Friday, February 25, 2011

Israeli art students and mall kiosk vendors just young Israelis who want to see the world? Guess again

Although they were the subject to a multi-agency investigation for their links to Israeli intelligence, Israeli "art students" and mall kiosk vendors, who have been extremely active in the United States in the months before and years after 9/11, have always maintained they are merely Israelis who want to travel and "see the world" after completing their military service. Practically every Israeli working as door-to-door art salespeople and mall vendors are working in the United States illegally, violating their tourist visas.

After the detention of Israeli art students by U.S. authorities hit the media in early 2002, Mark Regev, the then-spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington who now serves as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman, denied that any Israelis arrested in the United States were espionage agents. Regev categorically stated, "Israel does not spy on the United States," as if convicted American spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard never existed. Israeli sympathizers and propagandists within the U.S. corporate media all canted the same meme about the Israeli art students being spies: "It is an urban myth," they dutifully repeated ad infinitum.
However, in employment advertisements run in Israeli newspapers in 1979, it is quite clear that the hiring of Israeli students after their military service to subsequently be sent to the United States was a Mossad operation tied directly to the Israeli government. Those interested in Mossad spy work in the United States were directed to send their personal details to a post office box in Tel Aviv or the Israeli Consulate General in New York. The consulate is the largest Mossad station in the United States, with Washington, DC and Houston in second and third place.

Newspaper ad recruiting Israeli students for espionage work in the United States. Source: Covert Action Information Bulletin, Dec. 1980.
The advertisement read:
Necessary qualifications:
  • Completion of military service in a combat unit (command position)
  • Good health, profile 82 at least.
  • Must be studying in the United States and/or planning to fo there in Summer 1979 or beginning of 1980. Candidates must have been accepted at an educational institution in the United States.
  • Candidate must pay travel expenses.
  • Those interested should write and enclose a personal biography, personal information, identity card number.
        In Israel: P.O. Box 39351, Tel Aviv (Attn: M.M.)
        In U.S.A.: General Consulate/Israel in New York
        800 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017
       ---Only Qualified Persons Will Be Answered ---

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Gulf's terror of democracy


By Pepe Escobar

There's a specter haunting the Persian Gulf: democracy.

This Tuesday, no less than 20% of the population of Bahrain poured into the Lulu (Pearl) roundabout in Manama in its biggest anti-feudal monarchy demonstration intimately connected to the great 2011 Arab revolt. A whole cross-section of Bahraini society - teachers, lawyers, engineers, their wives and children - rolled along in a wide, unbroken column of red and white, the colors of the national flag.

This Wednesday, there were reasons to believe the revolt was finally hitting the holy grail, ie, the House of Saud, as 100 youngsters hit the streets of Hafar al-Batin, in northeast Saudi Arabia, calling for the end of its drenched-in-oil feudal monarchy. What's extraordinary is that this happened as "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" Saudi King Abdullah, 85, was returning home after three months following surgery in the US and convalescence in Morocco - amid massive regime propaganda, complete with Orientalist touches such as men in white robes doing traditional Bedouin sword dances on special carpets.

For the House of Saud, the revolt is the ultimate nightmare; as the whole world knows by now, tiny Shi'ite-majority Bahrain borders the large Shi'ite majority oil-producing parts of Saudi Arabia. So no wonder King Abdullah had barely set foot on his carpets when he went pre-emptive to quell any possible democracy-yearning moves, launching a US$35 billion program that includes one year of unemployment benefits for jobless young people, and adding into a national development fund which helps people to buy homes, set up businesses and get married.

In theory, Saudi Arabia has pledged no less than a massive $400 billion until the end of 2014 to improve education, healthcare and infrastructure. Chief economist at Banq Saudi Fransi, John Sfakianakis, euphemistically puts it as "the king trying to create wider trickle down of wealth in the shape of social welfare''.

Invariably, euphemism stops at politics; there's no sign the king will invest in the political aspirations of his subjects - as political parties, labor unions and protests remain absolutely banned. And there's no evidence he's inclined to address the huge social problems - from government repression to religious intolerance - which have forced him to announce this multibillion "trickle down" gambit.

And guess who was there to greet King Abdullah and discuss the "crisis"- code for The Great 2011 Arab Revolt? That's right – his Sunni neighbor feudal monarch, King Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain.
Killing them softly with our song
The Western-concocted Disneyworld narrative that King Hamad was "reform-minded", interested in "advancing democracy" and "preserving stability", was totally shattered by his mercenary army firing live ammo from anti-aircraft guns from APCs at protesters who were carrying flowers, or American Bell helicopters overhead chasing people and shooting at them.

A Twitter posting last week by Bahraini journalist Amira al-Husseini summed it all up; "I too love Bahrain. I am Bahraini. My blood is Bahraini - and I witnessed my country die in the eyes of its children today."

The Shi'ite rebellion against the over-200-year-old al-Khalifa dynasty - invaders from the mainland, by the way - has in fact been going on for decades, and includes hundreds of political prisoners tortured in four prisons in and around Manama by Jordanian "advisers", and a regime whose army is mostly composed by Punjabi and Pakistani Baloch soldiers.

It took quite a while - but then that strategic phone call from Washington made sure to the al-Khalifa to at least manage the killing with a little more savvy.

The record of how US foreign policy has nimbly adapted to the great 2011 Arab revolt yields a few lessons. Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak and Bahrain's King Hamad are "moderate" and certainly not "evil"; after all they were and are, respectively, pillars of "stability" in MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa).

