Rahul Gandhi: Frightening Views From India

Defeat terrorism in 15 minutes: Rahul


New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had a surprise suggestion of empowering villagers to fight terrorism.

“I am confident that this country can take on terrorism. Defeating it is no problem. If we empower those people in villages, we can sit back, relax and we will destroy terrorism in 15 minutes,” Gandhi told a press conference here.

USA to ally with Baluchistan, India, Iran and Militant Moslems?

USA to ally with Baluchistan, India, Iran and Militant Moslems?


Reportedly, the Obama regime wants:

1. Iran to control the Middle East.

2. India to control South Asia, including Afghanistan.

3. Militant Moslems to be used against China and Russia.

4. the USA to control Baluchistan, which is currently a part of Pakistan.

A map from an American Armed Forces military journal.

On 24 April 2009, Talha Mujaddidi wrote: The Destabilization of Pakistan: Finding Clarity in the Baluchistan Conundrum

Among the points made:

1. Baluchistan has a port at Gwadar that was built by China.

2. Baluchistan has huge quantities of natural gas, and unexplored oil reserves.

3. Baluchistan’s population accounts for only 5% of the total population of Pakistan.

Gwadar

4. British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Baluchistan separatists.

There are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.

5. The main group responsible for violence in Baluchistan is the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), operating out of Afghanistan…

The BLA enjoys support from Indian RAW in terms of finances, logistics, and weapons.

6. Iran has huge reserves of gas and it would like India to gain access to these reserves since India is its ally.

7. The US believes that the balkanization of Pakistan and the setting up of an independent Baluchistan will dismantle the hope of a resurgent Pakistan in the near future, paving the way for a dominant Iran taking control of the Middle East while India will be able to take control of South Asia including Afghanistan.

8. Brzezinski believes that Iran not the Arab world is the natural ally of US in the Middle East.

9. The current US government is using the foreign policy ideals of Brzezinski, which calls for using Islamic militants and Iran against China and Russia.

Georgia accuses Russia of backing attempted coup

Tanks approach the Mukhrovani army base where soldiers have staged a mutiny, some 6 miles east of Tbilisi, Georgia on Tuesday. The Georgian government accused Russia of financing a coup, something Moscow has denied.
David Mdzinarishvili

[A false flag event, or an attempt to avoid a repeat of the last US/Georgia war games?]

Georgia accuses Russia of backing attempted coup

Officials in Tbilisi say a revolt at an Army base was part of an attempt to disrupt the government and had support from Russia.

Georgian officials have described a revolt that broke out at an Army base near the capital of Tbilisi Tuesday as part of a military coup that has Russian backing.

According to the Georgian Defense Ministry, the commanders of the Mukhrovani Army base have been dismissed and the soldiers confined to barracks. But the situation is yet to be brought under control as only one arrest has been made.

The revolt comes a day before NATO military exercises were scheduled to begin in Georgia. Around 1,000 soldiers from 19 member states and partners are to practice “crisis response” at the Vaziani Army base, which lies east of Tbilisi, 44 miles from Russian troop positions in South Ossetia. Russia has complained that the NATO exercises are “provocative” in the wake of the brief war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia in August 2008. Russia has stationed about 10,000 troops in the breakaway provinces.

According to the Associated Press, several hundred Army personnel and some civilians are involved in Tuesday’s revolt.

A tank battalion mutinied Tuesday at a Georgian military base near the capital and several hundred army personnel were refusing to follow orders, Defense Minister David Sikharulidze said….

Sikharulidze said he had been blocked from entering the military base in Mukhrovani, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Tbilisi, the capital.

Among the mutineers were civilians who had no relation to the battalion, he said.

The Georgian government claims that the mutiny was aimed at disrupting the NATO exercises and overthrowing the government, reports Civil Georgia, an online news service run by the UN Association of Georgia.

The Georgian Interior Ministry said earlier that “a full-scale” military mutiny was planned in the Georgian army by some former military officials, who were “in coordination with Russia.”

“As it seems this mutiny was coordinated with Russia and aimed at minimum thwarting NATO military exercises and maximum organizing full-scale military mutiny in the country,” Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analytical department of the Interior Ministry, said on May 5.

The government accused a former special forces commander of masterminding the alleged coup attempt, reports the BBC.

The interior ministry told the BBC that the plotters wanted to destabilise Georgia and assassinate President Saakashvili.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said one of the suspected coup leaders – former special forces commander Georgy Gvaladze – was arrested. But an alleged co-plotter – former chief of special forces Koba Otanadze – was still at large.

