by Margaret Kimberley
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.
by Margaret Kimberley
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.
Where’s the China connection?
Updated An error-checking algorithm found in software used to attack Google and other large companies circulated for years on English-speakinglanguage books and websites, casting doubt on claims it provided strong evidence that the malware was written by someone inside the People’s Republic of China.
The smoking gun said to tie Chinese-speaking programmers to the Hydraq trojan that penetrated Google’s defenses was a cyclic redundancy check routine that used a table of only 16 constants. Security researcher Joe Stewart said the algorithm “seems to be virtually unknown outside of China,” a finding he used to conclude that the code behind the attacks dubbed Aurora “originated with someone who is comfortable reading simplified Chinese.”
“In my opinion, the use of this unique CRC implementation in Hydraq is evidence that someone from within the PRC authored the Aurora codebase,” Stewart wrote here.
In fact, the implementation is common among English-speaking programmers of microcontrollers and other devices where memory is limited. In 2007, hardware designer Michael Karas discussed an almost identical algorithm here. Undated source code published here also bears more than a striking resemblance.
The method was also discussed in W. David Schwaderer’s 1988 book C Programmer’s Guide to NetBIOS. On page 200, it refers to a CRC approach that “only requires 16 unsigned integers that occupy a mere 32 bytes in a typical machine.” On page 205, the author goes on to provide source code that’s very similar to the Aurora algorithm.
“Digging this a little deeper though, the algorithm is a variation of calculating CRC using a nibble (4 bits) instead of a byte,” programmer and Reg reader Steve L. wrote in an email. “This is widely used in single-chip computers in the embedded world, as it seems. I’d hardly call this a new algorithm, or [an] obscure one, either.”
Two weeks ago, Google said it was the victim of highly sophisticated attacks originating from China that targeted intellectual property and the Gmail accounts of human rights advocates. The company said similar attacks hit 20 other companies in the internet, finance, technology, media and chemical industries. Independent security researchers quickly raised the number of compromised companies to 34.
But Google provided no evidence that China was even indirectly involved in the attacks targeting its source code. During a conference call last week with Wall Street analysts, CEO Eric Schmidt said only that that world’s most populous nation was “probably” behind the attacks.
One of the only other reported links between China and the attacks is that they were launched from at least six internet addresses located in Taiwan, which James Mulvenenon, the director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis at Defense Group, toldThe Wall Street Journal is a common strategy used by Chinese hackers to mask their origin. But it just as easily could be the strategy of those trying to make the attacks appear to have originated in China.
The claim that the CRC was lifted from a paper published exclusively in simplified Chinese seemed like the hard evidence that was missing from the open-and-shut case. In an email toThe Register, Stewart acknowledged the CRC algorithm on 8052.com was the same one he found in Hydraq, but downplayed the significance.
“The guy on that site says he has used the algorithm, didn’t say he wrote it,” Stewart explained. “I’ve seen dates on some of the Chinese postings of the code dating back to 2002.”
Maybe. But if the 16-constant CRC routine is this widely known, it seems plausible that attackers from any number of countries could have appropriated it. And that means Google and others claiming a China connection have yet to make their case.
The lack of evidence is important. Google’s accusations have already had a dramatic effecton US-China relations. If proof beyond a reasonable doubt is good enough in courts of law, shouldn’t it be good enough for relations between two of the world’s most powerful countries? ®
This article was updated to include details from Schwaderer’s book. Thanks to Philippe Oechslin, of OS Objectif Sécurité SA for alerting us to its contents.
[Suddenly "Conspiracy theorists" are important enough to warrant both the White House and the Pentagon launching special programs to deal with us. This shows that some of us are getting really close to the mark, possibly even revealing secret plans with our work. SEE: Got Fascism? : Obama Advisor Promotes 'Cognitive Infiltration']
The Defense Department needs to get better at lying and fooling people about its intentions. That’s the conclusion from an influential Pentagon panel, the Defense Science Board (DSB), which recommends that the military and intelligence communities join in a new agency devoted to “strategic surprise/deception.”
Tricking battlefield opponents has been a part of war since guys started beating each other with bones and sticks. But these days, such moves are harder to pull off, the DSB notes in a January report (.pdf) first unearthed by InsideDefense.com. “In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries.”
The U.S. can’t wait until it’s at war with a particular country or group before engaging in this strategic trickery, however. “Deception cannot succeed in wartime without developing theory and doctrine in peacetime,” according to the DSB. “In order to mitigate or impart surprise, the United States should [begin] deception planning and action prior to the need for military operations.”
Doing that will not only requires an “understanding the enemy culture, standing beliefs, and intelligence-gathering process and decision cycle, as well as the soundness of its operational and tactical doctrine,” the DSB adds. Deception is also “reliant … on the close control of information, running agents (and double-agents) and creating stories that adversaries will readily believe.”
Such wholesale obfuscation can’t be done on an ad-hoc basis, or by a loose coalition of existing agencies. The DSB writes that ”to be effective, a permanent standing office with strong professional intelligence and operational expertise needs to be established.” I wonder: what would you call that organization? The Military Deception Agency? Or something a bit more … deceptive?
BY ANDREW ENGLAND
PUBLISHED: JANUARY 26 2010 16:56 | LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 26 2010 16:56
EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO, FOOD WAS THE HOT TOPIC IN THE ARAB GULF AND THE CAUSE OF MUCH ANGST. SOARING PRICES OF STAPLES SUCH AS RICE AND WHEAT WERE HELPING DRIVE INFLATION TO RECORD HIGHS, A PHENOMENON THAT THREATENED TO TARNISH THE BENEFIT OF THE REGION’S OIL BOOM. THEN, AS THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS TOOK HOLD, EXPORTING COUNTRIES SUCH AS INDIA RESTRICTED EXPORTS.
THESE TRENDS SPARKED A WAVE OF CONCERN IN THE IMPORT-DEPENDENT STATES OF THE GULF – JUST HOW COULD THE DESERT NATIONS SECURE FOOD RESOURCES FOR THEIR GROWING POPULATIONS? THEIR REACTION WAS TO LOOK ABROAD WITH A RUSH OF ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT PLANNED FARMING PROJECTS OVERSEAS.
DETAILS OF SUCH SCHEMES STARTED EMERGING FROM SAUDI ARABIA, THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, KUWAIT AND QATAR, WITH THE GULF STATES PLANNING TO DEPLOY THEIR PETRODOLLAR WEALTH TO ACQUIRE OR LEASE LAND OVERSEAS, HARVEST RICE, WHEAT, SOYA BEANS AND CORN, AND THEN EXPORT THE PRODUCE BACK TO THEIR HOME MARKETS.
