Bulletin N° 378
Subject: ON EMPTY GESTURES AND REAL INTERVENTIONS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD.
- Mike Adams, creator of the CounterThink cartoon series, and editor of NaturalNews.com
from Mélisa Kidari :
Date: 8 December 2008
Subject: Two short films on Codex and the Multinational Food Conspiracy, using food as a weapon.
Dear M. Feeley,
Here is the video about the codex alimentarius. I'll let you see what it is about. I think this is information which needs to be spread so that more people are aware of what is happening. I'm giving you the address of two videos, so please please watch them, and it if you agree they contain important informatiion, please send to the otehr CEIMSA readers.
Thank you very much.
Codex Alimentarius Conference with Dr. Rima Laibow
Ian R. Cran
"The Dictatorship of Cartels"
Forthcoming Talks by Ian R Crane on Codex Alimentarius:
from Michael Parenti :
Date: 12 December 2008
Subject: Omana on Afghanistan.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan, the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged, with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only 3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973, the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic, corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the PDP to form a new government under the leadership of Noor Mohammed Taraki, a poet and novelist. This is how a Marxist-led coalition of national democratic forces came into office. “It was a totally indigenous happening. Not even the CIA blamed the USSR for it,” writes John Ryan, a retired professor at the University of Winnipeg, who was conducting an agricultural research project in Afghanistan at about that time.
The Taraki government proceeded to legalize labor unions, and set up a minimum wage, a progressive income tax, a literacy campaign, and programs that gave ordinary people greater access to health care, housing, and public sanitation. Fledgling peasant cooperatives were started and price reductions on some key foods were imposed.
The government also continued a campaign begun by the king to emancipate women from their age-old tribal bondage. It provided public education for girls and for the children of various tribes.
A report in the San Francisco Chronicle (17 November 2001) noted that under the Taraki regime Kabul had been “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs-in the 1980s, there were seven female members of parliament. Women drove cars, traveled and went on dates. Fifty percent of university students were women.”
The Taraki government moved to eradicate the cultivation of opium poppy. Until then Afghanistan had been producing more than 70 percent of the opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. The government also abolished all debts owed by farmers, and began developing a major land reform program. Ryan believes that it was a “genuinely popular government and people looked forward to the future with great hope.”
But serious opposition arose from several quarters. The feudal landlords opposed the land reform program that infringed on their holdings. And tribesmen and fundamentalist mullahs vehemently opposed the government’s dedication to gender equality and the education of women and children.
Because of its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies the Taraki government also incurred the opposition of the US national security state. Almost immediately after the PDP coalition came to power, the CIA, assisted by Saudi and Pakistani military, launched a large scale intervention into Afghanistan on the side of the ousted feudal lords, reactionary tribal chieftains, mullahs, and opium traffickers.
A top official within the Taraki government was Hafizulla Amin, believed by many to have been recruited by the CIA during the several years he spent in the United States as a student. In September 1979, Amin seized state power in an armed coup. He executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.
It should be noted that all this happened before the Soviet military intervention. National security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly admitted--months before Soviet troops entered the country--that the Carter administration was providing huge sums to Muslim extremists to subvert the reformist government. Part of that effort involved brutal attacks by the CIA-backed mujahideen against schools and teachers in rural areas.
In late 1979, the seriously besieged PDP government asked Moscow to send a contingent of troops to help ward off the mujahideen (Islamic guerrilla fighters) and foreign mercenaries, all recruited, financed, and well-armed by the CIA. The Soviets already had been sending aid for projects in mining, education, agriculture, and public health. Deploying troops represented a commitment of a more serious and politically dangerous sort. It took repeated requests from Kabul before Moscow agreed to intervene militarily.
Jihad and Taliban, CIA Style
The Soviet intervention was a golden opportunity for the CIA to transform the tribal resistance into a holy war, an Islamic jihad to expel the godless communists from Afghanistan. Over the years the United States and Saudi Arabia expended about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan. The CIA and its allies recruited, supplied, and trained almost 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself. Among those who answered the call was Saudi-born millionaire right-winger Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.
After a long and unsuccessful war, the Soviets evacuated the country in February 1989. It is generally thought that the PDP Marxist government collapsed immediately after the Soviet departure. Actually, it retained enough popular support to fight on for another three years, outlasting the Soviet Union itself by a year.
Upon taking over Afghanistan, the mujahideen fell to fighting among themselves. They ravaged the cities, terrorized civilian populations, looted, staged mass executions, closed schools, raped thousands of women and girls, and reduced half of Kabul to rubble. In 2001 Amnesty International reported that the mujahideen used sexual assault as “a method of intimidating vanquished populations and rewarding soldiers.’”
Ruling the country gangster-style and looking for lucrative sources of income, the tribes ordered farmers to plant opium poppy. The Pakistani ISI, a close junior partner to the CIA, set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA’s arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland became the biggest producer of heroin in the world.
Largely created and funded by the CIA, the mujahideen mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of secular “corruption.”
In Afghanistan itself, by 1995 an extremist strain of Sunni Islam called the Taliban---heavily funded and advised by the ISI and the CIA and with the support of Islamic political parties in Pakistan---fought its way to power, taking over most of the country, luring many tribal chiefs into its fold with threats and bribes.
The Taliban promised to end the factional fighting and banditry that was the mujahideen trademark. Suspected murderers and spies were executed monthly in the sports stadium, and those accused of thievery had the offending hand sliced off. The Taliban condemned forms of “immorality” that included premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. They also outlawed all music, theater, libraries, literature, secular education, and much scientific research.
The Taliban unleashed a religious reign of terror, imposing an even stricter interpretation of Muslim law than used by most of the Kabul clergy. All men were required to wear untrimmed beards and women had to wear the burqa which covered them from head to toe, including their faces. Persons who were slow to comply were dealt swift and severe punishment by the Ministry of Virtue. A woman who fled an abusive home or charged spousal abuse would herself be severely whipped by the theocratic authorities. Women were outlawed from social life, deprived of most forms of medical care, barred from all levels of education, and any opportunity to work outside the home. Women who were deemed “immoral” were stoned to death or buried alive.
None of this was of much concern to leaders in Washington who got along famously with the Taliban. As recently as 1999, the US government was paying the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official. Not until October 2001, when President George W. Bush had to rally public opinion behind his bombing campaign in Afghanistan did he denounce the Taliban’s oppression of women. His wife, Laura Bush, emerged overnight as a full-blown feminist to deliver a public address detailing some of the abuses committed against Afghan women.
If anything positive can be said about the Taliban, it is that they did put a stop to much of the looting, raping, and random killings that the mujahideen had practiced on a regular basis. In 2000 Taliban authorities also eradicated the cultivation of opium poppy throughout the areas under their control, an effort judged by the United Nations International Drug Control Program to have been nearly totally successful. With the Taliban overthrown and a Western-selected mujahideen government reinstalled in Kabul by December 2001, opium poppy production in Afghanistan increased dramatically.
The years of war that have followed have taken tens of thousands of Afghani lives. Along with those killed by Cruise missiles, Stealth bombers, Tomahawks, daisy cutters, and land mines are those who continue to die of hunger, cold, lack of shelter, and lack of water.
The Holy Crusade for Oil and Gas
While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world.
US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.
The route favored by Unocal, a US based oil company, crossed Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. The intensive negotiations that Unocal entered into with the Taliban regime remained unresolved by 1998, as an Argentine company placed a competing bid for the pipeline. Bush’s war against the Taliban rekindled UNOCAL’s hopes for getting a major piece of the action.
