Archive for December, 2009
Taken from http://www.thestory.ie
Prime Time Investigates did a special into the banking and lending industry in Ireland the other night, and highlighted previously undisclosed 100% fast track loans given to politicians, including former Finance Minister Charle McCreevy.
Nothing of the programme was really surprising, but it did add extra details to the dealings of Michael Fingleton, a man with a coloured history, as I blogged about back in April.
Part of the reasons none of the details were the surprising is because there is prior form. Irish Nationwide have been giving special loans to special people for a very long time. If you cast your mind back to the Mespil Homes deal in the early 1990s, you see the same pattern.
So who else did Irish Nationwide (Michael Fingleton being one in the same, as Primetime demonstrated) provide loans for? Let’s look again at Mespil, as I blogged back in April:
The current editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, then a reporter, wrote a story in May 1993 that Michael Fingleton got a mortgage from Irish Nationwide, the society he was managing director of, towards the purchase of a 1-bedroom flat in the Mespil Estate. In all, Mr Fingleton bought four apartments. with one mortgaged from the society.
But Mr Fingleton was not the only one to buy apartments in the estate, and not the only one t Prime Time Investigates o get a mortgage from Irish Nationwide. Solicitor Andrew O’Rourke bought two apartments in trust for two daughters of then Fianna Fail taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Emer and Leonie.
100% mortgages were advanced to 51 customers to buy 93 apartments. These included the then Attorney General Harry Whelehan, broadcaster Marian Finucane, AIB’s Anthony Spollen, former publican Dessie Hynes and the then Comptroller and Auditor General Patrick McDonnell.
Of course Mr Fingleton had not declared the purchased of the apartment, as he was obliged to do under the Building Societies Act. He later corrected the record. The following year, further details emerged. Central Bank filings in 1994 showed that seven loans totalling £342,000 were made to people and a company connected with society chairman Peter O’Connor. Five loans totalling £163,000 were made to people connected to director John Murphy.
Four loans with a total value of £125,500 were made to people connected to Mr Fingleton, including the £110,000 loan to himself. Three loans were advanced to Peter O’Connor, son of the chairman. Mr Fingleton’s brother also took out loans.
As long ago as 1994, Mr Fingleton’s salary, then an enormous £249,000 a year, was questioned by shareholders.
In 1999, Mr Fingleton was threatened with imprisonment by a High Court judge over the employment and treatment of a branch manager in Cavan town.
All very interesting. But how does it relate back to our current questions?
Fast forward to 2000, and the Flood Tribunal is in full swing. On April 19, 2000, Frank Dunlop stopped stonewalling and after reflecting overnight, said he had participated in wholescale corruption. I myself was at the Flood Tribunal that day.
Someone else was giving evidence that day though, Michael Fingleton.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? In 2000 Mark Keenan wrote an analysis of the Mespil deal for the Sunday Tribune. He looked at it from the angle of the tenants of the apartments, elderly people who had their rented homes essentially sold from under their feet. But let’s look at it again in light of the Primetime programme.
100% mortgages in 1993? I can’t imagine this being very common practice. Also look at the profiles of the people who not only got 100% mortgages, but also got the apartments at apparent knockdown prices, courtesy of New City Estates via Irish Life. Let’s take another, closer, look. And please remember, at the time the State had a 30% stake in Irish Life.
In Apil 1992 The Irish Times reported that Irish Life was considering selling one of the 12 Mespil Apartment blocks.
“Irish Life is to sell one of the 12 apartment blocks at the Mespil Estate beside the Burlington Hotel in Dublin 4, and is to decide later this year whether to put more of the complex up for sale. There are 299 apartments rented out to tenants in Mespil, the largest privately-owned rental complex in the country.
If Irish Life eventually decides to sell the entire complex, it will represent the most important residential property disposal in Dublin for many years, on account of the number of units involved and their prime Dublin 4 location.”
The following year, in March 1993, The Irish Times reported:
“The company which bought one of the apartment blocks in the Mespil Estate in Dublin 4 from Irish Life last year is putting the 16 apartments in it up for sale individually next week – the first time that flats in the complex have gone on sale publicly.
Up until last year, Mespil was owned by Irish Life, which rented out the 299 apartments to tenants. Irish Life sold the entire complex last autum to a group of investors.
Only one of the 12 apartment blocks was sold by Irish Life with full vacant possession. This block, located nearted the Burlington Hotel at the front of the seven-acre complex, was bought by Maypole Properties, which has since been upgrading the 16 flats in it for eventual sale.
