CrisisGroup’s CrisisWatch Monthly Report N°83, 1 July 2010

04 Inter-State Conflict, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Terrorism, Civil Society, Corruption, CrisisWatch reports, Government, Military, Non-Governmental

New CrisisWatch  bulletin from the International Crisis Group

CrisisWatch N°83, 1 July 2010

Four actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in June 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch, released today.

In Kyrgyzstan large-scale violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks tore through the south of the country. Over 200 people have been officially reported killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting, the immediate spark for which is not yet clear. The country’s provisional government was unable to control the situation and failed in its efforts to secure an international military intervention.

An uneasy calm has now descended over the area and the 27 June constitutional referendum was conducted peacefully. However, there remains significant potential for the violence to reignite unless effective security measures and a reconciliation process are promptly put in place.

Turkey’s Kurdish PKK insurgents intensified their attacks in the country after calling off their 14-month unilateral ceasefire in early June. The violence reached its peak in the middle of the month when at least 40 soldiers and militants were killed in clashes in the country’s south-east. The Turkish military responded with a land and air offensive against PKK bases in northern Iraq. The renewed clashes highlight the faltering of Prime Minister Erdogan’s Kurdish “opening” policy and represent a significant deterioration in the government’s relations with the Kurdish population.

In Burundi presidential elections took place amid escalating violence, with several people killed in a series of grenade attacks and shootings over the month. Opposition candidates boycotted the poll and labelled the re-election of President Nkurunziza – with over 90 per cent of the vote – a sham. With the opposition also set to boycott parliamentary polls scheduled for late July, growing tensions risk endangering Burundi’s fragile democracy and undermining progress made since the end of the country’s brutal civil war.

June also saw rising tensions in neighbouring Rwanda ahead of presidential elections planned for August. The government denies involvement in recent attacks on high-profile critics, including the shooting of a former army chief in South Africa and the murder of a journalist in Kigali. But the events point to an atmosphere of repression that appears to have deepened in recent months.

June 2010 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations
Burundi, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Turkey

Improved Situations

Unchanged Situations
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Armenia/Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Northern Ireland, North Korea, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Search current and all past editions of CrisisWatch by using the CrisisWatch Database. To unsubscribe from CrisisWatch, click here.

Peace-Building Thru Spotlights on Local Insights

01 Poverty, 04 Education, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Family, 06 Genocide, 07 Health, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Immigration, 09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 10 Transnational Crime, 11 Society, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Corruption, Government, Military, Non-Governmental, Peace Intelligence
www.peacedirect.org

Stop Conflict. Save lives. 40 per cent of conflicts will restart within 10 years of a peace treaty being signed. 90 per cent of the people who die in those conflicts are not armed forces, but civilians, many of them children. We need to stop these conflicts from restarting, to stop people from dying. Peace Direct funds local peace-builders to build lasting peace.
Our vision is a world where the work and knowledge of local peace-builders is central to all strategies for managing conflict. Our mission is to fund local people who are working for peace in their communities. It makes sense to act before a conflict leads to a full blown humanitarian crisis, and to do that we need to listen to the local people who are there on the ground and can see the warning signs.

http://www.insightonconflict.org

Insight on Conflict is Peace Direct’s resource on local peace-builders in conflict areas.
You’ll find information on how local people are working to resolve some of the longest and bloodiest conflicts around the world.
Insight on Conflict provides information on local peace-building organisations in areas of conflict. Local peace-builders already make a real impact in conflict areas. They work to prevent violent conflicts before they start, to reduce the impact of violence, and to bring divided communities together in the aftermath of violence. However, their work is often ignored – either because people aren’t aware of the existence and importance of local peace-builders in general, or because they simply haven’t had access to information and contacts for local peace-builders. We hope that Insight on Conflict can help redress the balance by drawing attention to important work of local peace-builders. On this site, you’ll be able to find out who the local peace-builders are, what they do, and how you might get in touch with them. Over half the organisations featured on Insight on Conflict do not have their own website.

Thanks to the Global Peace Index Twitter feed for this resource. Also see the Inst for War & Peace Reporting.

Link to conflict areas they highlight: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Colombia, DR Congo, Kashmir, Kosovo, Israel & The Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand

Related (yet not):
Food4Peace – Conflict Kitchen
(only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with)

I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam–William “Tosh” Plumlee (5 hour audio interview) on the “Dark Alliance”

Commerce, Corruption, Government, Military, Research resources, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
Part one (of five) link here

5 hour interview with Tosh Plumlee on Expert Witness Radio with Mike Levine.

