Friday, October 11, 2013

A Caesar in U.S. Future? The Bandar Saga Reveals the Rottenness at the Core of the Saudi Dynasty, and Odd Personnel Changes Occur In U.S. Nuclear Forces



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Stranger than fiction.

The questions raised by Paul Craig Roberts in the following essay enter the national dialogue at a time when the protections in the Constitution have been euthanized and the nation is in thrall to a crass and violent (remember the Tea Party Town Hall attacks?) minority who are working their will at every Koch-leveraged level of government in order to eviscerate or at least deregulate and replace with privatized entities all processes/institutions that were devised and intended to protect the rights of the citizens. (If you don't believe me take a look at what is happening today in North Carolina.*)

A Caesar-level leader (or some amalgam in its place) may seem to those in control (what little control there is now) as a way out of a very bad deal made in a time of raging greed (shades of Faust's bargain with Mephistopheles).

It's more than likely a way in to the next phase of runaway capitalism.

A Caesar In Our Future?


In a speech to the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, November 23, 2010, Peter Dale Scott gave a history of the various directives concerned with government continuity during a state of emergency. He showed that these directives could be used to supersede the Constitution.

The ease with which both the Bush and Obama regimes were able to set aside the due process protections of the Constitution that prohibit indefinite detention and execution without conviction in a trial indicate that Professor Scott’s concern is justified that these directives could result in executive branch rule.

Scott describes how the executive branch efforts to provide government continuity in the aftermath of a nuclear attack dating from the Eisenhower administration were gradually converted into executive or national security (later Homeland Security) orders that confer secret powers to the White House for any event that the executive branch considers to be an emergency. 

Generally these various executive orders and directives refer to “national emergencies,” or “national disasters.” However, President Bush’s National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20 issued on May 9, 2007 use the term “Catastrophic Emergency.”

The directives speak of “enduring constitutional government” which the president maintains by coordinating “as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches,” but it is up to the president and his advisor, the National Continuity Coordinator, to decide what constitutes constitutional government during a catastrophic emergency.

. . . My interview with King World News is relatively short, but Eric King knows how to bring it to the most controversial point. What everyone should wonder is, “How did we, a free people protected by the US Constitution, become one step away from rule by Caesar?

My interview with Greg Hunter of USA Watchdog is, in my opinion, one of my best. The interview covers a broad range of issues or possibilities and makes it unnecessary for me to write a column about the government shutdown and its implications and possible consequences.

Speaking of a Caesar as a modern-day figurehead, guess who planned to take over Saudi Arabia (until it came to a dead stop while rabble-rousing in Syria, and then was detained for a very long time)? No fair. You saw it coming years ago. Reading the essay below (and isn't it refreshing to see things from the other side sometimes?) gives new insight into why Dumbya probably felt like Bandar was a long-lost member of his family (and why he was often seen holding his hand). Dumbya probably felt like constantly apologizing to his friend for his golden golf tan and pretty-boy hairstyle. Ha!

Ambitious Bandar Overplayed His Hand in the Kingdom


Posted on October 7, 2013

by therearenosunglasses


by Yusuf Dhia-Allah

This theatrical palace drama started when Bandar accompanied by a number of hangers-on went to Syria last year. He traveled under an assumed name using a false passport and carrying millions of dollars in cash, arrived in Damascus

By Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Bandar bin Sultan has not been seen in public for more than a year. This is unusual for a man with a penchant for self glory and promotion. Until his sudden disappearance last year, Bandar was National Security Advisor to Saudi King Abdullah. So what has happened to Bandar?

Overly ambitious, Bandar badly miscalculated last year when he attempted to plot a coup against the king. He was not caught directly but by overplaying his hand, he painted himself into a corner, according to informed sources that have revealed details of Bandar’s activities to Crescent International. He thought with his close connections to the Bush family and American Zionists, he could pull it off and become king of Saudi Arabia.


This theatrical palace drama started when Bandar accompanied by a number of hangers-on went to Syria last year. He traveled under an assumed name using a false passport and carrying millions of dollars in cash, arrived in Damascus. At the airport, Syrian officials immediately recognized him — he has coarse features and stands out like a sore thumb — and notified their superiors, going all the way to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Bandar was allowed to enter the country without letting on that the Syrians knew who he was.