Interestingly enough, neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations ever placed Afghanistan on the official State Department list of states charged with sponsoring terrorism, despite the acknowledged presence of Osama bin Laden as a guest of the Taliban government. Such a “rogue state” designation would have made it impossible for a US oil or construction company to enter an agreement with Kabul for a pipeline to the Central Asian oil and gas fields.
In sum, well in advance of the 9/11 attacks the US government had made preparations to move against the Taliban and create a compliant regime in Kabul and a direct US military presence in Central Asia. The 9/11 attacks provided the perfect impetus, stampeding US public opinion and reluctant allies into supporting military intervention.
One might agree with John Ryan who argued that if Washington had left the Marxist Taraki government alone back in 1979, “there would have been no army of mujahideen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and no September 11 tragedy.” But it would be asking too much for Washington to leave unmolested a progressive leftist government that was organizing the social capital around collective public needs rather than private accumulation.
US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives.
The war against Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth’s dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world.
In the face of all this Obama’s call for “change” rings hollow.
Michael Parenti’s recent books are Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader and the forthcoming God and His Demons. For further information, visit www.michaelparenti.org.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 8 December 2008
Subject: The Usual Suspects.
Washington Arrogance has Fomented a Muslim Revolution
by Paul Craig Roberts
-- Is Pakistan responsible for the Mumbai attack in India? No.
-- Is India’s repression of its Muslim minority responsible? No.
-- Is the United States government responsible? Yes.
T he attack on Mumbai required radicalized Muslims. Radicalized Muslims resulted from the US overthrowing the elected government in Iran and imposed the Shah; from the US stationing troops in Saudi Arabia; from the US invading and attempting to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games; from the US violating international and US law by torturing its Muslim victims; from the US enlisting Pakistan in its war against the Taliban; from the US violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by conducting military operations on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistani civilians; from the US government supporting a half century of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands, towns and villages; from the assault of American culture on Muslim values; from the US purchasing the government of Egypt to act as its puppet; from US arrogance that America is the supreme arbiter of morality.
As Justice Brandeis said, crime is contagious. Government teaches by example, and America’s example is lawlessness. America’s brutal crimes against the Muslim world have invited every Muslim to become a law unto himself--a revolutionary. It is not terror that Washington confronts but revolution.
By illegal, uncivilized and undiplomatic behavior, the US has stirred Muslim peoples from their long slumber as serfs of Western colonial powers. Some Muslims have had all that they can take, and their fury drives them to rouse a billion of their fellows to throw off the yoke of foreign hegemony.
The arrogant incompetence of American governments brought this conflict to the American people and inflicted it upon the world. By destabilizing Pakistan, the US lost a puppet and created an opportunity for Muslim revolutionaries to exploit. By enraging India against Pakistan, the Mumbai attack has created new problems for Pakistan that will focus that government’s attention away from combating Taliban sanctuaries on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. If the US picks up the slack, it will have invaded yet another country and become trapped in a larger quagmire.
Having fomented terrorism, the American government now pretends to be the innocent victim, just as Israelis, having brought about terrorism by driving Palestinians from their homes and villages, pretend to be innocent victims.
Today European members of NATO, an outdated organization formed to defend Western Europe against Soviet invasion, are sacrificing the lives of their soldiers fighting the American Empire’s war in Afghanistan. If America continues to have its way, Europeans will soon be dying in Ukraine, Georgia, and Iran.
The American government, which preaches “freedom and democracy” has in the 21st century gone to great extremes to stamp out the US Constitution and the civil liberties that it guarantees. The US government has repudiated the Geneva Conventions and the prohibitions in US statutory law against torture. The US government has set aside habeas corpus, the ancient legal principle guaranteed by the US Constitution that prohibits governments from holding people in prisons without presenting charges. The US government has broken the laws of other nations by kidnapping foreign citizens and transporting them to other lands to be tortured.
These massive crimes have been justified in the name of the “war on terror.” In truth, America’s crimes foment revolution.
It was the US government that created the “war on terror,” which has been used to murder and dispossess millions of Iraqis and Afghans, to imprison US citizens as if they were medieval serfs, and to squander three trillion dollars for the sole purpose of enriching Halliburton and the military-security complex.
Investigative journalist John Pilger has shown that the so-called “moral superiority of the West” is a hoax designed to shield from view the self-seeking West’s crimes against humanity.
Obama promised change from this destructive behavior, but how does change arise when the most arrogant woman on earth is appointed Secretary of State and the rest of the new government is staffed with tried and true Likudniks and servants of the militar-security complex?
The change over which Obama will preside will have no American victories. The change will come from America as a failed state, from the dollar dethroned as reserve currency, from America repudiated by its allies and paid puppets, from massive unemployment for which there is no solution, from hyperinflation that produces anarchy.
The day might arrive when Washington is faced with revolution at home as well as abroad.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 5 December 2008
Subject: Another Secret War?
As details emerge about who was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week, the evidence points to a militant group and network of associates that can be linked to a number of intelligence agencies, including the ISI, the CIA, and MI6.
D etails have emerged regarding who was responsible for the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, with the evidence pointing to the Pakistani-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). But the trail doesn't end there.
Indications of a coming attack were reportedly received by intelligence agencies well in advance. US signals intelligence (SIGINT) picked up a spike in “chatter” indicating something was brewing, which was supported by information from assets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some of the information that was received by US intelligence was passed on to India as early as September.
The details were specific. The CIA station chief in Delhi reportedly met with his counterpart at India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to pass on intelligence that LeT was planning a major attack that would come from the sea.
Less than a week before the attacks, a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan purportedly killed a British citizen of Pakistani descent named Rashid Rauf, who was suspected of planning to blow up commercial airliners flying from Britain to the U.S. He fled Britain in 2002 after being suspected of stabbing to death his uncle, Mohammed Saeed. He settled in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, and married a relative of Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of another militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Besides being linked to JeM, he was also suspected by some intelligence sources of having connections to the ISI. Pakistani authorities arrested him in Bahawalpur in August 2006 at the behest of British authorities, but he escaped police custody when they allowed him to enter a mosque ostensibly to say afternoon prayers. While police waited outside, Rauf walked out the back door. He may have just escaped, but there were also rumors that he was secretly taken into custody by the ISI in a plan that kept him under wraps while preventing him from being extradited to Britain.
The location of Rauf was reportedly given to U.S. officials by the Pakistani government, and may have been a move calculated to appease the U.S. over charges that elements of the ISI are still assisting militants engaged in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. Earlier this year, terrorists bombed the Indian embassy in Kabul, and both India and the U.S. claimed that the ISI had been involved in the attack.
The airstrike that killed Rauf may also have been the result of early information obtained on the attack on Mumbai, as intelligence agencies reportedly had learned that he was involved in the planning of a major upcoming terrorist event. They may have sought to take him out before such an attack could occur.
Indian intelligence had obtained its own warnings of an attack. One indication was a request from a LeT operative to obtain international SIM cards for an upcoming operation. There was also information that a LeT team was training at a camp near Karachi, and that part of their training was to prepare for launching attacks from the sea. The team was trained under Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, also known as “Chacha”. Also among the information received was that the Taj Mahal hotel was pinpointed as a major target.
As a result, security at the hotel was increased, but was lessened again just a week prior to the attacks because of complaints from the hotel’s clients. Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, which owns the hotel, acknowledged that warnings of a possible attack had been received.
The Tata Group is also invested in the energy sector, and stands to gain from the recent deal between the U.S. and India, which would provide India with nuclear resources outside of the framework of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system. Pakistan has voiced its opposition to the U.S. deal with its nuclear-armed neighbor.
