Israeli Lobby To Twist American Congress In Armenia’s Direction

Jewish lobby could take the side of the Armenians: Milliyet

According to Ermenihaber, Turkish Milliyet referred to the US State Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Yerevan visit. Analyst Sami Kohen makes a remark that the rapprochement with Armenia is “in the fridge” in the Turkish foreign policy with “very hot” issues all around it.

By the time the Turkish media is all flooded by photos and materials on Clinton’s visit to the Armenian genocide memorial and museum, Kohen reminds that Armenian-Turkish protocols were signed last year, due to which diplomatic relations could be established, the border could be opened, dialogue mechanisms over historical issues could be worked out. However, as Milliyet writes, Ankara gave in to Baku countereffects and put forth Nagorno-Karabakh as a precondition, thus, making a path for freezing the protocols.

“At first sight, it seems it could not harm Turkey any way. Of course, currently it can’t. But, to be frank, Washington is already sending bad signals. The US Congress will again discuss the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The hazard that came up last time, could be even more serious this time,” the Tukish analyst writes, mentioning two reasons for the alert.

1. Angry with Turkey, the Jewish lobby could take the side of the Armenians.

2. The US is getting ready for the Congress elections in November.

The columnist doesn’t think Clinton’s words on hailing Armenia’s efforts to call the protocols to life and that the “ball” is in Turkey’s field and it’s Turkey’s turn to act, came accidentally in Yerevan. Sami Kohen says Clinton addressed a second “message” to Turkey by visiting genocide memorial in Tsitsernakaberd. The source highlights that though the US Embassy in Armenia said the visit was private, the wreath had a writing on it: the US Secretary of State. According to Kohen, thus, the US diplomacy tried to please Armenia and the Armenians of America.

To sum up, Kohen notes that the light for Karabakh settlement is not visible in the horizon either, and as long as Ankara links rapprochement with Armenia to Karabakh issue, the Armenian-Turkish normalization will yet remain frozen for a long time.

The attempted general strike in India.

The attempted general strike in India.

I’ve not read in detail the issues around the Bandh in India, but put simply it goes something like this:

(1) The Congress led government says there has to be fuel price hikes, since the subsidy for fuel is insufficient to keep pace with rising demand. The government has ear marked about 3,000 crore ($638 million) to subsidize petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG. Whilst the actual demand for such products in India will reach 98,000 crore ($20 billion. HT Karan Thapar)

(2) The Opposition ranging from the far-left to the far right however state that this is all rubbish, and that price hikes are not necessary, and are only taking place due to the incompetence and mismanagement of the government.

Who’s right? Who is wrong? What policies should be implemented for long term amelioration of the problem?

My Masters in International Law at Warwick University 14 years ago focused on India, its corruption, human rights commission, environmental policies and its macro-economic policies around IMF implemented Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP–which in American street slang means looser), and since then I have taken a casual if somewhat superficial interest in India’s economic development.

One really ought to read Greg Pallast in relation to this issue, and his acute analysis of how the IMF/WB through their implementation of austerity policies defacto exploit and loot the wealth of Third World nations and facilitate the long term asset stripping and resourcing stealing of such unfortunate countries through the manipulation of a narrow corrupt elite placed into power by the USA and its various Democracy Programs, to serve the interests of the International Banking community.

You might say what has the “market” reality of the price of oil at $80 a barrel got to do with the IMF/WB. Quite a lot if you look at the whole Capitalist Western system which is rigged to exploit the masses and especially vulnerable Third Word nations in favor of the few, again in the West. Otherwise known as Neo-colonialism.

Neo-liberalism, Globalization, Monetarism and Deregulation all sounded so great when they are expounded enthusiastically from the early 1980’s, by the USA and their well funded fronts in academia and the global media as a globalist International Banker policy.