He was confronted before leaving the airport building after clearing customs where people walk through the green channel. The Syrians demanded to know why he was traveling under an assumed name carrying a false passport. Initially, Bandar insisted he was the person with the assumed name and passport but when the Syrians threatened him — the Syrians know how to squeeze their prey — Bandar broke down and spilled the beans. “He sang like a canary,” the sources told Crescent International.

Bandar was in Syria to instigate trouble for the Syrian regime as well as instigate sectarian conflict in Lebanon to undermine Hizbullah. This was part of Bandar’s plan to help his Israeli friends in return for their help in grabbing and maintaining power in the desert kingdom. In 2007, Bandar had made a secret trip to Israel to meet then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telling him that Saudi Arabia would finance Israel’s war against Hizbullah if the latter could be destroyed. The Zionists may be war criminals but they have more sense than taking on Hizbullah twice in two years. The Zionist army was badly mauled during the July–August 2006 invasion of Lebanon despite killing more than 1,100 Lebanese civilians and destroying $7 billion worth of infrastructure.

The Syrian authorities sat on the information provided by Bandar, waiting for the Saudis to make the move. After several weeks of absence, the Saudi rulers started to inquire about Bandar’s whereabouts. It was discovered that his last known plan was to visit Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was dispatched to Damascus to inquire about Bandar. He met President Bashar al-Assad and after a long exchange of pleasantries, Saud al-Faisal brought up the question of Bandar. “I am glad you asked,” said Assad to his Saudi visitor.

After Assad briefed Faisal on what Bandar had admitted to the Syrians, the Saudi foreign minister requested that Bandar be handed over into his custody. The Syrians were not going to roll over so quickly; Assad refused the request prompting Saudi king Abdullah himself to make an unusual trip to Damascus last year. This was a major humiliation for Abdullah.

The Saudis view the Syrians with disdain because of the latter’s close relations with Islamic Iran and their refusal to surrender to the Zionist entity as proposed by the Saudis. Syria is also host to both Palestinian Islamic movements — Hamas and Islamic Jihad — and has refused to shut down their offices despite pressure from the Saudis, Egyptians, Americans, and the so-called Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Bandar was handed over to King Abdullah, when the latter visited Damascus, and taken back to Riyadh. There, a major storm broke out. Bandar was confronted about his plans. He confessed to plotting a coup but said he did it to “save the family.” He argued that the royal family was so hated that a popular uprising could not be averted. His coup would have bought time and saved many members of the royal family from certain death.

His admissions rattled the king who in any case is not on very good terms with Bandar’s father, Sultan. The latter is defence minister. It is interesting to note that on August 31, when the Saudi regime announced pay increases for the military, defence minister Sultan was not present. It was the second increase in two years. The Saudi defence budget at $41.28 billion is 33% of the kingdom’s total budget.

While the regime does not reveal the total strength of its military, it is believed to be around 175,000. This is in addition to the National Guards that are believed to be directly controlled by Abdullah and are meant to protect him in case of an uprising or a coup.

It is also interesting to note that while all this was going on, the Saudi regime announced a $60 billion arms contract with the Americans. This was music to the ears of cash-starved Americans but many informed observers asked, not so softly, why the Saudis would want to buy $60 billion worth of military hardware that includes F-15 and F-16 planes when they do not even know how to ride camels properly? The simple answer is that the ruling family has to prove its loyalty to the US and Zionist masters who were upset at Bandar’s arrest since they were betting on him. True, the arms deal was not struck in a few months; it followed months of negotiations but the timing of the announcement was significant.

There are deep splits within the ruling Saudi family. These are not new; what is new is that these have spilled into the open. The split is not along age lines but along ideological lines. For instance, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan are both in their eighties but they are on opposite sides of the political divide.

Interior Minister Nayef sides with the king but other princes are opposed to him. Among the younger generation of princes — the word younger is used loosely since many of them are in their sixties — there is even more intense competition. The Faisal children — Saud, Turki and others — hate Bandar with a passion even though he is their brother-in-law.

