Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moscow Nights, Part 1

Vladimir Putin's past is catching up with him.

From Vladimir Putin dogged by recent corruption scandals, March 15, 2011 (which I first found reprinted in Georgian Daily; I have reproduced links found in the original):

MOSCOW, Russia — That Russia is one of the most corrupt countries on earth has become a given.

Usually, that fact is illustrated by numbers: Transparency International ranks Russia near the bottom of its corruption perceptions index (at 154), well below any other Group of Eight nation and even below such winners as Egypt (98) and Libya (146).

Transparency International's 2010 report categorizes countries on a ten-point scale. Countries with scores above 9 are considered "very clean", while countries with scores below 1 would be considered "highly corrupt". The lowest score, 1.1, placed Somalia in 178th place. With a score of 2.1, Russia tied for 154th place. (By comparison, the United States, with a score of 7.1, tied with Belgium for 22nd place.)


Continuing with Vladimir Putin dogged by recent corruption scandals:

But in the past few weeks, two scandals have given an unexpected face — that of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — to what the Russian leadership has termed the country's biggest problem.

The two scandals — one involving a secret villa and the other a sham charity concert — prove that corruption, having seeped into every aspect of Russian life, leaves no one untouchable.

News of what has become known as the "Putin Palace" first emerged in December, when businessman Sergei Kolesnikov wrote an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev calling on him to investigate the powerful prime minister for alleged corruption.

"Corruption can only be eradicated if the effort commences at the top and goes all the way to the bottom," Kolesnikov wrote. His letter was an insider's tale that recounted the construction of a 3,000-square-foot mansion being built on the Black Sea which, he alleged, was to be used by Putin as a vacation home.




In response, the palace was quietly sold "to a little-known businessman named Alexander Ponomarenko."

Skipping down in Vladimir Putin dogged by recent corruption scandals:

Soon after the sale, a second scandal erupted, this time involving a charity concert in St. Petersburg, attended by Hollywood elite, ostensibly to raise funds to help children with cancer. It was at that fundraiser, organized by an unknown charity called Federation Fund, where Putin took to the stage to sing his now famous rendition of "Blueberry Hill."

This scandal also broke with an open letter, from the mother of one of the sick children who expected to receive help. "It's been three months since [the concert]," wrote Olga Kuznetsova, whose daughter received a highly publicized visit from Sharon Stone ahead of the event. "There's no money, no help, no fund even." A doctor at Hospital 31, where Kuznetsova's daughter is receiving treatment, confirmed to Russian media that it had gotten no money after the charity concert.

The fund — which has no public listing, no website — was allegedly registered just ahead of the event. Its head is Vladimir Kiselyov, a Soviet-era rock star and St. Petersburg native who is said to have been a classmate of Putin's.


Here I review a paragraph from page 6 of Globalization and Transnational Organized Crime: The Russian Mafia in Latin America and the Caribbean by Bruce Michael Bagley, dated November 15, 2002; I interrupt in mid-paragraph with my own comments:

Western donor nations generally and the United States specifically may have contributed indirectly to undermining or weakening the Russian state and others in Eastern and Central Europe in the 1990s through their misdirected aid policies. Fearing that Communist party bureaucratic holdovers might seize control of, or improperly divert, Western assistance flows into Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries, whenever possible most international donors channeled their assistance through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) rather than through existing state institutions. The intent was to help strengthen the region's embryonic civil societies in the post-Soviet period while undercutting entrenched and corrupt bureaucratic authorities.

Was it? Was that the intent - to strengthen the newly-free society?

Continuing with the paragraph from page 6 of Globalization and Transnational Organized Crime: The Russian Mafia in Latin America and the Caribbean:

Good intentions notwithstanding, such policies, in practice, did not prevent Western aid resources from being siphoned off by the region's proliferating organized crime groups and may even have facilitated criminal enterprises of various sorts by circumventing state controls altogether. Simultaneously, such aid practices unquestionably further reduced the authority and impact of already debilitated state institutions while limiting international donors' leverage in support of effective institutional reforms.15

Or, did people in western governments use that intent as cover to organize crime in Russia along lines that might be conducive to their own interests? Perhaps to get Russia down and kick her, so there would be no one to contest the power of a triumphant America? Or, perhaps making things conducive to the business of the organized crime faction that had those western officials on its payroll?

Skipping down:

The U.S. government's interagency working group on international crime observes that over the latter 1990s the traditional domination of the "thieves-in-law" or "godfathers" of Russian crime gradually began to yield to a new breed of more "...flamboyant, aggressive and politically savvy ..." Russian criminals "...well-versed in modern technology and business practices that allow them to operate efficiently across international borders."18 Perhaps the most powerful of this new breed of Russian crime syndicates in terms of wealth, influence and financial control is the Solntsevo group known as Solntsevskaya. Solntsevskaya dominates Moscow's criminal underworld – including the drug market – and is reputed to have extensive worldwide operations involving arms and narcotics trafficking and money laundering operations.19 These overseas contacts and alliances do not, however, signal the emergence of a vast, centrally directed Russian underworld empire. Rather most Russian international criminal networks appear to be made up of "alliances of convenience" that are temporary and impermanent, not long-term and strategic.20

Temporary, not long-term... has that changed? Anyway, does it matter? Mafioso-temp agencies; work a deal to get the specific results you want, without having unnecessary criminals on your organization's payroll...

Continuing (I fixed a typo):

With the transition from the presidency of Boris Yeltsin to that of Vladimir Putin in 1999-2000, the political pendulum in Russia may have begun to swing back toward the construction of a stronger Russian state, one perhaps more authoritarian than democratic.21 Public opinion in Russia has exhibited overwhelming concern in recent years with the construction of a "strong state" capable of reining in rampant lawlessness and corruption. Putin himself has repeatedly referred to the need for imposing "the dictatorship of law". Skeptical observers, however, note that President Putin himself is the product of the very oligarchical system created under Yeltsin and that he has publicly rejected the popular idea of investigating the results of Russia's highly questionable privatizations of former state-owned enterprises during the 1990s for legal improprieties, cronyism and corruption. If, as Margaret Beare emphasizes, "...the meaning of the 'dictatorship of law' should turn out to be protection of the gains of the beneficiaries of the legal vacuum, then the main sources of Russian organized crime and corruption are likely to remain unaffected."22

So, Putin wanted to force lawfulness on Russia, but then, as President, and now as Prime Minister, he has consolidated his power and the power of the criminal factions he represents.

Now, there is change we can believe in!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Desiccated Land, Part 2

In this post, we try to put the Jammu and Kashmir situation into perspective. You may wish to review Part 1.


First, a brief update on some news from the region.