In 1999, Tosh Plumlee came on the airwaves and did five hours of interviews, detailing his history of flying drugs into the United States as part of a drug interdiction program. Part ONE | Part TWO | Part THREE | Part FOUR | Part FIVE

+ Article: “I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam”
+ ROBERT “TOSH” PLUMLEE DECLARATION 11/21/2004
+ FBI/DEA/CIA files released between the years 1981 and 1999. These United States government files are placed here for review by professional researchers, law enforcement officials and by the general public. A responsible review of these documents should provide the reader with a clear picture of the covert background of Tosh Plumlee.A careful review of these documents will reveal that the United States Department of Justice has been guilty of obstruction of justice since 1963 and before. LINK

Related:
+ Berto Jongman: Kill the Messenger Movie, Gary Webb Interviews, CIA Drug Business Back in the News
+ Video: Gary Webb on C.I.A. Trafficking of Cocaine (8:08, Gary Webb speaks; a GNN/Narco News collab)
+ Gary Webb YouTube search
+  Kill The Messenger: Mike Levine & Gary Webb – The Big White Lie + Dark Alliance = CIA drug cartel
+ Freeway Ricky Ross lecture
+ Freeway Ricky Ross search on YouTube
+ Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography (Amazon)

Gary Webb’s original Dark Alliance web portal (mirror by Narco News)

ICT4Peace Kyrgyzstan Crisis Wiki

07 Other Atrocities, Civil Society, Corruption, Government, Law Enforcement, Non-Governmental, Technologies
Link to Wiki

Snapshot of the crisis

The 2010 south Kyrgyzstan riots are ongoing clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, primarily in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad, in the aftermath of the ouster of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. It is part of the larger 2010 Kyrgyzstan crisis. Violence broke out on 9 June in Osh. By 12 June the violence had spread to Jalal-Abad, requiring the Russian-endorsed interim government led by Roza Otunbayeva to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to take control of the situation. As of 18 June 2010 it is reported that 2,000 ethnic Uzbeks have been killed, and 400,000–550,000 displaced, of which at least 85,000 have fled into the neighboring Uzbekistan.The eyewitnesses recount horryfying stories of atrocities commited by Kyrgyzs against Uzbeks. Amnesty International, HRW and other human rights and civil society groups have urged for independent investigation. (Excerpt from Wikipedia)

Background information & context (UN, World Bank etc)

Background information & context (media)

UN Inter-agency site in support of humanitarian response

  • http://www.ocha.kz (The website of the OCHA Regional Disaster Response Advisor for Central Asia)

UN OCHA Crisis Briefing Kit, courtesy Reliefweb and generated 21 June 2010

  • Download complete PDF here (~13Mb).

Kyrgyzstan Government sites

Continue reading “ICT4Peace Kyrgyzstan Crisis Wiki”

Reference: Small Arms Survey 2010: Gangs, Groups, and Guns

01 Poverty, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Terrorism, 10 Transnational Crime, Civil Society, Commerce, Corruption, Government, Law Enforcement, Military, References

Link to report

Small Arms Survey 2010: Gangs, Groups, and Guns
The Small Arms Survey 2010 reviews a range of issues related to gangs and armed groups, focusing on their use of violence, as well as emerging efforts to prevent and curb the damage they inflict on society. The volume includes studies of prison gangs, girls in gangs, and pro-government groups; it also features case studies from Ecuador and Southern Sudan. Rounding out the book is original research on the global ammunition trade and on options for controlling illicit firearm transfers by air.

Secrecy News: GAO Oversight of Intelligence, Costs of Secrecy

09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Budgets & Funding, Corruption, Government, Intelligence (government), Military, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Reform

GAO OVERSIGHT OF INTEL AGENCIES IN DISPUTE

One of the simplest and most effective ways to strengthen congressional oversight of intelligence agencies would be to task cleared staffers from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is the investigative arm of Congress, to undertake specific audits or investigations of intelligence programs.  Perhaps the clearest indication of the power of this approach is the fact that the intelligence agencies hate the idea and the White House has threatened a veto if it is adopted by congress.

Senate intelligence committee leaders have already yielded to executive branch opposition on this point, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting that the GAO has a role to play in intelligence oversight, and she says she is trying to ensure that Congress does not willingly surrender one of its most sophisticated oversight tools.  See “Pelosi Faces Off with Obama on CIA Oversight” by Massimo Calabresi, Time, June 25 and “Acting Spy Chief Plans Departure” by Siobhan Gorman, Wall Street Journal, June 25.