But the actual reality is that such policies haven’t worked for many countries. In the case of Russia and Argentina specifically when teams of neo-liberal advisers from American Think Tanks arrived to manage these two countries, the result were unmitigated disasters, from which Argentina and Russia are still barely recovering from.

Within America itself now there are many economic problems which are all compounded by rising unemployment, and a national debt which is greater than the national economy. China is in a position to decide America’s economic future……..and not the Federal Reserve.

In India there is this general talk of ‘development’ but the reality is that many Indians still live in abject poverty. 840 million Indians still live on 20 rupees a day, and one meal of rice a day. On the other hand India has 55 billionaires and is host to the second richest man on earth with a $100 billion personal fortune. He is contemplating and constructing a $2 billion Penthouse. The richest man on earth hails from Mexico, but let us not discuss the problems of that backyard American colony and its multiple challenges at all levels. I cannot honestly believe that you can morally call national development that which leaves behind and neglects the vast majority of ordinary Indians basic needs.

CHEAP FOOD.

MODEST HOUSING WITH BASIC FACILITIES.

FREE EDUCATION UP TO THE AGE OF 16.

FREE HEALTHCARE.

CHEAP FUEL/TRANSPORT.

The neo-colonial Anglicised elite of India who have looted and denied real across the board development of the masses in South Asia can hardly ask the masses NOW to be the first shock troops in line to make more sacrifices on themeager basics of food and fuel, whilst the Anglicised Indian elite lord it up in London, NY and heaven knows where else with their secret off shore accounts with looted Indian assets worth up to $1,500 billion.

There is absolutely no paradox that such neo-liberal International Banker policies should be implemented by a ‘leftie” party with secularism as its foundation. Congress as the ‘Liberation” Party went seriously downhill under Indira Gandhi when she became the first dynasty entitled leader of the Party. PM ManMohan Singh the neta was recruited as an agent of the International Bankers over 20 years ago, and with his nicey smile, and geriatric manners, he has been slowly implementing theirpolicies in India…….The International Bankers learnt their lesson in Russia and Argentina; you can’t implement such policies suddenly in such a complex country as India, otherwise you are courting disaster.

Backing sardarji is the Italian mafia sinisterly operating in the background, in the guise of illiterate Sonia a former au pair, who is hoping her son the playboy Rahul becomes the next Raja of India. This is all a comical farce…..a Priyadarshanmovie. No wait its fucking real life.

WHAT IS OIL?

Oil is not a fossil fuel. The Russian scientist who originally theorised that oil was created by decomposing dinosaurs in the 18th century was wrong, when Russian scientists under Stalin 200 years later discovered that oil was a NATURAL occurring MINERAL produced by earth, and thus without limits, enough for everybody into infinity, and so long as the earths core does not freeze, like Mars.

In theory oil can be a free commodity, after governments have paid for refining, storage and transport costs, but it isn’t. The industry is dominated by a few Western companies based in the USA, France, UK/Holland. They as private Capitalist companies think only in terms of profit, and the commodity market for oil is dominated by financial cartels in NY, Rotterdam, London and Germany. This cartel artificially keeps the price of oil high at $80 a barrel, but at one time went as high as $150 a barrel. There is no justification for this. Such prices hurt the poor, and poor nations, and poor nations development.

India can protect itself from this Western fix and market rigging by:

By investing in nuclear power which uses local fuels.

Wind/solar/wave power.

Hydrogen power.

further exploitation of India’s vast coal reserves……without being hemmed in by Climate Change hogwash policies.

AND finally investing heavily in oil and gas exploration within India and off shore, as well as sources in the near far countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran. The alternatives sources of power mentioned above will take time to be fully utilised, and thus oil and gas into eternity because of its nature will still be an essential source of energy for all nations.

India is rich. Its actual economy measured by PPP is around $3600–3800 billion; the fourth richest nation on earth, and which will become the third richest in just a few years. India has money and India has resources. The Indian government frequently spends billions on worthless foreign defense equipment…billions…billions…billions, when focus should be made on domestic production of defense equipment, even if its substandard.