We begin with an initial excerpt from 24 hour gun-battle leaves 2 ultras dead, trooper injured, dated March 14, 2011, which outlines an incident in the town of Sopore, in the district of Baramulla (the English is a little choppy):

SRINAGAR, Mar 13: In a 24 hour long gun battle in Sopore that ended this morning police claimed to have killed two militants, including a top Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) commander while an army trooper was injured. Suspected militants also hurled a grenade in area.

According to police, Wasim Ahmad Ganai a local militant of HuM who was holed up in Kralteng locality of Sopore town was killed in the fresh exchange of fire with a joint team of 22 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group (SOG) this morning. A trooper identified as Nitender Kumar of 22 Rashtriya Rifles was injured in exchange of heavy fire.

Police said that Wasim gave a stiff resistance to police and army and kept them engaged during last night in gunfight that ended this morning. The encounter started Saturday after troopers of 22 RR, SOG and CRPF cordoned off the private clinic of Dr Sofi Muhammad Ramzan.

As search party entered heavily armed militants opened fire on police and army triggering a fierce encounter. In the initial exchange of fire, police claimed the killing of divisional commander of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) Chhota Kalimullah alias Shamsher alias Talwar Bhai and Wasim managed to take shelter in drain and engaged the forces in 24-hour long gun-battle.

In the aftermath of the fight, security forces seized a "large" cache of weapons and ammunition.

It should be noted that Sopore was the scene of a 1993 event known as the Sopore Massacre, described in an article in Time thusly:

PERHAPS THERE IS A SPECIAL CORNER IN HELL reserved for soldiers who fire their weapons indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed civilians. That, at least, must have been the hope of every resident who defied an army-enforced curfew in the Kashmiri town of Sopore last Thursday to protest a massacre that left 55 people dead and scores injured. It was India's latest blow in a three-year campaign to crush the predominantly Muslim state's bid for independence. In retaliation for the killing of one soldier, paramilitary forces rampaged through Sopore's market setting buildings ablaze and shooting bystanders. The Indian government pronounced the event "unfortunate" and claimed that an ammunition dump had been hit by gunfire, setting off fires that killed most of the victims.

In that incident, hundreds of buildings were destroyed; how many hundreds, and how they were destroyed, depends on who is asked.


This most recent incident is given some perspective, as we consider the first part of Rise in militancy related incidents, also dated March 14, 2011:

SRINAGAR, Mar 13: With the onset of spring the militant relatives incidents seem to be increasing in valley and in less than a week seven militants were killed in Srinagar, Shopian and Sopore. Police claim that around 100 militants are active in North and Central Kashmir.

The highest number of militants, police claim, are active in the apple rich Sopore town of North Kashmir. "The number of active militants in Sopore and Rafiabad is around 20-25," deputy inspector general of police North Kashmir Muneer Ahmad Khan told Kashmir Times. "We have groups of militants active in Rajwarad, Hafrudda Handwara and Lolab area in Kupwara. There is also a group of militants active in Bandipora district," he added.

The article goes on to explain some controversy over how a militancy-free zone was declared, though the officials in the zone don't know who declared it; but, they point out that in that particular zone, militancy is down. This is temporary, though, as the militants move around from region to region, and many of them infiltrate in from Pakistan. However, we are reassured, alert troops are watching the Pakistan border to minimize this.

A general alarm is sounded in an article entitled Target India: 700 militants waiting at Pak launchpads, dated March 17, 2011:

Pattan (J&K) Noting that turbulence in Afghanistan and Pakistan will have an impact on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army on Thursday said 700 militants were waiting at various lauchpads to infiltrate into the state.

"India, Kashmir and Pakistan are all at the peripheries of the problem area of Afghanistan. So if peace does not exist in Afghanistan and there is turbulence in Pakistan, obviously there will be turbulence around us," General Officer Command (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General S A Hasnain told reporters here, 30 kms from capital Srinagar.

Lt Gen Hasnain was replying to a question about the impact on Kashmir after the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

"The problem is always that of turbulence. An area that is turbulent will always send waves of turbulence into the other areas," he said.

He said the Army has reports that militants across the Line of Control (LoC) will attempt to infiltrate into the state in the next few days.

So, there is immediate concern about further violence in Jammu and Kashmir, but in the long term, there is concern about how that situation could deteriorate if the US withdraws from Afghanistan without adequately stabilizing the situation there.

Of course, it is an oversimplification of the problem to point at Afghanistan. Instability there in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 was dealt with by Pakistan via proxy forces from across the Durand Line; we now call these forces the Taliban, but they are the same kinds of militants that infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.

But, to blame it all on Pakistan is also an oversimplification; were there not a volatile situation in Afghanistan and J & K, the "stabilizing" influence of Pakistani-supported militants would not be so profound.

For me, it is interesting to view the whole situation in a broader context.

To a recent article entitled China's arms sales to Pakistan unsettling South Asian security, I made the following comment:

China's strategic partnership with Pakistan serves China far more than it serves Pakistan.

If China needed to do so, it could move its powerful ground forces, supported by aircover, overland to defend the port facilities in Gwadar. Such inland lines of communication would be challenging even for the US to interdict. The trick would be getting Chinese naval units all the way around Southeast Asia and India to Gwadar.

Far more likely, though, is that the build-up of Pakistani power is intended to offset US influence in Pakistan, and to keep India otherwise occupied, allowing a freer hand for Beijing throughout the rest of Asia.

Pakistan needs to rethink its adversarial relationship with India. By defining itself as a Muslim country, juxtaposed against India, and by support of Islamic militants as proxies and for strategic depth, Islamabad has painted itself into a corner, where Pakistan's policy can easily be manipulated by Washington (though the US does not have the finesse to do so) and especially by Beijing. If Pakistan could reinvent its relationship with India, Islamabad would have a far freer hand in its foreign affairs, defense and other matters, and Pakistanis would benefit by less blowback from ISI's upport of militants.

For background, I suggest my Tale of a Tiger series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6), which paints a picture of growing Chinese influence in South Asia and the Persian Gulf, a drive towards a capability to challenge US naval power, a growing ability to project naval power into the Indian Ocean, and which addresses Sino-Indian issues. Furthermore, in Part 6, I point out the advantages of a Chinese strategic move into South Asia, which would help stabilize Xinjiang, a region where China is currently dealing with its own Islamic militants.

China's arms sales to Pakistan unsettling South Asian security details how China has benefited from arms sales to Pakistan; one benefit is a big, reliable foreign customer, allowing for development of China's arms industry.

However, China is not the only competitor nation to be building its arms industry.

