Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Revolutions that are announced in advance do not take place." Same goes for wars....

"Revolutions that are announced in advance do not take place." Same goes for wars....

The hullabaloo about possible Israeli/US/UK/French/KSA attack on Iran and the consequences ....

Incidentally , around 2005 when US found itself caught into a quagmire in Iraq, Israeli leader Barak , who is making lots of noise now with others for internal political consumption had asked US VP Dick Cheney ,' what is the B Plan ',US had none .So what is Tel Aviv's B plan? .

Like everywhere governments have mismanaged finances exacerbated by increasing defense budgets and arrived at a situation where the local squeezed middle and poor classes are protesting in Occupying Wall Street etc (India has Anna Hazare with Congress padding up Digvijay Singh implying that the ruling elite wants no serious measures against corruption....)

Neither Israel, nor the USA Will ever Attack Iran.... Period.

Everybody knows the scene from school: a small boy quarrels with a bigger boy. 'Hold me back!' he shouts to his comrades, 'Before I break his bones!'
Our government seems to be behaving in this way. Every day, via all channels, it shouts that it is going, any minute now, to break the bones of Iran.
Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb. We cannot allow this. So we shall bomb them to smithereens.
Binyamin Netanyahu says so in every one of his countless speeches, including his opening speech at the winter session of the Knesset. Ditto Ehud Barak. Every self-respecting commentator (has anyone ever seen a non-self-respecting one?) writes about it. The media amplify the sound and the fury.
"Haaretz" splashed its front page with pictures of the seven most important ministers (the "security septet") showing three in favor of the attack, four against.
A German proverb says: "Revolutions that are announced in advance do not take place." Same goes for wars.
Nuclear affairs are subject to very strict military censorship. Very very strict indeed.
Yet the censor seems to be smiling benignly. Let the boys, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense (the censor's ultimate boss) play their games.
The former long-serving chief of the Mossad, Meir Dagan the assassin in Chief and close coordinator of the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant...., has publicly warned against the attack, describing it as "the most stupid idea" he has ever heard". He explained that he considers it his duty to warn against it, in view of the plans of Netanyahu and Barak.
On Wednesday, there was a veritable deluge of leaks. Israel tested a missile that can deliver a nuclear bomb more than 5000 km away, beyond you-know-where. And our Air Force has just completed exercises in Sardinia, at a distance larger than you-know-where. And on Thursday, the Home Front Command held training exercises all over Greater Tel Aviv, with sirens screaming away.
All this seems to indicate that the whole hullabaloo is a ploy. Perhaps to frighten and deter the Iranians. Perhaps to push the Americans into more extreme actions. Perhaps coordinated with the Americans in advance. (British sources, too, leaked that the Royal Navy is training to support an American attack on Iran.)
It is an old Israeli tactic to act as if we are going crazy ("The boss has gone mad" is a routine cry in our markets, to suggest that the fruit vendor is selling at a loss.) We shall not listen to the US any more. We shall just bomb and bomb and bomb.
Well, let's be serious for a moment.
Israel will not attack Iran. Period.
Some may think that I am going out on a limb. Shouldn't I add at least "probably" or "almost certainly"?

No, I won't. I shall repeat categorically: Israel Will NOT Attack Iran.

