Kyrgyz interim gov’t approves Turkey’s military aid

[Here we have Turkey opening the door to the new Kyrgyz government, but in these days, we still don't really know where the Turkish government actually stands, as it straddles the fence between east and west.  Turkey and Russia are doing a strange and dangerous dance in Kyrgyzstan and throughout central Asia, opposing America's Nabucco plans in Nagorno-Karabakh, infuriating the United States with counter-ideas on Georgia and Iran.  We face a future marked by either momentous calamity, such as mankind has never witnessed, or else limitless opportunity for real meaningful change.  The choice is for all mankind to make, not just for the twisted minds of the world's elected leaders.]

Kyrgyz interim gov’t approves Turkey’s military aid

BISHKEK – Daily News with wires
Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva (L) meets hands with EU Special Representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel (R) in Bishkek. AFP photo.

Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva (L) meets hands with EU Special Representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel (R) in Bishkek. AFP photo.

Kyrgyzstan’s interim government approved on Friday a 2009 deal signed with Turkey to get military aid from Turkish Armed Forces, Anatolia News Agency reported.

Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov said that Kyrgyz government unanimously approved the agreement signed in December 2009. Turkey’s military aid is worth $800,000. Turkey’s military aid will go to Kyrgyz national guards and border units.

Meanwhile, a senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that Washington will ensure greater transparency in the supply of aviation fuel to a key U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan, where the previous government often was accused of corruption.

Perceived improprieties over a fuel supply deal with the Manas base, which Kyrgyz prosecutors believe financially benefited members of the recently ousted government, have severely dented the standing of the United States in the impoverished Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyz prosecutors say that companies owned by a son of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev avoided almost $80 million in taxes on aviation fuel sold to Manas base, which acts as a key refueling point for warplanes flying over Afghanistan and a major hub for combat troop movement.

Clarifying the procedure of how fuel is purchased would help eliminate speculation about activities at the base, White House official Michael McFaul told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the Kazakh capital, Astana.

The U.S. hold on the base came under threat again last month after Bakiyev was ousted in a violent uprising and a provisional government took charge. The interim government has the right to ratify intergovernmental agreements until the parliamentary elections in the country.

Turkish army strikes PKK targets in Iraq

ANKARA – Agence France-Presse

The Turkish air force has struck the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, hideouts in neighbouring northern Iraq after an attack inside Turkey left two soldiers dead, the military said late Friday.

“After detecting that anti-aircraft fire was opened on (Turkish) helicopters from various positions across the border, the air force fired on those positions” for an hour Friday afternoon, the army said in an online statement. “It has been observed that those positions were destroyed,” it said.

The operation against the PKK, which has rear bases in Iraq, began after a group of about 25 PKK members attacked a military unit near the border village of Daglica Friday morning, killing two soldiers.

The statement confirmed that at least five PKK members were killed in the ensuing clashes. “Operations in the region are continuing and it is believed that the losses of the terrorists are higher,” it said.

The Turkish army has staged a series of air raids against PKK targets in northern Iraq since December 2007, often with the help of U.S. intelligence, and in February 2008 carried out a week-long ground incursion.

Top analysts say Greek crisis going global

[European countries, like every nation which has been conned into playing along with the neo-liberal policies of  alleged "conservative" Ronald Reagan, cannot avoid economic collapse.  The inner contradictions built into Reagan's ticking time-bomb, known as "neoliberalism," will eventually cause the economic system itself to self-implode.  In addition to its hallmark of "interventionism," you have policies of unwarranted massive tax cuts (which favor the rich), privatization programs (which gives efficient working  government programs over into the hands of wealthy investors to cannabalize and bankrupt), draconian social cuts (which always add to societal agitation) amid massive military increases.

This is a formula for failure of the system.   The anticipated result of following this formula for failure, is a massive redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class into the bank accounts of the already super-wealthy and creation of an American military dictatorship

The only solution is to let the system fail as quickly as possible, without wasting valuable resources in a vain attempt to avoid failure.]

Top analysts say Greek crisis going global

BOSTON – Bloomberg

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian and Loomis Sayles & Co.’s Dan Fuss said the European debt crisis may spread across the globe because of investor concern that governments have borrowed too much to revive their economies.

“After morphing into a regional dislocation, the Greek crisis is now going global,” El-Erian, the chief executive of Pimco, said on Thursday in an e-mail. El-Erian shares the title of co-chief investment officer of Pimco with Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund.

Fuss said the euro crisis had reached a “critical” point. “It’s a liquidity issue, so it’s not just over there, it’s over here,” he said in an interview.

“The transmission mechanisms for this latest round include disruptions in European inter-bank lines, a flight to quality, and market illiquidity,” El-Erian said.

Amid protests, Greece’s parliament approved on Thursday austerity measures demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund as a condition of its 110 billion euro ($139 billion) bailout.

Europe’s debt-ridden nations have to raise almost 2 trillion euros within the next three years to refinance maturing bonds and fund deficits, according to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch data.

“The issues in Greece are a global issue,” Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer of Merk Investments, said in an interview. “The recovery priced in that access to credit is available, and cheaply.”

Nations facing huge bills:

Italy faces the biggest bill, followed by Spain. Greece needs 152.6 billion euros, while Portugal and Ireland each have to raise about 80 billion euros, the data show.

“There may well be some defaults. If not Greece then some other nation,” Merk said. That’s “hitting the banking sector particularly hard.”

“If Merkel and Trichet don’t solve this, if they don’t work together, this could potentially mean the dissolution of the euro,” Ron Sloan, chief investment officer at Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd.’s U.S. core equity team, said in a telephone interview, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sloan added that there is a danger the debt crisis could spread to municipal debt issued by U.S. states that are struggling to balance their budgets.

“It’s the whole issue of risk appetite again,” he said. “If the euro sinks individual U.S. states will be the next step.”

The U.S. federal deficit is forecast to reach $1.6 trillion this year, or 10.6 percent of the economy, making it the biggest by that measure since World War II.

Tajikistan requested the OSCE to resolve the problem of delay Tajik goods in Uzbekistan

[The impeding of rail traffic into Tajikistan threatens the viability of the American-planed NDN (Northern Distribution Network).  Is this action really the work of the Uzbek government or is it another chess move by Putin?  It seems that the enigmatic Russian leader has given us another piece to the puzzle.  US plans for the former CIS countries are being countered by rising threat levels or violent actions, even while reciprocal acts of counter-violence are occurring almost daily in Russian regions.  This may turn-out to be the most dangerous game that the Americans and Russians have ever played.  Yet, on the other hand, within the game itself we see the seeds of a possible solution to the whole mess, coming from the Russian side--SEE:Ending the “End Game” In GeorgiaIn my opinion, the entire global "great game" would be ended, if everyone involved simply stopped playing.  Much like the outcome of the movie "Wargames,"

“A strange game.  The only winning move is not to play.”

This is the bizarre place we find ourselves in today.]

Tajikistan requested the OSCE to resolve the problem of delay Tajik goods in Uzbekistan

May 8, 2010, 12:38
CA-NEWS (TJ) - Tajikistan, appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Kazakhstan, the presiding officer in this institution, to take “active and effective measures” against Uzbekistan, in which delayed railcars with shipments for Tajikistan.

“Representative of Tajikistan once again appeals to the OSCE and Kazakhstan take the chair as part of its mandate, active and effective steps to meet the exercise of the OSCE principles and commitments in the field of transport security and the free border crossing,” – said the Permanent Representative of the Republic, Ambassador Nuriddin Shamsov permanent meeting Council of the Organization in Vienna. The statement published on the website of the Embassy of Tajikistan in Austria.

According to the diplomat, “despite the unilateral efforts of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan to carry out friendly consultation to discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral relations, the situation remains unchanged. “The Uzbek authorities continued to impede the transit of goods into Tajikistan through the railway station Amuzang”, – he said. According to him, now in Uzbekistan are delayed more than 2 thousand railway wagons with goods (fuel, wheat, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, machinery, equipment, etc.) for Tajikistan.

Shamsov noted that due to delays cargo Tajikistan continues to face huge economic losses, which exceeded 100 million U.S. dollars. He recalled that the Tajik businessmen have already appealed to the international community to resolve the situation, which “will have negative consequences for the republic’s economy, social welfare and health, investment climate”.

The Curious Timing of the Terrorist Attacks: It’s Almost Like They’re On Our Side

The Curious Timing of the Terrorist Attacks: It’s Almost Like They’re On Our Side

by Scott Creighton

Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, Nov. 2008

As has always been the case since 2001, the bungling blasters who end up attacking our freedom rarely do so when it isn’t of the utmost convenience for the White House.  This latest example, connected to the Waziristan area of Pakistan, holds true to that formula.  One might start wondering if all these “terrorists” are actually on our side.

Now, I say “since 2001″ not because what they did wasn’t convenient for the previous White House. In fact, the Patriot Act was sitting waiting to go, the plans for invading Afghanistan were dropped on Bush’s desk on Sept. 9th 2001, Donald Rumsfeld had just announced 2.3 trillion dollars was “missing” from the Pentagon, and old ‘Lucky” Larry Silverstein had just secured his billion dollar insurance policy on the Twin Towers right before the event. Not to mention the fact that the Bush administration was already at a terribly low approval rating or the fact that Cheney and the other neocons had called for “a Pearl Harbor type event” to set in motion all of their foreign and domestic policies which they spelled out in a paper called “Rebuilding America’s Defences” in 2000.

The distinction I am making is that compared to the most recent Keystone Cops type terrorist acts (Umar Fizzlepants and the Times Square parker), the terrorist of the old Bush administration were actually able to carry out their attacks and at the same time, defy laws of physics and scientific research while doing it.  The 9/11 terrorists were able to knock down 7 buildings with 2 planes and at the same time bring Building 7 down at free-fall acceleration after having been hit by no plane, from office fires alone (first time in history that happened. talk about your overachiever terrorists)…. and after doing all of that, they were able to hit the most heavily guarded building in history with a plane being flown by a terrorist who couldn’t fly a Cesna. Then the anthrax terrorist was able to create a weaponized anthrax strain in 3 hours or so when experts in the field say it would take a thousand hours to do it in their highly specialized lab.  Amazing accomplishments for our terrorists back then…

Back in the old days, they defied the laws of physics… now they can’t even make a simple bomb.

Let me get back to the point… just before Umar Fizzlepants (also somehow allowed to get on a plane while the Feds knew he was dangerous, just like Faisal Shahzad) put on his “one show only Sparkler of Doom” production, President Obama had given authorization to attack targets in Yemen, a nation we had not been at war with.  Varying reports surfaced about whether or not we aided the dictator in Yemen with intel or if we had actually used our weapons. The truth of this matter is still kind of hazy.  But just as those stories were coming out, lo-and-behold, Umar Fizzlepants steps up to the plate and sparkles a validation of President Obama’s attack on Yemen.  By the way, that U.S. attack in Yemen killed many civilians and children as well. But suddenly it was ok because Umar Fizzlepants showed up.

Now we have Faisal Shahzad’s attempted vending cart massacre… the story here is (I mean, AFTER the story that it wasn’t terrorism and AFTER the story it was just a car fire and AFTER the story that Pakistan had nothing to do with it) that Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan. Specifically that he was trained in Waziristan.  Well, that couldn’t be convenient for the Obama administration could it? Let’s take a look.

When the latest apparent U.S. drone strike was conducted this week against militants in Pakistan, the obvious question appeared to be: Did the United States get a “big fish” in the Taliban or al Qaeda organizations?

But a U.S. counterterrorism official says that’s now the wrong question to ask, and chances are those hit were not major players. He wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the latest strike, but with the official backing of his bosses, he sought to explain how U.S. strategy has changed in the crucial effort to attack targets inside Pakistan with missiles fired from drones.

The plan now is to attack a broader set of terrorist targets far beyond the original effort to strike and kill top al Qaeda leaders, the official said.  CNN

You see, we are asking the wrong question. We have to stop thinking in terms of targeting known Taliban or al Qaeda fighters. Instead, we have to look at the bigger picture.  Faisal Shahzad wasn’t a known terrorist or even a fighter in Pakistan. In fact, his family is known in the community as being “apolitical”… but see, you never know.  Someone who LOOKS innocent, may in fact be the most dangerous terrorist since Umar Fizzlepants. And therefore we must rethink all those “innocent civilians” the drones have killed in the past. Are they REALLY innocent?

The vast majority of the deaths (from the 44 drone strikes of 2009), around 700 according to one estimate, have been innocent civilians. With such a massive civilian toll and so little to show for it, it is no wonder that Pakistani people have been up in arms over the continued strikes.

But US officials have rarely commented on the drone strikes, except on those rare occasions when they actually kill someone meaningful, and seem completely ambivalent to the hundreds of innocent people killed in the meantime. The ultimate example of this was June 22-23.

On June 22, the US struck at a house officials called a “suspected militant hideout,” burying a few locals inside. When others rushed to the scene to rescue them, they launched another missile, killing 13 apparently innocent Pakistanis. When they held a funeral procession on June 23, the US hit that too, ostensibly on the belief that Baitullah Mehsud might be among the mourners. He wasn’t, but the attack killed at least 80 more people.  AntiWar

There were two separate drone attacks in Pakistan on April 23rd and April 25th.  The combined death toll was over 13 with others wounded. No al Qaeda leaders were reportedly killed in the strike. These kinds of attacks are not being well received by the people of Pakistan nor the government.

The United States, struggling to stabilize Afghanistan, stepped up its missile strikes in Pakistan’s northwest after a Jordanian suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees at a U.S. base across the border in the eastern Afghan province of Khost in December.

Most of the attacks this year have been in North Waziristan.

U.S. ally Pakistan officially objects to the drone strikes, saying they are a violation of its sovereignty and fuel anti-U.S. feeling, which complicates Pakistan’s efforts against militancy. Reuters

Now consider this; a great number of dead civilians in Waziristan, in a country we are not at war with, starts to ferment and anger within the Pakistani people as well as the government, and along comes the SUV parker to confess that he in fact got his training…. in Waziristan…

U.S. officials quickly cast doubt on the claim, but the arrest of a Pakistani-American in New York who allegedly has admitted to being trained in the group’s heartland in Waziristan has given it new credenceAP

(Now remember… the only source we have as to what he “confessed” to is an Obama administration official)

I mean, you just don’t get better timing than that. Well, unless of course you just happen to have invasion plans drawn up for Afghanistan, you want to help UNICAL with their Trans Afghan Pipeline, you just happen to announce 2.3 trillion missing dollars the day before Sept. 11th (the biggest news story in history),  you just killed some 23 kids in a different nation we aren’t at war with, or of course if you want to pass the Patriot Act and a few congressmen and reporters aren’t towing the line ….

But aside from THOSE examples, you just don’t get better timing than that, do you?

You know, sometimes I just wonder if all those “terrorists” aren’t doing the best they can to support the imperial agenda of whatever administration we get in the White House. It’s mighty nice of them to help us with the Global War on Terror ain’t it?  I mean, without all those “terrorists” stepping up to the plate just when the White House needed them the most, where would the Global Free Market Wars be now?

Makes you think, don’t it?

A ruse to pressurise Pakistan?

A ruse to pressurise Pakistan?

—Mohammad Jamil

The moot question is, what is wrong with the US system? The list of its interferences, subversions, control and overthrowing of Third World governments is too long to be elaborated

In the event of any act of
terrorism in the US, it has become a norm with the US government and western media that the suspect or criminal is identified as Pakistani-American, Yemeni-American or any other origin. They have to realise that the US has a very stringent set of procedures to be complied with before granting American citizenship. And it would not be wrong to say that this is a foolproof system. But once he or she is naturalised, they are American for all intents and purposes. By referring to nativity or ethnicity of a suspect or culprit, they conveniently shirk their own responsibility by blaming others. If their national, whether by birth or residence, is involved in a terrorist act, none else but they themselves are responsible for his heinous act. The question is how American citizens that are either born or bred and educated in the US can fall prey to terrorists so easily. On Monday, a car loaded with fireworks, petrol, propane and fertiliser was discovered in Times Square. The car had been bought by Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born US citizen.

If one glances through the reports by Reuters and other news agencies, it is not difficult to conclude that this is a gimmick to keep Pakistan under pressure and push it to go after the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. The Reuters report said, “Any links between Pakistan’s Taliban and a failed bombing in New York’s Times Square could put the country under renewed US pressure to open risky new fronts against Islamic militants.” US agencies and investigators are trying to find a link between him and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who reportedly accepted responsibility. Many security experts are sceptical about the ability of the TTP to stage terrorist attacks outside Pakistan. In April 2009, Baitullah Mehsud had claimed responsibility for being behind the attack by a US immigrant of Vietnamese origin who went on a murderous rampage killing 13 people. However, his claim was dismissed by Pakistani security officials and US investigators as rubbish. From his statement to the police, it appears that he is not at all a trained terrorist. His statement about changing of cars, forgetting the keys and use of firecrackers sounds intriguing.

The US has repeatedly called on Pakistan to do more to fight not just homegrown militancy, but also al Qaeda-backed Afghan Taliban based in North Waziristan, as they cross over the border to attack Western forces in Afghanistan. In fact, the release of a video in which Hakeemullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban leader previously reported to have been killed in a CIA drone strike, threatened suicide strikes in the US and simultaneously discovering the car laden with explosives raises doubts about the veracity of the whole story. Referring to the Times Square attempt, Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, said on Monday: “Whoever did that would be categorised as a terrorist.” It should be borne in mind that an act by a Pakistani does not mean that Pakistan as a state is involved. There is a perception that it could be part of a conspiracy to neutralise the goodwill Pakistan has earned by decimating the terrorists’ infrastructure and strongholds. And it seems to be an artifice to de-track the US government, which has decided to help Pakistan to overcome its economic difficulties and also to equip the Pakistan Army to effectively take on the militants.

Having said that, the US government should strive every nerve to ensure protection for Americans of Pakistani origin, who have to face the brunt after every botched attempt or real terrorist act. There are many questions: how was the suspect able to drive the car all the way to Times Square, and why had agencies failed to check the car on the way? And if, at all, the suspect had been able to reach the ‘destination’, what stopped him from carrying out the blast? Whosoever planned the attack he or they have been able to bring Pakistan into focus once again. Last year, a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was charged with carrying explosives on board and attempting to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight, as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam on December 25. On December 28, a wing of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the failed attack. According to a statement posted on its website, the attempt was to avenge US attacks on its members in Yemen. In the recent past, Nidal Hasan and David Headley, both born and educated in the US, were charged for terrorist attacks.

The moot question is, what is wrong with the US system? Five Americans — two of Pakistani-origin, one Eritrean, one Ethiopian and one of Egyptian origin — are in a Pakistani lockup in Sargodha since December 2009. On interrogation they stated that they were trying to find an al Qaeda link to go to Afghanistan. This means that they were sufficiently motivated to go to Afghanistan to fight the occupiers before they arrived in Pakistan. In fact, the US has made many enemies by bombing other countries. It also has the reputation of hatching conspiracies that were responsible for the assassination of Lumumba, overthrowing Dr Mossadaq and the removal of President Soekarno. And the US had reportedly played its role in stoking the Iran-Iraq war, Arab-Israel conflict and support for the Contra saboteurs against the revolutionary government of Nicaragua. The list of its interferences, subversions, control and overthrowing of Third World governments is too long to be elaborated.

In the new millennium, the US, with a view towards achieving its avowed objectives, had attacked and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, but all their pretexts were proven wrong. Before attacking Iraq, a case was built up against Saddam Hussein citing that he had weapons of mass destruction, he procured uranium from Nigeria and he had links with al Qaeda. All these allegations were proved wrong. The reason for invading Afghanistan was ascribed to al Qaeda, which reportedly had planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But it was proved beyond doubt that all those involved had been living in western countries. They all had studied in western universities and planning was carried out in the German city of Hamburg. And they had gotten training in American aviation academies. In fact, the German and American authorities should have been questioned, and not Afghanistan and Pakistan — a convenient ploy for their opinion-makers, movers and shakers. It has to be remembered that none of the perpetrators of 9/11 was a Pakistani or an Afghan.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at

These Days, It Is Hell To Be a Pakistani-American

Hell is… to be a Pakistani American

Chidanand Rajghatta, TOI Crest

Couple of weeks back, US state department spokesman P J Crowley dropped a clanger that should have been a strict no-no in the Foggy Bottom rulebook. He compared, obliquely though, Pakistani-Americans with Indian-Americans . Pakistani-Americans , he suggested at a briefing, should strive to follow Indian-Americans when it comes to improving ties with the United States. Just as the Indian diaspora in the US played an affirmative role in terms of strengthening bonds between the two countries , Pakistan-Americans should take the same route to build ties between Islamabad andWashington.

There was nothing provocative or incendiary in what Crowley said; he clearly meant it in a constructive , positive way. But as any South Asian expert worth his or her salt will tell you, it’s bad form to imply Indians are somehow better at something, much less ask or suggest that Pakistan follow India in any respect — although the Pakistanis do it all the time. This is especially true in the US, where each Indian organisational effort is followed by a Pakistani imitation (such as associations for physicians , political action committees, aid foundations etc — each Indian-American effort has a Pakistani clone). Crowley was preaching to the converted, but as far as Pakistanis are concerned, it was offensive to be told to do as Indians do.

Despite some talk of common heritage by the liberal “South Asian” lot, many Pakistanis dislike being clubbed with Indians in the US. Some of them don’t like being subsumed under the SouthAsia rubric (this is also true of many Indians, who are even more resentful of having their distinct Indian identity swallowed by the recent “South Asian” entity.) Over the years, Pakistani-Americans have made strenuous efforts to carve a distinct identity, including campaigning to be counted separately in the US census like Indian-Americans are (Pakistani-Americans were earlier counted under the broader other ethnicities category). So to have Crowley appear to undermine this effort must have been a bummer.

In any case, Faisal Shahzad was probably past caring by then, if he was listening at all. Around the time Crowley was making his point, the young engineer was rigging up his crude bomb and casing Midtown Manhattan looking for right place to park the Nissan Pathfinder (Incidentally, the best gag to come out of the whole episode: How did Faisal Shahzad find parking in Times Square on a Saturday night?) As it turned out, the bomb fizzled, but for now, it has torpedoed the US administration’s carefully designed route to walk Pakistan back into the international mainstream and heal the post 9/11 trauma of Pakistani-Americans .

Because, make no mistake, for all the talk of common heritage, language, food etc, Americans see Indians very differently from Pakistanis in the US (as Crowley indicated). Indians are a stunning success, the best-educated , highest-earning , frequently-overachieving ethnic group in the country. Whenever they see Indians, Americans see IT — information technology — or similar high-funda stuff that they fear will take away jobs (although much of it is lowgrade work). And when they see Pakistanis? Also IT — except, it stands for international terrorism. “These days when I hear of a terrorist plot, I can count back from 10, and before I get to zero, someone will bring up the P word.”

It’s not that there are no Pakistani-American success stories or Indian-Americans taking to crime. But over the course of the past two decade, starting with the first world trade center bombing, Pakistanis have gradually earned a reputation for herapheri — what began as a small time terrorist capers in India now has international dimensions. In more than a dozen incidents of terrorism across the world in the last couple of decades, the principals have either been Pakistanis or the trail has led to Pakistan.

Meantime, Indians have serenely chosen to build on their economic success. Last week’s incident provided a stark contrast between Indian and Pakistani achievement in the US. While young Faisal Shahzad joined the ranks of the Ajmal Kasab and others in the world’s rogues gallery, a young Indian-American attorney , Preet Bharara, was readying to put the MBA grad+suburban dad on the mat. And even as that story picked up pace, Harvard Business School announced that IIT-ian Nitin Nohria would head the Harvard Business School. As much as it is a good time to be an Indian abroad, it is hell to be a Pakistani.

chidanand.rajghatta@timesgroup .com

Arrest in Kosovo points to secret camps

Arrest in Kosovo points to secret camps

International police in Kosovo have arrested a former guerrilla commander suspected of war crimes in a widening investigation that was spurred by our exposé of secret detention camps run by the Kosovo Liberation Army during and after the 1999 war.

Local media reported European Union police detained Sabit Geci on Thursday following a raid on his home in Pristina.

Witnesses have linked Geci and other KLA commanders to the torture and murder of prisoners at an operations base in the Albanian border town of Kukes.

A series of joint reports last year by CIR, the BBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network detailed evidence of the abuses and killings following a multi-year investigation.

A wide range of sources—from survivors to former KLA soldiers—spoke of a network of secret camps scattered throughout Kosovo and Albania where civilians and POWs were held, tortured and sometimes killed.

In some cases the abuses allegedly occurred under the noses of UN officials and NATO troops, who arrived in Kosovo in June 1999.

We reviewed internal documents that showed United Nations officials knew about the allegations as early as 2002 but failed to launch a serious investigation. What’s more, officials at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague destroyed physical evidence that related to some of the allegations.

This is the first case of possible war crimes on Albanian soil and it could lift the lid on Albania’s covert support of the KLA and links to wartime abuses.

Sources close to the investigation say the government of Albania refused to cooperate with EU prosecutors despite an earlier pledge to help international investigators looking into the allegations.

There’s been no reaction from Kosovo’s current leadership, which is dominated by former KLA commanders. But here’s what Kosovo’s prime minister and former KLA political director Hashim Thaci told us last year when pressed about the Kukes allegations.

“It just didn’t happen,” Thaci said. “At any time, in any case, in any place, any space —this has nothing to do with the Kosovo Liberation Army.”

I spoke about these developments today with Marco Werman on PRI’s The World.

IAEA to discuss Israel’s nuclear activities for first time

Report: IAEA to discuss Israel's nuclear activities for first time

Israel‘s secretive nuclear activities may undergo unprecedented scrutiny next month, with a key meeting of theInternational Atomic Energy Agencytentatively set to focus on the topic for the first time, according to documents shared Friday with The Associated Press.

A copy of the restricted provisional agenda of the IAEA‘s June 7 board meeting lists Israeli nuclear capabilities as the eighth item – the first time that that the agency’s decision-making body is being asked to deal with the issue in its 52 years of existence, Haaretzreported.

The agenda can still undergo changes in the month before the start of the meeting and a senior diplomat from a board member nation said the item, included on Arab request, could be struck if the U.S. and other Israeli allies mount strong opposition. He asked for anonymity for discussing a confidential matter.

Even if dropped from the final agenda, however, its inclusion in the May 7 draft made available to The AP is significant, reflecting the success of Islamic nations in giving concerns about Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear arsenal increased prominence.

The 35-nation IAEA board is the agency’s decision making body and can refer proliferation concerns to the UN Security Council – as it did with Iran in 2006 after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons.

A decision to keep the item would be a slap in the face not only for Israel but also for Washington and its Western allies, which support the Jewish state and view Iran as the greatest nuclear threat to the Middle East.

Iran – and more recently Syria – have been the focus of past board meetings; Tehran for its refusal to freeze enrichment and for stonewalling IAEA efforts to probe alleged nuclear weapons experiments, and Damascus for blocking agency experts from revisiting a site struck by Israeli jets on suspicion it was a nearly finished plutonium producing reactor.

Iran and Syria are regular agenda items at board meetings. Elevating Israel to that status would detract from Western attempts to keep the heat on Tehran and Damascus and split the board even further – developing nations at board meetings are generally supportive of Iran and Syria and hostile to Israel.

That in turn could stifle recent resolve by the world’s five recognized nuclear-weapons powers – the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China – to take a more active role in reaching the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

Inclusion of the item appeared to be the result of a push by the 18-nation Arab group of IAEA member nations, which last year successfully lobbied another agency meeting – its annual conference – to pass a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program.

Unlike the board, the conference cannot make policy. Still, the result was a setback not only for Israel but also for Washington and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice – debate on the issue without a vote.

A letter to IAEA chief Yukiya Amano by the Arab group that was also shared with the AP urged Amano to report to the board what was known about Israel’s nuclear program by including a list of the information available to the Agency and the information which it can gather from open sources.

The April 23 Arab letter urged Amano to enforce the conference resolution calling on Israel to allow IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Israel has never said it has nuclear weapons but is universally believed to possess them.

The latest pressure is putting the Jewish state in an uncomfortable position. It wants the international community to take stern action to prevent Iran from getting atomic weapons but at the same time brushes off calls to come clean about its own nuclear capabilities.
Additionally, Amano, in a letter obtained Wednesday by the AP, has asked foreign ministers of the agency’s 151 member states for proposals on how to persuade Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Egypt has proposed that a Nonproliferation Treaty conference now meeting at UN headquarters in New York back a plan calling for the start of negotiations next year on a Mideast free of nuclear arms.

The U.S. has cautiously supported the idea while saying that implementing it must wait for progress in the Middle East peace process. Israel also says a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement must come first.

Still, Washington and the four other nuclear weapons countries recognized as such under the Nonproliferation Treaty appear to be ready to move from passive support to a more active role.

In her speech to the UN nuclear conference on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington would support practical measures for moving toward that objective.

Washington also has been discussing it with the Israelis, said a Western diplomatic source, who asked for anonymity since he was discussing other countries’ contacts.

Russian arms negotiator Anatoly I. Antonov, speaking on behalf of the five Nonproliferation Treaty nuclear powers, said these nations were committed to full implementation of a Middle East nuclear free zone.

Ending the “End Game” In Georgia

[Georgian opposition leader pushes plan to solve the Abkhazia and S. Ossetia stand-off, reportedly, the plan has quiet Russian backing.  The big sticking point for this agreement is the obvious fact that it is counter to current Imperial plans for the region.  Stabilizing the situation that American/Israeli agents have so carefully destabilized over the past fifteen years or so seems like a very good idea to the rest of the world, but not to those whose geopolitical plans have one goal--

permanent, total world domination.

ending the planned "end game" is the only solution to the world's problems.]

Russia May Revoke Recognition of Rebel Regions, Noghaideli Says

By Helena Bedwell

Хелена Бедуэлл (Helena Bedwell)

Зураб Ногаидели: Россия может отозвать признание мятежных регионов © Риа Новости, Бесик Пипия

May 4 (Bloomberg) — Georgian opposition leader Zurab Noghaideli, a former prime minister, said he has “a clear plan” to make Russia reverse its recognition of two separatist Georgian regions as sovereign states.

“The plan is to secure the return of thousands of Georgian refugees” to the two regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, “and to restore economic and political ties,” Noghaideli told reporters in Tbilisi today.

“If Georgia can resolve its conflict with the Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples, Russia has told me they would support this initiative” and the “miracle” of restoring the two regions to Georgia “could happen,” Noghaideli said.

Russia routed Georgia’s U.S.-trained army in an August 2008 war over South Ossetia. In the wake of the conflict, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign countries. More than 100,000 people were displaced during the conflict, according to the Georgian government. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said the decision is irrevocable.

More than 20,000 people fled the Akhalgori region in South Ossetia following Russia’s occupation of the region, Noghaideli said, while more than 2,000 were displaced from the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia.

Without the Georgian government’s participation, it will be “difficult” to improve relations with Russia or the separatists, Noghaideli said.

‘Occupied Regions’

Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia’s reintegration minister, declined to comment on Noghaideli’s statement.

“The government has a strategy for the occupied regions and it’s working,” Iakobashvili said by telephone. “The first stage is under way, and even under the occupation we feel that we have to help the two regions and their people.”

Noghaideli began the Georgian opposition’s effort to cultivate ties with Moscow when he signed a deal to cooperate with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. He plans to travel to Russia for talks on May 7.

Noghaideli became Georgia’s prime minister in 2005 and was removed from office in November 2007 as President Mikheil Saakashvili lifted a state of emergency declared after violent clashes between police and opposition protesters. Noghaideli moved into opposition a year later.

–Editor: Patrick G. Henry

Clinton Warns of “Severe Consequences” If Pakistan Origin Attack Succeeds

[It's only a matter of time before this happens.  The only way that Pakistan could possibly conform to US demands would be to ignite total civil war in the country from NWFP/Khyber/"Paktunia" to Punjab.  The "strategic depth" policies of the Pak Army will very likely lead to the not so strategic death and dismemberment of the Nation in the near future.]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Sec. Clinton on Pakistan and The War on Terror

Says Pakistan More Helpful in War on Terror; Warns of “Severe Consequences” If Successful Terror Attack Originated There

CBS) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Pakistani government has been warned that if a terror operation like the failed Times Square bombing were to be successful and found to be originated in their country, “there would be very severe consequences.”

Clinton also acknowledged Pakistan’s increased cooperation in the war on terror, but said the U.S. wants and expects even more from the Muslim nation.

The interview was conducted in Washington Friday by “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley for a report to be broadcast this Sunday, May 9, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

“We’ve made it very clear that if, heaven-forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences,” Clinton tells Pelley. The car bomb that fizzled out in Time Square last week was planted by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who was born in Pakistan and says he had terrorist training there.

Clinton says Pakistan’s attitude toward fighting Islamic terrorists has changed remarkably. “We’ve gotten more cooperation and it’s been a real sea change in the commitment we’ve seen from the Pakistan Government. [But] We want more. We expect more,” says Clinton.

Since the relationship with Pakistan turned around, the results are encouraging she says. “We also have a much better relationship, military to military, intelligence to intelligence, government to government than we had before,” Clinton tells Pelley. “I think that there was a double game going on in the previous years, where we got a lot of lip service but very little produced. We’ve got a lot produced. We have seen the killing or capturing of a great number of the leadership of significant terrorist groups and we’re going continue that.”

Number of wounded in Russia’ North Caucasus blast rises to 8

Number of wounded in Russia’ North Caucasus blast rises to 8

At least eight people were wounded and one was killed after an explosion ripped through a railway station in the town of Derbent in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan on Friday night, a police source said.

It was reported earlier that seven people were wounded in the blast.

The police source said the persons injured in the blast included three police officers and five civilians while a woman died of wounds in the hospital.

The explosive device was placed in a garbage dumpster near the platform where passengers were gathering to catch an intercity train.

Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus republics, especially Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, have seen an upsurge of militant violence lately, with frequent attacks on police and officials.

The Kremlin has pledged to wage “a ruthless fight” against militant groups but also acknowledged a need to tackle unemployment, organized crime, clan rivalry and corruption as causes of the ongoing violence in the region.

MAKHACHKALA, May 8 (RIA Novosti)

Maoist Rebellion in India

Maoist Rebellion in India

By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Correspondent

Maoist Rebellion in India

The recent massacre of 80-odd para-military soldiers by the Indian ultra-rebel group, Maoists, is terrorism in its bloodiest form. The mayhem occurred in the central Indian State of Chhattisgarh. It is here that the Maoist rebellion is most intense, and India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was bang on when he equated this revolt with terror some months ago.

Maoists are also known as Naxalites after the district of Naxalbari in the eastern Indian State of West Bengal, where they first staged an armed uprising in 1967. The two most important Naxalite leaders, Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal, were brilliantly intellectual, but extremely frustrated with the corrupt state machinery that ignored and humiliated poverty-stricken villagers, especially landless laborers. Mazumdar and Sanyal also attracted young students, disillusioned with the system. Many of them fancied themselves as budding scholars and thinkers, and were inspired by Mao’s teachings. In fact, the Naxalite movement was applauded by China’s “People’s Daily” at the height of the Cultural Revolution as “as a peal of spring thunder”.

However, the Naxalites were wiped out in the mid-1970s, when the Indian Government threw hundreds of them, mostly students and young men, into jails, where they were reportedly tortured and even killed. Mazumdar himself was a prison casualty. He was brutally tortured for 12 days before he succumbed to his injuries. Sanyal, who later claimed to have broken away from the path of violence, committed suicide the other day.

Naxalism went out of fashion for some years before it re-emerged as several armed factions.The biggest were the People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre, and they merged and formed the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in September 2004. Today, the party has thousands of armed fighters and an equal number of firearms, which are supposedly being supplied by China. The training in arms was allegedly given by Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The Maoists never had a problem finding grassroots support. Whether it was West Bengal in the 1960s and the 1970s or now in the States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the rebellion has been attracting the downtrodden men. They have no clue about Mao’s ideology. They do not care, but they have readily picked up the gun to kill in order to try and better their own lives in a society run by inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy and government.

The Maoists admittedly use force and terror, even to recruit cadres, but they are highly disciplined and organized, choosing their areas of operation with great diligence and after a detailed study. They identify the pressing grievances of the poor and exploit them.

Let us take the case of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh where the para-military forces were ambushed and killed by several hundred Maoists. Thickly forested, Dantewada is the home to tribals, who have been exploited for decades and pushed to the bottom rungs of the community. There are hardly any schools there or medical facilities. Most of the tribals are illiterate, and they live by selling forest produce. But the markets are far away, and the roads, if at all any, are bad.

The government accuses the Maoists of blocking development, and they retaliate by saying that the roads, in this case, will merely make it easier for the administration to plunder forest wealth and take it out. Ajay Sahni, who works for a Delhi think-tank, says that “it is all question of “asymmetric expectations People expect the state to provide for them, and it is failing; any good coming from the Maoists—social work, land redistribution, a price rise for local produce—brings disproportionate gratitude”.

The only way out of this web of misery and conflict is for the administration to assert effective control through a well-streamlined police force. But in independent India’s six-odd decades, there has hardly been any police reform. Policemen continue to be poorly paid and hence tend to be corrupt. The profession has also lost its appeal: so, there are just 55 policemen for every 100 sq km in India. In Chhattisgarh, the number is a paltry 17, and nobody wants to police places like Dantewada, where the job is singularly dangerous.

Added to this, is the Federal-State discord over security. This is a State subject, and each State chooses to deal with Maoist terrorism in its own way, with the Federal government not yet able to formulate a national policy on this. Days after the Federal Home Minister, Palaniappa Chidambaram, held the West Bengal Chief Minister responsible for the Maoist atrocities there by saying that the “buck stops at the Chief Minister’s table”, the rebels struck at Dantewada, where Federal forces have been in command.

The Maoists have sent their message loud and clear. While they may not yet have the power to demolish the government in New Delhi, they can create havoc in the countryside and throttle development in some of the most backward areas in India. So, the Maoist rebellion can worsen social inequality and thus strengthen its own cause by attracting the have-nots.

Georgia Next Kyrgyzstan? Ten Injured In Clashes With Special Forces

Over 10 people injured in clash between opposition and special forces in Georgia


As a result of collisions between opposition members and special forces, 10 people were injured. Protesters and the police were also injured. All of them are in different city hospitals, but their condition is not critical.

Today at 10:00 a.m. in Tbilisi, some part of the opposition began a protest against the parade, conducted by the Interior Ministry.

It was reported that the protesters and law enforcement officials clashed a few hundred meters from the ministerial building. Police tried to push back the protesters. In response the opposition started to throw stones at police. Special forces used the shields and batons.