On the other hand, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's Bashar al-Assad are really bad, because they are not submissive to Washington's diktats. The moral scale conditioning the US response is directly determined by the degree the dictator/feudal monarch in question is a US satrap.

This explains the instant US revulsion (by the State Department, and only this Wednesday by President Barack Obama himself) at Gaddafi's bombing of his own people, while US corporate media and scores of think-tank analysts scramble to see who comes up with the most elaborate adjectives crucifying Gaddafi. Nothing beats denouncing a dictator who doesn't fit the Washington lackey model.

Meanwhile, on the other side of MENA, there was hardly a peep when Hamad's repression apparatus - partly imported from Saudi Arabia - killed his own citizens at the Pearl roundabout. Well, rehabilitated terrorist Gaddafi has always been a lunatic, while for Bahrain a long mantra applies; Bahrain as "close ally" of the US, "small but strategically valuable nation", home of the 5th Fleet, essential to ensure the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, bulwark against Iran, etc.

Anyway, even after the massacre, Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the largest, opposition Shi'ite party al-Wefaq, as well as Ebrahim Sharif, leader of the secular party Wa'ad, and Mohammed Mahfood from the Islamic Action Society, have agreed to meet Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa for a monarchy-proposed dialogue.

Husain Abdullah, director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, is not convinced; "I am not sure if the ruling family themselves are serious about any serious dialogue because when you watch the Bahrain TV, you see nothing but sectarian attacks on those who are staying in the Lulu roundabout-square."

For Abdullah, what's in fact happening is "more people openly calling for the regime to be toppled, through peaceful means, and Bahrain to be ruled by the people of Bahrain. In addition, there is a serious call for complete (not partial, which is the case now) civil disobedience in the country to force the ruling family to leave the country in the same manner that took place in Tunisia and Egypt." No wonder the House of Saud is freaking out.

The uprising of Bahrain's 70% Shi'ites, plus quite a few Sunnis - the protest mantra is "No Shi'ite, no Sunni, only Bahraini" - started as a civil rights movement. But the crown prince would better deliver quickly - otherwise this will become a full-blown revolution. For the moment there's a lot of rhetoric about "stability", "calm", "security", "national cohesion" and nothing about serious electoral and constitutional reform.

There are reasons to believe Salman - following Saudi advice - may be trying to pull a Mubarak and make vague promises for a distant future. We all know how it ended up on Tahrir Square.

The protesters started asking for an elected prime minister, a constitutional monarchy, and an end to discrimination against Shi'ites. Now Matar Ibrahim, one of 18 Shi'ite members of parliament, says the gap between the demonstrators at the Pearl roundabout and the official political opposition talking to the crown prince has become an abyss. The top rallying call around the Pearl roundabout has become "Down, Down Khalifa."

Thousands of workers at the huge Alba aluminum plant have already made sure that a very powerful industrial and trade union movement backs the mostly Shi'ite protesters. The head of the Alba trade union, Ali Bin Ali - who happens to be a Sunni - has already warned that they could go on strike at any moment.

We want our social rights
Were peaceful, democratic regime change happen in Bahrain, the mega-losers would be Saudi Arabia and the US.

Bahrain is a classic case of the US empire of bases colluding with an unsavory feudal monarchy/dictatorship. Naturally the US Joint Chiefs of Staff favors dictatorship-dictated "order and stability" - as well as old colonial power Britain; the massacres of civilians in Bahrain - and Libya - have been brought to you by the Sandhurst military academy and BAE systems.

King Hamad graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and "takes a leading role in directing Bahrain's security policy", according to a 2009 WikiLeaks cable. He was defense minister from 1971 to 1988 and is a big fan of US heavy weaponry.

The "very Western in his approach" crown prince for his part is a graduate of a US Defense Department high school in Bahrain and the American University in Washington. Translation; two Pentagon-minded vassals are in charge of delivering democratic reforms to Bahrain.

International banking center Bahrain - with a gross domestic product per capita just under $20,000 - is also very high, alongside Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in the scale of wealthy oligarchies based on slave labor, the proverbial "large pool of migrant workers providing cheap labor". It has spent a fortune promoting itself as "Business Friendly Bahrain". Last week it was more like "Bullet-friendly Bahrain".

The great 2011 Arab revolt, for all its specific reasons in different countries, is definitely not about religion (as Mubarak, Gaddafi and Hamad have claimed) - but essentially working class unrest directly provoked by the global crisis of capitalism.

Clash of civilizations, end of history, Islamophobia and other silly concepts are dead and buried. People want their social rights, and to navigate the waters of political democracy and social democracy. In this sense the Arab street is now the vanguard of the whole world. If the al-Khalifa don't get it, they are bound to go down.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

Renewed "chatter" about a possible U.S. military attack on Iran

WMR's sources in the national security establishment are reporting on "chatter" that they are hearing about a possible U.S. military attack on Iran in the autumn, with October or November the likely months.

Although such chatter about U.S. military action against Iran has been heard before, the current talk comes amid two significant developments.

First, U.S.-backed regimes in the Middle East and North Africa have either already been ousted or are in danger of being overthrown. With U.S. clients Bahrain and Saudi Arabia under domestic pressure, talk of a U.S. attack on Iran, which would be popular with the Bahraini and Saudi regimes, tends to bolster those regimes.

Second, WMR has been informed that U.S. oil companies are drilling 1200 new oil wells in west Texas to raise U.S. domestic oil production. The companies have been told by the government that they have a 12 to 18-month window to drill new wells and a 24-month window to achieve maximum oil production. In the event of a U.S .military attack on Iran, oil exports from the Persian Gulf would be severely impacted.

