The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.
The Spanish Connection
© Aurobinda Mahapatra
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
December 6, 2010
Under what is called Operation Kampai the nexus of international terrorism worldwide has been further reinforced. The operation carried jointly by the Spanish and Thai police has unraveled a spurious network which has its operations spreading from Spain to Thailand and other parts of Europe and Asia. The network further corroborated the argument that international terrorism is appearing invincible and indomitable, with rising ranks of the terrorists, and with the involvement of more groups from different countries – from Yemen to Pakistan, from Nigeria to Thailand and so on. The arrest of the ringleader in the network in Thailand also brought to picture that the group has not only network office in Barcelona, but also in other European cities like Brussels and London. The group on behalf of one World Islamic Front provided fake passports, fake credit cards, cell phones, etc. to operatives of Al Qaeda, and many other groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) linked to it.
As the international media flashed on 1 December 2010 the photographs of culprits arrested in Barcelona, the picture of this particular international terror network came to surface. The Spanish police arrested seven people including six Pakistani nationals and one Nigerian national in the morning hours of 1st of December. The group was engaged in the task of stealing passports and other crucial items such as credit cards from the tourists visiting Barcelona, and sending them to Thailand for forgery so that they could be used for terrorist purposes. As the Thai police stated, “The group supplies fake passports to many groups, including those involved in terrorism, credit card fraud, human trafficking, weapons trading and illegal immigration.” The Spanish police claimed to have seized nine passports awaiting shipment to Thailand and another that had already been forged, along with a computer and 50 cell phones during the ongoing operation. The Thai police arrested two Pakistanis and one Thai, named Muhammad Athar Butt, Zeeshan Ehsan Butt and Sirikanya Kitbamrung at the border while they were trying to escape to Laos. Athar Butt, also known as Tony, was the head of the operation, and had under his control the offices of Brussels and London. But it is naïve to believe that the network has been busted in its totality. It may be the tip of the iceberg.
On a larger scale the terrorist linkages are with every passing day and with every new revelation appear evidently wide and global. The Madrid train bombings in the year 2004 had killed more than 190 people besides injuring 1,500. In August 2009, Spanish police had arrested a Moroccan suspected of recruiting extremists through internet and helping them to go Pakistan’s Waziristan area, Afghanistan and Chechnya. Earlier in January 2008, the Spanish police had arrested 14 men, accused of being part of a wider suicide plot to target places in continental Europe. The Catalonia region of Spain has recently witnessed much turbulence, owing partly to immigrant communities, and particularly those who became influenced by extreme version of Islam. According to research institute, Elcano, 16 out of 28 anti-terrorist operations carried out since Madrid attacks of 2004 took place in the Catalonia region. Not only Spain but also the whole Europe is increasingly included in the terrorist radar. Few months back, trained militants from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas were arrested, who were trained to strike targets across Europe, particularly Germany.
The name of Al Qaeda and its sister organizations, particularly Pakistan based LeT appeared widely in connection with recent arrests. What is more worrying is that the increasing collusion between these groups in devising common agenda and operations. Iliyas Kashmiri, an Al Qaeda operative with links with LeT, plays a major role in masterminding attacks in Europe. While Lashkar’s major focus is India, in recent years it has increased its operations beyond India and trained terrorists from other regions including Chechnya, Germany, Central Asia, etc. to give concrete shape to its operations. As media highlighted, the network arrested this month also provided necessary instruments such as fake passports to LeT to make its India operation successful. LeT was the main force behind the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, which killed more than 160 people, besides injuring hundreds. The fragile situation in Afghanistan-Pakistan region has further bolstered the LeT spirit to act in an unrestrained manner.
The collusion between forces like the Taliban, LeT and Al Qaeda has proved dangerous and may prove further disastrous in coming years. Perhaps it was incomprehensible a decade back that the terror networks could be so wide and so dangerous in terms of its operation and reach. Of late, it has almost become beyond comprehension to see terror network existing almost everywhere, in every part and corner of the world. The Indian government claimed that in the last few years it has defused about 800 sleeping terror cells on Indian soil itself. It is also common knowledge how part of the money to fund Mumbai terror network was routed through the north Italian town of Brescia. With huge support system including finance from smuggling and drug trafficking, the terrorist forces are playing dangerous games in the world.
But what is more important is the issue of perception among the terrorists as well as non-terrorists. Addition of religion colour made terrorist ploys further deadly, and at times made the differentiation between religious propagation and propagation of violence blurred. Hence, the more dangerous is the brainwashing of the innocent minds to take to guns for some inexplicable reasons, or for reasons not explicable rationally. When the young educated skilled men join the terror groups with a religious extremist zeal and provide guidance and intelligence support, then it becomes difficult on part of the governments to tackle them by mere means of force. The Pune arrests by India in 2009 showed how the young professionals such as doctors and engineers were actively involved in terrorist operations and designs.
The recent arrests in Spain and Thailand may appear trifle in terms of the mammoth networks the terror groups have raised worldwide. This global problem obviously needs a global approach. It may not be prudent enough to raise merely the security system at home of a particular country, and leaving the situation as it is at abroad. This approach lacks one of the crucial components terror groups employ in their operations, which is the penetration of the mind of the uninitiated. While illegal trafficking in arms and passports can be curtailed though even in that it is necessary to have international cooperation, the flow of radical and extremist ideas is difficult to be contained by computers or machines. This brings the most urgent necessity of the time to the fore: a collective approach to tackle the collective menace. The recent revelations just reinforce this argument.
The following column is reprinted with permission from Stanislav Mishin, a regular contributor to Russian newspaper Pravda.