On November 18, RAW intercepted a satellite phone conversation made to a number in Lahore, Pakistan, known to be used by the military commander of LeT known alternatively by the names Yusuf Muzammil or Abu Hurrera, also known as “Yahah”. The caller notified his handlers that he was heading for Mumbai with unspecified cargo.
As a result of the intelligence it had received, India’s Navy and Coast Guard were on the lookout for suspicious ships entering Indian territorial waters, and were specifically told to watch for an unidentified ship coming from Karachi.
Only one of the terrorists in the Mumbai attacks was captured alive, Azam Amir Kasab, a resident of the territory of Punjab in Pakistan. According to reports, he has told his interrogators a great deal about how the attacks went down.
Kasab confessed to being a member of LeT. He and his fellow terrorists were instructed to target foreigners, particularly Americans, British, and Israelis. They had set out from Karachi in a ship called the “MV Alpha”, which is allegedly owned by Dawood Ibrahim, a terrorist wanted by India in connection with bombings in Bombay in 1993 that resulted in 250 deaths. Ibrahim is also wanted by Interpol, and has been designated a global terrorist by the U.S.
Confronted with increased naval patrols that were boarding and searching suspect vessels, the team hijacked a fishing trawler called the “Kuber”, registration number 2303, and killed most of its crew except for Amarsinh Solanki, whom they kept alive to help navigate.
On November 26, as the terrorists neared their target destination, they killed Solanki by slitting his throat. An associate of Ibrahim’s in Mumbai had arranged to pick the team up in inflatable rubber dinghies. They went ashore at about 9pm. Witnesses reported seeing them land in the dinghies, which were unusual among the common wooden fishing boats, and unloading a number of large bags.
Once on shore near the Gateway to India, Mumbai’s main landing point near the Naval dockyard, the team split up. Four men went to the Taj Mahal hotel, where an advance team had already checked in on November 22 and set up a control room. Two went to the Nariman House, the Mumbai headquarters of Chabad Lubavitch, an ultra-orthodox Jewish group. Another acquisitioned a taxi and drove to the railway station. Two others headed to the Leopold restaurant, a hot spot for foreign visitors to Mumbai.
At about 9:20pm, one team arrived at the Nariman House, where they took hostages, while another opened fire at the Leopold café. At 9:45, terrorists entered both the Taj Mahal and Trident Oberoi hotels, where hostages were again taken. At 10:15, two of the men began firing indiscriminately outside the Cama hospital. At 10:30, terrorists entered the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station and again opened fire.
According to Pakistan’s Daily Times, the terrorists identified and killed two U.S. intelligence officers at the Taj Mahal hotel.
Indian officials are now saying that just 10 men were responsible, indicating that two-man teams were able to strike one target and move on to the next. Teams held out under siege the the Nariman House and the hotels, with the Taj Mahal the last to be cleared. By the end, it had taken Indian forces 60 hours to kill or capture the attackers, with their reign of terror finally ending on the 29th with nearly 200 people reported dead.
According to police, the men were aged 18 to 28. They were found to have drugs in their system, and traces of cocaine and LSD were found at one or more scenes of their attack, which they apparently had taken for an additional adrenaline boost to keep them going for the long siege and battle with Indian special forces.
A Mauritian government identity card was discovered with the terrorists who attacked the Taj Mahal hotel, along with credit and debit cards of a number of different banks, including HSBC (headquartered in London and named after its founding member, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, with global branches), HDFC, and ICICI (both banks in India). The Republic of Mauritius is a former British colony and member of the Commonwealth off the east coast of Africa, near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
They were reported to be using AK-47 assault rifles. Photos shown in the press reveal what appear to be variants with a folding stock. They were also reported to have handguns and grenades. Additionally, police recovered sub-machine guns used by the terrorists. An Associated Press photo of the confiscated guns reveals what appear to be Heckler & Koch MP5-N sub-machine guns. The “N” model is a version of the MP5 designed specifically for the U.S. Navy and used by Navy Seals teams.
BlackBerry cell phones were also recovered from the terrorists, containing international SIM cards investigators believe correlate with the early intelligence further connecting the team to LeT. During the attacks, they received calls from outside the country, which is apparently among the evidence leading government officials to early on state publicly that the terrorists had ties to a foreign nation.
A global-positioning system (GPS) and satellite phone were found in the abandoned Kuber fishing trawler. Navigation routes plotted in the GPS revealed the planned route from Karachi to Mumbai and back again, indicating that the terrorists hoped they might possibly be able to escape and return to Pakistan. Investigators determined that this was the phone used to contact Muzammil, the LeT military commander. Calls from the phone were also traced to Lakhvi, the LeT training specialist.
The MV Alpha was also intercepted after the attacks by the Indian Navy.
Responsibility for the attacks was claimed via e-mail by a previously unknown group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen. This appears to be a front, apparently designed to direct blame upon groups within India and give the appearance of a home-grown terrorist attack. Deccan may refer to a neighborhood in the city of Hyderabad or to the Decaan Plateau that dominates the middle and south of India.
The RAW traced IP addresses used to send the e-mail to an account in Russia that was opened on the Wednesday just prior to the attack and used to relay the message to media in India. The e-mail was further traced to a computer in Pakistan, and investigators have also said that it was generated by dictation using voice recognition software.
India has called for Pakistan to hand over 20 individuals it has alleged were involved in the attacks. Among the wanted men are Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, and Maulana Masood Azhar.
As noted, Ibrahim is among Interpol’s most wanted. The U.S. designated him as a global terrorist in 2003, stating that he had ties to al Qaeda and that he funded attacks by militant groups, including LeT, aimed at destabilizing the Indian government. Ibrahim’s organization is known as the D-Company and is known to be heavily involved in drug trafficking. According to the U.S. government, D-Company is involved in large-scale shipment of narcotics into the U.K. and Western Europe. He is also alleged to have ties to the CIA through casino operations in Nepal.
Ibrahim is the son of a police constable and worked as a police informant, only to become involved in crime. He rose through the ranks of the underworld in Bombay (now Mumbai) to become one of the city’s leading organized crime bosses. He later fled to Pakistan, where he is believed to have stayed in Karachi under the protection of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Some Indian analysts have suggested that it was at the behest of the ISI that Ibrahim planned the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan has denied that he is in the country.
Wanted along with Ibrahim for the 1993 Bombay attacks is Aftab Ansari, also an Indian national. Ansari is linked to Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin. Omar Sheikh is an associate of Osama bin Laden and has been accused of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal.
Omar Skeikh was also the paymaster of the 9/11 hijackers and wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta in Florida. According to Indian intelligence, working with the FBI a link was established between Omar Sheikh and the head of Pakistan’s ISI, Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed. Sources revealed to the media that the evidence obtained from Omar Sheikh’s cell phone indicated that it was at the behest of Mahmud Ahmed that the money was sent to finance the 9/11 hijackers. While this has widely been reported internationally, including by the Press Trust of India, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, Agence France-Presse, and UK’s The Guardian and The Times, it has not received any mention in the U.S. mainstream media.
Hafiz Saeed is the founder of LeT. He travelled to Peshawar to join the CIA-backed effort to overthrow the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan. Peshawar served as the command base for both the CIA and Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK). Haiz Saeed became the protégé of Abdullah Azzam, who, along with Osama bin Laden, founded MAK to recruit and train foreign fighters to join the mujahedeen. The CIA worked closely with the ISI to finance, arm, and train the mujahedeen.