Since the 1956 Suez adventure, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered an ultimatum that stopped the action, Israel has never undertaken any significant military operation without obtaining American consent in advance.
The US is Israel's only dependable supporter in the world (besides, perhaps, Fiji, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.) To destroy this relationship means cutting our lifeline. To do that, you have to be more than just a little crazy. You have to be raving mad.
Furthermore, Israel cannot fight a war without unlimited American support, because our planes and our bombs come from the US. During a war, we need supplies, spare parts, many sorts of equipment. During the Yom Kippur war, Henry Kissinger had an "air train" supplying us around the clock. And that war would probably look like a picnic compared to a war with Iran.
Let's look at the map. That, by the way, is always recommended before starting any war.
The first feature that strikes the eye is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which every third barrel of the worlds seaborne oil supplies flow. Almost the entire output of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iraq and Iran has to run the gauntlet through this narrow sea lane.
"Narrow" is an understatement. The entire width of this waterway is some 35 km (or 20 miles). That's about the distance from Gaza to Beer Sheva, which was crossed last week by the primitive rockets of the Islamic Jihad.
When the first Israeli plane enters Iranian airspace, the strait will be closed. The Iranian navy has plenty of missile boats, but they will not be needed. Land-based missiles are enough.
The world is already teetering on the verge of an abyss. Little Greece is threatening to fall and take major chunks of the world economy with her. The elimination of almost a fifth of the industrial nations' supply of oil would lead to a catastrophe hard even to imagine.
To open the strait by force would require a major military operation (including "putting boots on the ground") that would overshadow all the US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can the US afford that? Can NATO? Israel itself is not in the same league.
But Israel would be very much involved in the action, if only on the receiving end.
In a rare show of unity, all of Israel's service chiefs, including the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, are publicly opposing the whole idea. We can only guess why.
I don't know whether the operation is possible at all. Iran is a very large country, about the size of Alaska, the nuclear installations are widely dispersed and largely underground. Even with the special deep penetration bombs provided by the US, the operation may stall the Iranian efforts – such as they are - only for a few months. The price may be too high for such meager results.
Moreover, it is quite certain that with the beginning of a war, missiles will rain down on Israel – not only from Iran, but also from Hezbollah, and perhaps also from Hamas. We have no adequate defense for our towns. The amount of death and destruction would be prohibitive.
Suddenly, the media are full of stories about our three submarines, soon to grow to five, or even six, if the Germans are understanding and generous. It is openly said that these give us the capabilities of a nuclear "second strike", if Iran uses its (still non-existent) nuclear warheads against us. But the Iranians may also use chemical and other weapons of mass destruction.
Then there is the political price. There are a lot of tensions in the Islamic world. Iran is far from popular in many parts of it. But an Israeli assault on a major Muslim country would instantly unite Sunnis and Shiites, from Egypt and Turkey to Pakistan and beyond. Israel could become a villa in a burning jungle.
But the talk about the war serves many purposes, including domestic, political ones.
Last Saturday, the social protest movement sprang to life again. After a pause of two months, a mass of people assembled in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. This was quite remarkable, because on that very day rockets were falling on the towns near the Gaza Strip. Until now, in such a situation demonstrations have always been canceled. Security problems trump everything else. Not this time.
Also, many people believed that the euphoria of the Gilad Shalit festival had wiped the protest from the public mind. It didn't.
By the way, something remarkable has happened: the media, after siding with the protest movement for months, have had a change of heart. Suddenly all of them, including Haaretz, are sticking knives in its back. As if by order, all newspapers wrote the next day that "more than 20,000" took part. Well I was there, and I do have some idea of these things. There were at least 100,000 people there, most of them young. I could hardly move.
The protest has not spent itself, as the media assert. Far from it. But what better means for taking people's minds off social justice than talk of the "existential danger"?
Moreover, the reforms demanded by the protesters would need money. In view of the worldwide financial crisis, the government strenuously objects to increasing the state budget, for fear of damaging our credit rating.
So where could the money come from? There are only three plausible sources: the settlements (who would dare?), the Orthodox (ditto!) and the huge military budget.
But on the eve of the most crucial war in our history, who would touch the armed forces? We need every shekel to buy more planes, more bombs, more submarines. Schools and hospitals must, alas, wait....

So God bless Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... Where would we be without him?


NED and Its NGOs Equal CIA Subversion....



The post-Watergate enquiries into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US exposed details of its covert political activities in other countries in order to promote US foreign policy objectives. Amongst such activities were the secret funding of individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) favourable to US interests and funneling of money to counter the activities of those considered anti-US.

After taking over as the President in January, 1977, Mr.Jimmy Carter banned such activities and imposed strict limits on the CIA’s covert operations in foreign countries. During the election campaign of 1980, Mr.Ronald Reagan used effectively against Mr.Carter the argument that the post-Vietnam and post-Watergate decline of the US under Mr.Carter was due to the emasculation of its military and intelligence apparatus.

After his election in November, 1980, and before his taking-over as the President in January, 1981, Mr.Reagan appointed a transition group headed by the late William Casey, an attorney and one of his campaign managers, who was to later take over as the CIA Director, to recommend measures for strengthening the USA’s intelligence capability abroad.

One of its recommendations was to revive covert political activities. Since there might have been opposition from the Congress and public opinion to this task being re-entrusted to the CIA, it suggested that this be given to an NGO with no ostensible links with the CIA.

The matter was further examined in 1981-82 by the American Political Foundation’s Democracy Programme Study and Research Group and, finally, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was born under a Congressional enactment of 1983 as a “non-profit, non-governmental, bipartisan, grant-making organisation to help strengthen democratic institutions around the world.”

Though it is projected as an NGO, it is actually a quasi-governmental organisation because till 1994 it was run exclusively from funds voted by the Congress (average of about US $ 16 million per annum in the 1980s and now about US $ 30 million) as part of the budget of the US Information Agency (USIA). Since 1994, it has been accepting contributions from the private sector too to supplement the congressional appropriations.

Thirty per cent of the budgetary allocations constitute the discretionary fund of the NED to be distributed directly by it to overseas organisations and the balance is distributed through what are called four “core organisations”—the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI).

In 1994, the NED set up two other organisations called the International Forum for Democratic Studies (IFDS) and the Democracy Resource Centre (DRC), both largely funded by the private sector.