France Shuts Down, U.K. Set To Burn: The Western Catastrophe
© Stanislav Mishin
Source: Mat Rodina
October 16, 2010
What we are witnessing with the mass disorders in France is what we tasted in Greece all spring and summer and what will rock the West in greater and greater ferocity.
For those who have not been paying attention, the shut downs, the walk outs and the break downs of Greece have spread now to France. The trigger? A broke, over extended government, already straddled with suffocating high taxation decided to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
Instantly, millions hit the streets, shutting down business and movement. Walkouts at the airports have shut down flights, while work stoppages at oil refineries and fuel depots threaten to paralyze not only the economy but also emergency services. Panic buying and hoarding has already begun. Basically, French society is in paralysis just like Greece was for most of this year.
One poll showed that 70% believe that this will build into the same massive protests of 1995 and over half the population support this. What none are thinking about is the cost of that protest or the fact that their demands of long and easy retirement are unrealistic, always were and unsustainable.
Al Jazeera’s reporter, Jacky Rowland, was quoted as stating “French workers have campaigned long and hard for their rights and benefits, and they won’t give them up without a fight,” she said. She is right, they will fight and enjoy themselves right up to the third world economic collapse, all else be damned.
In Spain workers shut down production, freezing the country’s economy and costing billions of Euros that that broken and bankrupt government also can not afford. Transportation and such were equally shut down.
Just like Greece before them, and Romania sporadically, and England about to follow.
The real show will, of course come in England. The new pseudo conservative government in England has announced that it will cut 40% of the budget, in order to reign in the 13% deficits. Of course this will translate into mass unemployment of the public sector and no alternatives in the private sector, as there are no plans to equally remove high taxes, high regulations and non-existent outsourcing barriers to China, that would actually encourage private business and industry to open plants and absorb the cast offs of the biggest employer in the U.K.: government.
The workers of course understand that, but instead of fighting and pushing the so-called conservatives to actually free the economy, not just cut spending, they are indeed fighting for the continuation of the ruin that they all face. The U.K. is a broke 2nd world economy, rapidly economically, morally and culturally sliding into a failed state.
The government unions, first why does any government allow gov. employee unions is insane to behold, have flatly stated, they will shut the country down and set it on fire. Well t-time is coming and coming rapidly: the Spring of British Discontent. Of course, the fact that without such actions, even these imperfect actions, by summer time next year, the U.K. economy will be in absolute free fall and these same bureaucrats and workers will not be getting paid anyways, is beyond their comprehension or cognizant abilities.
Similar strikes are further breaking out in Slovakia, again in Greece, and the capital of that frankenstinian state of the E.U. was equally rocked.
The communists are ecstatic, knowing that soft socialism always leads to this. Cradle to grave care is always expensive and steady growth in taxes, along with the strangling demands of the watermelons (green activist on the outside, red Marxist on the inside) have made sure that tax revenues shrink, not grow, as business flees. This of course leads to a crushing of the cushy expectations of the masses and the mass protests and revolutions.
The Marxists, as usual, are more than happy to aid these revolutions and sacrifice the lives of tens if not hundreds of thousands of their countrymen, to establish their Marxist utopias. That every single one of these Utopias has always failed and cost the lives of millions in the process, as well as whole lost decades in economic growth, is irrelevant to the true believers, who know that this one, this time, this even will be done correctly. Simply put, there is no reasoning with such true believers.
John Monks, general secretary of the European Trades Union Confederation, which organized the events, was quoted as stating: “This is the start of the fight, not the end.”
What all of these socialists fail to answer and the cushy and spoiled workers do not dare to ask is: how do we pay for this? This of course, plays right into the hands of the Marxists.
Equally, the elites in America are setting the situation up just as well and the people are playing into it. True, there are the Tea Party movements, who have no clear agenda except to cut spending and taxes, more so taxes. If these were actual fiscal conservatives, where were they during the “good ole” days when their government under the Fascist Republicans spent in the hundreds of billions on cheap credit? Only when the Communist Democrats aintied it up a notch did they “awake”. But what do they want? Cut spending? But on what? See, no one in that movement puts forth a real agenda, because if they did then problems would appear instantly.
For example: many want no more social spending, but have no problems with wars after wars, spending trillions on the invasion of sovereign nations, especially if their kids never have to serve. Others want cuts in taxes, as long as they continue to enjoy their own retirements and get cost of living upgrades, never mind that their pension system: Social Security, is already $40 billion in the whole.
Just like their confused European cousins, they claim: I have paid into the system, I deserve it. Well yes, but how?
Equally, most of these so-called conservatives are free trade enthusiasts, because most are not in manufacturing and make cash by importing and enjoy cheap Chinese junk, never bothering to think past the price to the actual cost.
More so, even then the Europeans, who at least practice some protectionism of their industry. The Americans face a conundrum: if they cut spending now, forty million workers and their families will be out on the street, with hundreds of thousands joining them weekly, plus massive layoffs of state employees, which is already underway. This is a formula for revolution. If they continue spending, which means printing debt, they equally face an economic collapse, another formula for revolution.
Of course, with their import debt growing to record levels every month, sooner or later, regardless of what they do, they will be cut off at worst or face exploding costs at best, and the further impoverishment of the people: equally a formula for revolution.
Either way, no matter what happens, the West, already sagging under the weight of its own “prosperity” and easy, Christless, immoral living, is facing catastrophe. Anarchy, autocracy, tyranny are what is on the horizon. The only hope: a return to Christian Monarchy and stable sensible economic policy, and the crushing and ousting of the Marxists and socialists, once and for all, seems a long shot at best.