By about 1988, MAK had been evolved into the group known as al-Qaeda by bin Laden. The name “al-Qaeda” literally means “the base”, and may either refer bin Laden’s base of operations for the mujahedeen war effort or the actual database of names of jihadist recruits. While numerous terrorist attacks have been attributed to al-Qaeda over the years, it isn’t so much a centralized organization as a loose network of individuals and affiliate groups having roots or otherwise associated with the CIA-backed effort against the Soviet Union.
Maulana Masood Azhar is the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and is also wanted by Interpol. Like LeT, JeM is said to have close links with the ISI, which has used the groups to wage a proxy war against Indian forces in Kashmir.
Like Hafiz Saeed, Azhar was numbered among the veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war. He was educated at Jamia Binoria, a madrassa (religious school) in Karachi that also served as a recruitment center for the mujahedeen.
He later became a leader of Karkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani militant group, and was captured by India in Kashmir in 1994. He was tried and acquitted, but spent six years in jail before being freed in exchange for the release of the crew and passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999. He formed JeM after returning to Pakistan.
Omar Saeed Sheikh was also caught and imprisoned by India for involvement in that hijacking, and was likewise released in exchange for the hostages. Like Azhar, Omar Seikh is reported to have close links to the ISI and, according to former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, was also an agent of MI6, Britain’s spy agency, which sent him to engage in operations in the Balkans.
Relations between India and Pakistan also reached a crisis point in December 2001, when gunmen attacked the Indian parliament. JeM and Let were held responsible for that attack as well, and both countries amassed troops on the border, a situation that led to fears of war between two nuclear-armed countries. The U.S. helped mediate an end to the crisis, pressuring Pakistan to crack down on militant groups and setting in motion the plan to assist India with its nuclear program that was finally realized this year.
LeT was banned in Pakistan in 2002 following the attack on the Indian parliament, but remained active in the country nevertheless. The group has denied responsibility for the attacks in Mumbai last week.
Pakistan has on one hand said it would formulate a response to India’s request to turn over the 20 wanted men, and on the other hand indicated it would not do so, insisting that the men are either not in Pakistan or that they have been under Pakistani surveillance and no indication seen that they were in any way involved.
While the evidence strongly points to LeT and a network of associates affiliated with the group or with each other, that web also includes the CIA and MI6. One early report said that some of the Mumbai terrorists were, like Rashid Rauf, British nationals. This was picked up by numerous press accounts around the globe, but the Indian government official this information was attributed to denied ever having said such a thing.
Theories that this was a false flag operation have already begun to spread around the internet, with varying culprits and motives. Whatever the truth is, what is clear from the facts one is able to piece together from media accounts is that there is more to the Mumbai attacks than meets the eye.
Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor of Foreign Policy Journal, a website dedicated to providing news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy from outside of the standard framework offered by government officials and the mainstream corporate media, particularly with regard to the "war on terrorism" and events in the Middle East. He has also written for numerous other online publications.
You can contact him by clicking here.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 5 December 2008
Subject: Israeli Citizens the Next Target of Hebron Settlers.
E xtremist settler groups currently involved in violent confrontations with Palestinians in the centre of Hebron have chosen their next battleground, this time outside the West Bank.
A far-right group know as the Jewish National Front, closely associated with the Hebron settlers, is preparing to march through one of the main Arab towns in northern Israel. The march, approved by the Supreme Court back in October, is scheduled to take place on December 15, the group announced this week.
The police are expecting to deploy thousands of officers to prevent trouble, and have limited the number of Front members participating to 100. The march will not enter the heart of the city, say police, though it is not yet clear whether Front members will be allowed to carry the guns most have been issued as settlers.
The Front says it will wave Israeli flags in what the group has dubbed a demonstration of “Jewish Pride” through Umm al-Fahm, home to nearly 45,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The Front’s main platform is the expulsion of all Palestinians from what it calls “Greater Israel”, which also includes the West Bank and Gaza. It skates close to illegality with veiled suggestions that Palestinian citizens of Israel should also be ethnically cleansed.
“We will march through Umm al-Fahm with flags to send everyone a message that the Land of Israel belongs to us,” Baruch Marzel, the Front’s leader, declared.
The move has aroused furious opposition from local residents and the leadership of the Palestinian minority. Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of the parliament, called the court decision a “legitimization of racism”: “We will use our right of protest and defend Umm al-Fahm from these fascists and racists.”
It is not the first time that Umm al-Fahm has attracted the interest of Israel’s far-right.
The Kach party – led by Rabbi Meir Kahane – held a similar march in 1984, the year it won representation in the Israeli parliament for the first time. A decade later the movement, which organised attacks on Palestinians, was outlawed as a terrorist organisation.
However, the banning of Kach has been laxly enforced. Several former Kach leaders, including Mr Marzel, himself a Hebron settler, have reinvented the group as the Jewish National Front. Mr Marzel has made several unsuccessful attempts to stand for parliament, and is due to run again in February.
The march through Umm al-Fahm is partly intended as an election ploy, according to Jafar Farah, of the Arab political lobby group Mossawa.
“The actions of the settlers from Hebron have not been generally popular with Israeli Jews. Through this provocation in Umm al-Fahm, the Front hopes that it can win greater sympathy from the public.”
Marzel has conducted similar stunts before against Palestinian citizens, who constitute a fifth of the Israeli population. His supporters have marched in the Arab town of Sakhnin in the Galilee and through an Arab neighbourhood of the “mixed city” of Jaffa.
But Mr Farah believes Umm al-Fahm has been chosen this time because it can be more easily marketed as an “enemy city”.
In recent years the town has gained a wide notoriety among the Jewish pubic. Its residents angrily took to the streets in October 2000 to protest the early stages of the army’s crushing of the second Palestinian intifada. Clashes with police led to three local residents being shot dead.
Located in an area known as the Little Triangle, a narrow strip hugging the north-west corner of the West Bank, the town was once seen – before the construction of the separation wall – as the gateway for suicide bombers from Jenin.
Its Muslim population has successfully resisted official attempts by the state to “Judaise” the area by bringing Jews to settle it, as has occurred elsewhere in the country.
Politicians, who regularly refer to the Little Triangle as a threat to the country’s Jewishness, have been devising ways to transfer the area’s quarter of a million inhabitants to the other side of separation wall in a land swap.
Umm al-Fahm is also the base of the radical wing of Israel’s Islamic Movement. Its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, a resident of Umm al-Fahm, has earnt especial loathing from many Israeli Jews for his campaign to protect Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli plans to tighten its grip on the Old City.
Last week, in a rally in Nazareth against government policy in Gaza, the outspoken Sheikh Salah called cabinet ministers “murderers” engaged in “war crimes”.
“The people of Umm al-Fahm resisted Kahane’s march more than 20 years ago,” said Mr Farah. “Marzel expects that, if there is a clash between the marchers and local people, the police will turn on the residents of Umm al-Fahm again. He can then protray his group as the victims of Arab brutality.”
The Front appears to have additional goals.
It hopes to weaken the authority of the Supreme Court, which is much hated by the far-right because it is seen as curbing the excesses of the settler movement.
During the hearing, the Front drew parallels between its right to march in Umm al-Fahm and earlier court decisions protecting the right of Israeli activists to demonstrate in Hebron against the settlers. Both were a question of freedom of expression, the Front argued.
"If [the judges] do not approve our petition, it will cause serious damage to the public’s trust in the courts and will send the message that what is OK for Arabs and leftists is forbidden for us,” another Front leader, Itimar Ben-Gvir, said.
