Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Haqqani Leaders Detained in Persian Gulf, Not Inside Afghanistan

Haqqani Leaders Detained in Persian Gulf, Not Inside Afghanistan

Detentions of Anas Haqqani and Hafiz Rashid Inside Afghanistan Had Indicated Possible Shift in Attitude

KABUL—Two recently captured top members of Afghanistan’s Haqqani network insurgent group were detained in the Persian Gulf and not in Afghanistan, as Kabul had claimed, Taliban and foreign officials said, indicating a possible shift in attitude in a region where Afghan militants have long enjoyed freedom of movement.
The detention of Anas Haqqani, the brother of the Taliban-affiliated group’s chief, and Hafiz Rashid, a military commander, was touted as an important victory for the Afghan government.
Anas Haqqani, the second-in-command of the Haqqani network, is pictured in detention on Oct. 15. ENLARGE
Anas Haqqani, the second-in-command of the Haqqani network, is pictured in detention on Oct. 15. NDS/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Hafiz Rashid, the military commander of the Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan, on Oct. 15. ENLARGE
Hafiz Rashid, the military commander of the Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan, on Oct. 15. NDS/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The Haqqanis, while acknowledging the Taliban leadership’s authority, operate independently. Unlike the mainstream Afghan Taliban movement, the Haqqani network is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.
The Haqqani network was behind many of the most spectacular attacks against foreign and Afghan targets in recent years. Mr. Haqqani and Mr. Rashid are now the most senior members of the network in Afghan custody.
When Afghanistan’s intelligence agency announced their arrest, it said they were detained during an operation in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, the group’s traditional power base. New information indicates the two were picked up in a Gulf country and later taken to Afghanistan.
The Taliban said on Saturday that Mr. Haqqani and Mr. Rashid were arrested on Oct. 12 in Bahrain by U.S. forces, and taken to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates before reaching Kabul.
Several Western officials said the arrests took place in the Gulf, but they were unaware of U.S. involvement.
A senior Afghan security official confirmed the two men were arrested abroad but declined to say in which country. He said the operation was led by Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, and that U.S. forces played no role. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Kabul welcomed the arrests.
“These dangerous men are off the battlefield. We designated the Haqqani Network a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2012. It’s a lethal network that poses a significant threat to the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and our other partners and allies,,” said the spokeswoman.
It is unclear what role, if any, authorities in Qatar, Bahrain or the U.A.E. played to facilitate the arrests. Officials from the three Gulf states didn't respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Members of the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqanis, have long moved relatively freely in Qatar, which in the past has mediated between the U.S. and the militant group. The arrest of the two Haqqani leaders last week, however, may indicate that is changing.
“If they were important and that’s why they were arrested, it would mark a turning point for the Haqqanis and their ability to travel—and perhaps indicate a further erosion of their support and backing,” said Anand Gopal, an author and Taliban expert.
With better resources than other Taliban factions, the Haqqani network has long represented one of the biggest threats to U.S. and allied interests in Afghanistan. U.S. and Afghan officials have alleged the group was behind some of the most spectacular assaults in Afghanistan in recent years, including a 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed 16 people, and another that year on the city’s Intercontinental Hotel that left more than 20 dead.
U.S. and Afghan officials have said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency covertly backed the Haqqanis to extend its influence in Afghanistan, an accusation Islamabad has repeatedly rejected.
While they still represent a formidable threat for foreigners and Afghans, the Haqqanis appear weaker now than they did in the recent past, partly due to the targeting of their leadership and to advances by Afghan security forces in their territory. “They are a shell of their former selves,” Mr. Gopal said.
Anas Haqqani, the youngest son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the movement’s founder, rose through the ranks of the group after two of his brothers were killed, and was the second-in-command after his brother Sirajuddin Haqqani at the time of his arrest, according to Afghan officials. The officials said Anas Haqqani was in charge of fundraising for the network, which is partly financed by private donations from the Gulf. The Taliban disputed this description of the younger Haqqani, saying he played no formal role in the organization, and that he was a final-year student of religious studies.
They said that before their arrest the two men had traveled to Qatar to visit Mr. Rashid’s brother, Mohammad Nabi Umari. Mr. Umari was one of five Taliban prisoners the U.S. released from Guantanamo Bay prison in May in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whom the Haqqanis held captive for five years. As part of the prisoner swap, the so-called Guantanamo Five now live in Qatar.
The Taliban said the arrests of Messrs. Haqqani and Rashid were a violation of the terms of that agreement.
“Both men were handed over to Kabul despite the freed Guantanamo detainees being assured that their relatives may visit them unharmed,” the Taliban said. “The American and Kabul administrations aren’t bound by any international law when it suits their political objectives and neither are they truthful in their calls of peace and reconciliation.”
Last year, the Taliban opened a political office in Qatar to host peace talks with the U.S. and Afghan governments. While the office was shut down days after it opened as it got bogged down in controversy, many former Taliban officials still live in the Gulf state.
—Asa Fitch in Beirut contributed to this article.
Write to Margherita Stancati at margherita.stancati@wsj.com

Watch] Obama’s Taliban Reunion – Released Gitmo Five Were Visited By Their Old Comrades In Qatar

[Watch] Obama’s Taliban Reunion – Released Gitmo Five Were Visited By Their Old Comrades In Qatar

146 terrorist visit taliban 740
Two senior members of the notorious mafia-style Afghan terrorist organization, the Haqqani Network, recently visited the Obama Gitmo terrorists at their new temporary home in Qatar.
Catherine Herridge reports that the Taliban has issued a statement saying that two of their members, Abdul Rasheed Omari and Anas Haqqani, were recently arrested by the Afghan government. They were apprehended as they made their way back from a week-long visit with the “Taliban Dream Team” members.
The Taliban are upset that the supposed assurances received by the Gitmo Five which granted the two safe passage were in their opinion, violated.
Herridge reports that a former Bush administration official, Charles Stimson, who heads the Heritage National Security Law Program, believes that this visit was likely only one of many and that the indications are, in his view, that the five have already become actively reengaged in the terrorist operation.
He said, “I would expect that not only those two guys talked to the Taliban Five, but others have already talked to them and they’ve been in constant communications, preparing for their eventual return.”
Herridge also notes that it is significant that, while there has been no confirmation of the Taliban accounts of the events, there has also been no denial issued by the U.S. government.
Rick Wells is a conservative writer who recognizes that our nation, our Constitution and our traditions are under a full scale assault from multiple threats. Please “Like” him on Facebook, “Follow” him on Twitter or visit www.rickwells.us

