Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cameron's India quest, an assessment by Bhaskar Menon

Cameron's India quest, an assessment by Bhaskar Menon

Even after India's independence ,Britain's policies have always almost been inimical to Indian interests with Gvt controlled BBC spewing lies about India as I have seen , especially after joining the diplomatic service in 1961.

On Kashmir, on Pakistan, Bangala desh war of liberation , even in 1962, 1965, 1971 or murder of Indira Gandhi .Two years ago UK FM had the temerity  to suggest a solution of JK ( to satisfy Pak) to avoid terror attacks from Pakistan .He should have been kicked out .But many Indians are servile to white skin and former rulers  specially the media and those trained by them in defence and security services.

UK leaders role in Afghanistan, Iraq , Libya etc has been criminal .

Gajendra Singh 23 Feb 2013   

Subject: Cameron's India quest, an assessment by Bhaskar Menon

Hugely interesting. Don't ask me who or which Bhaskar Menon this is. Still looking for an answer...

By Bhaskar Menon
February 21, 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain began his three-day visit to India by invoking the "huge ties" between the two countries of "history, language, culture and business."

One wonders which particular aspect of the shared history of the two nations he found supportive of his current quest for broadened economic linkages.

Could it be what the East India Company did  after bribing its way to
control of Bengal, the richest province of Mughal India? Within a decade of the so-called "Battle of Plassey" (Pilashi) in 1757, Bengal lay in ruins. The destruction of its economy was so severe a third of the population, some five million people, died of starvation in the first of the great "man-made famines" British rule spread across India. A conservative estimate of the overall toll of such famines is 100 million.

Or perhaps Mr. Cameron found inspiring the theft of the fabled
Kohinoor diamond after the British defeated the Sikhs almost a century later. Maharaja Ranjit Singh's 11-year old grandson went with the diamond to Britain where it became part of the "Crown Jewels" and he was comprehensively debauched with drugs and sex to disable his potential as a leader.

Or maybe the Prime Minister is enthralled by the post-1857 "pacification" that involved the indiscriminate slaughter of some 10 million civilians, men, women and children.

Mr. Cameron's historic admission that the 1919 Jallianwalla Bagh
massacre was a "deep shame" does not begin to address the long line of British atrocities in India, most of which remain officially unacknowledged. They are systematically ignored or downplayed even in works of history by British scholars supposedly engaged in the pursuit of truth.

That is true not just of the colonial era. There is no honest British account of the cold-blooded manipulation of communal violence that led to Partition, the killing of well over a million people and the biggest migration in history as 14 million people were forced from their ancestral lands.

Nor is there admission that Britain created Pakistan as its proxy in South Asia and that it is the real sponsor of the terrorist "war of a thousand cuts" against India.

Such denial is not to safeguard national pride and honor. It is to hide the fact that Britain has maintained its imperial interests in the region, and indeed, globally, without benefit of the apparatus of colonialism. This has been achieved primarily by keeping control of the illicit trade in drugs, which Britain pioneered in the 18th Century by exporting Indian opium to China. It is now far and away the most lucrative sector of the world economy, with revenues of over $500
billion annually.

In South Asia the control of the drug trade has involved the use of the ISI, Pakistan's notorious spy agency established in 1948 by a serving British Army officer, to godfather Al Qaeda and the Taliban.Together, they have kept Afghanistan as the lawless badlands necessary to produce opium; it now supplies over 90 percent of the world's illicit supply.

Where Britain does not maintain operational control of drug trafficking, as in Latin America, it provides money laundering facilities. Last year American authorities slapped a $1.98 billion fine on HSBC, Britain's largest bank, after investigators discovered that it had been laundering billions of dollars of Mexican drug moneyinto the United States. The fine made not a blip in the stock market value of HSBC shares because investors have known of its primarysource of profit since traffickers established the company during Britain's 19th Century "Opium Wars" to force the drug into China.

An interesting sidelight to the increased American pressure on British money laundering is that the terrorist "Left" insurgency in Colombia that has for decades provided the cover for drug running, has sued for peace and is now engaged in talks with the government.

The global money laundering system Britain put in place as its colonies dwindled is the core element of its new Empire. It consists of a string of tax havens around the world operating with London as a global hub. The system now caters to all sorts of criminals, ranging from super-rich tax evaders and corporate bigwigs hiding the proceedsof mis-pricing of trade to mafiosi engaged in garden variety organized crime.

The tax haven system washes an estimated $2 trillion annually into the "legitimate" world economy. According to a recent report from Washington-based GlobalFinancial Integrity, an NGO headed by a former World Bank economist, it also drained about $6 trillion out of poor countries over the last decade . Adding up the estimates made by a number of experts indicates that the total of illicit assets in tax havens is some $30 trillion, double the GDP of the United States.

That massive pool of money generates the multi-billion dollar "hedge funds" that have made a travesty of free market mechanisms, especially commodity markets. Indians struggling with the ever increasing cost of petrol and diesel can blame it on hedge fund manipulations that have kept oil prices over $100 per barrel amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. They can also blame the system for India's pandemic of mega scams: without a convenient way to stash
black money the corrupt would be far less prone to steal on such a scale.

All this is becoming generally known because Germany and the United States, increasingly irate at the loss of billions of dollars in revenues to tax havens, have begun to push for change. Mr. Cameron's recent threats of a referendum that might take Britain out of the European Union is a response to pressure from Germany for uniform application of EU banking standards on all its members. The announcement last week that the next head of the Bank of England will be a Canadian is probably the result of pressure from the United States to clean up the City (financial center) of London.

Against this background, Mr. Cameron's push for India to open up its financial sector to British investment should be seen as an invitation to national suicide. His vision of a string of "business centres" round the country to facilitate British-Indian trade should be seen in the same light.

So what is the future of the British-Indian "partnership"?

It is difficult to see how we can build one when Britain is using its proxies to subvert and destabilize India. Perhaps the only way to make a new beginning is to be utterly blunt about Indian perceptions of and expectations from Britain.

Britain should stop whitewashing its colonial record and consider the grim reality that its Empire was the bloodiest construct of power the world has ever seen. In Africa, Asia and the Americas no nation has been as oppressive of other races. Britain was by far the leading slave trader out of Africa and transporter of indentured labor out of Asia. It has killed with famine, sword and fire more people than Genghis Khan, Atilla the Hun, Hitler or Stalin. In the defense of its
imperial interests it has precipitated two World Wars and is now presiding over an empire of crime that drains the poorest countries of their hard earned wealth. During the days of Empire and now, treachery has been a staple in Britain's international relations.

How can Britain respond to such criticism?

At the minimum it can review its history books and initiate soul-searching among academic propagandists of the imperial record like Niall Ferguson, touted by The Times of London as the "most brilliant British historian of his generation." A "Truth Commission" such as the one that eased South Africa out of the apartheid era might help. So could a national discourse on the value and meaning of life.In that journey of mind and spirit the British might find useful guides in the Sermon on the Mount, the Eightfold Path and the Bhagavad Gita. In terms of state policy, a renewed British-Indian relationship will require Britain to withdraw support from terrorist groups and insurgencies, wind up its involvement in the drug trade, and stop running the global black market.