WMR has been told that oil storage containers are currently being built in west Texas to hold the oil extracted from the new wells. Within the last three months, a number of oil exploration and support services personnel have arrived in towns all over west Texas. More significantly, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel have also arrived in west Texas in support of the oil drilling operations.

- Bahrainis peacefully demanded political reforms. Regime responded killing peaceful protestors

Latheef Farook
Bahrainis, especially majority Shiites, came out in an unprecedented peaceful demonstration demanding constitutional reforms seeking political freedom and justice.  However the autocratic minority Sunni regime responded with violent crackdown raining death and destruction.    
As a result the people who once asked for political reforms now demand the removal of the king and his regime to pave the way for a government run by an elected parliament. 

Bahrain, with a chain of 30 islands and a territory of 717 sq kilometers, has a   population of around 800,000 of which around three quarters are Shiites. They accuse the regime of shutting them out of housing, healthcare and government jobs. They also complain of unemployment and poverty and accuse the government of employing expatriates - according to 2010 UN figures there were 235,108 expats.   

Some of the Shiite villages lack even basic needs in contrast to the mansions of the elite in exclusive areas. The island is ruled by Khalifah family, Sunni Muslims, which captured power in 1783 after expelling the Persians who still view Bahrain as a renegade province exacerbating sectarian tensions.
The two sides do not trust each and the suspicion has been deep rooted and historic.

Bahrain, a British protectorate under the 1861 Treaty with UK, became independent on 15 August 1971. In February 2002 the country became a hereditary monarchy with a  toothless and cosmetic bicameral legislature and a powerless consultative Council.  

The political system is a medieval style autocratic tribal rule as in the case of rest of the Gulf countries. Sunnis dominated by the ruling Khalifa family remain a privileged lot with all the powers and perks. They control the  armed  forces, the government, government machinery, business, wealth, land, exclusive beaches and  almost everything other than the air  which the Khalifas cannot prevent the Shiites from breathing.,  

As in the case of all pro western countries Bahrain too is westernized and corrupt. Liquor flows freely and  some areas known for prostitution involving  Muslim women from  poverty stricken North Africa , Central Asia and several other countries including  Iraq where women who once lived a decent life but driven to poverty following the US invasion. Friday is usually a Holy Day for Muslims worldwide. However here in Bahrain it is a day of fun, wining, dining and sinning starting from Thursday onward. Saudis and others from the region flock to the island for their weekend fun and sin.

People in general resist this shameful state of affair. However they are helpless as speaking about this means asking for trouble .Thus they suffer in silence with deep frustration.

Though a tiny island Bahrain has huge regional and international political dimensions and implications. For example Iran has been sympathetic towards the Shiites. This causes   serious concern in Saudi Arabia which has a sizable suppressed Shiite population in its eastern region known for its oil wealth which is controlled by the Saudi ruling family. To ward off any potential Iranian threat Saudi Arabia built multibillion dollar causeway linking Bahrain with Saudi mainland.
Bahrain is also the home for US Navy's Fifth Fleet which  is  a shield for American forces against many countries "especially Iran, spy on Iran and controls the Strait of Hormoz. Thus it would do everything to ensure that the regime remains in power.

It was under such circumstance that the Bahrainis, encouraged by political developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Jdan,.Yemen and Alegria, came out on   peaceful demonstrations on  14 Monday 2011 to draw attention to their longstanding grievances. They called for a new constitution that would move the country toward democracy as well as limited state control for the monarchy over top government posts and all critical decisions.

The regime responded with force using clubs, tear gas and live ammunition killing a peaceful demonstrator and injuring many enraging all alike. 

The ruler King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah apologized.

The death prompted the opposition to call for massive participation. When the people gathered for the funeral   the regime, once again, unleashed violence killing more peaceful demonstrators.  In a single pre-dawn assault on Thursday  by riot police on protesters sleeping in the Pearl Square  four people were killed, 231 wounded and 60 others were missing,. The attack has been strongly condemned by members of the international community, including the United Nations.  

One columnist said "The king Hamad has blood on his hands after his mercenary security forces - Pakistani, Indian, Syrian and Jordanian - with no previous warning, attacked sleeping, peaceful protesters at 3 am on Thursday at the Pearl roundabout. Altogether seven peaceful demonstrators were killed, hundreds injured and scores disappeared-some believe killed. In the midst eighteen members of the Bahrain parliament resigned from their posts   to protest against the violent crackdown.
Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Kassim who described the killing as massacre warned that Bahrain's Shia uprising has just begun and if Manama fails to satisfy the people's legitimate demands for change quickly, it will pay a heavy price. He urged Bahraini authorities to release innocent prisoners and to fight the widespread corruption .He also criticized Manama for not trying to prevent the spread of atheism in the country, warning that if the government does not change its policy, in the near future, atheism will prevail.

In this volatile and tense environment King Hamad praised the troops for what he described as their "bravery".  This was not only provocative but also insult to peaceful demonstrators. The inevitable result was the people who for political reforms now demand the removal of the king himself and his government 

Shiites dug in at Pearl roundabout, Bahraini version of Cairo's Tahrir Square, stating they will not leave until their demands are met. .

The US, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf rulers will not allow the fall of King Hamad and his regime. Change of regime means a nightmare scenario for US and the Gulf States as it would tantamount to handing over power to a pro Irani Bahrain.