This practice carries on by all parties because it makes certain politicians, netas, senior military officers and arms middlemen in India rich, and they deposit the money in off shore accounts (Indira Gandhi and her family have been implicated, as have others)…………..now imagine this elite putting the same amount of effort into securing India’s gas & oil needs, by investing the necessary funds and implementing the necessary policies to make India self sufficient in gas and oil.

BUT they won’t as International banker pawns. For them what is more important is to plug in India into the International Banker policies, and global economy.

What is 3,000 crore fuel subsidy by the government?…….0.05% of GDP ($638 million) of the official Indian economy of $1300 billion. According to Karan Thapar this subsidy bill will rise to 98,000 crore or $20 billion in this financial year which the Indian government allegedly can’t sustain.

Unfortunately this subsidy bill is seen as a COST, a burden on the state, rather than seeing it as another indicator of the India’s economic rise, and booming economy………….like the Ambani building his $2 billion penthouse; Shobha De bragging on about her latest foray into a luxury hotel in India and outside……..or India spending $10 billion or is it going to be eventually $20 billion on a 4th generation jet fighters whose technology will soon be out of date, from a foreign country.

Seeing fuel subsidy for the masses as a COST and burden which the government can’t pay for is a neo-liberal alien Western concept. $20 Billion or 98,000 crore estimated fuel subsidy bill this year is still 0.5% of the real Indian economy as measured by PPP of $3600–3800 billion.

The Indian Budget of $200 billion is woefully too small. Only 15% of the official GDP………..a neo-liberal paradise. The government thus must find serious strategies to increase the budget to GDP ratio from the current 15% to at least 25% of GDP, through an effective new tax regime. Then in such a prosperous confident India governments won’t feel mean spirited about spending a paltry 1% on fuel subsidy.

Subsidies are the only way, in the complete absence of a SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM to give a little help to the masses……Bakshish.

Thus I support annual subsidised national healthcare to the tune of 4-5% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised national education for all up to the age of 16, spending 6% of GDP on education.

I support annual subsidised national development and infrastructure investment to the tune of 10% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised agricultural policies to the tune of 3% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised fuel to the tune of 1% of GDP, at least.

These can only be achieved by governments who accept that in power and in government they have a moral duty to uplift the masses beyond paying lip service to their needs, whilst privately pursuing neo-liberal banana republic policies which slowly steals even the meager basics of the masses, such as food and fuel.

Is a Bandh an effective response to the International Bankers programs in India?

I think Bandh’s of a sort played a certain role in India’s eventual liberation.

Bandh’s are a non-violent and effective pure representation and affirmation of popular public opinion. Public opinion, beyond the misrepresentation presented by the “official’ media seems to be broadly supportive of the bandh against general price rises.

Thus bandh starkly brings home the message to the government about the publics discontent about certain key areas.

ON THE OTHER HAND……bandh should not be the default option for ALL protests against governments, and thus should be used sparingly.

One notes in failed state Bangladesh, managed by the UK and USA, hartal’s (bandh’s) were a common feature of everyday life. Unfortunately such action resulted in the loss of 30% of GDP by some estimates…….but my personal experience was that everybody loved them. Relatives of mine working for the government as civil servants didn’t have to go to work, even though they were being paid……a kind of impromtu “holiday’ where the “tash” were brought out and a general worthless adda carried on whilst the real economy suffered.

In India hartals or bandh’s for short spurts are perfectly legitimate, especially for the private non-government sector, BUT not to the point where it results in causing national Hari-Kiri, and significant losses in production in relation to GDP. Below 1% GDP losses is OK.

Ofcourse if such action is extremely effective who is to say the government in power, later in opposition aren’t tempted to use the very same tactic against the new government, and a vicious cycle sets in.

Finally on this point if one has read Grag Pallasts incisive article aboutIMF riots:

“At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, “The IMF riot.”