If all this seems a very tall order, it indicates how far Mr.Cameron's proposals stand from Indian perceptions of reality.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bears left a calling card at Guam

The Bears left a calling card at Guam

The "highly unusual but not unprecedented" appearance of two Russian Tu-95 long-range Bear bombers in the skies over Guam, the United States military base in the Pacific, can be interpreted in many ways. For one thing, such 'incidents' are invariably calibrated with great deliberation, given the tortuous history of Russian-American relationship, and the fact remains that the Bear's long-range flight with multiple refueling virtually coincided with President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last Tuesday in Washington where he spoke of his intention to "engage" Russia on arms reduction. 
The Russians obviously knew that the US (and Japanese) long-range radars and the American satellites would pick up the two Bears the moment they took off from their bases in northeast Russia. Indeed, the Bears were meant to catch attention and they probably succeeded in that mission. 
The message is a straight one: Russia may be a diminished power but it still has the thermonuclear capability to destroy the US — and, more important, the Kremlin intends to keep it that way, ensuring the global strategic balance. 
Conceivably, the Russians would have tested the American (and Japanese) air defence systems. Was it a provocative move by Russia? The Americans themselves play down and estimate that it was a "generally very professional" Russian move — whatever that may mean. 
The point is, US long-range B-52 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons also happen to be based in Guam. What tickles the mind, however, would be that this happened when the US-Russia relations continue to deteriorate. 
To recount the last fortnight's developments alone, Russia has banned all meat imports from the US on the ground that the Americans use steroids on cattle which could have health implications. The 'meat lobby' in the US is politically powerful. Washington blasted the Russian move, but Moscow has let it be known that the ban will remain in place for the foreseeable future. 
Again, Washington alleged that the new secretary of state John Kerry repeatedly tried to speak on phone with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov but failed to connect. The Russian side explains that Lavrov was traveling in Africa. Maybe, Lavrov might return the call some day, but Faggy Bottom is showing irritation. And Moscow shrugs it off. 
Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin made one of his strongest and most assertive statements on Eurasian integration last week to snub the US criticism that Moscow is reviving the Soviet Union and warning that Washingnton will oppose the Russian moves in that direction. 
Even more blunt has been the accusation by the head of Russian intelligence Alexander Bortnikov that there has been an "escalation of geopolitical pressure" on Russia by the US and its allies. Interestingly, Bortnikov spoke even as the two Bears headed for Guam. 
Of course, Moscow was hoping that Obama would pay an early visit to Russia, but that is not to be. Quite obviously, Kerry also is no hurry to schedule a Russia visit. He is instead traveling to the Middle East and Europe this week. 
From all appearances, Moscow is not amused that Washington is 'downgrading' the ties with Russia. Washington has not helped matters by virtually hinting in advance that a 'secret letter' that NSA Thomas Donilon might deliver to the Kremlin sometime soon might carry proposals on nuclear disarmament. The influential Russian politician Alexei Pushkov who is regarded as close to the Kremlin, poured scorn at the White House
What emerges is that a classic shadow boxing is going on between the two seasoned adversaries over the core issue of global strategic balance. Obama had promised the Kremlin leadership an year ago that he'd address Russian concerns over the US missile defence after his re-eletion. 
But it now seems that Obama is ducking when the time came. The Russians waited — and waited — and even gently reminded Obama of his old promise but Obama is proclaiming that he is obsessed with the recovery of the US economy which leaves little time for anything else. Meanwhile, of course, the US is going ahead with its deployment of the missile defence system, especially in the Far East. 
Moscow has been left to figure out that Obama's priorities don't lie in 're-resetting' the Russia ties. All things considered, therefore, the Bears probably left a calling card at Guam, which is also the headquarters of the US Pacific Command. 
Posted in DiplomacyMilitaryPolitics.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The volatility of Gas, Geo-Politics and the Greater Middle East. An Interview with Major Agha H. Amin

The volatility of Gas, Geo-Politics and the Greater Middle East. An Interview with Major Agha H. Amin

Posted on February 1, 2013 by 

The volatility of Gas, Geo-Politics and the Greater Middle East. An Interview with Major Agha H. Amin

Mijn fotoMajor Agha H. Amin is a retired Pakistani military officer and the author of various books, including "Development of Taliban Factions in Afghanistan", "Taliban War in Afghanistan" and "History of Pakistan Army". He studied at the Forman Christian College and at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kalkul. Agha H. Amin has been working as Assistant Editor of Defense Journal, Executive Editor at the Globe, and as Editor of the Journal of Afghanistan Studies. He is an active member of the Think Tank ORBAT and the Alexandrian Defense Group and he is working as security management consultant. Agha H. Amin has been working as consultant on various oil, gas and energy projects in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the TAPI pipeline, CASA 100, the Uzbekistan Afghanistan Pakistan line and the Turkmenistan Mazar Sharif line. He is an expert on national and regional security, energy security and geo-political issues. The following is the full text of an interview by Christof Lehmann with Major Agha H. Amin from 30 January 2013.

CL. Not long ago we were discussing the situation in Syria, and the fact that the root cause for the attempted subversion of Syria is the 10 billion USD PARS gas pipeline project from Iran, via Iraq and Syria to the Easter Mediterranean Coast, the most important factors being the political leverage Iran would acquire if it, together with Russia provided more than 40 % of the gas consumed in the EU over the coming 100 – 120 years, a US and a US and UK attempt to sabotage the further integration of the continental European and Russian national economies and energy sectors. Both high ranking members of the Workers Party Turkey and retired Turkish military officers accuse the AKP government of Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan of being involved in the implementation of the Greater Middle East Project, developed by the RAND Corporation for the US Defense Department in 1996. This plan includes the "balkanization" of Turkey into smaller states. We discussed a possible plan to establish a NATO Corridor from Turkey to India. In our discussion you said: "I would like to add to them that the establishment of the Kurdistan part of the corridor would significantly change the security dynamics of the Russian South Stream gas pipeline which is part of the causes for the war on Syria." Could you please brief us on the most important factors with regard to the security dynamics of the Russian South Stream gas pipeline ?

AHA. The strategic idea of NATO, is aiming at securing the northern borders of Israel against Hezbollah and the southern borders against Hamas; to eliminate the Russian naval base in the eastern Mediterranean, Syrian city of Tartous. NATO is planning to create a western strategic corridor to maintain energy-security in the case that oil supplies through the Strait of Hormuz are disrupted because of a war with Iran or otherwise.

Kurdish+Syrian+Strat+ScenarioOne of the first steps toward the implementation of the long-term strategic plan, is the partition of Turkey by creating separate Kurdish areas, thereby providing NATO a direct access to Russia´s soft underbelly in the Caucasus.

This can ideally be used to dominate the Caucasian oil as well as support the Chechen against Russia in a low intensity conflict. Also, to create a viable independent Kurd state, it would need a windpipe access to the sea. This can be provided via the southern coast of Turkey and the Northern Coast of Syria. Whether a Syrian government soldier or a Syrian Islamist "Nut" dies in the process, "both are equally beneficial to the US/NATO".

The cardinal strategic idea is to internalize the war within the Islamic world so that Europe and the USA become safer while the enemies of western civilization destroy each other.

NATO is a club of wolves and Turkey is the odd wolf in NATO. Once the wolves have eaten Syria, they will eat the odd wolf Turkey. Yes, Turkey has been getting huge funds from Saudi Arabia, especially the clown Islamist Freedom and Justice Party. The clown Islamist Party is corrupting Turkey´s secularism. On the other side, Turkey is playing as NATO´s best chattel.

To use a historic comparison. When Hitler started eating the lambs of Europe like the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and Austria, the world tolerated it. The limit was reached in 1939. It is comparable with the NATO, led by the USA, eating the lambs since 1991. First Serbia was destroyed, then came Kosovo, then came Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

I think and hope that Syria would be the turning point. With Libya a most negative practice of using Islamist mad dogs and proxies started. Al Qaeda and other most rabid Islamist groups were used in Libya and now again in Syria. The NATO is unleashing the same savages that it claims to fight in Afghanistan on secular states like Libya and Syria.

If Russia had not asserted itself, the wolves would have attacked Syria by now. These wolves only fear Weapons of Mass Destruction, WMD´s, and any state not having WMD´s will be shred into bits and devoured by the wolves. Lets hope that Putin proves to be like a new Moses who challenges the wolves who have the souls of Pagans.

CL. Considering the volatility of the situation in Syria and that a conflict of that nature easily can develop a dynamic on its own, even a dynamic that was neither planned nor wanted by any of the stakeholders, and considering that the aggravation of the crisis into a regional war with the involvement of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, the Gulf Arab States, Turkey and NATO countries as well as Russia could have catastrophic consequences,- furthermore considering that the situation as it is seems so that non of the stakeholders can win, but all can loose, which diplomatic, political and economic initiatives would you consider necessary and feasible to solve the crisis ?

AHA. "We are moving toward a great global war and supreme strategic anarchy by remote pilot".

This happened, because the pilots who were supposed to man policy and regulate the tide of history did not have the talent to exercise their due role in history ! These pilots in reality wore the uniforms of pilots but had the caliber of air stewards and air pursers! This includes Obama, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Man Mohan Singh and the Saudi king. This brought us into a Sarajevo situation, where events started moving decision makers rather than decision makers moving events.