Jill O’Neill in selling agents Sherry FitzGerald, says the eight one-bedroom units, with floor areas ranging from 445 square feet to 480 square feet, will cost from £52,500. There will be four two-bedroom apartments, each with approximately 550 square feet of accommodation and costing from £64,500. There are also four three-bedroom units, with floor areas of about 685 square feet and costing from £74,500.”
In May 1993 it turned out that First National Building Society funded the purchase by New City Estates of the apartment block. But it’s then managing director, Joe Treacy, bought six of the apartments from New City Estates once they went on the open market. 50 of the investors received mortgages from the First National, but Mr Treacy did not use a First National loan, instead using Ulster Bank.
By May 8, 1993, Geraldine Kennedy wrote a story detailing who exactly had benefitted from the Mespil/New City Estates deal.
“The Minister for Finance, Mr Ahern, is being asked to investigate the circumstances in which the 299 flats in the Mespil Estate in Dublin 4 were sold privately by Irish Life Assurance plc to a group of investors which includes a number of well-known persons in political, legal and business circles.
Two of the Taoiseach’s daughters, Emer and Leoinie; the Attorney-General Mr Harry Whelehan; the former managing-director of the First National Building Society, Mr Joe Treacy; and the managing-director of the Irish Nationwide Building Society, Mr Michael Fingleton were part of a private consortium of “in excess of 20 individual investors” put together by New City Estates, the property management company, to buy the apartments for £8.5 million, an average of £28,000 each, last December. Some of them already listed in the Registry of Deeds as the new owners of flats in the Mespil Estate.”
The then managing director of New City Estates, which owned 600 properties in Dublin, was Michael Holland. Mr Holland’s business partner was Brendan Gilmore, who was financial adviser to Tony O’Reilly.
Harry Whelehan bought two apartments in two different blocks. Patrick MacEntee and Kevin Haugh, both barristers, bought two apartments each. Joseph McGettigan, a barrister, and Ian Candy a magistrate in Hong Kong, bought an apartment each. Louis Copeland, the tailor, Marian Finucane, the broadcaster, and Jim Milton of Murray Consultants also bought an apartment each.
Brendan Gilmore and Michael Holland, along with their associate, former deputy editor of the Sunday Business Post, James Morrissey also bought a number of apartments. Dessie Hynes, owner of Hynes’s pub in Rathgar bought a whole floor (five apartments) through a company called ODOM Ltd and the Comptroller and Auditor General, Patrick L McDonnell, bought an apartment.
Let’s publish the list of buyers: “The several Indentures of Lease dated 9th December 1992 made between Irish Life Assurance Public Limited Company 1st part, Copse [Management) Limited 2nd part Copse [name of block] Management Limited 3rd part and the Lessees named hereunder, 4th part.)”
Apt No Lessee
81 ODOM Limited
66 Joseph & Elizabeth Stanley
91 Martin Callaghan & Patrick Freeley
92 John O’Donovan
93 John Hannon
94 Frederick and Heather Jackson
95 John O’Oonovan
96 Copse Ltd (In Trust)
Api No Lessee
101 Brian Dolan
102 Frank Holland
103 Margaret Grace
104 John Kavanagh and Loma Kavanagh
105 Patrick McMeyler
106 John McCann
107 Barry Cahill
108 John Holland
109 Loraine Cahill
110 Kathriana Cahlll
111 Kevin Kelly
112 Patrick and Elizabelh O’Shea
115 Patrick & Elizabeth O’Shea
116 Ann M Gilmore
117 Joe M. Treacy
Apt No Lessee
1 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
2 Brendan Gilmore
3 MichaeI Mooney
4 Michael Holland
10 Michael Holland
11 Brendan Gilmore
12 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
14 Brendan Gilmore
15 Dalmatian Investments
16 Michael Holland
17 Brendan Gilmore
18 Michael Holland
19 Dalmatian Investments
20 Michael Holland
25 Brendan Gilmore
30 Michael Mooney
31 Michael Mooney
39 Dalmatian investments Ltd
50 Brendan Gilmore
60 Michael Holland
Apt No Lessee
1 Dermot O’Rourke (in Trust)
2 John and Patricia Lowe
3 Harold Whelehan
