Updates & Weekly Round Up for March 28

Today marks Boiling Frogs Post’s fifth month of operation, and the last day of our fundraising campaign. On behalf of our team members I want to thank all of you for your support, with a special thanks to 658 of you who donated to our cause. We may not have reached our benchmark for our desired objectives and planned expansion, but we have you and a good start, so we’ll continue as best as we can, and work toward those objectives.

I am thrilled to announce the addition of a new team member, Luke Ryland, a good friend and a partner whom I have known and worked with since 2006; please welcome Luke and here is his bio:

LukeRylandLuke Ryland is an independent political analyst and online journalist based in Australia. He has been an expert commentator on the Sibel Edmonds case and nuclear black market cases for various progressive radio shows and online publications. Mr. Ryland’s work focuses on the nuclear black market, the Turkish lobby in the US, the energy and geopolitical wars in Central Asia, and the corruption of US Congress. Mr. Ryland has an MBA and a Bachelors degree in Commerce from the University of Melbourne. Visit Luke Ryland’s website.

We recently published Luke Ryland’s expose on FBI documents confirming major criminal investigations of Turkish operatives and their US official friends in Chicago. And here is a link to a recent interview with Mr. Ryland conducted by Scott Horton of AntiWar.Org: Click here.

Starting this coming Wednesday I’ll be on the road for a few weeks, traveling for work and personal matters. I won’t be out of touch. We have three Boiling Frogs interviews, one of which will be posted every other week: Professor Francis Boyle, Naomi Wolf, and Peter Phillips. Meanwhile, Peter B Collins and I will find ways to overcome significant time zone differences and connection difficulties, and continue to conduct additional interviews. We will also have articles and analyses by our contributors, and of course Paul Jamiol’s great editorial cartoons.

Here is my list of noteworthy articles and links from this past week:

Let’s start with our President, since we’ve been keeping tabs on his changes on his promised changes. The following piece is also related to the Obama White House’s 180 degree turn on protection for national security whistleblowers, which we’ve been covering for over a week.

A little secret about Obama’s transparency
Andrew Malcolm, LA Times

The current administration, challenged by the president to be the most open, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than Bush did.

The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.

Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office, he dispatched a much-publicized memo saying: “All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.”
One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year; the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush’s final budget year.

An Associated Press examination of 17 major agencies’ handling of FOIA requests found denials 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50% from the 2008 fiscal year under Bush.

ObamaMar28We’ve been keeping tabs, and our list of ‘Bush-Like’ and ‘Worse-Than-Bush’ points has been expanding continuously. Mr. Obama’s love and usage of State Secrets Privilege, his position against government whistleblowers, his support for illegal domestic wiretapping, his passion for wars and drones, his kind-heartedness towards torturers & other criminals…During his first few months in office, a few of his previously duped supporters were too generous and maybe a bit too naïve to label him ‘Bush-Lite.’ How about now? Is it time to call the President ‘Bush-Dark’? You be the judge; what say you?

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 Karzai talks peace with militant group linked to Taliban
Deb Riechmann, AP

President Hamid Karzai held an unprecedented meeting yesterday with representatives of a major Taliban-linked militant group, boosting his outreach to insurgency leaders to end the eight-year war.

Less certain is whether the talks with the weakened Hizb-i-Islami faction represent a game-changer in the conflict, given its demand to rewrite the Afghan constitution and force a quick exit of foreign forces.

HekmatyarIt is the first time that high-ranking representatives of the group, led by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have traveled to Kabul to discuss peace. The reconciliation offer from Hekmatyar contrasts with his reputation as a ruthless extremist.

Hekmatyar, who is in his 60s, was a major recipient of US military aid during the war against the Soviets in the 1980s but fell out of favor with Washington because of his role in the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal. The US government declared Hekmatyar a “global terrorist’’ in February 2003, saying he participated in and supported terror acts committed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Unless that tag is removed, the designation could complicate any move by the United States to sign off on a deal, even though in recent years Hekmatyar has expressed a willingness to negotiate with the Karzai government. A spokesman for Hekmatyar said the delegation had lunch with Karzai at the presidential palace and planned to meet with him again.