An article from March 4, 2011, entitled US air power: Made in India? addresses how India's aerospace industry is growing in part due to a policy of "offsets". Basically, India agrees to purchase aircraft from the US, provided the aircraft are built at least partially in India.

The benefit to the US corporations is that manufacturing can be done in India, rather than in the US, where labor costs are higher.

This means Americans lose jobs so Indians can have them.

But, a big benefit to India is that the manufacturing facilities are in India, not the US.

In a hypothetical scenario where relations between the US and India deteriorated to the point of war (obviously, extremely unlikely), India would have the industrial base to support the war; an industrial base that belongs in the US, but which was exported for profit by US corporations.

But wait, there's more!

India hopes to qualitatively improve its aerospace industry through the technology transfer that would naturally accompany coproduction of late-model US combat aircraft.

On the US side, it is assumed that by the time India learns the ins and outs of the aircraft it is coproducing, the US will have fielded a newer generation.

(I'll bet that, when you began reading this article about militants in some Indian town that few Americans have ever heard of, you never suspected this article would turn in the direction it has!)

For India, this is a big plus, because India's aerospace industry is growing quantitatively and qualitatively, placing it well ahead of Pakistan's, and on a par with China's; this, in part, at American expense, just as China's military-industrial complex is developing in part at Pakistani expense.

(Of course, when you consider how much money the US government is giving to Pakistan, I could argue that China's development is also at US expense.)

In the long run, this will leave India in a much better position vis-à-vis both Pakistan and China for a fight with both that could be sparked by an incident in some town like Sopore.


But, my American readers may be asking, where will that leave US?

;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Among the Sons of Togarmah, Part 4

In Part 1, we looked at the strategic significance of the Caucasus. We also considered how intractable the problem was for Moscow, especially considering the methods Russia is using to pacify the region.

In Part 2 we saw how the Kremlin was hoping to pacify the region by building it up economically with a focus on tourism; and how, in Kabardino-Balkaria, terrorists attacked that very tourism industry. It is interesting that, if security forces cannot defend the tourist industry where it is reasonably well-established, how can they defend its expansion into areas that have been at war for many years now?

Then, in Part 3, we saw, based on the example from Chechnya, that Moscow's main strategy was to support one local group - a clan, but essentially an organized crime faction - in its effort at "state capture" (that term was not used; do an internet search to see what it means) by a force that would do the Kremlin's bidding. We also saw how a policy of support for corruption, as long as the corruption was pro-Moscow, only served to drive people toward the jihadists, as their only alternatives were organized crime puppets of Moscow, or organized crime jihadists furthering the global caliphate.


We now consider an excerpt from Islamists Gain Upper Hand in Russian Republic: Part 2: Moscow Tries to Win Hearts and Minds by Matthias Schepp in Dagestan, July 30, 2010:

Seeking Revenge

Police investigators had leaked a list of "black widows" to the newspaper. The term is used by Russians for women whose husbands or brothers were killed by security forces and are thus suspected of seeking revenge by making themselves available to Islamists as suicide bombers. In the last 10 years, black widows have been responsible for at least 16 attacks, two of which resulted in plane crashes.

Ramazanova came into the crosshairs of investigators because of her brother Vadim, who was killed two years ago in a police raid in Makhachkala. "They don't even return the bodies to us," she says. "It's said that they even sell the organs of the people they've killed."

She recounts stories of police violence and of relatives and friends who have been tortured, of electric shocks and the "baklashka," a plastic bottle filled with water that police officers use as a particularly painful weapon to beat people with. "My brother had no choice," says Ramazanova. She insists that he was driven underground because he was constantly under suspicion and being harassed by the authorities.

A video obtained by Russian state security shows Vadim in an apartment. For 16 minutes and 7 seconds, he provides detailed instructions on how to commit a suicide bombing. He lists the ingredients for an explosive belt and names a store in Makhachkala that sells one of the ingredients, acetone, and another store where the parts for the detonator can be found. "The most important thing is that you do it for Allah. Bring chaos to the ranks of the infidels, and kill as many of them as you can," Vadim says as he calls upon the faithful to commit murder.

It's a vicious circle. Security forces crack down; the deaths of accused terrorists serve as fodder for more people to join the ranks of the terrorists. The suspicion that someone might join the jihadists furthers a dynamic which helps drive the suspect into the ranks of the jihadists. The increase in jihadist activity then justifies further crackdowns. Alleged police abuse of detainees, coupled with rumors of organ-harvesting, only cause the atmosphere to be more volatile.

To be sure, that story was about Dagestan. But, we now consider the situation in nearby Kabardino-Balkaria. From Kabardino-Balkaria Risks Becoming New Insurgency Hotspot, by Emil Souleimanov, March 2, 2011:

BACKGROUND: Until recently, the Northwest Caucasus had been considered rather immune to the manifestations of militant Islamism. Unlike the ethnic autonomous regions of the Northeast Caucasus, i.e. Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya, these tiny republics with less than a million (Kabardino-Balkaria) and half a million (Karachay-Cherkessia) inhabitants, with a sizable share of ethnic Russians, were significantly Europeanized during decades of Soviet rule. Importantly, local societies largely lack the attributes contributing to the swift mobilization in the Northeast Caucasus: the prevalence of highly traditional societies including tribalism, blood feuds, and a strong role for Islam in the public and private spheres.

Yet life in both republics is marked by considerable tension between representatives of Turkic (Karachay, Balkar) and Adyghe (Cherkess, Kabardey, Abaza) groups that does not confine itself only to the nationalist pamphlets of local (pseudo) historians. Economic and political power is concentrated almost entirely in the hands of demographically dominant Kabardians and Karachays in their respective republics, causing permanent discontent among groups that consider themselves discriminated against. Following centuries of forced migrations implemented by Russian authorities in attempts to pacify the region, ethnic groups also clash over certain disputed territories.

As a result, the ethno-nationalist split seemed to be the main, if not single, ideological force in the Northwest Caucasus only a decade ago. Yet the hunt for real and imagined "Wahhabis" in the North Caucasus that started in 1999-2001 and intensified during the desperate Nalchik attack of 2005, led by the first generation of local insurgents, provided for a deepening "Jihadization" of the political opposition. The ongoing process has been fueled by the strong desire among local youth to distance themselves from the Turkic-Adyghe split, put an end to the power of corrupt elites, retaliate against indiscriminate activities of the local police, and establish an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus.

Notice that the above background talks about corruption among governing elites and police oppression. To me, it seems evident that the same dynamic is helping fuel the situation in the Northwest Caucasus, just as in the Northeast Caucasus. This is not surprising; on the one side, it is the same Kremlin, and on the other, it is the same drive to establish a Caucasian (and later world) caliphate. The opposing forces are the same, the social and geographic background is in many ways similar; how different can the process and the results be?