Till 2008 the USA was led by an impetuous pilot with a low IQ but a definite strategic decisiveness. A man with limited intellect, but one who could take strategic decisions. After 2008 the USA got a social climber who looked outwardly smart and bright but lacked statesmanship and had near zero strategic vision. Thus Afghanistan, after 2008, moved from relative calm into anarchy, as far as the South was concerned.

Pakistan was the worst case. It was led by an opportunist who attempted to please all parties, including the Americans, Islamists, Pakistani liberals and the Indians. As as result Pakistan developed such a fatal "confusion of principle" that the whole Pakistani society was fractured down into its deepest foundations. This military opportunist in turn, made peace with the corrupt politicians to prolong his rule. Subsequently, the whole political fabric of Pakistan was shattered.

The Pakistani military was attacked by Islamists, for allegedly being in league with the Christian powers. The Pakistani military lost its entire credibility when it emerged as the main party in the controversial NRO deal, which legitimized past corruption of Pakistan´s politicians, which the army had prosecuted with zeal from 1999 to 2002. Pakistan became engulfed in two major insurgencies. One with the Islamists and the other in Baluchistan. Both have the potential to destabilize and even to destroy Pakistan.

The USA has no strategy in Afghanistan and is in a catch 22, unless it decides on a strategy of decisive action. While the US policy makers saw Pakistan as a center of gravity of Islamists, including the Afghan Taliban, the US failed to frame a decisive strategy for dealing with Pakistan. Pakistan´s nuclear assets, Chinese support, and a growing Russian support are principal obstacles that the USA faces in formulating a strategy of decisive action against Pakistan. Both Iran and Pakistan remain two strategic thorn lands that the USA faces and which are being constantly watered by China and Russia.

The Osama Raid and the Salala incident forced Pakistan´s military and political elite to close the NATO supply line to Afghanistan. The memogate scandal also increased the civil military divide in Pakistan but this appears to be more of a US ploy to divide and weaken Pakistan.

The key strategic trends in this scenario are the following:

Any US withdrawal, in totality or partially, would strengthen the Islamists in Afghanistan who will see full or partial defeat of the US as a great victory for Islam. This would destabilize Pakistan and increase the chances of a war between India and Pakistan.

The US missile shield has permanently alienated Russia, and Russia will re-assert itself and take the lead in aiding all anti US forces. US failure to correctly deal with Iran and Pakistan will further destabilize the situation. Pakistan´s nuclear assets will deter the US from any grand adventure against Pakistan.

The US´s chances of an internal pro US coup in Pakistan by the PPP have become week after the Osama bin Laden incident and the Salala incident. The chances of a military coup in Pakistan will get stronger as the situation moves and if the Pakistani´s ISI´s (Inters Services Intelligence-service) plan to bring a national government led by Imran Khan fails.

India still perceives Pakistan as a grave strategic threat and remains apprehensive of Pakistan's strategic nukes. This will ensure that the Indians will continue with aiding the low intensity war in Pakistan. The US will try to follow a policy that reduces Pakistan to a smaller size and confines Pakistan´s nukes to Punjab.

In the case of Baluchistan, it will not be difficult for the USA to Balkanize Pakistan if the USA decides to support Baloch secessionists. Karachi remains a strategic US asset with the MQM and other elements who can paralyze Karachi at few hours notice.

US policy will be difficult to formulate and execute. No nuclear state was ever denuclearized by war. The policy that the US will follow will be to destabilize Pakistan and to present it as a danger to world peace, like the Democratic Peoples´ Republic North Korea. In the process, even a small incident can initiate a grand strategic earthquake. God help the USA, Pakistan, India and the world.

CL. The US-led war on Afghanistan has now lasted for more than ten years. After NATO´s 25th Summit in Chicago in 2012 it transpired that NATO will maintain a presence in Afghanistan until at least 2014, and most likely until 2025 and beyond. NATO and western mainstream media continue marketing the argument that the NATO presence is necessary for fighting "the Taliban" and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Furthermore, the US Aggressions in Pakistan, predominantly in the form of drone attacks increase, and are also being marketed under the slogan of combating "the Taliban". Could you please help us deconstruct the tale of "the Taliban" and elicit who is meant with "the Taliban", which nuances should we should be aware of. It seems that the USA in many regards is fighting an enemy which it creates.

AHA. To answer your questions, let me refer to my 2008 assessment. "Note that Obama is just a clever social climber, a mixed breed who was kicked upwards, a President with no control over anything."

The objectives are not Al Qaeda, the Taliban or bin Laden. The objectives are to attack Iran, Russia´s soft Central Asian State and oil-rich belly, to destabilize China´s Sinkiang province with an Islamist insurrection, to denuclearize Pakistan and to consolidate the US – India base against China after Pakistan has been Balkanized.

The objectives on the ground are neither Al Qaeda, the Taliban or Bin Laden. The droning of random targets continues to convince public opinion and gives the rich friends in the defense industry more ammunition and equipment contracts. US troops consolidate the oil transmission route on the herat Kandahar road.

GRAND+LIES+1+jpgNo real offensive is launched against the Taliban. They are the good reason for why the USA is in Afghanistan, so why would the US/NATO want to eliminate "them". US policy is pressuring Pakistan by the means of drone attacks, forcing Pakistan to take military action in Fata is designed to destabilize Pakistan so that final grounds for the denuclearization of Pakistan are being set in place. The US tools in this exercise are US contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan, US and British security companies in Pakistan, US or EX-US Bankers and Corporate Executives in Pakistan who are subverting civil and military brass. Through the 2008 elections the US has already achieved a political regime change in Pakistan, while the Pakistani military, who are safeguarding Pakistan´s nuclear assets are the next target.

The objective to attack Iran and Russia´s soft Central Asian State oil-rich belly has so far been a miserable failure, with US proxies being checked bu Central Asia, Iran and China. However, secret training of proxies is going on in US bases in Afghanistan. With regard to the objective to destabilize the Chinese Sinkiang province with an Islamist insurrection, it is a logical objective, but there is the independent will of the enemy, backed with WMDs. China is "not" Iraq.

The denuclearization of Pakistan is proceeding at a good pace, although no major success has been achieved. The Pakistani civilian government is fully on the US payroll while it may take 2 – 5 years for the Pakistani military to become a full-time US chattel. With regard to the objective of consolidating the US – India base after Pakistan is Balkanized, the program for Balkanization includes a Baloch State, a Pashtunistan, a City State of Karachi, Sindhu Desh. A denuclearized Pakistan will only be consisting of Punjab and northern areas controlled by China. This is to take five to ten years. With Pakistan Balkanized the US and India will have a complete, contiguous base against China and Russia.

The Analysis.

The present US strategic position is the silent registration of targets in Pakistan, Iran, Chinese Sinkiang and Russian dominated Central Asia. By trying to base logistics on Russian Ex Soviet Central Asian states, the USA is trying to bring economic benefits to Central Asia, so that the Russian hold can be weakened. However, Russia is convinced, that the US must fail in Afghanistan and it has made considerable efforts to aid anti US forces in Afghanistan through Iran and through Central Asian republics. US forces will not be able to control Afghanistan unless Pakistan is Balkanized and this would at least take 3 to 5 years.

The first state to secede with US support would be Baluchistan. This is so, because the Base of anti US forces in Afghanistan is Pakistani Baluchistan, and Russia, Iran, and China have a combined interest in making the USA bleed in Afghanistan through Pakistani proxies known as Taliban. When Pakistan aids the Taliban in Afghanistan it is actually defending Pakistan. The maneuver to fix the situation for the USA would be an US manipulated India Pakistan war that would be leaving Pakistan severely damaged and India less damaged, followed by a denuclearization of Pakistan.

China, Russia and Iran are the US opponents. They have the potential to throw a spanner in US plans. There is the unforeseen Factor X.

There appears to be a strong evolving consensus in the USA as well as its NATO allies that Pakistan is the center of gravity of the Islamists in the ongoing, so-called war on terror. The idea gained currency in various high US policy making circles as well as think tanks around 1987 – 89 and then assumed a solid shape in the decade 1990 – 2000. After it was adopted as policy and concrete albeit top-secret planning was started to deal with Pakistan, which at the ulterior level was seen as part of the problem rather than a solution.

Let me also refer a 2006 assessment that is still validA Brief Strategic Assessment of US Presence in Afghanistan Made in September 2005. By Agha Amin.

