Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mali Makes Moves to Combat Al Qaeda and Drug Trafficking

Mali has recently unveiled its new plan to combat Al Qaeda and its involvement in the illegal drug trade within the African nation. Al Qaeda in Mali are believed to have been charging tolls to drug traffickers and arms smugglers, according to the New York Times in an article titled “Mali Tries to Form Bulward Against Extremists.” Malian officials attribute much of Al Qaeda’s influence to widespread poverty.

Mali and other African nations have become safe havens for Al Qaeda’s drug trafficking operations. Between 180 to 240 metric tons of cocaine was transferred through routes through West Africa to Europe, according to ABC News in an article titled “Selling Drugs to Fund Terror: al-Qaeda Linked to Cocaine Trafficking.” Revenue from illegal drugs is believed to be used to support Al Qaeda’s jihadi war against Western nations.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Pope Promotes War on Christmas Day

Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas Day speech is a move towards applying political pressure on Western nations to support his war on Islam.

Read more here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

CIA and ISI Spar in War on Terror

Death threats caused the Central Intelligence Agency’s top officer working in Islamabad to leave Pakistan on Thursday. The CIA officer’s cover was blown when villagers named him in a legal complaint for a wrongful death resulting from CIA drone missile attacks, reported the New York Times in an article titled “Pakistani Role Is Suspected In Revealing U.S. Spy’s Name” by Mark Mazzetti and Salman Masood, published on December 17, 2010. The death threats followed shortly afterwards.


The CIA is convinced Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, had purposely exposed the agent. However, this would not be the first time the CIA has suspected the ISI of wrongdoing. Last year, the CIA accused the ISI of sending a double agent, who had claimed he would reveal information about Pakistan’s nuclear program, reported the Washington Times in an article titled “CIA, Pakistan’s ISI entangled in spy battle” by Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, published on July 7, 2010. When the CIA alerted the Pakistan government of this the Pakistanis said they would investigate the complaint and then never mentioned the incident again.

American officials also suspect ISI officers assisted in the July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to the New York Times. They also believe the ISI was involved in the Mumbai attacks last year, carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants.

US vs. Pakistan

Sparring between the CIA and ISI underscores America’s struggle with the Pakistani government in its War on Terror and its fight against Al Qaeda. The US is constantly battling with Pakistan to allow its continued drone attacks, which are wildly unpopular in Pakistan. It may be possible that the Pakistani government is using the ISI in order to slow down the unpopular drone attacks, while publicly supporting the US battle against Al Qaeda.

It is ironic that the CIA and the ISI had once worked closely together in their fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. The CIA did in fact create the Afghan Mujahideen, a wing of the ISI, which eventually branched off to become Al Qaeda. This characterizes the two-faced and incestuous nature of the War on Terror that began on 9/11, which many believe to have been an inside job.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WikiLeaks Founder May Face Conspiracy Charges

The US Government is attempting to form a conspiracy case against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. It is basing its case upon evidence that Assange may have assisted an Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, upload classified information, according to the New York Times in an article titled “U.S. Tries to Build Case for Conspiracy by WikiLeaks," published on December 15, 2010.

The US Government is looking to use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 to implicate Assange in a conspiracy to actively obtain classified information. This differs from past characterization of Assange’s activities as a passive recipient of classified government documents, which would make dissemination of such information protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The main piece of evidence in the potential conspiracy charge is instant messages between Manning and Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker. However, Lamo claims that he cannot provide the full record of the instant message conversation because the FBI has confiscated his computer hard drive containing the information.

If Assange is convicted of conspiracy he may serve up to ten years in prison, pursuant to Section 1030 (c) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If he is convicted of more than one count of computer fraud and abuse, Assange may face up to twenty years in prison.

Assange is currently being held in London under sex crime allegations. However, Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, believes the allegations are only being used to hold Assange in order to extradite him to the US, reported a Financial Times article titled “UK Police Investigate WikiLeaks Supporters,” published on December 15, 2010.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Debate between civilian or military courts for 9/11 mastermind is irrelevant

A disheveled mess of tangled hair and bloodshot eyes emerged in the newspapers as Kalid Shaik Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, is granted a public trial in New York City. Many accuse the Obama Administration of using the public trial as a political tool to indict the previous administration’s use of torture during the “war on terror.” Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times, according to the New York Times. A public trial could also allow Mohammed a podium for his anti-American propaganda and to present his own indictment of American foreign policy.

Some argue that Mohammed should be tried in a military tribunal as an unprivileged enemy belligerent. Only 29 percent of voters agree with the President’s decision to not hold the trial in a military tribunal and only 30 percent think suspected terrorists should have access to US courts, according to Rasmussen Reports. However, military tribunals can only be used when there has been a formal declaration of war. At the moment, there is no precise definition of a formal declaration of war. The last time a piece of US legislation was passed with the phrase “declaration of war” in the title was in 1942 against Romania.

The President has not been allowed to formally declare war since the passage of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. This resolution gave Congress exclusive power to formally declare war. The President is also required to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.

However, the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution has been questioned. Every President since its passage has treated the act as possibly unconstitutional. The reports to Congress, which the Resolution requires of the President, have been drafted to state that they are “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution and not “pursuant to” the Resolution, implying the Presidential position that the Resolution is unconstitutional.

