25 June 2007

>>> 5GW <<<<<

Sometimes you happen accross some great information, observations about the state of change we are in.... sometimes you just have to click the link....


it is worth the time you will spend reading it.

an excerpt...

Colonel T. X. Hammes, USMC, Retired

Seventeen years ago, a small group of authors introduced the concept of “Four generations of War.” Frankly, the concept did not get much traction for the first dozen years. Then came 9/11. Some of the fourth-generation warfare (4GW) proponents claimed that the Al-Qaeda attacks were a fulfillment of what they had predicted. However, most military thinkers, for a variety of reasons, continued to dismiss the 4GW concept. In fact, about the only place 4GW was carefully discussed was on an Al-Qaeda website. In January 2002, one ‘Ubed al-Qurashi quoted extensively from two Marine
Corps Gazette articles about 4GW.1 He then stated, “The fourth generation of wars [has] already taken place and revealed the superiority of the theoretically weak side. In many instances, these wars have resulted in the defeat of ethnic states [duwal qawmiyah] at the hands of ethnic groups with no states.” Essentially, one of Al-Qaeda’s leading strategists stated categorically that the group was using 4GW against the United States—and expected to win. Even this did not stimulate extensive discussion in the West, where the 9-11 attacks were seen as an anomaly, and the apparent rapid victories in
Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to vindicate the Pentagon’s vision of high-technology warfare. It was not until the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies began growing and the continuing campaign against Al-Qaeda faltered that serious discussion of 4GW commenced in the United States. Yet today, even within the small community of writers exploring 4GW, there remains a range of opinions on how to define the concept and what its implications are. This is a healthy process and essential to the development of a sound concept because 4GW, like all previous forms of war, continues to evolve even as discussions continue. That brings me to the purpose of this article: to widen the discussion on what forms 4gW may take and to
offer a possible model for the next generation of war: 5GW.

Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss
Martin van Creveld

Martin van Creveld lives and teaches in Jerusalem. He has written several books that have influenced modern military theory, including Fighting Power, Command in War, and most significantly, The Transformation of War.

Copyright 2004, Martin van Creveld Published with permission of the author.

As some people predicted even before it all started, the American War against Iraq proved so easy as to make one wonder why it had to be fought at all. As other people also predicted before it all started, the really hard part only got under way after President Bush declared “major combat operations” at an end. Since that day Iraqi resistance has only become stiffer as terrorism picked up. As a result, more American soldiers have died trying to safeguard the “victory” than were killed in achieving it in the first place; nor does it look as if there is anything the U.S. can do to change the trend.

The fact that Saddam has been captured makes no difference. The U.S. will lose, in fact already has lost, the War. The Americans will leave the country in the same way as the Soviets left Afghanistan; that, is, with the Iraqi guerrillas jeering at them. The only question is how long it will take and how much prestige can still be saved from the ruins. That, and that alone, is the issue that still faces Mr. Bush who is up for re-election and must somehow put this issue behind him before Americans go to the polls.

What will happen to Iraq once the Americans have left is anybody’s guess. That an American-appointed government can sustain itself seems unlikely—at the moment, any member of the so-called Governing Council who so much as shows his or her nose outside the compound where they are cooped up will be killed on the spot. Iraq will probably disintegrate into three parts, i.e. a Shi`ite South, a Sunni Center, and a Kurdish North. Judging by the fact that the last-named has never been able to overcome its tribal divisions, none of the three is likely to develop into a proper, centrally-ruled, state. The most likely outcome is three mini-Afghanistans that will serve as havens for terrorist activities throughout the Middle East.

Around Iraq, the States that have most to fear from an American collapse are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Each in its own way, all three depend on American support. All suffer under severe social strain, whether against an ethnic background—as in Jordan where Bedouin and Palestinians clash—or a religious one as is mainly the case in the other two. As unrest spreads from Iraq probably not all three will see their regimes overthrown, but one or two might well undergo this fate. Jordan being a small and weak country, its fate will be of concern mainly to its immediate neighbors such as Syria—which, if it tries to intervene, will have Israel to reckon with—Israel, and Saudi Arabia. By contrast, the collapse of Saudi Arabia, or a situation whereby Egypt turns into an Islamic republic and abrogates its peace treaty with Israel, would have world-wide economic and strategic implications that are hard to foresee.

In the short run, the greatest beneficiary of the war is Israel. The destruction of Iraq has created a situation where, for the first time since the State was founded in 1948, it has no real conventional enemy left within about 600 miles of its borders. If Sharon had any sense he would use this window of opportunity to come to some kind of arrangement with the Palestinians. Whether he will do so, though, remains to be seen.

In the longer run, the greatest beneficiary is likely to be Iran which, without having to lift a finger, has seen its most dangerous enemy ground into the dust. Even before President Bush launched his war against Iraq, the Iranians, feeling surrounded by nuclear-capable American forces on three sides (Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics, the Persian Gulf), were working as hard as they could to acquire nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles to match. Now that the U.S. has proved it is prepared to fight anybody for no reason at all, they should be forgiven if they redouble their efforts.

Even if the Islamic Republic is overthrown, as some hope, the new government in Tehran will surely follow the same nationalist line as its predecessor did. A nuclear Iran is likely to be followed by a nuclear Turkey. Next will come a nuclear Greece, a nuclear Saudi Arabia (assuming the country can survive as a single political unit), and a nuclear Egypt. Welcome to the Brave New World, Mr. Bush."


19 June 2007

Mr Fix -it

June 10, 2007
Mr Fix -it
Who is Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi prince at the centre of alleged bribery by BAE, the British arms giant? Our correspondent tells the story of the best connected man in the world
By Bob Woodward

In the autumn of 1997, former President George HW Bush, then aged 73 and five years out of the White House, phoned one of his closest friends, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States.

“Bandar,” Bush said, “W would like to talk to you, if you have time. Can you come by and talk to him?”