THE MOST ACTIVE WAS SAUDI ARABIA, BY FAR THE GULF’S MOST POPULOUS STATE AND THE REGION’S MAIN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCER. BUT SHORTLY BEFORE THE FOOD CRISIS STRUCK, RIYADH HAD DECIDED TO PHASE OUT DOMESTIC WHEAT PRODUCTION BY 2016 AFTER REALISING THAT ITS WHEAT-GROWING PROGRAMME – SET UP IN THE LATE 1970S – WAS NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE GIVEN THE COUNTRY’S FINITE WATER RESOURCES.
SAUDI ARABIA HAD BEEN PRODUCING 2.5M TONS OF WHEAT A YEAR BEFORE IT BEGAN PHASING OUT THE CROP, AND IS NOW SET TO BECOME A BIG WHEAT IMPORTER.
IN A BID TO SEEK OUT SUITABLE LANDS FOR THE KINGDOM’S OVERSEAS PROJECTS, SAUDI OFFICIALS HAVE VISITED A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES, IN AFRICA, ASIA AND EASTERN EUROPE, WITH A GOAL THAT THE MINIMUM SIZE OF A PLANTATION WOULD BE ABOUT 50,000 HECTARES.
RIYADH HOPES THE PRIVATE SECTOR WILL LEAD THE OVERSEAS PROJECTS, WITH THE GOVERNMENT PLAYING A SUPPORTIVE, FACILITATING ROLE. LAST YEAR IT ANNOUNCED IT WAS SETTING UP AN $800M COMPANY TO BACK THE PROJECTS.
THE UAE HAS ALSO TALKED ABOUT POSSIBLE PROJECTS IN KAZAKHSTAN AND SUDAN, WHILE QATAR ESTABLISHED HASSAD FOOD, WHICH IS AN ARM OF ITS SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND, TO LOOK AT ACQUIRING STAKES IN AGRICULTURAL COMPANIES.
IN NOVEMBER, DOHA ALSO ANNOUNCED IT WAS SETTING UP A NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY PROGRAMME TO RESEARCH TECHNOLOGIES THAT COULD BOLSTER THE PROSPECTS OF DOMESTIC AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.
YET THERE IS A GENERAL SENSE THAT THE URGENCY AMONG GULF STATES TO PURSUE THEIR PROGRAMMES HAS DIMINISHED AS FOOD PRICES HAVE DROPPED, WITH FEW PROJECTS ACTUALLY BEGINNING ON THE GROUND. ANOTHER REASON FOR THE DECREASED ATTENTION IS LIKELY TO BE A RESULT OF THE CONTROVERSY THE PLANS SPARKED, WITH CONCERNS ABOUT THE IMAGE OF OIL-WEALTHY ARAB NATIONS SHIPPING CROPS AWAY FROM IMPOVERISHED COUNTRIES SUCH AS ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN THAT SUFFER FROM PERENNIAL FOOD SHORTAGES.
THERE ARE ALSO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ABILITY OF THE GULF STATES TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THEIR PROJECTS.
“IF THEY ARE SERIOUS, THERE IS STILL A LACK OF CAPACITY AND EXPERIENCE THAT NEEDS TO BE OVERCOME,” SAYS ECKART WOERTZ AT THE GULF RESEARCH CENTRE. HE SAYS GULF STATES WOULD BE BETTER OFF ADDING INVESTMENTS IN EXISTING AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES IN ESTABLISHED MARKETS THAN FOCUSING ON SETTING UP NEW PROJECTS IN COUNTRIES THAT HAVE POOR INFRASTRUCTURE.
STILL, SAUDI ARABIA IS PUSHING AHEAD WITH ITS PLANS, OFFICIALS SAY, ALBEIT AT A SLOW PACE. “THERE IS SOME PROGRESS. THERE’S NO DOUBT IT [THE INITIATIVE] WILL GO AHEAD,” SAYS ABDULLAH AL-OBAID, THE DEPUTY AGRICULTURE MINISTER. “NOW WE ARE FINALISING THE HOLDING COMPANY AND DOING A STUDY OF OUR STRATEGIC RESERVES FOR STABLE GOODS.”
HE SAYS THE GOVERNMENT IS ALSO WORKING ON BILATERAL AGREEMENTS WITH POTENTIAL HOST COUNTRIES, AND AN IMPORTANT ISSUE IS TO AVOID THE STIGMA OF BEING SEEN AS A LAND-GRABBER.
“WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WHOLE WORLD AND WOULD LIKE TO INCREASE INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION,” MR OBAID SAYS. “WE ARE WILLING TO LEAVE SOME OF THE PRODUCE FOR THE LOCAL MARKET – WE WANT TO ENSURE BENEFITS FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS.”
COUNTRIES THE KINGDOM IS CONSIDERING INCLUDE ETHIOPIA, SUDAN, UKRAINE, CAMBODIA, VIETNAM, THE PHILIPPINES, TURKEY AND EGYPT. A NUMBER OF SAUDI AGRICULTURAL COMPANIES HAVE ALSO EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE OVERSEAS PROJECTS, WITH SOME BEGINNING PILOT SCHEMES IN EGYPT, SUDAN AND ETHIOPIA. HOWEVER, ANALYSTS SAY THE EXTENT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IS LIKELY TO BE DEPENDENT ON THE LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT THEY RECEIVE.
EXPERTS SAY IF PROPERLY MANAGED AND CARRIED OUT IN FULL CO-ORDINATION WITH HOST COUNTRIES, THE SCHEMES COULD BRING BENEFITS, SUCH AS JOBS AND MUCH-NEEDED INVESTMENT, IN POORER COUNTRIES. BUT LIKE OTHER GULF STATES, THE KINGDOM WILL FACE BIG DIFFICULTIES IF ITS PLANS ARE TO BE IMPLEMENTED.
“THEY ARE NOT GOING AS FAST AS MAYBE THERE WERE PORTRAYING, OR AT LEAST AS THEY WERE EXPECTING, AND THE REACTION FROM SOME OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS BEEN SCEPTICAL … BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE A LOT OF OPTIONS,” SAYS JOHN SFAKIANAKIS, CHIEF ECONOMIST AT BANQUE SAUDI FRANSI. “ONE THING IS IDENTIFYING THE LOCATION, ANOTHER THING IS ACTUALLY EXPORTING … THEY ARE AT THE EMBRYONIC STAGE AND IT WILL TAKE SOME YEARS TO GET RESULTS FROM THIS.”
COPYRIGHT THE FINANCIAL TIMES LIMITED 2010.