4 Jim & Carmel Milton
5 James and Heather Morissey
6 Anthony and Georgina Spollen
7 Robert Walsh
8 Anne O’Neill
9 Brendan Boushel (in Trust)
10 Robert Waish
11 Sean O’Grady
12 Adrian Burke
13 Eugene Spollen
25 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
31 Anthony & Georgina Spollan
34 James and Heather Morrissey
Apt No Lessee
1 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
9 Con & Paul Gilmore
13 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
Apt No Lessee
17 Josephine and Rose Gavigan
18 James Cahill
20 Gerard Farrelly & John MeDermolt
21 Barbara Mahony
22 Imelda Hayes
23 Margaret Behan
24 Brendan Cassidy
25 Thomas J. G. Thunder
28 Gerard Farrelly & John McDermott
29 Thompson and Patricia Butler
30 Joseph and Bridie Corcoran
31 Brandan and Bridie Cooney
32 Rebecca Sherling
Apt No Lessee
33 Edward Hayes
34 Brendan Smith & Joseph O’Leary
35 A.D. Madden
36 Trestive Ltd
37 John Clohisey
38 Trestive Ltd
39 Ian & Maire Candy
40 John Clohisey
41 Patrick McArdle
42 James J. Flynn
43 John Clohisey
44 Finbarr Cahill
46 Trestive Ltd
47 Hugh McGivern
48 Ciara Hynes
Apt No Lessee
1 Michael Mooney
3 Ann M. Gilmore
4 Michael Holland
Apt No Lessee
49 Maurice Heelan
53 Joseph McGettigan
54 Dalmatian Investments
55 Michael Mooney
56 Copse Ltd (in Trust)
57 Patrick MacEntee
59 Kevin Haugh
59 Patrick MacEntee
60 Kevin Haugh
61 James Morrissey (in Trust)
62 James Morrisaey (in Trust)
53 James Morrisaey (in Trust)
64 Michael Holland
Apt No Lessee
1 Patrick Staunton and Catherine Fagan
2 John and Margaret Coughlan
4 Marie McMahon
5 Anthony and Rita Dunne
9 John Kelly
10 John Lowe
11 Michael Holland
12 Meriel J. Heather
13 Brian and Maura Dolan
14 Meriel J. Heather
15 James Cahill
16 Chrisloptier Foxton
17 Linda Scales (in Trust)
18 Linda Scales (in Trust)
19 Linda Scales (in Trust)
20 Linda Scales (in Trust)
21 Linda Scales (in Trust)
22 Linda Scales (in Trust)
23 Linda Scales (in Trust)
24 Linda Scales (in Trust)
25 Con and Paul Gilmore
27 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
33 Michael Dawson
34 Brian Gaffney
35 Gerard Dooley
36 Hugh Davey
37 Kevin Blake
38 Derrick M. Cronnelly
39 Francis Larkin
40 J Francis Wade
41 John Flood and Niall Eyre
42 Joan Taaffe and Gerard Kelly
43 Philip and Rita Morrissey
44 Helen Morrissey
45 Liam Lally
46 Clare Healy
47 Mary Thornton
48 Harold Whelehan
49 Joe M. Treacy
51 Brendan and Ann Gilmore in trust for Suzanna Gilmore
52 Same in trust for Jennifer Gilmore
53 Same in trust for Suzanna Gilmore
54 Same in trust for Jennifer Gilmore
55 Anthony O’Shea
56 Ciara O’Shea
Apt No Lessee
121 John McCann & Oliver Coughlan
122 Anthony Hynes, Grainne Hynes
123 Eimear Conway
124 Noel Daly
125 Anthony Walsh
126 Patrick J. Daly
127 Mark McMonagle
123 Patrick J Daly
129 Briege Dobbin
130 Patrick J. Daly
131 Declan Carolan
132 James Carolan and Liam Carolan
134 Fiona Carolan
135 Liam Carolan
136 Philip McMahon
137 Patrick L. McDonnell and Monica McDonnell
138 Louis Copeland
139 Marian Finucane
140 Sean Wood
Apt No Lessee
65 Anthony and Grainne Hynes
66 Shannon and Elaine Gilboume
67 Geraldine O’Reilly
68 Tom and Roni Mannix
69 John Reid
73 Michael Fingleton
77 Andrew O’Rorke (in Trust)
78 Same (in Trust)
79 Same (in Trust)
60 Same (in Trust)
On May 14, 1993, The Irish Times further reported that Irish Nationwide managing director Michael Fingleton got one mortgage from his own society to buy a 1-bedroom apartment at the Mespil Estate. He also bought 3 other apartments. First National are said to have advanced the mortgages in the other cases, including in many cases 100% mortgages, to 51 customers to buy 93 apartments. Around the same time First National and Irish Life were merging.
The following day it emerged that Mr Fingleton did not register the mortgage of £110,000 which he received from Irish Nationwide, with the Central Bank, as he was obliged to do under the Building Societies Act 1989.
In 2000, it emerged that Mr Fingleton had taken out loans totalling £1.25m from Irish Nationwide, the largest of which was a loan for £757,750 taken out in March 1999. Other executives at Irish Nationwide also took out a variey of loans, as did Mr Fingleton’s brother.