Last January our team member duo, Liz Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, wrote an excellent piece on this opium dealing terrorist, who happened to get his grooming from our very own CIA. If you haven’t read the Gould-Fitzgerald piece titled ‘Apocalypse of the American Mind’, click here. Was he ever off the CIA list of ‘operators’? I for one would certainly doubt it.

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NATO rejects Russia’s demand to destroy Afghan poppy fields
Deutsche Press-Agentur

NatoMar28 Brussels – NATO and Russia clashed on Wednesday over how to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, where Western nations have been fighting a Taliban-led insurgency for eight years.

The country is the world’s largest producer of poppy seeds, a key ingredient in the manufacture of heroin. Russia is keen to pursue an aggressive eradication strategy, while Western allies fear that such an approach risks antagonizing the local population, who rely on selling poppy crops to survive.

The different points of view came to a head at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council attended by the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Agency (FSKN), Victor Ivanov and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

‘Afghan opiates led to the death of 1 million people by overdose in the last 10 years, and that is United Nations data. Is that not a threat to world peace and security?’ Ivanov asked journalists after the meeting.

Russians know very well what this is about. After all, they used to be a major player in ‘this’ particular field, and now a bit grumpy because…their share of this pie has been significantly reduced? Certainly it’s not about a million+ deaths caused by ‘overdose;’ of that much I can assure you. So maybe our guys will let their guys have a bit more; like this maybe:

However, he stressed that there was ‘a very positive mood’ in the talks with Ivanov and said that the two sides agreed to boost an already existing programme that involves joint training of Afghan counter-narcotics police.

Please bring in your two cents (and more).

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In the last few days there have been numerous articles portraying the White House as tough on Israel, and depicting Israel-US relations as severely strained. Coincidentally, two months ago similar articles were written in Turkey on endangered ties – Turkey-Israel. In Turkey this usually happens when elected officials see the need, that is, fulfilling public expectations, albeit cosmetically, to appear ‘a bit’ tough on Israel. While they do that, the business of kissing up to Israel continues behind the scenes; as always.

Here is how badly strained is the relationship between the White House and the Israeli bosses:

Exclusive / Despite row, U.S. and Israel sign massive arms deal
Amos Harel, Haaretz

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel’s defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal.

According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new Hercules C-130J airplanes. The deal for the three aircrafts, designed by Lockheed Martin, is worth roughly a quarter billion dollars. Each aircraft costs $70 million.

The aircrafts were manufactured specifically for Israeli needs, and include a large number of systems produced by Israel’s defense industry.

The deal will be covered by American foreign assistance funds. The Pentagon will issue a formal announcement on the matter on Thursday evening.

That’s right; that’s how strained things are! And here is another exposé on strained Obama-Israel relations; NOT!

Former Obama Aide New Head of AIPAC
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, Israel National News

Lee “Rosy” Rosenberg, a jazz recording industry veteran capitalist who accompanied U.S. President Barack Obama on his campaign trip to Israel two years ago, takes over on Sunday as the new president of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Rosenberg also served on the president’s national campaign finance committee.

The new AIPAC president hails from Chicago, the home state of President Obama, and also is on first-name terms with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior advisor.

My advice? Next time you read bologna articles on the Obama White House being tough on Israel, don’t believe it, go do your own bit of research, and determine for yourself who is the ‘servant’ and who is the ‘boss’ in this (Israel Lobby-US President) relationship;-)

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And finally, two well-researched and nicely-written reports by my favorite publication, Asia Times:

‘Strategic depth’ at heart of Taliban arrests
By Shibil Siddiqi, ATimes

Pakistan has recently arrested a number of top Taliban leaders, including the second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and many of the Quetta shura. It also killed in a drone attack Mohammad Haqqani, a leader of the powerful Haqqani network that Pakistan had been loath to target. Many commentators, including influential think-tanks such as the Carnegie Endowment, have struggled to explain Pakistan’s motivations behind the arrests and have hoped they embody a volte-face in its policies towards Afghanistan.