The world remains hopelessly stuck in the bullying stage, or so it seems. With the passing of the old America-dominated world order, into the unshaped, uncertain, certainly violent New World Order, there is much that can be changed, and vitally needs to be changed in the new order, if it is to survive its own birth. There is no issue more important than the issue of nuclear power. Leaving aside all discussion of nuclear-caused environmental issues for now, the era of nuclear weapons must be brought to an end. Arms control treaties that attempt to lock-in advantages and disadvantages are not the road to peace, but the road to nuclear war. Consider the following article from Hindu press which berates Pakistan for being an impediment to such an unfair, unbalanced “treaty,” the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty is such a formula for certain nuclear war.
The two-faced American approach to nukes on the subcontinent is a formula for nuclear war. If you are looking for a way to thin-0ut or “cull” the human herd in this region of the world, then this would be a surefire way to do it. This is another de-population scheme from the benevolent Western world. In the Indian-Pakistani nuclear arms race, India has always had a distinct advantage. Citing India’s larger capital base and its much larger deposits of natural uranium, New Delhi has easily led the nuclear race. With the US/India nuclear merger, India is gaining access to American enriched uranium, while Pakistan is being denied American reciprocity, coupled with this proposed ban on the production of fissile material. This would permanently lock potential nuclear imbalances in place, even while the United States is arming India to the teeth with the latest conventional weaponry and support equipment. India’s huge pool of potential soldiers armed with oceans of the latest gear represents an existential threat to an atomically de-fanged Pakistan
Add to all of this American/Indian military agreements that seek to make India America’s watchdog in the region, especially on the high seas. Pakistan is set to get a royal screwing and her nuclear weapons are all that keeps Indian supremacist aggression at bay. To think that Pakistan’s American ally wants her to give-in to Indian designs, to submit willfully to her would-be master is dangerously absurd.
India, America, Israel and Britain have evil plans for the earth and it all begins or ends in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Where they plan to go from there should be easy for anyone to foresee.
|Wants regime on missiles included in the agenda for disarmament meet|
Informal consultations held in the past week to convince Pakistan to back off
The Conference on Disarmament usually adopts a standard agenda at the start of each session, reflecting the underlying consensus built up over the past few years.
That consensus includes a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, prevention of arms race in outer space, security assurances, transparency in armaments, comprehensive disarmament, and preventing new nuclear weapons and nuclear war.
But at the opening 2010 plenary on January 19, Pakistan’s Ambassador Zamir Akram said the approval of the agenda should not be seen as “a mere formality.” Citing a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the Conference on Disarmament to discuss regional arms control — passed last October with only India casting a negative vote and Russia and Bhutan abstaining —Mr. Akram said this and missiles were “pressing problems” for the international community.
The Pakistani proposal is seen by many delegations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva as a new tactic in Islamabad’s efforts to delay the start of international negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material.
At the conference, the Indian delegation joined others in objecting to an expanded agenda. Reminding the conference that India objected to the U.N. resolution because “the security concerns of states often extend beyond narrowly defined regions. The delegation said it did not consider “missiles in all its aspects” to be a subject the conference could easily deal with. India said there was no global legal regime governing missiles. “But this is an issue that could be considered if there is an agreement on how it could be dealt with in the CD. However, at present, there is no agreement. The relevant resolutions have been fractured. We leave it in the hands of the president to see how they move forward. India would be happy to make a contribution.”
Indian officials said informal consultations were under way in the past week to convince Pakistan to back off and a fresh effort will be made on January 26 to adopt the agenda.
Adoption of the standing agenda, however, will not mean the start of actual negotiations on an FMCT, as Pakistan is not expected to drop its objections to the conference’s programme of work.
After many years of stalemate, the conference came close to a consensus last year on the launching of negotiations for the treaty. But Pakistan, which believes it is at a disadvantage vis-À-vis India as far as bomb grade uranium and plutonium stocks are concerned, says any fissile treaty should not just ban new production but should also address “regional imbalances” in stockpiles, and insists talks cannot begin unless there is agreement on this issue.
Well, not to his spokesman. “It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time,” spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Tuesday.
But his detractors, who want to see him out of the Presidency, would see in his new-found religiosity a sign of nervousness in the wake of the scrapping of the NRO.
One thing is certain: Hundreds of black goats have been sacrificed since Mr Zardari moved into the President’s House in September 2008.
By Malik Mumtaz & Mushtaq Yusufzai
MIRAMSHAH/PESHAWAR: The Taliban in North Waziristan on Tuesday claimed to have shot down another US drone in Boya village of Dattakhel Tehsil near the border with Afghanistan but failed to provide any proof in this regard.
If the claim is true, it would be the second US spy aircraft allegedly shot down by the militants in North Waziristan and the fourth one destroyed in the lawless tribal areas along the Pak-Afghan border.
Senior government officials based in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan, confirmed that a US drone had crashed in the border village of Boya, but did not know about the cause of its crash.
ìThe drone has crashed in Boya village. I really donít know how it crashed,î said a senior government official in Miramshah, but wished not to be named. According to officials, Boya village, 25 kilometres west of Miramshah, is located in Dattakhel Tehsil, which is considered to be a stronghold of the tribal militants, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur.
They said the wreckage of the destroyed aircraft had not been found as it had crashed in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “It is possible the militants have taken its wreckage into their possession,” said the official.
A militant commander called The News from somewhere in North Waziristan and claimed that their fighters, while firing from anti-aircraft guns, had shot the drone down. “It is the second spy plane our men shot down in the current week,” the militant commander claimed without poviding any proof.
Pleading anonymity, he claimed they had trained people for the job and now more spy planes would be shot down in the coming days. ìThere were five drones flying at a low altitude over the town when our men started firing at one of them. The remaining four disappeared while the one flying at low altitude was accurately hit,î claimed the militant commander. He said the militants were jubilant over ‘continuous’ successes of their colleagues against the ‘enemy’.
(There is a strong correlation between real investments in education, and thus having an educated workforce….and economic development…..there are investments in education and there are investments in education)
The number of peer-reviewed papers published by Chinese researchers rose 64-fold over the past 30 years.
China is now second only to the US in terms of academic papers published, and will take first place by 2020 if current trends continue.
It comes after last week’s announcement that China is poised to replace Japan as the world’s second largest economy, behind the US.
(2010…..USA $15 trillion GDP…….China $5 Trillion GDP at current exchange rates where the Yuan for trade purposes is significantly under valued: PPP comparison varies according to whose estimates you believe, but is a better indicator of actual economic size….2010…USA $14 trillion……China $10 trillion.
China this year will also become the largest exporting nation on earth.
A few comparisons with America which is by no means comprehensive, but certainly instructive:
The boom in China’s scientific research was disclosed in an analysis of papers published in 10,500 academic journals across the world.
The figures, compiled by the publisher Thomson Reuters for the Financial Times , showed that Chinese scientists had increased their output at a far faster rate than counterparts in rival “emerging” nations such as India, Russia and Brazil.