Unofficial US “Military Aid” to Islamic State: US Airdropped Weapons in Hands of ISIL Terrorists

Unofficial US “Military Aid” to Islamic State: US Airdropped Weapons in Hands of ISIL Terrorists

US-airdropped-weapons-ISIL
A new video has emerged from northern Syria showing the weapons the US says it is sending to Kurdish forces end up in the hands of the ISIL terrorists.
The video shows masked insurgents inspecting the military equipment which was airdropped in areas controlled by ISIL near the Syrian border city of Kobani.
The supplies include several boxes of hand grenades and RPGs, as parachutes used for the airdrops were clearly visible on the ground in the video.
The US Central Command said on Sunday it has airdropped weapons and ammunition, and medical supplies for the Kurdish forces defending Kobani.
It said the airdrops, which have been provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq, were “intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL’s attempts to overtake Kobani.”
The US and its allies also say they are carrying out airstrikes against the Takfiris in Syria and Iraq in order to curb their advances in the region. The air raids have so far failed to halt the insurgents’ military gains.
The ISIL advance in the region has forced tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee into Turkey.
Turkey continues to block any delivery of military, medical or humanitarian assistance into Kobani where the ISIL terrorists are feared to be aiming at massive bloodletting.
This comes as the US and its Arab allies have been backing ISIL as a tool to put more pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The group has committed heinous crimes in Syria and Iraq.
Watch the video here

The Islamic State and Obama’s Diabolical “Hidden Agenda”: Iraq, Syria and “Superpower Prerogatives”

The Islamic State and Obama’s Diabolical “Hidden Agenda”: Iraq, Syria and “Superpower Prerogatives”