His eldest son and namesake, George W Bush, who had been governor of Texas for nearly three years, was consulting a handful of people about an important decision and wanted to have a private talk.

Bandar’s life was built around such private talks. He had been the Saudi ambassador for 15 years, and had an extraordinary position in Washington. His intensity and networking were probably matched only by former President Bush.

They had built a bond in the 1980s. Bush, the vice-president living in the shadow of President Ronald Reagan, was widely dismissed as a wimp; but Bandar treated him with the respect due a future president. He gave a big party for Bush at his palatial estate overlooking the Potomac river and went fishing with him at Bush’s vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine – Bandar’s least favourite pastime but something Bush loved. The essence of their relationship was constant contact.

Like good intelligence officers – Bush had been CIA director and Bandar had close ties to the world’s important spy services – they had recruited each other. The friendship was useful and genuine. During Bush’s 1991 Gulf war to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and prevent him from invading neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Bandar had been virtually a member of the Bush war cabinet.

At about 4am on election day 1992, when – up against Bill Clinton – it looked as if Bush was going to fail in his bid for a second term, Bandar had dispatched a private letter to him saying, You’re my friend for life. You saved our country. I feel like one of your family, you are like one of our own. And you know what, Mr President? You win either way. You should win. You deserve to. But if you lose, you are in good company with Winston Churchill, who won the war and lost the election.

Bush called Bandar later that day and said, “Buddy, all day the only good news I’ve had was your letter.” Early next day, Bush called again and said, “It’s over.”

Bandar became Bush’s case officer, rescuing him from his cocoon of near depression. He visited Bush three times at Kennebunkport and flew friends in from England to see him. He took Bush to his 32-room mansion in Aspen, Colorado, where there was a “Desert Storm Corner” with the former president’s picture in the middle. Bandar played tennis and other sports with Bush, anything to keep him engaged.

Profane, ruthless, smooth, Bandar was almost a fifth estate in Washington, working the political and media circles attentively and obsessively. But as ambassador his chief focus was the presidency, whoever held it, ensuring the door was open for Saudi Arabia, which had the world’s largest oil reserves but did not have a powerful military. When Michael Deaver, one of President Reagan’s top White House aides, left to become a lobbyist, Nancy Reagan, another close Bandar friend, called and asked him to help Deaver. Bandar gave Deaver a $500,000 consulting contract and never saw him again.

He planned his 1997 visit to Governor George W Bush around a trip to a home football game of his beloved Dallas Cowboys. That would give him “cover”, as he called it. He wanted the meeting to be discreet, and ordered his private jet to stop in Austin.

“Hi, how are you?” greeted George W, standing at the door before Bandar could even get off the plane. He was eager to talk.

Bandar, 49, had been a Saudi fighter pilot for 17 years and was a favourite of King Fahd; his father was the Saudi defence minister, Prince Sultan. Bush, then 51, had been a jet pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. They had met, but to Bandar, George W was just another of the former president’s four sons, and not the most distinguished one.

“I’m thinking of running for president,” said Bush. He told Bandar he had clear ideas of what needed to be done with national domestic policy. But, he added, “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy.

“My dad told me before I make up my mind, go and talk to Bandar. One, he’s our friend. Our means America, not just the Bush family. Number two, he knows everyone around the world who counts. And number three, he will give you his view on what he sees happening in the world.”

Bush said Bandar should pick what was important, so Bandar provided a tour of the world. As the oil-rich Saudi kingdom’s ambassador to the United States, he had access to world leaders and was regularly dispatched by King Fahd on secret missions, an international Mr Fix-It, often on Mission Impossible tasks. He had personal relationships with the leaders of Russia, China, Syria, Britain, even Israel.

Bandar spoke candidly about leaders in the Middle East, the Far East, Russia, China and Europe. He recounted some of his personal meetings, such as his contacts with Mikhail Gorbachev working on the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. He spoke of Maggie Thatcher and Tony Blair. Bandar described the Saudi role working with the Pope and Reagan to keep the communists in check.

“There are people who are your enemies in this country,” Bush said, “who also think my dad is your friend.”

“So?” asked Bandar, not asking who, though the reference was obviously to supporters of Israel, among others. “Can I give you one advice?”


“Mr Governor, tell me you really want to be president of the United States.”

Bush said yes. “And if you tell me that, I want to tell you one thing: to hell with Saudi Arabia or who likes Saudi Arabia or who doesn’t, who likes Bandar or doesn’t. Anyone who you think hates your dad or your friend who can be important to make a difference in winning, swallow your pride and make friends of them. And I can help you. I can help you out and complain about you, make sure they understood that, and that will make sure they help you.”

Bush recognised the Godfather’s advice: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. But he seemed uncomfortable and remarked that that wasn’t particularly honest.

“Never mind if you really want to be honest,” Bandar said. “In the big boys’ game, it’s cutthroat, it’s bloody and it’s not pleasant.”

As Bush locked up the Republican presidential nomination, Bandar kept in touch. Over the weekend of June 10, 2000, he attended a surprise party for Barbara Bush’s 75th birthday at the family retreat in Kennebunkport. Bandar thought it was quaint and old-fashioned, complete with the Bush family members putting on a 45-minute variety show with comic skits.

George W pulled Bandar aside.

“Bandar, I guess you’re the best asshole who knows about the world. Explain to me one thing.”

“Governor, what is it?”

“Why should I care about North Korea?”

Bandar said he didn’t know. It was one of the few countries he did not work on for King Fahd.

“I get these briefings on all parts of the world,” Bush said, “and everybody is talking to me about North Korea.”

“I’ll tell you what, Governor,” Bandar said. “One reason should make you care about North Korea.”

“All right, smart aleck,” Bush said, “tell me.”

“The 38,000 American troops right on the border.”

Most of the US 2nd Infantry Division was deployed there, with thousands of other army, navy and air force personnel. “One shot across the border and you lose half these people immediately. You lose 15,000 Americans in a chemical or biological or even regular attack. The United States of America is at war instantly.”