The distinction between Islamist and non Islamist is being fast transformed into US versus Anti US Forces. Afghanistan may prove to be an area of strategic convergence for Islamists, China, Russia and even Pakistan and Iran which are logically phase two US targets. It is naive to think that the USA came to Afghanistan to deal with Talibs.

The choices of the USA: The USA has several choices. It can deal with Afghanistan alone and consolidate. This would not be cost-effective for the USA. The investment it has made is too big. It could widen the front to Phase Two, Pakistan and Iran. Phase Three may be Chinese Sinkiang and Phase Four Central Asian Republics. The US can also chose to withdraw from Afghanistan while retaining a central position to strike at any target in the area. Possibly and independent Baloch State, carved out of Iran and Pakistan alone at first and Pakistani Baluchistan later.

China´s and Russia´s Choices: China and Russia can allow the USA an uncontested stay and risk a Muslim rising in Sinkiang within the next ten years and US domination of Central Asian Republics. They can aid anti US forces, using non state actors in Pakistan and state actors in other areas, and they can strengthen alliances with Iranian and Pakistani states.

Pakistan and Iran's choices: Pakistan and Iran can either accept US domination and scrap WMD programs, strengthen alliances with China and Russia, or aid anti US forces in Afghanistan with Chinese and Russian blessings.

The Major Actors: The anti US forces are divided in two parts , state and non state actors. The main bases of non state actors are in Pakistan,Iran and Middle East. The Pakistani and Iranian states are the forward states having direct borders with Afghanistan and are involved in the Afghan game via state and non state actors.

Key Strategic trends: A realization in Pakistan, that the Pakistani WMD apparatus is a future target of the USA which will have Afghanistan as its base. A realization in both China and Russia that the strategic salvation of both lies in aiding anti US groups , particularly those in Afghanistan. The development of Pakistan as the best base area of anti US groups operating in Afghanistan more because of non state actors. In order to deal with non state actors, the USA at some stage, will have to deal with both Pakistan and Iran. The USA seems strategically clueless and is playing a waiting game. Time is the key. Anti US forces can wait for ten years but every second, the USA is losing money. The USA has to achieve a tangible strategical objective. Both China and Russia will use the Islamic card, like the USA used it in Afghanistan from 1979 till 1989.

Militarily, an anti US war in Afghanistan aided by China and Russia can prove to be USA's Spanish ulcer. Anti US forces in Afghanistan Pakistan and Iran are intact and can change the strategic balance. The USAs hold in Afghanistan is confined to key cities only.

The drug mafia is a major US opponent and can sustain anti US forces in Afghanistan. Islamists have realized that they must have China and Russia as allies. The same realization is taking place in China and Russia. Thus, there arises the convergence of interest.

The strategic options of the USA are: To create an alternate drug mafia which is non Pashtun and create new states, which are US allies like Baluchistan,Kurdistan. Possibly the USA could also work toward a non Pashtun state in North Afghanistan.

CL. In one of our discussions you said that there was a significant discrepancy between the areas where the USA is deploying drones and where the so-called "Taliban" attacks US troops. You also stated that many of the drone attacks are carried out in areas where the Pakistani military controls and secures the Af-Pak border while very few, if any drone attacks are carried out in areas where it would actually make sense. Could you please describe this in some detail and elicit the most important strategic as well as political implications ?

AHA. Drone attacks are being carried out in the two agencies North and South Waziristan and 90 % are carried out in the Datta Khel Sub District. These are aimed at Haqqani Group which is regarded as an ISI asset by the USA.

PROXY+WAR+IN+AFGHANISTANA major aim with the drone attacks is also to benefit private contractors who are involved in these attacks at all levels from intelligence gathering down to munitions and drone suppliers. Another major idea is to demoralize the Pashtuns, so that any war against the USA would bring such a retribution that they will be unable to answer or match it with equal fire.

CL. You stated that Iran has a significant interest in South West Afghanistan. WE hear very little about this in western media and I have not been able to find any detailed analysis in Iranian media either. Could you please give us your position on which role Iran is playing in Afghanistan ?

AHA. Iran is active in West Afghanistan as well as Central Afghanistan. Iran is a most important supporter of the Northern Alliance after Russia and India . Iran views the Taliban as an existential threat. It regards non Pashtuns as well as moderate Pashtuns as its allies.

CL. There is little doubt among analysts that the USA and some NATO member states are attempting to "balkanize" Pakistan into smaller nations. We observe increased activities of often Soros-funded UN agencies and NGOs, especially in Northern Pakistan, indicating an attempt to play on ethnicity. It is a standard strategy which has been used by the West in Yugoslavia, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the strategy is currently being implemented in Nepal, and it is being implemented in Myanmar, in an attempt to create so-called inter-communal violence in Myanmar´s Rakhine State. Could you give us your perspective about attempts to destruct the nation-state Pakistan ?

AHA. Let me also here refer to a previous assessment which I made in April 2009. Every movement in history has a direction, a quantum, a modus operandi. According to the father of the philosophy of war Carl Von Clausewitz everything in strategy moves slowly, imperceptibly, subtly, somewhat mysteriously and sometimes invisibly.

The greatness of a military commander or statesman lies in assessing these strategic movements. The USA inherited a historical situation in the shape of 9/11.At this point in time it was not making history if we agree that 9/11 was the work of Al Qaeda for which so far the USA has failed to furnish any solid evidence.

After 9/11 when the USA attacked Afghanistan ,US leaders and key military commanders were making history. They had a certain plan in mind. The stated objectives of these plan were the elimination of Al Qaeda. The unstated objective was the denuclearization of Pakistan. This scribe has continuously held this position, held consistently, in articles published in Nation from September 2001,all through 2002,2003,2004,2005 and till 2009.

The US strategic plan followed the following distinct phases

*An initial maneuver occupying Afghanistan in 2001.

*Establishing and consolidating US military bases near the Afghan Pakistan border. Most prominent being the Khost, Jalalabad, Sharan and Kunar US bases. Some military bases like Dasht I Margo in Nimroz and three other bases in Kandahar, Badakhshan and Logar were so secret that their construction was not even advertised. Even in the case of sensitive areas the contracts were awarded to the US Government owned Shaw Inc and the CIA proxy operated Dyncorps Corporation.

Patriotic Afghans trained in the USSR were removed from Afghan Intelligence because they would not agree to be a party to USA's dirty game in between 2001 and 2007. Similarly many patriotic Afghan officers trained in USSR were removed from the Afghan military establishment.

* Cultivating various tribes in ethnic groups on the Pakistan Afghan border by awarding them lucrative construction and logistic sub contracts.

* Forcing the Pakistani military to act against the FATA tribes thus destabilizing Pakistan's North West area close to the strategic heartland of Peshawar-Islamabad-Lahore where Pakistan's political and military nucleus is located.

* Creating a situation where mysterious insurgencies erupted in various parts of Pakistan including FATA, Swat and Baluchistan.

* Carrying forward urban terrorism into Punjab through various proxies. Now it appears that the strategic plan is entering its final stage of launching a strategic coup de grace to Pakistan.

These may be assessed as following

* A US military buildup in Afghanistan and the launching of an offensive against Taliban, with an aim of pushing them into Pakistan.

* Simultaneously pressuring the Pakistan Army into launching an operation in Waziristan. Thus Pakistan´s Army gets severely bogged down and hundreds of thousands of refugees enter Pakistan's NWFP and Baluchistan provinces. Infiltrators and fifth columnists being a heavy promiscuous mixture of this movement.

* Since 2001 the USA has spent a great fortune collecting information on Pakistan's strategic nuclear assets. It appears that in 2009 it has sufficient data to launch a covert operation. The covert nuclear operation could have a civilian and a military part. The civilian part may involve an attack on Pakistan's non-military nuclear reactors like Chashma and KANUPP. The military covert operation could involve an attack on any of Pakistan's strategic nuclear groups anywhere in Pakistan.

Once this type of attack is done the USA with its NATO lackeys like Britain, France and Germany would go the UN and maneuver an international resolution, demanding the denuclearization of Pakistan. The international opinion may be so strong that Pakistan's government may capitulate.

* Once Pakistan is denuclearized, the USA would encourage Pakistan's Balkanization into a Baloch US satellite, a city-state of MQM in Karachi, a Pashtunistan badly bombed and in tatters and a Punjab stripped of nuclear potential, kicked and bullied by India. A Northern Area republic which is an US lackey unless China decides to call the US bluff by occupying the Northern Area.