In Bahrain it is Iran vs.  US, Britain, Israel and the Gulf sheikhdoms which were brought under US   security umbrella during the past two decades. Perhaps it is time for   serious and meaningful reforms meeting some of Shiites' demands?  

Latheef Farook is a Senior Sri Lankan journalist who, after working for  Ceylon Daily News and Ceylon Observer for almost a decade,  led a team to Dubai in February 1979 where he re launched Gulf News. After almost a quarter century in the Gulf he is now based in Colombo.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

'Brother' Gaddafi, you're going down By Pepe Escobar

You know the fat lady is about to sing when a dictator unleashes hell from above over his own unarmed, civilian compatriots, and bombs parts of his capital city. That's a bridge too far even by the unspeakable standards of Western-backed dictators in the Arab world.

You know the (ghastly) show may be over when Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, one of the most popular Sunni authorities in the world, not least because of his weekly show on al-Jazeera, issues a fatwa - "I am issuing a fatwa now to kill [Muammar] Gaddafi. To any soldier, to any man who can pull the trigger and kill this man to do so" - and then prays live, on al-Jazeera, for the end of the
Libyan dictator ("O Lord save the Libyans from this pharaoh." When he finishes, the al-Jazeera anchor says "Amen").

You know the bells are ringing when your "Abu Omar Brigade", responsible for your protection, is still on a rampage; but your ambassadors around the world defect en masse; your own deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Omar al-Dabashi, says your government is carrying out genocide; your fighter pilots refuse to bomb your cities; your military officers, in a statement, ask all members of the army to head to Tripoli and depose you; a coalition of Islamic leaders tells all Muslims it is their duty to rebel against you because of your "bloody crimes against humanity"; and to top it off, people are calling for a "million man march" following the Egyptian model.

And what about the Maltese Falcons? In a day of volcanic activity, it's hard to beat the spectacular defection of two colonels of the Libyan Air Force, who flew their Mirages to Malta. They had refused to bomb protesters in Benghazi, telling Maltese authorities they had come so close to carrying out their mission that they could see the crowds on the ground. They also passed "classified" information about what the Libyan military has been up to.

And all this in just one day - Monday.

It was not enough to deploy "black African" mercenaries in a shoot-to-kill rampage in Benghazi. Already on Sunday, Sheikh Faraj al-Zuway, leader of the crucial al-Zuwayya tribe in eastern Libya, had threatened to cut oil exports to the West within 24 hours unless what he called the "oppression of protesters" in Benghazi was stopped.

Akram Al-Warfalli, a leader of the al-Warfalla tribe, one of Libya's biggest, in the south of Tripoli, had told al-Jazeera Gaddafi is "no longer a brother, we tell you to leave the country". The 500,000-strong Berber, Tuaregs from the southern desert, are also against him. When you have four of your key tribes - the spine of your system - marching on Tripoli to get rid of you, you better watch out.

History may eventually register how Gaddafi's appalling 41-year rule in Libya (he was already in power when "Tricky Dicky" Richard Nixon was the United States president) virtually collapsed in only 24 hours. There will be blood - a lot of blood; but "brother" is about to go down.

'Rivers of blood will run through Libya'
The beginning of the end was classic Arab dictator stuff; Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, looking like an upscale bouncer in suit and tie, went on Libyan state TV on Sunday night instead of his father to deliver a threatening/repellent/pathetic speech that only infuriated the Libyan masses even more, after six days of protests in the historic Cyrenaica region.

After threatening to "eradicate the pockets of sedition" (echoes of Iran's leadership eradicating protests last week) Gaddafi's "modernizing" son said Libyans risked igniting a civil war in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned".

In 2009, Said received a PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE) with a thesis titled "The Role of Civil Society in the Democratization of Global Governance Institutions: From 'Soft Power' to Collective Decision-Making". Last year he delivered a lecture about it at the LSE (listen to it here.)

Isn't wonderful that the ghastliest dictators in the world may send their offspring to the best schools in the world where they can appease the West's false consciousness while back at home they openly threaten their own people and go for sniper fire, automatic weapons and heavy artillery against their unarmed compatriots?

It's doubtful the LSE taught Saif how to ignite a flash civil war with just a rant. But that's what he accomplished.

Libyan writer Faouzi Abdelhamid - comparing the name Saif al-Islam ("sword of Islam") with Saif al-I'dam ("sword of execution") came out all guns blazing, calling the whole Gaddafi clan criminals and thieves; "You don't even have the right of living among us as ordinary citizens, because you're guilty of high treason".

By the time Saif was delivering his threats, the eastern city of Benghazi had already fallen to the protesters. Tripoli was next, on Monday. With the regime blocking all phone lines, all day Monday occasional, frantic tweets relayed all sorts of terrifying rumors and facts - inevitably clouded by the ominous sound of live ammunition. Helicopters raining bullets down on people in the streets below. Fighter jets launching strikes. Snipers firing from building tops.

Schools, government offices and most stores in Tripoli were closed, with armed "Revolutionary Committees", ie regime thugs, patrolling the streets hunting for protesters in Tripoli's old city. According to Salem Gnan, a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, 80 people may have died when protesters surrounded Gaddafi's residence and were shot at from inside the compound.

As the People's Hall - where the parliament meets when it is in session in Tripoli - was set on fire and all cities south of Tripoli were progressively being "liberated", al-Jazeera managed to trace the source of jamming of its Arabsat satellite frequency to a Libyan intelligence building south of the capital.