Although India has long been tipped as the most likely threat to US academic supremacy, the study found it now lags well behind China.
(Not surprising, patently obvious when you step off the plane at Delhi airport, and run into the dirt, filth, stench, poverty, inefficiency and power outages that are the most common theme of “Shining India”…..away from the little Islands of success here and there.
The Indian nation in the broadest sense has always prized the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, from swamis, yogis ………and many others…..for thousands upon thousands of years…..perhaps as far back as 8,000 years where SANGAM’S were held…..this is where in ancient India people with specific knowledge came together to discuss various subjects, in an age when there was no writing. Most topics and of course scentific topics were covered.
Therefore it is natural, given the historical background, gradually…….slowly recovering from the destructive effects of colonialism and deliberate colonial de-industrialization of India……. that the state of India should still have a strong academic presence in scientific research………even with the present short comings of the Indian state…which are many.
I have stated before what the shortcomings of the Indian State are, and I am not going to repeat them here, suffice to say that the Indian state is run by corrupt, ineffective, aimless governments which are thick on rhetoric, but thin on good intentioned action which moves India forward meaningfully…..India is developing despite the awful Indian governments……..running a minimal state where the budget accounts for about 15% of the official economy. (Post-colonial rentier elite who off-load the nations wealth in tax havens such as Switzerland and other such places…$1500 billion….whilst the vast majority live in abject poverty and under development after 63 years of “Independence”…….and will be celebrating the the glories of the British Empire with the Commonwealth Games hosted in Delhi in 2010)
The sad thing that should also be pointed out..some of the best in Indian science and technology, work and publish not as Indians but as Americans, Canadians or others……..as much as 40,000 of IIT graduates now work in the USA contributing to American research…..American per Capita income approaching $50,000 and India’s $1,100…so who can blame them)
India has almost been caught by Brazil in terms of the number of papers published, with researchers in the South American country leading the way in agriculture and biology. Russia has seen a relative decline in scientific research since 1981.
“China is out on its own, far ahead of the pack,” said James Wilsdon, of the Royal Society in London. Jonathan Adams, a research evaluation director at Thomson Reuters, called China’s growth “awe-inspiring” although he acknowledged that the value of the findings by its scientists were still “rather mixed”.
By Jason Gale
March 4 (Bloomberg) — Until May 2007, Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place.
Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with theTaj Mahal in plain view.
With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrementthat Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians. Devi looks back on her routine with pain and embarrassment.
“As a woman, I would have to check where the males were going to the toilet and then go in a different direction,” says Devi, 37, standing outside her one-room mud-brick home. “We used to avoid the daytimes, but if we were really pressured, we would have to go any time of the day, even if it was raining. During the harvest season, people would have sticks in the fields. If somebody had to go, people would beat them up or chase them.”
In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300- million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in Devi’s village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September.
Illness, lost productivity and other consequences of fouled water and inadequate sewage treatment trimmed 1.4-7.2 percent from the gross domestic product of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2005, according to a study last year by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.
Sanitation and hygiene-related issues may have a similar if not greater impact on India’s $1.2 trillion economy, says Guy Hutton, a senior water and sanitation economist with the program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Snarledtransportation and unreliable power further damp the nation’s growth. Companies that locate in India pay hardship wages and ensconce employees in self- sufficient compounds.
The toll on human health is grim. Every day, 1,000 children younger than 5 years old die in India from diarrhea, hepatitis- causing pathogens and other sanitation-related diseases, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
For girls, the crisis is especially acute: Many drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate lavatories, depriving the country of a generation of possible leaders.
“India cannot reach its full economic potential unless they do something about this sanitation crisis,” says Clarissa Brocklehurst, Unicef’s New York-based chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, who worked in New Delhi from 1999 to 2001.
When P.V. Narasimha Rao opened India to outside investment in 1991, the country went on a tear. For most of this decade, India has placed just behind China as the world’s fastest- growing major economy. Revenue from information technology and outsourcing jumped more than 300-fold to $52 billion a year as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Technologies Ltd.and other homegrown giants took on computer-related work for Western corporations.
Annual per-capita income more than doubled to 24,295 rupees ($468) in the seven years ended on March 31, 2008, before the full force of the financial meltdown kicked in. Even during the current global recession, India’s economy will expand 5.1 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund projects.
Yet India’s gated office parks with swimming pools and food courts and enclaves such as the Aralias in Gurgaon, outside New Delhi, which features 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) condominiums, mask a breakdown of the most basic and symbolic human need — hygiene.
Devi, who installed her neighborhood’s first toilet, a squat-style latrine in a whitewashed outhouse, created a point of pride in a village where some people empty chamber pots into open drains in front of their homes. Like most of Kachpura’s residents, more than half of India’s 203 million households lack what Western societies consider a necessity: a toilet.
India has the greatest proportion of people in Asia behind Nepal without access to improved sanitation, according to Unicef. Some 665 million Indians practice open defecation, more than half the global total. In China, the world’s most populous country, 37 million people defecate in the open, according to Unicef.
‘It’s an Embarrassment’
“It’s an embarrassment,” says Venkatraman Anantha- Nageswaran, 45, an Indian working in Singapore as chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at Bank Julius Baer & Co., which managed $234 billion at the end of 2008. “It’s a country that aspires to being an international power and which, according to various projections, will be the third-largest economy in 20-30 years.”
India has the highest childhood malnutrition rates in the world: 44 percent of children younger than 5 are underweight, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
“Malnourished children are more susceptible to diarrheal disease, and with more diarrheal disease they become more malnourished,” says Jamie Bartram, head of the World Health Organization’s water, sanitation, hygiene and health group. “If we collectively could fix the world’s basic water and sanitation problems, we could reduce childhood mortality by nearly a third.”
Half of India’s schools don’t have separate toilets for males and females, forcing young women to use unisex facilities or nothing at all. Twenty-two percent of girls complete 10 or more years of schooling compared with 35 percent of boys, a national family health survey finished in 2006 found.
Devi says she was concerned that her 14-year-old daughter would suffer the indignity and infections she herself endured due to poor menstrual hygiene. That was a major reason she bought a toilet, taking out a 7,000 rupee, interest-free loan from the U.S. Agency for International Development, which enabled her to pay for her new latrine over 18 months.
The agency also gave her a 3,000 rupee grant and a 2,500 rupee-a-month job with its Cross-Cutting Agra Project, which promotes hygiene and sanitation in her village. Until then, she, like her husband, was unemployed. Her daughter’s situation has also improved, Devi says.
“When she has her period, it’s especially difficult for her to go out into the fields,” she says. “It’s better to have a toilet at home — as it is for every female.”