“Hmmm,” Bush said. “I wish those assholes would put things just point-blank to me. I get half a book telling me about the history of North Korea.”

BANDAR followed W’s 2000 campaign like a full-time political reporter and news junkie. The candidate’s father promised to come to Bandar’s estate outside London for pheasant shooting after the election. Bush Sr told Bandar, “By the time I come to shoot with you, either we will be celebrating my boy is in the White House, or we’ll be commiserating together because my boy lost.”

After the election, Bandar visited the new President Bush in the White House regularly, and kept in touch with Bush Sr. On occasion he saw the father and son together. There was a bonding, an apparent emotional connection; and yet there was a standoffishness, a distance that was not explainable. Many times Bush Sr commented to him about policies being pursued by his son.

“Why don’t you call him about it?” Bandar asked.

“I had my turn,” Bush Sr replied. “It is his turn now. I just have to stay off the stage. For eight years I did not make one comment about Clinton. I will not make any comment vis-à-vis this president, not only out of principle but to let him be himself.”

On Thursday, March 15, 2001, the 53rd day of the Bush presidency, Bandar went to the Oval Office. It was highly unusual for an ambassador to have Bandar’s kind of direct access to the president. They discussed Israel, the Palestinians, Iraq and world oil prices. Bush said he would like to see Bandar at least once a month. He wanted honest talk.

Bandar was elated. He sent a secret message to Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler under the ailing King Fahd: “Many positive signs as far as relations and issues that are of concern to both countries. Loyalty and honesty are sensitive issues for this president. It is important that we invest in this man, in a very positive way.”

On April 1, China forced down a US navy spy plane and took its 24 crew hostage, the first big foreign policy crisis of the new Bush administration. Colin Powell, the secretary of state, was given the assignment of negotiating a settlement. He enlisted Bandar, who had special relations with the Chinese through various deals to purchase arms. China was also beginning to rely on Saudi oil.

Bandar eventually got the Chinese to release the hostages. Never modest about his influence, Bandar considered it almost a personal favour to him. The Chinese wanted a letter from the US expressing regret. It was the kind of diplomatic gobbledy-gook that was Bandar’s speciality. The US would say it was “very sorry” the spy plane had entered Chinese airspace to make an emergency landing but it would not apologise for what it considered a legitimate intelligence-gathering mission.

The National Security Agency was monitoring Bandar’s calls with the Chinese and sending reports to Powell about negotiations, including the final deal Bandar arranged. Powell called Bandar with congratulations.

“Hey, it’s great!” he said.

“How the hell do you know?” Bandar asked.

Having jumped the gun, Powell sheepishly tried to get out of explaining. Bandar knew his calls were monitored, but he and Powell couldn’t really talk about one of the most sensitive and classified intelligence-gathering operations of the US government involving communications among foreign governments. So for a year Powell and Bandar laughed and half joked about it without ever really defining it.

There was friction over the Palestinians, however. On June 1, 2001, a suicide bomber killed 21 in a Tel Aviv nightclub. Bush condemned the attack as “heinous” and unjustifiable. Two days later Bandar had dinner in the White House residence with Bush, Powell and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser.

He brought a lengthy outline of a paper on how the Arab world viewed the US. It was all part of Bush’s education on the ways of the world – as seen through Saudi eyes – a remarkable five-hour session that started at 7pm and kept Bush up well past his bedtime.

Bandar cited examples of the US condemning violence when Israelis were killed – as Bush had just done – “and at the same time, silence when something similar happens that caused the killing of Palestinians”. This jeopardised the “work of the countries that are too close to the United States, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan”. Even in Saudi Arabia, “for the first time in 30 years we are facing a very questionable internal situation”.

Bandar was imploring. “Mr President, you’ve got to do something. You’ve got to do something. I mean, you’re killing us basically. We are being slaughtered right and left, and you’re not doing anything.”

The president vehemently criticised the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, as “a liar”. Bush would not negotiate with him.

“Fine,” Bandar said, “he’s a liar. We know that. You know that. He’s a schmuck. But he is the only schmuck we have to deal with.” The problem was larger than one man.

Two months later Bandar brought Bush a message from the crown prince accusing the US of taking a strategic decision to adopt Israeli policy in the Middle East. Henceforth, the crown prince said, he was going to cut off communications with the White House and Saudi Arabia would pursue its own interests without taking America’s into account.

Bush seemed shocked, and Powell cornered Bandar later. “What the f*** are you doing?” he demanded. “You’re putting the fear of God in everybody here. You scared the s*** out of everybody.”

The Saudi threat worked. Two days later, August 29, Bush sent the crown prince a two-page letter stating: “I firmly believe the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination and to live peacefully and securely in their own state, in their own homeland, just as the Israelis have the right to live peacefully and safely in their own state.”

It was a much bigger step than Clinton had taken. At Saudi prompting, Bush agreed to come out publicly for a Palestinian state. A big roll-out was planned for the week beginning Monday, September 10.

That Tuesday, September 11, Al-Qaeda attacked America. Next day the elder George Bush called Bandar. The president was having a bad time, he said. “Help him out.”

On September 13, Bandar met the president at the White House. The Saudis had arrested and detained some key Al-Qaeda suspects immediately before and after 9/11. The president told Bandar: “If we get somebody and we can’t get them to cooperate, we’ll hand them over to you.”

With those words, the president casually expressed what became the US government’s rendition policy – the shifting of terrorist suspects from country to country for interrogation. Though the Saudis denied it, the CIA believed the Saudis tortured terrorist suspects to make them talk. In the immediate wake of 9/11 Bush wanted answers from those who had been detained.

The majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, but this seems not to have affected Bandar’s relationship with the president. Instead, history now repeated itself – with Bandar at the centre of the action.

IN August 1990, after Saddam had invaded Kuwait and was threatening to move into Saudi Arabia, Bush Sr had directed Dick Cheney, his secretary of defence, to brief the ambassador on the US war plan.