The spokesman said the government had been aware of the plot for two months. The rebellion appeared to be “co-ordinated with Russia”, the interior ministry said.

According to The Times of London, news of the suspected coup plot and the tank battalion mutiny come at a time when Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili is facing stiff opposition and sustained calls for his resignation.

The uprising was linked to discontent over the political situation in Georgia, [an Interior Ministry spokesman] added. Opposition parties began street demonstrations on April 9 to force Mr Saakashvili [to resign] but support for the protest has been dwindling.

President Saakashvili is seen as authoritarian and incapable of managing the threat posed by Russia, reports the London-based daily The Guardian. Opposition politicians accuse Saakashvili of presiding over an increasingly authoritarian and repressive regime. Several senior figures in Saakashvili’s government have defected to the opposition, accusing him of starting an unwinnable war that enabled Russia to strengthen its grip on the rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, the Russian government has rejected Georgia’s allegations that it was behind the alleged coup plot, and NATO declined to comment.

Bloomberg reports that the situation between Georgia and Russia has been tense, with Georgia objecting to Russian troop presence in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Russia acknowledged as sovereign nations after the war last August.

Russia has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in two breakaway Georgian regions, thousands more than previously announced, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

“We have serious grounds to believe that Russia has more than 10,000 troops in the two regions, not 3,700 in each as they have claimed,” Zurab Kachkachishvili, head of the ministry’s political department, told reporters in Tbilisi today….

“Even a single soldier on our territory amounts to an occupation,” Kachkachishvili said. “The fact that thousands are there is a clear provocation.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that Georgia remains the focal point in tensions between Russia, NATO, and the United States.

Last week, [Russian President Dimitri] Medvedev signed an agreement allowing Russia to put its own border guards in South Ossetia and Abkhazia….

The U.S. State Department responded quickly that the Russian move in the quasi-annexed Georgian regions was a violation of Georgian territorial integrity that caused “serious concern.”

But Mr. Medvedev seemed to be getting just what he wanted: a whipsaw situation of heightened tensions in which he could scare some European NATO allies that regard the Georgian government as threateningly unstable; and the future use of those tensions to bring pressure on Mr. Obama as the opportunity arises.

At the same time last week, Mr. Medvedev described as “provocative” NATO exercises scheduled to begin in Georgia on Wednesday (Russia turned down an invitation to participate in them); they involve no heavy equipment or arms and concentrate on things like disaster response and search and rescue.

