Hillary Smells Blood In the Water, Prepares for 2012

Hillary Clinton says she won’t serve eight years

Posted: 28 January 2010 1649 hrs


US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

WASHINGTON : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she would not serve a full eight years if President Barack Obama wins another term, hoping eventually to retire to writing and teaching.

Clinton, who has spent two decades in the national spotlight and narrowly lost her own bid to be president in 2008, said she enjoyed her job as the top US diplomat but found it physically grueling.

Asked by talk-show host Tavis Smiley if she would serve eight years, she replied: “No, I really can’t.”

“The whole eight — that would be very challenging,” she said in the interview broadcast Wednesday on public television.

“It’s a 24-7 job and I think at some point, I will be very happy to pass it on to someone else,” Clinton said.

Clinton repeated that she would not run again for president, saying she wanted a private life after a career in which she has served as first lady and a US senator.

“There are so many things I’m interested in, really going back to private life and spending time reading and writing and maybe teaching. Maybe some personal travel — not the kind of travel where you bring a couple of hundred people with you,” she said.

Clinton said she also hoped throughout her life to be a strong advocate for the rights of women and girls.

The interview was broadcast the same evening that Obama delivered his first State of the Union address, which Clinton missed as she was in London to attend international talks on Afghanistan and Yemen.

By tradition, one member of the cabinet stays away from the president’s annual address to Congress as a precaution in case of calamity.

As Clinton was overseas, that was not her. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan stayed away in an undisclosed location.

Secretaries of state in recent times have rarely served more than one presidential term, although George Shultz was in office for six and a half years under Ronald Reagan.

Tribes Warned About Sheltering Army’s Mistakes

North Waziristan elders warned against sheltering Taliban

* Political agent warns elders of military operation if fleeing
terrorists from SWA not expelled
* Elders say there is little they can do

By Iqbal Khattak

PESHAWAR: The political administration has warned tribal chieftains of a military operation if they do not take action against terrorists who have fled Mehsud areas of South Waziristan and taken refuge in North Waziristan, tribal and official sources said on Wednesday.

“There have been messages from the political administration telling us that we should take action against terrorists fleeing the military operation in the Mehsud areas of South Waziristan,” tribal elders told Daily Times over the phone from Miranshah.

Military officials and tribesmen say senior leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – including the group’s chief, Hakeemullah Mehsud – top commanders and local and foreign terrorists have fled the military operation to take refuge in North Waziristan.

“You people will suffer as much as the people of areas where military offensives are underway if these fleeing terrorists … are not expelled from your region,” North Waziristan Political Agent Mutahir Zeb has told tribal elders.

However, tribal leaders say there is little they can do. “It is beyond our capacity to push out these terrorists. Why should we be held accountable for their presence in North Waziristan? Why didn’t the military block all exit points before launching the offensive?” said the elders in defence of their silence on the issue. “These terrorists will never listen to us.”

Meanwhile, tribal sources said the military had set up checkposts in Bannu, near the border with North Waziristan, to stop those trying to enter from Punjab. “No Punjabi is allowed to go to North Waziristan, and those from other districts of the country and tribal regions are quizzed before allowing them entry,” they said.

Tribal sources in Wana said over the phone that anybody – apart from residents of the region – trying to enter South Waziristan needed a special permit.

“Visitors from Peshawar will need to obtain a permit from the political authorities in Tank … when they leave Wana, they need a similar permit from the assistant political agent, otherwise they can be stopped at any checkpost,” said the sources, adding that tight security arrangements had been made to stop new recruits from joining terrorist groups in North and South Waziristan.

Senior government officials told Daily Times that talks were underway to prevent terrorists from returning to areas retaken from the TTP, once locals were allowed to return home.

Bankrupt Govt. Wants Your 401k

Why the Government Wants to Hijack Your 401(k)

BY KEITH FITZ-GERALD, Chief Investment Strategist, Money Morning

It’s bad enough that we’ve been forced to bail out Wall Street. But now the Obama administration is hatching plans to raid our retirement savings, too.

To say that I’m “outraged” doesn’t come close to describing the emotions I experience every time I think about the government’s latest hare-brained scheme.

According to widespread media reports, both the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Labor plan are planning to stage a public-comment period before implementing regulations that would require U.S. savers to invest portions of their 401(k) savings plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) into annuities or other “steady” payment streams backed by U.S. government bonds.

Folks, there’s only one reason these agencies would do such a thing – the nation’s creditors think that U.S. government bonds are a bad bet and don’t want to buy them anymore. So like a grifter who’s down to his last dollar, the administration is hoping to get its hands on our hard-earned savings before the American people realize they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes … once again.

It’s easy to understand why.

Facing a $14 trillion fiscal hangover, the Treasury can no longer count countries such as Japan and China to be dependable buyers of U.S. government debt. Not only have those nations dramatically reduced their purchasing of U.S. bonds, most of our largest creditors are now actively diversifying their reserves away from greenback-based investments in favor of other reliable stores of value – like oil, gold and other commodities.

This growing reluctance couldn’t come at a worse time. Just yesterday (Tuesday), in fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the U.S. budget deficit would hit $1.35 trillion this year. And that’s not the only shortfall the Treasury has to address. The U.S. Federal Reserve is supposed to stop buying Treasury bonds for its asset portfolio, a program the central bank put in place last year.

The upshot: The Obama administration has to find other ways sell government debt – without raising interest rates, a move that would almost certainly jeopardize the country’s super-weak economic recovery.

Facing an uphill battle and increasingly skeptical buyers, the government is changing tactics and targeting the biggest pile of money available as a means of dealing with its fiscal follies - the $3.6 trillion sitting in U.S. retirement plans, including 401(k) plans.

The way I see it, the Obama administration can see the financial train wreck that’s going to occur. So it’s rushing to crack open the safe that holds our retirement money before anyone realizes that they’ve been robbed.

And if this plan becomes reality, that’s just what it will be – robbery. American retail investors didn’t sign up for the financial-crisis roller-coaster ride we’ve been on since 2008. We didn’t approve the nation’s five-fold increase in lending capacity. And we certainly didn’t volunteer to help pay down a national debt that’s doubled.

Few people realize that the federal government spent an estimated $17,000 to $25,000 per U.S. household in 2009 (the final figures haven’t been calculated, yet). But that’s no surprise: “We the people” didn’t approve it.

At a point where it’s spending money like a drunken sailor, Washington seems more interested in appropriating and redistributing our retirement savings than it is in fixing a system that’s badly broken. If you add in all the stimulus spending that the taxpayers must now repay, the average government-agency-spending tab has zoomed more than 50% in the last couple of years. That’s right – 50%.

So it’s only logical that the administration would go after our 401(k) and IRA savings plans.

Disgusting, but logical.

Here’s how the argument is likely to be framed.

The system we presently have in place is what’s commonly called a “defined contribution plan.” Under such a plan, the benefits we enjoy during retirement aren’t determined in advance. Instead, those benefits are determined by how much money we contribute while working, and by the performance of the investments that we choose. The 401(k) is almost exclusively a defined contribution plan.

Years ago, Americans depended more upon “defined benefit plans” that promised a steady stream of income at a future date – with the actual amounts determined by our years of service or our earnings history. Old-fashioned company pension plans and even U.S. Social Security are examples of defined benefit plans.

By laying claim to our retirement assets in exchange for 30-year Treasury bonds, annuities or other payout streams, the government will try to persuade us that we’re not capable of managing our own money, that the stock market is too risky a place for most Americans, and that we need Big Brother to hold our hands and protect our futures.

What we need, the administration is going to tell us, is a defined benefit plan.

So expect a big snow job. But here’s the problem.

Defined benefit plans are great only as long as they are well funded. Unfortunately, most aren’t.

In fact, according to various studies, pension funds could already be underfunded by as much as $5.3 trillion. Add that to the $14 trillion we’ve already got on the table and we’re talking a staggering $19.3 trillion – and that’s with no escalators, no cost-of-living adjustments and no interest-rate increases. And that’s assuming we don’t need another round of stimulus.

Here’s what the government isn’t going to tell you. When pension funds transition from defined contribution plans to defined benefit plans, the only backing they have is the underlying assets themselves and the company or entity that’s responsible for the plans – which in this case would be the U.S. government.

If the prospects of your entire future being placed in the hands of the federal government doesn’t scare the daylights out of you after all we’ve experienced so far, I suspect that nothing will.

Our elected leaders, appointed government guardians, and Wall Street have together demonstrated a total inability to manage what they already control. There’s no reason on the planet why they should be allowed to get their hands on our hard-won savings. All that will do is punish the thrifty, disciplined and far-sighted investor, while rewarding – or at the very least protecting – the inept politicians and career bureaucrats who allowed this crisis to occur in the first place.

By backing their plan with 30-year Treasuries, government backers of this plan are betting that you and I won’t notice that the trouble with annuities and long bonds is that they tend to get annihilated by inflation. That’s why even the most jaded professionals will tell you that investing in such instruments right now when interest rates are being artificially held down near 0.00% is bad juju: Interest rates have only one direction to travel – up, which tends to crush bond prices.

Right now, Americans are apparently smarter than the administration believes. In fact, a survey by the Investment Company Institute found that more than 70% of all households disagreed with the idea of requiring a retiree to buy an annuity with a portion of their assets. And it didn’t matter whether the annuity was offered by an insurance company or by the government.

Let’s hope that the full-court press that the administration is getting ready to deploy doesn’t snow American investors. If the government succeeds, we’ll look back and see that they pulled a pretty slick trick to get our support.

Unfortunately, it won’t be the last trick they play with our retirement money. That last trick will come after they have control of our savings – when they make our retirements disappear.

The Power to the People Amendment

The Power to the People Amendment

Section 1
Only natural persons shall be protected by this Constitution and entitled to the rights and freedoms it guarantees
.
Section 2
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press for non-person entities engaged in the gathering and reporting of fact, analysis, and opinion. In all other respects, Congress and the States shall regulate and tax non-person entities as necessary for the public good.

Section 3
This article shall become operative once it has been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths of the States thereof.

William John Cox

U2Cox@msn.comhttp://www.votersevolt.com

What’s Wrong with US Intel Agencies

What’s Wrong with US Intel Agencies

By Melvin A. Goodman

Editor’s Note: At least since the 1970s, conservatives and neoconservatives have taken aim at the U.S. intelligence community to ensure that its assessments don’t undermine the Right’s favored policies, whether regarding the old Soviet military threat or new U.S. military adventures around the world.

This intensive politicization of U.S. intelligence and the careerism that it spawned have contributed to some of the worst intelligence failures of the past several decades. Yet, instead of confronting the core problems of intelligence, Washington politicians have often made matters worse, as former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes in this guest essay:

It is time for serious soul-searching regarding the role of the CIA and the intelligence community. Last month’s operational and intelligence failures led to the deaths of seven CIA officers in Afghanistan and might have resulted in nearly 300 deaths on a Northwest Airlines plane headed for Detroit.

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It is particularly shocking that President Barack Obama’s chief of counterterrorism, John Brennan, conceded that the latter failure was caused by the fact that there was “no one intelligence entity or team or task force assigned responsibility for doing a follow-up investigation” of the considerable intelligence that was collected.

It is unbelievable that the President had to order the creation of a system for tracking threat reports. The failures beg the question of what have we learned since 9/11.

Previous CIA failures regarding the unanticipated decline and fall of the Soviet Union, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the run-up to the Iraq War demonstrate a $75 billion intelligence enterprise that can provide neither strategic nor tactical warning to policymakers and is reluctant to provide uncomfortable truth to power.