In his Pentagon office Cheney produced top secret photographs showing Iraqi divisions pointing at Saudi Arabia. Colin Powell, who was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (JCS), summarised the US plan, which would include more than four divisions, three aircraft carriers, plus many air force attack squadrons.

More than 12 years later, on January 11, 2003, Cheney again invited Bandar to review a top secret plan of attack on Saddam. Cheney was now vice-president, and the aim was to overthrow the Iraqi dictator.

Sitting on the edge of the table, the JCS chairman General Richard Myers took out a large map labelled “Top Secret Noforn” and explained the battle plan. Noforn meant “no foreign” – classified material not to be seen by any foreign national.

Bandar stared intently at the 2ft x 3ft top secret map. Could he have a copy so he could brief the crown prince?

“Above my pay grade,” Myers said.

“We’ll give you all the information you want,” said Don Rumsfeld, the defence secretary. But as for the map, “I would rather not give it to you, but you take notes if you want.”

“No, no. It’s not important. Just let me look at it,” Bandar said, trying to take it all in.

The Europeans and their “obstruction” at the United Nations were very much on his mind. France, Germany and Russia were urging that Hans Blix, the UN’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq, be given more time.

Rumsfeld looked Bandar in the eye. “You can count on this,” he said, pointing to the map. “You can take that to the bank. It’s going to happen.”

“What is the chance of Saddam surviving this?” Bandar asked. He believed Saddam was intent on killing everyone involved at a high level in the 1991 Gulf war, including himself.

Cheney, who had been quiet as usual, replied: “Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast.”

Bandar had heard big promises before that didn’t materialise. He wanted to hear it directly from Bush.

After he had left, Rumsfeld voiced some concern about the vice-presi-dent’s “toast” remark. “Jesus Christ, what was that all about, Dick?”

“I didn’t want to leave any doubt in his mind what we’re planning to do,” Cheney said. He wanted Bandar to know it was for real, but he didn’t plan to be quite as direct with anyone else. After all, he had known Bandar a long time.

When he got home, Bandar took a large blank map of the region that had been supplied by the CIA and began reconstructing the plan piece-by-piece. The next day Rice invited him to meet the president.

“You got the briefing from Dick, Rummy and General Myers?” the president asked.


“That is the message I want you to carry for me to the crown prince,” Bush said. “The message you’re taking is mine, Bandar.” Bandar believed it was exactly what Cheney had told Bush to say.

Four months later, after the fall of Baghdad, Bandar went again to the White House. He expressed concern about stability in Iraq to Bush. The US military had occupied the country, but Rumsfeld was talking about a fast withdrawal. There would be a power vacuum in Iraq for sure.

Chaos in Iraq or an extremist, pro-Iranian Shi’ite regime would be a nightmare for the Saudis, conceiva-bly worse than the relative stability provided by Saddam.

Bandar advised the president: “What you should do, announce all of the military report back to their barracks and keep, let’s say, the colonels on down. Somebody has to run things.” And do the same thing with the Iraqi intelligence and security services. “Look, their intel service was the most efficient. Take off the top echelon and keep the second line and let them find those bad guys, because those bad guys will know how to find bad guys.” They could find Saddam.

“That’s too Machiavellian,” someone said. The Saudi notes of the meeting indicate it was either Bush or Rice.

“Let bad people find bad people, and then after that you get rid of them,” Bandar said. “What’s the big deal? Double-cross them. I mean, for God’s sake, who said that we owe them anything?”

No one responded.

The Saudis estimated that there were some 3m pensioners in Iraq, sitting at home, getting the equivalent of $6 a month. “Go and pay them for six months, for God’s sake,” Bandar advised. “Each of them supports a family, mind you. So from 3m you could get the support of literally 10m people. Suddenly you have a major constituency for you because you have paid them off.”

It was the Saudi way. Paying 3m pensioners would amount to about $100m. Bandar proposed doing the same with the Iraqi military. Chop off the top echelon, and then pay the rest for three to six months. That might be another $100m. The total cost of the buyout programme would be about $200m. It might be the best $200m the US ever spent, he said.

Bush indicated it was up to Rumsfeld.

BANDAR had half a dozen meetings with Bush in 2004 and into 2005. The president’s deep religious convictions came up time and time again, as he talked about his faith and his relationship with God. He made it clear he felt no doubt that a higher authority was looking after him and guiding him.

But Bandar’s role was coming to an end. After a serious illness he left for home in September 2005. He had been ambassador for nearly 22 years. During a farewell call on the president there was no real discussion of politics or policy. In a photo with Bush, Bandar looks worn and distant.

© Bob Woodward 2004, 2006 Extracted from State of Denial and Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward, published by Simon & Schuster. The paperback edition of State of Denial will be published on July 2 at £9.99

Saddam’s wit and murderous wisdom

Bandar met Saddam Hussein four times and he once shared his memories – along with those of King Fahd, who had met Saddam many times – with George W Bush.

He recalled a conversation Fahd had with Saddam after the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by hundreds of militants who claimed the Saudi government was becoming too liberal and friendly to the West.

“Kill those people,” Saddam advised Fahd.

Fahd said their leaders would be executed and the others would go to jail.

“Oh my, I’m worried,” Saddam said. “I’m embarrassed by your comments.”

Fahd asked what he meant.

Saddam replied: “In my mind there is no question you are going to kill all 500. That’s a given. Listen to me carefully, Fahd. Every man in this group who has a brother or father – kill them. If they have a cousin who you think is man enough to go for revenge, kill him. Those 500 people is a given. But you must spread the fear of God in everything that belongs to them, and that’s the only way you can sleep at night.”

According to Bandar, Saddam required his bodyguards to do two things to prove themselves: kill somebody else from within their own tribe and kill somebody from another tribe. So there would be a double vendetta.

Bandar explained: “This is smart evil, because if you take the evil out of it, it makes sense. If I want to trust you with my life, I want to make sure nowhere else you are safe except with me.”