Barriers that keep girls from equal education compromise the nation’s future, says Renu Khosla, director of CURE India, a New Delhi group that works to improve water and sanitation for the poor, including in Kachpura.
“We will have a less skilled population of youth,” she says. “Every year of schooling reduces household poverty by bringing down the family size and increasing skill levels.”
So far, companies looking to locate in India haven’t been turned off by the sanitation shortcomings, says Anshuman Magazine, chairman of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.’s South Asian unit, which manages about 62 million square feet of property in the country. “India is a completely different planet,” he says.
As such, employees know not to drink tap water, and employers provide clean washrooms.
“As far as offices are concerned, I have never come across anyone raising these concerns. Businesses run on making money and opportunities. Since 2004, we have seen huge interest from foreign investors and businesses.”
International corporations that set up branches in Mumbai and New Delhi compensate by paying hardship allowances of 20-25 percent of employees’ salary compared with 10-15 percent in Beijing and Shanghai, says Lee Quane, the Hong Kong-based Asian general manager of ECA International Ltd., a human resources advisory firm.
Some big Indian companies count on private utilities, bottled water and walled compounds with electric fences. Infosys’s resort-style campus on the outskirts of Bangalore has manicured lawns, a Japanese garden, a swimming pool, a golf course and a Domino’s Pizza in its multinational food court.
Unlike most households in the nearby city of 6.8 million, India’s No. 2 software maker’s headquarters doesn’t suffer water or power interruptions, says Bhawesh Kumar, its facilities manager.
Infosys stores water from the public network in three underground reservoirs that can hold 2.2 million liters (580,000 gallons), or two days’ supply. The water passes through sand and carbon filters and purifiers, making it cleaner than what’s available to local people, he says. Attendants clean the brown- tiled bathrooms and refresh supplies of paper hand towels hourly during the business day. Infrared sensors ensure that toilets are flushed after each use.
Outside such compounds, dirty water and poor hygiene can trap communities in a cycle of disease, malnutrition and poverty, Bartram says. Worldwide, 18 percent of the population, or 1.2 billion people, rely on open defecation and about 884 million drink unsafe water, according to Unicef.
Every year, more than 200 million tons of human sewage goes uncollected and untreated, fouling the environment. Each gram of feces can contain 10 million virus particles, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs, the UN found.
In Devi’s village, sewage and household wastewater flow along open drains that line both sides of narrow alleyways. The fetid water gathers in a shallow channel choking with plastic containers, discarded footwear and household trash. A woman carrying a folded mattress on her head steps deftly along a narrow bridge spanning the mire. A mechanical pump chugs on the bank, sucking up the liquid to dispense over a nearby vegetable patch. Children play around the edge, alongside tethered, cud- chewing water buffalo.
A man walks past, clutching a water-filled plastic bottle, presumably on his way to defecate. The rest of the slurry empties into a trench coursing along a feces-dotted path through a field of cauliflowers. A shoeless boy uses a long-handled spade to create a new sluice for the black sludge to ooze over the vegetable field.
What’s not drained from the trench empties into a cesspool on the flood plain of the Yamuna River, which flows through Delhi and then Agra before joining the Ganges at Allahabad, 1,370 kilometers (850 miles) from its pristine source in the Himalayan mountains.
“If you’ve got feces all around you, it will find its way into your mouth,” Bartram says. “Cholera and typhoid are always dramatic because they come through as outbreaks, and outbreaks catch the news. The real burden is this long, remorseless drain of straightforward, simple diarrheal disease.”
Like Devi’s village, less than a fifth of Agra is connected to a sewage system. The 1.3 million people generate more than 150 million liters of effluent each day. The city has the capacity to treat 60 percent of the sewage. There are plans to build three more treatment plants by 2012 with funding from the state and federal governments and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, according to the Agra Municipal Corporation.
The U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Cross- Cutting Agra Project and other programs are trying to bridge the sanitation gap. The project helped Devi and 39 other households in her village get toilets during the past two years.
The Indian government is also contributing. Rural families living below the poverty line are eligible for a 1,500 rupee subsidy to build household latrines under the Total Sanitation Campaign. The decade-old program focuses on educating people about the link between good hygiene and health to change behavior and spur their desire for toilets.
UN agencies such as Unicef provide technical information and recommendations on toilet systems.
Governments and aid groups have strived for decades to overcome India’s sanitation challenges. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who led the movement for freedom from foreign domination, grappled with the issue almost a century ago: “The cause of many of our diseases is the condition of our lavatories and our bad habit of disposing of excreta anywhere and everywhere,” Gandhiwrote in 1925. “Sanitation is more important than political independence,” he declared.
Gandhi focused on the Hindu caste system that subjugated the lowest social stratum to the unsavory realm of latrines. For some 4,000 years, so-called bhangis or untouchables earned a modest living by scraping “night soil” from the cavernous household toilet pits of higher castes and carrying it away in pans balanced on their heads.
“Culturally, it was taboo in Indian society to talk about human excreta, night soil and all these things,” says Bindeshwar Pathak, who started Sulabh International Social Service Organization, a Delhi-based group whose name means “readily accessible.” The organization has built public toilets and campaigned on human emancipation issues since 1970.
Pathak says the tradition of scavenging removed the impetus of society, and especially policy makers, to acknowledge and address the sanitation problem.
A.K. Mehta, joint secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, says India’s close-lipped tradition is changing.
“If you have a legacy of thousands of years, you don’t expect it to go away in a decade or so,” Mehta says. “Progress is significant and in the right direction.”
Today, 59 percent of the people in India’s countryside have access to a toilet, compared with 27 percent in 2004, the Department of Drinking Water Supplysays. Ten million toilets have been built annually since 2007. More than 30 million households are waiting.
Urban dwellers aren’t spared substandard hygiene. In Mumbai, Delhi and other cities where billboards advertise the latest mobile phones and trendy young women sport Prada handbags, the water that’s piped into homes and apartments must be filtered before drinking. And in most homes it’s available only a few hours each day.
“Even the biggest cities still have that problem,” says Vishwas Udgirkar, 46, executive director of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s government and infrastructure division in New Delhi.
More unsettling, 17 percent of city residents, or 50 million people, don’t have toilets. Fewer than 10 percent of Indian cities have a sewage system. About37 percent of urban wastewater flows into the environment untreated, where such pathogens as rotavirus, campylobacter and human roundworm can spread via water, soil, food and unwashed hands.
“Not attending to this has a cost,” Mehta says. “Between 2001 and ’26, we would be adding another 246 million people to the urban system. How would we meet that huge challenge is the issue.”
India is still struggling to find the best way to clean up the mess.