The serious problems that need to be addressed include the important nexus between intelligence and policy — and the need for a CIA that is not beholden to policy or political interests; the militarization of the intelligence community – which must be reversed; the lack of Congressional oversight – which must be corrected, and the decline of operational tradecraft – which must be investigated.

Before addressing reform in Part II, however, we must first confront the mythology that surrounds the intelligence enterprise.

The Greatest Myth: The 9/11 Commission offered insight into the systemic problems of the CIA and the intelligence community. The Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 solved the problems that had been exposed by the 9/11 Commission by creating a director of national intelligence, the so-called intelligence tsar.

In fact, the 9/11 Commission failed to use the powers it had been given to explore the reasons for the 9/11 intelligence failure.

It deferred unnecessarily to the White House’s use of “executive privilege,” and failed to stand up to CIA Director George Tenet, who refused to permit commissioners to debrief prisoners held by the CIA. The commission failed to use its subpoena powers and lacked experience in the world of the intelligence community.

The CIA’s Inspector General concluded that the 9/11 failure was about personal failures, accountability and bureaucratic ineptitude. The same could be said for the Christmas Day events. The commission focused on larger issues: budgets and funding, organizational problems and structural fixes.

The Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 actually made a bad situation worse. It created a new bureaucracy under a director of national intelligence (DNI) beholden to the White House, as well as a centralized system that stifles creative thinking and risks more politicized intelligence.

The DNI was not given the authority to challenge the Pentagon’s control of key intelligence agencies and their budgets, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not given a central depository to fill the analytical gaps between domestic and international terrorist threats.

Thus, the major problems exposed by 9/11 – the lack of a centralized repository of data and the need for more, rather than less, competitive analysis on terrorism – was repeated in the Christmas Day failure.

Finally, by making the DNI responsible for the daily briefing of the President, it ensured that the “tsar” would have little time to conceptualize and implement the strategic reforms that were needed.

President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to request a National Intelligence Estimate before making his decision late last year to increase military forces in Afghanistan revealed his lack of respect for the work of the intelligence community.

Myth Number Two: The intelligence community is a genuine community that fosters intelligence cooperation and the sharing of intelligence information. The intelligence community has never functioned as a community.

With the exception of the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), which are indeed a corporate product of the community, there is limited sharing of the most important and sensitive documents collected by the various intelligence agencies, and very little esprit de corps within the community.

There have always been deep rivalries between civilian and military agencies, with the CIA and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research often lined up against the Defense Intelligence Agency and the four military intelligence branches.

This division was particularly profound during the debates over Soviet military power and the verification of Soviet and American arms control agreements, with military intelligence consistently exaggerating the strength of the Soviet military and opposing the disarmament agreements of the 1970′s and 1980′s.

The 9/11 and Christmas Day failures revealed continued parochialism and lack of cooperation within the community.

The intelligence community suffers from an inability to learn from its failures and successes. The CIA needs to emulate the U.S. Army, which routinely conducts after-action reports and boasts a Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The center has a small staff, takes advantage of teams of experts to investigate specific issues, and maintains a direct line of communication to senior military leaders to understand what needs to be examined.

Conversely, the CIA has resorted to a culture of cover-up to conceal failures such as the collapse of the Soviet Union; 9/11; the Iraq War; the Christmas Day event; and the suicidal bombing of the CIA’s most important facility in Afghanistan.

Myth Number Three: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence offers a genuine possibility for exercising central control over the intelligence community. The creation of the DNI has worsened the malaise within the CIA without reform for either the agency or the intelligence community.

The fact that the President had to meet with more than 20 intelligence principals to discuss the Christmas Day failure points to the crazy-quilt bureaucratic structure created in the wake of 9/11, as well as the lack of centralized authority and responsibility within the community.

The Pentagon has veto power over the DNI with respect to transferring personnel and budgetary authority from individual agencies into joint centers or other agencies. This fact undermines the possibility of any legitimate reform process.

The first DNI, John Negroponte, became frustrated and left suddenly in December 2006 for a lesser position at the State Department. His two successors have been retired naval admirals, Mike McConnell and Dennis Blair; neither has an understanding of the importance of strategic and long-term intelligence.

The DNI spends far too much time preparing for his daily briefing of the President, which should be in the hands of the CIA, and the issue of cyber-security, which should be in the hands of the NSA.

Instead of pursuing reform, Negroponte, McConnell and Blair have built a huge, lumbering and bloated bureaucracy that includes a principal deputy director, four deputy directors, three associate directors and no fewer than 19 assistant deputy directors.

The DNI has a huge budget (over $1 billion) and has taken its management staff from the CIA and INR, thus weakening the overall intelligence apparatus. There has been no real accountability of the DNI; Congressional intelligence oversight committees have failed to monitor the DNI’s hiring of contractors with extravagant salaries.

Myth Number Four: The CIA is not a policy agency, but is chartered to provide objective and balanced intelligence analysis to decision-makers without any policy axe to grind.

This is possibly the most harmful myth of all, because CIA’s covert action, which has registered a series of strategic disasters over the past 60 years, is part of the policy implementation process.

As a result, much clandestine collection over the years has been designed to collect information that supports policy.

The CIA was unfairly described 30 years ago as a “rogue elephant out of control.” In fact, the CIA is part of the White House policy process. Various presidents have authorized regime change in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, the Congo, the Dominican Republic and South Vietnam, which have had disastrous consequences for U.S. interests.

The White House authorized assassination plots in Cuba, the Congo and South Vietnam, and provided legal sanction for the CIA to create secret prisons, conduct torture and abuse, and pursue renditions, often involving totally innocent people without recourse to judicial proceedings.

Myth Number Five: The 9/11 and Christmas Day failures were due to the lack of sharing intelligence collection. The conventional wisdom is that the 9/11 intelligence failure was caused primarily by the failure to share intelligence, particularly the failure of the CIA to inform the FBI of the presence of two al-Qaeda operatives in the United States.

In actual fact, the problem was far more serious; it was a problem of sloppiness and incompetence in dealing with sensitive intelligence information.

It has been established that 50-60 analysts and operatives from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA had access to information that Khaled al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who had links to al-Qaeda, had entered the United States long before 9/11.

These analysts and operatives failed to inform leading officials at their own agencies of the two al-Qaeda operatives, who fell through the cracks of the system. Eight years later, the Nigerian bomber similarly escaped detection despite excellent intelligence collection that was seen by most intelligence agencies.

There is still an inadequate flow of information between intelligence agencies. The United States lacks one central depository for all information on national and international terrorism, and the proliferation of intelligence agencies makes sharing of intelligence products even more cumbersome.

The DNI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) were created after 9/11 to make sure that intelligence was shared, but this led to a downgrading of the CIA and the lack of a single agency responsible for analyzing intelligence on terrorism.

Tremendous amounts of useful intelligence are collected, but intelligence analysis has not been appreciably improved.

The NSA had information on the Nigerian bomber that wasn’t shared with the CIA and the FBI; the CIA prepared a biographic study of the Nigerian bomber, which it didn’t share with NCTC. The State Department did not pursue whether the Nigerian bomber had a U.S. visa, let alone a multiple-entry visa, in his possession.

The so-called intelligence community lacks an effective computer system to coordinate all intelligence information, although it does have access to the State Department’s consular database-listing visa holders, which it failed to consult.

The DHS’s customs and border units had sufficient intelligence to interrogate the bomber when he landed in Detroit; its Transportation Security Agency lacked intelligence to keep him from boarding a plane to Detroit.

Myth Number Six: The CIA successfully recruits foreign assets. The CIA’s National Clandestine Service (NCS) relies on walk-ins and rarely recruits major espionage assets. The most successfulwalk-ins, moreover, such as Col. Oleg Penkovsky, often have great difficulty in getting CIA operatives to accept them.

The NCS has had little success in recruiting assets in the closed world of terrorism or in closed societies such as China, Iran and North Korea. Many of the agents recruited from Cuba, East Germany and the former Soviet Union were double agents reporting to their host governments. The suicide bomber in Afghanistan last month was a double agent.

The CIA has to rely on foreign intelligence liaison sources for sensitive intelligence collection and even the recruitment of foreign assets. There are few al-Qaeda operatives who have been killed or captured without the assistance of foreign liaison, particularly the Pakistani intelligence service.

But the suicide bomber at the CIA base in Afghanistan last month was recruited with the help of the Jordanian intelligence service, an extremely risky way to recruit assets; he was brought onto the base without proper inspection and met with more than a dozen officers.

The loss of top-ranking CIA operations officers in Afghanistan points to the need for a review of CIA clandestine operations. The current CIA director, a former congressman, has surrendered to the clandestine culture and cadre; he is unlikely to lead a reform movement.

And President Obama’s appointment of former CIA deputy director John McLaughlin, a master of the CIA cover-up over the past two decades, points to a continued cover-up.

Instead of a CIA outside the policy community telling truth to power, providing objective and balanced intelligence to policymakers and avoiding policy advocacy, as President Harry S. Truman wanted, we now have the CIA as a paramilitary organization.

Indeed, there has been a trend toward militarization of the entire intelligence community. In the Bush administration, the CIA was significantly weakened, with a director, Michael Hayden, who was a four-star general.

The Obama administration appointed a retired admiral to be the director of national intelligence, a retired general to be national security adviser, and retired generals to be ambassadors to key countries such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

By placing the position of the DNI in the hands of the military, the Bush and Obama administrations completed the militarization of the CIA and even the intelligence community itself, where active-duty and retired general officers run the Office of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.

The Pentagon is responsible for nearly 90 percent of all personnel in the intelligence community and 85 percent of the community’s $75 billion budget.
The absence of an independent civilian counter to the power of military intelligence threatens civilian control of the decision to use military power and makes it more likely that intelligence will be tailored to suit the purposes of the Pentagon. This is exactly what President Truman wanted to prevent.

Finally, the Congressional intelligence oversight process has made no genuine effort to monitor CIA’s flawed intelligence analysis or its clandestine operations, and failed to challenge the illegal activities of the CIA that were part of the policy process.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has sat on her hands while CIA Director Leon Panetta methodically dismantled and marginalized the oversight responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General.

Melvin A. Goodman, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University, spent 42 years with the CIA, the National War College, and the U.S. Army. His latest book is Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. [This story originally appeared at Truthout.org.]

Iraq War Investigation Revealed As Just Another Cover-Up

Iraq inquiry is being ‘gagged’ after secret documents withheld

Crucial evidence about the reasons Britain went to war against Saddam Hussein is being kept secret it has emerged – leading to accusations that the Iraq inquiry has been “gagged”.

In an apparent breach of the Inquiry terms, Sir John Chilcot, head of the probe, expressed his “frustration” that he was unable to refer to key documents while questioning Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, about why he gave the “green light” for war.

Lord Goldsmith also said that he was unhappy at being denied the opportunity to discuss documents including a letter from Jack Straw, then-former foreign secretary, about United Nations negotiations.

Gordon Brown has pledged that the inquiry team will have access to “all Government papers,” but the exchanges over Lord Goldsmith’s testimony make clear that they will be barred from discussing classified documents during evidence sessions.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, claimed that the inability of the Chilcot team to properly question witnesses meant that it was being “gagged,” adding that if secret documents relating to Tony Blair, who gives evidence tomorrow, could not be discussed, the result would be a “cover-up”.

The lack of transparency over crucial documents emerged as Lord Goldsmith was explaining how he had changed his mind about the legality of the war in the months leading up to the invasion.

He said: “I want to make it clear that I didn’t agree with the decision that has apparently been made that certain documents are not to be declassified but I will give the evidence that the inquiry seeks.”

Sir John told him: “We share your frustration.”

In a barbed comment, another member of the panel, Sir Roderic Lyne, later referred to other documents as having been “declassified by our ever-bountiful Government”.

During his evidence, Lord Goldsmith insisted in referring to one secret document, a letter from Mr Straw in which he discussed some of the negotiations during the UN Security Council’s decision to pass Resolution 1441, which gave a “last chance” to comply with weapons inspectors. But he was unable to disclose the content of the letter.

The evidence would almost certainly have been important for public understanding of Lord Goldsmith’s decision to change his mind about the legality of the war, which has been much scrutinised.

He told the inquiry that his decision to give his “client” Tony Blair the “green light” to invade without a fresh UN resolution was in part based on Mr Straw’s arguments.

The protocol for the inquiry dictates that there should be no hindrance to the committee’s access to Government documents.

If a government department refuses to release a document for security or other reasons, an appeal can be made to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service.

A government spokesman said that while some appeals remained unresolved, none had been refused.

Mr Clegg said: “Despite Gordon Brown’s claim that he has ‘nothing to hide’ this has all the hallmarks of a cover-up.

“Just as Liberal Democrats warned, the protocol on the release of documents is being used to gag the inquiry.”

William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, added: “It is crucial that the Inquiry has unfettered access to all the Government documents that relate to the decision to invade Iraq.”

Why Lord Goldsmith changed his mind:

During his evidence, Lord Goldsmith vigorously rejected criticism of his “integrity” and accusations that he was “leant on” by Tony Blair to change his mind about whether a second UN resolution was necessary before war would be legal.

He said that along with Mr Straw’s advice, crucial factors in winning him over had been conversations with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s ambassador to the UN, and senior members of United States President George Bush’s administration.

Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s chief of staff, suggested that Lord Goldsmith hold talks with Sir Jeremy, and arranged for him to visit Washington DC, where he met Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, and senior White House lawyers.

They told him that the during negotiations to pass Resolution 1441, which ordered Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspectors, the French privately agreed that no second resolution was necessary before war could be triggered.

Asking himself “which side of the argument” he wanted to be on, Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry that it was the key point about the French which led him finally to change his mind on February 12 – five weeks before the start of the war.

The toughening up of the legal advice

Until now, the Attorney General is thought to have shifted his position in March 2003, after strengthening his written legal advice to Mr Blair over the course of a 10 day period.

However, Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry, in fact he agreed to toughen the formal statement about the legality of military conflict, which was then shown to the Cabinet and Parliament, because “in hindsight” he agreed his first attempt had been “too cautious”.

Asked whether Mr Blair had told him to rewrite the advice, which said that there was a “reasonable case” for war, after he handed over his first version on March 7, he said: “I don’t recall it that way.”

Instead, Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry, the heads of the Armed Forces and Civil Service had asked him to provide a “yes or no” answer.

Lord Goldsmith said: “These were the people who were being asked, if we decided to take action, possibly to take personal risks and they were entitled to have a clear view.”

Dismissing suggestions that he had been bullied by the Government into changing his advice, the peer laughed off claims that he had been “pinned against the wall by Downing Street” during a meeting with Baroness Morgan, Mr Blair’s aide, and Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor.

The Cabinet

After presenting the Cabinet with his firm opinion that an invasion of Iraq would be legal, Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry that he expected to face questions from ministers. None came however.

It was only the second time that the Attorney General had attended Cabinet, he disclosed.

The peer told the inquiry that as he began to read his advice: “Somebody said: ‘you don’t need to do that, we can read it.’ I was trying to use it as a framework to explain.

“I do recall telling Cabinet: ‘well, there is another point of view but this is the conclusion that I have reached,’ then the discussion simply stopped.

“I was ready to answer questions and ready to deal with them and in the event that debate didn’t take place.”

Opposition to war

Prior to February 2003, Lord Goldsmith said, he had often contacted Mr Blair, Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, and Mr Straw to warn them that he considered that invading Iraq would be illegal without the consent of the UN.

In July 2002, he set out his view in a “terribly unwelcome” letter to Mr Blair, who was about to fly for talks with President Bush.

He said: “I didn’t want there to be any doubt that in my view the prime minister could not have the view that he could agree with President Bush somehow, ‘let’s go without going back to the United Nations’.”

On November 7, the day before Resolution 1441 was passed, Lord Goldsmith disclosed, he warned Mr Straw that the document did not mean it would be “all right on the night” and that he would definitely consent to war.

Jack Straw’s defence

Outside the inquiry, Mr Straw, now the Justice Secretary, defended his decision to reject the advice of Government legal advisers in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

He said: there was “no ignorance” of the opinions of senior Foreign Office lawyers.

Instead there were “different views” on the legality of the invasion and the ultimate decision rested with Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

“I always take advice, but ministers have to decide,” he said.

REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION AND DISARMAMENT

ELIMINATING NUCLEAR THREATS

A PRACTICAL AGENDA FOR GLOBAL POLICYMAKERS

REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION AND DISARMAMENT

GARETH EVANS and YORIKO KAWAGUCHI CO-CHAIRS                    Commission Members

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents

Co-chairs’ Preface

Synopsis: A Comprehensive Action Agenda

Abbreviations

PART I: SEIZING THE MOMENT

1. Why This Report, and Why Now

The Problem: A Global Threat Defying Complacency

The Opportunity: Renewing the Momentum for Action

This Commission’s Role: A Comprehensive Action Agenda

PART II: ASSESSING NUCLEAR THREATS AND RISKS

2. The Risks from Existing Nuclear-Armed States

The Destructive Capabilities of Existing Weapons

Numbers and Classes of Existing Weapons

Missiles and Missile Defence

Alert Status of Existing Weapons

System Vulnerabilities

Attitudes to Using Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament

3. The Risks from New Nuclear-Armed States

Why Non-Proliferation Matters

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Under Strain

Risks of a Proliferation Surge

4. The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

Possible State and Non-State Actors

Availability of Weapons and Material

Assessing the Risk of Nuclear Terrorist Attack

5. The Risks Associated with Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Likely Scale of the Civil Nuclear Energy Renaissance

Assessing the Proliferation Risks of Nuclear Energy Expansion

PART III: FORMULATING POLICY RESPONSES

6. Disarmament: Making Zero Thinkable

Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons

Rethinking Deterrence

Rethinking Other Justifications for Retaining Nuclear Weapons

7. Disarmament: A Two-Phase Strategy for Getting to Zero

Why a Two-Phase Approach is Necessary

The Minimization Phase

The Elimination Phase

8. Non-Proliferation: Constraining Demand and Supply

Limiting the Demand for Nuclear Weapons

Limiting the Supply of Weapons, Materials and Technology

9. Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Improving Safeguards and Verification

Improving Compliance and Enforcement

Strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency

10. Strengthening Non-Proliferation Disciplines Outside the NPT

Non-NPT Treaties and Mechanisms

Applying Equivalent Obligations to States now Outside the NPT

11. Banning Nuclear Testing

Importance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Addressing Verification and Stockpile Reliability Concerns

12. Limiting the Availability of Fissile Material

The Proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty

Pre-Existing Stocks

Fissile Material in Civil Programs

13. Sustaining an Effective Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Counter-Terrorism Strategy Generally

Securing Loose Weapons and Material

“Dirty Bombs”: Improved Control of Radioactive Material

Nuclear Forensics

14. Responsible Nuclear Energy Management

Sharing the Benefits of Nuclear Energy

The Three Ss: Managing Safeguards, Security and Safety

Prospects for Proliferation-Resistant Technology

Industry as a Non-Proliferation Partner

15. Multilateralizing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

The Argument for Multilateralization

Assurance of Supply Proposals

Fuel Bank Proposals

Multilateral Facility Proposals

The Way Forward

PART IV: FROM POLICY TO ACTION: A COMPREHENSIVE AGENDA

16. A Package for the 2010 NPT Review Conference

The Importance of the Review Conference

Updating the “Thirteen Practical Steps” on Disarmament

Specific Measures to Strengthen the NPT and IAEA

The Middle East and Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

17. Short Term Action Agenda: To 2012 – Achieving Initial Benchmarks

Defining Short Term Objectives

Reducing Weapon Numbers: U.S. and Russian Leadership

Multilateral Disarmament: Preparing the Ground

Nuclear Doctrine: Beginning to Limit the Role of Nuclear Weapons

Force Postures: Movement on De-alerting and Deployment

North Korea and Iran

18. Medium Term Action Agenda: To 2025 – Getting to the Minimization Point

Defining Medium Term Objectives

Reducing Weapon Numbers

Parallel Security Issues: Missiles, Space, Biological and Conventional Weapons

Nuclear Doctrine and Force Postures: Consolidating Change

Other Elements in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Agenda 200

19. Longer Term Action Agenda: Beyond 2025 – Getting to Zero

Defining “Zero”: The Nature of the Task

General Conditions for Moving from Minimization to Elimination

Overcoming Specific Concerns of Particular States

20. Mobilizing and Sustaining Political Will

The Elements of Political Will: Leadership, Knowledge, Strategy and Process

Identifying the Key Actors

Focusing the Campaign: A Nuclear Weapons Convention?

Sustaining the Momentum: An Ongoing Monitoring Mechanism

Notes and Sources

Annex A: Commission Recommendations

Annex B: Members of the Commission

Annex C: How the Commission Worked

Index

Boxes

2-1 Impact of Strategic Nuclear Bombs on London and Mumbai

2-2 Nuclear Arsenals 2009

3-1 Key Elements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

4-1 Basic Nuclear Weapon Designs: "Gun" and "Implosion"

4-2 Impact of Terrorist Nuclear Explosions in London and Mumbai

5-1 Reactors Planned, Proposed and Under Construction 2009

5-2 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Basic Terminology Non-Specialists Need to Know

7-1 The Comprehensive Action Agenda: Timelines

10-1 Major Non-Proliferation Measures Complementing the NPT

13-1 Priority Issues for the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit

16-1 “A New International Consensus on Action for Nuclear Disarmament”

16-2 Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

17-1 The Short Term Action Agenda – To 2012

18-1 The Medium Term Action Agenda – To 2025

19-1 The Longer Term Action Agenda – Beyond 2025

Useless Aid

Freedom Rider: Useless Aid

by Margaret Kimberley

from the rubbleby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The time has come for a new paradigm: No donation without agitation.” The United States has succeeded in plunging mainstream disaster “relief” into disrepute. “No donations to groups like the Red Cross, who sit on millions of dollars but do nothing but hand out blankets and move victims away from their homes in order to convenience the powerful.” And, especially, no donations to any group associated with George Bush or Bill Clinton.
Freedom Rider: Useless Aid
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Dollars must come with demands of non-interference in Haiti’s affairs and demands of accountability to charitable organizations.”
A telethon hosted by celebrities succeeded in raising more than $57 million in funds for the relief of Haiti earthquake victims. Yet that sum and the many millions more donated by individuals around the world will do little to relieve Haiti’s plight.
Haitians are living in their latest hellish incarnation created by American meddling and the crushing of that nation’s democracy. As long as the United States directs Haiti’s affairs, and empowers a corrupt elite instead of the will of the masses, suffering will continue whether caused by natural or human-made disaster.
The scenes of devastation, death and injury move most human beings first to empathize and then to take some action in order to help. The sad stories tug at the heartstrings and the miraculous tales of survival lift the spirit. However, in the absence of an infrastructure built by Haitians to help Haitians, the images do nothing but create a kind of twisted voyeurism. Bringing change to Haiti should not be the equivalent of gawking at a crash on the side of the highway.
An illegitimate government whose very existence is opposed by the population is incapable of building new homes or treating the injured.”
Haiti is still ruled by a clique of criminals put in place by the United States government. Lavalas, the party supported by a majority of citizens, is barred from participation in the electoral process that is now a sham. An illegitimate government whose very existence is opposed by the population is incapable of building new homes or treating the injured. Haitians have already begun to scatter throughout the country in search of food and shelter, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated to help them.
The sad fact of the matter is that individuals cannot help Haiti or end human suffering anywhere on earth unless their assistance is combined with political action. The dollars must come with demands of non-interference in Haiti’s affairs and demands of accountability to charitable organizations. If the Red Cross doesn’t even spend all of its enormous contributions, as it shamelessly did after the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Asian tsunami, then donors must stop giving before the next disaster strikes.
The ‘bottleneck’ in Port au Prince was a direct result of the militarization of aid to Haiti.”
If American aid to Haiti comes in the form of military occupation, then even reputable organizations are unable to do their jobs adequately. Doctors Without Borders has had a presence in Haiti for many years, but flights containing 85 tons of their medical supplies were diverted to the Dominican Republic. Precious time was lost in the process of retrieving life saving medicines and equipment from another country.
The much talked about airport “bottleneck” in Port au Prince was a direct result of the militarization of aid to Haiti.The United States army decided who would be permitted to land and who would not. While VIP flights were given priority and created the diversion of medical supplies, the environmental group Greenpeace gave Doctors Without Borders use of a ship to carry less urgent equipment, allowing the medical group to prioritize delivery of its most desperately needed cargo.
It seems cruel to advise against helping human beings in need, but we have seen this movie many times before and we know the ending. The time has come for a new paradigm: “No donation without agitation.” No donations to groups like the Red Cross, who sit on millions of dollars but do nothing but hand out blankets and move victims away from their homes in order to convenience the powerful. No donations must be made to any group headed by a Bush or a Clinton. The old presidents’ old boys club did nothing for the Gulf Coast victims of hurricane Katrina. It would be not only a waste but a terrible wrong to give them another opportunity to collect funds which never seem to be used for people who need it.
The time has come for a new paradigm: ‘No donation without agitation.’”
This earthquake should be the last instance of easy text message philanthropy. Instead of pressing a few buttons, concerned people should ask questions and make demands. Current and former American presidents should not be allowed to grandstand when their policies made life hell for Haitians in the first place. The first president Bush ousted president Aristide, Clinton restored him to power only after promises of “market reform” and Bush the younger kidnapped him and tossed him out of his country. Yet a Bush and a Clinton now have the nerve to pose for photos and behave as though they are interested in helping the very people they crushed.
There will always be hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. They are the inevitable results of nature at work. Starvation, illness and displacement are inevitable only if the people who create those conditions are permitted to continue their actions without opposition. It can be a waste to send money, even if the cause is a righteous one. Let us make this the last time we take the easy and useless way out.

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.

Evidence of Chinese Hacking Starts to Unravel

‘Aurora’ code circulated for years on English sites

Where’s the China connection?

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco

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 the Pentagon Needs More Lying to Cover Their Evil Asses

[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']

Pentagon Report Calls for Office of ‘Strategic Deception’

By Noah Shachtman Email Author

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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?

Photo: Matthileo/Flickr

Slowdown in Gulf states’ dash for farmland

Mideast supplies: Slowdown in Gulf states’ dash for farmland

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.

Nuclear Hypocrisy Spells Nuclear War

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.

Pakistan continues to block fissile material treaty

Special Correspondent

Wants regime on missiles included in the agenda for disarmament meet

Pakistani proposal seen as new tactic to delay talks on treaty

Informal consultations held in the past week to convince Pakistan to back off


NEW DELHI: Pakistan is coming under international pressure to drop its demand that the regional control of conventional arms and a regime on missiles be included in the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament’s session this year.

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.

WOW. Zardari.

Goats sacrificed ‘to ward off evil eyes’

By Syed Irfan Raza
It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time: Farhatullah Babar.—File photo
It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time: Farhatullah Babar.—File photo
ISLAMABAD: A black goat is slaughtered almost daily to ward off ‘evil eyes’ and protect President Asif Ali Zardari from ‘black magic’. Does this, and the use of camel and goat milk, make the beleaguered president appear to be a superstitious man?

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.

Gul Bahadur’s Forces Claim Another Drone Shot Down in N. Wazir

Taliban claim shooting down another drone

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’.

China’s Progress and Success.

China’s Progress and Success.

MOSTAQUE ALI

China To Lead The World scientific research by 2020.
by Refreshing News blogspot

China will be producing more scientific research than any other country within a decade, according to an analysis of the nation’s “awe-inspiring” academic growth.

(Coincidentally 2020 is the latest date that China’s economy is set to overtakes the USA economy………….Goldman Sachs initially estimated 2050 as the date when China would do so, with a $44 trillion GDP economy to the USA’s $35 Trillion GDP economy………then that changed to 2040………then 2025…..I have maintained for about 10 years that it will be much sooner, within or by 2015……China with $2.4 trillion FCR is the real banker of the world, and is only a matter of a few years before the Yuan becomes LOGICALLY, the reserve currency of the world……….this is the natural achievement of the hard working honest Chinese people and nation)

Vast state investment in schools, universities and research programmes has driven the rapid growth, with academic discoveries rapidly tapped for commercial potential. Chinese scientists are particularly strong on chemistry and materials engineering, both considered central to the country’s industrial development and economic future.

(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:

  • China does not seem to attempt to increase its wealth through printing mountains of Yuan and then subsequently hope, fingers crossed, the rest of the world accepts it on good faith and its one time old reputation from 1945.
  • China is an Investment led and export growth economy.
  • The Chinese government does not run deficits, but quite the contrary. The nation led by the government emphasizes judicial investments in strategic sectors….INFRASTRUCTURE, MANUFACTURING, EXPORTS…….and high personal savings….”Jam tomorrow”…within a few years it seems. “Live frugally, work hard”.
  • The American government by contrast runs huge budget deficits, and maintains unsustainable war budgets………according to Chalmers Johnson the real “security” budget of America may be about 10% of GDP…$1500 billion………..with more foreign engagments to come.
  • China is not a narco-state, where state employees along with powerful sections of the elite organise the narcotics trade into North America, Europe and other parts of the world…..China seeks development through honest trade, honest business.
  • China does not threaten and make war against other nations, especially weak Third World nations, for their resources and for other vague military objectives such as the justification of the huge unproductive MIC.
  • China is not defacto run by a little geographical strip thousands of miles away from it, acting as a hapless aimless giant which is clueless as to its true interests. “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” -Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI’s cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal…..running into 9/11…..suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking….WRH as reported)

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”.

India, a River of Money for the Military, a River of Dung In the Streets

India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation’s Growth

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.

Economic Drain

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.

‘Sanitation Crisis’

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.

Hygiene Breakdown

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.

Indignity, Infections

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.”

Girls’ Education

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.”

Hardship Allowances

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.

Poverty Trap

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.

Fetid Waters

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.

‘Remorseless Drain’

“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.

Spurring Desire

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.

Taboo Topic

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.”

Millions Waiting

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.

‘Huge Challenge’

“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.

Menstrual Hygiene

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.

Lunar Mission

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Singapore atj.gale@bloomberg.net

Can the US Military Kill Americans?

U.S. Mulls Legality of Killing American

al Qaeda “Turncoat”

By MATTHEW COLE, RICHARD ESPOSITO and BRIAN ROSS

Opportunities to “Take Out” Radical Cleric Anwar Awlaki In Yemen “May Have Been Missed”

January 26, 2010

White House lawyers are mulling the legality of proposed attempts to kill an American citizen, Anwar al Awlaki, who is believed to be part of the leadership of the al Qaeda group in Yemen behind a series of terror strikes, according to two people briefed by U.S. intelligence officials.

One of the people briefed said opportunities to “take out” Awlaki “may have been missed” because of the legal questions surrounding a lethal attack which would specifically target an American citizen.

A spokesperson said the White House declined to comment.

While Awlaki has not been charged with any crimes under U.S. law, intelligence officials say recent intelligence reports and electronic intercepts show he played an important role in recruiting the accused “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Awlaki also carried on extensive e-mail communication with the accused Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, prior to the attack that killed 12 soldiers and one civilian.

According to the people who were briefed on the issue, American officials fear the possibility of criminal prosecution without approval in advance from the White House for a targeted strike against Awlaki.

An American citizen with suspected al Qaeda ties was killed in Nov. 2002 in Yemen in a CIA predator strike that was aimed at non-American leaders of al Qaeda. The death of the American citizen, Ahmed Hijazi of Lackawanna, NY, was justified as “collateral damage” at the time because he “was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said a former U.S. official familiar with the case.

In the case of Awlaki, born in New Mexico and a college student in Colorado and California, a strike aimed to kill him would stretch current Presidential authority given to the CIA and the Pentagon to pursue terrorists anywhere in the world.

Where Anwar al Awlaki Might Be Hiding

Awlaki’s father told reporters in Yemen last week that his son had gone into hiding in the mountains of Yemen and was being protected by al Qaeda, even though, the father claimed, his son was not part of al Qaeda.

He told reporters he was pleading with the United States, “Please don’t kill my son.”

The question of what limits apply to an American with suspected operational ties to al Qaeda comes as the U.S. steps up efforts to track any American with ties to Yemen.

Hundreds of FBI and other federal agents will fan out this week as part of a secret operation to pursue leads about Americans with connections to Yemen that were previously dismissed as not significant, according to law enforcement officials.

:: Article nr. 62605 sent on 27-jan-2010 00:25 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=62605

Link: abcnews.go.com/print?id=9651830

What Is the Purpose of the London Conference on Afghanistan?

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What Is the Purpose of the London Conference on Afghanistan?

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.

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

Times of India Pushes War, Plays At Peace, Simultaneously

And now Military exercises in Sargodha worry Indian government

— 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.
The Times of India, wich is otherwise befooling every one by launching a joint peace initiative through a Pakistani media group has taken the quantum leap in destabilizing the Pak-India ties and published this completely childish report on the front page The Times of India report says that as the war of words between India and Pakistan reaches a crescendo, New Delhi has fresh cause for alarm, due to some activities across the border. Intelligence agencies here have brought to the notice of the government information that Pakistan has been frantically building up tunnels in areas not far from the border with India.
According to these inputs, the tunnels have been dug up in Sargodha district of Pakistani Punjab and can even be noticed, as a top intelligence officer put it, by a discerning eye on Google satellite imagery. “An attempt is being made to establish the purpose of digging up these large tunnels. They clearly can’t be meant for transport as is obvious from the images available; unlike ordinary tunnels they don’t lead on to roads,” said the official who is involved in analyzing the information.
Terming Sargodha,(an agricultural rich district of Punjab, know for great citrus fruits and not for any kind of nuclear installation at all) as “known” for nuclear installations, the TOI further writes Pakistan has constructed storage sheds for missiles and weapons in Sargodha, a known nuclear installation, in the past. The size of the tunnels and the fact that they don’t seem to lead to roads has raised fears that they could be used to store battle-ready nuclear weapons or missiles.
The TOI further writes that the tunnels being dug up by Pakistan in Sargodha district assumes significance in view of the fact that a sub-depot near the central ammunition depot there has been known to store some of the country’s deadliest, but unassembled, missiles like the Chinese M-11.
Sargodha is also the place where Pakistan’s N-capable F-16s are said to be stationed. Located on the west of Lahore, Sargodha has always been the hub of Pakistan air force and, in fact, is home to its central air command.

American/Saudi Division of Yemen Began With Old Bush

American/Saudi Division of Yemen Began With Old Bush

Response to: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/Something-about-Yemen.html

Posted by: Leslie Sutton

ringoanne@sbcglobal.net

“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.

U.S. in Secret Joint Operations With Yemeni Troops

Report: U.S. in Secret Joint Operations With Yemeni Troops

FOXNews.com

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.

Who were the Untouchables in India?

Who were the Untouchables in India: Why They Became Untouchables? by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

Posted on March 11, 2008 by Moin Ansari

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The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables?

RUPEE NEWS | Moin Ansari | March 11, 2008  | معین آنصآرّی | اخبار روپیہ | Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (April 14, 1891 – December 6, 1956) was a Buddhist revivalist, Indian jurist, scholar and Bahujan political leader who is the chief architect of the Indian Constitution. Born into a poor Untouchable community; he spent his life fighting against the system of Hindu untouchability and the Indian caste system. He is also credited for having sparked the Dalit Buddhist movement. Ambedkar has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, given for the highest degree of national service.This article is the preface in the book The Untouchables Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? that was written by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

Why did Buddhism disappear from South Asia? Reviving Hindusism in Budhdist lands: The Hindu extremists use the Safron Swastika flag instead of the tri-colored flag of India. (see Hindu unity dot org)

By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, January l, 1948, 1, Hardinge Avenue, New Delhi

This book is a sequel to my treatise called The Shudras-Who they were and How they came to be the Fourth Varna of the Indo-Aryan Society which was published in 1946. Besides the Shudras, the Hindu Civilisation has produced three social classes whose existence has not received the attention it deserves. The three classes are:

(i) The Criminal Tribes who number about 20 millions or so;
(ii) The Aboriginal Tribes who number about 15 millions; and
(iii) The Untouchables who number about 50 millions.

The existence of these classes is an abomination. The Hindu Civilization, gauged in the light of these social products, could hardly be called civilization. It is a diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be infamy.

What else can be said of a civilization which has produced a mass of people who are taught to accept crime as an approved means of earning their livelihood, another mass of people who are left to live in full bloom of their primitive barbarism in the midst of civilization and a third mass of people who are treated as an entity beyond human intercourse and whose mere touch is enough to cause pollution?

In any other country the existence of these classes would have led to searching of the heart and to investigation of their origin. But neither of these has occurred to the mind of the Hindu. The reason is simple. The Hindu does not regard the existence of these classes as a matter of apology or shame and feels no responsibility either to atone for it or to inquire into its origin and growth.

Poverty in IndiaPoverty in India

On the other hand, every Hindu is taught to believe that his civilization is not only the most ancient but that it is also in many respects altogether unique. No Hindu ever feels tired of repeating these claims.

That the Hindu Civilization is the most ancient, one can understand and even allow. But it is not quite so easy to understand on what grounds they rely for claiming that the Hindu Civilization is a unique one. The Hindus may not like it, but so far as it strikes non-Hindus, such a claim can rest only on one ground. It is the existence of these classes for which the Hindu Civilization is responsible. That the existence of such classes is a unique phenomenon, no Hindu need repeat, for nobody can deny the fact.

One only wishes that the Hindu realized that it was a matter for which there was more cause for shame than pride.

The inculcation of these false beliefs in the sanity, superiority and sanctity of Hindu Civilization is due entirely to the peculiar social psychology of Hindu scholars.

To-day all scholarship is confined to the Brahmins. But un-fortunately no Brahmin scholar has so far come forward to play the part of a Voltaire who had the intellectual honesty to rise against the doctrines of the Catholic Church in which he was brought up; nor is one likely to appear on the scene in the future. It is a grave reflection on the scholarship of the Brahmins that they should not have produced a Voltaire.

This will not cause surprise if it is remembered that the Brahmin scholar is only a learned man. He is not an intellectual. There is a world of difference between one who learned and one who is an intellectual. The former is class-conscious and is alive to the interests of his class. The latter is an emancipated being who Is free to act without being swayed by class considerations. It is because the Brahmins have been only learned men that they have not produced a Voltaire.

Why have the Brahmins not produced a Voltaire?

The question can be answered only by another question. Why did the Sultan of Turkey not abolish the religion of the Mohammedan World?

Why has no Pope denounced Catholicism?

Why has the British Parliament not made a law ordering the killing of all blue-eyed babies?

The reason why the Sultan or the Pope or the British Parliament has not done these things is the same as why the Brahmins have not been able to produce a Voltaire.

It must be recognized that the selfish interest of a person or of the class to which he belongs always acts as an internal limitation which regulates the direction of his intellect.

Caste discrimination. Poverty stricken and destituteDalits: Caste discrimination. Poverty stricken and destitute

The power and position which the Brahmins possess is entirely due to the Hindu Civilization which treats them as supermen and subjects the lower classes to all sorts of disabilities so that they may never rise and challenge or threaten the superiority of the Brahmins over them.

As is natural, every Brahmin is interested in the maintenance of Brahmanic supremacy be he orthodox or unorthodox, be he a priest or a grahastha, be he a scholar or not. How can the Brahmins afford to be Voltaires, A Voltaire among the Brahmins would be a positive danger to the maintenance of a civilization which is contrived to maintain Brahmanic supremacy.

The point is that the intellect of a Brahmin scholar is severely limited by anxiety to preserve his interest. He suffers from this Internal limitation as a result of which he does not allow his intellect full play which honesty and integrity demands. For, he fears that it may affect the interests of his class and therefore his own.

India as World Power 1 Extremist Hindus show power using the Swastika in triple entendre–as an ancient Hindu symbol, reverence for Hitler and sign of Anti-Western Indian power

But what annoys one is the intolerance of the Brahmin scholar towards any attempt to expose the Brahmanic literature. He himself would not play the part of an iconoclast even where it is necessary. And he would not allow such non-Brahmins as have the capacity to do so to play it. If any non-Brahmin were to make such an attempt the Brahmin scholars would engage in a conspiracy of silence, take no notice of him, condemn him outright on some flimsy grounds or dub his work useless.

As a writer engaged in the exposition of the Brahmanic literature I have been a victim of such mean tricks.

Notwithstanding the attitude of the Brahmin scholars, I must pursue the task I have undertaken. For the origin of these classes is a subject which still awaits investigation.

This book deals with one of these unfortunate classes namely, the Untouchables. The Untouchables are the most numerous of the three. Their existence iS also the most unnatural. And yet there has so far been no investigation into their origin.

That the Hindus should not have undertaken such an investigation is perfectly understandable. The old orthodox Hindu does not think that there is anything wrong in the observance of Untouchability. To him it is a normal and natural thing. As such it neither calls for expiation nor explanation. The new modern Hindu realizes the wrong. But he is ashamed to discuss it in public for fear of letting the foreigner know that Hindu Civilization can be guilty of such a vicious and infamous system or social code as evidenced by Untouchability.

But what is strange is that Untouchability should have failed to attract the attention of the European student of social institutions. It is difficult to understand why. The fact, however, is there.

This book may therefore, be taken as a pioneer attempt in the exploration of a field so completely neglected by everybody. The book, if I may say so, deals not only with every aspect of the main question set out for inquiry, namely, the origin of Untouchability, but it also deals with almost all questions connected with it. Some of the questions are such that very few people are even aware of them; and those who are aware of them are puzzled by them and do not know how to answer them.

To mention only a few, the book deals with such questions as: Why do the Untouchables live outside the village?

Why did beef-eating give rise to Untouchability? Did the Hindus never eat beef?

Why did non-Brahmins give up beef-eating? What made the Brahmins become vegetarians, etc.?

To each one of these the book suggests an answer. It may be that the answers given in tb book to these questions are not all-embracing. Nonetheless it will be found that the book points to a new way of looking at old things.

Superpower India Pt 2 Extremist Hindus revere Hitler and use the Swastika as the Indian flag

The thesis on the origin of Untouchability advanced in the book is an altogether novel thesis. It comprises the following propositions:

(1) There is no racial difference between the Hindus and the Untouchables;

(2) The distinction between the Hindus and Untouchables in its original form, before the advent of Untouchability, was the distinction between Tribesmen and Broken Men from alien Tribes. It is the Broken Men who subsequently came to be treated as Untouchables;

(3) Just as Untouchability has no racial basis so also has it no occupational basis;

(4) There are two roots from which Untouchability has sprung:
(a) Contempt and hatred of the Broken Men as of Buddhists by the Brahmins.
(b) Continuation of beef-eating by the Broken Men after it had been given up by others.

(5) In searching for the origin of Untouchability care, must be taken to distinguish the Untouchables from the Impure. All orthodox Hindu writers have identified the Impure with the Untouchables. This is an error. Untouchables are distinct from the Impure.

(6) While the Impure as a class came into existence at the time of the Dharma Sutras the Untouchables came into being much later than 400 A.D. These conclusions are the result of such historical research as I have been able to make. The ideal which a historian should place before himself has been well defined by Goethe who said:

“The historian’s duty is to separate the true from the false, the certain from the uncertain, and the doubtful from that which cannot be accepted Every investigator must before all things look upon himself as one who is summoned to serve on a jury.

How long to extripate penury from india? 300 years! India’s budget– fit for a superpower

He has only to consider how far the statement of the case is complete and clearly set forth by the evidence. Then he Draws his conclusion and gives his vote, whether it be that his opinion coincides with that of the foreman or not.”

There can be no difficulty in giving effect to Goethe’s direction vhen the relevant and necessary facts are forthcoming. All this advice is of course very valuable and very necessary. But Goethe does not tell what the historian is to do when he comes across a missing link, when no direct evidence of connected relations between important events is available.

I mention this because in the course of my investigations into the origin of Untouchability and other inter connected problems I have been confronted with many missing links. It is true that I am not the only one who has been confronted with them. All students of ancient Indian history have had to face them. For as Mount Stuart Elphinstone has observed in Indian history “no date of a public event can be fixed before the invasion of Alexander: and no connected relation of the natural transactions can be attempted until after the Mohamedan conquest.” This is a sad confession but that again does not help.

The question is: “What is a student of history to do?

Is he to cry halt and stop his work until the link is discovered?” I think not. I believe that in such cases it is permissible for him to use his imagination and intuition to bridge the gaps left in the chain of facts by links not yet discovered and to propound a working hypothesis suggesting how facts which cannot be connected by known facts might have been inter-connected. I must admit that rather than hold up the work, I have preferred to resort to this means to get over the difficulty created by the missing links which have come in my way.

Critics may use this weakness to condemn the thesis as violating the canons of historical research. If such be the attitude of the critics I must remind them that if there is a law which governs the evaluation of the results of historical results then refusal to accept a thesis on the ground that it is based on direct evidence is bad law.

Instead of concentrating themselves on the issue of direct evidence versus inferential evidence and inferential evidence versus Speculation, what the critics should concern themselves with is to examine:
(i) whether the thesis is based on pure conjecture, and
(ii) whether the thesis is possible and if so does it fit in with facts better than mine does?

On the first issue I could say that the thesis would not be unsound merely because in some parts it is based on guess. My critics should remember that we are dealing with an institution the origin of which is lost in antiquity. The present attempt to explain the origin of Untouchability is not the same as writing history from texts which speak with certainty. It is a case of reconstructing history where the are no texts, and if there are, they have no direct bearing on the question.

In such circumstances what one has to do is to strive to divine what the texts conceal or suggest without being even quit: certain of having found the truth. The task is one of gathering survivals of the past, placing them together and making them tell the story of their birth. The task is analogous to that of the archaeologist who constructs a city from broken stones or of the palaeontologist who conceives an extinct animal from scattered bones and teeth or of a painter who reads the lines of the horizon and the smallest vestiges on the slopes of the hill to make up a scene. In this sense the book Is a work of art even more than of history.

The origin of Untouchability lies buried in a dead past which nobody knows. To make it alive is like an attempt to reclaim to history a city which has been dead since ages past and present it as it was in its original condition. It cannot but be that imagination and hypothesis should pay a large part in such a work. But that in itself cannot be a ground for the condemnation of the thesis. For without trained imagination no scientific inquiry can be fruitful and hypothesis is the very soul of science. As Maxim Gorky has said 2:

“Science and literature have much in common; in both, observation, comparison and study are of fundamental importance; the artist like the scientist, needs both imagination and intuition. Imagination and intuition bridge the gaps in the chain of facts by ts as yet undiscovered links and permit the scientist to create hypothesis and theories which more or less correctly and successfully direct the searching of the mind in its study of the forms and phenomenon of nature. They are of literary creation; the art of creating characters and types demands imagination, intuition, the ability to make things up in one’s own mind”.

Murder of 10 million Indian girl babies:Before or right after birth. The media is silent.

It is therefore unnecessary for me to apologize for having resorted to constructing links where they were missing. Nor can my thesis be said to be vitiated on that account for nowhere is the construction of links based on pute conjecture. The thesis in great part is based on facts and inferences from facts. And where it is not based on facts or inferences from facts, it is based on circumstantial evidence of presumptive character resting on considerable degree of probability.

There is nothing that I have urged in support of my thesis which I have asked my readers to accept on trust. I have at least shown that there exists a preponderance of probability in favour of what I have asserted. It would be nothing but pedantry to say that a pre ponderance of probability is not a sufficient basis for a valid decision.

On the second point with the examination of which, I said, my critics should concern themselves what I would like to say Is that I am not so vain as to claim any finality for my thesis. I do not ask them to accept it as the last word. I do not wish to influence their judgement. They are of course free to come to their own conclusion. All I say to them is to consider whether this thesis is not a workable and therefore, for the time being, a valid hypothesis if the test of a valid hypothesis is that it should fit in with all surrounding facts, explain them and give them a meaning which in its absence they do not appear to have.

I do not want anything more from my critics than a fair and unbiased appraisal.

India Balkanizing? Naxalite insurrection widening cracks in deep cavaties
The 2nd world revolution (after Buddhism) from Nepal: Another threat to India

India’s Controversial New War Doctrine

India’s Controversial New War Doctrine

A City of Los Angeles sewer cover, made in India

Made in India sewer cover
(cc) Fire Monkey/flickr

Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor has attracted much attention with his suggestion at a training command seminar that India is preparing for a ‘two-front’ war with Pakistan and China, Harsh V Pant comments for ISN Security Watch.

By Harsh V Pant for ISN Security Watch


General Kapoor underlined that this was being done as part of the larger process whereby the Indian army was revising its old war-fighting doctrine and bringing it in sync with the emerging strategic scenario so as to be able to successfully firm up its ‘Cold Start’ strategy.

After strengthening its offensive capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan by creating a new southwestern army command in 2005, India is now concentrating on countering China effectively in the eastern sector. The Indian army chief said that there was now “a proportionate focus towards the western and northeastern fronts.”

Pakistan reacted predictably by describing India’s move as reflecting a “hegemonistic and jingoistic mindset” as well as accusing India of “betraying hostile intent,” and urged the international community to take due notice of developments in India. Pakistani officials emphasized that their nation’s “capability and determination to foil any nefarious designs against the security of Pakistan” should not be underestimated. Pakistan’s reaction was expected, as the security establishment views this as an opportunity to once again press upon the Americans the need to keep Pakistani forces intact on the India-Pakistan border rather than fighting the Taliban forces on the border with Afghanistan.

China’s response, on the other hand, was more measured, and it chose not to address the issue directly. The controversy arose at a time when the two states were beginning a new phase in their defense ties by initiating a dialogue at the level of defense secretaries. But Chinese analysts have expressed concerns in recent years about India’s growing military ambitions and a purported shift in Indian defense strategy from a passive to an “active and aggressive” nature.

It was the Kargil conflict of 1999 that exposed Indian vulnerabilities as Pakistan realized that India did not have the capability to impose quick and effective retribution. The then-Indian army chief had famously commented that the forces would fight with whatever they had, underlining the frustration in the armed forces regarding their inability to procure the arms they needed. Only because the conflict remained largely confined to the 150-kilometer front of the Kargil sector did India manage to gain an upper hand by throwing the Pakistanis out of its side of the Line of Control (LoC). Then came the standoff between the Indian and Pakistani armies across the LoC after the Indian Parliament was attacked in 2001, and again India lacked the ability to impose any significant cost on Pakistan quickly and decisively because of the unavailability of suitable weaponry and night vision equipment needed to carry out swift surgical strikes.

The nuclear aspect is important because it is part of the reason that elements within the Pakistani security establishment have become more adventurous. Realizing that India would be reluctant to escalate the conflict because of the threat of it reaching the nuclear level, sections of the Pakistani military and intelligence have pushed the envelope on the sub-conventional front.

For India, this presents a structural conundrum: Nuclear weapons have made a major conventional conflict with Pakistan unrealistic, yet it needs to find a way to launch limited military action against Pakistan without crossing the nuclear threshold. Nuclear weapons have allowed Pakistan to shield itself from full-scale Indian retaliation as well as to attract international attention on the disputes in the sub-continent.

After Operation Parakram of 2001-02, the Indian army did try to evolve a new doctrine. This ‘Cold Start’ doctrine is basically an attempt to acquire the ability to fight limited wars under the nuclear umbrella. To resolve the dilemma confronting India post-1998, Indian strategists have focused on a military doctrine that might give them the ability to launch quick, decisive limited strikes against Pakistan to seize some territory before the international community could intervene, which can then be used as a post-conflict bargaining chip.

This doctrine is still evolving and its is not clear how effective it would be in making sure that the conflict remains limited as Pakistan might be forced to bring down its nuclear threshold to respond to this challenge. Moreover, the Indian army has found little support for this doctrine from the other two services, and the civilian government has shown no interest in this venture.

As a consequence, the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine has continued to be in the limelight as India’s national security establishment has searched for policy options vis-à-vis Pakistan. Yet this doctrine remains a work in progress. Execution of this doctrine would need the right kind of equipment, something India will have to acquire on a priority basis.

The army will need to upgrade its capabilities significantly if it is to implement this approach. And to do this it will have to surmount a number of entrenched problems in the defense procurement system.

The 1999 and 2001 crises forced the government to react by boosting defense expenditures, but political compulsions re-asserted themselves soon after. When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government came to power in 2004, it ordered investigations into several of the arms acquisition deals of the previous government. A series of defense procurement scandals since the late 1980s have made the bureaucracy risk-averse, thereby delaying the acquisition process. The labyrinthine bureaucratic processes involved in military procurement have left the defense forces unable to spend a large proportion of their budgets.

While Pakistan has rapidly acquired US technology over the last several years through involvement in the war on terror and China’s military modernization has gathered momentum, the modernization of the Indian army has slipped behind by as much as a decade.

The Indian army chief stated the obvious recently when he talked of India preparing for a “two-front” war. It is the job of the Indian armed forces to prepare for such wars given the security threats that India faces from its neighbors, just as the Pakistani and Chinese military take into account the possibility of a future conflict with India. But it must be kept in perspective that unlike in Pakistan and China, strategic policymaking in India is the sole preserve of the political leadership and Indian policymakers are yet to sign on to this much talked about new doctrine.


Harsh Pant is a lecturer at King’s College London. His research interests include WMD proliferation, US foreign policy and Asia-Pacific security issues. He is also presently a Visiting Fellow at CASI, University of Pennsylvania.

Hard-Assed Brit General Insists That Acquiring the Upper Hand Must Precede Negotiations

Allies need upper hand for Taliban talks: British army chief

LONDON: International forces should only negotiate with the Taliban from a position of strength, and the terms of any deal should include a requirement that the group cut ties with Al Qaeda, Britain’s army chief said on Monday. “I think while this (negotiations) is always something we must entertain, it has to be done from a position of relative strength and the knowledge on their part that they could just lose. So it’s a matter of timing, not the principle,” General Sir David Richards said. He said the Inter-Services Intelligence ought to be involved in the contacts as part of a “team effort” but should not have sole control over the process.

CIA Hosts Drink and Dance Party For Pakistani Journalists at US Embassy Islamabad

CIA Public Relations at work? Do you expect this “Pakistani media” would tell you the truth and serves the interests of Islam and Pakistan? If you still believe that then may Allah help you and show you the righteous path before its too late for all of us.


Shaukat Paracha, Asma Shirazi, Meher Bukhari, Saima Mohsin are some of the names that were in attendance, in a Drink & Dance party hosted by the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson.

More photos from the event below:

Terrorism: How CIA Incapacitates Pakistan

An Open Letter To The Pakistani Media – How Far Will You Go?

Dr. Mahru Khalid

As I sit in my room writing this, I can hear Indian music playing on the television outside. I know that it is a Pakistani channel,and I can hear snatches of people singing praises of how wonderful Indian music and artists are. It has been going on for the last2 hours and may as well go on for another 2. This is what I have come to expect from my country’s media.

I refuse to go outside and watch that. Because, you see, I’m more intrigued by a news channel telling us how truckloads of Indian ammunition are being discovered by the Pak army in South Waziristan, by someone revealing how the Takfiri TTP are being financed by Indo-American (and other foreign) forces, and how names like Blackwater, Xe, DynaCorp., are raising their ugly heads andinfiltrating into the Pakistani society. Rather than watching Indian movies, I’m more entertained when I go on the internet and readstories of how Mumbai investigator Mr. Hemant Karkare was silenced forever because he could have spilled the beans that Mumbai was an inside job, how the militants who carried out that attack had stayed at a guest house called Nariman House for several days before the attack, and where they were provided food, ammunition, and arms in full knowledge of the Mumbai police, how the 40,000 strong Mumbai police was deliberately kept away from the scene of the shooting, as the terrorists went about their merry way killing people. All this from the pen of a respected Indian writer, Mr. Amaresh Mishra, for me, beats the most smoothly done Indian movieanyday!

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I haven’t forgotten 26/11, and its aftermath, when your Indian counterparts didn’t bother to think rationally for a second, and pointed the finger squarely at us, how they threatened people like Adnan Sami Khan to leave or suffer the consequences, how Pakistani contestants were ejected from TV shows. I haven’t forgotten how united the Indian media and people were in their hate, or how vocal the media was with its hate-filled remarks, which were sometimes shocking in their intensity, and all on the basis of mere suspicion.  And then, with much regret, I haven’t forgotten the insensitive way you responded to this outburst. Some of you even went as faras to claim that Ajmal Qasab is indeed a Pakistani citizen from Faridkot, a claim that has now been refuted by Qasab himself.

Fake Evidence: Faridkot Residents Protest!

Video: Geo Tv Report on Ajmal Kassab – The Reality

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS: Close Down GEO TV and Everything Will be Fine

And now, a year later, I see my own country bleeding like it has never bled before. I remember the horror of Marriott, the shock of Lahore’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the valour of the Shaheeds of Swat and Waziristan. This nation will never forget the innocent Shaheeds of GHQ, Peshawar, Parade Lane, Moon Market, and so many other places. Our innocent brothers, sisters, sons, daughters were this nation’s wealth, they were a part of its future, and a legacy of its past. We have lost some of our gems, but we will never lose the will to avenge each and every drop of innocent blood.

Now I ask you, Pakistani media, do you not see who is behind all this? Don’t the daily deaths mean anything to you? Do you not seethe huge gaping wound? I want to ask you, how far will you go in this Indian admiration of yours? I see morning shows competing with each other in getting the biggest Indian star on the show. I change the channel and I see a senseless but box-office rich Indian movie being shown. I go further and I see barely clad women dancing in a spot advertising the latest Indian awards. Can you not see anything beyond the mindlessness of Indian entertainment?

Can you see that they are out to destroy us from within, to eat our society up like termites eat wood? I can almost imagine them wringing their hands with contentment at our political and moral degradation, at how they maneuvered things until we were deprived of hosting any cricketing event on our soil. Why don’t you admire the smooth precision with which they accomplished these ugly goals?

Your silence is deafening, your silence on this geo-political war being waged on Pakistan, your silence when Ajmal Qasab said he’s just an Indian being directed in the greatest Indian drama ever played, your silence on the menacing involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. Your silence is truly deafening. Instead, you seem smitten by the very forces who want to see Pakistan on its knees.

Will you still go on dancing to their tunes? Will you still go on leading the people of this nation further into fools’ paradise? I just wonder, how far will you go?

‘Ready for talks with reconcilable Taliban’

‘Ready for talks with reconcilable Taliban’

* Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey vow to tackle terrorism in all its
forms, enhance indigenous capacities to that effect

ISTANBUL: The government is willing to talk to those Taliban who are ready to give up their way of life and are reconcilable, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday

Addressing a joint press conference with presidents Abdullah Gul of Turkey and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the conclusion of the fourth Trilateral Summit, President Zardari said, “Dialogue, development and deterrence were the three pillars of Pakistan’s 3-D policy.”

Answering the question as to whether the Pakistan government would enter into dialogue with any group, the president said, “We cannot distance ourselves from dialogue and talk about only war.”

He said, “If there are people who want to give up their way of life and are reconcilable, the government will talk to them.”

To another question, President Zardari said the Swat operation was an entirely indigenous operation carried out by the Pakistan Army, with no foreign soldiers or firepower involved.

Declaration: In a joint declaration after the parleys, the three countries reiterated their determination to tackle terrorism in all its forms and the importance of enhancing indigenous capacities to that effect.

Zardari was confident that the Trilateral Summit would yield desired results in enhancing cooperation among the three countries and to facilitate the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan. “The efforts of Turkish leaders to use their good offices to bring together Pakistan and Afghanistan to find a solution of their problems was commendable,” he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government would be willing to enter into talks with those Taliban who are ready to lay down their weapons.

He said his government might also request the UN Security Council to remove such groups from the list of those identified for sanctions.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday’s Regional Summit involving Afghanistan and its six immediate neighbours was not a prelude to the forthcoming London conference on Afghanistan. “The two events are not related to each other but the organisers of the London moot could benefit from the discussions here”, he said.He said the Trilateral Summit would continue making tangible progress towards strengthening ties among the three countries and to broker a durable Pak-Afghan peace and harmony.

Pakistan intelligence offers key to Taliban

Pakistan intelligence offers key to Taliban

By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad

Published: January 26 2010 02:00 | Last updated: January 26 2010 02:00

Pakistan’s security establishment, which wields influence over the Afghan Taliban, says it is ready to facilitate talks to end the Afghanistan conflict in return for greater US backing in its competition with India for regional influence.

A former Pakistani intelligence officer familiar with the Taliban said: “If the world wants our very active involvement in not just bringing the Taliban to the table but keeping them at the table, our security challenges have to be acknowledged.”

General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, has said political contacts between the Kabul government and the Taliban might be the best way to end the conflict.

While most analysts say the prospect of high-level talks between Kabul and the Taliban is remote, his comments reflect a view gaining currency among US policymakers that some form of power-sharing might be the most viable exit strategy for the US. Robert Gates, US defence secretary, has said the Taliban is part of Afghanistan’s “political fabric.”

A federal minister in Islamabad echoed Pakistan’s fears that a fresh influx of 30,000 US troops might drive more Taliban fighters into Pakistan.

“We know they are not a popular force,” he said. “The Afghans will probably never give them a majority in parliament. But with Pakistan’s help and only with Pakistan’s help, the return of the Taliban to the political high table will be a far more stabilising development for Afghanistan than . . . [a US] surge.”

Renewed discussion of the possibility of a negotiated settlement presents an opportunity for Pakistan’s intelligence services, which were instrumental in the creation of the Afghan Taliban in the mid-1990s, to reassert their potential for US foreign policy objectives in the region.

Elements in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency are regarded as the gatekeepers to the Taliban leadership, believed to be based in Pakistan.

Pakistan has had an amb-iguous relationship with the US since 2001, allowing Nato supplies across its territory and extending tacit endorsement to strikes by US drones on its territory. But the military has resis-ted US pressure to broaden an offensive against its own militant groups to include Afghan insurgent groups based in Pakistan havens.

Pakistani security officials see the US tendency towards favouring negotiations as a way to leverage their country’s ties to the Taliban to wring greater concessions from Washington. Those would concern a range of policy issues, most notably its rivalry with India over Kashmir and for influence in Afghanistan.

Malik to be tried for contempt of court

Malik to be tried for contempt of court

SC says minister interfered in judicial issue; no written apology filed; summons AG on Feb 18; Malik says he had no intention of committing contempt

By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ruled for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Interior Minister Rehman Malik for intervention in the court proceedings regarding a probe into Rs22 billion alleged corruption in state-owned Steel Mills.

A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, was hearing a suo moto case against Rs22 billion alleged corruption in the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

The apex court had issued a show- cause notice to the interior minister for transferring FIA Director General Tariq Khosa, terming it an act of interference in the court affairs, as he was investigating the loss of Rs22 billion in the state-owned Steel mills.

On Monday, in compliance with the court order, Interior Minister Rehman Malik submitted a written reply before the court. The court, however, expressed its dissatisfaction at his (interior minister’s) written reply to the contempt of court notice issued in the Pakistan Steel corruption case and declined to accept it.

The court, however, directed the attorney general to appear before it on February 18.The court ruled that no apology has been made in the written reply, submitted by Rehman Malik, thus giving adequate grounds to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him.

“This is not the way for submission, you have not shown any regret,” the chief justice observed. He said by submitting an explanatory note you (minister Malik) wanted to contest the case as you have not shown any ‘repentance’ in your written reply.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik submitted that he might have made a mistake but had not done so deliberately. He explained that he had no intention of committing any contempt of court.

The chief justice, however, said that contempt of court proceedings would be initiated against him (Malik) after the attorney general appears before the court on February 18.

During the course of proceedings, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the judiciary never interfered in administrative or legislative matters; however, the minister interfered in judicial issues, which will not be allowed.The chief justice while addressing Rehman Malik said you have no idea how much the Steel Mills corruption case suffered because of you. Malik informed the apex court that the FIA is not eligible to audit Steel Mills’ accounts; therefore, we are hiring a foreign firm.

On this, the chief justice said conducting audit of Steel Mills is not within the authority of the interior minister. The court adjourned the hearing till February 18 after Rehman Malik pleaded for engaging a lawyer.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented a fresh report of investigation about corruption in the Pakistan Steel Mills, stating that the main suspect of the case, former chairman PSM Moeen Aftab, was in the custody whereas four more suspects are on bail; however, nine suspects are still at large.

The Supreme Court had taken suo moto notice on an article, published in the media regarding the corruption of Rs22 billion in the Pakistan Steel Mills.

It was said in the article that the government still does not know the exact losses, as there are varied figures. It’s the PSM management, which estimated the losses at Rs22 billion. However, the estimate given in the special report of the auditor-general gives a lower figure of Rs09 billion.

Pakistan Steel’s provisional financial documents for the period ended June 30, 2009, show that the Corporation faced a historical loss of Rs22.143 billion during the July-June of fiscal year 2008-2009 as compared to a Rs2.375 billion profit in fiscal year 2007-08. The current liabilities of the corporation mounted to Rs28.129 billion in 2009, which stood at Rs8.24 billion in fiscal year 2008.

The humanitarian myth

The humanitarian myth

Richard Seymour

Richard Seymour, the author of The Liberal Defense of Murder, analyzes the propaganda manufactured to justify U.S. actions in Haiti after the earthquake.

January 25, 2010

WITHIN DAYS of Haiti suffering an earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale, the U.S. government had sent thousands of 82nd Airborne troops and Marines, alongside the super-carrier USS Carl Vinson.

By this Sunday, a total of more than 20,000 U.S. troops were scheduled to be operating in Haiti, both on land and in the surrounding seas. “We are there for the long term,” explained Alejandro Wolff, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The justification for sending troops is that there is a “security” crisis, which soldiers have to deal with in order to facilitate the distribution of aid.

The situation was and remains a needful one. The Haitian interior minister estimates that as many as 200,000 may have died as a result of the quake, and 2 million have been left homeless. Potable water is extremely scarce, and was so even before the quake. Only half a million have found the makeshift camps that provide some food and water, but have such poor sanitation that they are fostering diarrhea. Clinics are overwhelmed by the injured survivors, estimated to number a quarter of a million.

Since the arrival of the troops, however, several aid missions have been prevented from arriving at the airport in Port-au-Prince, that the U.S. has commandeered. France and Caribbean Community have both made their complaints public, as has Médecins Sans Frontières on five separate occasions. UN World Food Program flights were also turned away on two consecutive days. Benoit Leduc, MSF’s operations manager in Port-au-Prince, complained that U.S. military flights were being prioritized over aid flights. Now, U.S. ships have encircled Haiti in order to prevent refugees escaping and fleeing to the United States.

Not only has aid been obstructed and escape blocked, but what aid does arrive was at first not being delivered, and then only in small amounts. Some five days after the earthquake struck, BBC News reporter Nick Davis described how aid had just started “trickling through.” While aid was arriving in Haiti “in large amounts,” some “bottlenecks” prevented the bulk of it from being distributed.

Asked why the U.S. was not using its air power to deliver aid to areas unreachable by road, Defense Secretary Robert Gates maintained that this would result in riots. The writer Nelson Valdes has described how U.S. and UN authorities advised aid workers not to distribute relief independently, as they would be subject to “mob attacks.”

Eyewitnesses have repeatedly described how rescue workers are scarce on the ground, and relief nowhere to be seen. Hospitals that are functioning despite the wreckage complain of having no painkillers with which to operate on patients with serious injuries. Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health explained that:

[I]n terms of supplies, in terms of surgeons, in terms of aid relief, the response has been incredibly slow. There are teams of surgeons that have been sent to places that were “more secure,” where they have 10 or 20 doctors and 10 patients. We have a thousand people on this campus who are triaged and ready for surgery, but we only have four working [operating rooms], without anesthesia and without pain medications. And we’re still struggling to get ourselves up to 24-hour care.

In effect, the U.S. has staged an invasion of Haiti, under the pretext of providing security for humanitarian aid, and in doing so has prevented the delivery of humanitarian aid. With Haitians in a desperate condition, and the UN-supervised government in dire straits, Washington has sent the International Monetary Fund to offer a $100 million loan, on the proviso that public wages be frozen.

The “security” operation, meanwhile, proceeds apace. As well as U.S. troops, thousands more UN police have been sent to Haiti. Already, UN troops, alongside the Haitian police, have been responsible for several killings, as they have opened fire on starving earthquake survivors who dared to try to retrieve the means of survival from shops and other locations. The US has also insisted that the Haitian government pass an emergency decree authorizing curfews and martial law. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the decree “would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us.”

This process has been facilitated by a flood of alarmist and often racist reporting about “mobs,” “looters” and “gangs” causing a “security crisis.” A “security crisis” validates a repressive response.

The Haitian police have justified their brutal massacres of “looters”–those securing their right to life in desperate circumstances–by telling the media that thousands of prisoners have escaped from the country’s jails, and are running amok, posing a threat to vulnerable citizens. Police have been attempting to whip up fear among earthquake survivors, organising them into vigilantes to attack the escaped prisoners. However, as many as 80 percent of Haiti’s prisoners have never been charged with a crime. “Gangs”–in the vernacular of Washington, the White House press corps and Haiti’s business lobby, the Group of 184–happens to be a synonym for Lavalas activists.

For all the headlines, moreover, there is strikingly little actual violence taking place. Most of the stories of violence center on episodes of “looting,” and most such instances involve desperate people procuring the means of survival. Aid workers also contradict the image of mobs on the attack purveyed by the media and U.S. officials. Abi Weaver, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, confirmed that “we haven’t had any security issues at all.”

“There are no security issues,” said Dr. Evan Lyon. “We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.” In fact, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command, maintains that there is less violence in Haiti now than before the earthquake.

So if there is no insecurity, and if the US military intervention is actually obstructing aid, what becomes of the pretext for the invasion?

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Humanitarian intervention

Notwithstanding this extraordinary performance, many American commentators actually approve of the U.S. response.

Jonathan Dobrer, of the American Jewish University in Bel Air, declared himself “almost sinfully proud of America.” Steven Cohen of Columbia University enthused on the liberal Huffington Post that “We Have Reason to be Proud of the American Response in Haiti.” New York Times op-ed contributor Jonathan M. Hansen called on the U.S. to go further, and use the Guantánamo gulag as a base for “humanitarian intervention” in Haiti.

Indeed, the label “humanitarian” is regularly applied to U.S. actions in Haiti. It is important to recall, therefore, that the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004 and the subsequent occupation was itself originally cast as a humanitarian intervention of sorts.

Aristide, so the story went, had governed incompetently, his rule characterized by such corruption and violence as to generate countrywide disturbances. In recognition of his inability to govern, he supposedly “resigned” and fled the country. Filling the gap created by the absence of legitimate authority, concerned members of the “international community” prevailed upon the United Nations to send troops into Haiti and facilitate the development of democratic institutions.

Matters are a little more prosaic and grubby than this uplifting scenario would suggest. The U.S. had begun cutting aid programs to Haiti when Aristide was elected with an overwhelming mandate for his second term in 2000. The result was that the national budget was cut in half, and gross domestic product shrank by a quarter in the ensuing period.

The pro-U.S. opposition group, Convergence Démocratique, declared that it would not accept the results and instead began to agitate against the incoming government. Paramilitary attacks, beginning in the summer of 2001, were carried out by former death squad members and organized criminals acting in association with Haiti’s business community. Former army personnel such as Guy Philippe, an admirer of Augusto Pinochet, were organized by the U.S. under the rubric of the Fronte pour la Libération et la Reconstruction Nationale (FLRN).

By February 2004, a full-blown insurgency had been launched, and had begun to take control of large parts of the country. None of the Lavalas rulers had military experience, and they were not prepared to arm and mobilize the population.

Aristide, far from being a violent or incompetent ruler as his critics suggest, was eventually defeated because he was not prepared to violently repress an opposition that was explicitly organizing for his overthrow. His administrations had actually been highly effective in a number of areas, despite considerable pressures from the U.S. and the Haitian ruling class.

Lavalas can be credited with reducing infant mortality from 125 to 110 per thousand live births, bringing illiteracy down from 65 percent to 45 percent and slowing the rate of new HIV infections. It was obliged by the U.S. to accept “structural adjustment” programs, but did what it could to soften the blow by maintaining subsidies, implementing some land reforms, and promulgating certain social programs. It legislated against the exploitation of children as unpaid servants in wealthy homes. It reformed the notoriously labyrinthine judiciary and put several death squad members on trial. It also managed to extract some taxes from the rich, in the face of strenuous resistance.

For these humanitarian accomplishments, Aristide had to go. Once the dregs of former genocidaires and the criminal fraternity had wrought sufficient destruction across the country, the U.S. Marine Corps abducted Aristide on September 29, 2004. The initial line given to the press by James Foley, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, was that it was a rescue mission. The U.S. had stepped in, concerned for Aristide’s welfare, and he had resigned voluntarily.

As soon as Aristide got hold of a telephone, however, he informed every news outlet that would listen that he had been kidnapped by U.S. forces. He was not permitted to return to Haiti, and an occupation began under a UN mandate, enforced by MINUSTAH troops. A new regime was imposed that locked up political activists and priests, and thousands were killed either by MINUSTAH soldiers directly or by gangs operating under their authority. A study published in The Lancet found that:

[D]uring the 22-month period of the U.S.-backed Interim Government, 8,000 people were murdered in the greater Port-au Prince area alone. Thirty-five thousand women and girls were raped or sexually assaulted, more than half of the victims were children…Those responsible for the human rights abuses include criminals, the police, United Nations peacekeepers and anti-Lavalas gangs.

Meanwhile, the democratic process that the UN was supposed to oversee has resulted in elections in which the country’s most popular political party, Lavalas, are not allowed to participate. The recent senatorial and congressional elections saw turnouts depressed to as little as 10 percent as a result. This shambolic process has made life easier for Haiti’s ruling class, and the multinationals operating in Haiti, but by no stretch of the imagination is it “humanitarian.”

The point of highlighting this background is to note that, contrary to some short-sighted commentary–like Jonathan Dobrer: “We come, we help, and we don’t stay”–the U.S. has a bloody recent history in Haiti and a well-defined set of goals in the country, including the desire to finish off Lavalas and create a benevolent investment climate for business.

The belief that the U.S. is behaving in a humanitarian manner in Haiti is at best myopic. At worst, it buys into the racist mythologies about Haiti that have been on prominent display in headlines and news copy for over a week now.

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Paternalism and racism

The paternalistic assumptions behind the calls for ‘humanitarian intervention’ have sometimes been starkly expressed. Thus, the conservative columnist Eric Margolis lauds the history of American colonial rule in Haiti: “[T]he U.S. occupation is looked back on by many Haitians as their “golden age.” The Marine Corps proved a fair, efficient, honest administrator and builder. This era was the only time when things worked in Haiti.”

Purporting to oppose imperialism, Margolis insists that “genuine humanitarian intervention” is “different,” and calls for Haiti to be “temporarily administered by a great power like the U.S. or France.” He writes: “U.S. administration of Haiti may be necessary and the only recourse for this benighted nation that cannot seem to govern itself.”

Similarly, right-wing New York Times columnist David Brooks, decrying the supposed “progress-resistant cultural influences” that he maintains holds Haiti back, calls for the U.S. to “promote locally-led paternalism.” “We’re all supposed to politely respect each other’s cultures,” he complains. “But some cultures are more progress-resistant than others, and a horrible tragedy was just exacerbated by one of them.”

To overcome this cultural handicap, Brooks recommends finding gurus who would promote a culture of achievement and responsibility–as opposed to the irresponsible, chaotic, voodoo-ridden culture that he identifies as Haiti’s major problem.

It is unnecessary to dignify such caricatures by considering them as empirical hypotheses. However, it should be noted that neither author gives the slightest consideration to the persistent efforts of the U.S. government to frustrate the rise of popular, democratic movements such as Lavalas, nor to the IMF-imposed programs which saw real wages fall by 50 percent between 1980 and 1990, and which resulted in overpopulated slums and a failing rural economy.

Nor do they acknowledge the brutality of the UN occupation. While Margolis acknowledges that America’s colonial rule was “sometimes brutal,” his understatement is verging on euphemism when he omits to discuss the killing of 15,000 people as Haiti’s rebels, known as Cacos, were suppressed.

Nor does he mention the humiliating system of forced labor that was imposed on Haitians under U.S. rule, or the fact that the gendarmerie built up under U.S. occupation became the organized basis for later dictatorships that would blight Haiti. In short, both writers bring to bear astonishingly little understanding of the country whose fate they are discussing so cavalierly.

However, what is of interest in these caricatures is the genus of imperial ideology that they relate to. Margolis is an old-school conservative (he describes himself as an Eisenhower Republican). He recalls in his phrases the manifest-destinarianism of William McKinley, who argued that the conquest and colonization of the Philippines was justified since Filipinos “were unfit for self-government.”

In the imperial language of the U.S. and Europe in this period, self-government was conceived of either as a cultural state that only white people had achieved, or as a technology that only white people could use. Woodrow Wilson, the invader of Haiti, explained that the Philippines could not be given self-government by the United States, since “it is a form of character and not a form of constitution.” Self-government is a cultural state attained after a period of discipline that “gives people self-possession, self-master, the habit of order.”

For Wilson, only the “nobler races”–namely Europeans and white Americans–had achieved that state. Margolis would not be so explicitly racist, but his subtext is not the less subtle for that.

Brooks, though, is a neoconservative. As such, he brings to bear that tradition’s paternalism, its concern with developing good patriarchal families, and particularly its culturalist reading of social institutions.

In this view, government and other institutions reflect an accumulation of cultural practices that have survived through generations. Capitalism and liberal democracy are thus the result of cultural influences such as Judeo-Christian values. The ability to govern oneself as a society is also said to be a result of cultural attributes that are generally found to be lacking in America’s opponents. These discrete cultures do not necessarily correspond to older notions of ‘race’, but they perform an analogous function in permitting privileged U.S. commentators to applaud the conquest of other societies.

Thus, at the height of the Vietnam War, the “godfather” of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, argued that it was correct for the U.S. to support a right-wing dictatorship since “South Vietnam, like South Korea, is barely capable of decent self-government under the very best of conditions.” Like the Black families that Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously diagnosed as suffering from a “tangle of pathologies,” these people lacked the exquisite cultural refinements that made white Americans so successful.

These are exceptionally explicit commentaries. Most of those lauding American actions are unlikely to be as cynical or brazen as Brooks and Margolis. Yet when 20,000 U.S. troops arrive in a wrecked island country, and begin obstructing aid and beefing up “security” while people die in the wreckage of thirst and starvation, only the willfully purblind or those trapped in the assumptions of the “civilizing mission,” could construe it as a “humanitarian intervention.”

:: Article nr. 62555 sent on 25-jan-2010 19:04 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=62555

Link: socialistworker.org/2010/01/25/the-humanitarian-myth

American Aristocrats Without Humanity

Delaying aid for a photo-op

Jesse Hagopian

25clinton-4284880578_0eb6afdbb2_o.jpg
Hillary Clinton stands beside Haitian president René Préval, speaking to reporters at the airport

Janaury 25, 2010

Jesse Hagopian, a teacher from Seattle, was in Haiti with his wife (who works on HIV education in the country) and one-year-old son when the earthquake hit. Here, he looks at the U.S. government’s priorities on display in Haiti right now.

EVERYTHING YOU need to know about the U.S. aid effort to assist Haiti in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake can be summed up by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s touchdown in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, January 16: they shut down the airport for three hours surrounding her arrival for “security” reasons, which meant that no aid flights could come in during those critical hours.