to boost its deterrence toward China and also carries Washington's hope that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will partially allow the use of such a right by revising the Constitution." [30]


In the same month, May of 2007, it was revealed that "Japan's defense ministry has been providing U.S. forces with intelligence gathered by its Air Self-Defense Force's early warning radar network since late April" and that "The ministry began permanent linking of the ASDF's intelligence gathering network with the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo before the two countries agreed to boost information-sharing for missile defense at a top security meeting in Washington on May 1...." [31]


Two years ago the ruling Liberal Party completed post-Cold War plans to reverse the situation where "Japan's pacifist Constitution bans warfare and overseas military action. The Japanese government's current interpretation is that the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right to defend an ally under attack" [32]. That is, Article 9 will be either eviscerated of any real force or scrapped altogether.


As Japan intensifies its demand that Russia's Kuril Islands be ceded to it in a resurgence of post-World War II revanchism, Tokyo has joined its former allies in Berlin and Rome in casting off constraints placed on the use of its military abroad, including in "preemptive" actions, imposed on it after World War II.


With the collapse of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe a generation ago and with NATO moving it to take over former Warsaw Pact territory, many demons that had lain dormant for decades have been awakened from their slumber, including unabashed militarism, irredentist and other demands to redraw borders, and World World II revisionism and revanchism. And Fascism.


In February of 2007 the Bucharest Court of Appeal in Romania, which joined the German-Italian-Japanese Axis during World War II, ruled that the participation of 800,000 Romanian troops in Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was a "war for the liberation of Bessarabia and Bucovina" (modern day Moldova). [33]


In late July of this year the mayor of the Romanian city of Constanta, Radu Mazare, wore a Nazi military uniform at a fashion show in the city and said "I wanted to dress like a general from the Wehrmacht because I have always liked this uniform, and have admired the strict organization of the German army." [34]


Two years earlier Rein Lang, the Justice Minister of Estonia, a member in good standing of NATO and the European Union, celebrated his fiftieth birthday in pub in a "Hitler night" celebration which included a one-man play called Adolf in which the lone actor recited "Hitler’s monologue before [his] suicide with a swastika in the background. In this monologue the Fuhrer called on his allies to 'further promote ideas of the Third Reich.'" [35]


This July 26 veterans of the Estonian SS 20th Division celebrated a 1944 battle with the Soviet army in the latest of a series of annual commemorations of the Nazi past. The events included a march and "Supporters of fascism from the Baltic states, Holland, Norway, Denmark and even from Georgia took part in the parade." [36]


As a Russian commentator said of trends in the country, "People who make no attempt to conceal their appreciation of Nazism and Nazi ideology are running Estonia." [37]


Three months before 300 Latvians marched in the annual Legionnaires Day parade which honors the nation's Waffen SS veterans who "took part in punitive operations and mass killings of Jews, Belorussians and Latvians." [38] Latvia is also a member of NATO and the EU. The yearly marches are staged in the capital of Riga and although not endorsed by the government the latter provides police protection to the Nazi sympathizers and has arrested anti-fascist protesters in the past.


The prototype for this fascist resurgence was Croatia in 1991 with the rehabilitation and glorification of the Nazi-allied Ustashe and the new brown plague has even spread to Ukraine, where last year President Victor Yushchenko, product of the 2004 "Orange Revolution" and a U.S. client whose poll ratings recently have sunk to under 1%, "conferred posthumously the title of Hero of Ukraine on Roman Shukhevich, one of the chieftains of Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought along with the Third Reich, and has signed a decree on celebrating the day of the Insurgent Army's formation." [39]


In his waning days Yushchenko is intensifying efforts to drag his nation into NATO despite overwhelming popular opposition and has officiated over developments like the erection of statues in honor of Stepan Bandera, leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.


With the return of Germany, Italy and Japan to waging and supporting wars and the revival of Nazi sentiments in Europe a student of the future could be forgiven for thinking that the Axis powers were the victors and not the losers of World War II and that the Nuremberg trials had never occurred.


1) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 10, 2009
2) Associated Press, August 11, 2009
3) Defense News, July 22, 2009
4) Reuters, July 26, 2009
5) New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage
   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14332
6) From WW II To WW III: Global NATO And Remilitarized Germany
   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14377
7) Germany: First New Post-Cold War World Military Power
   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14415
   [Correction: 1999 marked NATO's fiftieth anniversary summit]
8) Germany And NATO's Nuclear Nexus
   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14437
9) Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14527
10) Der Spiegel, August 10, 2009
11) Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008
12) Newsweek, November 13, 2006
13) Ibid
14) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 8, 2009
15) Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2008
16) Stars and Stripes, November 27, 2008
17) ANSA (Italy), September 22, 2006
18) Stars and Stripes, August 12, 2008
19) Stars and Stripes, January 2, 2008
20) Agence France-Presse, August 10, 2009
21) Stars and Stripes, July 21, 2009
22) Associated Press, January 14, 2007
23) Agence France-Presse, April 7, 2007
24) Ibid
25) Japan Times, December 28, 2006
26) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 11, 2009
27) Associated Press, August 12, 2009
28) Kyodo News, December 21, 2007
29) Kyodo News, May 17, 2007
30) Ibid
31) Xinhua News Agency, May 13, 2007
32) Xinhua News Agency, June 30, 2007
33) InfoTag (Moldova), February 21, 2007
34) Sofia News Agency, July 20, 2009
35) Voice of Russia, July 6, 2007
36) Voice of Russia, July 27, 2009
37) Voice of Russia, July 6, 2007
38) Voice of Russia, March 13, 2009
39) Voice of Russia, October 25, 2008


Rick Rozoff is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Rick Rozoff