Since its inception, the NED and its affiliates have been mired in controversy in the US itself as well as abroad. Amongst its strongest supporters in the US is the Heritage Foundation of Washington DC, a conservative think tank, which played an active role in influencing the policies of the Reagan and Bush Administrations.

It brought out two papers on the justification for the NED, when questions were raised in the US on the continued need for it after the collapse of the communist regimes of East Europe. In the first paper of July 8,1993, (Executive Memorandum No. 360) it described the NED as “an important weapon in the war of ideas” and said:” The NED has played a vital role in providing aid to democratic movements in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Vietnam and elsewhere….. Communist dictatorships still control China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam. Moreover, ex-communists masquerading as nationalists continue to dominate several of the Soviet successor states. The NED can play an important role in assisting those countries in making the turbulent transition to democracy….. Local political activists often prefer receiving assistance from a non-governmental source, as aid from a US government agency may undermine their credibility in the eyes of their countrymen.”

In the second paper of September 13, 1996, (Executive Memorandum No.461), it said:”The NED advances American national interests by promoting the development of stable democracies friendly to the US in strategically important parts of the world. The US cannot afford to discard such an effective instrument of foreign policy at a time when American interests and values are under sustained ideological attack from a wide variety of anti-democratic forces around the world…The NED has aided Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement in Poland, Harry Wu’s human rights efforts in China and independent media outlets in former Yugoslavia. Russian political activists affiliated with the NED also played a major role in President Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign against the reinvigorated Communist Party earlier this year…. The NED is a cost-effective way to encourage captive nations to liberate themselves without committing the US to a prohibitively risky and costly military crusade to free them from communism.”

Testifying before the Sub-committee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives on March 13,1997, Mr.Carl Gershman, President of the NED, said: ” I just want to say that the Endowment’s work is based upon a very, very simple proposition. And that is, where there are people who share our values, where there are people who might be called the natural friends of America, then it is our obligation to help those people in some way.”

Amongst the critics of the NED are Ms. Barbara Conry, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute of Washington D.C. and Mr. Ralph McGehee, stated to be a former CIA official.

In a paper of November 8,1993(Foreign Policy Briefing No.27), Ms.Conry said: “NED is resented (abroad) as American interference; it is often further resented because it attempts to deceive foreigners into viewing its programmes as private assistance…. On a number of occasions, NED has taken advantage of its alleged private status to influence foreign elections, an activity that is beyond the scope of AID (Agency For International Development) or USIA and would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation….. What finally drew public attention to NED’s meddling in foreign elections was an aborted attempt to provide opposition candidate Violeta Chamorro with $ 3 million in funding for her 1989 election campaign against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The plan was abandoned after it was determined that NED’s charter, which expressly forbids campaign contributions, would be violated. In the end, the money was channeled to programmes that aided Chamorro indirectly rather than through direct campaign contributions.”

In a statement of January 19,1996, Mr.McGehee described the post-1991 activities of the NED as “political action operations targeting China and Cuba.” Another NGO of the US has said: ” NED engages in much of the same kinds of interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, which were the hallmark of the CIA. The NED has financed, advised and supported in many ways selected political parties, election campaigns, unions, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, even guerillas in Afghanistan and, in general, organisations and individuals which mesh well with the gears of the globalised-economy machine…. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, and also founded the Centre for Democracy, one of NED’s funding middlemen, was quite candid when he said in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilisation.”

Initially, the NED’s activities were directed mainly against the communist regimes of East Europe, but, subsequently, it started combating the communist parties in multi-party democracies of West Europe too. In the 1980s, when the late Francois Mitterrand was the French President, an NED report showed an expenditure of US $ 1.5 million “to promote democracy in France.”

There was an uproar in France when the French press discovered that part of this amount had been given by the NED, through the FTUI, to the National Inter-University Union of France, allegedly a right-extremist and xenophobic organisation, in an attempt to use it to defeat communist candidates in the elections to the National Assembly. Embarrassed by the controversy, the Reagan Administration dissociated itself from the NED activities in France.

After the collapse of the communist regimes of East Europe, the NED has been focussing its activities against the communist regimes of Cuba, Vietnam, China and North Korea and the Myanmarese military regime and against the resurgence of the communist parties in East Europe due to the economic difficulties there.

Its activities relating to China are of two kinds: Those, which are legitimate in the Chinese perception such as training of local village officials in the holding of elections, training of local business executives in better management practices, advice on the drafting of economic reform legislation etc and those, which are legitimate in the US perception, but interference in internal affairs in the Chinese view, such as support to political dissidents, human rights activists and Tibetan exiles and projection of Taiwan as a democratic model worthy of emulation.