In a possible sign of the court’s intimidation, the judges ignored recommendations from both the police and Shin Bet security service to ban the march because it could spark widespread violence between Jews and Arabs, especially in the wake of the recent inter-communal clashes in the town of Acre. When dealing with the West Bank, the court rarely rejects security arguments.
The Front’s move, noted Mr Farah, is also part of a wider trend among the settlers to take their struggle back inside Israel following their failure to prevent the withdrawal of some 8,000 settlers from Gaza in 2005.
A significant number of hardline religious Jews have chosen to relocate to areas in Israel heavily populated with Palestinians, claiming that they are there to stop Jews losing the demographic battle. In the mixed cities, the settlers’ response has been to set up armed encampments inside or close to Palestinian neighbourhoods, masquerading as religous seminaries.
In Acre more than 1,000 extremist settlers have helped to establish some 200 seminaries, according to a local journalist, Ala Hlehel. A group calling itself “the Seeds of the Settlements” has concentrated its efforts in other mixed cities, such as Jaffa, Ramle and Lod.
The Front appears to want to increase the pressure on Israel’s Palestinian citizens by taking the fight directly to one of their largest towns.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book is “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National ( www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 8 December 2008
Subject: Documentary Film, "War Made Easy."
"War Made Easy" reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq.
from Marcus Hill :
Date: 9 December 2008
Subject: The Black Panthers and Community Organizing.
This list demanded sovereignty for the sake of self-determination and access to basic living standards and justice to which Black Americans have been historically denied. It was this overarching philosophy of the Black Panther organization that aimed to throw a wrench into the white supremacist and capitalist power structure on which the government had been historically based.
Government-Sanctioned-and-Executed Human Rights Violations. The Black Panther Party was founded with an empirical awareness of the racially, politically, and economically repressive nature of the United States government toward certain groups of its citizens. It even communicated that awareness in its organizational vision: "We...recognized that we live in a country which has become one of the most repressive governments in the world; repressive in communities all over the world. We did not expect such a repressive government to stand idly by while the Black Panther Party went forward to the goal of serving the people. We expected repression."[xxiii] However wise in their foresight, their underestimation of the level of repression they faced was crushing.
In response to Panther activity, the government responded with its controversial Counter-Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) that had been created in 1956.[xxiv] This system was originally put in place due to an overwhelming frustration the government had with Supreme Court rulings limiting its power to proceed overtly against dissident groups.[xxv] These programs essentially aimed at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of Speech and Association on the theory that preventing the growth of "dangerous" groups and the propagation of "dangerous" ideas would protect national security and deter violence.[xxvi] Consequently, COINTELPRO was arranged to operate extra-legally in order to ‘neutralize' those who could no longer be prosecuted by law.[xxvii] In a report made in 1976 by the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations entitled "Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans", the extent of the extra-legality of these government COINTEL operations was released. It was asserted that "in its attempt to implement instructions to protect the security of the United States, the intelligence community engaged in some activities which violated statutory law and the constitutional rights of American citizens." The Committee added: "Legal issues were often overlooked by many of the intelligence officers who directed these operations...On some occasions when agency officials did assume, or were told, that a program was illegal, they still permitted it to continue...Internal recognition of the illegality or the questionable legality of many of these activities frequently led to a tightening of security rather than to their termination...The internal inspection mechanisms of the CIA and the FBI did not keep - and, in the case of the FBI, were not designed to keep - the activities of those agencies within legal bounds. Their primary concern was efficiency, not legality or propriety." [xxviii]
With such free range, the government proceeded to mark numerous targets nationwide. Out of these targets, there were five main, perceived threats to "domestic tranquility": the "Communist Party, USA" program (1956-71); the "Socialist Workers Party" program (1961-69); the "White Hate Group" program (1964-71); the "Black Nationalist Hate Group" program (1967-71); and the "New Left" program (1968-71).[xxix] The Black Panther Party was considered in the realm of Black Nationalist-Hate groups, so COINTELPRO conscribed goals to:
1. Prevent a coalition of militant Black Nationalist groups....
2. Prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify and electrify the militant nationalist movement (--Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammad all aspire to this position....)
3. Prevent violence on the part of Black Nationalist groups....
4. Prevent militant Black Nationalist groups and leaders from gaining respectability by discrediting them....
5. Prevent the long-range growth of militant Black Nationalist organizations, especially among youth.[xxx]
Accordingly, the FBI "made efforts to promote violence between the Black Panther Party and other well-armed, potentially violent organizations" (usually local gangs); "made efforts to disrupt Black Panther Party membership" (sometimes through writing forged letters to different members and alliances to sow mistrust); planted contacts and informants within the Party; targeted churches that permitted the Panthers to use their facilities for the free breakfast program; cooperated with local police departments in effort to disrupt the Party; promoted "criticism of the Black Panthers in the mass media and to prevent the Black Panther Party and its sympathizers from expressing their views."[xxxi]
In fact, the FBI infiltrated the organization to such an extent that it was difficult to distinguish Panther activity from subversive FBI activity. For example, as the FBI made efforts to promote criticism of the Black Panthers in the mass media, they manufactured and sent anonymous letters as well as copies of an inflammatory and falsified Black Panther children's coloring book to contributors, including Safeway Stores, Inc., Mayfair Markets, and the Jack-In-The-Box Corporation. Examples of the book's illustrations are here below:
According to Senator Frank Church (who led the 1976 investigation on COINTELPRO): "On April 8, 1976 in Executive Testimony a former member of the PARTY Central Steering Committee stated that when the coloring book came to the attention of the Panther's national leadership, Bobby Seale ordered it destroyed because the book ‘did not correctly reflect the ideology of the Black Panther Party." [xxxii] Despite the Party's detestation and denouncement of the publication, the FBI distributed it anyway.
There are extensive reports documenting specific subversive actions on the part of the FBI (such as this) to dismantle the Black Panther Party as well as all of the other "dangerous" groups in the COINTELPRO scope, but it begs the overwhelming question "Why?". Why would the government overlook the supposed supremacy of the Constitution by engaging in extra-legal affairs to repress its citizens? Ultimately, the answer lies in sociological literature regarding organizational conflict management tactics, which will serve as a basis for a discussion of human rights.
Explaining the Systemic Nature of Government Action Based on Conflict-Management Theory. The actions taken by the government against the Black Panther Party speak to a fundamental dimension of the basic nature and capabilities of government and statehood. In order to understand this, the work of Erving Goffman and other proponents of the dramaturgical perspective may prove beneficial.
