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5 more months & Elvis leaves!!!
January 20, 2009, Bush leaves the White House; but before that, he ‘updates’ the ‘official’ US terrorists list

It’s called the US National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). The NCTC “serves as the primary organization in the US government for integrating and analysing all intelligence pertaining to terrorism.” And it has become the latest weapon in the comic armoury of George Bush’s theatre of absurdities. Not that till now Mr. Bush had underplayed the NCTC’s role – more of that later – but of critical current interest is the fact that the NCTC has a list of an estimated 3,25,000 people all across world who pose “serious threats” to US security. Experts estimate now that US nationals form less than approximately 1% of these teeming numbers.

If that was enough to raise eyebrows, what brought out the total shallowness of the NCTC’s list was the amusing attempt by the US government last month to update the list! Most hilariously, on the eve of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, his name was officially removed from the US terror list. Incidentally, this was done almost 15 years after this legend won a Nobel Peace Prize. If the list prepared by NCTC is to be believed, the 90 year old Nelson Mandela who has played the most important role in getting South Africa free from the draconian clutches of apartheid, has posed serious threats to US internal security for the past so many years.

Shallow is what shallow gets! And if ‘threat to internal security’ is the debate, then anything goes, whether in war or in business! The US has made it a norm to take recourse to this ‘threat to internal security’ as a reason to even block key business deals. When CNOOC, a subsidiary of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) bid for the US based petroleum giant Unocal, the US House of Representatives approved the Resolution No 344, which gave the US President the authority to review the deal keeping US strategic interests in mind. The key points of the resolution, as stated in a policy paper of CATO Institute by James A. Dorn, states that if Unocal gets taken over, this “would result in the strategic assets of Unocal Corporation being preferentially allocated to China by the Chinese government.” That then “would weaken the ability of the US to influence the oil and gas supplies of the Nation through companies that must adhere to United States laws.” The CNOOC deal therefore threatens “to impair the national security,” and “the President should initiate immediately a thorough review of the proposed acquisition, merger, or takeover.” From Dubai Ports to Singapore’s Temasek, all investments by foreign countries have faced similar opposition in the US.
Clearly, when the US drains out oil from Iraq, then it’s not a problem the Pope should worry about, but if some other country goes in for a legal acquisition of a powerful US company, then Nostradamus inferences are redrawn to ensure that such moves are nipped even before the bud is born. If Iran is the latest to face the brunt of Mr.Bush’s rottweiler-like attitude – who wants the world to stop trading with Iran completely – what is not often told is the fact that there are several Israeli companies, like Medent [quoting Steve Rodan, Jerusalem Post Service] who do brisk business running up to hundreds of millions of dollars at the same time with Iran.

Bush might be leaving on January 20, 2009; but has ensured that NCTC stays in absolutely safe hands. The current NCTC Director, Michael E Leiter, is pretty well qualified. One hears that just a few handful of years back, Mr. ‘well qualified’ Leiter served as the Dy General Counsel and Assistant Director of the US President’s Commission on “US Intelligence Capabilities Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction!” Gotcha Elvis!!! Rock on!!!

By:- Pathikrit Payne

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