Tag Archives: Pakistan

Feds Charge Man As Enemy Combatant Supporting Terrorism For Uploading Youtube Video

http://www.prisonplanet.com/feds-charge-man-as-enemy-combatant-supporting-terrorism-for-uploading-youtube-video.html

Alexander Higgins Blog
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Take freedom of speech and other personal liberties — including protections against cruel and unusual punishment, right to face your accuser, and right to trial by jury — and throw them right out the window. All for the crime of uploading a YouTube.

That is what a 24-year-old Virginia man, Jubair Ahmad, faces as the feds charge him with providing support for terrorism for allegedly uploading a propaganda video. The crime comes with the dubious distinction that the accused are treated as if they are actually terrorists or as the U.S. government labels them “enemies combatants”. With the declaration of being an enemy combatant the rights and protections engraved into the Constitution with the full force of our founding father’s very own flesh and blood are instantly nullified.

That’s right. The Department of Justice of the great United States of America has charged a Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia man, of providing support for terrorism because he allegedly uploaded a propaganda video to YouTube. The accusation alone instantly classifies the man as an ‘enemy combatant’  and ‘clear and present danger’. Such persons who are a ‘threat to national security’ have absolutely no rights. To make matters worse, businesses and nations aren’t allowed to do business with such so-called ‘terrorists’ or they will be declared a terrorist themselves. That means a lawyer who takes up his case can be charge with providing support for terrorism. That is  if the United States government  even decides to honor habeas corpus and give the man a trial in the first place. Our beloved supreme court has ruled that ‘enemy combatants’ can be abductedtortured,assassinated, and even detained for ever without a trial because the constitution does not apply to them. Even worse, the lucky few who are released after being declared innocent have no right to legal recourse because revealing the details of their detention and torture is also a threat to national security.

This is what the ‘war on terror’ has escalated to, which we have been brainwashed by our government is necessary to protect our liberties from our enemies.

The video in question reportedly showed the leader of a group designated as a terrorist organization along with other purported “jihadi martyrs” and clips armored trucks exploding from the detonation of IEDs.

The Feds by uploading the propaganda video the man has committed the crime of providing support to terrorists organization, which qualifies the man to have all constitutional rights to be suspended and to be detained indefinitely without trial. As we have seen in past cases, the suspension of the constitutional “inalienable rights” for the so-called enemy combatants allows the executive branch of the federal government, including the military and CIA, to become the judge, jury and executioner in such cases. Of course without the constitutional right to the protection against cruel and unusual punishment the feds are now free to beat and torture the man to death, as they have done in past cases.

To reinforce their charges, the feds further allege Ahmad received ‘religious training’ from the ‘Lashkar-e-Taiba’ ‘terrorist group’ when he was a teenager while he still lived in Pakistan before moving to the United States. The State Department claims the group operates in the disputed Kashmir territory along the Pakistan and India border.

MSNBC reports:

Virginian accused of making YouTube terror video

Federal officials allege he trained with militants behind Mumbai attack

A Virginia man who came to the US from Pakistan has been charged with supporting Lashkar-e-Taiba, the radical Islamist terrorist group behind the 2008 shooting attack in Mumbai, India.

Justice Department officials said Friday that Jubair Ahmad, 24, of Woodbridge, received religious training from the terrorist group as a teenager in Pakistan and later attended one of its training camps.

He came to the United States in 2007 with his family. He’s been under investigation for two years, ever since the FBI got a tip that he might be connected to the group, the officials said.

Court documents say that last fall, he produced and uploaded a propaganda video to YouTube on behalf of the group, showing its leader and purporting to show “jihadi martyrs” and armored trucks exploding after having been hit by improvised explosive devices. Investigators say when asked about the video, Jubair falsely denied having anything to do with it.

The State Department has designated Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist group. It is among nearly a dozen rebel groups operating in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

[…]

Source: MSNBC


War on Terror-The Real Villain

Author:

Shahid Ali Abbasi

War on Terror—the Real Villain!

Opium Mafia! Let me have my say!

(By Shahid Ali Abbasi)

A bird loves the dry, thorny tree having its nest more than a green and fragrant one which is not its home. You can’t resist the impulse of patriotism when your country’s prestige is at stake, but, despite a strong urge of nationalism, I’ll not fall a prey to the arch villain, and will be as objective in my approach as possible because I know the people around the world are currently being hypnotized by that global villain who promotes evil thinking in us in order to achieve his devilish objective. It’s a global conspiracy that outweighs by far the combined gravity of all the global problems including terrorism and global warming. The real enemy is the one that is splitting apart us the humans, causing a fission of hatred, selfishness and prejudice in our hearts and minds; it’s worse than the nuclear fission that only destroys physically. Who that enemy is I don’t know, but I’m sure he’s strong enough to hijack our leaders in minutes—the same leaders who belong to us but the moment they reach higher authority, they cannot stand what Bacon calls ‘greater pains’, and thus are enslaved by that hatred-spreading devil. The point I hold is that the enemy has split us all into two classes: To one belong the politicians, armies and even governments that serve the evil around the globe, regardless of their nationality; and to the other belong all of us—innocent and gullible. This article endeavours to bring into light some crude realities about the present life on earth, trying at the same time to drag the evil monster out of the den. So, naturally, the tone of this article is ‘furious’ I know, but it can’t be written more politely than this, because it aims to awaken the human race to see what\’s usually hidden. I must also say that the publishing of this article will show how independent and daring media is, and to what extent the freedom of expression is allowed.

When I came to London, I realized how superb the British people are (sorry to exclude politicians here). They are immensely humane, and the way they accommodate and respect us (foreigners), I doubt if we could do the same if they (the British) were in our countries. In fact, whatever nationality we as humans have, our hearts do possess a celestial affection for each other. Ask a common Indian or Pakistani citizen if he/she wants a war. Both will say ‘NO!’ We’ve been living together for centuries and despite physical boundaries, we still share a tremendous culture (remember that when you have a common culture, you do have a strong feeling of love towards each other). Ask a common British or American if he/she hates Pakistanis, or if he/she loves war. I’m sure the answer will again be a blatant ‘NO!’ That’s good; that’s what makes us all essentially humans—’paragon of animals’ (Shakespeare). The people around the world are the same: they think and feel alike. Then who is the real villain? I’ll again say ‘I don’t know’ but definitely our politicians and other men of authority know him/her/them. This I guess because they are serving that villain of hatred more than they do us. Let’s have a recent review. The British Prime Minister Mr David Cameron went to India on ‘a trade mission’ and delivered his much-debated speech in Bangalore, India, on 28th July 2010. The speech does prove one thing that in order to be a Prime Minister you must have a certain level of maturity of thought and insight. As a teacher of language and literature, I must appreciate the flowery language that Mr Cameron used to magnetize the Indian trade. He glorified India with many metaphors like calling the country a ‘tiger’ that has been ‘uncaged and its power can be felt around the world’. Then he announced that he’d talk to the Indian Prime Minister about Indian and British cultures. I wish Mr Cameron had studied the cultural connotations associated with ‘tiger’, so had the Indians listening to him: where as a tiger is the symbol of beauty in the west; it’s a symbol of bloodthirstiness and brutality in the east. He also glorified India saying that she is ‘a leading provider of peacekeeping troops to the United Nations’ (I do remember I’d heard the same thing about Pakistan too, a couple of years back). I like it because when you praise the efforts of Indian people, every Pakistani (again I apologize for excluding politicians from both sides of the border), feels proud because despite so many tragic incidents, the people still love each other. Unfortunately, Mr Cameron forgot that Indian and Pakistani people are the masters of splitting the hair, and, I’m sure, even a teen ager would easily declare the speech to be just a ‘flattery’ to attract the Indian business tycoons. Then, finally, Mr Cameron hit the final nail in the coffin by exploiting the nationalistic, patriotic feelings of the Indians. The politician straightaway attacked Pakistan saying, ‘we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror’. I’ve quoted two lines so that you as a reader could see the authoritative arrogance in the very selection of words he used. It was Cameron’s attempt to arouse and exploit the same hatred that we call a legacy of colonization—divide and rule.