In actuality the arrests are far from representing a paradigm shift in Pakistani thinking. Pakistan’s approach to Afghanistan can be boiled down to two words: “strategic depth”, the holy grail of the nation ‘s strategic policy for more than two decades. Strategic depth remains the central pillar in Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan. However, the concept itself is being reinterpreted by Pakistan‘s security establishment as a consequence of the sliding balance of opportunities and threats, both foreign and domestic.

Read the rest here.

A Spy Unsettles US-India Ties
M K Bhadrakumar, ATimes

News that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had reached a plea bargain with David Coleman Headley, who played a key role in the planning of the terrorist strike in Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed, has caused an uproar in India.

The deal enables the US government to hold back from formally producing any evidence against Headley in a court of law that might have included details of his links with US intelligence or oblige any cross-examination of Headley by the prosecution.

Nor can the families of the 166 victims be represented by a lawyer to question Headley during his trial commencing in Chicago. Headley’s links with the US intelligence will now remain classified information and the Pakistani nationals involved in the Mumbai attacks will get away scot-free. Furthermore, the FBI will not allow Headley’s extradition to India and will restrict access so that Indian agencies cannot interrogate him regarding his links with US and Pakistani intelligence.

In return for pleading guilty to the charges against him Headley will get lighter punishment than the death sentence that was probably most likely.

Headley’s arrest in Chicago last October initially seemed a breakthrough in throwing light on the operations and activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terrorist organization, in India. But instead the Obama administration’s frantic efforts to cover up the details of the case have been taken to their logical conclusion.

Read the rest here. We’ll keep this story on our radar. There are tons buried and covered up here…


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Comments

  1. I like that kangaroo and that bomb. Documented disclosure is sloppy. Hekmatyar should finalize some responsibility with an intelligible peace declaration. Industrious Russians accidentally kill themselves when social standings remain futile. Computers with wings fire economics. Pakistan has computers with wings for suicidal men to overdose on for personal satisfaction. Headley is an undocumented resource for avoiding the sweat of death.

  2. Wow, I am floored by that last Asia Times article, these updates are great. When it happened I remember thinking that the Mumbai attack was suspicious because of their psychological similarity to 9/11 for India–as the article says “The Mumbai terror attack left deep scars in the Indian public psyche.” The military precision and apparent planning of the terrorists also seemed strange. Also the terrorist organization accused of the attacks (like Al-Quaeda for 9/11) the “Lashkar-e-Taiba” has according to the article “close links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) …it is inconceivable that such a massive operation – with huge international ramifications and the potential to trigger war with India – could have been undertaken without the knowledge of the ISI.” These ties between the ISI and the planning of these attacks seems comparable to some of what has come out about 9/11. For instance the Pakistani ISI came up in connection to 9/11 because there are reports of connections between the head of the ISI in 2000 and someone who wired money to the alleged 9/11 hijackers http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a100701mahmoodreplaced#a100701mahmoodreplaced . And I guess coincidentally the head of the ISI was at a meeting in Washington with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on 9/11 http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a091101mahmoodmeeting#a091101mahmoodmeeting . I have also read that the ISI chief is unofficially appointed by the CIA http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11217 . This is the first time I’ve heard mention of a “US/Pakistan axis:” “The Headley saga underscores that the US-Pakistan axis in Afghanistan carries lethal potency for India’s national security interests” though when General Musharraf was around during the Bush administration he seemed to be pretty “responsive to US concerns.” So there may be an allegiance between the US Government and intelligence agencies and the ISI on some level about central Asian policy? Now an American DEA informer (who coordinated with the CIA) and possible US intelligence agent is found to have participated in the planning of the attacks with probable knowledge of the ISI? Now the Obama administration fights to protect him in a “deal (that) enables the US government to hold back from formally producing any evidence against Headley in a court of law that might have included details of his links with US intelligence or oblige any cross-examination of Headley by the prosecution?” “The Obama administration’s frantic efforts to cover up the details of the case have been taken to their logical conclusion” –the conclusion seems to me that on some level both the Mumbai attacks and 9/11 were at least partially supervised or planned by elements in the American intelligence agencies.

  3. Headley story:- There are dubious CIA links to several Islamic terrorists as well [despite CIA's blanket denial of links with Headley]. How else can one explain an 8-year war (this time, although war there has been ongoing for decades now) with an impoverished Third World nation like Afghanistan? Who’s arming the Taliban for so long? Similarly, who is arming the militants in Iraq? Very likely it’s the same country that is arming Israel.