obama soldiers globalresearch.ca
There is a pronounced deceptive aura to the Obama Administration’s disclosures about the new U.S. war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS). The White House even says it is not a war but a simple counter-terrorism strategy, as in Yemen. This is intended to mislead Americans and to generate substantial support for the long war to come.
Every U.S military intervention in Muslim countries since the late 1970s has eventually resulted in “unintended” negative consequences, both for Washington and the target country. There is no reason to think that President Obama’s latest Middle East military adventure will turn out differently — perhaps even worse because his objectives go far beyond what has been publicly announced.
In his speech to the nation on Sept. 10 Obama said the purpose of the mission was to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State. He revealed, “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL (IS) in Syria as well as Iraq,” and emphasized there would be no U.S. ground troops. (The Iraqi government says it does not want more than a token number of U.S. soldiers on its territory.) The Pentagon and CIA will handle the jet fighters, bombers, and drones. Surveillance, communications, intelligence, training, financing and probably the concealed leadership of the ground war are on Uncle Sam’s agenda as well.
Obama’s intention to bring his air war against IS to Syria may result in a serious violation of international law. The Damascus government has said it will allow the U.S. to act but Washington must first ask permission to bomb its territory. The White House indicated it has no desire to ask for authorization. In addition, the Russian government, which supports and supplies arms to both Iran and Syria, pointed out that any such strike against Syria would need backing from the UN Security Council. Otherwise, it “would constitute an act of aggression.”
The White House is building a 40-nation coalition of mainly European and Middle Eastern allies to support the new war, but little activity is expected from most of the members. The U.S. has not invited either Iran or Syria to take part — a concession to the many anti-Shi’ite Sunni states in the coalition and, of course, to Congress and leaders of his own party. Both Iran and Syria criticized the decision to exclude them (though Iran may have rejected the invitation were it offered) and for supporting jihadist groups fighting in Syria. A senior Iranian official told Al-Monitor Sept. 11:
“The U.S. claims it’s fighting terrorism while cooperating with those backing the terrorist groups. It’s not only that; they want to arm other terrorist groups in Syria under the pretext they are moderate Islamists. Everyone knows who they are and what agenda they are serving.”
As the global hegemon at a time of diminishing credibility, and with a profound interest in controlling the oil-soaked Middle East, the U.S. had little choice but to intervene militarily lest it appear to be weak and irresolute — a posture that surely would demean Washington’s vaunted leadership.
In the process of keeping up superpower appearances by planning to crush the Islamic State — which deserves to be crushed, but primarily by the Iraqi and Syrian governments with support from Iran, not the imperial overlord  — President Obama has other goals in mind that have not been articulated.
Mainly it is to place the entire Middle East, not just most of it, as now, under U.S. control in order for Washington to concentrate far more attention on Asia and containing the rise of China.
There are only three countries in the Middle East that are not totally within the U.S. orbit — Iran, since the revolution of 1979; Syria, which has experienced rarely-on-and-mostly-off relations with Washington for decades, now presently off; and Iraq, a bombing target of four U.S. presidents, the object of two wars and years of killer sanctions, now primarily close to Iran with waning ties to its former occupier.
It so happens that these three countries are not only allies, but Iran and Iraq have majority Shi’ite populations, and Syria is led by an Alawite (Shi’ite derivative) government of President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, all three are backed by Russia, which the U.S. finds intolerable, and sometimes by China.
In addition, the principal contradiction within Middle Eastern Islam is between the Sunni and Shi’ite religious branches of Islam. The Shia comprise up to 13% of the Muslim world’s 1.7 billion people; the rest are Sunni, with some small offshoots from both. Saudi Arabia and the Sunni majority of countries in the region are appalled by the increasing power of the Shia, especially since the downfall of the minority Sunni government in Baghdad as a consequence of the U.S. invasion, and the Shi’ite rise to power.
At this stage, the U.S. (geo-politically) and Saudi Arabia plus the regional Sunni countries (geo-religiously), are aligned in seeking to overthrow the Assad regime and break its ties with Iran. The Sunnis also back U.S. efforts to weaken Iranian influence in Iraq. And the U.S., the Sunni countries and Israel desire to weaken and isolate Iran.
It is hardly illogical for the White House to entertain the idea of using this crisis to attain longer-range objectives. It seems likely that at some point during this protracted engagement with IS the White House will unchain the dogs of war — the “moderate” opposition to Assad — in the direction of Damascus. Obama is already regaining some clout in Baghdad by virtue of his bombing campaign and other assistance to new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who replaced the ousted Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whom the U.S. blamed for alienating the Iraqi Sunnis. Weakening Iran is a much tougher project but U.S. sanctions have hurt the economy and the possible loss of its Syrian ally would certainly reduce Tehran’s reach.
The abrupt materialization of IS (then called ISIS for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) at the beginning of this year and its swift takeover of territory in Anbar Province was watched carefully by the U.S., but little action was taken for months. The Islamic State is a formidable enemy, far more sophisticated than earlier jihadist organizations. Here is how The Economist described its abilities Sept. 13:
 “What has characterized IS so far is its combination of strategic patience, the ability to design and direct complex military operations simultaneously in Syria and Iraq, and hybrid warfare that fuses terrorist and insurgent techniques with conventional fighting. Among the tactics it has developed is to soften targets with artillery, or open a breach with suicide bombings, and then attack with swarms of armored Humvees mounted with anti-aircraft guns coming from what seems like all directions at once. Its aggression, speed, firepower and readiness to take casualties, combined with the well-publicized savagery that awaits anyone taken captive, terrorizes defenders into flight…. Although air power may contain IS, it will take ground forces to push its fighters out of the Sunni cities it has taken — and keep them out.”
The Islamic State was initially funded by Saudi Arabia and wealthy backers but now is earning about $3 million a day from selling Iraqi oil at discount prices in Turkey, smuggling, theft and extortion.
Washington acknowledged the seriousness of the IS advance in early June when it quickly captured Mosul, a city of 665,000, people and routed four divisions of the Iraqi army, capturing huge quantities of U.S. weapons and vehicles, emptying the banks and murdering military and civilian prisoners. IS then captured Tikrit, the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein. It was clear by then that a relatively large portion of the disaffected Sunni population of Iraq was giving support to IS. Since January IS has forced over a million Iraqis and Kurds from their homes. The number of dead civilians is not available.
Obama conveyed the impression for several weeks that he was reluctant to become involved in another conflict in Iraq but this was largely for show until the Pentagon decided on war plans, the State Department gathered preliminary pledges of support from key allies, and pressure on him to act mounted in Congress and among the American people. Obama remembered the contrived brouhaha that developed after the relatively small scale Benghazi, Libya, affair in 2012, and was determined to be “forced” to fight IS. The two beheadings of American journalists turned the tide into a flood of demands for action.
In his nationwide speech announcing the new strategy, President Obama several times stressed deceptively that the American people were “threatened” by IS. The U.S. is no more threatened by the IS than it was in 2002 when President George W. Bush began to convince Americans to fear Iraqi terrorism in the “homeland.” According to a Wall St. Journal opinion survey in the days following the speech, 62% of voters supported Obama’s call to action, “but nearly 70% saw low odds of success.”
President Obama maintains no American soldiers will be sent to fight “on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, but 1,600 are already there as “advisers,” and more will follow as the war continues over the next several years. Special Forces will operate as spotters for U.S. aircraft and other detachments will join Iraqi and Kurdish and troops in combat to provide guidance and leadership, only firing if fired upon, as inevitably occurs. Under certain circumstances larger numbers of American forces may be secretly inserted into Iraq under a government regulation that can legally deny the truth to the American people about clandestine military action by the Pentagon and CIA.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff paved the way for the eventual introduction of larger numbers of U.S. ground forces by indicating he would recommend precisely that if IS was able to withstand the American air war and allied ground troops. Dempsey also suggests that half the Iraqi army is not competent and the other half needs to be “rebuilt.” This is an interesting tribute to the $25 billion U.S. investment in training the Iraqi military.
The Iraqi government does not want a large contingent of U.S. soldiers back on its soil. While voicing support for the American campaign against IS, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared Sept. 19:
“All political leaders of the country must be aware and awake to prevent the external assistance against the Islamic State from becoming an entrance to breach Iraq’s independence…. Cooperation with the international effort shall not be taken as a pretext to impose foreign decisions on events in Iraq, especially military events.”
Obama did not mention in his speech an intention to destroy the Assad government, which the U.S. has sought to accomplish for the last three years. Judging from his battle plans, this is precisely what he intends to do as well as attack IS.
Why else finance, arm and train fighters from Syria’s anti-Assad “moderate” opposition to allegedly fight on the ground against IS in Syria?
Why would they join up unless the payoff was Assad’s head? The initial goal is to train a special unit of over 5,000 of these moderates, expanding the number if the war demands. Some experts question whether there are even that many moderates in Syria’s rebel ranks. Congress has already appropriated a half billion dollars for Obama to train and equip the so-called moderates. Whether they fight against IS is problematic, but they are clearly devoted to violently replacing Assad with a Sunni-led regime that — for most of the moderates and all of the extremists —eventually would impose fundamentalist Sharia law throughout the country.