An unreleased opinion from the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel reportedly holds that intelligence programs are outside the purview of the Government Accountability Office and that intelligence agencies should therefore not cooperate with the GAO.

Although the GAO previously reviewed FBI counterterrorism programs prior to the 2004 intelligence reform legislation, “GAO has been essentially blocked from conducting its current work,” complained Sen. Charles Grassley (R-ID).  “The DoJ Office of Legal Counsel is arguing that GAO does not have the authority to evaluate the majority of FBI counterterrorism positions, as these positions are scored through the National Intelligence Program (NIP) Budget.”

The FBI confirmed that the GAO’s access to some previously auditable programs has been denied.  “With the post-2004 inclusion of FBI counterterrorism positions in the Intelligence Community, aspects of the review GAO proposed in 2009 would have constituted intelligence oversight,” the FBI told Sen. Grassley (at pdf pp. 67-68).  “It is the longstanding position of the Intelligence Community to decline to participate in GAO reviews that evaluate intelligence activities, programs, capabilities, and operational functions.”

I recently discussed the question of GAO oversight of intelligence with colleagues from the Project on Government Oversight, which published the conversation as a podcast here.

Phi Beta Iota:  Let’s not quibble here.  CIA and FBI and anyone else that is refusing GAO oversight are committing treason, plain and simple.  The US Government is out of control, and if Congress does not start living up to its Article 1 Constitutional responsibilities, there is a very real possibility of a complete over-turning of Congress along with multiple states actively nullifying federal taxation as well as as federal regulation, and some states starting with Vermont seceeding from the Union.  The Executive is betraying the public trust and not working in the public interest.  It’s time We the People pulled the plug with a tax revolt that explicits demands a cessation of funding for both the Pentagon and the secret IC, until such time as they can present to congress a responsible holistic strategy and force structure that produces desired outcomes, not merely a transfer of wealth to Lockheed executives and the banks behind them.  ENOUGH!

SECRECY COSTS CONTINUED TO RISE IN 2009

The financial costs of national security classification-related activities continued to rise in 2009, reaching a record high of $9.93 billion for the combined costs of protecting classified information in government and industry, the Information Security Oversight Office reported today (pdf).

Classification-related costs include not simply the act of classification, but also everything that follows from it:  physical security for classified materials, computer security for classified information systems, personnel security, and so forth. “The agencies also reported a modest, but welcome increase in spending on declassification programs,” wrote ISOO Director William J. Bosanko in his transmittal letter to the President.

The newly reported cost data do not include classification-related costs for CIA or the large Pentagon intelligence agencies — since those costs are themselves considered to be classified.  This means that the costs incurred by the most classification-intensive agencies are outside the scope of the published report, which significantly limits its value.  See “Report on Cost Estimates for Security Classification Activities for Fiscal Year 2009,” Information Security Oversight Office, June 25, 2010.

Phi Beta Iota:  These costs are severely understated and probably come closer to $15 billion a year than $10 billion.  However, taking $10 billion at face value, this means that the costs of secrecy completely apart from the sources and methods in being, are now at least 14% of the total budget for secret intelligence (itself moderately if not substantially understated since DoD concealed a great deal from the DNI in the last 2-3 years).  This is flat out NUTS.  It is unprofessional, irresponsible, and should at a minimum be grounds for Congressional refusal to fund the secret intelligence community until a 150-250 person GAO Special Intelligence Audit (SIA) unit is formed and given full access.

Journal: Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp

08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Corruption, Government, Military

Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp

by Ray McGovern, Consortium News, June 25, 2010
Raymond McGovern (born 1939) is a retired CIA officer turned political activist (see biography).

Is President Barack Obama so dense that he could not see why Gen. Stanley McChrystal might actually have wanted to be fired — and rescued from the current March of Folly in Afghanistan, a mess much of his own making?

McChrystal leaves behind a long trail of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations. For example, there is no real security, at least during the night, in Marja, which McChrystal devoted enormous resources to conquer this spring.

Remember his boast that he would then bring to Marja a “government-in-box” and offer an object lesson regarding what was in store for those pesky Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city?

But it’s now clear that there will be no offensive against Kandahar anytime soon. On its merits, that is surely a good thing, but it is a huge embarrassment for McChrystal and his former boss, the never nonplussed Gen. David Petraeus.

When McChrystal and his undisciplined senior aides let a Rolling Stone reporter know what they really thought of the “intimidated” Obama and most of his national security team, Obama and his advisers rose to the bait.

FULL STORY ONLINE

Phi Beta Iota:  Ray McGovern is a man of intelligence and integrity.  He gives General McChrystal too much credit here for a contrived exit, while at the same time touching on the pathethic lack of integrity in the White House, happy to sacrifice lives of “the little people” if it can embroil General Patraeus, who never had a shot at the Presidency, in a one-man quagmire.  What Obama has just done is treason in the purest sense of the word: there has been no strategic analysis, no Whole of Government conceptualization of what we need to do to rescue America while disengaging from a lecacy of 50 years of colonialism, militarism, and predatory immoral capitalism.  Obama is treating the US military–and especially General Patraeus who should have known better than to accept– as a pawn on the political chess-board–at the same time that he is, with malice aforethought, doing nothing at all in the public interest, just counting the days to his Goldman Sachs retirement package.   Shame.  Shame.  Shame.

Article recommended by Chuck Spinney.

Journal: Google Wants You….In Every Way, Forever

07 Other Atrocities, 10 Transnational Crime, Computer/online security, Corporations, Corruption, Cyberscams, malware, spam, InfoOps (IO), Misinformation & Propaganda, Mobile, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Privacy, Real Time, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Technologies, Tools

Prevent web malware and enforce policies for all users

Google Web Security for Enterprise, protects organizations of all sizes against web malware attacks and enables the safe, productive use of the web, without incurring hardware, upfront capital, or IT management costs.

Simple to deploy, effortless to maintain, scalable and secure

  • No hardware to install or maintain, just a simple change to your firewall or proxy
  • Proactively blocks web malware before it reaches your network
  • Integrates easily with directory services for granular enforcement and reporting
  • Extends to all employees wherever they are working – at home, in a hotel room, café, client premises, or Wi-Fi spot

Interested in learning more? Download these resources

Comment:  You were right. I’ve just learned about Google’s Endgame. I’m sure it’s been out a while, but when I saw this, I immediately thought of your statement about Google wanting to BECOME the Internet. The short video tells all.  REDACTED

Phi Beta Iota:  see also these posts.

23 Worst Tyrants/Dictators (Yes, there’s more than 23) and Oops, there’s Saudi Arabia..

01 Poverty, 02 China, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 05 Iran, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 09 Terrorism, 10 Transnational Crime, Civil Society, Corruption, Government, Law Enforcement, Military

The Worst of the Worst

BY GEORGE B.N. AYITTEY | JULY/AUGUST 2010

Foreign Policy link

Millions of lives have been lost, economies have collapsed, and whole states have failed under brutal repression. And what has made it worse is that the world is in denial. The end of the Cold War was also supposed to be the “End of History” — when democracy swept the world and repression went the way of the dinosaurs. Instead, Freedom House reports that only 60 percent of the world’s countries are democratic — far more than the 28 percent in 1950, but still not much more than a majority. And many of those aren’t real democracies at all, ruled instead by despots in disguise while the world takes their freedom for granted. As for the rest, they’re just left to languish. Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there’s one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile “freedom fighters” who were supposed to have liberated their people. Back in 2005, Bakiyev rode the crest of the so-called Tulip Revolution to oust the previous dictator. So familiar are Africans with this phenomenon that we have another saying: “We struggle very hard to remove one cockroach from power, and the next rat comes to do the same thing.

1. KIM JONG IL of North Korea (yrs in power: 16) Visa says no info
2. ROBERT MUGABE of Zimbabwe (yrs in power: 30) US embassy
3. THAN SHWE of Burma (yrs in power: 18) US embassy
4. OMAR HASSAN AL-BASHIR of Sudan (yrs in power: 21) US embassy
5. GURBANGULY BERDIMUHAMEDOV of Turkmenistan (yrs in power: 4) US embassy
6. ISAIAS AFWERKI of Eritrea (yrs in power: 17) US embassy
7. ISLAM KARIMOV of Uzbekistan (yrs in power: 20) US embassy
8. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD of Iran (yrs in power: 5) Iran c/o embassy of Pakistan + Canadian embassy
9. MELES ZENAWI of Ethiopia (yrs in power: 19) US embassy
10. HU JINTAO of China (yrs in power: 7) US embassy
11. MUAMMAR AL-QADDAFI of Libya (yrs in power: 41) US rep
12. BASHAR AL-ASSAD of Syria (yrs in power: 10) US embassy
13. IDRISS DÉBY of Chad (yrs in power: 20) US embassy
14. TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO of Equatorial Guinea (yrs in power: 31)
15. HOSNI MUBARAK of Egypt (yrs in power: 29) US embassy
16. YAHYA JAMMEH of Gambia (yrs in power: 16) US embassy
17. HUGO CHÁVEZ of Venezuela (yrs in power: 11) US embassy
18. BLAISE COMPAORÉ of Burkina Faso (yrs in power: 23) US embassy
19. YOWERI MUSEVENI of Uganda (yrs in power: 24) US embassy
20. PAUL KAGAME of Rwanda (yrs in power: 10) US embassy
21. RAÚL CASTRO of Cuba (yrs in power: 2) “Cuba interests section”
22. ALEKSANDR LUKASHENKO of Belarus (yrs in power: 16) US embassy
23. PAUL BIYA of Cameroon (yrs in power: 28) US embassy

Comment: We are uncertain why FP stopped at 23, why they list Hugo Chavez over Blaise Compaore’ (who they claim murdered an opponent, while Chavez’ gov was the 1st to respond to the Haiti crisis), and what their view is of Saudi Arabia whose known to fund the notorious Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) who are connected to terrorist operations, and Saudi Arabia was well-known to be pro-Taliban and they were recently revealed to be funding terrorism in Iraq. Also check out the History Commons timeline associated with the Saudis and Taliban connection.

Non-genius idea for FP: link information sources that backup your list.

UPDATE: Jan 31, 2011 they added this article America’s Other Most Embarrassing Allies

Related:
+
Handbook: Democide–Internal Murder by Regimes
+ 2004 Palmer (US) Achieving Universal Democracy by Eliminating All Dictators within the Decade
+ Review: Breaking the Real Axis of Evil–How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
+ Postcard from Hell: The Failed States Index 2010 (Foreign Policy)

Journal: CIA Denies Disability to Poisoned Officer

Corruption, Government
CIA Double-Crosses Its Own

Washington Post  June 16, 2010  Pg. B3

Federal Diary

Former CIA Agent Suing Agency Over Lead Poisoning

By Joe Davidson

When Franklin A. Richards, a CIA agent, readily accepted assignment to Iraq, he knew he might have to take a bullet — some lead — for his
country.

And he says he took plenty, but not because he was shot.

Richards, a firearms expert, was sent to Iraq in August 2003 to provide weapons training. He wasn’t hit by a bullet during the three weeks he was there, but according to a lawsuit he has filed, he was seriously wounded by lead poisoning.

Now he can no longer work as an agent, or at much of anything else, he says. The former agent is suing the CIA because of a long list of
ailments that he alleges grew from being ordered to labor in a toxic workplace that even the Army had placed off-limits.

READ FULL STORY

OFFICER IN HIS OWN WORDS

Phi Beta Iota:  Obama has betrayed both the public and the government civil servants and uniformed personnel.  He is nothing more than a continuation of “business as usual” under Bush-Cheney, and Leon Panetta is obviously nothing more than a placeholder who liked being played for a fool.  This case officer (evidently The Washington Post no longer employs editors or fact checkers–in the foreign intelligence world agents commit treason, case officers handle them) deserves better.  He should make this a class action lawsuit for $100 million, and seek $10 million for himself and his lawyer.  CIA is covering up so many high crimes and misdemeanors, it is hard to get a grip on all of them, but the worse high crime has been CIA mismanagement of the clandestine, analytic, administrative, and so-called scientific and technical services.  From the Afghan Eight to the Iraq  Thousand, CIA is so morally bankrupt that plowing salt into the ground at Langley would be an upgrade.

See Also:

Journal: CIA’s Poor Tradecraft AND Poor Management

Journal: CIA as Poster Child For Dull US Intelligence

Journal: OUT OF CONTROL–The Demise of Responsible Government “Intelligence” I

Journal: Suicide Bomber–CIA Cluster a Gift from God

Journal: CIA Opens Climate Center–the Reductionism and Irrelevance Continues within a “Dumb Nation”

Journal: US Government Still Inept at 183 Languages, 33 of them Core (including 12 distinct dialects of Arabic)

Journal: CIA Blows–Blackwater, $5M Bar Bill, and Reprise of Rendition Atrocities

Journal: Pentagon Lies, NYT Sells Out, Obama Fiddles

08 Wild Cards, 10 Transnational Crime, Corruption, Geospatial, Government, History of Opposition, Intelligence (government), Misinformation & Propaganda, Policy, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, True Cost
 