    It serves the CIA and US interests to have neighboring countries be at war with each other because it provides the US government and its arms manufacturers the opportunity to export arms, technology and nuclear capability — legit or on the black market, either way. Our government supplies Saudi Arabia with sophisticated military defense technology and then reciprocates with Israel the upgraded versions of the very arms we ship to Saudi Arabia. Other countries, particularly in the Third World but not limited to those, serve as other examples of the same thing… wherever there are armed conflicts, it seems. Natural and human resources we can exploit along the way are additional objectives in this global corporate chess game.

    As part of Headley’s plea bargain agreement, the United States agreed not to extradite him to India, Pakistan or Denmark. Makes you wonder what was in that agreement. Seems like they don’t want Headley to say too much to anyone. Headley was formerly known as Daood Sayed Gilani… his father, Sayed Salim Gilani, worked for Voice of America which was (and likely still is) clandestinely funded through the CIA. So the potential for CIA contact is not just a pie-in-the-sky possibility.

    “The Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, had issued a condolence message when the former diplomat, Sayed Salim Gilani, passed away on Christmas in 2008 at the age of 80 and may even have attended the funeral.” (Dec 2008) – http://bit.ly/9WjiNn

    Diplomat? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

  4. avatar Kingfisher says:

    “Russians know very well what this is about. After all, they used to be a major player in ‘this’ particular field, and now a bit grumpy because…their share of this pie has been significantly reduced? Certainly it’s not about a million+ deaths caused by ‘overdose;’ of that much I can assure you. So maybe our guys will let their guys have a bit more; like this maybe:”

    Narcotics have become a very serious social problem for Russia that is exacerbated by a serious demographic problem. I have no doubt that some factions/people in the Russian government are serious about fighting the drug problem.

    I am sure their “share of the pie” has a little to do with it (though Russian organized crime doesn’t seem to have any problem getting opiates); it is just as likely that the Russians are pushing poppy eradication to undermine NATO efforts.

  5. avatar Kingfisher says:

    “This is the first time I’ve heard mention of a “US/Pakistan axis:””

    In that case, perhaps you should refrain from making pronouncements like:

    “the conclusion seems to me that on some level both the Mumbai attacks and 9/11 were at least partially supervised or planned by elements in the American intelligence agencies.”

  6. @KF Well I suppose I’ve never heard it mentioned as an “axis” before. I think the picture is sort of complicated. In the book “Forbidden Truth” about recent US mid-east oil politics I remember it says that the ISI ran terrorist training camps as recently as 1999 and that a Saudi royal provided some of the original funding for the ISI. And as far as I know elements in the US government and I imagaine intelligence community are very friendly with the Saudi royals, as demonstrated by behavior like stopping John O’Neill from investigating them in connection to FBI terrorist investigations and purging them from the 9/11 commission report. I suppose it is my speculative opinion that 9/11 was at least facilitated by some group in American intelligence agencies. I don’t know if this is the place to discuss that, so I’ll leave that “pronouncement” as opinion except for this anecdote that Newsweek reported that US generals canceled their travel plans before 9/11 because of “security concerns.” http://www.wanttoknow.info/010924newsweek How would they know there was a security threat that day? But as for the Mumbai attacks, you don’t find it odd that if this article is correct this US informant was involved in the planning of “India’s 9/11″ and is being protected by the US government? And it seems especially protected from exposing any possible intelligence agency ties?

  7. avatar Kingfisher says:

    @Mike,

    Headley would have been a good source for US intelligence.

    It has been reported that Headley conducted reconnaissance in Mumbai; that doesn’t make him a “planner”. In fact the reconnaissance, planning, and operational cells are often compartmentalized in terrorist operations; that way, if there is a leak in the reconnaissance cell, he can only divulge so much because he only knows so much, and cannot compromise the other cells.

    Far from any definitive conclusions, there are only more questions.

    Socrates was the smartest man in Athens because he could admit what he didn’t know. As a personal exercise I suggest that the next time you read such an article that instead of blogging what you think you know, ask yourself what it is that you don’t know from it.