The Obama Administration has never explained what it means by moderate opposition. There are over 1,500 groups involved in the fight to remove President Assad, according to James Clapper, director of national intelligence. Except for about two dozen organizations the rest are quite small. Nearly all the large opposition groups are composed of extreme Sunni fundamentalists. The Islamic State is the largest, followed the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria). These two will be ruled out by the White House, but evidently not the so-called moderate groups that have coordinated their independent actions with IS or Nusra in the past. The other large fighting organizations are composed of various Sunni jihadist military groups and the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA) that has been supported by Washington since its inception, along with others, but is no longer a major force. Many members of this group and jihadist organizations have defected to the IS.
According to an editorial in the New York Times Sept. 13:
“Groups identified by Western intelligence agencies as the moderate opposition — those that might support democracy and respect human rights — have been weak, divided and without coherent plans or sustained command structures capable of toppling the Assad regime. Today, those so-called moderates are even weaker and more divided; in some cases, their best fighters are hard-line Islamists.”
In terms of the FSA, journalist Robert Fisk wrote in CounterPunch Sept. 14:
“Then there’s the reinvention of the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition which was once called the Free Syrian Army, a force of deserters corrupted and betrayed by both the West and its Islamic allies — and which no longer exists. This ghost army is now going to be called the ‘Syrian National Coalition’ and be trained — of all places — in Saudi Arabia, whose citizens have given zillions of dollars to al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS and now IS, al-Nusra and sundry other bad guys.”
Obama seems to entertain the questionable notion that all these “moderate” groups see themselves threatened by the IS juggernaut and can be bought off with money, heavy weapons and expert training to turn their guns on the religio-fascists. The fact is, however, that many of these jihadist fighters, and the FSA as well, recently signed a pact with IS not to fight each other but to cooperate in destroying the Damascus government.
The Obama Administration shares a large responsibility for the fact that Syria has been transformed into a breeding, training and killing ground for violent Sunni jihadist organizations. The U.S. demand to overthrow the Assad regime created an open season for such groups. Obama looked on passively as one fundamentalist fighting force after another entered the country to join the crusade over the last two years.
Yet another violent organization, “led by a shadowy figure who was once among Osama bin Laden’s inner circle [that] posed a more direct threat [than IS] to America and Europe” has been discovered recently, according to the New York Times Sept 21, which continued: “American officials said that the group called Khorasan had emerged in the past year as the cell in Syria that may be the most intent on hitting the United States or its installations overseas with a terror attack. The officials said that the group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close to Bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched.”
All of the jihadist fighting groups have been subsidized by various Sunni governments in the Middle East and their wealthy citizens. Saudi Arabia is the major source of funding for most of the jihadist organizations but other Arab countries and non-Arab Turkey have also been heavy contributors to virtually all the fundamentalist opposition. Turkey as well has opened its gates to foreign jihadists traveling to Syria to join the fight. Aside from being the cheerleader for regime change, the U.S. has financed, armed or trained more secular and “moderate” groups.
It is of interest that Obama has chosen Saudi Arabia — the big funder of the Syrian jihadists — to train these forces in military skills and discipline. The Saudis now oppose IS, which they once supported, because they see it as a rival for Sunni leadership in the Middle East. At the same time their puritanical fundamentalist Islamic religious views — Wahhabism — are nearly identical to the jihadist Salafi movement that includes IS, al-Qaeda, and other groups in the anti-Assad campaign.
An insight into Saudi Arabia’s plans was published Sept. 14 by Stratfor:
“Ideally, the [Saudi] kingdom would like to harness the power of a virulently anti-Shi’ite group such as the Islamic State to topple the Syrian regime and weaken the Shia in both Iraq and Lebanon, thus forcing the Iranians back into their Persian core [in Iran]. The problem is that the Saudis do not control the Islamic State.
“Moreover, Riyadh [the Saudi capital] is competing with groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda for a monopoly over the concepts of Salafism and jihad. This is why the Saudis have been putting together a coalition of Syrian rebels, many of whom are Salifist-jihadists who do not share the Islamic State’s ambition to establish a caliphate and are willing to go only as far as the Saudis command them to. Saudi Arabia is thus hoping that U.S. military power will help neutralize the Islamic State and allow its proxies to take over the territories currently under the jihadist group’s control [italics ours]. This way the transnational jihadist threat will be removed and the kingdom can make progress toward ousting al Assad.”
The U.S. seeks a majority Sunni regime in Damascus for its own ambitions, but Obama will insist the jihadist component drop the demand for Sharia, at least for now, and support representation, not repression, for the 35% non-Sunni population and for secular Sunnis, a number of whom are fighting against Assad.
Washington wants a government in Damascus that offers an approximation of democracy, an absolute end to the country’s close relationship with Shi’ite Iran, and expects to have its interests respected and advice sought. If the “moderates” (jihadists in most cases) cooperate they will be given a seat at the new government table — as were the Ukrainian fascists when they helped overthrow a pro-Russian president earlier this year.
The United States has been deeply involved since the late 1970s in manipulating the politics of selected Muslim governments to serve its own hegemonic interests. Often the tactic is regime change through direct military intervention, as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, or efforts to overthrow governments by supplying money, arms and other incentives to opposition forces, as in Syria. One inevitable consequence of American interference, even when it appears to be successful, is that fundamentalist jihadi movements multiply in size and new trouble spots emerge.
It is doubtful al-Qaeda had more than several hundred full time operatives at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It was reported this week that the IS includes an estimated 30,000 to 45,000 effectives in its “state” located in northwest Iraq and northeast Syria and expanding. In early June when IS conquered Mosul, the Pentagon estimated it had 3,000 to 5,000 troops all told. Of the present higher number,
15,000 hold foreign passports, including over 2,000 Europeans and 100 Americans. Those who survive may come home one day, providing a justification for the U.S. and others to expand their already extensive surveillance capabilities.
At present conservative religious monarchies, dictators and authoritarian regimes govern nearly all countries in the Middle East. All of them, despite contempt toward the U.S. for its liberal democracy and overbearing hypocrisy, ultimately are in liege to the global hegemon in Washington that protects them, and supplies the weapons and intelligence to keep these regimes in power. Extreme Arab government repression backed by the White House crushed the Arab left as an alternative decades ago.
Religious fundamentalism and jihadism are today’s alternative for many young Islamist men dissatisfied with their corrupt governments and infused with hatred toward the U.S. for its humiliating interventions, support for Israel, and overpowering violence. Many are now flocking to the black flag of IS in Syria and Iraq and to various other jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda offshoots in the Middle East, North Africa and now deeper into Africa and touching on Asia.
There of many millions of Muslims (Arabs, Kurds and Iranians) who will fight the Islamic State. They do not have to do so on behalf of the objectives of either the U.S., Saudi Arabia and their various hangers on who now control the region.
The Syrian army is a tough and experienced military force. Some 75,000 of its soldiers and militia members are reported to have been killed in the last three years — and yet it holds on. This is the force that should fight IS, not those under a U.S. command who are mainly being recruited to defeat the Syrian government.
Syria has an air force, as do Iraq and Iran. If the U.S. called off its dogs, ended its regime change mantra and worked with Syria, Iraq and Iran the days of IS would be numbered more quickly. In fact, those three countries, without the U.S., could do the job if they weren’t being undermined and sanctioned.
The 350,000 member Iraqi army is suffering disgrace because of its failure in Mosul. But this defeat has many causes. The Bush Administration foolishly disbanded the existing Iraqi army two months after the 2003 invasion, putting 400,000 soldiers out of work in a wrecked economy that was not hiring new workers. The officer corps was jobless with a black mark on work records (and a number of leading Sunni officers, who were loyal to the pre-war regime, have lately turned up on the side of IS to show their opposition to the government).
The Mosul debacle was largely the product of bad leadership. Commanding officers are said to have fled, leaving the soldiers to fend for themselves. This force can be rebuilt by Iraqis, assisted by several experienced Shi’ite militias (under orders to treat Sunnis fairly), and backed in various ways by Iran. Patrick Cockburn wrote recently “the most potent fighting force on the [Iraqi] government side is the Shia militias, most though not all of which are led or advised by Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers. Iran is crucial for the defense of the Baghdad government.”
The Iraqi army will take the field when the Baghdad government gets its act together, but it probably will be under the de facto direction of the United States.
Obama considers the Syrian army — the main bulwark against a jihadist takeover — his enemy because it defends an Iran-friendly government in Damascus. He wants to do what Bush did to the Iraqi military. He stubbornly will not call off his intention to overthrow Assad and will definitely not openly welcome Iran into the picture.
In addition to his geopolitical rationale, Obama fears heavy criticism from a reactionary Congress, from neocon leaders of his own party (such as Hillary Clinton), and from supporters of jihadism such as one of America’s closest allies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Islamic State can be defeated, but it is difficult to grasp how the White House strategy as Obama explained things can do the job. There’s certainly more to the plan than has been revealed, undoubtedly including ousting Assad. Regardless, the odds are that the U.S. will end up losing more than it gained, as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Jack A. Smith is editor of the Activist Newsletter and is former editor of the (U.S.) Guardian Newsweekly. He may be reached at jacdon@earthlink.net or http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com

