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US, Pakistan Near Open War; Chinese Ultimatum Warns Washington Against Attack

China has officially put the United States on notice that Washington's planned attack on Pakistan will be interpreted as an act of aggression against Beijing. This blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.

"Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China"

Responding to reports that China has asked the US to respect Pakistan's sovereignty in the aftermath of the Bin Laden operation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu used a May 19 press briefing to state Beijing's categorical demand that the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected." According to Pakistani diplomatic sources cited by the Times of India, China has "warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China." This ultimatum was reportedly delivered at the May 9 China-US strategic dialogue and economic talks in Washington, where the Chinese delegation was led by Vice Prime Minister Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Chinese warnings are implicitly backed up by that nation's nuclear missiles, including an estimated 66 ICBMs, some capable of striking the United States, plus 118 intermediate-range missiles, 36 submarine-launched missiles, and numerous shorter-range systems.

Support from China is seen by regional observers as critically important for Pakistan, which is otherwise caught in a pincers between the US and India: "If US and Indian pressure continues, Pakistan can say 'China is behind us. Don't think we are isolated, we have a potential superpower with us,'" Talat Masood, a political analyst and retired Pakistani general, told AFP.1

Propaganda

Conspiracy Theories Multiply in Pakistan as Post-bin Laden Violence Roils Country

Facing a surge in violence after the killing of Osama bin Laden, Pakistanis are taking comfort in conspiracy theories that allege Indian or American agents - not fellow Muslim countrymen - are behind the attacks, especially last week's brazen assault on a naval base.

Lawmakers, media pundits, retired generals and even government officials often hint at suspicions of a "foreign hand" in the violence, despite there being no evidence and often explicit claims of responsibility by militant groups like the Pakistani Taliban.

Aired on television talk shows and in newspapers, conspiracy theories are everywhere - underscoring the challenges facing the United States as it seeks to convince Pakistan's overwhelmingly anti-American population that it faces a shared enemy in the Taliban.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fought back Friday against the stories flying around.

"America cannot and should not solve Pakistan's problems, that is up to Pakistan," she told reporters. "But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear."

While tales of malign intervention by foreign powers exist in other developing countries, in Pakistan they come with a heavy price. They confuse the country as to who it is fighting and complicate efforts to defeat militants and counter their extremist ideology.

Vader

The Anglo-American Military Axis: West Backs Holy Alliance For Control Of Arab World And Persian Gulf

Image

Axis of Evil
The standard-bearers of Anglo-American imperialism in the current epoch, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, met in London on May 25 to discuss the world's two ongoing wars of aggression, those in Afghanistan and Libya, both under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dominated by Washington and London.

As well as joining a barbecue for American and British troops in the prime minister's haunts, in the gardens of Number 10 Downing Street, the two potentates called for continuing to bomb Libya back to the Paleolithic Age.

Displaying what passes for sophisticated humor in the contemporary deadened age, Cameron told the press, "It was...probably the first time in history, as we stood behind that barbecue, that I can say a British prime minister has given an American president a bit of a grilling."

Correspondents chuckled as Libyan, Afghan and Pakistani civilians writhe in their death throes from the bombs and Hellfire missiles delivered by Cameron's and Obama's warplanes.

Waxing as reflective as he is capable of doing, the British prime minister added: "Barack and I came of age in the 1980s and '90s. We saw the end of the Cold War and the victory over communism. We saw the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and the world coming together to liberate that country. Throughout it all, we saw presidents and prime ministers standing together for freedom."

Handcuffs

The Patriot Act: When Truth Becomes Treason

Susan Lindauer Extreme Prejudice
© Unknown
Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq, by Susan Lindauer
Many Americans believe they understand the dangers of the Patriot Act, which Congress has vowed to extend 4 more years in a vote later this week. Trust me when I say, Americans are not nearly frightened enough.

Ever wonder why the facts about 9/11 never got exposed? Why Americans don't fathom the leadership fraud surrounding the War on Terror? Why Americans don't know the 9/11 investigation failed? Why the "Iraqi Peace Option" draws a blank? Somebody has known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden--- or his grave--for the past 10 years. But nobody's talking.

In significant part, that's because of the Patriot Act--- a law that equates free speech with sedition. It's got a big agenda, with 7,000 pages of Machiavellian code designed to interrupt individual questioning of government policy. In this brave new world, free speech under the Bill of Rights effectively has been declared a threat to government controls for maintaining "stability". And the Patriot Act has become the premiere weapon to attack whistleblowers and dissidents who challenge the comfort of political leaders hiding inconvenient truths from the public. It's all the rage on Capitol Hill, as leaders strive to score TV ratings, while demagoguing their "outstanding leadership performance" on everything from national security to environmental policy.

Eye 2

Suicide bomber kills Afghan police chief, German troops

Afghan suicide bomb
© Agence France-Presse
Afghan policemen stand in front of the damaged governor's office after a suicide bombing in Takhar province of Afghanistan. The police commander for northern Afghanistan and two German soldiers were among six people killed Saturday in a suicide bombing at a provincial governor's office, officials said.
The police commander for northern Afghanistan and two German soldiers were among six people killed Saturday in a suicide bombing at a provincial governor's office, officials said.