Before commenting further, let’s view the latest ‘food cut’ to Afghanistan by Pakistan as a result of Nato’s increasing gruesome liberties inside the Pakistani territory which resulted in our soldiers being killed and the border post destroyed, despite being retaliated politically in past. As a response to this tragedy, General Petraeus says they’d ‘warned’ Pakistan (I must thank Pakistani foreign minister Mr Rehman Malik’s ‘shaking’ reply this time, probably under huge pressure. I don’t say army pressure). In reply to the comments made by Cameron in Bangalore and by Gen. Petraeus, a patriotic Pakistani citizen will not have words more polite than ‘WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TALK TO A SOVEREIGN, NUCLEAR STATE LIKE THAT!?’ If your wits have betrayed you, read the following paragraphs which will sprinkle some cold water on your sleeping face:

Don’t you ever threaten us of war; don’t you ever try to ‘test’ our potential to defend! We ARE under war-like conditions since we got independence in 1947. We fought so many wars, including the one that shattered RUSSIA! Yes, our history is blotched with natural catastrophes as well, and you’ve seen we can stand the worst. So much so that even Nature has to reinvent some more brutal weapons to be used against us. Or maybe she’s training us for the worst. Nuclear weapons? We’ve fought and defeated the enemy with sticks in our short history. Ask those coward disciples of devil on both sides of the border who whisper nasty things in your ears. Don’t you underestimate the Pakistani people!!! We don’t say we can only kill for our country (like you); WE CAN DIE for our motherland too! Remember whole world, if you can’t help us, just leave us alone: we can, as we do, fight the bloody terrorists alone because we’ve got the soldiers that can fight even empty-handed, without fluffy blankets, juices and metals around. Just compare your progress in Afghanistan in 10 years with ours in two three years in the tribal belt. We’ve literally uprooted the terrorists, not for you or anyone else but primarily for our own safety.

I think what some of the renowned defence analysts call the hidden motifs of America are being exposed now—’red in tooth and claw’ (Tennyson). How can you think about stopping the so called ‘energy corridor’ between China and Iran, when you yourself are dependent on a ‘thin’ and ‘fragile’ food root to your troops in Afghanistan? (Rachel Maddow: U.S. testing war against Pakistan on http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908//vp/39450283#39450283). How dare you think about ‘testing’ Pakistan’s self-defence and self-esteem!!?? When you ‘failed’ against disorderly, weak opponent like Taliban even after a ten-year strife, how can you think about ‘extending’ war to Pakistan, a nuclear power!? I know this doesn’t represent American people. I doubt your leaders have been hijacked by what I call potentially the worst enemy of human race on earth. I ask where the peace-loving American public is now. Isn’t your America gradually turning ‘RussericA’? I know the people outside America, primarily Pakistanis, love American and British people (politicians excluded). And all the tolerance that we show in response to the ‘liberties’ of your so called ‘war on terror’ owes greatly to this love and sense of friendship that we possess in our hearts for the common public of these countries. Please let us live peacefully because once this flood bulges out of its banks, it’ll sweep away everything! When you ‘ironically’ kill one terrorist (in this case anti-American), just think how many more you give birth to. I know once you decide ‘extending war’ into Pakistan, you’ll declare us all a ‘terrorist nation’ including many other names like Alquida, etc. coined by you, and this will quite convincingly be ‘propagated’ by your media which is the only ‘telescope’ the people of America and Britain have to zoom in to the war-hit countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I know since your food line was intercepted, you’ve increased the propaganda against Pakistan. One example is a news published in daily METRO here in London on October 19, 2010. Before the ‘food cut’, they said Alquida leader is hiding in ‘underground bunkers to avoid being targeted by CIA drones’. But now ‘TERROR leader Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living a comfortable life in a house in Pakistan, according to a senior Nato official. The most wanted man in the world is allegedly being protected by local people and members of Pakistan’s intelligence services’. Believe me when I was reading this news in train, I couldn’t help smiling. Then I saw the working British people and the feeling drastically changed. Do these people work day and night to listen to such ever-twisting stories? Reading the above statement by a so-called Nato official makes one feel as if Osama bin Laden has written him a letter asking his assistance in looking for another more ‘comfortable’ house because the existing house has an electric load shedding problem, or maybe the bus stop is away from the house and Mr Osama has to walk every morning to his office, or maybe the house is away from hospital from where Osama has to take medicine because he’s grown too old in this whole enterprise, or may be his kids have to change two/three buses to reach school, blah, blah, blah. Please, for God’s sake stop this now! If you are absolutely sure, why don’t you contact the target killers in Karachi who are shedding the streams of blood every day, instead of spending so much in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc? Pakistan is a country where dozens of high-rank individuals have been killed, e.g. Liaqat Ali Khan (Pakistan’s first prime minister), Ziaulhaq (Army Chief), Benezir Bhutto, and many others. If you’re so sure, why don’t you contact those who killed these senior leaders? Don’t worry, if some innocent people die in this hunt (after all ‘end justifies means’), we’ll bear this because we ARE bearing much more every day. You say Pakistani people protect Osama? Believe me, whatever knowledge I, as an educated Pakistani, have about Osama bin Laden or Alquida is all that I got from either BBC, CNN or any other western media. An ordinary Pakistani has many other, more testing challenges which hardly let him/her think about this ‘Power Game’. Once I asked a Pakistani, who works as labour in Afghanistan, about Alquida. He giggled and said, ‘I don’t know; no one knows what Alquida is, who this Ussama Bin Ladin is; not even in Afghanistan; even the Afghanis don’t know.’ If you think, once you attack Pakistan, the people will surrender passively like homeless Afghans, THAT’S ABSOLUTELY FALSE, because the Pakistani people can’t cultivate opium which would make them rich. Neither our land nor our conscience can ever support this poison. War on Pakistan will never end till the end of a single Pakistani. If you think you can justify to your conscience the killing of more than 170 million Pakistanis, then WE ARE READY TO DIE! Come on, kill us all, and then you’ll have a huge novel of your exploits against the innocent, which you’ll be able to proudly present to your next generations to read.