TALIBAN TERROR

TALIBAN TERROR

PARIS May 04, 2009
The worldly French and British who are taught history and read books are looking with wry amusement and some pity on the Americans who are now gripped by a renewed bout of Taliban terror.
About ten days ago, a bunch of lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen rode down from the Malakand region on motorbikes and pickup trucks and briefly swaggered around Buner, only 100 km from Pakistan’s capitol, Islamabad.
Hysteria erupted in Washington.  `The Taliban are coming. The Taliban are coming!’
Hillary Clinton, still struggling through foreign affairs 101, warned the scruffy Taliban tribesmen were a global threat.  Pakistan’s generals dutifully followed Washington’s orders by attacking the tribal miscreants in Buner who failed to obey the American Raj.  Over a hundred people were killed, almost all innocent civilians, and thousands of refuges fled the government bombing and gunfire.
It would have been helpful had the anguished Mrs. Clinton read page 30 of my book, `War at the Top of the World:’
`In the first quarter of the 20th century…two colorful figures emerged from the barren mountains of the Northwest Frontier. First, a fiery holy man with a wonderful name, the Fakir of Ipi.  The old fakir rallied the Pashtun tribes against the infidel and came within a turban’s length of taking Peshawar from the British, who spent a decade chasing the elusive fakir through the mountains of Waziristan.’
`Then, a fearsome figure, the `Mad Mullah’ (as the British press branded him), who rode down from the Malakand Pass at the head of 20,000 savage horsemen, determined to put the impious city of Peshawar (the main British Imperial base) to the sword.’
Like Mrs. Clinton, the good Christian ladies of the British Peshawar garrison had a very big scare.  Cries were raised that the Mad Mullah and his wicked Muslims were going to lay fire sword on Peshawar and carry off its Christian ladies upon whose white bodies would be inflicted unspeakable Islamic abominations.
Plus ca change…..   A century later, western imperial forces are again chasing unruly Pashtun tribesmen on the wild Northwest Frontier. Today, they’re called `terrorists’ by western media and politicians.   In the 1980’s they and their fathers were hailed as `freedom fighters’ battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Pashtun (aka Pathan)  frontier tribes  – collectively mislabeled  `Taliban’ by western media –  are up in arms again because they are being bombed by US Predator drones, and attacked by the Pakistani Army, which the US rents for $1.5 billion annually(the official figure; actually, it’s a lot more), to support its widening war in Afghanistan.  Pashtun civilian casualties – `collateral damage’ in Pentagonspeak – are rising fast.
The primary cause of the growing rebellion in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) is the US war in Afghanistan, which is rapidly spreading into Pakistan.   Most Pakistanis see the Afghan Taliban and their own rebellious Pashtun as heroes fighting western domination, and scorn their own isolated leaders in Islamabad as working for the Yankee dollar.
Equally, the Pashtun tribes of NWFP were guaranteed total autonomy in 1947; Pakistan’s army was formally excluded from the Pashtun tribal region.  Washington has pressured Islamabad into violating this basic provision of Pakistan’s constitution by sending troops and warplanes into the independent tribal region.
Even the British Imperial Raj’s most junior officer knew it was foolhardy to provoke warlike Pashtun. But Washington has done just this.   Still, the Pashtun `Taliban’ have no influence outside their Northwest Frontier and are not about to take over the rest of Pakistan.
But Washington’s ham-handed tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan are creating a bigger storm: a national revolution in Pakistan against the western-backed feudal oligarchy that has ruled it since 1947.
Pakistan is among the world’s poorest nations. Half its people are illiterate.  Most subsist on $1.13 daily. The feudal landowning elite, only .5% of the population, holds over 90% of national wealth.  Corruption engulfs everything.  Democracy is a sham; the legal system a cruel joke.
Islamic law, however draconian, offers the only justice that cannot be bought.  Growing resistance movements in Northwest Frontier and Baluchistan call for national leadership that represents Pakistan’s rather than western interests.   Pakistanis are humiliated by being forced by the US and Britain to wage war against their own people under the pretext of `fighting Islamic terrorism.’
The big question in western capitals is: `are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safe?’  Yes. For now.  They are heavily guarded by crack army units and ISI, the military intelligence service, and will remain so unless the army splits in a power struggle.  Pakistan’s nukes cannot be armed without special security codes.
Even so, there is growing speculation in Pakistan and here in Europe that the US, possibly in league with India and or Israel, may attempt to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
My esteemed colleague and regional expert, Arnaud de Borchgrave, warns Pakistan could become another Iran.  I’m not so sure.  Islamic parties have never commanded much support in Pakistan.  There is no powerful clergy in Sunni Pakistan, as there was in Shia Iran.  Pakistan has a long way to go before becoming an Islamic republic on the Iranian model.  But Pakistan is certainly headed into very dangerous waters.
As for the US-led crusade in Afghanistan and Northwest Frontier, we should recall the words of Victorian poet of the British Raj, Rudyard Kipling:  `Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old.’

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2009

The medium is the message

The medium is the message

By Huma Yusuf

The people of the tribal and settled areas comprise a captive radio audience. –File Photo

The demands of 24/7 television programming have transformed the figure of the maulvi from village simpleton to demagogue by providing a virtual pulpit that beams into the homes of millions.

In recent months, sharp minds have pointed out the impact of round-the-clock sermonising and politicians and broadcasters have conceded that media created the modern mullah. If we acknowledge the power television has as a mass medium, why do we continue to underestimate the role that illegal FM radio stations are playing in the Frontier province and Fata, especially in the context of militancy?

In the past few days, the US government has made alarmist statements about ongoing military operations and the fragility of the Pakistan government. Shoot-from-the-hip comments make it easy for Pakistanis to discredit the American understanding of ground realities. But an announcement in mid-April that American military and intelligence personnel are working to jam illegal radio stations in the tribal and settled areas indicates that they’re attuned to local dynamics. After all, winning the information war is a prerequisite to winning the war against terror.

Since 2005, illegal radio broadcasts and ‘FM mullahs’ — such as Maulana Fazlullah, Mangal Bagh and Mufti Munir Shakir — who rule the airwaves have been fuelling the spread of militancy. At last count, there were 150 illegal radio stations in Swat alone and over 50 across the tribal areas.