Ahmed Elgazir, a human-rights researcher with the Libyan News Center (LNC) in Geneva, later told al-Jazeera he got a call for help from a woman witnessing a massacre in progress on a satellite phone. Eyewitnesses reported to Agence France-Presse another "massacre" in the Fashloum and Tajoura districts of Tripoli. By late Monday night, the (unconfirmed) death toll in Tripoli alone had reached at least 250.

Among Libyans, virtually all information all around the country was and remains word of mouth. But tweets that reached al-Jazeera or the BBC also emphasized a profound disgust with the deafening silence of the "international community" ("Are we only worth mentioning when it has to do with oil and terrorism?")

Round up the oily condemnations
Said "international community" indeed started noticing when the Libyan Quryna newspaper reported protests had broken out in the northern city of Ras Lanuf, whose oil refinery processes 220,000 barrels a day.

Yes, apart from Gaddafi's antics, Libya registers in the West because it exports 1.7 million barrels of oil a day. Its gross domestic product is US$77 billion - number 62 in world rankings; that theoretically implies a per capita income of over $12,000 a year, more, for instance, than BRIC member Brazil. But profound inequality is the norm; roughly 35% of Libyans live below the poverty line, and unemployment is running at an unbearable 30%. The oil wealth stays in Tripolitania. Eastern Libya - Cyrenaica - where the anti-Gaddafi revolution started, is dirt poor.

In the high-stakes front, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) - also owner of a London-based hedge fund - has invested more than $70 billion around the world. It's a major shareholder, for instance, in the Financial Times, Fiat and one of Italy's top soccer clubs, Juventus. LIA invests - and plans to invest - billions in Britain.

Cue to the European Union (EU) foreign ministers issuing the usual, bland, bureaucratic condemnation. At least Italian Prime Minister, "bunga bunga" idol and close Gaddafi pal Silvio Berlusconi, who had said earlier he didn't want to "disturb" his friend, had to qualify the massacre of civilians as "unacceptable" and profess he was "alarmed". To see Berlusconi literally kissing Gaddafi's hands, go here No less than 32% of Libya's oil exports go to Italy.

Then there's another classic - Washington's deafening silence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the standard bland condemnation. Libyan-American scientist and activist Naeem Gheriany told the Institute for Public Accuracy the Barack Obama administration "says it's 'concerned' about the situation - there's no real condemnation in spite of the dire situation. People are being massacred in the hundreds, Gaddafi is reportedly using anti-aircraft guns to shoot people. In a few days, more people in Libya have apparently been killed than in weeks in Iran, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and even Egypt (which has a much larger population) ... Even the oil cannot justify this silence."

Not to mention that Washington and Gaddafi have been the best "war on terror" pals. Captured al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi - the object of a Central Intelligence Agency "rendition" to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Omar "Sheikh al-Torture" Suleiman, who duly tortured him into confessing to a non-existent Saddam-al-Qaeda weapons of mass destruction connection that then-secretary of state Colin Powell used as "intelligence" at his United Nations speech in February 2003 - was later tracked in Libya by Human Rights Watch just to end up his life as an alleged "suicide".

Milan villa or The Hague?
Libyan opposition writer Ashour Shamis has remarked, "For Gaddafi it's kill or be killed". The family told Saudi paper al-Sharq al-Awsat, "We will all die on Libyan soil." That means Gaddafi and a row of hated offspring.

Son Khamis - the commander of an elite special forces unit, trained in Russia - is the mastermind of the repression in Benghazi. Son Saadi is, or was there too, alongside the head of military intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi.

Son Muatassim is Gaddafi's national security adviser and, until now, possible successor. In 2009, he tried to set up his own special forces unit to erode Khamis's power.

Son Saif, the "modernizer" with an LSE diploma, cuts no mustard with the regime's old guard and the dreaded "Revolutionary Committees".

Son Saadi is basically a thug fond of raising hell across nightclubs in Europe. Same applies to son Hannibal.

It all looks and sounds like a cheap blood-splattered gangster movie. What to make of Gaddafi's bizarre 20-second appearance on state TV early this Tuesday ("I'm in Tripoli, not in Venezuela"), clutching an umbrella, sitting inside a cream-colored microvan and sporting a winter hat with ear flaps, with no clue of what is going on? (After all he was supporting his pals, Tunisia's Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and to Mubarak, until the very end). He defined TV channels - such as al-Jazeera - as "dogs" (in the 1980s he had already used hit squads to murder exiled "stray dogs" who challenged his revolution).

Still, Gaddafi should not be underestimated. He controls all the hardware - defense, security, foreign affairs. Plus all those "black African" mercenaries/exterminators paid in gold. Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh said Yemen was not Egypt or Tunisia. Gaddafi said Libya was not Egypt or Tunisia. Mubarak said Egypt was not Tunisia.

They were all wrong; the entire Arab world now is Tunisia. The Libyan masses hate "their" leader. Even fellow Arab dictators - with the exception of the House of Saud - hate him. He has few expat options. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez would be crazy to offer him asylum and forever destroy his "champion of the poor" credibility.

Well, there's always Berlusconi. Nice villa near Milan, great pasta, and he can pitch his Bedouin tent in the luxurious gardens. And if Berlusconi is sent to jail in his "Rubygate"-related trial in April, Gaddafi may even move up to the main residence. But, after you bombed your own citizens from the air, and hired mercenaries to shoot them, there is only one choice destination: the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

Those who secretly back Qaddafi

WMR has learned from a well-placed source that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has called in a number of political and financial markers in his bid to cling on to power, no matter the costs, including waging a bloody genocidal campaign against the Libyan people.