Indeed, the author goes on to reference another work addressing Dagestan; continuing:

IMPLICATIONS: The ongoing deterioration of the security situation in Kabardino-Balkaria testifies to the inability of local authorities to really combat terrorism, even though that task should have been the easiest in this particular part of the North Caucasus. Like elsewhere in the region, the brutal and unprofessional efforts of local security forces to rid the country of "Wahhabis" have only contributed to strengthening the Islamist insurgency (see the 09/29/2010 issue of the CACI Analyst).

The referenced article, entitled Dagestan: The Emerging Core of the North Caucasus Insurgency, explains the situation in Dagestan, but the lessons are not lost on the rest of the Caucasus:

IMPLICATIONS: Fifteen years ago, there was nearly no talk about Islamist insurgency in Dagestan, a decade ago its instances were extremely rare, yet since then it has been increasing drastically. Although some Dagestani communities were the first in the North Caucasus to embrace Salafism in the beginning of the 1990s, the failed incursion of the united Dagestani-Chechen Jihadist insurgents to Western Dagestan in August 1999 largely discredited the ideology across the republic. What happened since then? First, since "Islamist terrorism" was widely recognized as a primary threat to national security in 1999-2001, thousands of mostly young Dagestanis, accused of terrorism and "Wahhabism", have been taken into custody by local authorities where they were often subjected to Soviet-style interrogation. Deep religiosity has been considered especially suspicious by the authorities, which have been waging full-scale war against real and alleged "Wahhabis" and their sympathizers. Yet for many undereducated, underpaid and corrupt policemen facing impunity, capturing people for ransom has provided for a source of solid income. As authorities have lacked enough evidence to put alleged "Wahhabis" in jail, these were eventually set free following a few months of torture. Many of them never made peace with what was done to them in prisons, and have turned to violence to retaliate the humiliation. In case someone's relative was killed or seriously wounded, their brothers, sons or cousins have pledged oaths to take revenge for the sake of family honor. As it is difficult for individuals to combat authorities on their own, many young Dagestanis have joined the insurgent movement in the mountains, where there were exposed to the basics of Salafism. The adoption of a common ideology of resistance has cemented the insurgence, shaping specific – now rather de-individualized – goals (the establishment of an Islamic state independent from Moscow) and targets (the Russian occupiers and their Dagestani "marionettes"). The collective memory of Dagestani peoples draws upon the notion of age-old anti-colonial, e.g. anti-Russian, resistance. Fighting local renegades is an even more important task.

Likewise, many Dagestanis have joined the insurgency in protest of the societal sins, be it corruption, erosion of traditional values, inability to realize themselves professionally or in search for a better, Islamic, future for their homeland. Most importantly, membership in Jihadist groups (jamaats) has helped individual combatants to overcome ethnic, sectarian and clan-based loyalties, forging an unprecedented sense of social solidarity based on religion. Thus, the ideologization of resistance has evolved side by side with the politicization of violence.

As a result, a regular civil war is now underway in Dagestan. Approximately 2,500 young Dagestanis are involved in the insurgency, which makes up at least a half of all North Caucasian combatants. Yet their numbers grow as more and more desperate youngsters join their ranks. Unlike neighboring Chechnya with its "normalized" public space, insurgents rely on sufficient sympathies and support from ordinary Dagestanis who are antagonized by both corrupt local authorities and increasingly violent and indiscriminate police forces. While many Chechens have postponed revenge to "better times" in order to avoid reprisals, this process is ongoing daily in Dagestan, where the insurgency has expanded from areas dominated by the Avars, Dargins, and Laks to the Lezgi-dominated south and Kumyk east. Moreover, in some areas of Dagestan local authorities as well as businesses have become targets of racketeering by insurgents. To survive physically, they have to pay those they are supposed to combat; something unheard of in contemporary Chechnya.

With this understanding of the situation, we now consider the calls of "Emir Dokku Abu Usman" for jihad against the infidels; from Appeal by Emir Dokku Abu Usman to Muslims of Caucasus and Russia: "Fight enemies wherever your hand reaches them!"


I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan, in the name of Allah the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Whom we ask forgiveness, seek refuge from the evil of our own selves and from evil consequences of our actions.

He whom Allah guides to the straight path, he will never be, and he whom Allah leaves, no one can guide him to the straight path.

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

"O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die as others but Muslims".

May peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you, dear brothers and sisters, dear brothers Mujahideen.

I, Abu Usman, your brother in religion, appeal to you and want to begin with the words of our great Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):

"Whoever died and did not fight or intend to fight died in one of the kinds of hypocrisy".

These words show us that Jihad is the greatest act of Islam, that Jihad is becoming mandatory for the salvation of the Ummah.

This call to jihad is especially resonant with groups seeing corruption and abuse of power by authorities that are essentially organized crime, and elsewhere rightly described as puppets of Moscow.

Continuing:

Today, dear brothers, Ummah is in such a degraded state, in such a poor condition that Jihad becomes obligatory for all of us. Jihad is a fard al-ayn.

Today, children are allowed not to ask permission from their parents go to the Jihad, debtor may not ask the permission from lender to go to Jihad, today wives may not ask permission from their husbands to participate in Jihad as far as they can, and help the Mujahedeen.

Dear brothers the Mujahideen, we see in what disastrous state our Ummah is. Today, the Ummah is 1.5 billion in numbers, and we know that even .05% of these numbers of this Ummah do not wage the Jihad, .05% of this Ummah wage the Jihad neither with their souls, nor with their property. Therefore, we see in what miserable condition the Ummah is.

In this regard, I recall a hadith of our great Prophet (pbuh) when he told his companions:

"'Peoples will fall upon you like greedy eaters upon a bowl of food'. And the companions asked the Prophet (pbuh): 'Will that be because we are small in numbers?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied: 'No. You will then be too many but rather like foam floating over water. And Allah will take off from the hearts of your enemies fear of you, and cast Wahn into your hearts'. So the companions asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, what is Wahn?' He said: 'The love for this world, and the fear of death'."

And today, we see that our Ummah loves this world and hates death. Today, there exists such a situation, as it was described by the Prophet (pbuh).

I appeal to the Mujahideen: we are today the vanguard of the Jihad, we are today the saviors of this Ummah.

The call is for true Muslims to love death and hate this world; the call is supported by Islamic scripture, and implicitly carries the powerful promise of an eternity in Paradise for those who hate this world and die forcing it to submit to Allah's will.

Skipping down:

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

"Similarity of the believers in their mutual love and brotherhood is similarity of the single organism. When one part hurts, the whole body hurts".