You call us ‘a terrorist nation’ or whatever, but believe me it’s the Pakistani soldier and intelligence that stays awake so that we all, including you, sleep peacefully in our cosy beds; it’s Pakistan that is the last obstacle between the terrorists and rest of the world, and when you try to weaken Pakistan, you’re actually cutting the very branch you’re standing on. And more, let me bring into your information some of the feathers to the crown we call Pakistan: It’s the country that became a world champion in four sports almost simultaneously, a country that is the seventh biggest hub of scientists and doctors, a country that can win the war fought at the highest peaks of the world, a country that has fought five other major wars, a country with nuclear power, a country with one of the best missile technologies, and, above all, a country with a population of more than 170 million—each one of which is a born soldier. To me, it seems some of the leaders have become the mouthpieces of the same bloody villain who’s the focal point in this article.

The article has been repeatedly mentioning the ‘enemy’, ‘villain’, etc. but without identifying it. One side of the picture that is often overlooked is the dramatic increase in the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan since the American invasion in the country. Elizabeth Rubin, in her article ‘An Afghan drug-smuggler: ‘The whole country is in our service”, published in New York, October 22, 2006 presented an eye-opening account of face behind the case but her cry drowned into the widespread hum that only Taliban or Alquida are the most potential threats to the world peace. Presenting the comparison between Taliban and Post-Taliban (American) era in Afghanistan, she writes:

Opium cultivation was outlawed during Taliban rule in the late 1990s and was nearly eliminated by 2001. After the overthrow of the Taliban government by U.S. forces in the fall of that year, the Bush administration said that keeping a lid on production was among its highest priorities. But corruption and alliances formed by Washington and the Afghan government with anti-Taliban tribal chieftains, some of whom are believed to be deeply involved in the trade, undercut the effort’. She also quotes Afghan president Hamid Karzai who said, ‘once we thought terrorism was Afghanistan’s biggest enemy [but now] poppy, its cultivation and drugs are Afghanistan’s major enemy.’

Elizabeth further quotes the Afghan Deputy Ministry of Women’s Affairs who had ‘just wrapped up the case of a girl who had been kidnapped and raped by Kandahari police officers, something that would not have happened under the Taliban’ because, according to the deputy, ‘Their security was outstanding.’ The lady further said that Taliban had strictly enforced the ban on poppy but ‘Now the governors tell the people, ‘Just cultivate a little bit”. So people take this opportunity and grow a lot,’ and the farmers lease the fields from big landlords and when a farmer can’t pay back the landowner, ‘instead of paying, he gives the landowner his daughter,’ the deputy added.

On asking Manan Farahi, the director of counterterrorism efforts for Karzai’s government, why the Taliban were so strong in Helmand, Elizabeth was told that Helmandis had hated the Taliban because of Mullah Omar’s ban on poppy cultivation. ‘The elders were happy this government was coming and they could plant again,….But then the warlords came back and let their militias roam freely. They were settling old scores – killing people, stealing their opium. And because they belonged to the government, the people couldn’t look to the government for protection. And because they had the ear of the Americans, the people couldn’t look to the Americans. Into this need stepped the Taliban.’

Now some information about opium smuggling which Elizabeth unveiled. She interviewed Razzaq, an opium smuggler in his late 20’s. She writes:

He moved and spoke with the confident ease of a well-protected man.’The whole country is in our services,’ he told me, ‘all the way to Turkey.’ This wasn’t bravado. From Mazar-i-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, he brings opium in the form of a gooey paste, packaged in bricks. From Badakhshan in the northeast, he brings crystal – a sugary substance made from heroin. And from Jalalabad, in the east on the road to Peshawar, he brings pure heroin. All of this goes through Baramcha, an unmanned border town in Helmand near Pakistan. Sometimes he pays off the national soldiers to use their vehicles, he said. Sometimes the national policemen. Or he hides it well, and if there is a tough checkpoint, he calls ahead and pays them off. ‘The soldiers get 2,000 afghanis a month, and I give them 100,000,’ he explained with an angelic smile. ‘So even if I had a human head in my car, they’d let me go.’ Should he ever run into a problem in Afghanistan, he told me, ‘I simply make a phone call. And my voice is known to ministers, of course. They are in my network. Every network has a big man supporting them in the government.’ The Interior Ministry’s director of counternarcotics in Kabul had told me the same thing. Anyway, if the smugglers have problems on the ground, they say, they just pay the Taliban to destroy the enemy commanders.

I have extensively quoted Elizabeth’s daring task because it’s our ignorance towards the people like her that our focus from the actual problem shifts to what actually isn’t. I wish I, or someone else, had added up to her efforts in 2006. Any way, it’s still not too late. The real enemy is the opium underworld mafia. Just think, HOW CAN THE TERRORISTS AFFORD TO HAVE LATEST, EXPENSIVE WEAPONS WHEN THEY COULDN’T AFFORD PROPER DRESSING AND FOOD A DECADE BACK? WHO’S FUNDING THEM? ISN’T IT THE OPIUM MAFIA THAT’S SPONSORING THE TERRORISTS because ‘Afghanistan now produces 92 per cent (6,100 tons) of the world’s supply of opium used to make heroin’? (The Financial Times, September 4, 2006). The opium mafia is working without any potential hindrance because all of us are fighting each other. That’s the CRUX OF THE MATTER! This mafia is so strong that it can control big groups, armies, even governments. Just imagine what our future will be when our generations will be enslaved by the drug mafia, both in the production and consumption of heroine! When a predator attacks a flock, it splits the victims so that they start running for their own lives, then singles one and kills it easily. The opium mafia is doing the same. I don’t say who of us belong to that mafia, however, what we have to seriously and meticulously see is who among us are fulfilling the mafia’s objectives. It can be me, you, the politician, armies, governments, etc.

The humane feeling in me and you do want more on this topic, but let me end this ‘eye-opener’ with a salute to the odd thinkers like Elizabeth Rubin and Rachel Maddow, to name two only, who’ve been gifted with a potential to see the things from an unusual perspective. I restate that the human race on the face of earth is at such a tricky stage where it’s never been in past. Our enemy is common, and we have to identify and fight it together, paying each other the RESPECT one deserves. But for that, we have to transcend all what is personally so cherished to us. No one knows our enemy except its disciples—the politician INCLUDED. I again strongly hold that we have been split into two groups: the devils party (POLITICIAN INCLUDED) and the common, innocent people like us. The others can never be us, and I earnestly request the people of the whole world to wake up and come out of this bloodthirsty exorcism.