At another time Saddam pointed to the people around him – high and low – and told Fahd: “They are the most loyal to me.”

“It is nice to be surrounded by the most loyal people,” Fahd replied.

“Oh, no, no, I didn’t say that, Your Majesty,” Saddam corrected. “I told you they are very loyal to me because every one of them, his hand is bloody. Every one of them knows that when I die, you will never find a piece this big from my body.” Saddam indicated the smallest piece of flesh between his fingers. “I’ll be cut to pieces, and if that happens to me, they’re all finished.”

From his personal meetings with the Iraqi dictator, Bandar said, “The most amazing thing about Saddam is how confident he looks, how relaxed he looks, and how charming he is – and how deadly. And each of these attributes are clear and at the same time.”

Saddam could make his most senior generals shake, Bandar said. Once, while Bandar met Saddam in the 1980s when trying to broker an end to the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam told him: “Bandar, all those people are loyal to me. I know a man by looking into his eyes. I can tell you if he is loyal or not. And if his eyes start blinking, I know he is a traitor and then I exterminate him.”

Bandar said that Saddam was excited to show his power, and said it in such a gentle voice and in such a genteel manner that it took five seconds to realise he was serious.

“You are a man with presence,” Bandar told the Iraqi dictator. “I would not be surprised that some poor young officer or minister might panic, which is natural. Are you going to tell me you are going to kill somebody because he panicked only because he is in awe of you?”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!” Saddam replied with the most deadly laugh. He then tapped Bandar on the shoulder.

“I’d rather kill somebody, not sure if he is a traitor, than let one traitor get by.”
For an interview with Bandar bin Sultan:

$2B in Bribes to Bush Family Friend

This story seems to be breaking a multitude of locations and more and more networks and connections are being implied. I've put the Guardian article below and that is the link in the title.
However, you can also find articles at:

Perhaps the thing to keep in mind for those of you who read Bob Woodward's book "State of Denial" you will recall that President Bush recommended that his son, George, meet with Prince Bandar first before talking to anyone else about running for President in 2000. Prince Bandar is a close family friend of the Bush's.

I suspect that this whole issue will slowly drop off the radar. I placed an abstract from a NYT 2004 article at the end of the Guardian Article that you might recall.
BAE accused of secretly paying £1bn to Saudi prince
· Money moved via US bank
· £30m payments a quarter
David Leigh and Rob Evans
Thursday June 7, 2007
The Guardian

The arms company BAE secretly paid Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia more than £1bn in connection with Britain's biggest ever weapons contract, it is alleged today.
A series of payments from the British firm was allegedly channelled through a US bank in Washington to an account controlled by one of the most colourful members of the Saudi ruling clan, who spent 20 years as their ambassador in the US.

It is claimed that payments of £30m were paid to Prince Bandar every quarter for at least 10 years.
It is alleged by insider legal sources that the money was paid to Prince Bandar with the knowledge and authorisation of Ministry of Defence officials under the Blair government and its predecessors. For more than 20 years, ministers have claimed they knew nothing of secret commissions, which were outlawed by Britain in 2002.
An inquiry by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into the transactions behind the £43bn Al-Yamamah arms deal, which was signed in 1985, is understood to have uncovered details of the payments to Prince Bandar.

But the investigation was halted last December by the SFO after a review by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

He said it was in Britain's national interest to halt the investigation, and that there was little prospect of achieving convictions.

Tony Blair said he took "full responsibility" for the decision.

However, according to those familiar with the discussions at the time, Lord Goldsmith had warned colleagues that British "government complicity" was in danger of being revealed unless the SFO's corruption inquiries were stopped.

The abandonment of the investigation provoked an outcry from anti-corruption campaigners, and led to the world's official bribery watchdog, the OECD, launching its own investigation.

The fresh allegations may also cause BAE problems in America, where corrupt payments to foreign politicians have been outlawed since 1977.

The allegations of payments to Prince Bandar is bound to ignite fresh controversy over the original deal and the aborted SFO investigation.

The Saudi diplomat is known to have played a key role with Mrs Thatcher in setting up Britain's biggest ever series of weapons deals.

For more than 20 years Al-Yamamah, Arabic for "dove", has involved the sale of 120 Tornado aircraft, Hawk warplanes and other military equipment.

According to legal sources familiar with the records, BAE Systems made cash transfers to Prince Bandar every three months for 10 years or more.

BAE drew the money from a confidential account held at the Bank of England that had been set up to facilitate the Al-Yamamah deal. Up to £2bn a year was deposited in the accounts as part of a complex arrangement allowing Saudi oil to be sold in return for shipments of Tornado aircraft and other arms.

Both BAE and the government's arms sales department, the Defence Export Services Organisation (Deso), allegedly had drawing rights on the funds, which were held in a special Ministry of Defence account run by the government banker, the paymaster general.

Those close to Deso say regular payments were drawn down by BAE and despatched to Prince Bandar's account at Riggs bank in Washington DC.

Under the terms of a previously unknown MoD instruction from the department's permanent secretary, Sir Frank Cooper, the payment deal would have required Deso authorisation.

The money was not characterised as commission, but as quasi-official fees for marketing services. The payments are alleged to have continued for at least 10 years and beyond 2002, when Britain outlawed corrupt payments to overseas officials.

SFO investigators led by assistant director Helen Garlick first stumbled on the alleged payments, according to legal sources, when they unearthed highly classified documents at the MoD during their three-year investigation.

Before the investigation was abandoned, the SFO interviewed Alan Garwood, head of Deso. Sources close to the arms sales unit say that he and Stephen Pollard, the commercial director of the Saudi project, were questioned about the reasons for authorising the payments.

Prince Bandar, currently head of the country's national security council, was asked about the alleged payments by the Guardian this week.

He did not respond.

BAE Systems also would not explain the alleged payments. The company said: "Your approach is in common with that of the least responsible elements of the media - that is to assume BAE Systems' guilt in complete ignorance of the facts."