It is immensely beneficial to both the State and its citizens that names of politicians who took loans – some with minimal paperwork – from Mr Fingleton have emerged.
However, the fact loans were advanced to Fianna Fail politicians, Charlie McCreevy, Francie O’Brien, Sean McCarthy and Don Lydon, in the manner detailed by Prime Time Investigates does not come as much surprise.
Of course not everybody knows that it’s who you know and who you are gets you into the golden circle
The Dail is full of corruption and it’s no surprise that the corrupt Bast**** in the Banks have the self interest politicians in their pockets
If we ever get a public enquire into the collapse of the Irish Banks we will have proof of the criminal and treacherous dealings of our top politicians along with the Directors of the same banks
That’s why we will not see any meaningful investigation into this whole sordid affair
With the total control of the national airwaves one must be on ones guard and not allow oneself to be lead up the garden path
With us all now concentrating of the public enquire theme into the banks, I just wonder is there something else we should be watching out for
Never the less we all know that the current ruling elite are in it up to their necks and the longer they stay in power the longer they have to cover their tracks
Owing or investing in shares in Ireland or indeed participating in the Irish stock market is just plain stupid as the whole system is rigged and the big banks are the ones controlling everything
If you are in with the golden circle, you can never lose.
What a scam!
We will have our day soon !
24 Dec 2009
I came across this article
Morgan Kelly, University College Dublin
In the last decade, the Irish economy has experienced an unusually large credit bubble.
Lending as a fraction of GNP increased from 60% in 1997, to over 200% in 2008, twice the
level of other industrialized economies.
In the aftermath of this bubble, the Irish banking system faces three inter-related problems.
The first is that it has made large losses on loans to property developers. The second
is that it has large wholesale liabilities to international bond holders and, increasingly, to
the European Central Bank. The final problem is that it faces likely further large losses on
mortgages and business loans.
The Irish government’s policy response has been solely to address the first problem of
losses on developer loans by establishing a state institution to buy these loans. However, by
ignoring the second problem of the large wholesale liabilities of the Irish banks, this project
will inevitably end in expensive failure.
As Irish banks are forced to repay this wholesale borrowing and to shrink their balance
sheets to normal international levels, the sharply diminished supply of credit will lead inevitably
to continued sharp falls in property prices. These falls in property prices will result
in severe losses for the Irish taxpayer on the ill-conceived NAMA project.
Despite having pushed the Irish state close to, and quite possibly beyond, the limits of
its fiscal capacity with the NAMA scheme, the Irish banks remain as zombies whose only
priority is to reduce their debt, and who face complete destruction from mortgage losses.
The issue therefore is not whether the Irish bank bailout will restore the Irish banks so
that they can function as independent commercial entities: it cannot. Rather it is whether
the Irish government’s commitments to bank bond holders when added to its existing spending
commitments, will overwhelm the fiscal capacity of the Irish state, forcing outside entities
such as the IMF and EU to intervene and impose a resolution on the Irish banking system.
To read the full paper, please do follow the link http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/wp09.32.pdf
Labour seeks answers to RTÉ report
Fianna Fáil needs to answer questions regarding it relationship to Irish Nationwide Building Society after RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates programme last night reported a number of party figures had access to loans from the lender on “easy terms”, Labour’s finance spokeswoman has said.
Joan Burton described disclosures regarding the operation of a system of favoured relationships at the bank as “particularly disturbing”.
“The question now arises as to whether or not other figures in Fianna Fáil, including figures at senior level, were customers of this institution, and whether they operated a system of favoured relationships for particular clients,” Ms Burton said.
She called on the party to clarity the issue as up to €8 billion of Irish Nationwide loans are to be covered under National Asset Management Agency (Nama), and a reported figure of up to €2 billion has been agreed by the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan as part of a rescue package.
“These two institutions were at the core of the international loss of Irish reputation and were at the core of the banking crisis,” Ms Burton said.
“In many ways the guarantee scheme, which Labour opposed, was structured around these two with their close links to Fianna fail and to Government,” she said.
Opposition parties have repeatedly called for an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the banking crisis.
“If this phase of economic destruction is to be fully understood and the lessons truly learned so that we never repeat them a full investigation of the banking sector and its practises over this period needs to happen as a matter of urgency,” Fine Gael frontbench spokesman Leo Varadkar said today.
Mr Varadkar said: “A 21st century Golden Circle, as exposed last night on Primetime Investigates, has corrupted our banking system and destroyed our economy.
“The drivers of this phase of economic destruction were, again, a cheerleading Fianna Fáil Government and greedy speculators and banks,” he added.