The Obama administration's major concern in trying to extend Qaddafi's stay in power for as long as possible is to protect documents and potential witnesses within the Libyan Jamahiriyah Security Organization (JSO). The CIA used Libyan intelligence and security facilities and assets for its "extraordinary rendition" and torture program, first authorized by then-deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in 1997. Holder is currently President Obama's Attorney General and, as with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak government and its joint General Intelligence Directorate-CIA kidnapping and torture program run by Omar Suleiman ("Sheik Al-Torture"), the Obama administration is supporting the CIA in its quest to ensure that no details, including documents and witnesses, emerge from the Libyan JSO-CIA operation.

The Obama administration wants to buy time for Qaddafi so that it can exfiltrate from Libya, JSO and other assets involved with the "Al Qaeda" rendition, torture, and tracking program. In fact, in a long and rambling speech delivered by Muammar Qaddafi today on Libyan state television, he railed against the Bin Laden and "Al Qaeda" threat to his regime.

WMR previously reported that a CIA rendition Boeing 737 operated by CIA front company Keeler and Tate Management of Reno, Nevada, arrived at RAF Northolt, UK on November 14, 2003, from Mitiga, Libya. The plane also arrived in Libya on January 12; March 12; October 28; October 12; October 19, 2003 and February 21; March 7, 9, 16,; April 21, 23; September 7, 2004; and January 7, 16, 18, 19, 2005. The CIA Boeing torture plane flew missions between Mitiga airport in Tripoli and Valletta, Malta; Oxford, UK; Dulles International Airport, Washington; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; Morocco; and Glasgow, Scotland.

Another CIA rendition aircraft, a Gulfstream IV, leased to the CIA by
Phillip H. Morse, a minority partner of the Boston Red Sox, departed Tripoli on May 5, 2004 en route to Tenerife, Canary Islands.

However, according to our source, it is the financial connections of the Qaddafi family to a number of lucrative business deals with the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, and Russia that has these countries dragging their feet on demanding the Qaddafi regime to step down. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi enjoys a close relationship with former Labor Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, according to our source. It was Mandelson, who Saif reportedly calls "Mandy," who introduced Saif to Nathaniel Rothschild, the wealthy scion of the financially- and politically-powerful Rothschild family.

Our source reports that Saif Qaddafi, 'Nate" Rothschild, and "Mandy" are frequent diners at Moscow's ritzy Pushkin Restaurant, and have often held meetings there with Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire Russian tycoon who partly owns RUSAL, the Russian aluminum company. Deripaska, Mandelson, Saif Qaddafi, and Rothschild also met at Deripaska's Corfu estate and on the tycoon's yacht, often docked in Montenegro. The team was apparently attempting to cash in on the U.S. Air Force's lucrative tanker refueling project. RUSAL is slated to provide the aluminum for EADS (
European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company), one of the two bidders -- Boeing is the other -- on the controversial contract that has been rife with fraud. Wheh informed that the Qaddafi family was involved with the tycoons backing EADS' contract bid, some U.S. national security officials expressed alarm.

However, as WMR reported on June 9, 2008, ". . .
the McCain campaign wants to bury the story of McCain's 70th birthday bash held on board the yacht of a Russian aluminum tycoon in the Adriatic Sea. The party was held on August 29, 2006, McCain's birthday and followed a congressional junket by McCain and five other GOP senators to the Republic of Georgia. The host for McCain's yacht party off the coast of the Republic of Montenegro was, according to WMR sources with close links to the Republican Party, Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's most powerful tycoons who made his billions in cornering Russia's aluminum market in the 1990s. The 40-year old Deripaska is also politically-connected, having married the daughter of Russia's late President Boris Yeltsin. Unlike most other Russian tycoons, who now live in exile abroad and are protected by Israeli passports, Deripaska maintains close relations to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich, who was also invested in Russia's aluminum industry. In 2000, Deripaska merged his firm, Basic Element, with Abramovich's firm, RusAl. Both tycoons maintain expensive homes in London."

WMR has also been informed by our source that Newscorp owner Rupert Murdoch has been a frequent guest at Corfu soirees also attended by Saif Qaddafi, Rothschild, Mandelson, and Derispaska. Newscorp owns Fox and SKy News.

On March 25, 2009, WMR reported: "
British intelligence sources report to WMR that a series of high-level financial deals between Libya, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, former Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin, and Scottish First Minister Alexander Salmond resulted in the release from a Scottish prison of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan Arab Airlines officials convicted of planting the bomb on board Pan Am 103 that killed 281 people on the plane and in the village of Lockerbie in 1988. Megrahi's colleague, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted of charges in the terrorist attack.In fact, according to the British intelligence sources, the Libyans were never responsible for the bombing of PanAm 103, which was carried out by the Iranians and their Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) proxies in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in retaliation for the shooting down by the USS Vincennes of an Iran Air Airbus-300 over the Persian Gulf in July 1988 that killed all 290 passengers and crew."

Our report continued: "
Negotiations on the deal to free Megrahi, who stood to embarass the British and U.S. governments with new evidence of his innocence if the appeal of his conviction had gone forward, began last October after two major Scottish banks, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), collapsed. After HSBC and Barclays made overtures to the Bank of England to buy HBOS and RBS, the proposals were rejected by what is known in Whitehall as the "Larnarkshire Mafia" -- Brown, Darling, and Martin -- intervened in the Scottish financial crisis and ordered that public money vice commercial funds be used to prop up HBOS and RBS. Eventually, Lloyds TSB bought HBOS creating Lloyds Banking Group, which was, itself, later bailed out by the British government.