FM mullahs use the airwaves to sermonise, prescribe appropriate behaviour, incite villagers to engage in holy war, redefine the role of women in society, and intimidate populations by reciting the names of tribal leaders and security officials marked for death. Logistics such as the distribution of arms and mobilisation of militants are also coordinated on air. In Upper Dir, a female madressah was transmitting sermons explaining how women could contribute to ‘jihad’.

Since 2006, the government has made sporadic attempts to clamp down on illegal stations, often by raiding them or bombing them with mortar shells. Not surprisingly, the broadcasters always seem to bounce back: not only do FM mullahs recognise the importance of investing in the medium, but, in 2007, Fata-based technicians claimed they were manufacturing broadcasting equipment for less than Rs15,000.

Owing to their resilience, the US announcement about jamming illegal stations is a welcome intervention. If the Pakistan government has any intention of quelling militancy, they should do what it takes to purge the airwaves of inflammatory, extremist rhetoric. That means getting FM mullahs off the air, and then taking the extra step of enabling viable alternatives.

The fact is, the people of the tribal and settled areas comprise a captive radio audience. Many communities shun television as un-Islamic and it doesn’t help that cable infrastructure has yet to extend into the northern areas. In terms of radio, too, the residents of Fata have few options. They can either tune into Radio Pakistan or Radio Azadi, the Afghan service of Radio Free Europe: the former has spotty transmission and is viewed with suspicion for promoting the national viewpoint with little sensitivity for local issues. Meanwhile, the latter’s broadcasts focus on Afghan concerns. For news, listeners have to rely on the BBC or VOA, neither of which is able to fulfill the hunger for hyper-local information.

In this scenario, the illegal programming of firebrand clerics seems like an attractive option. The broadcasts are in local dialects and primarily air at convenient times with regard for a village’s routines. More importantly, illegal broadcasts refer to familiar locations and personalities, explicitly mention local issues such as land disputes or a shortage of resources and launch outreach initiatives that seamlessly transition from on-air to on-the-ground. The programming thus seems immediate and relevant.

Recognising the need for local programming to counter FM mullahs, the Fata Secretariat has licensed a handful of community radio stations. These, however, come saddled with programming restrictions that make the stations largely redundant. Official broadcasts are expected to remain apolitical, emphasise entertainment programming, and borrow heavily from Radio Pakistan. Indeed, some stations are mandated to broadcast Urdu-language segments from the state-owned broadcaster. How can such a bland, disconnected mish-mash of programming compete with the drama of an FM mullah?

There is an urgent need in Fata and the settled areas to fund and facilitate local radio programming that is secular, informative and culturally sensitive. The airtime that FM mullahs expend on hate speech and sermonising, official community radio stations should utilise for hyper-local news reports generated by residents of the tribal areas for their communities. Instead of mobilising the youth to wage jihad, community radio stations can help communities become civically engaged.

In the wake of the devastating 2005 earthquake, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) showed surprising agility by licensing 10 non-commercial emergency FM stations for a three-month period. The decision was taken in light of the fact that 81 per cent of quake-affected homes had a radio set, while only 52 per cent had access to televisions.

Radio programming then played a vital role in ensuring the effective delivery of relief goods and services. Reports aired on the emergency stations often led to the supply of food and blankets and the restoration of phone lines and electricity. In far-flung villages, instances of corruption were reported in the dispensation of compensation money to victims. People called in to FM radio shows using cellphones to complain about discrepant amounts being issued by government representatives. As charges were documented on the air, the corruption largely ceased.

Learning from the success of community radio stations in that time of urgency and need, Pemra needs to step up to the new challenge posed by spreading militancy. It is essential that US efforts to jam illegal stations be supported. The government should also have the vision to license community radio stations in Fata and the Frontier province so that an information vacuum, which would frustrate residents of vulnerable communities, does not follow the cessation of illegal broadcasts. With a little regard for the power of radio programming, our government can still ensure that extremist rhetoric becomes nothing more than white noise.

huma.yusuf@gmail.com

Peshawar suicide attack on military convoy kills five

Peshawar suicide attack on military convoy kills five

blast_bara_ap608The suicide attacker rammed his car into the military vehicle. Four civilians were killed and nine people wounded. — AP

PESHAWAR: At least five people have been killed in a suicide attack on a Frontier Corps convoy in Peshawar.

Twenty-five people including nine security men have also been wounded in the attack that occurred near Bara Qadim police checkpost on the border between Peshawar and the Khyber Agency.