Just another example of the golden Circle’s influence and again (if we needed it) proof of political corruption in this country
We the people must take action, ringing up the various radio stations talk shows just won’t cut it for me any more!
How long will it take for the rest of Ireland to wake up and revolt against this corrupt system? That robs from the poor and gives to the chosen few
We have put up with these leaches for long enough,
It is the only way the ordinary people will be able to bring all these criminals to justice!
Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said the Catholic Church hierarchy has the responsibility of restoring trust in the administration of the institution.
What about his own responsibility of restoring trust in the Financial Institutions of this country?
The phrase The pot calling the kettle black
comes to mind!
Suport the Central Bank Governor’s call for a full investigation into the total destruction of the Irish Banking system.
To all TD’s
Everybody I speak to is disgusted with the response of the government
To the Central Bank Governor’s call for a full investigation into the destruction of the Irish Banking system
You were elected to serve all of the people, not just a select few!
Having lost our jobs, our pensions, our Homes, and our belief in the political system
We now want to see this full investigation and not some toothless expensive tribunal
There must be prosecutions forthcoming
The biggest calamity that befallen the Irish state cannot go unaccounted for
People want answers and they want them now!
Do your Job and support the Central Bank’s Governors call, Support the people!
Obama Declares War On Pakistan
By Webster G. Tarpley
This article was sent to me
WASHINGTON, DC — Obama’s West Point speech of December 1 represents far more than the obvious brutal escalation in Afghanistan — it is nothing less than a declaration of all-out war by the United States against Pakistan . This is a brand-new war, a much wider war now targeting Pakistan , a country of 160 million people armed with nuclear weapons. In the process, Afghanistan is scheduled to be broken up. This is no longer the Bush Cheney Afghan war we have known in the past. This is something immensely bigger: the attempt to destroy the Pakistani central government in Islamabad and to sink that country into a chaos of civil war, Balkanization, subdivision and general mayhem. The chosen strategy is to massively export the Afghan civil war into Pakistan and beyond, fracturing Pakistan along ethnic lines. It is an oblique war using fourth-generation or guerrilla warfare techniques to assail a country which the United States and its associates in aggression are far too weak to attack directly. In this war, the Taliban are employed as US proxies. This aggression against Pakistan is Obama’s attempt to wage the Great Game against the hub of Central Asia and Eurasia or more generally.
US DETERRED FROM OPEN WAR BY PAKISTAN ‘S NUKES
The ongoing civil war in Afghanistan is merely a pretext, a cover story designed to provide the United States with a springboard for a geopolitical destabilization campaign in the entire region which cannot be publicly avowed. In the blunt cynical world of imperialist aggression à la Bush and Cheney, a pretext might have been manufactured to attack Pakistan directly. But Pakistan is far too large and the United States is far too weak and too bankrupt for such an undertaking. In addition, Pakistan is a nuclear power, possessing atomic bombs and medium range missiles needed to deliver them. What we are seeing is a novel case of nuclear deterrence in action. The US cannot send an invasion fleet or set up airbases nearby because Pakistani nuclear weapons might destroy them. To this extent, the efforts of Ali Bhutto and A.Q. Khan to provide Pakistan a deterrent capability have been vindicated. But the US answer is to find ways to attack Pakistan below the nuclear threshold, and even below the conventional threshold. This is where the tactic of exporting the Afghan civil war to Pakistan comes in.
The architect of the new Pakistani civil war is US Special Forces General Stanley McChrystal, who organized the infamous network of US torture chambers in Iraq . McChrystal’s specific credential for the Pakistani civil war is his role in unleashing the Iraqi civil war of Sunnis versus Shiites by creating “al Qaeda in Iraq ” under the infamous and now departed double agent Zarkawi. If Iraqi society as a whole had lined up against the US invaders, the occupiers would have soon been driven out. The counter-gang known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq ” avoided that possibility by killing Shiites, and thus calling forth massive retaliation in the form of a civil war. These tactics are drawn from the work of British General Frank Kitson, who wrote about them in his book Low Intensity Warfare. If the United States possesses a modern analog to Heinrich Himmler of the SS, it is surely General McChrystal, Obama’s hand-picked choice. McChrystal’s superior, Gen Petraeus, wants to be the new Field Marshal von Hindenburg in other words, he wants to be the next US president.
The vulnerability of Pakistan which the US and its NATO associates are seeking to exploit can best be understood using a map of the prevalent ethnic groups of Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iran , and India . Most maps show only political borders which date back to the time of British imperialism, and therefore fail to reflect the principal ethnic groups of the region. For the purposes of this analysis, we must start by recognizing a number of groups. First is the Pashtun people, located mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan . Then we have the Baluchis, located primarily in Pakistan and Iran . The Punjabis inhabit Pakistan , as do the Sindhis. The Bhutto family came from Sind .
The US and NATO strategy begins with the Pashtuns, the ethnic group from which the so-called Taliban are largely drawn. The Pashtuns represent a substantial portion of the population of Afghanistan , but here they are alienated from the central government under President Karzai in Kabul , even though the US puppet Karzai passes for a Pashtun himself. The issue involves the Afghan National Army, which was created by the United States after the 2001 invasion. The Afghan officer corps are largely Tajiks drawn from the Northern Alliance that allied with the United States against the Pashtun Talibans. The Tajiks speak Dari, sometimes known as eastern Persian. Other Afghan officers come from the Hazara people. The important thing is that the Pashtuns feel shut out.
The US strategy can best be understood as a deliberate effort at persecuting, harassing, antagonizing, strafing, repressing, and murdering the Pashtuns. The additional 40,000 US and NATO forces which Obama demands for Afghanistan will concentrate in Helmand province and other areas where the Pashtuns are in the majority. The net effect will be to increase the rebellion of the fiercely independent Pashtuns against Kabul and the foreign occupation, and at the same time to push many of these newly radicalized mujaheddin fighters across the border into Pakistan , where they can wage war against the central government in Islamabad . US aid will flow directly to war lords and drug lords, increasing the centrifugal tendencies.
On the Pakistani side, the Pashtuns are also alienated from the central government. Islamabad and the army are seen by them as too much the creatures of the Punjabis, with some input from the Sindhis. On the Pakistani side of the Pashtun territory, US operations include wholesale assassinations from unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, murders by CIA and reportedly Blackwater snipers, plus blind terrorist massacres like the recent ones in Peshawar which the Pakistani Taliban are blaming on Blackwater, acting as a subcontractor of the CIA. These actions are intolerable and humiliating for a proud sovereign state. Every time the Pashtuns are clobbered, they blame the Punjabis in Islamabad for the dirty deals with the US that allow this to happen. The most immediate goal of Obama’s Afghan-Pakistan escalation is therefore to promote a general secessionist uprising of the entire Pashtun people under Taliban auspices, which would already have the effect of destroying the national unity of both Kabul and Islamabad .
The other ethnic group which the Obama strategy seeks to goad into insurrection and secession is the Baluchis. The Baluchis have their own grievances against the Iranian central government in Tehran , which they see as being dominated by Persians. An integral part of the new Obama policy is to expand the deadly flights of the CIA Predators and other assassination drones into Baluchistan . One pretext for this is the report, peddled for example by Michael Ware of CNN, that Osama bin Laden and his MI-6 sidekick Zawahiri are both holed up in the Baluchi city of Quetta, where they operate as the kingpins of the so-called “Quetta Shura.” Blackwater teams cannot be far behind. In Iranian Baluchistan, the CIA is funding the murderous Jundullah organization, which was recently denounced by Teheran for the murder of a number of top officials of the Iranian Pasdaran Revolutionary guards. The rebellion of Baluchistan would smash the national unity of both Pakistan and Iran , thus helping to destroy two of the leading targets of US policy.
OBAMA’S RUBE GOLDBERG STRATEGY
Even Chris Matthews of MSNBC, normally a devoted acolyte of Obama, pointed out that the US strategy as announced at West Point very much resembles a Rube Goldberg contraption. (In the real world, “al Qaeda” is of course the CIA’s own Arab and terrorist legion.) In the world of official US myth, the enemy is supposed to be “Al Qaeda.” But, even according to the US government, there are precious few “Al Qaeda” fighters left in Afghanistan . Why then, asked Matthews, concentrate US forces in Afghanistan where “Al Qaeda” is not, rather than in Pakistan where “Al Qaeda” is now alleged to be?