The word from Whitehall is that, although Parliament is in summer recess, senior staffers know that a major secret deal was worked out between Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street (the residences of the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, respectively) and Qaddafi and sealed after a meeting two weeks ago between Mandelson and Qaddafi's son, Saif al Islam Qaddafi, at a Rothschild family-owned villa on Corfu.

The deal worked out is that profits realized from future oil and gas deals between Britain and Libya will be used to bail out the Scottish banks."

With these powerful connections, the Qaddafi regime is pressing his friends and allies in London, Washington, Moscow, and within the Silvio Berlusconi mafia that runs Italy, that they must stress "stability" -- a word also heard as Mubarak was on the rope in Cairo -- over democracy. So far, Qaddafi has drawn some success as he clings to power.


The Awards Honor Outstanding Films and Artists of Conscience and Consciousness

Los Angeles, Feb. 21, 2011 – A Spanish film about a peoples power uprising in Bolivia has swept the James Agee Cinema Circle’s fourth annual “Progie” Awards for Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers of 2010. Upon receiving word Even The Rain screenwriter Paul Laverty declared: “I like the sound of best Anti-Fascist film very much!! I'll take that to the grave with pride… I must tell all our compañeros in Cochabamba too... sure they will feel honored.”
The James Agee Cinema Circle is a new international, independent umbrella group of lefty film critics, reviewers, scholars and historians dedicated to raising public awareness about films dealing with political, social and cultural issues such as: Human rights, workers’ struggles, women’s rights, environmentalism, ethnic rights, free speech, gay rights, civil liberties, immigrant rights, people’s activism and peace. The JACC annually presents The Progies to the year’s Best Progressive studio features, indies, documentaries and artists. The Progies are the “un-Oscar”, the “people’s alternative Academy Awards,” honoring movies and talents of conscience and consciousness.

2010’s Progie Award winners reflect the protest and strike wave stretching from Tunisia to Wisconsin, including: Even The Rain’s 4 Progies include The Trumbo for Best Progressive Picture; Naomi Watts won the Karen Morley Best Progressive Actress Progie for Fair Game; the Matt Damon Iraq War drama The Green Zone won the Renoir for Best Anti-War Progie; The Wall Street expose Inside Job won the Dziga for Best Progressive Documentary Progie; the British feminist strike drama Made In Dagenham earned the Our Daily Bread Progie for best progressive working class portrayal; Jean-Luc Godard won the Sergei Progie for Best Progressive Lifetime Achievement, while his latest work Film Socialisme received the Langlois Progie for Best Progressive Film Deserving U.S. Theatrical Release. The Fighter’s Mark Wahlberg and Casino Jack’s Kevin Spacey tied in the Garfield Best Progressive Actor category.

Below is a complete list of all of the 2010 Progies winners, followed by the nominees in every category. Each Progie is awarded in a category named after a great cinema artist or film that made a contribution to movies that inspire, enlighten and entertain audiences. 
Ed Rampell, author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States, and other members of the James Agee Cinema Circle are available for comment and interviews.

THE TRUMBO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for “Spartacus” and “Exodus” in 1960.

Winner: Even The Rain 
Social Network 
Casino Jack 
Made In Dagenham

THE GARFIELD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTOR in a progressive picture is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as “Gentleman's Agreement” and “Force of Evil,” only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.

Winners: Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter and Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack
James Franco, Howl 
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

KAREN MORLEY AWARD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTRESS in a film portraying women in a progressive picture is named for Karen Morley, co-star of 1932’s “Scarface” and 1934’s “Our Daily Bread.” Morley was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for New York’s Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

Winner: Naomi Watts, Fair Game 
Sally Hawkins, Made In Dagenham

THE RENOIR: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILM is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece “Grand Illusion.”

Winner: The Green Zone 
Route Irish

THE GILLO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILM is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics “The Battle of Algiers” and “Burn!”

Winner: Even The Rain
Tears Of Gaza

THE DZIGA: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARY is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the “Kino Pravda” (“Film Truth”) series and “The Man With the Movie Camera.”

Winner:  Inside Job
Client 9
South Of The Border

OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: The Progie Award for the MOST POSITIVE AND INSPIRING WORKING CLASS SCREEN IMAGE is named after King Vidor’s 1934 classic about an American collective farm, which starred Karen Morley and was produced by Charlie Chaplin.

Winner: Made In Dagenham
Even The Rain
The Fighter

THE ROBESON: The Progie Award for the BEST PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE OF COLOR that shatters cinema stereotypes, in light of their historically demeaning depictions onscreen. It is named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson, who starred in 1936’s “Song of Freedom” and 1940’s “The Proud Valley,” and narrated 1942’s “Native Land.”

Winner: Even The Rain
Night Catches Us
Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench
Frankie & Alice

THE SERGEI: The Progie Award for LIFETIME PROGRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT ON- OR OFFSCREEN is named after Sergei Eisenstein, the Soviet director of masterpieces such as “Potemkin” and “10 Days That Shook the World.”

Winner: Jean-Luc GodardSean Penn
Mike Leigh
Ed Asner
THE BUNUEL: The Progie Award for the MOST SLYLY SUBVERSIVE SATIRICAL CINEMATIC FILM in terms of form, style and content is named after Luis Bunuel, the Spanish surrealist who directed 1929’s “The Andalusian Dog,” 1967’s “Belle de Jour” and 1972’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”

Winner: The Social Network
Enter the Void
Hitler in Hollywood

THE PASOLINI: The Progie Award for BEST PRO-GAY RIGHTS film is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964's “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” and “The Decameron” and “The Canterbury Tales” in the 1970s.