The attacker struck in Taloqan, capital of Takhar province, soon after a meeting regarding security had finished. The Taliban claimed responsibility in what was their latest example of high-profile target selection.

The slain police chief, General Mohammed Daoud Daoud, was a key figure in Afghanistan's recent history. A former military commander of Ahmad Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance, he oversaw the siege of Kunduz, the final major battle of the US-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks in 2001.

A former deputy interior minister, when he was the country's top counter-narcotics official, Daoud had accused the Taliban of profiting from the opium trade by forging an alliance with drug smugglers and taxing farmers.

He also served at one point as governor of Takhar, reportedly at the request of the British, who considered him the corruption-plagued nation's cleanest governor.

The commander of NATO forces for northern Afghanistan, German general Markus Kneip, survived Saturday's attack, suffering slight injuries, defence minister Thomas de Maiziere, who confirmed the two fatalities, told reporters in Berlin.

Three other German troops were wounded, he said.

Comment: "Yes, we'd love to leave Afghanistan, but gosh darn it, how can we when things like this happen?"

Ever notice how when there is grumbling about how it's time to get out of Afganistan or Iraq, the "terrorist activity" ramps up? Expect to hear mealy-mouthed work-arounds in the near future as to why the US will be leaving, without really leaving. Afghanistan is a key strategic location for the West, plus it has too much oil, mineral and drug wealth for the PTB to ever actually let go of it.


Bizarro Earth

Obama Seeks Polish Help on Arab Uprisings

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© The Associated Press / Charles Dharapak
President Barack Obama walks with Gen. Wieslaw Grudzinski, Commander of the Warsaw Garrison, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, May 27, 2011.
Seeking ways to support Arab uprisings, President Barack Obama is asking Polish leaders to use the lessons they learned during the fall of communism to aid fledgling democratic movements in the Middle East and North Africa.

Obama will meet Saturday with Poland's political leaders, as well as a democracy-building team that recently returned from Tunisia, where popular uprisings led to the overthrow of a longtime autocrat and sparked the protest movements that have swept throughout the region.

The president's overnight visit to Poland, his first stop here since taking office, caps a six-day European tour that has also taken him to Ireland, England and France. The whole trip has played out against the backdrop of the Arab rebellions, and Obama has made no efforts to underestimate the potential global impact of a democratic revolution in the Middle East and North Africa.

In the Polish capital, Obama is making a direct comparison between Poland's overthrow of its communist regime and the movements happening in the Arab world.

Bad Guys

Libyan Gov't Doubts Russia's Turnaround Stance Over Conflict

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© Xinhua/Reuters
Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim speaks during a news conference in Tripoli May 27, 2011.
The Libyan government doubts Russia will change its stance on Libya's situation and side with NATO, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville, France, that Russia could act as a mediator to solve Libya's domestic crisis, but Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has no right to lead the country any longer.

The two-day summit ended with a unanimously-adopted declaration which said "Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy."

"He (Gaddafi) must go," it stressed.

Disturbed by Russia's change of position, Kaim told a press conference in Tripoli that the Libyan government is in contact with the Russian side to make its position clear.

Chess

Egypt Pulls the Plug on a Failed U.S.-Israeli Gaza Strategy

Rafah crossing in Gaza
© Unknown
Rafah crossing in Gaza
It might have been easy, amid the raucous cheering at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Capitol Hill pep rally on Tuesday, for Israelis to ignore President Obama's earlier warning of a gathering storm on Israel's horizon. But Wednesday's announcement that Egypt plans, on Saturday, to effectively end the siege of Gaza by permanently opening the Rafah border crossing brought home the harsh truth of Israel's increasingly isolated position. (Obama, the same day, got a non-commital response from Prime Minister David Cameron in London when urging Britain to join the U.S. in opposing a September U.N. vote recognizing Palestinian statehood.)

Obama, in his Sunday speech at AIPAC, had warned Israel that the wave of democracy reshaping the Arab world meant that that "a just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders... millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained." While the U.S. would stand by Israel unconditionally, Obama warned that "the march to isolate Israel internationally -- and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations - - will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative. And for us to have leverage with the Palestinians, to have leverage with the Arab States and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success."

Evil Rays

Oppose PROTECT-IP Act: U.S. Government Wants To Censor Search Engines And Browsers

Tell Congress to Kill COICA 2.0, the Internet Censorship Bill

UPDATE: Great news. We don't always see eye-to-eye with Google, but we're on the same team this time. Google CEO Eric Schmidt just came out swinging against PROTECT IP, saying, "I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple solutions to complex problems." And then he went even further. From the LA Times:
"If there is a law that requires DNSs, to do X and it's passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it," he said, according to the report. "If it's a request the answer is we wouldn't do it, if it's a discussion we wouldn't do it."
Big content is irate. The Motion Picture Association of America released a statement saying, "We've heard this 'but the law doesn't apply to me' argument before - but usually, it comes from content thieves, not a Fortune 500 company. Google should know better."

Evil Rays

Medvedev Says Russia Won't Support Attempts to Control Internet

Russia opposed attempts to control public use of the Internet, President Dmitry Medvedev told investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Such attempts lead to "stagnation," Medvedev said.