Bandar is married to the late king Faisal’s daughter and it was he who habilitated Bandar into the royal family. Bandar’s mother was a concubine of Sultan. His dark complexion and curly hair come from his mother. Sultan had no time for an ugly duckling like Bandar. King Faisal urged Sultan to accept Bandar; after all, he was his son. In order to facilitate Bandar’s integration into the Saudi clan, Faisal gave him his own daughter in marriage but gratitude is not one of Bandar’s strongest characteristics. He started to bite the hand that fed him.

Bandar assumed that the links he cultivated with the Bush family and the Zionists in the US during his long stint as ambassador to Washington would act as his insurance policy. The ruling Saudi family would not dare put its hand on him. This is where he seems to have miscalculated landing him under house arrest. While we are unlikely to witness the public beheading of Bandar in Riyadh despite his treasonous act (this fate is reserved for poor Pakistani or Bangladeshi workers accused of petty crimes), he is likely to cool his heels in a villa for a long time.

What the Bandar saga reveals is the rottenness at the core of the Saudi dynasty. At heart, they remain beduins — with a penchant for intrigue, backstabbing and robbery. After all, stealing runs in their blood. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was a highwayman who robbed pilgrims’ caravans until the British discovered his “talents” and, therefore, his usefulness against the Ottoman Khilafah. Abdul Aziz was instrumental in destroying the Khilafah, the last organic link with the Islamic State established by none other than the noble Messenger (pbuh) himself in Madinah 1,400 years ago. For this treachery alone, the entire House of Saud should be executed because they are guilty of the greatest treason against Islam.

Strange days indeed. Odd changes being made in the leadership of the nuclear forces of the U.S. highlight the tension surrounding international affairs (and another PNAC-fantasy Pearl Harbor-like occasion being generated?). I almost feel like someone is writing fiction again. In the Defense Department. Wonder if we can get Condi to testify? (Again.)

The deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, was notified Wednesday that he has been relieved of duty amid a military investigation of allegations that he used counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino, the Navy said.

The move is exceedingly rare and perhaps unprecedented in the history of U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for all American nuclear warfighting forces, including nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and land-based missiles.

. . . The decision to take the next step - to relieve him of duty - was made on Oct. 3, one official said. That required approval by President Barack Obama, two defense officials said.

. . . retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, said he believes this is the first time in the history of the command that a deputy commander has been relieved of duty.

. . . Giardina is a career submarine officer. He commanded Submarine Squadron 17 in Bangor, Wash., which included 10 nuclear-armed Trident submarines from 2001-03.

. . . Iowa state officials have said Giardina is alleged to have used $1,500 in counterfeit chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Strategic Command headquarters near Omaha, Neb. He has not been charged with a crime.

. . . In July the White House nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. James Kowalski to succeed Giardina as deputy commander at Strategic Command, but his nomination has not been confirmed by the Senate.

I hope the following story doesn't signify the beginning of a downhill slide into a nuclear "accident."

It seems like madness to remove this guy at this rather politically unstable time for an as yet unindicted and seemingly minor infraction.

Unless he's being replaced with someone more amenable to suggestion. It reads like fiction. Bad fiction.


3-star Admiral Fired As No. 2 Nuclear Commander


Oct 9, 2013

By Robert Burns

(AP) This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina in a Nov. 11, 2011, photo....
Full Image

WASHINGTON (AP) - The deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, was notified Wednesday that he has been relieved of duty amid a military investigation of allegations that he used counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino, the Navy said.

The move is exceedingly rare and perhaps unprecedented in the history of U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for all American nuclear warfighting forces, including nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and land-based missiles.

The Navy's top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Giardina, who had held the job since December 2011, is being reassigned to the Navy staff pending the outcome of the probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The gambling matter originated as a local law enforcement investigation in Iowa in June.

As a consequence of being removed from his post at Strategic Command, Giardina falls in rank to two-star admiral. He had been suspended by Gen. Robert Kehler, the top commander at Strategic Command, on Sept. 3, although that move was not disclosed publicly until Sept. 28.