CL. At closing, I remember that you stated, that international law was irrelevant because nothing had changed since the time of Alexander the Great. I agree that for instance the International Criminal Court has more to do with victor's justice than with international law. We see over the last decade a serious explosion of international law at its very root. The Geneva Conventions are circumvented by creating artificial constructs such as unlawful combatant, enhanced interrogation methods, the use of "contractors", as if they were workers to build public schools and hospitals, being deployed to maintain military tasks. Extraordinary rendition, just to mention a few of the most obvious problems. As a man of military education, which risks do you see in the deterioration of international law ?

AHA. We are heading towards an international new order where the power of the state will be totally in hands of a corrupt mafia, who will usurp all human rights on pretext of controlling terrorism. This would result in grand strategic anarchy and even the US will Balkanize. The boomerang will come back and as they say the wheel turns !

Interview with Maj. Agha H. Amin by Christof Lehmann

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Post 9/11 Rendition for Torture in Foreign Gulags at US Behest

Post 9/11 Rendition for Torture in Foreign Gulags at US Behest
54 countries around the world helped CIA kidnap, detain and torture – report
According to media reports at least 54 countries including Syria, Iran, Sweden, Iceland, and UK offered CIA "covert support" to detain, transport, interrogate and torture suspects in the years following the 9/11 attacks. (Which many increasingly believe was a false flag operation)
All this info is available in a 213-page report released by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organization, which documents wide-ranging international involvement in the American campaign against Al-Qaeda.
USA Globalized Torture
The report, titled Globalizing Torture, provides a detailed account of other countries covertly helping the US to run secret prisons, also known as 'black sites' on their territory and allowing the CIA to use national airports for refueling while transporting prisoners.
Countries listed in the report include many from the Middle East and as well as in Europe.
The OSJI identifies Syria (9 detainees) and Iran as two participants of the CIA's rendition program.
Syria also had detention facilities that were used by the CIA, where "detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the 'German chair') and beatings."
Iran helped CIA by handing over 15 individuals to Kabul, after the US invasion of Afghanistan, knowing that they would be placed under the US control.
In Egypt, Pakistan, Libya, Jordan, Afghanistan, Malawi and Morocco the existence of secret prisons and the use of torture are documented. The report describes Egypt as "the country to which the greatest numbers of rendered suspects have been sent [by the US]." Many suspects held in Egypt described having been tortured. Pakistan is said to have detained 672 alleged Al-Qaeda members and transferred 369 to Afghanistan and/or to Guantanamo Bay. There are grave reports of torture documented in Morocco.
The list also includes states such as Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Greece and Cyprus. All of the above secretly helped the CIA by granting the use of their airspace and airports for aircraft involved in rendition flights.
Canada is identified as going beyond that and providing the CIA with information about one of its nationals that led to his capture, detention and rendition to Syria.
European countries such as the UK, Sweden and Italy even helped to apprehend individuals, interrogate and transfer them.
Countries such as France, the Netherlands, Hungary and Russia are not listed at all.
Report locates 'black sites' aka 'Gulags'
States such as Poland, Lithuania and Romania are accused of accommodating secret prisons on their territories. Poland is said to have "hosted a secret CIA prison on its territory, assisted with the transfer of secretly detained individuals in and out of Poland, including to other secret detention sites, and permitted the use of its airspace and airports for such transfers," according to the report.
A CIA-run prison was discovered in a small Polish remote village Stare Kiejkuty, which was operational from December 2002 to the fall of 2003. It was used to transport suspected Al-Qaeda members outside US territory to interrogate them without having to adhere to US law.
The Polish government began an investigation into the secret prison in 2008. It is the second country to have opened a criminal investigation into the matter, after Lithuania (though that case has since been closed).
A secret CIA prison in Romania was revealed by Human Rights Watch in November 2005. The report notes CIA planes 'dropping off' detainees and leaving.
"The CIA brokered 'operating agreements' with the Government…of Romania to hold 'high value detainees' on a secret detention facility on Romanian territory." Romanian authorities have denied any existence of a secret CIA prison. International media reported that between 2003 and 2006, the CIA operated a secret prison from a building's basement in Bucharest. (Reuters / Stringer)
In Lithuania the secret prison is said to have held "up to eight 'high value detainees' at the facility until late 2005." The prison was located in Antaviliai, about 20km from the capital, Vilnius, and owned by Elite LLC, a former CIA front company.
Report's goals
The OSJI argues that the US could not have carried out its covert operations without the support of other countries and those who helped the US should be held accountable.
"But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable," the report states.
In addition, the report identifies 136 people who were detained or transferred by the CIA and specifies when and where the prisoners were held, creating the largest list in existence today.
The goal of OSJI is to force US to end the rendition program, terminate all of its remaining secret prisons, and open a criminal investigation into human rights abuses.
Also, the report calls upon other countries to stop their covert support of CIA programs and to hold past participants responsible.
Convictions and lawsuits
The US Congress launched its own investigations into the CIA's secret programs after the September 11 attacks but the results remain classified. (So what is New?)

OSJI report is almost sure to add fuel to the debate in the United States as well as in some of the countries that participated in the program. In recent years, several victims of the program have successfully filed lawsuits over their abduction or abuse. 

On February 1, an appeals court in Milan reversed a lower court's acquittal of a former CIA station chief in Italy and two other Americans in the 2003 abduction of Egyptian cleric Osama Hassan Mustafa Nasr from a Milan street. The decision means the three, who had previously been acquitted on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, now join 23 other Americans convicted for the abduction in absentia by Italy in 2009.

And in December, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Macedonia violated the rights of German citizen Khaled el-Masri before he was forwarded to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan. The court ruled that his ill-treatment at the Skopje airport, where he was held incommunicado and abused, amounted to torture.
The author had written a couple of articles when the torture by rendition was being carried out in 2005 and later .(See below ) When will the world be free if ever of these war gang rapists , since they follow no law and cannot be easily held accountable, although independent International Tribunals in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere have held US and UK leaders guilty of War crimes .
K .Gajendra Singh, 6 December. 2013  
US Franchised Torture Refuses To Go Away By Gajendra Singh 01/18/06 "
1.       [PDF] 

US Rendition of Suspects to Prisons Worldwide: A ... - Statewatch
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
K Gajendra Singh ... US FRANCHISED TORTUREREFUSES TO GO AWAY ... remained overshadowed by US rendition of terrorism suspects to prisons in ...

2.    Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base - SourceWatch
K. Gajendra Singh, "US Franchised Torture Refuses To Go Away," Information Clearinghouse, January 18, 2006; "US Rendition of Suspects to Prisons ...

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Sunday, 11 December 2005
Article Index
Page 1 of 3
Human Rights
Contributed by KGajendra Singh   

Tell us about the CIA flights.
The US does not torture.
Tell us about the black sites.
The US does not torture.
"Let me be clear," has been a popular Ms Condi Rice refrain this week about US rendition of terrorism suspects. For many, she has been everything but clear. [From Der Spiegel]
Secretary of State Ms Condoleeza Rice, once caught shopping for expensive shoes to match her model like slim legs, at the height of the Katrina catastrophe, failed to convince European allies by cosmetic obfuscation of 'rendition' of terrorism suspects including many innocents, ferried by CIA planes to secret "black holes" in Europe and elsewhere for torture , specially in the compliant and  enthusiastic states  in "new Europe ", in contravention of international law and even the laws of the receiving countries.
At the end of her 4 day, European safari Rice reached Brussels for a meeting with NATO foreign ministers to explain the US position on torture .But she dodged questions on secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. At the dinner, according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, she reiterated, "in the United States, international obligations are not interpreted differently than in Europe." NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the next day, "it is my impression that Secretary Rice ... cleared the air. You will not see this discussion continuing" at the NATO headquarters.
The revelations of CIA franchised torture centers in east Europe and elsewhere, worse than Abu Gharib and Guantanamo has exposed the lawlessness permeating the Bush Administration, whether on the legality of US led invasion of Iraq ,violation of Human Rights and Geneva conventions . Or for that matter other international Treaties.
Ms Rice and the Bush administration were hoping for a fresh start with Germany after an acrimonious relationship with the previous government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, which had vociferously opposed the illegal US invasion of Iraq .In the new broad based German coalition led by US friendly right wing leader Chancellor Angela Merkel there was a hope of making up, but the visit ended in confusion and Merkel was put on the defensive.
Gerhard Schröder's Socialists are part of the coalition and the German media and people had questions about covert prisons and secret arrests including of an innocent German citizen, who overshadowed Rice's talks with Merkel at the start of the visits in Berlin on 6 December, and then to Bucharest and Kiev, ending with discussions in Brussels.
In Berlin Rice declined to answer most questions, even after Merkel called for "a certain degree of transparency" on the issue regarding any possible knowledge by the previous government of CIA activities in Germany involving German citizens.