“The great hope is that the African Union's forces can be subordinated to a chain of command headed by AFRICOM.”

The great hope is that the African Union's forces can be subordinated to a chain of command headed by AFRICOM.
Gaddafi ended his political life as a dedicated pan-Africanist and, whatever one thought of the man, it is clear that his vision for African was very different from that of the subordinate supplier of cheap labor and raw materials that AFRICOM was created to maintain. He was not only the driving force behind the creation of the African Union in 2002, but had also served as its elected head, and made Libya its biggest financial donor. To the dismay of some of his African colleagues, he used his time as leader to push for a "United States of Africa", with a single currency, single army and single passport. More concretely, Gaddafi's Libya had an estimated $150bn worth of investment in Africa – often in social infrastructure and development projects, and this largesse bought him many friends, particularly in the smaller nations. As long as Gaddafi retained this level of influence in Africa, AFRICOM was going to founder.
Since his removal, however, the organization has been rolling full steam ahead. It is no coincidence that within months of the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month as Gaddafi's execution – President Obama announced the deployment of 100 US special forces to four different African countries, including Uganda. Ostensibly to aid the "hunt for Joseph Kony", they are instead training Africans to fight the US's proxy war in Somalia – where 2,000 more Ugandan soldiers had been sent the previous month.

Christian school told to have Muslim imam lead assemblies

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A1ENDA Headmaster takes pupils and staff assembly in modern school hall
Regulators have informed a Christian school that it needs to have a Muslim imam come in to lead assemblies for its students in order to teach “British values” including diversity, or face the possible penalty of closure, according to a new report from the Christian Institute.
The threat comes as part of a series of new school inspections imposed by the government because of a “Trojan horse” scandal where several public schools in Birmingham, England, were taken over by their managers, who then introduced an Islamist teaching standard.
The nation’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills then demanded that all schools teach “British values,” including diversity, even in the face of mounting opposition from educators because of the ripple effect of such regulations.
Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, said, “Worryingly, evidence is already emerging of how the new regulations are requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools.”
He continued, “The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers, and schools to hold and practice their religious beliefs.”
Opposition also has come from the National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools, whose officials said they were “appalled” by the demands.
According to a report by John Bingham, religious affairs editor for the Telegraph, inspectors claimed the school, which was identified only as a “successful Christian school,” was failing to promote “tolerance.”
Bingham reported the details were in a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan from the Institute, which is providing guidance to the school.
“In the latest case inspectors are understood to have warned the head that the school, which was previously rated as ‘good’ that it would be downgraded to ‘adequate’ for failing to meet standards requiring it to ‘actively promote’ harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions,” he reported.
The report said there would be further inspections “which could ultimately lead to it being closed.”
The Christian Institute, which is planning a legal challenge to the regulations, said the school was told “to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies.”
A spokeswoman for the government agency told the newspaper, “Under Ofsted’s revised guidance for the inspection of schools, inspectors now pay greater attention to ensuring that schools provide a broad and balanced education for their pupils, so that young people are well prepared for the next stage in their education, or for employment and for life in modern Britain.”
Included in the evaluation are the spiritual, moral, social and cultural perspectives of students.
The agency spokeswoman said, “This includes, among other factors, pupils’ acceptance and engagement of different faiths and beliefs, and their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield,” the Telegraph reported.
WND reported only a few weeks ago when the same rules were being blamed for requiring teachers to “challenge” the religious beliefs of parents “in the name of equality.”
The Institute said a report from Peter Clarke, the former chief of counter-terrorism for the Metropolitan Police, said school children in the “Trojan Horse” schools were encouraged to express vocal support for anti-Christian remarks and Christmas was banned.
The report found a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.”
But the Institute said the reaction was an overreach, and the rules call for teachers to “actively promote” the rights defined in the Equality Act 2010, including sexual orientation and transsexual rights.
The schools also “will be required to challenge parents” on their values if they contradict what the government has determined is “equality,” a legal analysis concluded.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/christian-school-told-to-have-muslim-imam-lead-assemblies/#uZSOhr0E2XcHTUfx.99

White House Strategy for Africa Revealed: Intensified Militarization and War on Terror

White House Strategy for Africa Revealed: Intensified Militarization and War on Terror