After his suspension Giardina remained at Strategic Command but was not allowed to perform duties that required use of his security clearance. The decision to take the next step - to relieve him of duty - was made on Oct. 3, one official said. That required approval by President Barack Obama, two defense officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal decision-making.

Kehler had recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be relieved of duty and returned to the Navy, and Hagel agreed, according to Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog.

Giardina had no comment Wednesday, according to a Strategic Command spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze.

A former commander of Strategic Command, retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, said he believes this is the first time in the history of the command that a deputy commander has been relieved of duty. Strategic Command was created in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. The aim was to unify the command of nuclear forces previously run separately by the Air Force and the Navy.

"I know of no other case ever of a deputy commander who was relieved for cause," Habiger said in a telephone interview. He headed the command from 1996-98.

Giardina is a career submarine officer. He commanded Submarine Squadron 17 in Bangor, Wash., which included 10 nuclear-armed Trident submarines from 2001-03. He is a 1979 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds an advanced degree in business administration.

Iowa state officials have said Giardina is alleged to have used $1,500 in counterfeit chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Strategic Command headquarters near Omaha, Neb. He has not been charged with a crime.

In July the White House nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. James Kowalski to succeed Giardina as deputy commander at Strategic Command, but his nomination has not been confirmed by the Senate.

Kowalski has overseen the Air Force's nuclear bomber and intercontinental ballistic missiles forces since January 2011 as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.


(Follow Robert Burns on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/robertburnsAP.)

* (Art) Pope is, for all intents and purposes, North Carolina’s third, lesser known, Koch brother. In fact, he’s attended the Koch Brothers’ planning summits and considers himself their close ally.

In 2010, Pope’s organizations spent $2.2 million dollars on 22 state legislature races, and won 18 of them.

In fact, outside groups backed by Pope accounted for 75 percent of independent spending in those races. In 2012, Pope and his affiliated groups again spent over $2 million on the election, leading to a Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, and putting McCrory in the governor’s mansion.

In the dystopian world of Citizens United, Art Pope’s $2.2 million dollars feels like chump change — and on a national scale, it is. Sheldon Adelson alone spent $150 million in 2012. But in one state, that $2.2 million dollars can buy a whole ticket’s worth of legislators. That’s the only way to push back against the undeniable demographic shifts that have made North Carolina a battleground state in the last two presidential elections.

So having bought and paid for key seats, Pope and his conservative cronies are fighting every progressive policy North Carolina has enacted. Their efforts could lead to a rollback of crucial gains.

Conservative legislators want to dilute the influence of minority voters by curtailing early voting, ending Sunday registration and enacting unnecessary voter ID laws. It’s a sequel to 2010’s gerrymandering. The American Prospect recently reported that though a majority of North Carolina voters picked a Democrat for the House in 2012, “thanks to where those voters had been placed, Republicans won 9 of the state’s 13 House seats.”

Public education is being gutted. As Jane Mayer reported in the New Yorker, despite overwhelming support, the legislature repealed the pennysalestax that went towards public education funding. Even the state’s prized University of North Carolina system is facing some $50 million in budget cuts.

Unsurprisingly, and unconscionably, Governor McCroy has refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, even though it would insure half a million North Carolinians. Instead, the state Health and Human Services Department is looking to privatize Medicaid, which will ultimately raise costs and reduce care.

Despite a 9.2 percent jobless rate — well above the national average of 7.9 percent — North Carolina is cutting back on unemployment benefits. Last week, the state legislature repealed a first-in-the-nation law that allowed inmates on death row to challenge their sentencing based on racial factors. Without a hint of irony, state Republicans claimed that the law was unfair — turning a blind eye to the systemic racial injustice and inequality that plagues capital punishment trials.

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/06/11/the-third-koch-brother/#sthash.HRsT6ajy.dpuf

2 comments:

TONY said...

The bejewelled, dread and invisible hand of the House of Saud is at the root of a lot of the grief in the Middle East.

Cirze said...

And everywhere else it seems.