These questions have erupted following a cascade of media reports led by the Washington Post and Der Spiegel about US use of airports in Europe for CIA flights to transport terror suspects to a network of secret jails for questioning. Khaled Masri a German citizen on holiday in Macedonia was picked up for questioning as a suspected terrorist and tortured in Afghanistan for five months last year before being released on grounds of mistaken identity. Merkel said that the United States had acknowledged responsibility.
"The American government admitted its mistake," Merkel said. Rice said she could not talk about the case specifically but added, "Any policy will sometimes result in errors, and when it happens we will do everything we can to rectify it."
Facing an angry Parliament, Merkel said her foreign minister, Steinmeier, an ex- top aide of Schröder, would face a special parliamentary committee to answer questions about how much he knew about the covert prisons and the practice called rendition, in which terrorist suspects captured by the United States were sent to other countries, some of which with records of torturing prisoners. Steinmeier reportedly had access to all intelligence dossiers and cases including those with the interior minister Otto Schily, who was reportedly told about the Masri case but has remained silent.
It may be recalled that in May 2004, the White House had dispatched US Ambassador Daniel R. Coats to Schily to tell that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, with a request that the German government not disclose what it was told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of covert action programs designed to capture terror suspects abroad on thin or speculative evidence and transfer them to countries with secret bases would have serious ramifications .The CIA, working with other intelligence agencies, has captured an estimated 3,000 people, including several key leaders of al Qaida, in its campaign to dismantle terrorist networks. It is impossible to know, however, how many mistakes the CIA and its foreign partners have made.
Masri says he underwent coercive interrogation and confinement for five months before being released, two months after the CIA concluded it was a case of mistaken identity. He is suing former CIA director George Tenet with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In filing the suit in Washington, the ACLU said it was seeking to "reaffirm that the rule of law is central to our identity as a nation".
In another instance, according to the Washington Post, the CIA seized Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasir, an Egyptian refugee known as Abu Omar, from a street in Milan. The agency then told Italian anti-terrorism police that he had fled to the Balkans - a piece of disinformation. The deception worked for more than a year, until the Italians discovered that the CIA had whisked Nasir off to Egypt, where he was reportedly interrogated and tortured.
US refused the Red Cross access to all detainees;
The state department's top legal adviser, John Bellinger admitted for the first time in Geneva that the US has not given the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all detainees in its custody. But he gave no details about where such prisoners were held. He said ICRC had access to "absolutely everybody" at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds suspects detained during the US war on terror.
On Friday, Adam Ereli, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said the United States would not alter its position after the ICRC president said in Geneva that his organization was holding discussions to gain access to all detainees, including those held in secret locations.
Ereli said that the Geneva Conventions requiring humane treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to certain terrorism suspects seized as "unlawful enemy combatants," but that, in any case, the United States treats most of them as prisoners of war. "We're going the extra mile here," Ereli said, by allowing the Red Cross access to Al Qaida suspects and others held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan. The Red Cross also has access to prisoners held in Iraq.
Commentators said that this is likely to increase suspicions that the CIA has been operating secret prisons outside international oversight.
UN against US led detentions in Iraq;
John Pace, human rights chief for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), said that the US military is abusing its United Nations mandate in Iraq by detaining thousands of people without due process of law. The Iraqi Government, installed after the US invasion of 2003, is also guilty of major human rights abuses, including holding people without charge in secret jails "littered" across the country, John Pace added. Referring to accusations of corruption among Iraqi justice officials and police, Pace said illegal detentions were fuelling rather than curbing revolt.
"There is no question that terrorism has to be addressed. But we are equally sure that the remedies being applied … are not the best ways of eliminating terrorism," he said. "More terrorists are being created than are being eliminated." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also voiced concern about mass detentions without charge, which US commanders say are a legitimate response to security threats under UN Security Council Resolution 1546, their mandate for occupying Iraq.
But Pace said that the system, including the pattern, duration and conditions of detention, were "not consistent with what is foreseen in 1546" and complained of "total breakdown" in individuals' rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said that the U.S.-led war on terror has undermined the global ban on torture. This did not please U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, appointed by Bush against the wishes of the US Congress. Bolton called Arbour's statement "inappropriate and illegitimate." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman said that Annan wants to take the matter up with Bolton as soon as possible.
Rice's Pre-Tour Pep talk;
Ms Rice's boss President Bush might find her an eloquent and an erudite teacher, but the visit was not successful in allaying widespread fears, with the fortunes of US Administration in a nose dive at home .Even her last February trip to prepare for President Bush's visit to Europe after her taking over the Secretary of State, had not impressed European diplomats and intellectuals.
Before her departure for Europe this time in a pep talk for US audience at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Ms Rice told critics of tough U.S. tactics in the war on terror that the intelligence gathered by the CIA had saved European lives. Responding to the outcry over detailed reports of secret CIA run prisons in Europe. Rice said the United States "will use every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists."
But Ms Rice steadfastly refused to respond to the question if the United States had CIA-operated secret prisons there. "We cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. We expect other nations share this view."