The first type of activities is carried out by workers of organisations affiliated to the NED, either based in China or visiting the country and the second by off-shore offices of the NED, which were located in Hong Kong before its reversion to China in June, 1997, and which were thereafter reportedly shifted to Australia since the ASEAN countries would not host them. Finding Australia not a convenient place, the NED has reportedly been eyeing India as a possible base for its activities directed against China.

Beijing has reasons to be concerned over what it considers as the illegitimate activities of the NED. Of the 28 NGOs of Asia funded by the NED, 14 focus on China, four of them of Tibetan exiles, five on Myanmar, two on Cambodia, and one each on Vietnam and North Korea and the remaining five on the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

In his testimony of March 13,1997, before the House Sub-committee on International Operations and Human Rights, Mr.Gershman said:” There has been a doubling of resources spent in Asia (primarily China, Burma and Cambodia) and a tripling of resources for the Middle East. There were also dramatic increases in Central Asia and the former Yugoslavia…While the discretionary programmes and those of our affiliated labour institute support the activities of various pro-democracy networks, among them Human Rights in China, the China Strategic Institute, the Laogai Research Foundation, and the Hong Kong based activities of labour activist Han Dongfang, IRI and CIPE have targeted opportunities created by the official reform policy in the areas of local elections and economic modernisation.Additional grants support the democracy movements in Hong Kong and Tibet and,through the International Forum, we have highlighted the role of Taiwan as an Asian model of successful democratisation.”

The trans-border activities of the NED against the Myanmarese military regime seem to be directed mainly from Thailand and India. This is evident from a testimony given by Ms.Louisa Coan, NED’s Programme Officer for Asia, before the House Sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific on September 17,1997.

She said: “NED has been able through its direct grants programme to support the dissidents, to support the democracy movement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, particularly through assistance to the groups along the borders in Thailand and in India, including twice daily radio programming through the Democratic Voice of Burma (author’s comment: based in Scandinavia), newsletters, underground newspaper, underground labour organising, particular programmes to foster inter-ethnic co-operation and unity among the opposition forces in support of Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for tripartite dialogue and national reconciliation.”

It is not known whether New Delhi was aware of the India-based activities of the NED against the Yangon regime.

Before the recent visit of the US President, Mr.Bill Clinton, to India, the NED headquarters in Washington issued the following press release: “Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced on Tuesday March 14 that the US and India will launch a joint non-governmental initiative called the Asian Centre for Democratic Governance during President Clinton’s upcoming trip to South Asia.

“Jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the NED, the Centre will be based at CII’s offices in New Delhi, The Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, an affiliate of the Indian Parliament, will partner with the CII in implementing the activities of the Centre.”

The press release said the expenditure on the initiative would be shared by the CII and the NED.

It is an interesting case of an important member of the Clinton Cabinet, announcing on behalf of a self-proclaimed NGO of the US funded by the Congress, a non-governmental initiative in collaboration with a non-governmental Indian business organisation with which an office of the Indian Parliament would also be associated.

This launching was duly done at New Delhi.

There are three likely implications of this unusual venture:

* Possibility of misunderstanding with China which might interpret it as directed against it and its presence in Tibet.

* Impropriety in co-operating with an American organisation working against the present Government at Yangon, which has normal diplomatic relations with New Delhi and has been co-operating in counter-insurgency measures in the North-East.

* The presence in Indian territory, with official blessing, of an organisation, which aims to wipe out communism as a political and ideological movement all over the world and which might utilise its presence to undermine the Indian communist movement. NED has never criticised the Indian Communist parties, but a reading of the past statements of those in the US supporting the NED would indicate that they hold communism and democracy as incompatible.

The US has also announced the association of India as co-sponsor with a forthcoming conference of “communities of democracies ” in Poland being funded by the Stefan Batory Foundation of Poland, set up by George Soros in 1998, to counter the resurgence of communism in East Europe, and the Freedom House of the US.

The Freedom House was founded in the 1940s “to strengthen free institutions at home and abroad”. It played an active role in carrying on a psychological warfare (psywar) against the troops of the USSR and the late President Najibullah in Afghanistan during the 1980s through the Afghanistan Information Centre set up by it, allegedly with CIA funds. The offices of this centre at Peshawar in Pakistan trained the Afghan Mujahideen groups and Pakistani organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (formerly known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, presently active in Kashmir, in techniques of media management and psywar.

Since 1983, part of the funds voted by the Congress to the NED are funneled to the Freedom House, which also gets contributions from the private sector. The Freedom House focuses its activities on media and communications and, according to a 1990 study by the Inter-hemispherique Resource Center of the US, more than 400 journalists in 55 countries were collaborating with the Freedom House in its activities against communist parties and regimes.

Before going ahead with these projects, there is an urgent need for an examination of the implications of our collaboration with such organizations from the point of view of our national security and political stability.....