In 1955, Goffman introduced the notion of the dramaturgical approach to understanding human interaction. This approach proposed that everyone plays to a certain audience and behavior essentially depends on which audience is being entertained.[xxxiii] This theory becomes extremely useful in that it provides the flexibility needed to justify both of the government's moral and immoral actionsboth of which fit into Goffman's "front room" and "back room" notions respectfully. According to Goffman, the front room consists of those actions which are intended for observance by a target audience; whereas the back room consists of other facets not intended for publicity. Contemporary dramaturgical perspectives in organizational studies considered here lean toward critical dramaturgy: understanding how the organization can "‘present' oppressive and often violent social control as a celebration of progress."[xxxiv] Such an accomplishment is achieved by "spectacle theatrics"an elaboration of Goffman's front room/back room dichotomy. In this manner, organizations can "legitimate, rationalize, and camouflage violent production and consumption" through careful rhetoric aimed to persuade, influence, and mobilize the public in various ways.[xxxv] The basis of such an accomplishment is a sharp focus on impression management and image building in which leadership constructs images of itself to give the impression of legitimacy.[xxxvi] To the extent that this manipulation affects overall daily life, contemporary organizations (from small business to the federal government) are consumed in ways to attract and retain investors, so spectacle theatrics"in all their specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumptionare the organizations' primary concern.[xxxvii] Consequently, "anyone who resists can only survive by fitting in since not to conform means to be rendered powerless, economically and therefore spirituallyto be ‘self-employed'."[xxxviii]
In looking at how this affects the public's understanding, it has been pointed out there are three types of public: a latent public that does not recognize a situation as problematic, an aware public that recognizes a problem, and an active public that organizes to do something about a situation. [xxxix] If this dramaturgical understanding is applied to the government in order to understand its legal/extra-legal actions, it is very effective in an organizational conflict-management sense in producing a latent public. If the United States government is understood as an organization intent on preserving hegemony, the threat of an ideologically conflicting and active group such as the Black Panther Party would need to be dealt with. In fact, by looking at the rise of the Party with an ecological perspective, the Panthers would be repressed not merely due of the government's racially oppressive attitudes and habits (as other atomistic accounts suggest), but rather the Party would need to be dealt with as a consequence of the government (as an organization) inherently feeling the need to preserve its perceived role. As such, managing the conflict the Panthers posed with continued image building would have to be accomplished in order to keep a latent public (on a larger scale) from shifting toward an aware public toward an active public.
In speaking of these shifts, Mayer Zald points out:
At the organizational level, bureaucratic insurgency in corporate organizations is an attempt by members to implement goals, programs, or policy choices which have been explicitly denied (or considered but not acted upon) by the legitimate authority of the focal organization. The activity of the insurgents therefore takes place outside the conventional channels of politics of the organization ... Here the insurgents know they are pursuing disapproved lines of action (i.e., using organizational time and resources in ways which have been countermanded by authority). If the insurgency is reformist or narrow, discovery of the conspiracy may lead to repression, not necessarily expulsion.[xl]
Consequently, the dramaturgical theory would separate the discrepancy between civil and subversive government action bicamerally, thereby sorting out much of the confusion. In this manner the government may proceed with its front room theatrics as a moral and legitimated governing body seeking to protect the national security of its citizens and deter violence, while simultaneously proceeding with its back room activity in seeking to protect the national security of a specific power structure through the institutionalized and/or extra-legal oppression of any opposition.
The Significance of Organizational Self-Preservation. Understanding government action in this manneras not malevolent for the sake of malevolence but rather merely following perceived demands of organizational preservationopens the door to a wide array of implications due to the idea of precedence. Traditionally, law is built upon precedence in order to preserve stability and order; judgments are based upon past rulings just as future rulings will be debated along criteria established today. As such, the implications of each judicial ruling, legislative mandate, and executive action are spatiotemporally far-reaching. If this idea is applied to the governmental arena and its functions and capabilities, it begs the question: what precedent has the government set with its actions against the Party?
The precedent the government established is that of vigorous self-preservation, which places the need for effective spectacle theatrics (that work toward preserving the hegemonic role it adopts) above the well-being of its constituents. This can be seen in the manner in which the government proceeded against the Panthersincorporating enormous amounts of discrediting propaganda and infiltrative manipulation, both overt and covert violence, political silencing through incarceration, as well as other penalties. The significance is that the government has the ability to label groups and ideas as threatening, isolate them socially from the rest of the population, and has the resources to respond quite repressively.
Much of this precedent carried back to McCarthyism as well as attacks on domestic labor throughout much of the 20th century, yet we can see it enacted today as the government continues to define certain groups and ideas threatening while tightening its political stronghold of the freedom of its citizens. Just some of the issues include the visa denial of Tariq Ramadan and many other Muslim academics, the disproportionate incarceration levels of Black and Brown people, NSA domestic wiretapping and surveillance issues, and obviously the now-nearly-forgotten institution of the Patriot Act. Fundamentally, the significance of such a notion is that the government (to a very heavy extent) defines national security, dramatically limits the collective articulation of politically marginalized groups, and through both legal and extra-legal tactics, can engage in front room and back room actions to attempt to quell threats as it sees fitdefining the boundaries and balance of liberty and national security for all.
A Discussion on Public Health and Human Rights. What can be seen here through the case of the Black Panther Party are fissures (or gaping holes rather) between agendasone agenda being that of the Party and its quest for overturning what it saw as an oppressive, neglectful, and disenfranchising status quo and achieving a healthier society, and one of the government and ruling classes wanting to maintain status quo and hegemony first and foremost. For the latter to properly advocate a robust national health policyone that included effective structural, lifestyle, and empowering policies and targeted the worst off within its population, it would have effectively upset the status quo to such an extent that politics, the economy, education, community, and all the spheres of life throughout the American landscape would have been significantly altered. Conversely, as we have seen historically, for the government to maintain hegemony, it is not unusual for human rights of its more marginalized groups or less vocal and politically-imposing groups to be overlooked or blatantly violated. To properly make this case however, a lengthy discussion on class interest, on the sociopolitical ramifications of early neo-conservative responses to the social movements of the 1960s and 70s that resulted in very significant restructuring of public education in the US, and on labor trends since the passage of the Wagner Act of 1935 and the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 would collectively illustrate a stark assessment of current prospects for real participatory democracy here in the US.
Instead of arguing retrospectively over how all of this reflects on the current health of our democracy (and correspondingly, the public health of our nation), it seems more fitting here to look toward some policy proposals building off the past that would offer some potential solutions to these gaps in agendas between government and marginalized groups and that would work in such ways (with the focus here primarily in terms of health) that would have a better success rate at addressing and upholding human rights conventions to a much wider range of society.
Possible Solution: Searching for a Public Health Policy Recommendation. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."[xli] Despite the gendered wording, this is virtually identical to what the Panthers stated in their 10-Point Manifesto. The question becomes how to actualize such goals in the most politically marginalized of groupsones that lack sufficient representation or access to decision-making at the political levels in which the decisions that ultimately affect them are made. This is primarily a question of structural effectiveness and efficiency. As efficiency merely means accomplishing goals while wasting as little as possible of what is valued in the process, it appears that a better and more efficient process for securing the human rights in terms of quality public health policies for the most traditionally marginalized groups throughout society requires much focus. Consequently, as the public health policy solution that this paper targets is foundationally a structural problem, the rest of this paper will focus on building a more fully participatory design of health care provision that would give voice to the most marginalized instead of pitting them against other more powerful agendas.
The problem of ensuring adequate public health standards (according to what Navarro outlined to be a robust national health policy) is indeed a human rights problem, yet its promotion and enforcement (of both public health and human rights) are ultimately a problem of organizational structure. The Black Panther case highlighted a sensational narrative of what it has looked like when more democratic and humanistic agendas of marginalized groups did not match the hegemonic agendas of government. This gap in agendas is also reflected in the recent study from the UN that came out this past March that produced findings that the US was in fact a two-tiered society. According to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) based in Geneva, Switzerland, the "U.S. is failing to meet international standards on racial equality."[xlii] The 18-member committee said it has found "stark racial disparities" in the U.S. institutions, including its criminal justice system. This increasingly highlights structural divisions between marginalized groups and more powerful interests and in turn highlights the need for structural solutions to ensure the human rights of the more marginalized groups are upheld.
For this public health policy proposal targeting the manner in which human rights are upheld, it would largely be first and foremost a structural intervention that, as Navarro outlined, would target "public and private institutions whose actions affect the conditions that ensure good health for the entire population." As this is presented here, it is largely a vision of what a particular proposal could look likethe methods of implementation, tactics, and strategies toward getting there are varied and too multitudinous for adequate reflection here within this paper, but surely could be readily expanded upon.