Its spokesman, John Neilson, added: "We have little doubt that among the reasons the attorney general considered the case was doomed was the fact that we acted in accordance with ... the relevant contracts, with the approval of the government of Saudi Arabia, together with, where relevant, that of the UK MoD."

The attorney general's office would not discuss claims about Lord Goldsmith's concerns of "government complicity" in the payments.

A spokesman said the SFO inquiry had been halted because of the "real and serious threat to national security".

"There were major legal difficulties ... given BAE's claim that the payments were made in accordance with the agreed contractual arrangements". The spokesman added: "None of this is altered by the Guardian story."

The MoD, where minister Paul Drayson runs Britain's government arms sales unit, also refused to elaborate.

"The MoD is unable to respond to the points made ... since to do so would involve disclosing confidential information about Al-Yamamah, and that would cause the damage that ending the investigation was designed to prevent," a spokesman said.

The Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Vince Cable, called for an urgent inquiry into the new disclosures last night.

"This is potentially more significant and damaging than anything previously revealed. It is unforgivable if the British government has been actively conniving in under-the-counter payments to a major figure in the Saudi government.

"There must be a full parliamentary inquiry into whether the government has deceived the public and undermined the anti-corruption legislation which it itself passed through parliament."

He added: "It increasingly looks as if the motives behind the decision to pull the SFO inquiry were less to do with UK national interests but more to do with the personal interests of one of two powerful Saudi ministers ... Tony Blair's claims that the government has been motivated by national security considerations look increasingly hollow."

Last month, Dr Cable raised the issue of BAE in the Commons and accused Prince Bandar of benefiting personally from the Al-Yamamah deal.

The new disclosures may also make BAE's attempted takeover of the US-based Armor Holdings more difficult. The deal requires approval from US regulators.

Separately, the state department has protested to the Foreign Office about the ending of the SFO inquiry, saying it undermines global efforts to stamp out corruption by exporters.

Story of a £43bn deal

1985 Al-Yamamah agreement signed by Saudi defence minister Prince Sultan and the then defence secretary Michael Heseltine. Saudis agree to buy 72 Tornado and 30 Hawk warplanes. The deal - "the dove" in Arabic - will in time be worth £43bn to BAE

1989 National Audit Office (NAO) starts inquiry into allegations that members of Saudi royal family and middlemen were secretly paid huge bribes to land Al-Yamamah contract

1992 MPs and auditor general Sir John Bourn suppress NAO report after government claims it would upset Saudis. Report never published

2001 Whistleblower alleges BAE operates "slush fund" to keep sweet the Saudi prince in charge of country's air force, but MoD covers up allegations

2004 Second whistleblower discloses to Guardian further details of slush fund. Serious Fraud Office starts investigation into alleged BAE corruption

2006 Government halts SFO inquiry; investigators were about to gain access to Swiss accounts thought to have been linked to Saudi royal family

2007 OECD, the world's anti-bribery watchdog, rebukes Blair government for terminating SFO investigation, and launches own inquiry

and do you remember this little tidbit:
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR; Kerry Accuses Bush of 'Secret Deal' With Saudis on Oil

NY Times
April 20, 2004, Tuesday
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 16, Column 1, 849 words

ABSTRACT - Sen John Kerry attacks Bush administration for what he calls 'secret deal' with Saudi Arabia to cut oil prices in time to help president win re-election in Nov; Kerry seizes on Bob Woodward book Plan of Attack, which recounts Oval Office discussion during which Bush, Vice Pres Cheney and Defense Sec Rumsfeld made deal with Saudi Arabian Amb Prince Bandar bin Sultan that would deliver lower gas prices; White House spokesman Dan Bartlett says there was 'no secret deal'

11 June 2007

Infernal female CIA affairs

Infernal female CIA affairs
Toby Harnden
Monday, June 11, 2007

The small band of women in the elegant Georgetown drawing room overlooking the Potomac River were once leading lights of the Central Intelligence Agency.
They included Arabic, Farsi and Chinese linguists. Among them were veterans of clandestine operations in Iraq, among Palestinian groups on the West Bank and against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. As spies, they lived under assumed names, lying even to their families about what they did. They recruited human "assets" and have been privy to America's secrets, which they still vow they will take to their graves.

With Iran edging closer to a nuclear bomb, Iraq descending into all-out sectarian slaughter and Beijing's military might building inexorably, their combined expertise would be of immeasurable value a few kilometers further down the Potomac from Washington, at the CIA's Langley headquarters.

But the women, ranging from their twenties to late forties, were not gathered to plot how to undermine Iran's government or prevent Hamas radicalizing another generation of Palestinian youth.

Instead, they were discussing how to sue the same CIA - which they refer to as "the Agency" - on whose behalf they had risked their lives for years.

Their security clearances now revoked, they are banned from contacting former colleagues still working under cover and have been pronounced unfit to serve their country. Their crime? Engaging in "close and continuing" friendships with foreign men. Male spies have long reveled in behavior that James Bond would have been proud of - and, like the fictional MI6 man, received a mixture of indulgence and faint disapproval. But women are still being forced out of the CIA for such transgressions. The group was meeting in the drawing room of Janine Brookner, a Washington lawyer and former spy of 24 years' service, who was the CIA's first station chief in Latin America. Now she is taking on the US government as the attorney for a sexual discrimination class action against the CIA.

Lora Griffith, the only former spy of the several dozen involved in the class action who is prepared to reveal her name, spent 19 years in the CIA's Directorate of Operations serving in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. A Farsi speaker, she specialized in counterterrorism issues involving Afghanistan and Iran. In 2001, based in a European city (the precise location remains classified), one of her roles was to act as a liaison with an intelligence officer from a country that is a close ally with the United States, attempting to close down al-Qaeda networks.