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    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    The White House has put in writing its policies for sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is, there’s hardly a word of truth in the document, and not a single mention of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command on the continent. The presidential paper repeats Obama’s 2009 lecture to Africans on “good governance.” He also warned that they avoid the “excuses” of blaming “neocolonialism” and “racism” for their problems. Meanwhile, AFRICOM is “positioning the U.S. to launch coups at will against African civilian, or even military, leaders that fall out of favor with Washington.”
    White House Strategy for Africa Revealed: Intensified Militarization and War on Terror
    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    The Obama regime has turned the continent into a battleground, where AFRICOM is the principle interlocutor with the region’s governments and peoples.”
    President Obama, that imperialist son-of-a…um, Kenyan, last week unveiled what he described as a “new” U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The White House report does not once mention AFRICOM, the U.S. military command that has pushed aside the State Department as the primary institution of U.S. policy and power in sub-Saharan Africa. The report comes three years after Obama’s trip to Ghana, when he declared that Africa’s biggest problems were “corruption and poor governance,” rather than five centuries (and still counting) of Euro-American predation. African complaints about “neo-colonialism, or [that] the West has been oppressive, or racism” are mere “excuses,” said Obama, in a performance that scholar Ama Biney described as “imperialist lecturing” and “Obama-speak.”
    Having effectively abandoned even the pretense of competing with China, India, Brazil and other rising economic powers in Africa, the Obama regime has turned the continent into a battleground, where AFRICOM is the principle interlocutor with the region’s governments and peoples. In addition to conducting year-round military maneuvers with nearly every nation on the continent, AFRICOM handles much of U.S. food distribution and medical aid to the region, while the CIA monitors Africa’s vast expanses with a network of secret airstrips and surveillance aircraft.
    The White House report, a document of pure obfuscation, puts U.S. efforts to “strengthen democratic institutions” at the top of the list. It rehashes Obama’s Ghana declaration, that “Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions.” Yet, Washington’s closest allies in sub-Saharan Africa are Paul Kagame, the minority Tutsi warlord in Rwanda; Yoweri Museveni, who rose to power with a guerilla army of child-soldiers and locked up two million Acholi people in concentration camps; and Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi, a military dictator who heads an ethnic-based regime. Rwanda and Uganda are the principal culprits in the deaths of six million Congolese since 1996, the worst genocide since World War Two, while Zenawi’s 2006 invasion of Somalia, instigated by the United States, led to “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa – worse than Darfur,” according to United Nations observers.
    Washington’s closest allies in sub-Saharan Africa are Paul Kagame, the minority Tutsi warlord in Rwanda; Yoweri Museveni, who rose to power with a guerilla army of child-soldiers; and Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi, a military dictator who heads an ethnic-based regime.”
    The text of the president’s statement on the “new” sub-Saharan strategy warns that “the United States will not stand idly by when actors threaten legitimately elected governments or manipulate the fairness and integrity of democratic processes, and we will stand in steady partnership with those who are committed to the principles of equality, justice, and the rule of law.” In the context of Obama’s humanitarian military intervention doctrine – and especially since AFRICOM led NATO’s regime change in Libya – this is war talk.
    In another sense, however, it is, quite simply, pure crap. Rwanda has for 16 years destabilized and spread genocidal chaos in neighboring Congo, in blatant violation of a U.S. law specifically tailored to curtail and punish those activities. The Democratic Republic of The Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, written by then-Sen. Barack Obama and co-sponsored by his colleague Hillary Clinton, now Secretary of State, authorizes the Secretary of State to withhold U.S. aid “if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The Obama administration, like its predecessors, not only disregards its own policy statements – it ignores laws passed by the president and the chief foreign policy officer.
    The White House claims the U.S. has made Africa a safer and more just place “by strengthening institutions and challenging leaders whose actions threaten peaceful political transitions, including in Cote d’Ivoire” – where the U.S. and French accomplished armed regime change.
    Obama brags that: “We have been the world’s leader in responding to humanitarian crises, including in the Horn of Africa, while at the same time working with our African partners to promote resilience and prevent future crises.” In reality, George Bush and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi ended Somalia’s brief period of peace under an Islamic Courts regime, plunged the country into “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa,” and then, under Obama, withheld food from Somalia in order to weaken the Shabaab resistance, all of which set the stage for an even worse famine in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands.
    Such realities give the lie to Obama’s promise to “work to prevent the weakening or collapse of local economies, protect livestock, promote sustainable access to clean water, and invest in programs that reduce community-level vulnerability to man-made and natural disasters.” AFRICOM and U.S. policy are the disasters afflicting the continent; they are part of the disease, not the cure.
    Obama withheld food from Somalia in order to weaken the Shabaab resistance, which set the stage for an even worse famine in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands.”
    During the winter following his Africa visit in 2009, Obama took the lead in destroying all prospects for slowing global warming, at the Copenhagen climate talks. But he still wants to peddle American “green” products (and natural gas fracking) to a scorched Africa. “We will continue promoting resilience and adaptation to impacts of climate change on food, water, and health in vulnerable African countries, supporting the adoption of low-emissions development strategies, and mobilizing financing to support the development and deployment of clean energy,” said the White House report.
    South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu had his own interpretation of U.S. climate policy. Africa, he said, “is to be condemned “to incineration and no modern development.”
    Obama assures Africa that: “The United States will seek to expand adherence to the principle of civilian control of the military.” In practice, AFRICOM has cultivated a “soldier-to-soldier” policy between U.S. troops and African militaries that extends from “general-to-general” to “colonel-to-colonel” and down the ranks, positioning the U.S. to launch coups at will against African civilian, or even military, leaders that fall out of favor with Washington. As Dan Glazebrook recently wrote in The Guardian, America’s “great hope is that the African Union's forces can be subordinated to a chain of command headed by AFRICOM.”
    As with George Bush, the death of millions and the erasure of nations can all be justified by the invocation of one word: al-Qa’ida.
    In our approach to counterterrorism,” said the White House, “we will continue to be guided by the President’s affirmation in the National Security Strategy that he bears no greater responsibility than ensuring the safety and security of the American people.
    Consistent with the National Strategy for Counterterrorism, we will concentrate our efforts
    on disrupting, dismantling, and eventually defeating al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents in Africa to ensure the security of our citizens and our partners. In doing so, we will seek to
    strengthen the capacity of civilian bodies to provide security for their citizens and counter violent extremism through more effective governance, development, and law enforcement efforts.”
    And there you have it. Ultimately, “good governance” and the rest of Obama’s wish-list for Africa is whatever suits U.S. war on terror priorities – and keeps out the Chinese. Which only confirms that Barack Obama is, indeed, an imperialist son-of-a…um, Kenyan.
    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
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    JUST RELEASED:

    The Manufacturing of a President: The CIA’s Insertion of Barack H. Obama, Jr. Into the White House
    By Wayne Madsen
    http://www.lulu.com/shop/wayne-madsen/the-manufacturing-of-a-president/p...
    This book covers Barack H. Obama, Jr’s rapid rise in American politics and the role that the CIA played in propelling him into the White House. Research is based on formerly classified CIA and State Department files, personal interviews, and international investigations. Obama’s birth certificate has never been the issue. The real issue, which affects his eligibility to serve as President of the United States, is his past and likely current Indonesian citizenship. The reader will be taken through the labyrinth of covert CIA operations in Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions. The real history of President Obama, his family, and the CIA quickly emerges as the reader wades into the murky waters of America’s covert foreign operations.
    Table of Contents
    Preface
    Chapter 1: Barack Senior, Out of Africa via the CIA
    Chapter 2: Pay No Attention to the Furniture Store, It’s Not There
    Chapter 3: Stanley Ann Dunham and the Years of Living Dangerously
    Chapter 4: East and West of Krakatoa: CIA anthropologist spies
    Chapter 5: Mother and Son: CIA “Flexible Cover” Agents
    Chapter 6: The Spy Who Loved Him: Obama’s Mother’s Classified Mission in Indonesia
    Chapter 7: MK-ULTRA Hawaiian Style
    Chapter 8: New York, New York and the CIA
    Chapter 9: A Star Is Born
    Chapter 10: Stanley Ann Dunham and the Misery Industrial Complex
    Chapter 11: The Captain America Recruiting Program
    Chapter 12: Chicago: The CIA’s Kind of Town
    Chapter 13: Back to the Future with Obama and the CIA
    Afterword
    ISBN: 9781300011385
    Published: June 16, 2012
    Pages: 394
    Author Background:
    Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for The Village Voice, The Progressive, Counterpunch, In These Times, and The American Conservative. His columns have appeared in The Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Sacramento Bee, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others.
    Madsen is the author of The Handbook of Personal Data Protection (London: Macmillan, 1992), an acclaimed reference book on international data protection law; Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1999); co-author of America’s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II (Dandelion, 2003); author of Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates and Overthrow a Fascist Regime on $15 a Day. (Trine Day).
    Madsen has been a regular contributor on RT. He has also been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC.
    Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows. He has been invited to testify as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and a terrorism investigation panel of the French government.
    As a U.S. Naval Officer, he served in anti-submarine warfare, telecommunications, and computer security positions. He subsequently was assigned to the National Security Agency. Madsen was a Senior Fellow for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy advocacy organization.
    Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club.

    Revealed! Obama’s secret agenda

    Revealed! Obama’s secret agenda

    Land seizures! A Muslim America! The president’s detractors are building a whole alternate universe of what he’s really planning for a second term

    Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages
    Barack Obama has been campaigning for reelection as a reasonable man, a common-sense leader with a steady hand. His stated goals for a second term in office are modest and centrist, if a bit vague on the specifics: create jobs, improve infrastructure, fight global warming.
    Of course, that’s just one Barack Obama. Then there’s the other one—the one his campaign won’t be telling you about. This other Obama has plans. Secret plans.

    For starters, he’s going to dismantle the Second Amendment. According to Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, the president is overseeing a “very real, very dangerous conspiracy of public deception,” which centers on a scheme to “lull gun owners into a false sense of security, and play us for fools in the 2012 election.” This Obama is also planning to take over hundreds of thousands of acres of private property and turn it over to the federal government, blocking the American public from access to the country’s natural resources. On the foreign policy front, he has hatched a plan to transform America into an Islamic nation by bringing tens of millions of Muslims into the country. And according to a book to be published next month, he plans to reduce funding for the Army, and then use what’s left of it to combat global warming and poverty.
    On the fringes of American politics, on conservative radio, and even on the campaign trail, a whole parallel Obama has emerged over the course of the 2012 race—a shadowy figure who has craftily concealed his ideological extremism and is merely awaiting his second term to unleash it. Taken as a whole, this other Obama—and what you might call his “Muahahaha strategy” of post-election bait and switch—offers a vivid picture of the fears that the president has inspired in some critics, fears that appear only to have grown during a real-life first term that has failed to produce much in the way of radical legislation.
    As fanciful as they may sound, these rumors reflect something real in the nation’s political imagination—and shine a light on the particular kind of distrust that tends to accumulate around those in power. And they’re also seeping into mainstream political discourse, even into the race itself. Mitt Romney has invoked the issue of Obama’s secret intentions, telling a group of newspaper editors recently that Obama “doesn’t want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press,” and that it was up to journalists to make him come clean. “His intent is on hiding; you and I are going to have to do the seeking,” Romney said. “He wants us to reelect him so we can find out what he’ll actually do.”

    ***
    Accusing one’s political opponents of harboring secret plans has a rich tradition in American politics. In 1800, according to David Mark, the author of “Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning,” supporters of Thomas Jefferson suggested that rival John Adams secretly wanted to reinstate the British monarchy. Sixty years later, Southern politicians pressed for secession from the Union in part because they believed that president-elect Abraham Lincoln had a secret agenda not to stop slavery’s expansion, as he claimed, but to abolish it entirely.
    The speed of Obama’s ascent to national fame, his early days as a hipster in New York, even the fact that he may or may not be sneaking cigarettes outside the Oval Office, have all combined to fuel a frothy, nightmarish vision of a comic-book-style supervillain.
    Quote Icon
    But in modern times, no presidential candidate has been accused of keeping more secret plans in his back pocket than Obama. Part of it is rooted in suspicion of his strange name and his ethnic background, of course, but it’s more than that. The speed of his ascent to national fame, his early days as a hipster in New York, even the fact that he may or may not be sneaking cigarettes outside the Oval Office, have all combined to fuel a frothy, nightmarish vision of a comic-book-style supervillain: frightening, fascinating, and very good at hiding things.
    So what are the top items on Obama’s secret agenda, and where did they come from? To try to find out the full story is to take a tour of some of the more freewheeling corners of conservative journalism, and also to glimpse just how differently a policy can look if you tilt it a certain way.
    Take our guns. Perhaps the most widely circulated theory about Obama’s secret intentions is that he’s going to go after the rights of gun owners and eventually abolish the Second Amendment. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has called it a “silent but sophisticated long-term conspiracy,” warning NRA members that a second Obama term would bring “a full-scale, sustained, all-out campaign to excise the Second Amendment from our Bill of Rights through legislation, litigation, regulation, executive orders, judicial fiat, international treaties—in short, all the levers of power of all three branches of government.”

