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Government Agency: If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months

Government Agency: If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months.

 By Michael Snyder, on March 18th, 2014

North American Power Grid

What would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year?  Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine.  These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly.  But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye?  According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day.  The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations.  If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult.  And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, I was absolutely floored…

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

Wow.

What would you do without power for 18 months?

FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast.  What they found was quite unsettling

In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go darkif as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.

The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.

So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time?  The following list comes from one of my previous articles

-There would be no heat for your home.

-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.

-Your computer would not work.

-There would be no Internet.

-Your phones would not work.

-There would be no television.

-There would be no radio.

-ATM machines would be shut down.

-There would be no banking.

-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.

-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.

-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.

-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.

-Hospitals would not be able to function.

-You would quickly start running out of medicine.

-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.

If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary “American Blackout” some time.  It will chill you to your bones.

The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time.  We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.

Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”

If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.

In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations.  Here is just one example

The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.

Have you heard about that attack before now?

Most Americans have not.

But it should have been big news.

At the scene, authorities found “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”

So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?

It could happen.

In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given “the keys to the Internet” to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?

It’s true.  The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn’t easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you’d have to enter “77.91.251.10” instead of theguardian.com.

If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the “reset button” on the Internet.

Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities.  In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time

A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) detailswidespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

The report, released on Tuesday, found thatapproximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”

Yikes.

And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either.  According to Symantec, there was a 42 percentincrease in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year.  And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”…

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks ‘Every Minute Of Every Day’“.

Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.

But at some point that will change.

Are you prepared for that to happen?

We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable.  In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war.  Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.

At this point, even NASA is warning that “civilization could collapse”…

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

So let us hope for the best.

But let us also prepare for the worst.

Washington’s “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT): Violence, War and Instability in an “Arc of Terror” | Global Research

Washington’s “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT): Violence, War and Instability in an “Arc of Terror” | Global Research.

Global Research, February 09, 2014
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Twelve years into America’s “war on terror,” it is time to admit that it has failed catastrophically, unleashing violence, war and instability in an “arc of terror” stretching from West Africa to the Himalayas and beyond.  If we examine the pretext for all this chaos, that it could possibly be a legitimate or effective response to terrorism, it quickly becomes clear that it has been the exact opposite, fueling a global explosion of terrorism and a historic breakdown of law and order.

The U.S. State Department’s “terrorism” reports [3] present a searing indictment of the “war on terror” on its own terms.  From 1987 to 2001, the State Department’s “Patterns of Global Terrorism” reports had documented a steady decline in terrorism [4] around the world, from 665 incidents in 1987 to only 355 incidents in 2001.  But since 2001, the U.S. “war on terror” has succeeded in fueling the most dramatic and dangerous rise in terrorism ever seen.

The State Department reports seem, at first glance, to show some short-term success, with total terrorist incidents continuing to decline, to 205 incidents in 2002 and 208 in 2003.  But the number of more serious or “significant” incidents (involving death, serious injury, abduction, kidnapping, major property damage or the likelihood of such results) was already on the rise, from 123 incidents in 2001 to 172 in 2003.

But then the 2004 report [5], due to be published in March 2005, revealed that the number of incidents had spiked to an incredible 2,177, including 625 “significant” incidents, even though the report excluded attacks on U.S. occupation forces in Iraq.  Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice took decisive action, not to urgently review this dangerous failure of U.S. policy, but to suppress the report.  We only know what it said thanks to whistleblowers who leaked it to the media, and to Larry Johnson [6], an ex-CIA and State Department terrorism expert and a member of Ray McGovern’sVeteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity [7].

Rice eventually released a reformatted version of the 2004 report, ostensibly replacing “Patterns of Global Terrorism” with a new report titled “Country Reports on Terrorism” that excluded all statistical data.  The State Department has continued to publish “Country Reports on Terrorism” every year, and was forced to include a “statistical annex” beginning with the report for 2005.  The reports also include disclaimers that this data should not be used to compare patterns of terrorism from one year to the next because of the “evolution in data collection methodology”.  In other words, a report that used to be called “Patterns in Global Terrorism” should not be used to study patterns in global terrorism!