 

Shahid Ali Abbasi

shahidaliabbasi@yahoo.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/war-on-terror-the-real-villain-3484326.html

About the Author

Shahid Ali Abbasi

shahidaliabbasi@yahoo.com

Pakistan (Birote/Murree/Abtd.)

MA English Literature

MA ELT & Applied Linguistics

Teacher English Language/Literature

Presently living in London

Interests: Contributing towards World peace, Critical Reading and writing, analysing, discussing the global issues especially peace, politics and economy, friendship……..

_______________________________________________________________

I’ll just add my two cents and say that it is well-known that a majority of the drug trade in the world is run by the CIA. Ever since the 80’s when their funding was reduced and oversight increased they have used drug money to finance their Black-ops. The Drug mafia is the intelligence organizations that I would suspect are all interconnected. And if you believe that DEA or FBI are any better you need a slap in the face or a cold bucket of water to wake you up.

People who think that the US government is noble or righteous in any sense of those words are brain-dead. Most of those in government, US or otherwise, are evil to the deepest degree. Are there some who still care? I am sure there are but their influence is minuscule. The pawns in the game may be decent but they are not the ones moving the pieces on the board.

We as human beings must protest with our ambivalence to them. Peaceful non-cooperation is the thing that might win the day. Remember that any violence will be met with overwhelming force since the governments of this world control the bullets and bombs. However, if enough of us just stop doing what they tell us to, there is little they can do in the long run.

True, some will pay the ultimate price for this. Remember though, they need us. We do not need them. Quit going along to get along. I do not say rise up. Instead I say…sit down. Active peaceful non-resistance is uncontrollable.

Yes protest verbally and in letters and in any other peaceful way you can come up with, but do not yield to the temptation to fight back with violence. Those who rule would love for us to resist with violence as it would justify whatever force they may use against that violence. (E)




Muslims Are Not The Enemy!

I am so tired of people, especially supposed believers in Yahshua, saying that all muslims are our enemies. Look folks Messiah came for everyone. We need to accept that  He came for them as much as us. They are not all terrorists. as a matter of fact only a tiny portion are involved in terrorism. Although the American governments’ actions against innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and who knows where else is contributing to the recruiting efforts of the few.

That is not terrorism though. That is defending your homeland and people. Open your eyes people. You are being duped. While the elitists continue to enslave you they keep you focused on a contrived enemy. One day you will wake up and realize who the real enemies are. But IT WILL BE TOO LATE…

For more information on who the real terrorists are listen and watch to some of William Cooper’s audio on this blog as well as Dr. Bill Deagle’s videos

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The Tariq Aziz Sentence: The Audacity, Bestiality and Venality of Victors

From: http://www.uruknet.info

Monish Chatterjee

30-09_tarik_aziz_800.jpg

Tariq Aziz

October 30, 2010 

Throughout my conscious years, I have witnessed with disbelief and increasing hopelessness the limitless human capacity for cruelty and barbarism- quite often comfortably cloaked in terms of righteousness and piety. A vast number of instances of this ongoing blot upon the soul of humanity are readily attributable to the audacity of power, and the ability of the human animal to compartmentalize, commit the most inhuman acts, and go on living unperturbed to see another day.

Long before arriving in the United States, I had followed with the greatest admiration the principle of ahimsa, non-violence, as the highest principle that elevated the human being above all other living species. Of course, in our own time, Gandhi showed the world how ahimsa could be effectively used as a mighty weapon that could transform the most beastly and merciless of adversaries. And Gandhi’s great Indian contemporary, Rabindranath Tagore, spoke tirelessly about the need for awakening the universal bonds of beauty and humanity that unites all human beings, while celebrating their various differences of skin tones, languages, arts, cuisines and cultures (including religious beliefs or disbeliefs) and places of origin.

Of course, illuminated souls such as Tagore and Gandhi were obviously well aware of the idealistic dimensions and hence the practical limitations of their thoughts. Tagore especially was much more pragmatic about the reality of human frailties and dark proclivities throughout history. He spoke eloquently about these relentless human demons in his poem Prithibi (Ode to the Earth).

The first glaring instance of witnessing the abject brutality and arrogance of power occurred for me in 1977, when, a hitherto-no-name army general, appointed to high rank by the eminent Pakistani political leader and long-time Prime Minister of that country, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), imprisoned and then sentenced to death (via a kangaroo court) in a completely trumped-up case, his former benefactor. This is of course commonly the way of crude ideologues and heartless zealots, and Zia-ul Haq fit those characteristics admirably. Despite some of his faults, I had known Bhutto as a leader of our neighboring country, and compared with many of the ill-informed, non-intellectual, guts-driven ignoramuses of today (a great many of which we find in this country), ZAB came across as well-educated, statesman-like, erudite and highly personable. I was in my third year at India’s I.I.T., and had recently witnessed (1971) the creation of Bangladesh out of the erstwhile East Pakistan, and remembered ZAB’s having first imprisoned, and at the end of the tumultuous 1971 war with India, releasing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to his newly-independent people. I remembered him from the Simla accord with Mrs. Indira Gandhi (with daughter Benazir by his side). As such, politics and our painful history of the imperially machinated partition aside, I held ZAB with some regard, and even more so as a civilian leader in a country perpetually in the grips of military dictators. Therefore, the news of a death sentence handed to this long-standing world leader on what amounted to nothing more than a calculated vendetta, shocked me greatly. In reality, perhaps out of naiveté, I truly thought that this was all a show- they could definitely never carry out this act of extreme barbarity. I was reminded, however, of the many acts of ghastly barbarity that history was full of in the annals of power struggle, including royal ascensions. Who would ever forget what Aurangzeb had done to his brothers, including Dara Shikoh, arguably the noblest Mughal heir of all? But in the late 20th Century? Surely the human race had evolved enough to be past such monstrous acts, of retribution, of the contemptible power grab?

Then, too, several leading voices (the Pope, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Nobel Laureates) around the world pleaded with the general in the “God Cloak” (note that there is a long tradition of putting on the holy cloak in these matters, from the infamous Spanish Inquisition down to the savage executioner from Texas in this country- holy men all, all Born Again spokespeople for a bloodthirsty ephemeral entity) – please spare ZAB’s life; he had served Pakistan well over many years. Ultimately, however, nothing worked, and the “God obsessed” general fulfilled his godly mission. ZAB’s voice was stilled by society’s ultimate barbarity, the savage death penalty. There are times I still feel benumbed by recollections of this ghastly act. Who will ever judge the acts of murderous crimes committed by the godly general? Who will ever judge the crimes of the victor in the ongoing history of mankind?