“A lot of money has been given for constructing the infrastructure,” says Ajith C. Kumar, an operations analyst with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program in New Delhi. “The predominant experience has been that none of this has worked.”
The southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh is a good example. Earlier this decade, the state government helped build 2.95 million household latrines in rural areas. Residents got subsidies worth about $16 in cash plus coupons for 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of rice. Half the toilets went unused or were being used for other purposes, a February 2007 World Bank report found.
Roomier Than Homes
In the western state of Maharashtra, 1.6 million subsidized toilets were built from 1997 to 2000. About 47 percent are in use.
Many toilets are designed without thinking about who’s going to use them, says Payden (who goes by one name), the WHO’s New Delhi-based regional adviser on water, sanitation and health. Some of the new toilets were roomier than homes.
“The toilets were much stronger and safer, so they used them for storing grain instead,” she says.
Now India is trying a different kind of cash reward to encourage toilet use. TheNirmal Gram Puraskar, or “clean village prize,” gives 50,000-5 million rupees to local governments that end open defecation. Thirty-eight villages qualified in 2005. A year later, 760 villages and 9 municipalities got the prize. In 2008, more than 12,000 awards were presented.
Toilets That Pay
Santha Sheela Nair, India’s secretary of drinking water supply, is assessing another monetary incentive. In a spacious New Delhi office with a white-tiled floor and white walls, Nair thumbs through a leaflet from a desk stacked with foot-high files and books on sanitation. She stops suddenly and points excitedly to a picture of a white toilet adorned with brightly- colored writing.
“This is the first toilet in the world — in the world — where you use the toilet and you get paid,” Nair says.
The public toilet, in the town of Musiri in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, gives users as much as 12 U.S. cents a month for their excreta. Feces arecomposted and urine, which is 95 percent water and has already passed through the body’s own filter, the kidneys, is collected, stored in drums and used as fertilizer for bananas and other food crops in a two-year research project by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
“The day that I can use your toilet and you pay me instead of me paying you, that will be the day when we have really learned to reuse our waste,” Nair says.
Nair, India’s eighth drinking-water chief in less than a decade, is passionate about her job. On this day in November, the sari-clad government veteran chimes in on baby feces, menstrual hygiene, the use of excrement as fertilizer and other topics few bureaucrats have dared to broach.
From 2001 to ’03, Nair was responsible for the water supply in Chennai, formerly called Madras, southern India’s biggest city. Then, as rural development secretary for Tamil Nadu, she helped in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.
Nair is challenging the accepted wisdom on everything from modern sewers to flushable toilets, to the value of human waste. She says Western-style toilets are inappropriate for India, especially in areas that lack fresh water and have limited funds for sewage treatment plants. Instead, she says, the country has to find cheaper, more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies.
Inspired by the successful landing in November of the Moon Impact Probe, India’s first unmanned lunar mission, Nair is looking skyward for ideas.
“In space, you have the most vulnerable situations,” she says, playing a 2-minute YouTube video of an astronaut explaining how to manage bodily functions 100,000 miles from Earth. “They are separating the urine from the feces and drying it,” she says, pointing to her computer monitor. “The urine is processed for re-drinking because they just can’t carry that much water.”
Nair says modern sewers aren’t the answer for India. The country can’t afford to waste water by flushing it down a latrine. Instead, she’s encouraging airplane-style commodes that are vacuum cleared or toilets that are attached to contained pits rather than systems that pipe the effluent miles away for treatment. In Nair’s world, recycling human excrement for use as fertilizer is preferable.
‘Our Own Devices’
“We need to invent our own devices which are cost- effective, environmentally sustainable and go with our people,” she says. “We cannot afford the things which are simply things that some civil engineer learned somewhere.”
Converting excreta that have been properly dried for 6-24 months into plant food uses less water than traditional sewage systems and is less likely to pollute waterways, Payden says.
Bartram says composted sewage that’s been handled correctly can be used in agriculture and for other beneficial purposes with negligible risk to human health. The challenge is to sanitize it so that disease-carrying organisms are eliminated.
“Different pathogens vary widely in terms of inactivation,” he says. “Large, robust parasite eggs like the human roundworm, Ascaris, tend to be the longest lived and can remain infectious for years in soil.”
Closing the Gap
The government has a goal of eliminating open defecation by 2012. Nair says it might happen earlier.
“It’s important for us to do it quickly,” she says. Right now, the number of open defecators is roughly double the number of India’s middle class. “This gap will keep widening,” she says. “That is the challenge for us.”
For the Devi family, one household in one of India’s thousands of villages, the gap has narrowed. The health and dignity of five people have improved. More of Devi’s neighbors are trying to emulate her example by installing a household latrine and washing their hands with soap.
“We have gone from home to home to talk about sanitation and cleanliness,” Devi says, standing on the bank of the Yamuna River as cattle drink from its fetid waters. “The solution to a thousand household problems is getting a toilet.”
As India strives to build on two decades of growth, the nation’s sanitation struggle reveals how complicated Devi’s goal remains — and how damaging the failure to meet it may be.
By MATTHEW COLE, RICHARD ESPOSITO and BRIAN ROSS
:: Article nr. 62605 sent on 27-jan-2010 00:25 ECT
By: Peter Chamberlin
All the players in the world claim that they want to get it right in Afghanistan, so that the Afghan people might be freed from the burdens of the thirty year war, which keeps them in the Stone Age. The problem with Afghanistan is that everyone invokes false piety, claiming concerns for the well-being of the Afghan people, while promoting war as the solution to their problems. We head into an international conference looking for these answers through the prism of the same old lies.
Afghanistan will never have a chance as long as everyone keeps treating it as an international arena, in which to fight-out all their problems. As long as Americans treat it as a staging area to launch expeditionary resource wars from, and as long as Pakistan and India are allowed to continue using Afghan men to fight their proxy war, then there will be no peace in the world and no rest for the war-weary Afghans. Neither peace for the world, nor peace for Afghanistan is truly being considered in London.
The London conference is NOT a “peace conference,” it is a search for an easier and less expensive American war. Just as millions of American jobs were “outsourced” to India, to save American corporations labor costs, the military job of cleaning-up Afghanistan and guarding sub-contractors (who will partially rebuild there, as they build roads and pipelines of Western commerce) will be outsourced to Indian troops. American plans for India are being hampered by Indian/Pakistani conflict, which is the only reason for the “peace” overtures being made to them by American diplomats.
It is the height of hypocrisy to claim that we are looking for “solutions” to the Afghan dilemma, but we are really only looking for solutions that give Americans and Westerners a way out, without first ending the two proxy wars that we have begun there, or making amends for the damage that we have done. American forces cannot be allowed to abandon either Afghanistan or Iraq until they have first rebuilt those two countries.