    Asked to elaborate, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam emphasized in an interview that gun-rights activists do have every reason to fear Obama, given his record as a senator and his three years as president, during which he has appointed two antigun justices to the Supreme Court and backed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. He also echoed a recently popular theory on the right: that the Department of Justice’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation was really an effort to bolster support for antigun legislation. As for the actual long-term plan that Lapierre has alluded to, Arulanandam declined to be specific, returning instead to Obama’s existing record. “Who knows what he’s cooking up?” he said.
    Rebrand 9/11. One secret White House plot that has yet to be realized has to do with an attempt to change Sept. 11 from a day reserved for memorializing those who died in the terrorist attacks into a “celebration of ethanol, carbon emission controls, and radical community organizing.” This plan was first outlined in an August 2009 report published by The American Spectator under the headline “Obama’s Plan to Desecrate 9/11.” Written by Matthew Vadum, a conservative watchdog who investigates left-leaning advocacy groups, the article cited a source who had participated in a “White House-sponsored teleconference call” during which representatives of 60 “far-left, environmentalist, labor, and corporate shakedown groups” discussed the need to transform 9/11 from something that “helps Republicans” into something new. Vadum reported that the Obama administration was collaborating with a number of organizations, including the community activist group ACORN, on a “cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry.”
    Vadum described the plot last year in his book “Subversion, Inc.,” which outlined the numerous ways Obama was using ACORN as a secret army to enact his national goals. The group is now defunct, and in an interview last week, Vadum said he believes the 9/11 proposal has become less of a priority, as he has not come across any mention of it recently.

    Nationalize the land. That Obama wants to expand the federal government is, of course, a central plank of the conservative case against him. What is less well appreciated is that he literally wants to increase the amount of America the federal government owns, in a deliberate effort to shift natural resources out of the hands of private citizens. For a number of conservative activists— most prominently Brian Sussman, a conservative radio host and author of “Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green Agenda Will Dismantle America”—the smoking gun came in the form of an internal discussion paper from the Bureau of Land Management. The document, now available online, seems to have been chiefly addressing new protections for land already under the bureau’s management, but it also looks at ways to knit federal lands together—and in that, Sussman detected a deeper ambition to nationalize potentially high-value private property. “It’s a wild plan to take over through a number of means either outright purchases, or eminent domain where necessary,” hundreds of thousands, or even millions of acres of private land, he said in a phone interview.
    The motive? A straightforward ideological commitment to the Marxist belief that private companies should not profit from natural resources. “Marx wrote extensively about that, and he believed that all the resources belonged to the state,” Sussman said.
    BUILD A more Muslim union. The most distressing “secret plan” that has surfaced in recent memory—with the possible exception of a 2009 report in Weekly World News that Obama intended to temporarily cancel all federal holidays except Christmas, the Fourth of July, and Martin Luther King’s birthday—is the one being promulgated by Avi Lipkin, an American-born Israeli who writes (sometimes under the pen name Victor Mordecai) and gives lectures about what he sees as the “global threat” presented by Islamism. According to Lipkin’s theory, explained in a YouTube video that has been viewed almost 3.5 million times, Obama is plotting to turn America into a Muslim country by between 50 million and 100 million Muslims relocating from the Middle East. Citing both Arabic-language radio broadcasts and sources who claim to have spoken to Obama directly, Lipkin also believes the president is secretly a Muslim himself, and has a plan to “turn against Israel” as soon as he is reelected. “When he says ‘change’,” Lipkin said in an interview, “he means ‘change from Judeo-Christianity to Islamism.’”
    The rest of the story. And that may be the small stuff, to judge by “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed” a forthcoming book by Aaron Klein, a reporter at the right-wing website World Net Daily, and author Brenda J. Elliott. Their book, slated for publication next month, outlines dozens of other plans that—per the press release—“the president and his progressive backers do not want disclosed to the American public.” Among other things, Obama intends to add millions of people to the federal payroll with a 21st century update of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. He also plans to take over the military budget and then redirect the US armed forces to fight global warming and injustice around the world.
    ***
    It’s not hard to see in this shadow agenda the same unprocessed anxiety that some voters felt about Obama when he was first running for president: that behind his cool and unflappable public veneer lie a secret identity and a deep-seated allegiance to radical causes. It’s an anxiety that was stoked earlier this year when he declared his support for gay marriage after years of insisting that his views on the matter were “evolving,” and when he told Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, without realizing there was a live mic near him, that he would have “more flexibility” after the November election to play ball on a missile defense system in Europe.
    But the most significant reason why there have been so many theories about Obama’s radical second-term plans may be rooted in something less intuitive: namely, that his first term, so far, has turned out to be surprisingly—that is, suspiciously—moderate. And while the president’s most ardent critics on the right may disagree, the fact is his approach to foreign policy has been downright hawkish, while his signature domestic policy achievement to date is a health care plan whose most controversial provision was originally hatched by a conservative think tank.
    For his most vocal detractors, that can only mean one thing: He’s been deliberately prudent, so as to save up his political capital for when he no longer has to worry about reelection. The less evidence of his radicalism, in other words, the stronger the case that he is, in fact, hiding something. Michael Pfau, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth who studies conspiracy theory rhetoric, has named this phenomenon the “paradox of absence.”
    “Conspiracy theories tend to have a self-sealing quality to them,” Pfau said. “Even if you can provide evidence that a conspiracy is not real, or that the alleged conspirators are behaving counter to predictions by the conspiracists, it’s often met with, ‘Well, that just shows how tricky they are.’”
    While it is mainly the right that is attacking Obama, of course, the belief in a secret agenda is not entirely limited to one edge of the political spectrum. After all, in 2008, fervent progressives marched proudly to their polling places and voted for a man they believed represented hope and change like no other presidential candidate ever had. Four years of cautiously moderate policy and political compromise later, they’re about to head back to the booths, with dim but flickering hope that the idealistic liberal they felt such kinship with four years ago will start to show the potential they imagined. What they’re hoping for, just as their counterparts on the right dread it, is that Barack Obama will cast off the chains of centrism and finally act, with unapologetic purpose, on his true beliefs.
    Meanwhile, Obama himself has stayed relatively quiet on the subject of his intentions. “He’s said very little about what his second term would be like if there is one,” said David Mark. This is not unusual, he added—incumbents, especially, don’t typically spend a lot of time making promises about the future, because talking about their past achievements is more effective. “Also,” Mark said, “they often just haven’t thought it out that much.”
    Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. E-mail lneyfakh@globe.com.