For many years, I have also been educated on the comfortable alliance the United States has historically forged with dictators and zealots, in nation after nation. Often times, it has done so by the unseating using any number of means (including assassinations) legitimately elected public officials in other countries, and supplanting them with ruthless bandits of their choice. The list of these is a veritable who’s who of contemporary history. Hence, it is really no surprise that the religious zealot/strongman, Zia-ul Haq, became a very close American ally for more than a decade, thereby enabling the breeding of more than a generation of fundamentalist assassins (the jihadis and mujahideens that American Right-Wingers now view with such contempt, and strange words they now spout with such relish) with American dollars. Sadly, this has been the American (read that as Wall Street) modus operandi all over the world, and not only in Pakistan. Keep the wheels of American Prosperity turning at any cost, by any means- killing, carpet bombing, annihilating as many of the third world darkies as needed to achieve the American dream.

In the late 1980s, I had recoiled at the spectacle of the mighty Goliath from the North swooping down upon the minuscule nation of Panama, and right before the eyes of the world, “arresting” the ruler of that country (Manuel Noriega), and bringing him for “trial” to the golden shores of the LandofthefreeHomeoftheBrave. Ironic, indeed! It is well known that Noriega was previously on the CIA’s payroll, and likely a useful pal of the elder Bush patriarch. I assume he had somehow outlived his usefulness for the Goliath, as did Saddam Hussein a few years later. The sheer audacity of the United States in invading sovereign nations, with impunity, decade after decade, looting or plundering their wealth, and handling their leaders worse than slavemasters (something the U.S. certainly has a centuries-long tradition and training in) treated their slaves- simply boggles the mind. These are, plain and simple, international crimes of the highest magnitude. But the Goliath has had his victories, and to the Victors go the spoils of war (or, the case of the U.S., war crimes).

The above, and several other spectacles of the audacity and tyranny of the mighty upon the weak, have pained me deeply for as long as I can remember. To the extent that I have watched with horror the lowliest and most barbaric act of his captors handing Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein over to his worst enemies, knowing full well what fate would befall him as a consequence. This is as contrary to my concept of civilization as I can imagine. In this context, I always cite the example of Alexander the Great speaking with the utmost dignity to the Indian King Puru (more than 2300 years ago) after the latter was defeated in battle, and later releasing him back to his people with full honors. In instance after instance, the American example falls far short of the civilizational standard established by Alexander. The savage sadism of a society that can take pleasure in displaying the bullet-riddled bodies of their so-called enemies (Saddam Hussein’s two sons) all over the internet simply tells me such a society has not evolved much along Darwin’s ladder. America displays the characteristics of a soulless, corporate-driven society that gladly displays the humiliation of its victims (I will label any person captured via illegal war crimes a “victim” of the lawless invader) for the entertainment of its consumerist, and increasingly soulless public.

The unprovoked, unjustified, criminal invasion of Iraq (and other nations around the world over the past 100+ years), and the blood of millions of innocents are upon America’s conscience, and the conscience of its immoral leaders. The crimes of Henry Kissinger and George W. Bush (and a host of other individuals walking around free, giving speeches and enjoying the American way like nothing is the matter) are grievous by far than anything the arrogant victors append upon their victims. Yet, the ways of the mighty are strange, indeed! The very tyrants and war criminals behind some of the most ghastly mass killings committed by human beings, thereafter sit in judgment of their victims- in complete disregard for humanity and civilization. This is surreal, this is unreal, this is truly an upside-down world. This is, plain and simple, the way of imperialism and tyranny.

It is in this context that I must register here and now my horror and revulsion upon learning of the “sentence” handed down to Iraq’s ex-deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz. It is benumbing in its arrogance and barbarity. Iraq is a country in tatters, millions of its people who were living their lives (as is the fundamental right of all creatures created upon this planet) prior to 2003 mercilessly murdered by the criminal American/British invasion, innumerable of its children dead on account of savage dictates by the mighty imposing sanctions that denied these innocents even basic medicines, violence of the worst kind a daily scene in that country that was once an oasis of secularism (even if by no means perfect) in a fundamentalist, tyrannical middle-east. Yet, the architects of such criminal offenses and their planted minions have the audacity to sit in judgment of, and proclaim moral verdicts upon their victims!

Throughout the late 1980s, until the criminal invasion by the U.S. and its chattels in 2003, most of us were rather familiar with Tariq Aziz- either as Iraq’s foreign minister, or later as deputy Prime Minister of that country. It is definitely not my place to decide the degree of flaws or virtues invested in leaders of other countries, certainly not with the kind of moral certitude that it is commonplace for U.S. leaders to identify good and evil around the world. Regardless, I usually found myself in agreement with some of Aziz’s statements (the few released to the public by the American media), often delivered at the United Nations (an institution, while generally toothless, nevertheless defiled, vilified and routinely manipulated by the U.S.). I felt sympathetic towards Mr. Aziz primarily because he would speak out against imperialism, and the typical Western bullying of the darker nations. Most awakened human beings are well aware of the long-standing exploitation and pauperization of darker nations by the U.S., its ubiquitous partner-in-crime, Great Britain, and world-domination outfits such as NATO, the World Bank and the IMF. Hence, I am reasonably certain that I am not alone in my sympathies for those that vocalize against racist and corporatist thuggery applied against people of former colonies.

Since Iraq, even under the well-trumpeted “evil guy” Saddam Hussein, was essentially secular- its government was a combination of Shias, Sunnis and Christians. This was already an improvement upon the many allies of the U.S. in the region- autocratic, fundamentalist regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and so forth. In this context, I understand that Tariq Aziz was a Christian member of Hussein’s cabinet. Therefore, it is difficult for me to fathom what heinous crimes this Christian cabinet member would engage in with regards to the Shia-Sunni divide prevalent throughout the Middle-East. Like ZAB in Pakistan before him, to me Tariq Aziz came across as cerebral, dedicated and reasonably well-versed in international relations. His problem, I am sure, started when, like Salvador Allende, Mohammed Mossadegh, Manuel Noriega, and so many others earlier his government and nation became trained under the cross-hairs of Empire and its insatiable need for resources. Indeed, heaven help anyone upon whom befalls the wrath of Empire.

The kangaroo court (as most such courts tend to be) that renders such barbaric verdicts, as it is, has little credibility in my view. I generally regard those “rulers” of any sovereign nation that ascend to power by joining hands with their invaders, plunderers, and imperial rapists (the latter metaphor was aptly used in describing invading hordes and war criminals by Susan Block some years ago in the wake of the Iraq invasion in 2003) as among the very lowliest of the human species. The likes of Chalabi, Allawi and Maliki admirably fit into this mold- the slimy reptiles of human society (the degree of reptilian quality might vary somewhat). Sadly, most violated countries have such despicable characters- Karzai in Afghanistan, Mubarak in Egypt, and so forth. As such, when such abject traitors put their own countrymen up for trial in order to gain favors from the tyrants and invaders- to me it is just another murderous act by a cabal of ruthless criminals. The crimes of their victims usually pale by comparison.