The grave injustice of Afghanistan is NOT that the United States is losing its war there against our former allies, but that the world allows us to come and go there at will, decimating the place each time, before we abandon the survivors to the misery of rebuilding with no help. The only way that the London conference can possibly help the Afghan people is if it becomes a forum on American actions in Afghanistan.
The list of America’s Afghan war crimes did not begin with the so called war on terror, it began decades ago. Beginning with Carter and Brzezinski’s order to arm the tribes and thereby create a Russian “Vietnam.” Thousands of bombs and bullets later, compounded by the American abandonment in 1990, our crimes against the Afghan people are beyond measurement.
Even after abandoning the Afghans to their misery, we pushed Pakistan to multiply the misery exponentially, by creating the Taliban and innumerable sectarian terror outfits to fight new wars for us against Afghanistan’s neighbors. Delusional American “patriots” who continue to scream for Muslim blood are blind to the origins of “Islamist” terror and exactly who is the state sponsor of all of this terror.
The only “solution” on the London table for Afghanistan must be to end all of the state-sponsored terrorism that grows and emanates from Afghan soil. The real “enemies” of freedom involved in the war along the Durand Line, the Taliban, the “Pakistani Taliban” and “al Qaida,” are all sponsored by various state intelligence agencies, none of which is part of the so-called “axis of terror” invented by Bush and Cheney. The Taliban belong to Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban belong to India/Israel/US/Britain/Russia. The alleged “umbrella” group, “al Qaida,” is CIA/Mossad. Pull the plug on all of these groups and the war is over.
The only legitimate purpose for having the London conference would be to negotiate an end to all of these synthetic, government-created insurgencies. If all of the fore-mentioned state sponsors of this terror cannot agree in principle to end these secret dirty wars as the only legitimate pre-condition for negotiations, then there should be no conference. If the single purpose of the conference is to end the secret wars being fought to the death in and from Afghanistan, then Afghans might stand a real chance of getting to know what peace is.
Peace in Afghanistan is the only way to peace in the world.
— Indian media says Delhi alarmed over digging of trenches by drilling troops
— Pak troops dig trenches as part of routine winter exercises
— Faulty Intel reports link Army exercises with PAF activities, term far flung Sargodha as a border city
By our Defence Correspondent/ Monitoring Desk
ISLAMABAD—While the Pakistan Army is carrying out its routine winter drills in different parts of the country during which the exercising troop often dig trenches and tunnels as part of the exercises, India’s intelligence agencies have created panic amongst the government and defence circles by reporting that Pakistanis were digging secret tunnels along Pak-India borders, most probably to store nuclear weapons. These absurd intelligence reports, that are merely based on some images of web search engine Google, have been published by Indian media as well. The credibility of these reports can further be judged that these reports describe Sargodha city of Pakistan as a border city that is very close to Pakistan-India borders while actually Sargodha is situated hundred of kilometers from the Pakistan-India borders. Further more the reports have linked these drills of Army with some activity by Pakistan Air Force, probably in a bid to get away with the shame that was caused to Indian Armed Forces a day before when PAF Chief was shown as a National Hero of India in an official advertisement, released by the Indian government.
Posted by: Leslie Sutton
“When Yemen refused to back the 1991 Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait, the U.S. cancelled $70 million in foreign aid to Sana and supported a decision by Saudi Arabia to expel 850,000 Yemeni workers. Both moves had a catastrophic impact on the Yemeni economy that played a major role in initiating the current instability gripping the country.”
That coordination did not happen all on its own. Saudi Arabia would not expel workers (to its own detriment) without a higher reason (to Saudi Arabia) than the most powerful military in the world had to travel a little further. They didn’t just “jump on board” the “curse Yemen train.” The train was made, the schedule was set, and the ticket was hand delivered as a mandate by someone other than the militarized giant, or else Saudi Arabia would have kept its workers and gone on about its normal, profit making, because it supplied the energy to that giant. It did not fear the US – that is not why it made the decision.
“”The tension between the two Yemens was hardly accidental. According to UPI, the CIA funneled $4 million a year to Jordan’s King Hussein to help brew up a civil war between the conservative North and the wealthier and socialist south.”
The CIA would not have done that without orders. Pretty soon people are going to wake up to the fact that economics and military are used in tandem against the only force there is that cannot be blackmailed – and that force is most easily described as a self-governing People.
What the CIA and indeed the US govt is not seeing is that now they are the victims of the economic warfare, and that will lead to military “intervention,” just as it has all over this world. If they would realize it now, then all they have to do to circumvent the order of operations is stop taking orders from the folks who have played this scam on the world since the 1600s. It all started with a Jewish man who painted the door to his business red, and then changed his name to call himself the “Red Door.” He went on to say that he cares not who makes the laws, as long as he runs the banks. His little club has developed since then, but their game is quite tired, and this is our chance if people would only think, instead of take orders.
“Or is this talk about a “global danger” just a smokescreen to allow the Americans to prop up the increasingly isolated and unpopular regime in Saudi Arabia?”
Anyone interested in finding out just what Saudi Arabia is up to should go to sodahead.com and track the Saudi operatives’ comments and blogs. Start with the “old” guy (out of uniform), but deal with the “Dr.” (in uniform) as well. Notice what they have been reduced to as far as making an impact on their world.
“In 2005 the Bush Administration pressed India to counter the rise of China by joining an alliance with South Korea, Japan, and Australia. As a quid pro quo for coming aboard, Washington agreed to sell uranium to India, in spite of New Delhi’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. Only countries that sign the Treaty can purchase uranium in the international market. The Bush administration also agreed to sell India the latest in military technology. The Obama administration has continued the same policies”
China said, when they were in our Country learning about our genetically mutated rice, that they were going to overtake the United States without having to use military. Simply put, the US government was too haughty and China took advantage of it. China had already killed off a whole race of People in Darfur by the time Bush’s idea was to sell uranium to another nation in clear violation of the international nuclear proliferation laws. He did it in a knee jerk reaction to China and that suits Mr. Red Door’s club just fine.
“Energy security” has been at the heart of U.S. foreign policy for decades. The 1980’s “Carter Doctrine” made it explicit that the U.S. would use military if its energy supplies were ever threatened. Whether the administration was Republican or Democratic made little difference when it came to controlling gas and oil supplies, and the greatest concentration of U.S. military forces is in the Middle East, where 60 percent of the world’s energy supplies lie.”