Therefore, dear brethren, we are the one Ummah, we are the single organism. If there is the Jihad here in the Caucasus against the enemy that wants to destroy Islam, then for you it is also the Jihad, for you it becomes a fard al-ayn.

I urge you to destroy the enemies of Allah wherever you are. I urge you to destroy the enemies wherever your hands reach them, that you open the fronts of the Jihad.

Today there is a total war going on. It is not us who had declared it on Russia, it was Russian who declared it on us. When there is a total war, there are not peaceful people left. If we have been declared a total war, then Allah permits us to fight with them as they fight with us.

Therefore, today we have the right to fight against them the way they are fighting against us. I urge you, fight with them, destroy them. This is the order of Allah. And we, as God-fearing, sincere believers, must obey the orders of Allah.

I also want to warn you that you do not yield to puppets of Satan who promote their venality and promote how they sold the religion of Allah for this worldly life. They sold their honor, they sold Islam.

Implicit also is a warning to those Muslims who do not support the jihad; they are takfir, and will suffer in the fate of the infidels - and perhaps even worse.

Given the extensive corruption of the pro-Moscow forces, and the powerful appeal to religiously-sanctioned total war - jihad - it is surprising the region isn't far more violent than it is.

How long can that last? Not just in the Caucasus, but closer to home?

Because, after all, this is just one facet of a larger problem...




The ties run to Osama bin Laden, and to the organized crime that funds terrorism.

Friday, March 11, 2011

L'Abidjanaise, Part 8

Getting caught up on the situation in Côte d'Ivoire... before we proceed, you may wish to review previous parts in this series, especially Part 5 and Part 6: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

For the most recent news, search the links in the sidebar at the right. It all boils down to this, from Ivory Coast's Gbagbo rejects diplomats' efforts to end power struggle, March 10, 2011:

Envoys of Ivory Coast's voted-out leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have rejected an African Union proposal aimed at ending the country's violent power struggle and warned that the nation risks civil war again.

Rebels based in the north of the country who back the rival politician Alassane Ouattara immediately reaffirmed their position that only military force would persuade Gbagbo to step down.

The AU talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have been seen as a last chance to broker a compromise after the disputed November presidential election that triggered violence killing hundreds and led to about half a million Ivorians fleeing their homes.

Gbagbo argues that UN-certified results – showing that he lost in the elections to Ouattara – were rigged. His aides said they could not accept a proposal from an AU panel that was based on an endorsement of Ouattara as elected president.

In the previous posts, I put together a case that brings the UN-certified results into question; motive and opportunity are established.

We now look a little deeper into the situation.

First, we shall consider an excerpt from CÔTE D'IVOIRE: "THE WAR IS NOT YET OVER", dated November 28, 2003, which addresses the accords that ended the civil war in :

The accords outlined a nine-point program on disarmament, security sector reform, human rights violations and media incitement to xenophobia and violence, the organisation and supervision of elections, and measures to end divisive policies on national identification, citizenship, foreign nationals, land tenure and eligibility for the presidency.

This sentence could easily be written about America today. Legitimate questions about whether President Obama is Constitutionally-eligible to be President get spun as racism, divisive politics, etc.

However, as addressed previously in this series, "President-elect" Ouattara was one of the main authors of the laws that are now considered "divisive"; also, Ouattara approved of the law that made him ineligible to serve as President of Côte d'Ivoire.

For example, in Part 5 I quoted from DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT IN AFRICA: HOW COTE D’IVOIRE BECAME VICTIM OF THE CIVIL WAR? by Bertin K Kouadio (2007):

Unfortunately, this first round of austerity measures did not yield the expected results, for the government's coffers remained empty. Accordingly, Ouattara added new measures to the list. For example, he decided to reduce the salaries of all the new teachers for all levels of the education system by 50%. This 'unjust' decision gave birth to the famous phrase: "same job-different salary?" (à travail égal-différent salaire?).

If Ouattara were a Republican in Wisconsin, the media would be screaming for his painful death. But, since he is a puppet of the loan sharks who control the MSM, they are calling for his installation as president of Côte d'Ivoire.


Continuing with the excerpt of the excerpt that was excerpted :) above:

Next, he introduced for the first time the controversial Alien Identification Card (Cartes de Séjour), whereby every national from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) was required to pay 5,000 F CFA (7.6 Euros) per year, while other immigrants outside this organization had to pay 50,000 F CFA (76.2 Euros) annually, as a resident alien (Fraternité Matin (28 April 2003))

This "xenophobia" was started in large part by Ouattara; now, Ouattara is being billed as the victim!

Perhaps more to the point is another quote from farther down in CÔTE D'IVOIRE: "THE WAR IS NOT YET OVER":

In addition, the accords have fuelled anti-French sentiment, not least because they were seen to have legitimated an armed rebellion.

This is a key point. Increasingly, rebel groups, from Kosovo to Côte d'Ivoire, find that, if they can garner enough international support, their violent rebellion will be legitimized and supported by the international community, while the legitimate, recognized government gets painted as an outlaw, rogue regime.

Skipping down:

Even before they began to fray so obviously, there were indications that the accords were not a perfect solution. Their slow, incomplete and sometimes flawed implementation created considerable frustration among the Forces Nouvelles. Indeed, Gbagbo and many in his party lost little time in creating numerous and sometimes violent obstacles to implementation. They calculated with some reason that strict implementation could well result in their electoral defeat in 2005. Gbagbo has sought to buy time, playing on the rebellion's internal divisions and hoping for its disintegration. And the Forces Nouvelles are indeed splintering, with political and military leaders increasingly losing control over local commanders, who are distinguishing themselves by growing indiscipline, warlordism and violence.

Supported by ultra-nationalist "patriotic youth" groups, some organised into urban militias, government security forces undertook a witch hunt against the major opposition party and those thought to support it. The president's party charged that opposition party, the RDR, with masterminding the coup and supporting the rebellion. The growth of urban tribal militias throughout government territory, with access to arms and voicing a violent discourse of "ethnic cleansing", is perhaps the most alarming development, and there is a spectre of massive urban violence. In the process of ultra-national radicalisation, the press has played a major role. Both sides have been guilty of massive human rights violations.

If you check the news from Côte d'Ivoire, there are complaints in the media of militia groups terrorizing people there. Historically, though, the same observers who have commented on militia groups allied to the government have also commented about warlordism on the part of rebel forces. It is worth recalling the complaints by international observers about violence against pro-Gbagbo people in rebel-controlled areas, as mentioned previously in this series. It is not just a one-way street, as the international media would have us believe.