One elected official who has criticized this incongruous mismatch is Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who said in a television interview that ‘Pakistan, in the border region near Afghanistan, is perhaps the epicenter [of global terrorism], although al Qaida is operating all over the world, in Yemen, in Somalia, in northern Africa, affiliates in Southeast Asia. Why would we build up 100,000 or more troops in parts of Afghanistan included that are not even near the border? You know, this buildup is in Helmand Province . That’s not next door to Waziristan . So I’m wondering, what exactly is this strategy, given the fact that we have seen that there is a minimal presence of Al Qaida in Afghanistan, but a significant presence in Pakistan? It just defies common sense that a huge boots on the ground presence in a place where these people are not is the right strategy. It doesn’t make any sense to me.’ Indeed. ‘The Wisconsin Democrat also warned that U.S. policy in Afghanistan could actually push terrorists and extremists into Pakistan and, as a consequence, further destabilize the region: “You know, I asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, and Mr. Holbrooke, our envoy over there, a while ago, you know, is there a risk that if we build up troops in Afghanistan, that will push more extremists into Pakistan?” he told ABC. “They couldn’t deny it, and this week, Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan specifically said that his concern about the buildup is that it will drive more extremists into Pakistan, so I think it’s just the opposite, that this boots-on-the-ground approach alienates the Afghan population and specifically encourages the Taliban to further coalesce with Al Qaida, which is the complete opposite of our national security interest.”‘ Of course, this is all intentional and motivated by US imperialist raison d’état. .
MALICK: “DID OBAMA DECLARE WAR ON PAKISTAN ?”
Obama’s speech did everything possible to blur the distinction between Afghanistan and Pakistan , which are after all two sovereign states and both members of the United Nations in their own right. Ibrahim Sajid Malick, US correspondent for Samaa TV, one of the largest Pakistan television networks, called attention to this ploy: ‘Speaking to a hall full of cadets at the US Military Academy of West Point, President Barack Obama almost seemed like he might be declaring war on Pakistan . Every time he mentioned Afghanistan , Pakistan preceded mention. Sitting at the back benches of the hall at one point I almost jumped out of my chair when he said: “the stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan , because we know that al Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them.” I was shocked because a succession of American officials recently confirmed that the Pakistani arsenal is secure.' This article is entitled “Did Obama Declare War On Pakistan?”, and we can chalk the question mark up to diplomatic discretion. During congressional hearings involving General McChrystal and US Ambassador Eikenberry, Afghanistan and Pakistan were simply fused into one sinister entity known as “Afpak” or even “Afpakia.”
In the summer of 2007, Obama, coached by Zbigniew Brzezinski and other controllers, was the originator of the unilateral US policy of using Predator drones for political assassinations inside Pakistan . This assassination policy is now being massively escalated along with the troop strength: “Two weeks ago in Pakistan, Central Intelligence Agency sharpshooters killed eight people suspected of being militants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and wounded two others in a compound that was said to be used for terrorist training. The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.’s drone program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decisionto send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Baluchistan for the first time – a controversial move since it is outside the tribal areas – because that is where Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide.” The US is now training more Predator operators than combat pilots.
BLACKWATER ACCUSED IN PESHAWAR MASSACRE OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The CIA, the Pentagon, and their various contractors among the private military firms are now on a murder spree across Pakistan , attacking peaceful villages and wedding parties, among other targets. Blackwater, now calling itself Xe Services and Total Intelligence Solutions, is heavily involved: ‘At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.’ 
As shocking as Scahill’s report is, it must nevertheless be viewed as a limited hangout, since there is no mention of the persistent charges that a large part of the deadly bombings in Peshawar and other Pakistani cities are being carried out by Blackwater, as this news item suggests: “ISLAMABAD Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — Chief of Taliban movement in Pakistan Hakimullah Mehsud has blamed the controversial American private firm Blackwater for the bomb blast in Peshawar which killed 108 people, local news agency NNI reported Thursday.” This was blind terrorism designed for maximum slaughter, especially among women and children.
US ALSO AT WAR WITH UZBEKISTAN ?
Scahill’s report also suggests that US black ops have reached into Uzbekistan, a post-Soviet country of 25 million which borders Afghanistan to the north: ‘In addition to planning drone strikes and operations against suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Pakistan for both JSOC and the CIA, the Blackwater team in Karachi also helps plan missions for JSOC inside Uzbekistan against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to the military intelligence source. Blackwater does not actually carry out the operations, he said, which are executed on the ground by JSOC forces. “That piqued my curiosity and really worries me because I don’t know if you noticed but I was never told we are at war with Uzbekistan ,” he said. “So, did I miss something, did Rumsfeld come back into power?”‘  Such are the ways of hope and change.