Public Health Policy Solution: A New Structural Framework. From this brief historical look at various difficulties politically marginalized and oppressed groups have at articulating a collective voice around their needs and desires, a new structure that would better ensure and protect the health (health as robustly defined as possible) of these marginalized groups would require sociopolitical structures that could adequately articulate such collective voices. It can be shown empirically that in terms of health, the articulation of collective voices around health issues usually tends to develop either (1) out of shared locality, or (2) out of shared conditions. Shared localities are health-focused groups that arise in shared locationsas they pool their interests together they work collectively to articulate their needs and desires in terms of health. Two fitting examples of this are Patch Adams' Gesundheit! Institute and the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The Gesundheit! project began from a shared philosophy between some dedicated physicians and volunteers that saw the need for recreating the way medicine was practiced, the way health care was provided, and the fundamentals of physician-patient relations. They called this "whole system design" and focused their efforts toward recreating the idea of hospitals and health care according to their vision. This has been the seed of the Institute. The Zapatistas on the other hand pooled together shared health interests out of more immediate need. Health care in the indigenous communities of Chiapas had long been neglected by the Mexican government, and during a session on health, the participating councils of Good Government ("Juntas de Buen Gobierno") discussed issues regarding the shortage of medical supplies and transportation, the loss of traditional medical knowledge, barriers to sexual education, and the hazards of dependence on foreign aid. After the discussion, the Zapatista communities organized their own health care network and called in help and resources from other organizations in solidarity throughout Mexico and the world.[xliii] In terms of shared conditions, these are often more spread out, nationally and globally. They usually germinate to bring together a collective voice to articulate the needs and desires of a diverse constituency linked by specific interests, such as women's reproductive rights or often articulating the needs of certain disabilities.
The problem with these examples of locality and shared conditions is that they (1) coalesce around a pre-existing identity (such as indigenous Zapatistas, a shared Gesundheit! philosophy, or identified with a certain disabilityand therefore fail to represent the vast majority of a much larger and diverse population), and (2) are effectively isolated. The Zapatistas coalesced around the identity of politically marginalized and heavily localized indigenous communities. The Gesundheit! Institute is also heavily localized and largely insulated into its own operations. So what do these operations have to say to the vast majority of the population that is not in an illness-identified community, not locally grouped, and stripped of the abstract, one-dimensional, catchall designation, "the public"? Answering this question is key to coming up with an adequate structural solution that would speak to the most marginalized.
A proper focus on public health could recognize what remains to be a two-part process. The first part would regard looking at collective identity as the basis for organization. Local health communities arise out of the common band of shared locality, shared landbases, and shared relevant interests. Disease/disability communities arise often on a more national basis due to shared identities around particular health conditions. It seems that common ground could be uncovered here that would appreciate the participatory aspect of locality while fortifying mutual resources on a more expansive scale as local groups are linked together more broadly through similar interests. Instead of trying to create one model of health care provision and one definition of health for all, this new permutation promotes a diversity of groupings that serve particular interest of particular constituencies while working together as a federated whole around general idea of health (one obviously does not have to have a particular interest in a certain condition or disease to have an interest in health more broadly or recognize dimensions of their health at stake). As such, this rests on expanding the idea of collective identity markers from just those of specific illnesses, medical conditions, and locality to much broader interests in health, in that everyone has a stake in a diverse array of ways as they define them.
The second aspect of this process regards the foundational units that would make up such a federation (or federation of federations). These are largely the alternative projects described earlier (the examples of the Zapatistas and Gesundheit!). Any population, regardless of what the notion of national "public opinion" polls suggests, is an array of dynamic and varied bodies and constituenciesnot just an abstract and homogenous unit that can sufficiently contained in the term "the public." The problem is that all of these varied bodies are largely isolated. The Zapatistas and the Gesundheit! Institute are disconnected nodes. Connections are lacking where these nodes should be linking together, acting together for some things and rearranging for othersproject to project. The Zapatistas are vocal about international network building as they always reply to the question of "How can we help?" with "Organize yourselves."reflecting the need to create and link nodes of action. Essentially what this refers to in the context of health provision are health councils and federations of sorts (linking locally-based health cooperatives and broader organizations with each other) around the common idea and interest in health.
The idea of councils and topless federations is an idea that comes out of what has been called anarcho-syndicalism. This is a labor-oriented arrangement where workers see themselves as a specific class, and form self-managing workers' councils to collectively articulate their voices and interests. Rudolph Rocker, in his work Anarcho-Syndicalism, outlines two central purposes of the practice: (1) safeguarding the demands of workers while raising of their standard of living; and (2) serve as a school for training workers and acquainting them with the technical management of production and economic life in general so that when a revolutionary situation arises they will be capable of taking the socio-economic organism into their own hands and remaking it according to Socialist principles.[xliv] Something similar along the lines of health-oriented constituencies could be imagined: working to safeguard health-related interests, seeing themselves as part of a whole, all with stakes in their health and seeking to participate in decisions that affect their health, while working to empower others to participate as well.
This idea of interest councils has been dealt with more recently and deeply by many. Michael Albert describes both workers' and consumers' councils and federations of both as central components of a functional vision for a participatory economy (see: Albert's Parecon: Life After Capitalism). An advantage these arrangements have over convention is, for one, they are inherently more participatory and egalitarian. This comes from their basis in the implementation of balanced job complexes, or, in more relevant terms to what we are after, of forms of organization that are not inherently empowering for some and disempowering for others, so everyone can participate equally if they so choose. So councils would be based on self-management (people can participate if they so choose or create new ones more relevant to their interests) and they would be based on appropriate information dispersal, means of expressing preferences, and decision-making processes that would work to ensure as best as possible that each individual influences outcomes proportionately to the effect of the outcomes on her or him.[xlv] In terms of efficiencyof not wasting assets as we pursue our goalsdirect participation in terms of health councils provides a much more responsive arrangement, cuts out much of the current bureaucracy that has become increasingly financially draining, provides for a non-competitive atmosphere where councils link with one other to meet needs, and is guided by the interest of the constituencies and not by industry.
There is obviously so much more to say about this. To do the idea of health councils justice would be beyond the scope of this paper, but it should be mentioned that there are already some forms of health councils in operation. The desired vision for these would be to link with each other in federations dedicated to safeguarding the health of citizens, raising health standards, and continuing the education and empowerment of those citizens in terms of being able to engage and manage the factors that affect their health.
While going through the scope of tactics that could work toward this is also beyond the range of this paper, something should be said of how working toward such a public health policy would feasibly operate as it interfaced with more conventional infrastructure. What needs to be said is primarily predicated on vision and would essentially be a reflection on the question of "what is it we are trying to create?"
In terms of working toward such a new form of health care provision, there are no immediate ways for alternative institutions to jump right in and be highly competitive with the conventional modes of doing things. The population must be familiarized with the alternatives, and in a basic market system, new institutions predicated upon self-management and participatory values tend to corrupt as they try to succeed in the market as well (as market decisions lean toward alienation and the disruption of participatory practices).[xlvi] It is not that alternatives cannot succeed, but they cannot succeed on the market and succeed as truly self-managing systems.[xlvii]
The key is to recognize this incongruence and then you can fight against it. The fight comes in terms of finding ways to raise the costs of conventional ways of doing things so that shifts and reconsiderations will (have to) be made. In economic terms, this could come as a reorganization of the workforce to the extent that it either costs the structure more to fight it or that it forces the structure to allow the workforce to reorganize. This is what the Panthers were after as they sought to empower their neighborhoods to be self-managingthe US would have had to either expend tremendous resources to fight the challenge or allow Black Americans to openly claim more of their freedom. The general trajectory of development here is that it involves winning larger reforms that continue to empower the movement to seek moreworking toward relevant interest councils and eventually toward a new institutional structures altogether.