According to police, the suicide attacker rammed his car into a vehicle of the security convoy near a police checkpost. The checkpost and two vehicles were destroyed in the blast.

Nine of the injured are security men, four from the Frontier Corps, three from the Frontier Constabulary and two are policemen.

The injured were taken to Lady Reading Hospital.

Police say about 200 kilograms of explosives was used in the blast that created a huge crater.

Troops, militants locked in intense Mingora gunbattle

[Is it just me, or does this read like a highly choreographic series of events?  The people are notified ahead of time when they are scheduled to flee the “combat zone,” the “Taliban stormed the Rahimabad police station in Mingora,” only after the police had left.  This is deadly play-acting, for the benefit of the Americans.]

Troops, militants locked in intense Mingora gunbattle

Frightened residents fled parts of Mingora after an evacuation order igniting fears of an imminent new offensive. — AP

MINGORA: An intense gunbattle was ongoing between security forces and militants in Swat’s Mingora city, DawnNews reported.

Residents told DawnNews that Taliban militants had consolidated their positions in Mingora city from where they were targeting security forces.

Heavy shelling was witnessed in Swat’s Qambar area as militants engaged the security forces.

A statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Tuesday that militants in Swat had blown up a police station and fired at check posts of security forces at Shangla Top, Shamzoi bridge, Bariam bridge and grid station Mingora.

Militants also looted a store of the World Food Programme in Swat and took away 217 bags of wheat and 400 cans of edible oil, the statement said.

Frightened residents fled suburban areas in Mingora on Tuesday, where the Taliban concentrated a two-year insurgency, after the army issued an evacuation order that ignited fears of an imminent new offensive, witnesses said.

The military ordered four neighbourhoods on the edge of Mingora to evacuate and announced a break in an indefinite curfew for the displaced to flee to a special camp as bullets rattled through parts of Mingora.

Local residents said ‘large numbers’ were leaving in panic, weighed down with whatever belongings they could carry on foot, waiting at bus stations or driving away in private cars, although the military withdrew the order.

‘We have now suspended this order and people are directed not to vacate their homes because the government has no immediate plan to launch an operation in these areas,’ said local military spokesman Major Nasir Khan.

A government official said five people died overnight in crossfire between militants and security forces in Swat.

Earlier on Tuesday the District Coordination Officer (DCO) of Swat asked Mingora residents to vacate the city as Taliban told the 46 besieged security men in the city to lay down their arms.

Curfew in Swat was relaxed from 01:30 p.m. till 07:00 p.m., the DCO said on Tuesday, adding that residents of Mingora city should immediately start leaving.

On Monday, the Taliban took control of the city of Mingora and reportedly laid siege to a place housing 46 security personnel.

‘This is a clear violation of the Swat peace agreement,’ an official who requested anonymity said. He said militants were patrolling the streets and holding positions at key points and on important buildings.

According to sources, militants on Monday attacked the headquarters of security forces located in the circuit house and a police station in Mingora, but attacks were repulsed.

Subsequently on Monday, the local administration imposed a curfew for an indefinite period after the attacks.

Earlier, the curfew was in force from 07:00 p.m. to 06:00 a.m. Clashes between security forces and militants were reported from Shamozai, Matta and Bahrain.

However, no casualty was reported till late night. Police have confined their activities to police stations.

A group of armed Taliban stormed the Rahimabad police station in Mingora on Monday night and blew it up. Local people said policemen had vacated the station just before the attack.

Security forces have also established check posts and started searching vehicles in the area. Shops and markets in the main Mingora bazaar remained closed for the second day because of fear and tension.

According to a handout issued by the NWFP information department, the Taliban continued their activities despite the peace accord they had signed with the government.

Over the past 16 days, five people were killed and 21 kidnapped by the militants. Three incidents of blasts and several cases of car-snatching, looting and firing, erecting road blockades and armed patrolling by militants had been reported from different parts of the district, the handout said.

Militants blew up a government high school for boys in Tindodag area of Swat on Monday. It was the second government school blown up after the February 16 peace accord. On Sunday, a government high school for boys had been blown up in Nengolai.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the attack on a convoy in Swat on Monday in which one soldier was killed and three others suffered injuries.

He said the attack was a reaction to what he called movement of military forces to positions in violation of the February 16 peace deal. He said the Taliban would carry out such attacks if security forces continued their activities in the valley.