The Obama Administration, at first, seemed to be in alignment with the War Powers Resolution in regards to Guantanamo. President Obama had immediately halted the military tribunals in Guantanamo when he was elected, pursuant to a Supreme Court decision. However, he has then resumed the Guantanamo military tribunals with a new experimental legal system, which is a hybrid of civilian and military courts. President Bush had previously argued that the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay were authorized by a congressional joint resolution, which served as a formal declaration of war. The Supreme Court rejected this assertion, ruling that only with the consent of Congress can the President use military tribunals. It also stated that the detention camps in Guantanamo is in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Obama, then, with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, defied the Supreme Court's interpretation of the War Powers Resolution and granted the President the right to try the detainees in military tribunals.

This implies that Obama is resuming military tribunals in Guantanamo despite the Supreme Court's ruling that Guantanamo violates the Geneva Conventions. Despite public opinion, there does not seem to be any legal way the President could try Mohammed or any of the other terrorist suspects in military tribunal courts. The debate about whether or not Mohammed should be tried in a military tribunal is irrelevant, because the rule of international law has already been abandoned.

Monday, November 9, 2009

US Government Neck Deep in Heroin

The US government is neck deep in heroin. The CIA maybe contributing to heroine trafficking from Afghanistan, while thousands of veterans of the War on Terror come back home seeking substance abuse treatment. The CIA may have been using government money which is suspected of being used to traffic heroin from Afghanistan into the US and other Western countries. Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghani president Hamid Karzai, has been receiving payments from the CIA for acting as a go-between for negotiations with the Taliban. Karzai is also suspected of aiding in the trafficking of opium, which eventually ends up as heroine in the US and other Western nations. This adds to the continuing history of the CIA's involvement in the illegal drug trade. However, the US War on Terror’s impact on heroin trafficking reaches further than Afghanistan.

America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused destabilization in both of these countries, enabling drug traffickers and suppliers to more easily distribute opiates throughout Europe and the US. Afghanistan in particular is of concern, because it is the world’s largest producer of heroine. Since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2006 opium production in the country has increased rapidly from 3400 tons, peaking at 8200 tons in 2007 and finally leveling out at 7700 tons in 2008, according to UN Drug Reports. Ninety-two percent of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan poppy plants, according to the 2008 UN World Drug Report.

However, the US government’s problem with heroin does not end in Afghanistan. Thousands of US military personnel are becoming addicted to opiates while serving in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan. Twenty-two thousand Iraq and Afghanistan veterans sought substance abuse treatment in 2008, which is more than double from 2006, according to Signs of the Times. Despite hard evidence of access to heroin in Afghanistan and widespread drug abuse problems among US soldiers the Drug Enforcement Agency does not any case officers serving in Afghanistan or Iraq looking into drug trafficking. It maybe likely that heroin will become a major problem, in many ways, for American society as a result of the US War on Terror.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Corporations Win, Public Loses in Healthcare Debate

Many see the heathcare debate as socialized versus privatized heathcare systems. But, no matter what side wins the American public loses. Both sides of the debate are controlled by big corporate interests, which are only interested in filling their own pockets and care nothing for the good of the American public. In fact, the U.S. health care system has already been partially socialized and partially private sector. Medicare has been providing socialized healthcare since 1965. There are also non-profit insurance providers who are closely connected to the government.

But, larger private sector insurance companies have become too powerful. A small handful of corporations control a large portion of the industry, ensuring a corporate monopoly on the healthcare industry. Corporate executives fill their pockets while millions of Americans are left without insurance or are left with inadequate coverage. Private insurance corporations also use large amounts of money to influence congress to vote for measures beneficial to maintaining this monopoly, which keeps healthcare costs and drug prices high. This has caused havoc for personal finances of many Americans. Fifty-five percent of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debts or illness. Seventy-five percent of those people were insured, according to

So what is the answer to the private sector's monopoly over the healthcare system? Although he maybe willing to compromise on adding the public healthcare option, President Obama’s original proposed healthcare overhaul plan claims that more government sponsored healthcare and also stiff regulations on private insurers will increase competition and result in lower premiums and healthcare costs for consumers. Obama’s plan will tax the wealthy in order to pay for the increased burden on the government to pay for public healthcare. The estimated cost for the overhaul is $1 trillion over ten years. That equates to about $100 billion per year.

This may seem like a lot of money, however we are actually spending more than that per year on the War on Terror. In the proposed 2010 budget the White House is asking for $130 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, there is no talk of diverting funds from these military endeavors to the healthcare system. The most Obama has done is divert funds from the war in Iraq to Afghanistan, therefore keeping money in the pockets of corporate military and defense contractors, such as Blackwater and Halliburton. These entities, like the private insurance and drug companies, are corporate entities with no duty to act in the best interests of the American people.

In fact, Obama has gone out of his way to protect corporate interests in his attempt to pass his bill for overhauling our healthcare system. Some may claim that Obama's plan will destroy the private corporate healthcare industry. But, he is actually protecting corporate entities from responsibility for corrupting our healthcare system in the first place. Obama promised to cap the total required amount the drug industry would be required to contribute to the overhaul to under $80 billion. Many Democrats in the House argue that this is too little. The drug industry was responsible for much of the chaos amidst the healthcare industry, yet Obama is still inclined to protect the big corporations who monopolize the drug industry to keep prices high for consumers. Many of the larger drug corporations pay smaller generic manufacturers to keep their product from reaching the marketplace, denying the public access to affordable medicine. Obama has struck a similar deal with the hospital industry as well.

Although opponents to Obama's plan fear that socialized medicine will destroy the private sector it is clear that the Administration still has the interests of wealthy corporate allies in mind, just like they did when they bailed out the financial sector and continued funding of the War on Terror. Whether it is healthcare, the economy or foreign policy the Administration continues to keep corporate interests ahead of the well-being of the American public.