She added that information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies from a "very small number of extremely dangerous detainees," has helped prevent terrorist attacks and saved lives "in Europe as well as in the United States and other countries."
Reports of the existence of the secret prisons have caused a trans-Atlantic uproar. The European Union has asked the Bush administration about these reports.  Britain, the current EU president, sent a two-paragraph letter to Washington late last month for clarifications.
Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said Rice's  comments about secret CIA flights and detention centers for terrorist suspects outside the United States were "unsatisfactory," Bot told MPs that "rendition" was not kidnapping as some critics claimed but a speedy process of extraditing suspects to the US. Normal extraditions through the courts can last for years, he said. Media reported that the CIA regularly made use of Dutch airports for secret flights.
The European Union (EU) has threatened to sanction any EU member countries, which had such prisons on their territories.
US admits policy of renditions;
Ms Rice's successor as National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, told CNN that "we do not move people around the world so they can be tortured". Thus dittoing the official line. But Hadley added that the policy of renditions "has been a practice before 9/11, before this Administration", as well as "a practice engaged in by a number of countries".
What is 'rendition'?
Rendition is an old western practice beginning perhaps from the days of the Spanish inquisitions if not earlier. In his memoirs, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel  wrote that during the World War II the secret abduction and 'rendition' from Third Reich occupied countries  to Germany of suspected Resistance members - otherwise known as the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) Decree - was the worst of all of the orders issued by Adolf Hitler . Nacht und Nebel-type practices were used by the French to suppress successive uprisings by Algerian freedom fighters in the 1950s. Since then the practice of "disappearances" has spread around the globe - according to Human Rights Watch. Iraq and Sri Lanka accounted for the most cases between 1980 and 2003.
In Latin America, the technique was successfully internationalized under "Operation Condor". The operation, conceived and effectively implemented under Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, brought together the intelligence agencies of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, as well as Pinochle's own secret police chief, Manuel Contreras, in 1975. Although not a charter member, Brazil also participated. The objective was to "enhance communications among each other and integrate tactical operations in tracking down, secretly detaining, torturing and terminating [the lives of] critics or suspected militants, who were often referred to as 'terrorists'," according to Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA).
So what is new !Yes , Western leaders and media keep on maligning eastern governments for similar practices .In many cases the techniques have been taught by western agencies to the agencies of their allies in the East e.g. CIA to Savak or to Pakistan's ISI and Jihadis during the Afghan war against USSR. Israel's Mossad almost openly implements and teaches rendition techniques to any takers.
Important Rice visit to Romania;
Ms Rice's 4 hour stopover in the Romanian capital Bucharest, was an important bilateral visit .She signed with the Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu a bilateral agreement for use of Romanian military bases at Mikhail Kogalniceanu, Babadag, Cincu and Smardan, with President Traian Basescu watching at the Cotroceni Palace. Ms Rice also had talks with President Basescu on bilateral relations and cooperation within the Black Sea region and in the Balkans, as well as the cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Romania also announced that it would not withdraw troops from Iraq.
"Romania will turn into a pylon of stability in the region through the setting up of the American bases," declared Basescu. "The location of the American facilities on the territory of Romania represents a confirmation of the fact that the Romanian army has reached a certain potential as partner of the USA", added Basescu.
He also said that the other security structures of Romania could cooperate at the highest level with those of the US. "Washington's decision means also political credibility from the point of view of Romania," The acceptance by the Romanian people of the American presence in Romania is considered a precious asset of the bilateral relations, Basescu concluded.
Ms Rice replied that "Romania has become a strong ally for the US." She recollected that when she was in Bucharest with President Bush a rainbow appeared as a symbol of bilateral relations. She added that the US and Romania are not just friends, but also brother and sister in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ms Rice thanked Romania for the sacrifices of their soldiers in difficult and dangerous places, calling this a strong commitment for the future of democracies like Iraq and Afghanistan. "We have a great, committed partner in Romania, who is ready to make sacrifices.
"Explaining why Washington chose Romania instead of Bulgaria, Rice said this was because of Romania's progress in the fields of defense and military training and that it was President Bush's decision who also took into account the strategic position of Romania.
In connection with the reported CIA detention centers, Ms Rice said the agreement regarding the bases in Romania would be a transparent one and up for discussion in Parliament.
Asked about the risks following the signing, President Basescu said the risk was neither big, nor small, but that this was "just a leap forward for Romania in the global security system." "When I decided to sign, I had already assessed the risks and I knew that Romania was able to face the risks. This was a calculated risk and assumed as well, considered to be possible to keep under control." He pledged commitment for stability in Iraq. "Romania will not diminish her military capabilities destined for this end in Iraq and will stay at the disposal of the Iraqi Government under the UN resolution and close to her allies," Basescu assured.
Ms Rice did not give a direct reply about the CIA prisons in Romania, but Basescu reiterated that Romania did not have and does not have such prisons on its territory, "My only appeal is that those who say that Romania has allegedly hosted or is hosting torture places assumed the responsibility of their declarations. It was improper to state that secret prisons existed only subject to the arrival of some planes. Romania is not willing to accept accusations of infringement of the human rights based on mere speculations," President Basescu said. The US Secretary of State left for Kiev in the evening.
After 50 years under communism, a reluctant member of the Soviet Camp (but not fully of the Warsaw pact) Romania has discovered and assumed its Western Christian identity as a full member of NATO and hopes to join EU in 2007. For USA and EU, the Romanian location is very important militarily and as a vantage point for trade with Caspian basin and Central Asia across the Black Sea. USA had used Romanian air bases during the March 2003 war on Iraq , when Nato ally Turkey had refused to let US open a second front against north Iraq from South east Turkey and permitted its Nato Inchirlik air base only for humanitarian flights .
However ,as the author pointed out to the Romanian leaders in his recent meetings along with the foreign media based in Bucharest that Romania must avoid showing too close an affinity with US policies of torture .There are around 100,000 Muslims , mostly Tatars  and tens of thousands of Israelis visit Romania for rest and recreation . Over a few hundred Romanian Jews had migrated to Israel. Romania has a history of anti-Semitism. The November 2003 bombings of a Synagogue in Istanbul were to punish for the pro Israel policy of Turkey, which also hosts hundreds of thousands of Israeli tourists .When President Basescu, soon after his election, visited Iraq to show solidarity with USA, three journalists accompanying him were kidnapped. Their capture and release remains a mystery.
Romania and Poland are two very pro US countries, described by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as new Europe (an appellation the countries rejected) which was chided by French President Jacque Chirac when they had sided with USA on the question of US invasion of Iraq, against the general EU policy of opposition and neutrality.
Poland appears to be centering the CIA's secret detention network in Europe, with bases there holding a quarter of the 100 detainees estimated in such camps worldwide.
"Poland was the main base for CIA interrogations in Europe, while Romania played more of a role in the transfer of detained prisoners," Marc Garlasco, a leading analyst at Human Rights Watch, was quoted by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
Garlasco said that the CIA maintained two detention centers in Poland, which were closed only after the Washington Post broke the story last month. He said the allegations were based on information from CIA sources and other documents obtained by Human Rights Watch. "We have leads, circumstantial evidence to check but it's too early to reveal them," Garlasco added.
Polish authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of secret jails of any form on Polish territory, with Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkieicz saying this week he would fully cooperate in human rights probes into the allegations. On 11 December, he ordered a detailed probe to "check if there is any proof that such an event took place in our country. It is necessary to finally close the issue because it could be dangerous to Poland." Said Marcinkiewicz's spokesman, Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz.
Rice in Ukraine of US franchised revolution;
Ms Rice visit to Kiev was to express solidarity with US protégé President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine. US organizations across the board had spent hundreds of millions of US dollars last year to get him elected in a US franchised election organized through street revolutions , a process which was begun with the overthrow of Milosevic in Serbia and then perfected in Georgia . Street revolutions failed dismally in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan with Russia and China with central Asian states vociferously opposing US led franchised revolutions.
The sheen has come off the so called Orange revolution with Yushchenko's rich partner the Prime Minister quitting his company .The Ukrainian masses are unhappy with the results of the revolution with bribery and other scandals on increase. Russia on which Ukraine is dependent for its energy needs is squeezing Kiev. Next year's Parliament elections would be a litmus test for the Yushchenko regime.
Shift in US Policy?
By the time Ms Rice reached Kiev, there was apparent shift in her position. She said that Washington now viewed its responsibilities under a UN treaty as banning the cruel or inhumane treatment of prisoners anywhere. She appeared to give the torture question a clear and broad interpretation. Referring to the UN Convention against Torture (CAT), ratified by USA in 1994, Rice said that "as a matter of U.S. policy, the United States' obligations under the CAT, which prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment - those obligations extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States."
Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, described the new approach by Rice as "existing policy." But when pressed repeatedly by reporters, he would not say whether the United States took steps to ensure that countries to which it transferred prisoners lived up to promises against using torture.
Rice's shift produced some confusion in Washington, possibly reflecting tensions among the State Department, White House, Congress and the Pentagon on how narrowly to define some tools available .These can include techniques known as water boarding, in which a prisoner is strapped to a plank and dunked into water to create a sense of being drowned. Rights groups say that these methods have been used on prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere. 
No rendition for torture –George Bush;
President Bush, referring to the process known as rendition, under which the United States has turned detainees over to other countries reiterated: "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same."