I have not noticed thus far much international reaction or scorn with regards to this sentence handed to an honorable former prime minister. I did notice the Pope making a statement asking for clemency. But, as far as I am concerned, this event puts the basic humanity of Barack Obama and the Democrats up for an important morality test. I have my doubts that the non-Republicans will ever show enough courage to stand up to the killing machine of Empire, and stand up for morality and humanity. After all, when it comes to morality and conscience, the Democrats appear to fare only marginally better than the “what is in it for me,” and “kill those others” Republicans. I believe deeply that opposing the barbaric death penalty is one of the utmost moral choices a human being can make. Any society that practices this barbarity is obviously low on the evolutionary ladder. It is unthinkable to me that there are millions that spout “Christianity” (or other faiths that often blind the functioning human mind), and yet see no problem violating a plainly-worded dictum, “Thou shalt not kill.” If the millions understood this dictum, honestly, there would be wars and genocides no longer. My heart goes out to Tariq Aziz and his family, as it does to all victims of violence and barbarity in this world. My sympathies here have nothing to do with condoning brutal acts committed by the Iraqi regime that Mr. Aziz served. It is, foremost, a condemnation of tyrants and invaders whose barbarity in my view exceeds those of the accused/vanquished that they sit in judgment of. And even more, it is a complete and unequivocal condemnation and rejection of the socially-endorsed practice of killing a human being- an immoral and barbaric practice carried over from the dark ages.

Monish R. Chatterjee received the B.Tech. (Hons) degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from I.I.T., Kharagpur, India, in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Iowa, Iowa

 


Now We Know the Cause of Islamic Terrorism

by Jim Cox

Recently by Jim Cox: Man-Made Global-Warming Quiz

President Obama in warning against the Florida pastor’s plan to burn the Koran stated,

“This is a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities.”

It’s funny how B.O. (or his predecessor) never cited past American government policies as being a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda. Only a handful of misguided activists at the Florida church using their own property and their privately acquired copies of the Koran have such an effect in the President’s view.

Here is a partial list of the past as well as some on-going American foreign policy interventions that – by official standards – have had no influence in empowering al Qaeda:

1. The combined British/American overthrow of the democratically elected head of government in Iran in 1953, replacing him with the hated Shah and his secret police who the U.S. trained to murder thousands of Iranians.


2. In 1987 the U.S. militarily supported Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi war with Iran.

3. In 1988 the U.S. ship Vincennes, stationed in the Persian Gulf, shot down a commercial jetliner, killing 290 Iranian civilians.

4. After the Gulf War, the U.S. led an embargo against Iraq, allowing no humanitarian or medical aid. The results, according to UN estimates: 10,000 Iraqi deaths per month with the toll including more than 300,000 children. Then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright when asked said it was “worth it.” Albright never retracted her statement nor was it ever repudiated by an American president.

5. In 1998 President Clinton bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan. A number of totally innocent civilians were killed.

6. European armies, rather than native peoples, drew many of the borders in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and southwest Asia.

7. The Saudi government, the Kuwaiti government, and the Afghani government are actively supported with foreign aid by the U.S. despite the fact that they routinely oppress their people.


8. The war in Iraq since 2003 that has resulted in a minimum of 97,000 civilian deaths as well as the displacement of more than a million civilians.

9. The war in Afghanistan since 2001 that has resulted in a minimum of 6,000 civilian deaths.

10. Predator strikes in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.

But, again according to the official bi-partisan view, none of these actions have caused blowback against Americans or Europeans.

Finally, we know what the CIA meant when it coined the term “blowback” – hostility over Koran burning. Also, we now know what Noam Chomsky, 9-11; Rick Maybury, The Thousand Year War; Robin Wright, Sacred Rage; and Chalmers Johnson, Blowback must have had in mind when the penned their works.

It’s refreshing to know that Koran burning is the provocation that incites the Islamic world and is the only thing we have to end to protect Americans from more terrorism – our imperialistic foreign policy, now under Barack Obama, can continue without any consequence whatsoever.

September 11, 2010

Jim Cox is a professor of economics and is the author of The Concise Guide to Economics and Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


When Will the Bad Dream End?

by Anthony Gregory

In a normal country, war is front-page news. It is a big deal to invade and bomb another nation. Most of the world’s people can probably name all the foreign governments their own government is at war with. If any other industrialized nation were bombing Pakistan, for example, and displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the average taxpayer would be aware. It would be the biggest news story. If you are a typical person living in a normal country, and your government threatens to invade, say, Eritrea, you would probably hear something about it. And you would probably even want to know where Eritrea is on a map.

The United States is not a normal country. If it ever was one, it certainly isn’t now. Its imperial foreign policy has long made it special, and now that it’s the world’s lone superpower – with an effective monopoly on aerial warfare, calling the shots as to who can have nukes, claiming the unilateral right to start wars against anyone – the U.S. government has become so belligerent, and especially in remote lands, that American wars have become routine, its casualties relegated to the back page.

This decade has obviously been especially bad. Nine years ago, the Twin Towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and the United States, its government and political culture, fell under a spell of mass delusion that still shows no signs of abating. It has been nine whole years since 9/11, and it is starting to look like the “post-9/11” insanity that marked America under Bush has become a permanent feature of the American landscape.


Looking around at what has happened in these last nine years, we are reminded of what a long period of time this is in the modern age. iPods took the world by storm and became obsolete. Such movies as the Lord of the Rings trilogy forever changed film in ways we now take for granted. Trashy reality TV conquered most of the airwaves, but television has at the same time blossomed into a bona fide art form, with HBO, Showtime and even network TV producing programs of a quality previously unimagined. The internet has gone from being a ubiquitous convenience to becoming the major network of all communication, to which practically every other communicative and technological medium is to be connected.

In nine years, we’ve seen the housing market boom and bust. We’ve seen, according to the hyperbolic media, our nation’s greatest environmental disaster, one of the worst natural disasters, and a nearly unprecedented financial collapse. And speaking of the old media, the giant newspapers still seemed like leaders in 2001. Now they look like a dying breed, with whole enterprises selling for literally less than a single issue at a newsstand price. Meanwhile, many consumer goods, including food staples, have nearly doubled in cost.  China is now the second biggest economy in the world.

And certainly, nine years is quite some time in the lives of actual people. We all know folks who’ve had children or passed away. Kids have grown from losing their baby teeth to taking their SATs. We’ve been to many weddings.

On the political scene, in the last nine years we have watched nearly two full terms of one president and half a term of another – two presidents who represent different parties, opposing sides of the culture war and, ostensibly, contrasting approaches on how to govern the country. We’ve seen the Republicans capture the federal legislature and then lose it all again. We’ve seen both parties undergo significant rhetorical makeovers.

But one thing that hasn’t changed at all is U.S. foreign policy, and the entire American style of responding to supposed threats abroad with the brute force of war and the continual expansion of government power at home.


This is not to say that there was a qualitative break in U.S. policy nine years ago, not even as far as the Muslim world was concerned. The U.S. overthrew Iran’s government in 1953, installed a dictator and taught his goons how to torture. The U.S. backed Saddam and his ilk from the late 50s through the 1980s. The U.S. engineered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and continued to meddle in that country, radicalizing Islamist fighters and helping to create the modern fanaticism there. In the 1980s, the U.S. government bombed Libya and encouraged Saddam to invade Iran, even as President Reagan secretly sent weapons to Iran. In 1990, the U.S. government started a war with Iraq that has essentially continued to this day. Clinton bombed Iraq and Afghanistan. In the decades leading to 9/11, it is fair to say that the U.S. government directly or indirectly murdered millions of innocent people in its interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. Every president from Eisenhower through Clinton shares some of the blame.

But there has been something particularly insane about U.S. policy since the events of 9/11. Previous limits upon imperial boldness, even if they existed only out of pragmatic concerns, have been swept aside. What was once considered beyond the pale is now accepted as normal.

Abroad, there is the war with Iraq that seems crazy even for the U.S. empire. It used to take something like the Soviet Menace, with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons – or someone like Hitler or Tojo, with some of the mightiest militaries on earth – to scare the living daylights out of Americans. But the Iraq war showed that the most ludicrous of pretenses – that a lame duck dictator like Saddam, who had never attacked the United States and showed no signs of doing so, was somehow a threat to America – could now be used to justify a project to “liberate” and bring democracy to a whole nation that itself was cobbled together by the West, held precariously intact under a brutal strongman, and that would inevitably fall short of American dreams of democracy no matter how many times its people voted.


Then there’s the fact that the U.S. government now goes to war, and is peripherally involved in even more wars, without anyone in America seeming to care. This is an era when threatening Eritrea is the least of it. The U.S. supports an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia – barely a blip in the news. The U.S. backs an ally, Israel, that invades its other ally, Lebanon, and maybe the talking heads care for about a day. The U.S. is essentially at war with its own nuclear-armed ally, Pakistan – and many Americans have no clue. The U.S. backs suicide bombers in Iran with possible ties to al Qaeda who are bent on changing Tehran’s government – not that most Americans even know the difference between Iran and al Qaeda, Persians and Arabs or Sunni and Shi’ia. And then, when an airplane passenger fails in his attempt to kill Americans on Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear, the media scream that perhaps it’s time to wage war on Yemen. No one of prominence even mentions that Obama was already bombing Yemen, days before the underwear bomber almost struck.

But Afghanistan has got to be the most insane example of what’s going on. This is the war that marks the shift since 9/11 – even more than Iraq. The U.S. realists, in one of their only foreign policy successes ever, used Afghanistan against the Soviets, knowing it was the graveyard of invading empires. Now the U.S. is, in the midst of a recession, tripling down on a completely unjust and completely unwinnable project to save Afghanistan from its own tribal people, win the war on drugs there, bring freedom to the land and defeat a terrorist network that barely even exists in the country.

This is a reminder of why it’s so important to oppose a war before it begins. The Afghanistan war was always a terrible idea. Nine years ago, a few Americans stood up and pointed out that the 9/11 attacks were retaliation for U.S. foreign policy, which must be changed if we are ever to address the problem of terrorism. But these voices were in the minority. More than 90% of Americans cheered the invasion of Afghanistan. Now many on the left think it was folly, but the U.S. can’t pull out. Or they are quiet because their beloved president is doing the killing.

The Democrats practically all backed this war, and in both 2004 and 2008 attacked Bush for “neglecting” Afghanistan. Obama always promised us he’d be even worse on this war than his predecessor. It almost inspires nostalgia for Bush, who was essentially no more aggressive than Obama but who seemed to get away with less.


Obama has meanwhile “ended” the war in Iraq by keeping 50,000 troops there – troops involved in shooting and killing. Then there are the 100,000 contractors and permanent bases. Americans are snoozing. Who cares about Iraq? That’s so 2003. And on the civil liberties front – detention, rendition, surveillance, even the unilateral presidential right to assassinate US citizens he deems terrorists – Obama has pushed the envelope further than Bush. But what’s the big deal? Even conservatives who think Obama a totalitarian tyrant don’t seem to care about these, his most totalitarian and tyrannical policies.

As for the national debate about U.S. foreign policy, there is none. The idea that the minority was pushing even on 9/12 – that the attacks were blowback from decades of U.S. aggression – is still hardly more discussed than it was back then. Ron Paul made it a somewhat common point of discussion back in 2007, but since then, who has even touched upon the fundamental nature of 9/11? Instead, Americans are divided as to whether to blame all of Islam or whether to blame radical Islam, when revenge over U.S. aggression is the true motivation behind the anti-U.S. attacks, and stopping the wars is the only answer.

But far from finally being open to the truth of blowback and the insanity of the Afghanistan project, and far from having learned from Iraq to distrust U.S. war propaganda, the American people appear to have forgotten about these wars, to have stopped caring about U.S. foreign policy, except to be worried, once in a while, about the next supposed foreign threat. The media claim, without justification, that Iran is getting close to having a nuke. The press, year after year, spins a story up about how Iran is just one year away, but there is no proof this is even an Iranian goal, and practically no one ever talks about the Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory, except to dishonestly imply that Iran has violated it. A poll this year reveals that 70% of Americans believe Iran already has a nuclear weapon – an astonishing accusation that the U.S. establishment has never outright articulated. But just as the Bush administration, without ever saying it, got Americans to believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, the powers that be are now doing nothing to dissuade the American public from these dangerous misconceptions about Iran. Indeed, all the actual aggressiveness is coming from Washington, in the form of sanctions and threats, and is directed against the Iranians – not the other way around.


Will the U.S. really go to war with Iran – a nation that has never attacked America, a nation that offered its support right after 9/11 in the fight against al Qaeda, a nation that would be even more unconquerable than Iraq and could become the trip wire for world conflict? Is the government going to challenge another country when it’s already in the middle of more than two wars with no end in sight? In a normal country, this would be an easier question to answer.

It is just an accepted fact that the wars and siege mentality must continue, that we cannot give up the empire lest we surrender to the terrorists. Instead, we must give away more and more of our freedoms for which we are supposedly hated. And how much longer can this charade go on? How much longer will the president be seen as the proper arbiter of life or death for all people everywhere, the judge, jury and executioner at the top of the U.S. justice system, with no territorial bounds on his power? How much longer will we deal with increasing humiliations at the airports, the rapid militarization of our police, the economy-crushing Pentagon that seems to double in size every few years, the demonization of Muslims that has become so commonplace? Will the U.S. be occupying Afghanistan nine years from now?

And it goes without saying that the U.S. government hasn’t even caught Osama bin Laden. Not that his capture would vindicate the million killed, the trillions squandered and the liberties smashed in this war. This would be obvious to people in a normal country.

But the madness will end, eventually. The bad dream that is post-9/11 America must at last give way to something else. If the people don’t get sick of it and demand that it end, or military defeat doesn’t do it, the U.S. empire will simply run out of money. Its days are numbered. It’s just tragic and sickening that many more will die before that happens.

September 11, 2010

Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a research analyst at the Independent Institute. He lives in Oakland, California. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of Anthony Gregory



Our ‘war on drugs’ has been an abysmal failure. Just look at Mexico

The west’s refusal to countenance drug legalisation has fuelled anarchy, profiteering and misery

Simon Jenkins

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 September 2010 20.30 BST

Article history

It is wrecking the government of Mexico. It is financing the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is throwing 11,000 Britons into jail. It is corrupting democracy throughout Latin America. It is devastating the ghettoes of America and propagating Aids in urban Europe. Its turnover is some £200bn a year, on which it pays not a penny of tax. Thousands round the world die of it and millions are impoverished. It is the biggest man-made blight on the face of the earth.

No, it is not drugs. They are as old as humanity. Drugs will always be a challenge to individual and communal discipline, alongside alcohol and nicotine. The curse is different: the declaration by states that some drugs are illegal and that those who supply and use them are criminals. This is the root of the evil.

By outlawing products – poppy and coca – that are in massive global demand, governments merely hand huge untaxed profits to those outside the law and propagate anarchy. Repressive regimes, such as some Muslim ones, have managed to curb domestic alcohol consumption, but no one has been able to stop the global market in heroin and cocaine. It is too big and too lucrative, rivalling arms and oil on the international monetary exchanges. Forty years of “the war on drugs” have defeated all-comers, except political hypocrites.

Most western governments have turned a blind eye and decided to ride with the menace, since the chief price of their failure is paid by the poor. In Britain Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Gordon Brown felt tackling the drugs economy was not worth antagonising rightwing newspapers. Like most rich westerners they relied on regarding drugs as a menace among the poor but a youthful indiscretion among their own offspring.

The full horror of drug criminality is now coming home to roost far from the streets of New York and London. In countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, drugs are so endemic that criminalising them merely fuels a colossal corruption. It is rendering futile Nato’s Afghan war effort, which requires the retraining of an army and police too addicted either to cure or to sack. Poppies are the chief source of cash for farmers whose hearts and minds Nato needs to win, yet whose poppy crop (ultimately for Nato nations) finances the Taliban. It is crazy.

The worst impact of criminalisation is on Latin America. Here the slow emergence of democratic governments – from Bolivia through Peru and Columbia to Mexico – is being jeopardised by America’s “counter-narcotics” diplomacy through the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Rather than try to stem its own voracious appetite for drugs, rich America shifts guilt on to poor supplier countries. Never was the law of economics – demand always evokes supply – so traduced as in Washington’s drugs policy. America spends $40bn a year on narcotics policy, imprisoning a staggering 1.5m of its citizens under it.

Cocaine supplies routed through Mexico have made that country the drugs equivalent of a Gulf oil state. An estimated 500,000 people are employed in the trade, all at risk of their lives, with 45,000 soldiers deployed against them. Border provinces are largely in the hands of drug barons and their private armies. In the past four years 28,000 Mexicans have died in drug wars, a slaughter that would outrage the world if caused by any other industry (such as oil). Mexico’s experience puts in the shade the gangsterism of America’s last failed experiment in prohibition, the prewar alcohol ban.

As a result, it is South American governments and not the sophisticated west that are now pleading for reform. A year ago an Argentinian court gave American and British politicians a lesson in libertarianism by declaring that “adults should be free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state”. Mexico declared drugs users “patients not criminals”. Ecuador released 1,500 hapless women imprisoned as drug mules – while the British government locks them for years in Holloway.

Brazil’s ex-president Fernando Cardoso and a panel of his former judges announced emphatically that the war on drugs had failed and that “the only way to reduce violence in Mexico, Brazil or anywhere else is to legalise the production, supply and consumption of all drugs”. Last month, Mexico’s desperate president, Felipe Calderón, acknowledged that his four-year, US-financed war on the drug cartels had all but failed and called on the world for “a fundamental debate on the legalising of drugs”.

The difficulty these countries face is the size of the global industry created by the west to meet its demand for drugs. That industry is certain to deploy lethal means against legalisation, as the alcohol barons did against the ending of prohibition. They have been unwittingly sponsored for decades by western leaders, and particularly by the United Nations which, with typical fatuity, declared in 1998 that it would “create a drug-free world” by 2008. All maintained the fiction that demand could be curbed by curbing supply, thus presenting their own consumers as somehow the victims of supplier countries.

The UN’s prohibitionist drugs czar, Antonio Maria Costa, comfortably ensconced in Vienna, holds that cannabis is as harmful as heroin and cocaine, and wants to deny individual governments freedom over their drug policies. In eight years in office he has disastrously protected the drug cartels and their profits by refusing to countenance drug legalisation. He even suggested recently that the estimated $352bn generated by drug lords in 2008-09 helped save the world banking system from collapse. It is hard to know whose side he is on.

The evil of drugs will never be stamped out by seizing trivial quantities of drugs and arresting trivial numbers of traders and consumers. That is a mere pretence of action. Drug law enforcement has been the greatest regulatory failure in modern times, far greater in its impact on the world than that of banking. Nor is much likely to come from moves in both Europe and America to legalise cannabis use, sensible though they are. In November Californians are to vote on Proposition 19, to give municipalities freedom to legalise and tax cannabis. One farm in Oakland is forecast to yield $3m a year in taxes, money California’s government sorely needs.

This will do nothing to combat the misery now being visited on Mexico. The world has to bring its biggest illegal trade under control. It has to legalise not just consumption but supply. There is evidence that drug markets respond to realistic regulation. In Britain, under Labour, nicotine use fell because tobacco was controlled and taxed, while alcohol use rose because it was decontrolled and made cheaper. European states that have decriminalised and regulated sections of their drug economies, such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal, have found it has reduced consumption. Regulation works, anarchy does not.

In the case of drugs produced in industrial quantities from distant corners of the globe, only international action has any hope of success. Drug supply must be legalised, taxed and controlled. Other than eliminating war, there can be no greater ambition for international statesmanship. The boon to the peoples of the world would be beyond price.


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