The philosophy behind Patch Adams' Gesundheit! Institute refers to this manner of increasing costs to the system as creating "perturbations"ideas/actions that put the system on the spot with the aim of destabilization and making it trip on itself.[xlviii] The points of entry to increase costs to the conventional provision of health care involve challenging hierarchical relationships, seeing health more as a collective condition as opposed to only a quality of an individual, focusing on the complementary importance of staff/provider health, understanding health as a people's popular movement, promoting solidarity, participatory decision-making, etc.
As costs rise, the struggles going on within particular institutions can help and support alternative institutions even while the market and conventional competition still exists. The Gesundheit! Institute serves as a fitting example here as well as its quest for "whole system design" is the alternative/prefigurative project to other projects directly confronting conventional infrastructure, namely those focusing on single-payer/universal coverage. As the Institute seeks to be a prefigurative alternative in its work (creating something new in the face of an inadequate health care system), those focusing on funding/access issues serve more as a direct challenge (perturbation) to the conventional infrastructure of business-dominated health care.
Meant to work side-by-side with single payer/universal coverage efforts, whole system design is a call to think universally, design locally: to design local contexts that protect the distinguishing core of the health care relation...between doctor/nurse and patient.[xlix]
Concluding Remarks. The work of the Panthers highlighted what the articulation of collective voice can do for the health of a specifically marginalized population (in terms of empowerment, self-management, healthier lifestyles, and more conducive social structures for participatory democracy). It was up against a repressive and hegemonic government that was committed to self-preservation and the status quo (suggested in part by organizational management literature). As the severity of this situation was recently reiterated by the UN report that classified the US as a 2-tiered society, it speaks to something fundamentally askew in how human rights are considered through the filter of a not-fully-participatory-democratic government. A long discussion could follow as to why it is not more democratic, and perhaps what forces are serving as barriers, but with just the fact that there remain marginalized groups that are not fully represented or targeted for robust public health interventions, the structure as it stands has a very questionable position on who human rights are ensured for and how.
Consequently, the only real solution appears to be devising a much more responsive and horizontal structures that can better articulate the voices of the most marginalized in ways that do not predetermine the specific interests of any one collective. As such, what this could look like is a topless federation of health councils convened around various health interests and linking together to pursue specific needs and desires. This mimics much of anarcho-syndicalism and has already begun on smaller levels that could be expanded into increasingly broader federations that act in similar ways to national groups that are already linked and advocating around specific health conditions and more local groups that come together to pool resources and similar interests. This would put the concept of human rights back in the hands of the population and provide some structure around which they can be discussed by all, with the interests of all included in the dialogue.
[i] Navarro. What is a national health policy? International Journal of Health Services, Volume 37, Number 1, Pages 1-14, 2007
[xv] A former member of the Black Panther Party. He was arrested on May 2, 1973 on the N.J. Turnpike following a shootout with N.J. State troopers during a "routine" stop for a faulty break light. One passenger, Zayd Malik Shakur, and State Trooper Foster were killed. Assata Shakur and Sundiata were injured and both were tried and convicted of the death of the state trooper.
[xvi] Sundiata Acoli, "A Brief History of the Black Panther Party and Its Place In the Black Liberation Movement", Marion Penitentiary, 4/2/85. http://www.thetalkingdrum.com/bla2.html
[xvii] From talking with former Winston-Salem Panther, Larry Little.
[xviii] Stanford Black Panther Party Research Project - http://www.stanford.edu/group/blackpanthers/index.shtml
[xix] Navarro. "What is a National Health Policy?"
[xxi] New York Times."Hoover Links Carmichael to Negro Leftist Group". May 17, 1967; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003) pg. 30. ; Italics added for emphasis. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=2&did=90341553&SrchMode=1&sid=2&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1165951285&clientId=13766
[xxii] The Black Panther Party - http://www.blackpanther.org
[xxiv] COINTELPRO - www.cointel.org; Official documentation - http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/blackstock30.jpg
[xxv] Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports On Intelligence Activities And The Rights Of Americans: Book III - FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES - UNITED STATES SENATE - APRIL 23 (under authority of the order of April 14, 1976): "THE FBI'S COVERT ACTION PROGRAM TO DESTROY THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY." Referenced under FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/foiaindex_c.htm . Full document - http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIa.htm
[xxix] Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports On Intelligence Activities And The Rights Of Americans: Book III - FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES - UNITED STATES SENATE - APRIL 23 (under authority of the order of April 14, 1976): "COINTELPRO: The FBI's Covert Action Programs Against American Citizens". Referenced under FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/foiaindex_c.htm. Full document - http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIa.htm
[xxx] Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports On Intelligence Activities And The Rights Of Americans: Book III - FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES - UNITED STATES SENATE - APRIL 23 (under authority of the order of April 14, 1976): "THE FBI'S COVERT ACTION PROGRAM TO DESTROY THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY". Referenced under FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/foiaindex_c.htm. Full document - http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIa.htm
[xxxii] Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports On Intelligence Activities And The Rights Of Americans: Book III - FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES - UNITED STATES SENATE - APRIL 23 (under authority of the order of April 14, 1976): "THE FBI'S COVERT ACTION PROGRAM TO DESTROY THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY". Referenced under FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/foiaindex_c.htm. Full document - http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIa.htm
[xxxiii] Goffman, E. 1955. "On face-work: An Analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction." Psychiatry 18: 213-231.
[xxxiv] Boje, D.M., et al. "Enron Spectacles: A Critical Dramaturgical Analysis". Organization Studies. 25(5): 751-774. ISSN 0170-8406. Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA & New Delhi)
[xxxvi] Gardner, W., Avolio, B. "The Charismatic Relationship: A Dramaturgical Perspective". The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 23, No. 1. (Jan., 1998), pp. 32-58. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0363-7425%28 199801 %2923%3A1%3C32%3ATCRADP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-H
[xxxvii] Boje, D.M., et al. "Enron Spectacles: A Critical Dramaturgical Analysis". Organization Studies. 25(5): 751-774. ISSN 0170-8406. Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA & New Delhi)
[xl] Mayer N. Zald; Michael A. Berger. "Social Movements in Organizations: Coup d'Etat, Insurgency, and Mass Movements" - The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 83, No. 4. (Jan., 1978), pp. 823-861.
[xli] Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm
[xlii] Haider Rizvi. RIGHTS-US: U.N. Panel Finds Two-Tier Society. UNITED NATIONS, Mar 11 (IPS). http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41556
[xliii] Ginna Villarreal. "Health Care Organized from Below: The Zapatista Experience." Narco News Bulletin. January 11, 2007.
[xliv] Rocker, Rudolf. 1998. Anarcho-Syndicalism. 2nd ed. Pluto Press.
[xlv] Albert. Parecon: Life After Capitalism.
[xlvi] Michael Albert. Parecon: Life After Capitalism.
[xlvii] Micheal Albert. "Real Utopia" talk at the 2008 Left Forum. New York City.
[xlviii] Susan Parenti. Re-Designing the US Health Care System: Think Universally, Design Locally. November, 2006. www.patchadams.org/hospital_project/positions.pdf