How long has the world had the technology available to circumvent an energy crisis and failed to implement it? This is where trading favors with Saudi Arabia, or India, might make sense to those who would rather the technology not be developed. The underlying psychology of the oil men and backwoods politicians is easiest understood in that they assign no value to what they have already used. So, I ask the leaders of every single Country, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the US, how have your short sighted decisions harmed you? No matter whom you are, what Country you represent, I know, and you know, that you only have one place to look when you consider how you have been used to facilitate this misery. Once you muster the courage to take a good, honest look at where you encouragement to make these decisions came from, then you will know your true enemy is not the smaller countries, not the economic realities, and not the People. Until then, you will simply trudge along down this path which is leading each and every Country further away from peace and prosperity. Until then, you will continue to fight an enemy that does not exist, creating embarrassment and hardships for yourselves and every people of this world, playing into the hands of the Bilderbergers.
Fast forward 50 years, to what this will look like. The whole system you guys have been playing is cannibalistic. What will be left in 50 years? Even the Red Door club will be bereft, because there will be no comparisons, no competition, thus no value… in anything. There is no true dominance; dominance, by its own nature, never lasts. Would you truly have millions of People die for something like this appropriately defined dominance? There is no meaning behind what you do.
The operations reportedly were approved by President Obama and begun six weeks ago and involve several dozen troops from the U.S. military’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command.
U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed senior administration officials.
Yemeni troops in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional Al Qaeda affiliate, sources told the newspaper.
The operations were approved by President Barack Obama and begun six weeks ago and involve several dozen troops from the U.S. military’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command.
A Yemeni official told the Associated Press Tuesday that the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have been participating in joint operations for some time with Yemeni troops, and the two countries are currently in discussions to build a new aviation unit to help bolster Yemen’s counterterrorism forces.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations, said that while the intelligence sharing has been critical, the Yemen military badly needs helicopters for its counterterrorism operations.
U.S. officials have said repeatedly that American advisers do not take part in raids in Yemen, but provide intelligence, surveillance, planning and other weapons assistance.
As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric, was thought to be meeting with other regional Al Qaeda leaders. He was not the focus of the strike and was not killed.
Al-Awlaki has been connected with the alleged perpetrators of two recent attacks on American soil: the Nov. 5 shooting rampage at the Fort Hood, Texas, army base and the Christmas airliner bombing attempt.
The broad outlines of the U.S. involvement in Yemen have been reported by the Associated Press and others, but the extent and nature of the operations have not.
A key U.S. complaint is that Yemen’s pursuit of Al Qaeda insurgents inside the country has been fitful at best. The low point was the deadly October 2000 Al Qaeda attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen’s Aden harbor that killed 17 American sailors.
The terror incubator in Yemen, birthplace of the Christmas Day airliner attack, is forcing the U.S. and allies to pour millions of dollars into a shaky government that officials suspect won’t spend the money wisely and isn’t fully committed to the battle against Al Qaeda.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other world leaders meet in London on Wednesday to hash out a plan. Efforts to stabilize the impoverished nation, where the government is battling Al Qaeda strongholds with American help, are suddenly urgent after years of faltering.
“Clearly December 25th had an electrifying impact,” said Daniel Benjamin, State Department coordinator for counterterrorism. The failed attempt to bring down the Detroit-bound airliner by a Nigerian tied to Yemen’s radicals made “many members of the international community think that this was a time to get past the excuses and get back to work.”
U.S. officials are uneasy, however, about Yemen’s government. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s army has only sporadically pursued the growing Al Qaeda threat in Yemen’s vast tribal territory. The United States wants its aid to be closely monitored, and tied to economic and political reforms.
American worries about Yemen’s commitment heightened last year after several Yemeni detainees who had been released from Guantanamo Bay prison resurfaced as leaders of the country’s growing Al Qaeda faction.
At the same time, the Yemeni government can be undermined by appearing too close to the Americans. The Yemeni people are virulently anti-Israel, and by extension anti-American. Sensitive to that concern, U.S. officials have played down the Pentagon’s efforts to provide intelligence and other assistance to the Yemeni military.
The effort, Benjamin acknowledged, will have to overcome a history of failed commitments on all sides.
“The international community made a number of commitments to Yemen and they haven’t always been delivered, and Yemenis, as we know, have also sometimes made commitments and haven’t always followed through,” he said. “The important thing is that the (Yemeni) government’s doing the right thing now.”
U.S. officials say they want to combine a deeper involvement with the Yemenis on the counterterrorism front with programs designed to alleviate poverty, illiteracy and rapid population growth.
Much like the effort with Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, the U.S. military has boosted its counterterrorism training for Yemeni forces, and is providing more intelligence, which probably includes surveillance by unmanned drones, U.S. officials and analysts have told The Associated Press. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secretive nature of the operations, say the support comes at the request of Yemen.
The Yemeni government largely defeated Al Qaeda forces in 2003, but the terror group was able to rebound more as the government turned its focus to flare-ups by other insurgents. Then, early last year, Al Qaeda groups in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s northern neighbor, merged, and turned their efforts toward Islamic jihad beyond those countries’ borders.
In the wake of the Christmas attack, Yemen’s military has struck repeatedly at Al Qaeda sites. On Tuesday, a Yemeni security official said that 43 people, including several foreigners, are being interrogated there for links to the failed attempt to blow up the Detroit-bound airliner.
Last week, after a meeting in Washington with Clinton, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi stressed “our commitment to continue the fight against terrorism and against radicalization.”
Clinton praised Yemen’s recent military actions against the Al Qaeda faction there but insisted that extremism could not be rooted out without a focus on economic development, something Saleh has yet to push to U.S. satisfaction.
“Our relationship cannot be just about the terrorists,” she said. “As critical as that is to our security and our future … the best way to really get at some of these underlying problems that exist is through an effective development strategy.”
The Yemeni foreign minister praised the American effort, saying that “with the new administration, we have seen a greater understanding to the challenges faced by Yemen and the willingness to help Yemen.”
The U.S. currently has a three-year, $121 million development and economic assistance program with Yemen. Separately, it is providing nearly $70 million in military aid this year.
Those numbers are likely to increase, but throughout the past decade, Washington’s annual assistance to Yemen hovered in the low $20- to $25-million range.
“Yemen is often overlooked by U.S. policy makers,” said Jeremy Sharp, author of a Congressional Research Service report on the country. He described the U.S.-Yemeni relationship as “tepid” with a lack of strong military-to-military ties, commerce and cross-cultural exchanges.
The push for closer ties are also tempered by concerns about Saleh’s rule, which has been punctuated by severe disagreements over how Yemen has handled terror suspects, including several detainees implicated in the Cole bombing and detainees released from Guantanamo Bay.
Terrorists from both of those groups have reportedly become leaders of the new Al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen.
But the Yemeni government’s response to the terror threat was “basically catch-and-release and that needs to change,” said one U.S. official familiar with counterterrorism cooperation with Yemen. “We need to have confidence that the bad guys are locked up.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.