"It was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and we were working closely together in an emotionally charged situation," she said. "There were sparks between us. It was short-lived but there were feelings." As was required - anything more than a casual contact with a foreigner must be reported in writing by a CIA officer - Griffith told her superiors about every meeting they had. "The only thing I didn't report was our feelings for each other," she said.

In true Bond fashion, she exploited the relationship to benefit her spying. "He went over the line sharing information with me he probably shouldn't have. I would write it all up and report it back to Langley. He wanted more of a permanent thing, for me to remain in the country." After six months, Griffith broke off the relationship. Later she returned to a posting at CIA headquarters. One morning, members of the CIA's Office of Security appeared at her desk. "They invited me into a conference room and began conducting a hostile interrogation. Fundamentally, I was accused of espionage."

She was questioned three times while wired up to a polygraph, or lie-detector, machine but, she insists, no indication of any deception was charted.

After the third session, the polygrapher, who boasted that he had forced the FBI's notorious KGB mole Robert Hanssen to confess, switched off the machine and asked Griffith if she had discussed US staff with the foreign intelligence officer. Griffith, bemused because the foreign officer knew many people at the embassy, answered that she had. The polygrapher abruptly ended the interview.

The next morning, an official demanded she return her badge and she was escorted from the building. Her career was over.

The crux of the class action is that male officers can have relationships with foreigners with virtual impunity.

A spy called "Rusty," a veteran of paramilitary operations, was engaged in a passionate affair with a foreign airline stewardess. While operating secretly in a hostile Middle Eastern country, he suddenly disappeared. He subsequently surfaced in another country, the stewardess on his arm, having revealed his alias to her. He was recalled to Langley and admonished, but his career did not suffer. Today, he is the CIA station chief in a key Arab country - one of the most sensitive intelligence jobs in the world.

Griffith says there are many other examples. But having passed gruelling CIA courses, undergone weapons training, learned how to conduct a dead drop and identify a double play, these women are not likely to give up easily. THE DAILY TELEGRAP

06 June 2007

Museum says dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark

A Gallup poll last year showed almost half of Americans believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so.
Three of 10 Republican presidential candidates said in a recent debate that they did not believe in evolution.
Creationism: The Science of Faith
“What we want to do is to teach children that you can believe the Bible and through scientific research, support the Bible’s view of history.”
“We need to take our children and teach them the things of truth from when they are a child. This museum is open to all ages: children, adults, everybody. What I’ve found is that when children get this information when they are young, when the evolutionists try to teach them or persuade them, they know the right questions to ask and sort out the problems with it, because they’ve been taught how to think.”
“What we do at our museum, by the way, is that we actually get both sides in one sense, because we teach what evolutionists teach. But we teach [visitors] how to correctly think about science whereas evolutionists only teach one side and teach them incorrectly about science. They are the ones leading children astray, not us.—Ken Ham, the president and CEO of Answers in Genesis and founder of the museum, Interview: Creation Museum Founder on Evolution Clash, By Jeremiah Gregier, Christian Post Correspondent, May 23, 2007
Creation Museum walk-through Explore the wonders of creation. Where surprises are just around the corner. Adam and apes share the same birthday. The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all! “Click image to enlarge” is highly recommended. God’s Word is true, or evolution is true. No millions of years. There’s no room for compromise.
CreationMuseum.org — AnswersInGenesis.org
Over 4000 at Creation Museum first day
Video On Demand: Origin of the Species, part 1—This week, we begin a new series by Dr. Terry Mortenson. [Video Parts 2, 3 & 4 scheduled to be released in the coming weeks]
[Posted By dikweed]
By Andrea Hopkins
Republished from Reuters
The Grand Canyon took just days to form during Noah's flood, dinosaurs coexisted with humans and had a place on Noah's Ark, and Cain married his sister to people the earth
PETERSBURG, Ky (Reuters) – Like many modern museums, the newest U.S. tourist attraction includes some awesome exhibits—roaring dinosaurs and a life-sized ship.
But only at the Creation Museum in Kentucky do the dinosaurs sail on the ship—Noah’s Ark, to be precise.
The Christian creators of the sprawling museum, unveiled on Saturday, hope to draw as many as half a million people each year to their state-of-the-art project, which depicts the Bible’s first book, Genesis, as literal truth.
While the $27 million museum near Cincinnati has drawn snickers from media and condemnation from U.S. scientists, those who believe God created the heavens and the Earth in six days about 6,000 years ago say their views are finally being represented.
“What we’ve done here is to give people an opportunity to hear information that is not readily available … to challenge them that really you can believe the Bible’s history,” said Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis that founded the museum.
Here exhibits show the Grand Canyon took just days to form during Noah’s flood, dinosaurs coexisted with humans and had a place on Noah’s Ark, and Cain married his sister to people the earth, among other Biblical wonders.

click on the link in the title for the rest of the article

Olympics highlight demise of logo branding

Olympics highlight demise of logo branding
By Naseem Javed

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the new London 2012 Summer Olympics logo, but there is something seriously wrong with the logo-driven branding industry at large.

The new logo clearly proves that as we approach 2012, global society will not respond to conventional logos or graphics, but only to insignificant, dysfunctional and obscure design work, which will eventually become the branding norm throughout the world. This clearly indicates the lingering demise of the logo-branding industry.

The US$800,000 logo for the London Games, a graffiti-style spelling of "2012", in shades of pink, blue, green and orange, has, all the same, been branded by some as "hideous" after being launched on Monday.

Today's global consumers find advertising increasingly numbing. Twisted and contrived hype, often described as logo-driven branding, will eventually desensitize customers.

Let's face it, in this hyper-accelerated society, logos are almost dead. Fifty years ago, customers remembered the logos of IBM or Chevrolet, which presented uniquely mind-grabbing graphical ideas by compressing their images into extremely sharp messages via powerful symbols.

Not today - pick 10 companies and try to remember their logos, and ask yourself if they really have an impact. With a million new logos a month being invented by the computer-savvy, small-business armies of ever-growing nations such as India and China, only the very naive and the ad industry continue to dream in technicolor, convinced that customers are memorizing the identical circles and lines in twisted colors now called fly-by-night and changed-by-the-day logos.