So, what is the State Department afraid we might find if we used it to do just that?  Let’s take a look.  The politicization of these reports certainly undermines their reliability, but, as Secretary Rice understood verywell, the dramatic rise in global terrorism that they reveal is undeniable.

The numbers obviously spiked in Iraq and Afghanistan while under U.S. occupation, so we’ll exclude the figures for those periods in those countries.  The rationale for the “war on terror” was always that, by “fighting them there”, we wouldn’t have to “fight them here”, so we’ll just look at the effect “here” and everywhere else.

On that limited basis, the State Department reports nonetheless document an explosion of terrorism, from 208 incidents in 2003 to 2,177 in 2004 to 7,103 incidents in 2005. Since then, the total has fluctuated between a high of 7,251 incidents in 2008 and a low of 5,029 incidents in 2009, after President Obama’s election temporarily raised hopes of a change in U.S. policy.  The State Department has not issued a report for 2013 yet, but the number of “terrorist” incidents in 2012 remained at 5,748, documenting an intractable crisis that is the direct result of U.S. policy.

The ineffectiveness of the war on terror is intricately entwined with its illegitimacy.  In my book,Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, I argued that the illegitimacy of the hostile U.S. military occupation of Iraq was at the root of all its other problems.  The U.S. forces who illegally invaded the country lacked any real authority to restore the rule of law and order that they themselves had destroyed.  Even today, two years after expelling U.S. forces, the Iraqi government installed by the U.S. occupation remains crippled by fundamental illegitimacy in the eyes of its people.

The United States’ “war on terror” faces the same problem on a global scale.  The notion of fighting “terror with terror” or a “war on terror” was always fundamentally flawed, both legally and in its prospects for success.  As Ben Ferencz [8], the only surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, explained to NPR on September 19th 2001 [9], a week after the mass murders of 2,753 people in his hometown, New York City:

“It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done.  We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others.  If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t approve of what has happened.  I wouldn’t say there is no appropriate role (for the military), but the role should be consistent with our ideals… our principles are respect for the rule of law, not charging in blindly and killing people because we are blinded by our tears and our rage.  We must first draw up an indictment and specify what the crimes were, calling upon all states to arrest and detain the persons named in the indictment so they can be interrogated by U.S. examiners… I realize that (the judicial process) is slow and cumbersome, but it is not inadequate… We don’t have to rewrite any rules.  We have to apply the existing rules.”

Ferencz took issue with the use of terms like “war”, “war crimes” and “terrorism.”

“What has happened here is not war in its traditional sense…  War crimes are crimes that happen in wartime.  There is confusion there…  Don’t use the term “war” crimes, because that suggests there is a war going on and it’s a violation of the rules of war.  This is not in that category.  We are getting confused with our terminology in our determination to put a stop to these terrible crimes… To call them “terrorists” is also a misleading term.  There’s no agreement on what terrorism is.  One man’s terrorism is another man’s heroism…  We try them for mass murder.  That’s a crime under every jurisdiction and that’s what’s happened here and that is a crime against humanity.”

British military historian Michael Howard told NPR that U.S. leaders were making “a very natural but a terrible and irrevocable error” in declaring a “war on terrorism.”  He elaborated in a lecture in London [10] a few weeks later:

“…to use, or rather to misuse the term “war” is not simply a matter of legality, or pedantic semantics.  It has deeper and more dangerous consequences.  To declare that one is “at war” is immediately to create a war psychosis that may be totally counter-productive for the objective that we seek.  It will arouse an immediate expectation, and demand, for spectacular military action against some easily identifiable adversary, preferably a hostile state…”

In the U.S. Congress in 2001, Barbara Lee stood alone [11] against a sweeping Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), giving the president the authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons” whom he judged to have “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the mass murders of September 11th.

Barbara Lee implored her colleagues not to “become the evil we deplore,” but she was the only Member with the clarity and courage to vote “No” to the AUMF.  Twelve years later, she has 31 co-sponsors forH.R. 198 [12], a bill to finally repeal the 2001 AUMF.  They include former civil rights leader John Lewis, who said recently [13], “If I had to do it all over again, I would have voted with Barbara Lee. It was raw courage on her part. So, because of that, I don’t vote for funding for war. I vote against preparation for the military. I will never again go down that road.”

From the outset, few Americans understood that the “war on terror” was not legally a real war in which the civilian rule of law was suspended.  Elizabeth Wilmshurst resigned as Deputy Legal Advisor to the British Foreign Office in protest at the U.K.’s “crime of aggression” [14]against Iraq in 2003.  A year later, she told theIndependent [15], “This rather extraordinary war on terror, which is a phrase that all lawyers hate… is not really a war, a conflict against terror, any more than the war on obesity means that you can detain people.”

As the Obama administration took office in 2009, an Eminent Jurists Panel [16] convened by the International Commission of Jurists, and headed by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson issued a report on the U.S. response to terrorism since 2001.  The report concluded that the U.S. government had confused the public by framing its counter-terrorism activities within a “war paradigm.”  It explained,

“The U.S.’ war paradigm has created fundamental problems.  Among the most serious is that the U.S. has applied war rules to persons not involved in situations of armed conflict, and, in genuine situations of warfare, it has distorted, selectively applied and ignored otherwise binding rules, including fundamental guarantees of human rights laws.”

Like Ben Ferencz, the ICJ panel insisted that established principles of law “were intended to withstand crises, and they provide a robust and effective framework from which to tackle terrorism.”

But Barack Obama was an unlikely candidate to restore the rule of law to U.S. policy, to demilitarize the “war on terror” or to derail the gravy train of the largest military budget since World War II.  Hislong-term ties to General Dynamics CEO Lester Crown [17] and his thorough vetting by Crown and other military-industrial power-brokers ensured that the 2008 election was the first in 14 years in which Democrats raised more campaign cash from the weapons industry than Republicans, even after the Republicans almost doubled the military budget in 8 years and nominated industry darling John McCain for president.

A persistent part of the Obama myth is his description of himself as a “constitutional law professor.”  While serving as an Illinois State Senator, Mr. Obama did have a part-time job as a lecturer teaching 3 two-hour seminars per year at the University of Chicago in a program that brought politicians and other prominent people into the law school to give students a taste of the “real world.”  Most of the seminars were on public interest law or racism, not constitutional law [18], but in the looking-glass world of Obama mythology, this has transformed him into a “constitutional law professor” for political purposes.

Obama has failed to close Guantanamo, escalated the longest and most unpopular war [19] in U.S. history in Afghanistan, maintained the largest military budget since World War II [20], conducted23,000 air strikes [21] (mostly in Afghanistan [22]), launched or expanded covert and proxy wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria, and deployed U.S. special forces to 120 countries [23].

But perhaps the signature initiative of Obama’s war policy has been the expansion of assassination operations [24] using unmanned drones and JSOC death squads.  These operations violate still-standing executive orders [25] by previous presidents that prohibit assassination by U.S. forces or officials.  They are not legally covered by the 2001 AUMF, because very few of the people he is killing were involved in the crimes ofSeptember 11th, as former State Department Legal AdviserJohn Bellinger pointed out to the Washington Post [26] in 2010.

Just as Bush administration lawyers wrote memos claiming that torture was not torture, Obama’s have reportedly written memos claiming that assassination is not assassination and that innocent civilians in half-a-dozen countries are somehow implicated in September 11th and therefore legitimate targets under the 2001 AUMF.  But after Bush’s torture memos were widely ridiculed as legal fig-leaves to justify war crimes, the Obama administration has drawn a veil of secrecy over its assassination memos.  If Obama’s legal training has taught him nothing else, it’s that he can’t afford to expose his illegitimate cover for war crimes to public scrutiny and global outrage.

As the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston wrote in June 2010 [27],

“Targeted killings pose a rapidly growing challenge to the international rule of law, as they are increasingly used in circumstances which violate the rules of international law… The most prolific user of targeted killings today is the United States, which primarily uses drones for attacks… the United States has put forward a novel theory that there is a “law of 9/11″ that enables it to legally use force in the territory of other states as part of its inherent right to self-defense on the basis that it is in an armed conflict with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and “associated forces,” although the latter group is fluid and undefined.  This expansive and open-ended interpretation of the right to self-defense goes a long way towards destroying the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in the UN Charter.”

The prohibition against the threat or use of force in Article 2.4 of the UN Charter [28] is the foundation of peace in the modern world.  As Alston implied, it is either an unintended victim or an intended target of the “war on terror.”  The history of U.S. war policy since the end of the Cold War suggests the latter.  U.S. officials came to see the Charter’s prohibition on the threat or use of force as a constraint on their ability to exploit the “power dividend [29]” they gained from the collapse of the Soviet Union.  For ten years, they struggled to sell the world on new interventionist doctrines of “reassurance [30]“, “humanitarian intervention [31]“, “responsibility to protect [32]” and “information warfare [33].”  In the Clinton administration’s 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) [34], itclaimed the right to use unilateral military force to “defend vital national interests,” including “preventing the emergence of a hostile regional coalition…(and) ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources.”

As the British Foreign Office’s top Legal Adviser [35] told his government during the Suez Crisis in 1956, “The plea of vital interest, which has been one of the main justifications for wars in the past, is indeed the very one which the U.N. Charter was intended to exclude.”  So the implicit threat in Clinton’s QDR was a violation the U.N. Charter, and his attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 was a flagrant violation and a crime of aggression.  When British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Secretary Albright the U.K. was having difficulty “with its lawyers” over the plan to attack Yugoslavia, she told him the U.K. should “get new lawyers.”

When planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, counter-terrorism still seemed an unlikely pretext for overturning the U.N. Charter. But, within hours, according to Under-secretary Cambone’s notes [36] obtained by CBS News, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told a meeting at the Pentagon, “Judge whether good enough hit S.H. (Saddam Hussein) at same time – not only UBL (Usama Bin Laden)… Go massive.  Sweep it all up.  Things related and not.”

Twelve years later, as Michael Howard predicted, it is much harder to unscramble the consequences of America’s “natural but terrible” embrace of open-ended aggression and militarism.  But underlying all the crimes and atrocities committed in our names is the fiction that we are at “war” with “terror”, whatever that can possibly mean.  What it means in practice is that the U.S. government has applied an opportunistic soup of peacetime and wartime rules to justify whatever it wants to do, to use force anywhere in the world, to kill or maim anybody, to spy on anybody, to violate any treaty or human rights law and to project power anywhere, to effectively place itself beyond the rule of law.  To paraphrase Richard Nixon [37], “When the United States does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

The analysis of international lawyers like Ben Ferencz and other experts gives us a clear road-map to ending the war on terror and starting to undo its terrible consequences. There is a surprisingly clear consensus across the political spectrum on what needs to be done.

On the one hand, we have Noam Chomsky saying [38], on October 18th 2001, that, “The only way we can put a permanent end to terrorism is to stop participating in it.”  On the other hand we have Eliza Manningham-Buller, the first woman to head MI5, the U.K.’s domestic intelligence agency, describing a meeting at the British Embassy [39] in Washington on September 12th 2001, where “there was one thing we all agreed on: terrorism is resolved through politics and economics, not through arms and intelligence… I call it a crime, not an act of war… I have never thought it helpful to refer to a “war” on terror any more than a war on drugs.”

Ending the failed war on terror means restoring the rule of law to U.S. policy – not by secret interpretations of extraordinary laws granting unconstitutional emergency powers, but by genuine compliance with U.S. law and international treaties like the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.  If we allow our government to persist in this failed and disastrous policy, it will continue to corrupt and erode its own authority, it will destabilize the entire world and it will leave us defenseless in the face of real existential dangers like climate change and nuclear war.

Nothing could be more urgent than ending the failed war on terror (FWOT).  These are the practical steps we must demand of the President and Congress:

1) Pass Barbara Lee’s bill, H.R.198 [40], to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

2) Close the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.  Transfer accused criminals to stand trial in legitimate courts under fair trial standards, and release and compensate people wrongly imprisoned and/or tortured.

3) Halt all drone strikes, assassinations and military or paramilitary operations that violate the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions or other established principles of international law.

4) Substantially cut the U.S. military budget to end the most expensive and destabilizing unilateral arms build-up in the history of the world.

5) Acknowledge that the U.S. has committed aggression, torture and other war crimes during the past 12 years.  Restore legal accountability and compensate victims.

6) Make a new commitment to good faith diplomacy and cooperation with other countries to deal with the world’s pressing political, economic, social and environmental problems, including the explosion of terrorism caused by the war on terror.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He wrote the chapter on “Obama At War” for the just released book, Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

 Notes:

[1] http://alternet.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/nicolas-js-davies
[3] http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/
[4] http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/33889.pdf
[5] http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2002243262_terror16.html
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_C._Johnson
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veteran_Intelligence_Professionals_for_Sanity
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_B._Ferencz
[9] http://benferencz.org/index.php?id=4&article=53
[10] http://english.pravda.ru/news/russia/01-11-2001/29465-0/
[11] http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2001/09/14_lee-speech.htm
[12] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.198:
[13] http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/5/rep_john_lewis_civil_rights_icon
[14] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4377605.stm
[15] http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0705-06.htm
[16] http://www.un.org/en/sc/ctc/specialmeetings/2011/docs/icj/icj-2009-ejp-execsumm.pdf
[17] http://www.zcommunications.org/investing-in-weapons-war-and-obama-by-nicolas-j-s-davies.html
[18] http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/12/former-univ-of-chicago-law-school-dean-obama-was-never-offered-tenure/2/
[19] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/30/cnn-poll-afghanistan-war-most-unpopular-in-u-s-history/
[20] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERP-2012/pdf/ERP-2012-table80.pdf
[21] http://www.alternet.org/world/bomber-chief-20000-airstrikes-presidents-first-term-cause-death-and-destruction-iraq-somalia
[22] http://www.afcent.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140113-009.pdf
[23] http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175426/
[24] http://www.zcommunications.org/americas-death-squads-by-nicolas-j-s-davies.html
[25] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_12036
[26] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304965.html
[27] http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10094&LangID=E
[28] http://https//www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml
[29] http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/1001PDABR20.pdf
[30] http://www.salon.com/2005/03/17/wolfowitz_nomination/
[31] http://www.globalpolicy.org/qhumanitarianq-intervention.html
[32] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/opinion/r2p-rip.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
[33] http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/articles/97summer/peters.htm
[34] http://www.dod.mil/pubs/qdr/sec3.html
[35] http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/The%20World%20Today/2006/wt100616.pdf
[36] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/plans-for-iraq-attack-began-on-9-11/
[37] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejvyDn1TPr8
[38] http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2001/chomsky-1024.html
[39] http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio4/transcripts/2011_reith3.pdf
[40] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.198.IH:
[41] http://www.alternet.org/tags/war-terror
[42] http://www.alternet.org/tags/obama-0
[43] http://www.alternet.org/tags/bush-1
[44] http://www.alternet.org/tags/afghanistan-pakistan-relations
[45] http://www.alternet.org/tags/iraq-0
[46] http://www.alternet.org/tags/drones-0
[47] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Syria: “There are Terrorists from 83 Countries, Armed and Funded by Saudi Arabia” | Global Research

Syria: “There are Terrorists from 83 Countries, Armed and Funded by Saudi Arabia” | Global Research.

Global Research, February 09, 2014
Syria Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi said Saudi Arabia’s decision that Saudi citizens who fight in conflicts outside the Kingdom would face harsh punishment does not mean that the Kingdom will stop funding and arming terrorist groups.

In reply to journalists’ questions on a Saudi decision which says that Saudis who join fighting outside the kingdom would incur punishment, al-Zoubi described it as “unrealistic and not possible to implement,” since terrorists coming from Saudi Arabia are sneaking into Syria from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey via illegal crossings.

”There are terrorists from 83 countries who are armed and funded by Saudi Arabia…The Saudi decision says nothing about stopping funding, arming and training terrorists, be them Saudis or of other nationalities,” the minister said.

He added that the decision does not imply punishment for media incitement and psychological support to terrorists happening inside Saudi Arabia.

”Certain Gulf states are acting like Saudi Arabia…the religious and sectarian channels are receiving sustained support and funding from figures and institutions that are supposedly meant for charity, not bloodshed.”

”If the Saudi decision is intended to embellish the image of the Kingdom, then it is not useful and is not an expression of an international commitment to fight terrorism,” the minister pointed out.

The Sochi Olympic Games and the Threat of a Terrorist Attack. Who is Behind the Caucasus Terrorists? | Global Research

The Sochi Olympic Games and the Threat of a Terrorist Attack. Who is Behind the Caucasus Terrorists? | Global Research.

Global Research, February 06, 2014
blacksea

In the weeks leading up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Western Media has released a dribble of “trustworthy reports” examining “the likelihood” of a terrorist attack at the height of the Olympic games.

In late January, the British government warned “that more terrorist attacks in Russia (following the Volgograd attack in December) are “very likely to occur before or during the Winter Olympics in Sochi”. (BBC, January 27, 2014).

As the Olympic torch reaches Sochi, CNN released, in a timely fashion, the results of an “authoritative” opinion poll (based on a meager sample of 1000 individuals): “57% of Americans think terror attack likely at Sochi Games”

Earlier news reports focussed on the mysterious menace of a so-called “Black Widow” terrorist attack emanating from Chechnya, Russia’s hotspot of Islamic terrorism. According to a so-called “catastrophe expert”  Dr Gordon Woo, a Black Widow attack “is almost certain to happen”:

“Because of the history between the Russians and the Chechen people who splintered to form the Caucasus Emirate, Sochi is a prime target for terrorism,” said Woo, who has advanced insurance modelling of catastrophes, including designing a model for terrorism risk. (Business Times, UK)

The Sochi Games are occurring at the height of a Worldwide crisis marked by the confrontation between the US and Russia on the geopolitical chessboard. In turn, the ongoing protest movement in Ukraine has a bearing on Russia’s geopolitical control of the Black Sea.

What would be the underlying political objective of a terrorist attack?

Are these slanted media reports solely intended to create an aura of fear and uncertainty which causes political embarrassment to the Russian authorities?

While network TV and the tabloids have their eyes riveted on the Black Widow, the more fundamental question as to Who is behind the Caucasus terrorists goes unmentioned.

None of the news reports has focused on the fundamental question which is required in assessing the terror threat.

Both the history of Al Qaeda as well as recent developments in Syria and Libya confirm unequivocally that the Al Qaeda network is covertly supported by Western intelligence.

History: Who is Behind the Chechen Terrorists?

What are the historical origins of the Chechen jihadists, which are now allegedly threatening the Sochi Games? Who is behind them?

In the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US waged a covert war against Russia. The objective was to promote the secession of Chechnya, a “renegade autonomous region” of the Russian Federation, at the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipeline routes.

This was a covert intelligence operation. The main Chechen rebel leaders, Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab, were trained and indoctrinated in CIA-sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The two main Chechen jihadist formations, affiliated to Al Qaeda were estimated at 35,000 strong. They were supported by Pakistan’s Military intelligence (ISI) on behalf of the CIA; funding was also channeled to Chechnya through the Wahabbi missions from Saudi Arabia.

The ISI played a key role in organizing and training the Chechnya rebel army:

“[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early 1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev met the highest ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officers (Levon Sevunts, “Who’s Calling The Shots? Chechen conflict finds Islamic roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, The Gazette, Montreal, 26 October 1999.)

Following his training and indoctrination stint, Basayev was assigned to lead the assault against Russian federal troops in the first Chechen war in 1995. (Vitaly Romanov and Viktor Yadukha, “Chechen Front Moves To Kosovo”, Segodnia, Moscow, 23 Feb 2000)

The Geopolitics of the Sochi Winter Olympics

The Sochi Olympics are at a strategic location on the Black Sea at the crossroads of Russia’s oil and gas pipelines.

The forbidden question (both by the West as well as by the Russian government) in addressing the possibility of a terror attack is: Who is behind the Terrorists?

While the US sponsored Chechen rebels were defeated in the 1990s by Russian forces, various Al Qaeda affiliated formations –including the “Caucasus Emirate militant group, Imarat Kavkaz (IK) — remain active in the Southern Caucasus region of the Russian Federation (e.g. Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and Abkhazia).

Both the Russian based Al Qaeda groups as well as the broader network of jihadist formations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans constitute CIA “intelligence assets” which could potentially be used to trigger a terrorist event at the height of the Sochi Olympics.

Needless to say, Moscow is fully aware that Al Qaeda is an instrument of Western intelligence. And Moscow is also aware that the US is covertly supporting terror groups which threaten the security of the Olympic Games.

Within the Russian military and intelligence establishment, this is known, documented and discussed behind closed doors. Yet at the same time, it is a “forbidden truth”. It is taboo to talk about it in public or to raise it at the diplomatic level. Washington knows that Moscow knows: “I know you know I know”.

The more fundamental questions which both the Russian and Western media are not addressing for obvious reasons:

  • Who is behind the Caucasus terrorists?
  • What geopolitical interests would be served, were the US and its allies to decide to trigger a “False Flag” terror event before or during the Sochi Olympic Games?

The Ukrainian Government is Now Mass Texting Protestors with Warning Messages | A Lightning War for Liberty

The Ukrainian Government is Now Mass Texting Protestors with Warning Messages | A Lightning War for Liberty.

Earlier today, I highlighted the ingenious use of mirrors by Ukrainian protestorsto utilize non-violent, creative tactics to make powerful political statements. With violence escalating in the past 24 hours, it appears the Ukrainian government is now breaking out technological Big Brother by sending mass text messages to protestors warning them that they are being watched.

Remember: Your Government Loves You.

From CNET:

Your government wants to protect you. Because your government cares. Because your government works for you.

Except, that is, when you don’t like your government. That’s when your government works against you.

Take the Ukraine, which several people are trying to do just at the moment.

It’s decided to show what open government is really about. So it’s openly texting its citizens to tell them when they’ve been spotted protesting against the government.

As The New York Times reports, the powers-that-be are being powered by phone technology that identifies any cell phone that happens to be adjacent to where protesters are clashing with the uniformed officers of the state. (Protesting, you see, has suddenly been made illegal.)

Text messages are reportedly being sent that say: “We can see you!!!”

Yes, I have inserted quite some paraphrasing here. The texts actually say: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Iraq government loses control of Fallujah – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Iraq government loses control of Fallujah – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki has vowed to eliminate “all terrorist groups” from Anbar province as a security source conceded the government had lost control of the town of Fallujah to al-Qaeda linked fighters.

Maliki, speaking on state television on Saturday, said his government would end “fitna”, or disunity, in the province and would “not back down until we end all terrorist groups and save our people in Anbar”.

His comments came after a senior Iraqi security official told the AFP news agency that the government had lost control of Fallujah to fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Videos showed ISIL fighters in control of the main Fallujah highway, and officials and witnesses inside the town told the Reuters news agency that ISIL was in control of nothern and northeastern parts of the town.

 

Imran Khan talks about Maliki’s options on Anbar violence.

The ISIL has been tightening its grip in the Sunni-dominated desert province, near the Syrian border, in recent months in its effort to create an Islamic state across the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

In Ramadi, the other main city in Anbar, local tribesmen and the Iraqi security forces have worked together to counter the ISIL.

But in Fallujah, the Iraqi army has been prevented from entering by local Sunni tribesmen who, despite not supporting al-Qaeda fighters, are opposed to the Shia dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera’s Iraq correspondent, said: “The Iraqi army is on the outskirts of the town, negotiating with tribal leaders to go and fight the ISIL. They need cooperation from the leaders to go in and root out the militants.

“The military had a base just outside, from where they were shelling the city. They have withdrawn from that base and the tribal leaders have moved in, claiming a victory, but it isn’t clear yet from the army if it was rather a tactical withdrawal.”

Fierce fighting

More than 100 people were killed on Friday during fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi, one of the worst days since violence flared when Iraqi police broke up a Sunni protest camp in Anbar on Monday.

The escalating tension shows the civil war in Syria, where mostly Sunni rebels are battling President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Shia Iran, is spilling over to other countries such as Iraq, threatening delicate sectarian balances.

FBI probing Boston blasts as ‘act of terror’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English

FBI probing Boston blasts as ‘act of terror’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

 

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