Continuing:

The accords failed to address the conflict's regional aspect. The leaders of the main rebel group, the Mouvement Patriotique de la Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI), planned the rebellion from exile in Burkina Faso, whose president, Blaise Compaoré, was aware of at least the outlines of their plans. Liberia's then president, Charles Taylor, was directly implicated in the creation of two rebel groups in the west of the country largely composed of Liberians and Sierra Leoneans.

As far back as 2003, the rebel groups were identified as being in part foreign... what? pawns?... in a somewhat regional conflict.

As we pointed out in Part 6:

So, in the wake of the agreement to end the previous civil war, Ouattara's forces refuse to disarm as they are supposed to, then are accused of voter fraud in the area they control. This, then, allows an election where Ouattara is declared the winner by a commission packed with his supporters, which, in turn, provides the pretext for the international community to declare Ouattara the winner.

Next, the international community cuts off Gbagbo's access to the country's money, and accuses him of not wanting to pay the country's debt.

And, an excerpt from Part 2:

We now pick up with an article from Al Jazeera entitled Gbagbo 'ready' for talks with rival, dated December 22, 2010:

The disputed president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has said that he is ready to talk to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised by the UN and other international observers as the winner of Nov 28 presidential runoff poll.

The incumbent president has also invited a panel from the African Union and other countries, including China, Russia and the European Union, to re-examine the results of the polls, though he has vowed to stay on as president.

Gbagbo's demand that the UN and French peacekeeping forces leave the country remains in place, and on Tuesday he said that "the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast".

Gbagbo "said that 'the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast'."

Towards the end of Part 2:

The situation is summarized at the end of an article entitled An If Too Far, December 19, 2010:

[snip]
Gbagbo has another opportunity to survive all this. Russia has backed Gbagbo, and may be able to cancel the UN peacekeeping mandate, which expires at the end of the year. If the UN troops were withdrawn, Gbagbo believes he could force the French out, and defeat the northern warlords as well.

In fact, Russia, together with China, may become new markets for cocoa and other products shipped from Gbagbo's part of Côte d'Ivoire.


Interesting... accusations that the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast; Russia is the only ally of the current government - a government opposing Muslim rebel groups, which have been white-washed by the international media.

Where have we seen this pattern before?

And why do I find myself again siding with Moscow to support an alleged foreign thug - in sharp opposition to current US policy?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This One Before, Part 2

From Sharing Mexico's drug-war burden, March 3, 2011; as you watch this vid, take a good look at the weapons shown towards the end, weapons that are supposedly being bought in gun shops in the US and smuggled across the border - the vid shows submachineguns and heavy-caliber crew-served weapons:


Criminals get firearms and other weapons the same way they get drugs; they get them illegally.

Many of these military-grade weapons are stolen from the Mexican government itself, taken by security personnel who desert to join the higher-paying cartels, taking their weapons with them as they leave government service. Others are trafficked in from around the world.

Yes, some weapons are brought across the border from the US.

When they come up with a statistic of over 90%, saying that this percentage is the percentage of weapons coming across the border from legal gun sales in the US, that statistic is misleading.

Mexican authorities know that bazookas, grenade launchers and heavy machineguns didn't come from a gun shop in the US; they only submit a fraction of the weapons they seize to US authorities for tracing. About half of those submitted can actually be traced. Of those that are successfully traced, the vast majority can be traced to some kind of gun purchase in the US, although often times, the law was broken, perhaps by a purchaser misrepresenting himself when buying the weapon.

Does President Calderón not know this? Or, is this empty posturing, the kind that scores points among a Mexican populace?

From Mexican Government Completes PR Investigation of U.S. Agent's Murder, February 27, 2011:

The arrest of the supposed Zeta thugs by the Mexican Army, announced on Feb. 23, about a week after the assault on the U.S. agents, seems quite convenient, given the extreme media-generated pressure on both the Mexican and U.S. governments to solve the case. The swiftness of the arrests, particularly given the extensive narco-corruption in Mexico (and the fact that the autopsy on the murdered ICE agent was performed in Mexico, reportedly against he wishes of the U.S. government), has led some law enforcement sources who have spoken to Narco News, and to other media, to question whether those arrested are merely media scapegoats.

Skipping down:

And the two ICE agents on the day they were attacked were driving into the belly of that beast, in a U.S. government SUV, with diplomatic plates, and using Nextel wireless phones, according to ICE sources, that at one point during the attack failed to operate properly. Yes, that's right, the latest information coming to Narco News from law enforcement sources is that the ICE agents' phones were "off line" during the initial stages of the attack, and that a call for help did not get out until after the agents had been shot.

Now, the explanation for such a phone failure could be as simple as a dead spot in cell coverage.

Sources familiar with the situation in Mexico contend it is possible, though, that the Zetas, given their corrupt reach, have access to sophisticated communications blocking technology of the sort typically associated with sensitive military operations and may well have used such a device in the attack on the ICE agents.

"Counter RF [radio frequency] containment measures could have been employed," one source explains. "Devices could have been employed that would have prevented the cellular phone communications links in that vehicle from emitting a signal that could be properly received at the intended location."

If that turns out to be true, it would represent even more evidence that the assault was far from a mistake, but rather a high-level, coordinated effort designed specifically to target U.S. government agents.

It sounds like the hitmen had communications-jammers with them, and engaged the jammers during the attack. The jamming ended as the overt hit team withdrew. According to one report:

The attackers suddenly departed, leaving Avila alone in the SUV, bleeding. A short time later, the source contends, a Mexican cop arrived at the scene and knocked on the window of the SUV, but Avila did not trust the situation, and refused to open the door. The Mexican police officer departed, the source claims, and shortly after an ambulance arrived, presumably called by the cop, but again, Avila refused to get out of the SUV.

Finally, after the ambulance had departed (and after what seems to be an inordinately long time since the initial calls for help) the cavalry arrived — a phalanx of Mexican soldiers and law enforcers. According to the source, at that point, Avila opened the door to the SUV. He was subsequently informed, the source claims, that both the Mexican cop and the ambulance that had stopped at the scene previously likely were ruses designed by his attackers to get him to unlock the door to the SUV so they could finish their job.

This was a well-coordinated attack. In addition to the communications jammers, the hit team had back-ups in the form of a guy dressed like a Mexican cop, and another guy disguised as an ambulance driver.

The intent here was serious: they wanted to finish the job.

Back to Mexican Government Completes PR Investigation of U.S. Agent's Murder:

At least one source in the intelligence world suspects the Zetas were after the payload (communications equipment) that was being transported by the ICE agents from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey. However, other sources contend U.S. officials, absent sheer incompetence, would never move truly sensitive cargo through the heart of Zeta territory absent adequate security — which would involve more than two unarmed ICE agents driving in broad daylight in a SUV sporting diplomatic plates.