But wrote Naomi Klein in the Guardian "It's [ torture] a history exhaustively documented in an avalanche of books, declassified documents, CIA training manuals, court records and truth commissions. In his forthcoming book, A Question of Torture, Alfred McCoy synthesizes this evidence, producing a riveting account of how monstrous CIA-funded experiments on psychiatric patients and prisoners in the 1950s turned into a template for what he calls "no-touch torture", based on sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain. McCoy traces how these methods were field-tested by CIA agents in Vietnam as part of the Phoenix program and then applied in Latin America and Asia under the guise of police training.
"It is not only apologists for torture who ignore this history when they blame abuses on "a few bad apples". A startling number of torture's most prominent opponents keep telling us that the idea of torturing prisoners first occurred to US officials on September 11 2001, at which point the methods used in Guantanamo apparently emerged, fully formed, from the sadistic recesses of Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's brains. Up until that moment, we are told, America fought its enemies while keeping its humanity intact."
The White House has opposed Republican Senator John McCain's efforts, to bar cruel or inhumane treatment of prisoners, at home or abroad, including by the CIA. A bill to that end passed the Senate and awaits House action. The national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, has met with McCain four times, to seek a compromise.
But Rice's statement was welcomed by, Carl Levin of Michigan, a leading Senate Democrat and a member of the Armed Services Committee He called it "a reversal from the administration's position." "It is an important and very welcome change from their previous position, which I believe has cost us dearly in the world," he added.
David Luban, a Georgetown University law professor said that Rice appeared to be marking a genuine shift. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had implied that such treatment was forbidden by the U.S. Constitution - meaning within the United States. So the techniques short of outright torture could legally be employed abroad. "But this looks like it's different," Luban said, "and I think if Rice meant what she said, that's a big change." He cautioned, however, that only U.S. personnel were covered and perhaps not foreign police or security personnel or even foreign contractors.
Opposition in UK to rendition in CIA torture Prisons;
Resistance to wayward US ways has grown steadily in UK, where assurances by Ms Rice that Washington did not send detainees abroad for torture were dismissed as "beyond belief" by a group of MPs from various parties.
The group was launched to investigate the "extraordinary renditions" of prisoners by the CIA. It claimed that Ms Rice confirmed that Britain had been informed about the nature of the secret CIA flights to UK airports. Andrew Tyrie, the group's Tory chairman, said: "There has been so much smoke on this issue; it's very unlikely that there is not a fire somewhere. I think it's likely they have been tortured."
Photographs were produced of CIA planes landing and taking off at UK airports while the government denied that British airports were used for torture flights, "so far as we aware". This did not satisfy the MPs, and Mr. Mullin , a former Labor foreign affairs minister said , "Some of the assurances in [Ms Rice's] statement defy belief in a country where there has recently been a public discussion on whether submerging prisoners in water to the point of drowning constitutes torture or not."
Tyrie interpreted Rice's claim that the US respected the sovereignty of other countries to mean that UK ministers knew about the flights. "By implication, whatever has been going on, the British authorities were informed," he said. He added that Ms Rice chose her words carefully to avoid ruling out abuse of prisoners that stopped short of torture. "She said torture is defined by law and by implication there may be levels of duress that may be short of torture," he clarified.
He warned Ms Rice that defending abuse of prisoners would be counter-productive. "It's not just that people may have been tortured. It is that using torture to combat terrorism is likely to inflame Muslim opinion and leave us less secure, not more. We have learnt that lesson the hard way in Northern Ireland; the French learnt that lesson in Algeria."
Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell described Ms Rice's statement as "disingenuous". He said: "The volume of evidence of transfers has become overwhelming but what possible purpose is served by rendition other than to subject individuals to harsher treatment than would otherwise be the case?
"Parliament and the public are entitled to expect the British Government to show equivalent candor. But the question remains, what did our government know and when did it know it? How high up the political tree did such knowledge go?"
The Labor chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike Gapes pledged that his committee would also pursue ministers over "extraordinary rendition" flights across UK airspace. Some member of the committee privately said they were appalled after Ian Pearson, a Foreign Office minister, who told a recent hearing that the Government would use information gained from torture to protect against attacks by terrorists.
In spite of Tony Blair being in a state of denial that US-UK led invasion of Iraq had any relation to July bombings in London, the people know better and are worried about implications of torture by US and UK , with many British citizens being victims of such torture in Guantanamo, in Iraq , Afghanistan and even UK itself .
British Lords ban "torture evidence"
The Law Lords ruled in London that information gleaned from torture anywhere in the world was unacceptable as evidence in British courts. Rights groups immediately said the ruling sent a clear signal to governments around the world who are wrestling with accusations that they participated in, provided facilities for, or used evidence in court extracted from people detained as part of a CIA program known as "rendition". The decision by UK's highest court to refuse evidence obtained under torture in third countries comes a day after the United States explicitly banned its interrogators from treating detainees inhumanely after widespread anger and pressure from European governments and the U.S. Congress.
Rice and Bush last Visit to Europe;
Her February safari to prepare for Bush visit to patch up US-Europe unity was aptly summed up by the Guardian –"For the moment, to adapt Mahatma Gandhi's acerbic opinion about western civilization, one can only say that such unity would be a fine thing."   
In the author's view, there is an existential misunderstanding between USA and Europe about the global 'war on terror' or the 'war against tyranny', as Washington puts it and fights it, with no holds barred. After September 11, the Americans believe that the world has changed, and they can break all laws, and are breaking, while others say that USA has changed (for the worse). It was a reality check for US, whose reaction has been excessive, brutal and has shocked the entire world and informed opinion in USA`.
Europeans know terrorism; the British with the IRA, Italians and Germans with their Red Brigades, the Spanish with the Basque separatist Eta, French with Corsicans and so on. So what, there was no need to go overboard and throw out all laws, treaties, conventions. Turks and Indians have also faced terrorism and still do .Their genuine problems have made little impact on Anglo-Saxons.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and even Ms Rice, in spite of Iraqi quagmire want to maintain 'full spectrum dominance' including over media. Europe is seen not as "a partner for peace in a multi-polar world, but as a useful, if sometimes irksome partner, to bolster its own position in a unipolar world. Superpowers are on a high, US hyper power is higher on a cocktail of many ingredients. If Europe is to be a partner, according to US, it will be only as a junior one." Thus the differences with Europe on stabilization of Iraq, the security of oil the Gulf and the Caspian, China's military and economic potential, Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation in the context of North Korea and Iran remain.
It is true, along with US and mother Britannica and the Anglo-Saxon family, specially the Australians. Throughout the discourse, which now agitates USA and Western Europe, the point made is that the US invasion of Iraq could have been carried out better and implemented better and successfully.  There is no realization or acknowledgement that time for colonization is now gone.  It is not the divine right of Christian West to subjugate and rule the Middle East, Africa or Asia through the power of its guns.  The Iraqi resistance from the very beginning to U.S.-led occupation has made it clear that the era of colonization is gone.
So, what is all the fuss? Asks 'Economist"
America seeks, but fails, to quell the uproar in Europe over CIA shenanigans Economist commented that "some administration officials have argued that the Convention against Torture applies only to acts carried out within America's territorial jurisdiction. Critics allege that this explains why so many of America's interrogation centers—including Guantanamo—are beyond its borders. Dick Cheney has fought hard against Mr. McCain's amendment; it seems, precisely because it would remove any doubt, banning the use of cruel and inhuman techniques everywhere and by everyone.
"This week, Ms Rice seemed to change course: she said that the UN ban on the torture or cruel treatment of detainees applies to all American personnel (including the CIA) throughout the world. The White House insisted this is "existing policy". But if the secretary of state is right, why on earth is the vice-president fighting to keep the CIA out of the McCain ban? "
It concluded, "the Europeans are not the only ones who need convincing. This week, Louise Arbour, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, warned that the absolute ban on torture could become a casualty of the "war on terror". Without naming the United States, she criticized "governments in a number of countries" who were claiming that the world had changed and that the old rules no longer applied. No credible case for this had been made, she insisted. Ms Rice has worked to do."
With the rising opposition in USA and even reawakening of some in the US media to Bush policies, there is hope. Even before the March 2003 war more than 1,000 law professors and U.S. legal institutions organized in opposition to the U.S. war crime of launching an "aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter" against Iraq. Violation of international law was also a central theme in worldwide demonstrations by tens of millions against the war. The illegality of the war was confirmed by the leak of the Downing Street memo; 130 members of Congress joined Rep. John Conyers in demanding that the Bush administration come clean about the invasion-supported by a half million citizen signatures gathered in barely a week. "Scootergate" is fundamentally about the cover-up of White House lies justifying the war.
"Illegal detention and torture are also war crimes. Starting with the exposure of prisoner abuse at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, cascading revelations have established that these cases exemplify a pattern of abuse authorized at the highest levels of government. Human rights groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights First sued in U.S. and foreign courts against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others for breaching the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. The Senate's 90-9 vote to restore the military's traditional prohibition against torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners prompting the Bush administration to threaten a veto, sets the stage for a major confrontation over adherence to both the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution. "
Paul Craig Roberts, Hoover Institution senior fellow and assistant secretary of the treasury under Ronald Reagan, has charged Bush with "lies and an illegal war of aggression, with outing CIA agents, with war crimes against Iraqi civilians, with the horrors of the Abu Gharib and Guantanamo torture centers" and calls for the president's impeachment. Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and former president of the American Society of International Law, declares: "These policies make a mockery of our claim to stand for the rule of law. [Americans] should be marching on Washington to reject inhumane techniques carried out in our name." Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, whose single handed resistance to US policies, including sit-ins near Bush's Texas ranch ,brought various opposition groups together ,insists: "We cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."
(Gajendra Singh., served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in1992 -96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the1990 - 91Gulf war), Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies, in Bucharest.