The role of US intelligence in fomenting the Baluchistan rebellion for the purpose of breaking Pakistan apart is also confirmed by Professor Chossudovsky: ‘Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Baluchistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005 ). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanization and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”. (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK , Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005 ). Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Baluchistan” which would integrate the Baluch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan, thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.' The Iranians, for their part, are adamant that the US is committing acts of war on their territory in Baluchistan : ” TEHRAN , Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — Iran ‘s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that there are some concrete evidences showing U.S. involvement in recent deadly bomb explosions in the country’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, the official IRNA news agency reported. . The deadly suicide attack by Sunni rebel group Jundallah (God’s soldiers) occurred on Oct. 18 in Iran ‘s Sistan-Baluchistan province near the border with Pakistan when the local officials were preparing a ceremony in which the local tribal leaders were to meet the military commanders of Iran ‘s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
US GOAL: CUT THE PAKISTAN ENERGY CORRIDOR BETWEEN IRAN , CHINA
Why would the United States be so obsessed with the breakup of Pakistan ? One reason is that Pakistan is traditionally a strategic ally and economic partner of China , a country which the US and British are determined to oppose and contain on the world stage. Specifically, Pakistan could function as an energy corridor linking the oil fields of Iran and possibly even Iraq with the Chinese market by means of a pipeline that would cross the Himalayas above Kashmir . This is the so-called “Pipelinestan” issue. This would give China a guaranteed land-based oil supply not subject to Anglo-American naval superiority, while also cutting out the 12,000 mile tanker route around the southern rim of Asia . As a recent news report points out: ‘ Beijing has been pressuring Tehran for China ‘s participation in the pipeline project and Islamabad , while willing to sign a bilateral agreement with Iran , has also welcomed China ‘s participation. According to an estimate, such a pipeline would result in Pakistan getting $200 million to $500 million annually in transit fees alone. China and Pakistan are already working on a proposal for laying a trans-Himalayan pipeline to carry Middle Eastern crude oil to western China . Pakistan provides China the shortest possible route to import oil from the Gulf countries. The pipeline, which would run from the southern Pakistan port of Gwadar and follow the Karakoram highway, would be partly financed by Beijing . The Chinese are also building a refinery at Gwadar. Imports using the pipeline would allow Beijing to reduce the portion of its oil shipped through the narrow and unsafe Strait of Malacca , which at present carries up to 80% of its oil imports. Islamabad also plans to extend a railway track to China to connect it to Gwadar. The port is also considered the likely terminus of proposed multibillion-dollar gas pipelines reaching from the South Pars fields in Iran or from Qatar , and from the Daulatabad fields in Turkmenistan for export to world markets. Syed Fazl-e-Haider, ” Pakistan , Iran sign gas pipeline deal,” Asia Times, 27 May 2009 . This is the normal, peaceful economic progress and cooperation which the Anglo-Americans are hell-bent on stopping.
Oil and natural gas pipelines from Iran across Pakistan and into China would carry energy resources into the Middle Kingdom, and would also serve as conveyor belts for Chinese economic influence into the Middle East . This would make Anglo-American dominion increasingly tenuous in a part of the world which London and Washington have traditionally sought to control as part of their overall strategy of world domination.
US domestic propaganda is already portraying Pakistan as the new home base of terrorism. The four pathetic patsies going on trial for an alleged plot to bomb a synagogue in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City had been carefully sheep-dipped to associate them with the shadowy and suspicious Jaish-e-Mohammad, allegedly a Pakistani terrorist group. The same goes for the five Moslems from Northern Virginia who have just been arrested near Lahore in Pakistan.
INDIA AND IRAN
As far as the neighboring states are concerned, India under the unfortunate Manmohan Singh seems to be accepting the role of continental dagger against Pakistan and China on behalf of the US and the British. This is a recipe for a colossal tragedy. India should rather make permanent peace with Pakistan by vacating the Vale of Kashmir, where 95% of the population is Moslem and would like to join Pakistan. Without a solution to this issue, there will be no peace on the subcontinent.
Regarding Iran, George Friedman, the head of the Stratfor outlet of the US intelligence community recently told Russia Today that the great novelty of the next decade will be an alliance of the United States with Iran directed against Russia. In that scenario, Iran would cut off oil to China altogether. That is the essence of the Brzezinski strategy. It is urgent that the antiwar movement in the United States regroup and begin a new mobilization against the cynical hypocrisy of Obama’s war and escalation policy, which suprasses even the war crimes of the Bush-Cheny neocons. In this new phase of the Great Game, the stakes are incalculable.
 Ibrahim Sajid Malick, “Did Obama Declare War On Pakistan?,” Pakistan for Pakistanis Blog, 2 December 2009. http://ibrahimsajidmalick.com/did-Obama-declare-war-on-pakistan/484/
 Scott Shane, “C.I.A. to Expand Use of Drones in Pakistan,” New York Times, December 3, 2009. See also David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, “Between the Lines, an Expansion in Pakistan,” New York Times, 1 December 2009.
 Jeremy Scahill, “The Secret US War in Pakistan,” The Nation, November 23, 2009
 “Taliban in Pakistan blame U.S. Blackwater for deadly blast,” Xinhua News Agency, 29 October 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/29/content_12358907