This was a set-up, coordinated by someone among the higher-ups. The purpose was to kill two US agents. Whether it was intended to kill these two US agents, or just whichever two happened to get picked to move this "sensitive cargo" remains to be seen.

The article Mexican Government Completes PR Investigation of U.S. Agent's Murder then goes on to detail information from Wikileaked cables that shows the extent of corruption in Mexico. Some Mexican officials are probably happy to make some extra money on the side, but many officials do so only reluctantly. The option, made clear by the cartels, is that the official will be murdered (probably brutally), and that the murdered official's replacement might take the hint and accept the money to cooperate with the cartels; if not, the cartels will keep murdering officials until they find a replacement that will work with them.


What I find interesting, though, is the response on this side of the border. Whether Bush-43 or Obama, senior federal officials do not want to do what it takes to secure the border.

Those two agents fell victim not just to corruption among Mexican authorities, but to corruption within their own chain of command. The clear message, repeated through various incidents and repeated by various instructions received from the top, is that our law enforcement and security personnel had better not do too good of a job, or they will be hung out to dry - just like what happens in Mexico, where the authorities are unable to protect their own officials who actually seek to honestly enforce the law and resist organized crime.

__________

As John Conyngham, at the time the Global Director of Investigations (he is now Group Legal Counsel) for the Control Risks Group Limited, explained in 2002 testimony before the Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, of the US House of Representatives:

The discussion today about what has become known as grand corruption and, in particular, the recovery of monies illegally obtained by high ranking government ministers and officials in worldwide jurisdictions through the abuse of public position for private gain. As this Subcommittee is aware, grand corruption typically consists of the payments of large bribes - often in millions of dollars - to secure commercial contracts or other business advantage. In its most extreme form grand corruption can amount to state capture where corrupt interests control the state itself and manipulate the machinery of government to serve their private interests.

Later on, in explaining how an investigation is conducted, Conyngham explains:

A simple underlying presumption is made that those who divert state funds will wish to utilise such funds for their own or their family's benefit. As such, there must be linkage, however camouflaged, between the individual and the asset.

Of course, if you broaden the perspecive on this, you can see misappropriation of funds for the benefit, however camouflaged, of the party that has corrupted the government official; in return, you can see some kind of benefit, however camouflaged, received by the corrupted government official from the party that the official is illicitly working for. And then, later on:

A second presumption will also be made; namely that third parties will be utilised in the concealment process.

The context of the above quotes is one of recovering money stolen by some third-world dictator who has been "president" of his country for the past few decades.

But, do the terms "grand corruption" and "state capture" apply when senior US officials work in the interests of the highest bidder, regardless of whether the business interests of that highest bidder are legal or not?

Criminals are in the highest echelons of the US government. And the clear message to honest law enforcement officers is that they do their job at their own peril.

Does this remind you of an honest cop who did his job at his own peril?


Does this remind you of anyone else who tried to do an honest job, and at every move was placed in check?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This One Before, Part 1

We begin with excerpts ICE Agents Shot in Mexico Were Targeted, Ambushed, Law Enforcement Source Claims, from February 15, 2011:

The agents were driving a black SUV with diplomatic plates. After their vehicle was stopped, with the road in front of them and behind them blocked off (a tactic typically employed by professional assassins), several armed men dressed in black approached the agents' SUV.

The men, according to the source, are presumed to be members of Los Zetas — a paramilitary narco-trafficking organization that counts among its leadership former elite members of the Mexican military.

As the armed men walked toward the ICE agents' SUV, they motioned the agent in the driver seat to roll down his window, according to the source, recounting the initial reports from the scene.

"He did a little, and that's when they opened fire," the source reports. "The windows on the SUV are dark, so it is my opinion that they wanted make sure they had the right people."


From an update to the same article, only hours later:

New information has just come in concerning the background and alleged mission of the two ICE agents who were shot in Mexico earlier today.

Additional law enforcement sources have weighed in on the story and contend that the two ICE agents were on what one described as an under-the-radar mission that involved transporting a box containing an unknown payload, though it is suspected that the box contained weapons. The two agents were expecting to meet up with another group of agents to exchange the box, the law enforcers contend.

"So they were either tailed or there's a mole somewhere who tipped them [the Zetas] off to the operation," a law enforcement source told Narco News.

That same source described the box transfer operation as being very unusual and possibly part of some kind of "black op" — meaning it might have dovetailed with an intelligence operation.

The new information also contradicts the original information reported by Narco News in some areas. The law enforcement sources contend that is because a cover story had to be created and it is now starting to intersect with the real story.

For example, the information now coming in, which is from several law enforcement sources, indicates the agents were not involved in any type of training operations, but rather that was a cover for their trip. In addition, in the latest version of events, the agents who were shot were driving north from Mexico City heading toward Monterrey when they were ambushed by the Zetas.

[snip]

The details of the ambush are essentially the same as originally reported. However, the new information coming into Narco News includes a few more details, such as the fact that the windows on the SUV were bullet proof.

"When the agent on the passenger side rolled down his window, the unknown male [the alleged Zeta] pulled a gun and started firing through the crack in the window, hitting the passenger in the chest, and other areas, while the driver was hit in the arm and leg," a law enforcement source says.

It looks to me like these guys were ratted out. Definite intelligence was passed to the assailants, who knew the agents were expecting some kind of rendezvous. The uncertainty whether the roadblock was some kind of coincidence or possibly the rendezvous itself may have been intended to get the agents to put the bullet proof windows down enough to allow the assailants to fire inside the vehicle.

Subsequent reporting can be found in ICE Agent's Murder In Mexico Could Become a Cold Case, February 19, 2011:

Although the details of the attack vary, even at this point, depending on which news outlet you read, Narco News' early reporting on the crime, by any reasonable measure, has stood the test of time — and the barrage of mainstream media reports that have been published since.

That even includes Narco News' revelation, since re-reported by the Associated Press, that the two ICE agents left Mexico City in an armored SUV with diplomatic plates the day of the attack to deliver some unknown equipment to another team of ICE agents from Monterrey — who had arranged to meet Zapata and Avila at a midway point between the two Mexican cities.

A source familiar with the attack has since told Narco News that the cargo being transported by the ICE agents was communications equipment, nothing worth killing over — but possibly just sensitive enough so that it could not be transported via commercial airline. That same source also revealed some important new details about the assault on the agents.

Perhaps the killing was not about the equipment, but more about sending a message.

Or, perhaps the agents were marked for assassination - the transportation of the equipment was just a pretext to get them out where someone could take a shot at them.

Were these two agents specifically targeted, or was the intent merely to kill any two agents?