Winner: The Kids Are Alright
I Love You Philip Morris

THE LAWSON: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM is named after John Howard Lawson, screenwriter of 1938’s anti-Franco “Blockade” and the 1940s anti-nazi films “Four Sons,” “Action in the North Atlantic,” “Sahara” and “Counter-Attack,” and one of the Hollywood Ten.

Winner: Even The Rain
The King’s Speech
Casino Jack
The Last Circus

THE LANGLOIS: For BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE DESERVING THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE US and distribution in other countries and platforms is named after film archivist Henri Langlois, co-founder of Paris’ Cinémathèque. 

Winner: Film Socialisme
Cleveland Versus Wall Street
Nostalgia For The Light
The Housemaid

Beware the government's avatars, especially fear your own

The Department of Homeland Security is conducting massive spying on Internet users through a program called "Avatar Identity." The existence of the program was disclosed to WMR by a source who stated that the development of avatars for every user of the Internet had its beginnings with the U.S. Air Force and the Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPANET) at the outset of the fielding of World Wide Web (WWW) technology in the early 1990s.

At the core of Homeland Security's Avatar Identity Program is the reliance on genetic algorithms developed for the analysis of the stock market to come up with prime investment strategies. The program was developed through the aegis of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), which inherited many of the invasive Internet surveillance programs from its Pentagon cousin, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA), after its programs, including the proposed Total Information Awareness program, were defunded by Congress
The Avatar Identity Program appears to coincide with another Air Force project to solicit "persona management software" to create virtual users on the Internet in order to conduct perception management campaigns to inundate chat rooms, letter to the editor, and on-line polls to sway public opinion on key issues.

It was also recently revealed that the computer security firm HB Gary Federal worked in a program to create and manage "sock puppet" Internet users to infiltrate websites to create confusion and propagate disinformation. The program was to be used to attack WikiLeaks and apparently was linked to the US Chamber of Commerce, the Bank of America, the bank's chief law firm Hunton & Williams, and two other technology firms that later withdrew from participation: Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. More ominous is the report that it was the Department of Justice recommended the use of HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico (known as Team Themis, which would operate a Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell [CIRC]
) to the Chamber, the Bank of America, and Hunton & Williams to engage in the sock puppet management operation. The program matches recommendations from White House Office of Information Regulatory Affairs chief Dr. Cass Sunstein, who has referred to such operations as "cognitive infiltration."

However, Homeland Security's Avatar Identity program involves the creation of an avatar for every Internet user that pulls information from the actual user's Google searches, Twitter messages, Facebook postings, on-line commerce activities, and other web interactions and feeds the transactions to the avatar program. Intelligence analysts then query the avatar for details of the user's activities.

Your Internet avatar is watching you and snitching on you.
WMR was informed that the Avatar Identity Program was first developed for every known terrorist in the world. However, it has now expanded to include every Internet user and it is being aggressively used to identify and track down members of the hacktivist group "Anonymous," which has attacked the computer systems of HB Gary Federal, Bank of America, and other firms seen as waging a war against Internet freedom.

As an example of its practical use, the Avatar Identity Program records all on-line letters to President Obama sent via the White House web site, as well as any searches for Obama on the Internet.

Our source explained the avatar program by saying, "Every Internet user has a life on the Internet," adding, "but with the avatar, every user has a second life on the web." In the case of the avatar, every Internet user has a virtual "snitch" that reports their every action and movement on the web to the government.

The solicitation for the Air Force's Persona Management program:

Sources Sought
Added: Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm Modified: Jun 22, 2010 2:07 pmTrack Changes
0001- Online Persona Management Service. 50 User Licenses, 10 Personas per user.

Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms. The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information.
0002- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). 1 each
VPN provides the ability for users to daily and automatically obtain randomly selected IP addresses through which they can access the internet. The daily rotation of the user s IP address prevents compromise during observation of likely or targeted web sites or services, while hiding the existence of the operation. In addition, may provide traffic mixing, blending the user s traffic with traffic from multitudes of users from outside the organization. This traffic blending provides excellent cover and powerful deniability. Anonymizer Enterprise Chameleon or equal
0003- Static IP Address Management. 50 eachLicence protects the identity of government agencies and enterprise organizations. Enables organizations to manage their persistent online personas by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time. Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization. Anonymizer IP Mapper License or equal
0004- Virtual Private Servers, CONUS. 1 each
Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer. Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated CONUS Light Geosite or equal
0005- Virtual Private Servers, OCONUS. 8 Each
Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network andintegrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer. Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated OCONUS Light Geosite or equal
0006- Remote Access Secure Virtual Private Network. 1 each

Secure Operating Environment provides a reliable and protected computing environment from which to stage and conduct operations. Every session uses a clean Virtual Machine (VM) image. The solution is accessed through sets of Virtual Private Network (VPN) devices located at each Customer facility. The fully-managed VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is an environment that allows users remote access from their desktop into a VM. Upon session termination,
the VM is deleted and any virus, worm, or malicious software that the user inadvertently downloaded is destroyed. Anonymizer Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Solution or equal.
2606 Brown Pelican Ave.
MacDill AFB, Florida 33621-5000
United States
Performance will be at MacDIll AFB, Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.
MacDill AFB , Florida 33679
United States
Russell Beasley,
Contracting Officer
Phone: (813) 828-4729
Fax: (813) 828-5111

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Obama regime's fiscal year 2012 military assistance budget to prop up faltering regimes