    KF

  8. avatar camusrebel says:

    yes, fishbait by all means copy Socrates. Drink hemlock.

    If Headley/Gilani was not run out of Langley, we would extradite him to stand trial for murdering 166 Indians. As they want us, an “ally”, to.

    Mike, your exactly right about 9/11 being done in house. The evidence is OVERWHELMING. But you are also correct that this is not the proper place for that discussion. Mumbai does indeed have a similar fetid aroma

  9. @KF If you’re saying that I’m speculating, guilty as charged. I’ve tried to post why I think my conclusion is more an educated guess without getting into 9/11 too much. The article says that Hadley was somehow privy to intimate details of the planning of the operation before it took place. Okay, then after the terrorist attack the Indians I think rightly want to question him thoroughly on their terms (hopefully not “enhanced interrogations”) and the US goes out of their way to protect him and place restrictions on what he says (whether he was a US intelligence agent) and where. If you don’t buy that it indicates that US intelligence might have been in on the planning, and you don’t buy the article’s speculation that he was likely an American intelligence agent, I hope you’ll agree at least that this is suspicious. Why would you not accommodate the Indians after what happened?

  10. avatar Kingfisher says:

    “If you don’t buy that it indicates that US intelligence might have been in on the planning, and you don’t buy the article’s speculation that he was likely an American intelligence agent, I hope you’ll agree at least that this is suspicious. Why would you not accommodate the Indians after what happened?”

    Even if Headley was an intelligence asset (he probably was), we still don’t know if he was a triple agent or went rogue and what his involvement was besides recon – which is not “planning”. It is fishy and there are many unanswered questions, I agree; this means it would be imprudent to jump to any conclusions. There could be a number of reasons why we aren’t accommodating the Indians (and maybe we are somehow) if he was an asset; not least of which being operational security and protection of sources and methods.

    And yes, CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogation” would be a picnic compared to what Indian security forces do sometimes.

    KF

  11. @KF I just read the article again and it actually looks like he was involved in the planning: “Lashkar [LeT] Member A advised defendant [Headley] of a number of details concerning the planned attacks, including that a team of attackers was being trained in a variety of combat skills, the team would be traveling to Mumbai by sea and *using the landing site recommended by the defendant,* the team would be fighting to the death.” !

  12. Don’t know if this has come up before but Hekmatyar sent a letter to Obama after the latter was elected, calling for him to leave Afghanistan:

    http://www.sacc.org.uk/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=665&catid=49#letter

    Hekmatyar’s been aligned with just about every group there is in Afghanistan and may be the most despicable of all the warlords. But switching sides and making temporary pacts seems to be the norm. Ironically, Hekmatyar may have accidentally saved Karzai’s life once while he was shelling Kabul. The story is that Karzai was being tortured by Mohammed Fahim, now Karzai’s “First Vice President”, under Rabbani’s government when one of Hekmatyar’s shells crashed into the wall of Karzai’s prison allowing the latter to escape.

  13. @fishbait

    you are such a blowhard.. loquacious in your ignorant and jingoitic train of thought.. amazing how far apart 2 points of view can be

    VoA has always been propaganda central

    about this ISI/911/Mumbai/CIA axis…. f*cking fascist bastards wanna manipulate the whole world, the (bleeping) bastards do… f*ck u!

  14. “My advice? Next time you read bologna articles on the Obama White House being tough on Israel, don’t believe it, go do your own bit of research, and determine for yourself who is the ‘servant’ and who is the ‘boss’ in this (Israel Lobby-US President) relationship;-)”

    @Sibel,

    You are wrong about the power relation between the United States and Israel. Israel is and always has been an arm, and extension, of Anglo-American imperialism. It is indeed true that the U.S. president is a puppet, but not of Israel but of Anglo-American imperialism, of the military-industrial complex, to use another name for it.

    I still say Obama is not Bush and I continue to support him. There could be worse things. On the domestic front he is rolling back the worst of the Bush reaction. The American people are really tired of war, and I think he’s looking for a way to back out of Afghanistan. We should support him AGAINST the military-industrial complex, not condemn him for being a part of it.

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