An autopsy was performed in Mexico on the body of the agent who got killed; there was then discussion of flying the body to Houston for a second autopsy, but Houston authorities refused to do a second autopsy.

"The reason the Houston people probably didn't want to do another autopsy is they are likely afraid the first one was already screwed up in Mexico, and they didn't want to complicate matters [by doing yet another autopsy]," the DEA source said. "There's probably some rounds [bullets] missing [from the body], or at least there's likely no way of knowing [which creates a big chain-of-evidence hurdle for prosecutors in any U.S. criminal case]."

An important point to note is that the Zetas were founded by former military special-forces members, including soldiers from an elite Mexican unit, and they continue to recruit members of the Mexican military, as well as law enforcement, into their ranks. As a result, if any of the bullets used in the attack were to trace back to Mexican soldiers or law enforcers, the political blowback — not to mention conspiracy concerns — from such a link would create shock waves for political leadership on both sides of the border.

One ICE source told Narco News that U.S. government officials had asked Mexican officials for the courtesy of allowing the autopsy to be performed in the U.S. and were quite angry when they discovered that request was simply ignored.

This stinks of a cover-up. Corrupt Mexican authorities are involved, but so are corrupt American authorities at very high levels.

Given that the ICE agent who was killed, Zapata, presumably had diplomatic status in Mexico, then the U.S. government should have had some say on where the autopsy was performed, adds the former DEA agent

"It sounds like the State Department might not have done its job in demanding that the body be turned over to the U.S.," the former DEA agent says.

And so, we can see already signs of a breakdown in the investigation into the murder of ICE agent Zapata, due to a failure of U.S. officials to keep their eye on the ball due to turf wars, political grandstanding and bureaucratic incompetence.

When caught, they will plead guilty to political grandstanding and bureaucratic incompetence - it beats the hell out of pleading guilty to what they are really guilty of.

The keystone cop routine now seemingly playing out on both sides of the border in the aftermath of the ICE agent's murder could well be a byproduct of the Alice-in-Wonderland nature of the drug war, according to another former DEA agent with years of experience doing undercover work, including in Latin America:

Mexico is through the looking glass, and the powers that be on this side of that glass, for very apparent reasons (alas. not apparent to mainstream media) do not want anything to happen that would damage that country's financial stability.

That means cover-up the truth about the depth and extent of the corruption, and above all, do not damage the Mexican drug economy....

If that analysis is correct, it seems rival narco-trafficking organizations may actually do more to solve this murder case than the U.S. or Mexican governments.

Hmmm...

From ATF gun running scheme finally getting scrutinized... Now there is no question that ATF "walked" guns were found at the murder site of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, March 5, 2011 (note the nested link and blockquote):

Imagine you are Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's family ... and at first everyone denied your loved one was not required to use bean bag rounds and that turned out to be a lie.

...And you had no idea that 2 AK 47s found at his murder scene were actually allowed to "walk" into the hands of the killers by the ATF....

Arizona Republic March 5, 2011:

ATF Mexican gun-smuggling sting scrutinized
Agency accused of losing track of guns that wound up with drug cartels
by Dennis Wagner – Mar. 5, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Newly released U.S. records and assertions by a government whistle-blower support allegations that government agents allowed hundreds of firearms to be smuggled across the Arizona border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The records, released by a member of Congress, have prompted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to call for an independent review of a campaign designed to dismantle Mexican crime syndicates that purportedly wound up arming them instead.

The Arizona Republic reported last month that investigators have confirmed that two weapons connected to the ATF operations were found at the scene of a December gunbattle near Rio Rico, Ariz., where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by suspected border bandits.

Records detail deadly Border Patrol shooting in Arizona

The controversy has engulfed Project Gun Runner, an ATF enforcement campaign. This week, the Center for Public Integrity and CBS News interviewed an ATF agent whose revelations about being instructed to let guns pass into Mexico are likely to accelerate a congressional investigation of the scandal.

Justice Department authorities and their counterparts in Mexico have complained for years that cartel violence is fueled in part by a flood of weapons, mostly AK-47s, purchased in the United States and smuggled unlawfully across the border.

Project Gun Runner was created in 2006 to combat that threat in Arizona by identifying and prosecuting firearms traffickers.

Dozens of so-called straw buyers have been arrested, and more than 10,000 guns confiscated. However, the ATF came in for criticism from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General last year because Project Gun Runner was catching only the straw buyers – small fish in the smuggling business.


Here's what stinks about all this.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the weapons that are being used by increasingly militarized Mexican organized crime cartels are heavy, military-style weapons bought on the international black market, or stolen from the Mexican government itself. The idea that heavy machineguns, rocket launchers, hand grenades and other kinds of similar weapons are being bought in US gunshops and smuggled across the border is absurd.

Of all the weapons captured by Mexican authorities - and those weapons include real military-style heavy weapons - only several thousand are submitted to US authorities for tracing. Of those, a little more than half are traceable. Of those that are traceable, 90% come from the US.

This is actually a small percentage of the total weapons seized, though, and it is the least lethal percentage.

Yet, to counter this, we have a program to trace the flow of weapons across the border.

And, the program actually facilitates the flow of weapons in order to have something to trace; then, a few low-level guys are busted for running guns.

And, US public servants, who carry badges and who try to protect our country, are being sold out, and die in this charade.

As I look into this "Project Gunrunner" scheme, and what is happening along our southern border, I am encountering a fierce army of TiNRATs.

Now, where have I seen...?

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Final Soviet Victory

I hate to come off as a lazy blogger, just posting vids (and then, not very often), but here it goes:


Rank-and-file teachers are not the problem here, any more than rank-and-file Americans are the problem. (Or, perhaps I should say "any less than"?) Just as we Americans have allowed criminal and traitorous elements to lead our country, so have union members too often allowed the wrong people to run unions.

But, some interesting points are made in the above video. Though the Soviet Union - the world's first socialist state - is dead, the dynamic that started the Soviet Union is very much alive; from the grave, the Soviet Union's hand reaches out to us, with a death grip at our nation's throat.


A major victory for the Soviet Union occurred just as the dust was settling after the Soviet Union's collapse; somewhere in Moscow, intelligence officers of the former Soviet Union managed to get one of their boys into the White House: Bill Clinton was inaugurated in January, 1993.

Unfortunately, "peace" had broken out, and suddenly these guys had no one to report their success to...

Or, perhaps they did have someone to report it to?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The OKBOMB and the TiNRATs, Part 6

Please read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.


video

Every single word spoken in this video checks out.

The game's not over yet.

In fact, the game hasn't really started.

;)

Justice for Terrance Yeakey is on Facebook.