This overly zealous creativity needs to be harnessed as the cut-and-paste culture and the latest libraries of a million logos available for free have shifted the goalposts. This is one of the main reasons where advertising consistently and tragically fails over real marketing of real concepts.

Luckily, the Olympics are the modern world's icon extraordinaire, and having personally marketed the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, I have witnessed the power of their name and what awesome global presence it carries. The London 2012 Games are not at all at the mercy of this new logo, as the ever-unique, powerful and recognizable image of the Five Rings will provide longevity to the Olympics' ever-growing brand.

In reality, you need graphic overload and out-of-control logo treatments when your brand-name identity has no value. What are the logos of Microsoft, Sony or Panasonic? What graphical techniques do they employ? Most smart corporations prefer powerful word marks, as their powerful, recognizable names stand alone in the rough marketplace and are not at the mercy of overblown graphics going through repeated treatments that are commonly labeled as brand positioning.

Clearly, there are two schools of thought: logo-driven and name-identity-driven.

The principal belief of major global logo-branding agencies that any name can become a super-brand is based entirely on bottomless budgets, and if for any reason it doesn't work, so what? Is this the reason agencies are so often changed? Denials about the ultimate power of a global Five-Star Standard of Naming will continue to hurt the global ad industry.

The other school of thought envisages the new-name economy, in which name brands, as mature identities, skate on e-commerce from one region to another, amid a highly mobile society that bears a strong understanding of the potential power behind the successful branding of a powerful name.

As we approach the future, big logo-branding is dying fast while we enter a cyber-geared culture and a new name-driven economy.

Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on name identities and global image branding. He introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the 1980s and also founded ABC Namebank International in Toronto and New York a quarter-century ago. Naseem can be reached at nj@njabc.com .

(Copyright 2007 Naseem Javed.)

05 June 2007

Before War, CIA Warned of Negative Outcomes

Before War, CIA Warned of Negative Outcomes
Analysts in 2002 Described Worst-Case Scenarios, Including Anarchy in Iraq, Global Antipathy to U.S.
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 3, 2007; A08

On Aug. 13, 2002, the CIA completed a classified, six-page intelligence analysis that described the worst scenarios that could arise after a U.S.-led removal of Saddam Hussein: anarchy and territorial breakup in Iraq, a surge of global terrorism, and a deepening of Islamic antipathy toward the United States.

Titled "The Perfect Storm: Planning for Negative Consequences of Invading Iraq," the paper, written seven months before the war began, also speculated about al-Qaeda operatives taking "advantage of a destabilized Iraq to establish secure safe havens from which they can continue their operations," according to a report about prewar intelligence recently released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The report said the CIA paper also cautioned about outcomes such as declining European confidence in U.S. leadership, Hussein's survival and retreat with regime loyalists, Iran working to install a friendly regime "tolerant of Iranian policies," Afghanistan tipping into civil strife because U.S. forces were not replaced by United Nations peacekeepers and troops from other countries, and violent demonstrations in Pakistan because of its support of Washington.

Before the war, while the Bush administration was putting a spotlight on the CIA's intelligence on Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be wrong, it either buried or ignored the agency's more accurate assessments of the problems that could emerge in the aftermath of regime change in Iraq, the Senate report said.

At the time the "Perfect Storm" report was finished, the administration was already heading toward the decision to invade. A CIA assessment completed on Aug. 8, 2002, and also sent to the White House, found that while "on the surface, Iraq currently appears to lack both the socio-economic and politico-cultural prerequisites that political scientists generally regard as necessary to nurture democracy . . . we believe that Iraq has several advantages that, if buttressed by the West, could foster democracy in post-Saddam Iraq."

It warned, however, that chances of even partial success would require "long-term, active U.S./Western military, political and economic involvement."

On Aug. 14, 2002, a day after the "Perfect Storm" paper was sent to the White House, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice held a meeting of the national security team to draft a presidential directive titled "Iraq: Goals, Objectives and Strategy," according to the book "Plan of Attack" by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward. It talked of freeing Iraq and preventing it from "breaking out of containment and becoming a more dangerous threat to the region and beyond."

The directive also spoke of cutting "Iraq's links to and sponsorship of international terrorism," liberating the Iraqi people and assisting them "in creating a society based on moderation, pluralism and democracy."

The CIA "Perfect Storm" paper, carrying a series of warnings about how such goals might go seriously awry, had been requested in the summer of 2002, along with others on Iraq, by then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley. But, according to then-CIA director George J. Tenet, it was relegated to the back of a thick briefing book handed out to President Bush's national security team for a meeting on Sept. 7, 2002, at Camp David, where the Iraq war was Topic A.

One paper in the front part of the briefing book "listed things that would be achieved by removing Saddam -- freeing the Iraqi people, eliminating WMD, ending threats to Iraq's neighbors, and the like," Tenet writes in his book, "At the Center of the Storm." Another paper in the middle of the briefing materials, Tenet writes, talked generally about how the United States would deal with post-Hussein Iraq, including a plan to retain but reform of much of the government bureaucracy.

In the "Perfect Storm" paper, CIA analysts offered what they described as "near-term tactical moves" that the administration could make to minimize the worst-case scenarios that the report presented. Among them were taking "concrete diplomatic steps toward Arab-Israeli peace" and providing "back-channel assurances to Tehran on the duration and extent of U.S. force deployments" -- actions that were not taken.

Tenet concedes that he did not press the "Perfect Storm" worst-case analyses at meetings. "There was, in fact, no screaming, no table-pounding," he writes. "We had no way of knowing then how the situation on the ground in Iraq would evolve."

Nor, he adds, was the CIA privy to subsequent administration actions in Iraq "that would help make many of these worst-case scenarios almost inevitable."

Here is the link to the actual report in PDF: