Govt mulling dropping key clause in N-liability bill

[India continues to grovel at American feet--now the government openly bows to American dictates.  Following the Bhopal farcical verdict, which spared the American corporation for criminal liability for the slaughter, the passage of the nuclear liability bill will advertise to the world that India is a population of "useless eaters" eager to die for jobs.  SEE: Nuclear Liability Bill to be introduced on Monday]

Govt mulling dropping key clause in N-liability bill

2010-06-10 18:40:00
Last Updated: 2010-06-10 19:36:52
​A verdict that shattered the hopes of a nation

New Delhi: The government is understood to be considering changes in the nuclear liability bill, including a proposal to drop a crucial clause that would compel a foreign nuclear supplier to provide for compensation in case of accidents due to wilful action or gross negligence.

The changes coming against the backdrop of light sentencing in the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict have already come under attack from political parties including the BJP and the Left parties which have said it was being done under American pressure.

The government intention is believed to have been conveyed during a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Tuesday by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

No ministerial connivance on Anderson: Soni

The changes appear to have even caught off guard the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which plays a key role in forging cooperation with the US and other nations for the government.

Highly placed sources in the MEA said Section 17(b) was part of the Bill at least till last week and they were not aware if changes were being mooted by the DAE. However, the sources maintained that the government would not take away the liability of the supplier under contractual obligation and that the interests of the common man would be protected.

This, they claimed, would be ensured in the context of the Bhopal court verdict that has highlighted the lacunae in Indian laws in dealing with such industrial disasters and to provide adequate compensation for the victims.

There was no official word from the government on the changes except a terse press release from the DAE which referred to news reports on deletions and modifications in the Bill.

How Anderson was escorted out of Bhopal

It merely said the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 was under consideration by a Parliamentary Committee, which is “examining all aspects”.

“The Government’s role is limited and will continue to be restricted to providing inputs in response to queries put to it by the Committee,” the release said.

Afghan drug production – a challenge to the world community


Afghan drug production – a challenge to the world community

Natalia Kharitonov

Under Niyazov, Afghan drug traffic through the territory of Turkmenistan could not be counted and implemented with the direct support of intelligence. When Berdimuhamedov taking steps (until fine) to counter drug trafficking.

Moscow hosted the International Forum “The Afghan drug production – a challenge to the world community”, organized by RIA Novosti and the Federal Service for Control of illicit trafficking in drugs (FSKN). Yesterday, during the TV Moscow – Washington, Russian and American experts expressed the view that the Afghan drug problem should be addressed at the international level, developing an integrated approach. In fact ascertained fact that all the efforts to date measure any significant result was not given. This is evidenced by the numbers – according to various sources on the territory of Afghanistan produced more than 90 percent of the heroin consumed in the world.

The problem of Afghan drug really took rampant. According to the UN, Russia ranked first in the world for the consumption of heroin. Every year from the Afghan drug kills more than 30 thousand people, which was 2 times higher than during the entire Afghan war.

First, it is assumed that the primary responsibility for combating the Afghan drug traffic should take the United States. And not just because they have actually led Operation Enduring Freedom, but also because since the invasion of coalition forces in Afghanistan, drug production steadily increases.

It is known that the Taliban came to power, in principle, against drug production and drug trafficking used only as a temporary financing in guerrilla warfare.

At the same time expect the United States any serious measures to combat drug trafficking is futile. Drug trafficking for them – a kind of leverage over the situation in Afghanistan. After all, the production and drug trafficking – is the main method of funding the warlords, and a blow to drug trafficking repeatedly reinforce the activity of these groups against the coalition forces. It turns out that the presence of drug alleviate conflict in this country. Statements by the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to the effect that the U.S. “can not be distracted by the fight against trafficking”, as in the first place they should fight against the main enemy – al Qaeda, a position confirmed. R. Holbrook summer of 2009 also recognized that the cost of the destruction of opium poppy have not brought positive results, and announced that henceforth the strategy will be based on measures to curb the drug traffic and arrest drug lords who organize the supply chain. Furthermore, again as stated R. Holbrook, given the rising unemployment destruction of poppy fields is not only futile and ineffective, but counterproductive, since the Afghan farmers can go to the Taliban. Later it was reported that the U.S. can not force the Afghan farmers not to grow poppy because they still have nothing to offer in return.

Secondly, the external forces, carrying out policy in Afghanistan, always pursuing only their own interests, and usually without a thorough analysis of the situation inside the country and even less without regard to the Afghan interests. This practice is waning. Afghanistan can not be regarded as “Asian Colombia” – which is ruled by drug lords reside exclusively. In Afghanistan, there has traditionally developed political system.

A decisive role here could play Russia – as the country most affected by the Afghan drug trafficking.

Russia may find allies in the EU (eg Germany, which conducts an independent policy in Afghanistan), Iran (the country is taking stringent measures to counter the Afghan drug trade) and China.

Case here is the question of interaction with the countries of Central Asia, because it is clear that a transit point between Russia and Afghanistan are precisely those countries.Experts believe that now the main flow of Afghan drugs pass through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. As for Turkmenistan, Niyazov’s Afghan drug traffic across the country could not be counted and implemented with the direct support of intelligence. Now, with Berdimuhamedov, who unlike Niyazov prefers to build relations with the Kabul government, steps are being taken (still fine) to combat drug trafficking. Nevertheless, Russia in Central Asia is, at least two allies – Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, whose leadership is interested in addressing the drug because, inter alia, in the Ferghana Valley is a way of funding Islamist entities with which the many years of being actively controlled .

Source:: Novaya Gazeta (Kazakhstan)

US Army Looking for Construction Contractors for 5 Central Asian Countries

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers logo

Y–Forward Planning of Design-Build Construction Projects

Solicitation Number: W912ER10XXXXX
Agency: Department of the Army
Office: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Location: USACE Middle East District

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Sources Sought
Added: May 17, 2010 9:40 am

THIS IS A SOURCES SOUGHT MARKET SURVEY ONLY. THE SOLICITATION NUMBER USED IS A FICTICTIOUS NUMBER. THERE IS NO SOLICITATION AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME. REQUESTS FOR A SOLICITATION WILL NOT RECEIVE A RESPONSE. Any information submitted by respondents to this synopsis is strictly voluntary. This market survey does not constitute a Request for Proposals (RFP) or a request for sealed bids (IFB), nor does its issuance restrict the Government as to its ultimate acquisition approach. The Government will neither award a contract solely on the basis of this notice, nor pay respondents for any information that they submit in response to this Sources Sought request. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is conducting this sources sought market survey to determine interest from potential sources capable of fulfilling Construction Requirements as follows:

This scope of work is to perform large-scale ground-up design-build construction projects in the following Central South Asian States (CASA): Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; and Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan $1,000,000 – $5,000,000
Kyrgyzstan $5,000,000 – $10,000,000
We anticipate two different projects in Kyrgyzstan. Both are estimated to be in the $5M to $10M dollar range.
Tajikistan $1,000,000 – $5,000,000
Tajikistan $5,000,000 – $10,000,000
Turkmenistan $1,000,000 – $5,000,000
Uzbekistan $1,000,000 – $5,000,000

Responses to the Sources Sought Market Survey should include the following information:

(1) Who are you? Tell us about your company. Provide a brief description of previous ground-up and design-build construction experience (include the size of project, location, dollar value; your role in the project, i.e. prime contractor, sub-contractor, or joint venture);

(2) Do you have the ability to perform large-scale ground-up construction and deliver the required services, equipment and manpower in a timely manner tell us how you can meet this requirement?;

(3) Our projects will require design. What capability do you have to provide a complete design?

(4) Do you have a company website address? Please share it with us.

(5) Please state specifically which countries you are interested in performing in.

Contractor is encouraged to utilize CASA local sources and service to the maximum extent practicable when it does not conflict with other requirements, especially quality.

Responders must have the financial capacity to fund the construction, no advance financing will be provided. Joint Ventures are encouraged.

Respond to Wendy Arsenault by 31 May 2010 at

USACE Middle East District, P.O. Box 2250, Winchester, VA 22604-1450
USACE Middle East District P.O. Box 2250, Winchester VA
Deborah Brown, 540-665-3764

USACE Middle East District

Tajik Journalists Picketed the Uzbek Embassy in Dushanbe Over Rail Shutdown

The journalists picketed the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Tajikistan in Dushanbe

June 9, 2010, 11:46
CA-NEWS (TJ) – Over 20 employees of the independent media had a picket at the Uzbek embassy in Tajikistan on Wednesday.

As the correspondent of CA-News, the journalists were kept in their placards “Free cars Tadizhkistana!” And chanted “Mr. Ambassador, leave us and answer our questions!”.

According to the protesters to leave the picket prompted their sense of patriotism and the emerging critical situation in the country in connection with the May disaster.

The embassy of Uzbekistan, the head of diplomatic mission Shokasym Shoislamov is currently in Tashkent, in connection with preparations for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, scheduled for June 11.

Tajik President Rakhmon officially Confirm their participation in the upcoming summit.

Last week’s second rally held in front of the Uzbek Embassy in Dushanbe. Last week, a rally held women activists in Tajikistan.

The wave of pickets organized by citizens of Tajikistan, were also at the Uzbek Embassy in Bishkek and Washington.

Participants in all pickets demanded that the Uzbek authorities to lift the blockade of transit trains with cargo for Tajikistan, which has been going on for the past six months. According to the Tajik side, at the moment on the territory of Uzbekistan is delayed about 2,5 thousand wagons with cargo to Tajikistan.

Recall that on Tuesday the President of Tajikistan, told a conference “Water for Life 2005-2015″ in Dushanbe, the need for unhindered passage of goods, which play a strategic role in solving the problems of poverty, disaster management, support health, education and other tasks .

CIS States Cope With Remnants of Soviet Electrical Water Distribution Networks

Participants of the international conference on water in Dushanbe declare interconnectedness of water and electricity
June 9, 2010, 16:54
CA-NEWS (TJ) – The International Conference on High-Level Mid-Term Review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life 2005-2015″, which completes its work in Dushanbe on Wednesday, to recognize the UN’s role in discussing and reaching agreement on all matters associated with water.

As a result of the conference is expected to adopt the Dushanbe Water Declaration, the draft of which is available to the CA-News.

The Conference expressed interrelatedness of water and electricity. “Water as a source of renewable energy needed to generate electricity, and electricity is in turn necessary for water supply, as well as providing other basic services naselniyu. Sustainable hydropower can contribute in meaningful progress on poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries “, – stated in the draft document.

Delegates believe that the sustainable management of surface and ground water resources is key to achieving progress on all aspects of economic and human development, as well as to ensure water quality and ecosystems, life support products and services.

In their view, issues related to water resource management requires an approach at the local, national, regional and international levels. “Water is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Sustainable and equitable access to water, requires the solution of the extremes of water availability through proper management of water resources, as well as providing appropriate services to improve sanitation and wastewater treatment “, – emphasized in the draft document.

The participants also expressed the need to accelerate the process in achieving the goals of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

“The political will and financial commitment, both by national governments and by development partners, should be further strengthened and taken as a priority for the international development goals on water resources during the remaining part of the International Decade for Action” Water for Life ” 2005-2015, especially for developing countries “, – stated in the draft document.

The declaration is expected to be adopted on Wednesday by the International Conference in Dushanbe, will be presented to the UN General Assembly at its 65 th session.

The conference brought together delegations from 70 countries are UN members, representatives of 20 organizations, UN entities, as well as 65 international and regional organizations, as well as a large number of scientists and international experts.

The main objective of the conference – the midterm comprehensive review of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, analysis of the progress made within the internationally agreed development goals related to water issues, as well as the projection of the international commitments related to water and water issues 2015.

The drug mafia as a global force

The drug mafia as a global force

Topic: International forum Afghan Drug Production: A Challenge to the International Community

The drug mafia as a global force
The drug mafia as a global force
10:43 10/06/2010
© RIA Novosti. Sergey Venyavskiy

The structure of international relations has undergone a sea change in recent years: now, one of its features is that so-called non-state actors have greatly expanded their reach, to the detriment of the global situation. Non-state actors are global political entities that act outside the realm of international law. They include extremist, radical and terrorist organizations, fundamentalist movements, criminal syndicates and commercial entities engaged in illegal activities. The international drug mafia is undoubtedly one of the most influential non-state actors in the world.

The drug mafia, as a non-state actor in global politics, is distinguished by its decentralized and networked structure. It is essentially indestructible because, like the Learnean Hydra of Greek mythology, for every head it loses, it grows two more. Like all businesses, its goal is simple and clear: to make the largest profit possible.

The drug mafia’s network now covers the entire globe. There are producer countries – Afghanistan (opium poppy) and ColumbiaMiddle East. The endpoint in the supply chain are the profitable markets of Russia, the European Union and the United States. (coca bush). Drugs from these countries are transported to consumer countries through transit regions – Central Asia, Central America and the

The drug mafia leverages its enormous financial resources to gain influence (including political influence) in the regions critical to its business. It is closely linked with other criminal organizations, corrupt elites in various countries and the global financial system. Economic liberalization has been a boon to the drug mafia, as the modern global economy offers a host of opportunities for money laundering.

In a number of cases, the drug mafia enjoys considerable public support, and any efforts to fight it could provoke a backlash of popular anger. This is why the powerful NATO-led coalition focuses on counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and shies away from taking on Afghan drug producers. The recent attempt of Jamaican authorities to arrest drug lord Christopher Coke vividly shows what can happen in this case. The confrontation between his supporters and police resulted in heavy street fighting in Kingston.

The example of Afghanistan

However, it would be wrong to draw parallels between Jamaica and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a unique case. It is, in effect, the world’s only narco-state, and as such, it warrants special attention. The lion’s share of revenue in the Afghan economy comes from the production of heroin, the world’s most dangerous drug. The country’s black market is several times bigger than its legal economy. Opium poppy is cultivated in the regions with the best climate and carefully guarded laboratories process raw opium into pure heroin.

Drug-related exportation and importation are carried out on a massive scale. Large amounts of precursors (acetic anhydride, hydrochloric acid, acetone, etc.) are brought into Afghanistan in order to process heroin. The finished product is then shipped outside the country.

The drug mafia plays a special role in Afghanistan, and it is aided in its criminal activities by the Taliban (which destabilizes the country and weakens the central government), government officials (who have business ties with drug lords) and the NATO-led coalition (which prefers to turn a blind eye to the problem). As a result, the political system that has taken shape in Afghanistan can be described as a form of drug-fueled military feudalism in which real power belongs exclusively to local warlords, who are closely involved with drug trafficking.

This is fertile ground for the drug mafia. Economically, it stands to gain from the destabilization currently plaguing Afghanistan. But the drug lords are never content. They are always interested in expanding their business. This is a cause for concern in the important transit countries in Central Asia. By buying off local authorities and forming relationships with the local communities and businesses, the drug mafia is securing its foothold in this strategically important region. The interests of this non-state actor would be best served by the continuation of Afghanistan’s problems and the further destabilization of the current Central Asian regimes.

Terrorism is a consequence, not a cause

In light of these circumstances, the counter-terrorist operation launched in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11th attacks has lost all meaning. The drug mafia will provide the Taliban and Al-Qaeda with unlimited funds to maintain its position in the country. Fighting them will become nothing more than a battle with windmills. To win the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, we must first deal a blow to its deeply entrenched drug mafia. This will require an effective combination of force, on the one hand, and social and economic measures on the other. We need more sophisticated military tactics, as well as a greater emphasis on gathering and analyzing information on the production and export of drugs, the destruction of poppy fields and heroin labs, intercepting caravans with drugs and precursors and neutralizing and eliminating the owners of drug plantations, most of whom stay far away from Afghanistan.

We must also work toward economic renewal in Afghanistan and the creation of a normal economy to replace the current feudal-criminal economy. We forget the experience of the Soviet modernization of Afghanistan in the 1980s at our peril. That being said, we must not repeat Soviet mistakes born of a misunderstanding of the Afghan mindset. Unfortunately, the anti-terrorist coalition is mostly engaged in destructive activities in Afghanistan. They appear not to realize that their actions are only aggravating an already difficult situation, swelling the ranks of terrorist supporters and providing fresh recruits for the drug business, which is essentially the sole source of income for ordinary Afghans.

Dialogue – the first step toward a solution

There is always the easy way out – to hypocritically close one’s eyes to the problem. This tactic will work for a while, but when the abscess finally bursts it will be much more difficult (if not impossible) to deal with the consequences. Concealing the true nature of Afghanistan’s problems will only make matters worse in the long run.

The international community should initiate an open dialogue to find a solution to the Afghan crisis. This process must be rooted in a clear understanding of the fact that the terrorist threat in Afghanistan is now second to the drug threat.

What Afghanistan and the world need is a serious campaign against Afghan heroin aimed at destroying the drug trade and an international plan to ensure Afghanistan’s progress and economic renewal. Any other path in Afghanistan could lead to a continent-wide disaster.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

MOSCOW (Alexei Pilko, Ph.D. in History, for RIA Novosti)

Headley dispels ‘non-state actors’ myth, fingers ISI

Headley dispels ‘non-state actors’ myth, fingers ISI news

New Delhi: Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative Daood Sayed Gilani, a.k.a David Coleman Headley, may have confirmed to his Indian interrogators that the 26/11 Mumbai attack was stage-managed by Pakistan Army intelligence service, the ISI, at “each and every stage of the plot”. His confession would go a long way towards dispelling the Pakistani myth that the 26/11 Mumbai attack was carried out by ‘non-state’ actors.

Headley is currently under interrogation in the US by a team of National Investigation Agency officials from India.

According to reports now in circulation in the Indian media, and attributed to government sources, Headley’s confession would not only bring the focus back on Pakistani state actors in the global game of terrorism, but also highlight the LeT-ISI relationship and also help explain Islamabad’s unwillingness to bring the Lashkar leadership and the organisation to book.

Reports suggest that Headley has fingered serving officers of Pakistan army – Major Sameer Ali, Major Iqbal and Major Haroon – as those in close connect with the Laskhar terrorists. Incidentally, the names of Major Sameer and Major Iqbal also figured in the dossiers that India has provided to Pakistan.

It is now being given to understand that Home minister P Chidambaram may ask for voice samples of seven Lashkar commanders including Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu Al Qama and others when he meets his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik in the course of his visit to Islamabad to participate in the SAARC home ministers conference.

Pakistan has steadfastly refused to provide voice samples of those in its custody, and those moving about free, as these would go a long way in establishing the identity of those who instructed the 26/11 LeT attackers as they went about on their killing spree.

In another interesting development, Headley has apparently spilled the beans about the ISI game plan to get the LeT to disown the Mumbai attacks in a bid to deflect global attention away from the terror outfit and its obvious links to the army apparatus in Pakistan.

A calculating ISI intended to blame the carnage on al-Qaeda and even prepared list of a few al-Qaeda operatives who were to be put forward as the conspirators. It was desperate to do some damage control as a LeT operative Ajmal Kasab was nabbed in the course of the mission and electronic intercepts was bringing Indian and American investigations ever closer to the LeT-ISI nexus.

The plan backfired as the LeT appeared to be determined to milk the ‘success’ of the mission for funds and recruitment. The group was pleased with the fact that the mission had helped raise its profile as a jihadi/terrorist group.

The man particularly adamant on this score was Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, the LeT’s military chief.

Reports suggest that Headley has also admitted that though he started off as a LeT recruit, he graduated towards the al-Qaida after coming under the influence of Major Abdul Rahman Saeed. Saeed, an ex- Baloch Regiment officer of the Pakistan Army, sought voluntary retirement in 2002 to devote himself fulltime to al-Qaida’s cause.

Headley, apparently rated high in the retired major’s esteem because of the precise inputs he provided for the 26/11 attack garnered in the course of his scouting mission.

Major Saeed, apparently also bought him into contact with top al-Qaeda operative, Ilyas Kashmiri, who drafted a plan to attack Danish newspaper Jylland Posten which published controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

Headley’s original handler, Sajid Mir, was keen that he remained focussed on the Lashkar’s anti-India mission.

Terror Camp Reports lack Credibility

by Iqbal Jassat
(Wednesday, June 9, 2010)

“…experience has been that the loudest and most irrational voices that constantly demand that media function as their tool in pursuing so-called “Islamic terrorists” are closely linked to Israel and the US State Department. Indeed, the proliferation of right-wing think tanks that operate with access to unlimited funds from US/Israeli foundations and endowments are committed to get a buy-in from the rest of the world to their deliberate propaganda.”

Recent weekend media reports have once again raised the ugly specter of potential terror attacks during the 2010 World Cup.

And as usual, the culprits singled out as “terror threats” are Muslims. They are local and foreign from countries such as Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Sweeping allegations with no evidence of any “smoking guns” – a routine familiar to the US and Europe – seems to unfortunately beset some in the media fraternity as acceptable practise. With no regard to the despicable practise of stereotyping and the ugly consequences resulting thereby such as Xenophobia and Islamophobia.

Malicious generalizations that fail to investigate the possibility of politically motivated agendas by individuals and groups as “sources” allied to the Israeli cause, adds to the perception that some media resort to sloppy journalism.

Invariably our experience has been that the loudest and most irrational voices that constantly demand that media function as their tool in pursuing so-called “Islamic terrorists” are closely linked to Israel and the US State Department. Indeed, the proliferation of right-wing think tanks that operate with access to unlimited funds from US/Israeli foundations and endowments are committed to get a buy-in from the rest of the world to their deliberate propaganda.

Sunday Times in the last fortnight became a purveyor of such contrived material with large banner headlines screaming, “Terror camps in SA are gearing up for World Cup”. If the journalists concerned had undertaken elementary probes to establish the credibility of the source and his political bias based on his advocacy of the “war on terror”, they would have found that the only named source, Ronald Sandee of Nine Eleven Finding Answers [NEFA] Foundation is known for producing heaps of so-called intelligence that borders on Islamophobia in defence of Israel.

His recent briefing to the US Congress, which forms the basis of these intemperate reports, is the latest manifestation of his scare mongering whereby in the absence of any credible evidence, he sketched a scenario of willful mayhem during the World Cup.

The allegations he makes, especially about “the existence of terror training camps” without identifying any is an indication that his poor research may have relied too heavily on earlier discredited claims regarding “Greenbushes” in the Eastern Cape.

Reports that his information from faceless sources within “several intelligence agencies” further reveal how many of these agencies such as the CIA and Mossad constantly collude to sustain threats of “Islamic terror”.

Again, if the Sunday Times had resorted to basic ethics it would have recognized the need to locate Sandee within a particular political prism that reveals his association with some of the most notorious Islamophobes at Herzliya’s annual anti-Islam bashing counter-terror conference during 2009 in Israel.

And by the way if the report claims that the existence of “operational militant training camps in several provinces in South Africa” and of “established terror strike cells” was “confirmed” by three anonymous sources with “direct or indirect access to active intelligence operations”, it certainly does not authenticate it. Neither is the Sunday Times able to verify that its own independent investigation led it to uncover the actual physical locations with pictures to corroborate it simply because it did not do so. Yet the scenario sketched is one of impending horror based entirely on hearsay!

The other failure on the part of the Sunday Times is complete and utter silence on the matter of El Al’s Shin Bet operations at OR Tambo airport. Despite confirmation that these Israeli secret service agents masquerade illegally as security for a commercial airline, carry arms licensed to the Israeli embassy and enjoy full diplomatic immunity, why has the paper not extended its one dimensional report to include a probe into this? Surely the fact that foreign intelligence agents render a key access point’s security vulnerable must be of paramount national interest, yet we are faced with total silence!


by courtesy & © 2010 Iqbal Jassat

Psychiatry in the Era of Neuroethics

Psychiatry in the Era of Neuroethics

Ethical Questions at the Intersection of Neurotechnology and Psychiatry

By Erick H. Cheung, MD | June 8, 2010
Dr Cheung is co-chief resident in the department of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior of the University of California, Los Angeles. The author reports no conflicts of interest concerning the subject matter of this article.

Picture a metallic arm with spectacular titanium and stainless steel exposing inlayed microchips, boasting over 20 points of movement that closely mimic a human arm.

This is the image that graces the cover of National Geographic’s January 2010 issue, heralding the “bionic age.”1 To be clear, it has taken decades for scientists to accept the term “bionic,” which is the merging of man with machine—once just a figment of fiction writers’ imagination. With astoundingly innovative technology, researchers are harnessing motor cortex brain signals that travel to the stump of an amputee’s limb, where electrode arrays are matched with the residual nerve endings to translate the signal into the human-like mechanical motion of a prosthetic limb.

In the field of “brain bionics,” the industry of neurostimulation therapies is a ripe market. Several large corporations and more than 20 start-up companies are competing to find new applications and improve the efficacy of the major, contemporary neurostimulation modalities: deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation (Table 1).2

The future is here.

Neuroethics meets psychiatric ethics

For decades, neuroscientists have been cognizant of the social implications of their work, but only since 2002 has the field of “neuroethics” emerged as a formal discipline that attempts to organize and address the ethical issues in neuroscience research and technology.3 The coining of the term “neuroethics” is credited to William Safire,4 a former columnist for The New York Times, who described it as “the field of philosophy that discusses the rights and wrongs of the treatment of, or enhancement of, the human brain.” A new vernacular has since transpired, with the prefix “neuro” (denoting neuroscience-based or -informed) commonly appended to a suffix such as “ethics,” “ law,” “imaging,” or “enhancement.” Michael Gazzaniga,5 sitting with the 2004 President’s Council on Bioethics, provided a broader definition of neuroethics as the “examination of how we want to deal with the social issues of disease, normality, mortality, lifestyle, and the philosophy of living informed by our understanding of underlying brain mechanisms.”

Neuroethics has a rapidly growing literature that focuses mostly on the ethical concerns in neuroimaging and neuroenhancement. However, there has been a lack of attention from both psychiatry and neuroethics to the potential implications of neuroscience and its technologies for the diagnosis, treatment, and societal perception of mental illnesses.6 Increasingly, sophisticated techniques for imaging and intervening in human cognition, emotion, and behavior raise important ethical issues at the intersection of neurotechnology and psychiatry (Table 2).

Physical manipulation of the brain

Prosthetic limbs, cochlear and retinal implants, mechanical heart valves, kidney dialysis machines, and pain pumps are examples of full- and part-time bionic human parts with cutting- edge technology that extend lives and relieve suffering. Are there any worries about becoming a bionic society? The ethical concerns achieve a sharper focus and reach higher stakes when considering neurostimulation technologies and intervention in brain function. Deep brain stimulation, for example, might soon be proved safe and effective as a means of alleviating a number of treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis; yet turning off the depression, the obsessions, or bad thoughts with a neuroimplant somehow raises ethical concerns, whereas hip replacements and hearing aids do not.7

The historical existence of this controversy is apparent when looking back at psychiatry’s experience with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychosurgery, and the decades of debate waged over patients’ rights and allegations of social and individual mind control, punishment for recalcitrant patients, and concerns about overuse or misuse.8 Despite overwhelming research in support of ECT’s safety and efficacy, this form of treatment still engenders broad skepticism, misunderstanding, distaste, and civil rights protest.

Psychosurgery is a particularly contentious practice, and yet, the outcome of deep brain stimulation may not be all that different. While the true mechanism of action of deep brain stimulation is still unclear, the prevailing theory is that the implanted electrodes create a focal inhibitory effect on the immediate surrounding brain tissue and thus achieve the ablative results similar to those of psychosurgery. Granted, an obvious major advantage to deep brain stimulation is the potential reversibility of an implanted electrode, yet it remains to be seen whether this factor is sufficient to moderate public opinion and engender wider acceptance than that of psychosurgery or ECT.

In speculation, part of the reluctance to intervene physically in brain functions stems from persistent stigma and a general assumption that mental illnesses are to a greater degree under a person’s control than physical illnesses (eg, tremors, seizure, heart valve failure). Furthermore, it appears that emotional and cognitive functions garner a higher degree of sanctity and inviolability than all other human functions. Thus, psychosurgery may seem acceptable or palliative when it is used to relieve intractable seizures, but barbaric when used for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Likewise, while concerns are raised over a so-called brain pacemaker (the lay term for deep brain stimulation) that can modulate mood and cognition at the “flip of a switch,” people who have Parkinson disease are able to benefit from immediate, dramatic improvements in gait and motor control. Understanding the philosophical and cultural roots of such a discrepancy is a major task for psychiatry and neuroethics.  (read HERE)

Are Reports Of Latest “Baloch Operation” Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) Disinformation?

[Have journalists been deceived (SEE: U.S. urged to intervene: Pakistan military operation in Mekran)? Have I and other analysts fallen victim to effective BLA propaganda (SEE: Shaitan Is Smiling In Balochistan)?

I am usually too suspicious of what I read on the Internet to run a lot of stories which don't "feel right" to me.  Normally, I am leery of all "news" from the Baloch resistance site; I always double-check first with the respectable and usually reliable Baloch Hal site.  In the case of this report, there was no confirmation of a new military operation, but considering possible American preparations being made for the same portion of Balochistan named in this report, I went with it anyway.  After a retired Pak Air Force friend (who always leads me straight) had his sources check-out the claims, which were denied, I began to doubt.

Today, my suspicious brain put two-and-two together, the Army was in Balochistan bringing in emergency supplies and taking control of communal water sources, in preparation for Cyclone Phet.

It is possible that the Army was also taking advantage of the opportunity to fill the military vacuum in Balochistan, to dissuade American planners.

This is the big problem we encounter trying to ferret-out the truth about foreign subversion in Balochistan, getting past the government news blackout.]

No military operation in the offing in Balochistan: Raisani

The Baloch Hal News

HUB: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has rejected the speculations that the government was planning a major or decisive military operation in the Province.

Talking to people at the LIEDA Rest House here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister renewed the claims that the government had credible contacts with the Baloch so that an amicable solution to the Balochistan issue is found.

He said that there was no truth to the reports that the government was planning to start yet another military operation in Balochistan. He also clarified that there was no operation going on in any part of Balochistan.

Referring to the law and order situation, the Chief Minister said it was better. He said that the government was improving the situation by taking concrete measures as both the police and the Balochistan Levies were performing better defending the life and property of the people.

Nawab Raisani said that his Government was committed to rehabilitate the uprooted people from torrential rains and cyclone “phet”. He said that the rehabilitation process had been bifurcated into two phases. “In the first phase, the government will rehabilitate on emergency basis,” the Chief Minister said. Tents, medicines and other relief goods had been rushed to the coastal areas, mainly in the affected areas, he added. The Government had already announced a cash donation of Rs 5000 to each affected family as part of the Government relief efforts. Raisani said he was committed to provide shelter to every family and every person affected by the cyclone and rains.

He said that the rehabilitation process would continue according to the data collected by the Government following the natural disaster in the Coastal region and other parts of Mekran and Lasbela.

He said that he was thankful to God Almighty that there were minimum damages in Damb, Gaddani, Sonmiani and other coastal region of Lasbela. The Chief Minister said that the Government was taking relief operation on the Lasbela Coast also.

Nawab Raisani praised the role of Pakistan Army, the local administration, the ship-breakers and other providing relief to the affected people in time. He regretted that five of a family lost their lives in the flash flood in Vindar. He had announced a cash donation of Rs one million for the family that lost five members in the flash flood.

The Chief Minister said that the Government would take appropriate measures to check the soil erosion in Damb and Gaddani to protect lives and property of the local residents.

He promised that the Government to rehabilitate the Damb Jetty removing the structural defects in its design and it would be brought to the standard of a modern Jetty at Damb.

The former PML-Q Government and its Minister was blamed by the local people for pilfering the resources and massive corruption in building the jetty. The Chief Minister was referring to the past allegations against the former Ministers.

He said that the Government would hold formal talks with the KESC officials replacing the damaged and outdated power transmission lines in Hub and its surrounding localities.

Deputy Commissioner, Hafiz Abdul Majid, briefed the Chief Minister and his team on the relief operation for the cyclone affected people. More than 1000 families were shifted away from the danger zones of the Lasbela Coast, Hafiz Abdul Majid informed the Chief Minister.

Bomb Blast Rips Through Afghan Wedding–More Than 40 Dead

Afghan Wedding Attack Kills More Than 40

NATO blamed the Taliban on Thursday over an attack on an Afghan wedding that killed more than 40 people in an area U.S.-led troops are massing to dislodge insurgents from their fiefdom.
The cause of the carnage has been unclear, but the government said initial reports indicated that a suicide bomber strapped with explosives had walked into the party reportedly attended by members of an anti-Taliban militia.

The Taliban, which is leading a nearly nine-year insurgency against the Western-backed government and the estimated 142,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, denied any responsibility for the deaths.

More than 70 people were wounded when the explosion ripped through the celebrations in Arghandab district, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Kandahar city, a senior official said.

Most of the victims were male as the explosion occurred in an area of the wedding festivities reserved for men, local officials said.

The groom’s brother, Mohammad Zanif, told AFP: “My brother was wounded. We don’t know what happened. There was an enormous explosion and as a result everyone there was either killed or injured.”

Television channels appealed for people to donate blood to help the wounded.

The interior ministry in Kabul said “initial information” indicated that a suicide bomber blew himself up at the party in Nagan village but said investigators had been dispatched to the scene.

Forty of our countrymen, including children, were killed and more than 70 others were injured,” it added.

NATO forces in Afghanistan blamed the Taliban over what it called an “indiscriminate attack” on the wedding party.

This ruthless violence brought to the Afghan people at what should have been a time for celebration demonstrates the Taliban’s sickening and indiscriminate tactics,” said Lieutenant General Nick Parker.

Kandahar is the focus of a massive build-up by U.S.-led military forces trying to drive the Taliban from their spiritual homeland and end their nearly nine-year insurgency.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan as part of his strategy to end the war, pushing the total nationwide NATO deployment to 150,000 by August.

Wednesday’s explosion came during a particularly bloody week for foreign forces with 23 international soldiers killed, including four U.S. servicemen who died when a NATO helicopter was shot down in neighboring Helmand province.

U.S. military chief Admiral Mike Mullen offered condolences after the wedding attack and warned that more bloodshed was expected.

We will succeed in Afghanistan. We will prevent that country from ever becoming a safe haven again, but it will be a slow, messy and often deadly business,” he told a dinner of the Asia Society in Washington.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also warned of more bloodshed to come, saying the military expected a “high level of violence, particularly this summer” as coalition forces move into areas controlled by the Taliban.

The New York Times reported that the groom and some other guests at the wedding were members of an anti-Taliban militia set up with the support of U.S. Special Forces.

Brigadier General Ben Hodges, head of U.S. forces in the south, told AFP that U.S. Special Forces were helping villages organize their own protection against Taliban militants.

There are some programs where special forces units are out in a village stability program where they might find a large village and then help train the locals to defend themselves,” Hodges said.

We don’t have enough police and army and coalition forces to cover every single village,” he added.

The Taliban have rejected the outcome of a “peace jirga” hosted by President Hamid Karzai last week with a view to coaxing militant fighters to lay down their weapons.

The jirga was marred by a rocket attack for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, prompting two of Karzai’s top security officials to resign.(AFP)

Six Doctors Abducted In Balochistan Remain Missing

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Balochistan Chapter, held a protest demonstration in front of the Balochistan Assembly demanding for early and safe recovery of doctors listed missing for past one year.

“Six doctors are reported missing and seven others had been killed during the past one year and the government had failed to take any action against the involved criminals and provide protection to the lives of the doctors,” Provincial President of PMA, Dr. Mazar Khan, told news men outside of the Assembly.

He said that doctors are feeling insecure because of frequent incident of killing and kidnapping and could not perform their duties in hostile circumstances.

They were carrying placards inscribed slogans in support of their demands. The protesting doctors chanted slogans against the government for its failure to maintain peace in the province.

“If the missing doctors had committed any crime they should be tried in court of law otherwise there is no justification to detain them in illegal custody,” he said.

The protestors claimed that Dr. Nasim was whisked away by secret agencies from Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital few weeks ago.

The families of missing doctors are living in painful condition as they don’t know whether their beloved are alive or dead, Dr. Sultan Tareen said.

They dispersed peacefully after the assurance of the provincial Ministers that they would discus the issue with the Chief Minister of Balochistan at the presence of a delegation of doctors.

It may be mentioned here that the doctors are observing two hours’ token strike suspending healthcare facilities at the OPDs of all hospitals in protest against kidnapping and enforced disappearance of highly qualified doctors.

Cyclone Hit Areas Face Food Scarcity

Cyclone Hit Areas Face Food Scarcity

on 2010/6/8 0:00:00 (37 reads)
ccupied Balochistan: The residents of Balochistan, Karachi and other areas are coming back in terms with life as heavy torrential rains dashed in on Karachi and coastal areas of Balochistan after Cyclone Phet hit these areas.

At least 250,000 people are believed to be stuck in water in the coastal region of Balochistan.

The basic necessities of life are scarce since the land route between Gwadar, Jiwani, Pasni, Pushkan and more than 50 other villages has been cut off, and crops have been destroyed due to dams bursting in the adjoining areas of Gwadar.

The price of petrol in Gwadar has risen to Rs 500 per litre. The Pakistan Meteorological Department had directed fishermen to resume their activities from Monday as Cyclone Phet has turned away from Pakistan.

Open in new windowGwadar still cut off from rest of the country

ISLAMABAD (Agencies) – The port city of Gwadar is still cut off from rest of the country, as the Makran Coastal Highway, which was damaged due to heavy flooding, could not have been reopened as yet.

Although the rain spell ended on Sunday thousands of people in Gwadar town and many surrounding villages including Phelri, Nagor Sharif, Pushkan, Chit Kalmati and Faqir Colony are waiting for aid, as rainwater has not been drained as yet.

The district administration with the cooperation of Pakistan Navy, Coast Guards and FC has started construction work at the various routes leading into Gwadar. The power supply resumed in the district but there was no electricity in Pasni for the second consecutive day.

Meanwhile, Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Altaf Ahmed Chaudhry Monday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Communications that the recent cyclone affected section of the Makran Coastal Highway would be re-opened within four to five days after the necessary maintenance work. He said the cyclone had damaged the Gwadar-Pleri-Jeewani section from two points for which the repair work was in full swing.

The committee meeting chaired by Senator Zahid Khan was also attended by Dr Muhammad Ismail Buledi and Salahuddin Dogar.
The NHA Chairman claimed that most parts of the coastal highway remained safe despite the heavy rain just because of the quality of construction work, adding that the two parts stretching 200 to 300 metres were affected after the release of water from Akhorri Dam’s spillways, while 10 to 12 km road were damaged by the rainwater. … -from-rest-of-the-country

Phet causes Rs 6-7bn loss in Gwadar

KARACHI: Tropical cyclone Phet caused losses worth Rs 6-7 billion in Gwadar as torrential rains in the area were recorded at 370 millimetres, the highest in its history. The fishermen community suffered the most, as their fishing boats were destroyed due to the poor planning of the fish harbour and the local administration, sources told Daily Times on Monday. Torrential rains brought Gwadar’s economy of fishing to a standstill for the last four days.

According to the Gwadar’s initial damage assessment, the port city suffered estimated losses Rs 6 to 7 billion, an official said. About 1,500 to 2,000 houses were damaged due to the heavy downpour causing shortage of medical supplies and assistance, the official pointed out. The cyclone flooded over 100 adjoining villages of Gwadar and affected people have been shifted to the safer places, the official added. The entire Makran coastline, especially residents of Gwadar were facing acute shortage of food items, as only one store opened on Monday to provide grocery items.

The city of Pasni faced the situation and was waiting for the government’s relief assistance, sources said. There were also reports that black-marketing of petrol and diesel was under way in these areas and the commodities had reached unaffordable prices, officials said. The Makran Coastal Highway (MCH) was damaged at two different locations on the Gwadar-Pasni and THE Gwadar-Karachi routes disconnecting the road link between Jewani and more than 50 other villages. … ?6?8story_8-6-2010_pg7_20

English Language Translation of Some Important Laws of Turkmenistan

nCa Releases English Language Translation of Some Important Laws of Turkmenistan

nCa-606 is presented in pdf format, and transmitted by email to the buyers. The price of the whole set is US $ 200. Interested parties may contact us at

Here is a list of our earlier publications:

1. nCa-318, a set of four laws: a. Law on small and medium enterprises; b. Law on education; c. Law on status of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan; and d. Law on citizenship of Turkmenistan. Price US $ 150/- (Complete set).

2. Labour Code of Turkmenistan         — Complete translation of the Labour Code of Turkmenistan. This law governs all the employer-employee relations in Turkmenistan. All the employment contracts and working conditions must conform to this law. Incorporates latest amendments. Price US $ 300/-

3. Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan — Complete translation of the New Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan – Includes our editorial comments. Price US $ 50/-

4. Law of Turkmenistan on Foreign Investments — Complete translation of Turkmenistan’s law on foreign investments.  A basic document for any foreign company, entity or individual interested in engaging in any kind of investment activity in Turkmenistan. Price US $ 100/-

5. Constitution of Turkmenistan — Complete translation of the new constitution of Turkmenistan. Price US $ 30/-

6. Turkmenistan’s Law on Parliamentary Elections — Complete translation of Turkmenistan’s Law on Parliamentary Election. This document gives an insight on how Turkmenistan looks at the institution of parliament and the way it is supposed to bring the voice of the people to a recognized legal platform. Price US $ 50/-

The `Basic Guide for Foreigners: Living and Working in Turkmenistan` offered earlier as free gift is not available as it is undergoing major revision.

Please note: Minimum order quantity is US $ 150/-

nCa-606 is presented in pdf format, and transmitted by email to the buyers. The price of the whole set is US $ 200. Interested parties may contact us at

Here is a list of our earlier publications:

1. nCa-318, a set of four laws: a. Law on small and medium enterprises; b. Law on education; c. Law on status of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan; and d. Law on citizenship of Turkmenistan. Price US $ 150/- (Complete set).

2. Labour Code of Turkmenistan         — Complete translation of the Labour Code of Turkmenistan. This law governs all the employer-employee relations in Turkmenistan. All the employment contracts and working conditions must conform to this law. Incorporates latest amendments. Price US $ 300/-

3. Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan — Complete translation of the New Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan – Includes our editorial comments. Price US $ 50/-

4. Law of Turkmenistan on Foreign Investments — Complete translation of Turkmenistan’s law on foreign investments.  A basic document for any foreign company, entity or individual interested in engaging in any kind of investment activity in Turkmenistan. Price US $ 100/-

5. Constitution of Turkmenistan — Complete translation of the new constitution of Turkmenistan. Price US $ 30/-

6. Turkmenistan’s Law on Parliamentary Elections — Complete translation of Turkmenistan’s Law on Parliamentary Election. This document gives an insight on how Turkmenistan looks at the institution of parliament and the way it is supposed to bring the voice of the people to a recognized legal platform. Price US $ 50/-

The `Basic Guide for Foreigners: Living and Working in Turkmenistan` offered earlier as free gift is not available as it is undergoing major revision.

Please note: Minimum order quantity is US $ 150/-