Chuck Spinney Sends

Rotting Oder of Pentagon Info Op Signals Effort to Shore Up its Great Game in the Hindu Kush

On 13 June, James Risen of the New York Times conveniently (at least for the Pentagon and the war party) reported that the “United States has discovered $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan [also attached below for your convenience].  I say convenient, because time is running out for the Pentagon in Afghanistan, and this report introduces a ‘new’ reason for occupying Afghanistan.  The timing of this report was noticed very quickly by several skeptical commentators ( e.g., here and here). 

But there is more.  The NYT report has the rotting odor of yet another Pentagon misinformation operation to lather up the masses using the willing offices of the tired old Gray Lady of journalism.  The oder is intense, because Risen’s Pentagon-inspired geological report coincides with the growing disenchantment with Afghan adventure.  And more people are coming to appreciate the disconnect between (1) a spate of credible reports (e.g., here)  describing the lack of progress in Afghanistan, particularly the failure of the showcase Marja COIN strategy to deliver its predicted result and (2) the requirement imposed by President Obama to show progress by the end of this summer.  Bear in mind, Obama’s ‘requirement’ was imposed on the Pentagon when he improved the flawed McChrystal/Petraeus surge plan and sold it to the American people last fall.  The military and spokesmen for the Obama administration began immediately  to back away from the deadline shortly after its inception, and it has already been stretched to coincide with the mid-term elections in November — which goes to show that domestic politics do not end at the water’s edge?

Although the several commentators expressed their justifiable skepticism about the timing of the NYT report, to the best of my knowledge, none have addressed the substance of the mineral estimate.  Shortly after it was published, my good friend and colleague Pierre Sprey, who has been called a vampire because he does his best work in the dark after midnight, got to the heart of the latter question and put the entire story together in an elegantly brief email that he distributed in the dark early hours of 14 June. 

Attached for your reading pleasure is Pierre’s incisive critique:

Pierre Sprey

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan
Pierre Sprey  14 June 2010

The timing of this release of ancient mining news–especially when floated with Petraeus’ name plastered all over it in a tried-and-true government propaganda outlet like the N.Y. Times–smells to me like a last ditch attempt to invent an economic justification for hanging on many more years in the hopeless Afghani morass.

Note that the now sacrosanct 1980s Russian mineral survey was “stumbled on” six years ago in 2004 by an American reconstruction team foraging in the Afghan Geological Survey Library. Then, according to the Times’ (read Petraeus and DoD) spin, nothing happened until two years later when the U.S. Geological Survey launched a 2006 aerial mineral survey followed by another in 2007, supposedly yielding all-new evidence of astonishing mineral wealth (iron, gold, copper, lithium, supposedly a trillion dollar’s worth)  just waiting to be tapped. Supposedly, this astonishing new evidence was then ignored by all until a Pentagon business development task force “rediscovered” the ignored USGS mineral data in 2009.

This spin is quite untrue: in 2005, the Afghan government, quite aware of their mineral resources, opened bidding on copper mining leases in Logar Province, bidding that was won by the Chinese in 2007. As for the reliability of the USGS data, note that they report 1.8 billion tons of potential lithium deposits (lithium is very trendy with the greens these days) but only a puny 111 million tons in proven or probable deposits.
 
But none of this purportedly astonishing USGS aerial survey data has raised much dust in the international mining world, despite the fact that the entire current New York Times scoop was thoroughly covered by Reuters and Mining Exploration News a year ago in April of 2009.

So what turned the ho-hum Reuters news of April, 2009 into a hot Times scoop in June of 2010? Is there any connection with the desperate need of McChrystal, Petraeus and Gates for a life jacket, now that the Afghan surge they floated is sinking so rapidly?

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Here it is….

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan

By JAMES RISEN  New York Times, 13 June 2010

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

And so on….read the full deception.

See Also:

Chapter 20, “21st Century Counterintelligence: Evaluating the Health of the Nation,” especially Dereliction of Duty (Defense); Disinformation, Other Information Pathologies, & Repression; Emprire as a Cancer including Betrayal & Deceit; Impeacahable Offenses (Modern); Institutionalized  Ineptitude; and Intelligence (Lack Of), all in the online hyperlinked version of INTELLIGENCE for Earth: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability (pages 179-205, in Part III.