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, “down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,” as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998.(after the Asian financial crisis of 1997 instigated by Wall Street and George Soros) Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples – the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank. You’d almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.”

In India nobody is suggesting that the far right and left are working with the IMF in organising the bandh, or that food and fuel riots have actually occurred. The bandh was peaceful, well organised and had a limited start date and finish. However if the bandh becomes the main and only tool for the opposition to score points against Congress, then their actions can be termed as self defeating IMF instigated riots or the like, even if they are actually not because the end result will be the same.

Indian Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist, Admiral SS Jamwal Killed By Shot To Head


Rear Admiral SS Jamwal

Police pursuing suicide line in Rear Admiral SS Jamwal’s death

PTI

Kochi: Police continued to investigate the possibility that Rear Admiral SS Jamwal may have committed suicide although the navy has maintained it is an accidental death.

Police sources said that the bullet that fatally hit Jamwal in a naval firing range here yesterday entered his head just above his right ear and exited just above the left ear, strengthening police suspicion it could be a suicide.

Police is investigating the case as unnatural death and said they were looking into two theories – suicide and accident.

51-year-old Jamwal, chief of staff of the southern naval command and the second ranked officer of the training centre,had a bullet entry wound one cm above his right ear and exit wound 3 cm above the left ear, the sources said.

The injuries would be at an ‘oblique’ angle if it was an accident and the chances of survival would be more, they said.A post-mortem was done on the body today.

Two ‘important eyewitness’ were questioned the police said.But they claimed they had not noticed how he handled the weapon.

“We will interrogate them further within 2 days to get a clear picture”, the sources said.

The navy has maintained that the rear admiral, second most important officer in the southern naval command, had died
in ‘accidental firing’ as a pistol he was inspecting accidentally went off at the INS Dronacharya, the navy’s training establishment yesterday.

Meanwhile,the funeral ofAdmiral SS Jamwalwould be held with military honours tomorrow at a corporation crematorium at nearby Thoppumpady.

The 10th day ceremony would be conducted in Jammu, Tawi, his hometown on July 16, and the 13th day ceremonies on July 19, the navy said in a press release.

The body of the officer was handed over to the family by police after the post mortem examination at the Alapuzha medical college hospital.

A DEFENCELESS SOHRABUDDIN IS KILLED

A DEFENCELESS SOHRABUDDIN IS KILLED

CRYING FOUL: Protestors of a leftwing women’s front demand action against the guilty. Gujarat MoS (Home) and Modi acolyte Amit Shah is high on the hit-list of those demanding accountability and action
Janak Patel

A few hours before the cops shifted Kausar Bi, they took Sohrabuddin away from Disha Farm and killed him, camouflaging it as a police encounter. On the morning of November 26, television channels started flashing the news: Supercop DIG Vanzara and Co. have foiled a major terror bid by killing Sohrabuddin, a dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist. In a press conference later, Vanzara said that Sohrabuddin was planning to eliminate Narendra Modi.

First the fiction — from the FIR filed by the ATS: “On 25.11.2005, at 11.00 hours in the night, ATS police inspector NH Dhabhi received secret information that Sohrabuddin has come to Ahmedabad from Surat and today (26.11.2005) morning on a motor cycle he is going to pass from Narol Circle to Juhapura Sarkhej of the city to meet some Nazir.” A joint team of the Ahmedabad ATS and the Udaipur Police was formed to carry out the ‘encounter’. The team, along with others, included Inspector Dhabhi and constable Santram Sharma, both of whom had gone to Hyderabad and were part of the team that picked up Sohrabuddin, his wife and their companion from the bus. The ATS FIR further states: “Today on 26.11.2005, at about 5:20 hours, one motorbike rider was found coming on Naroda road from far. On coming nearer in light of battery Shri Dabhi Saheb recognised that he is Sohrabuddin. Therefore I (Udaipur Police inspector Abdul Rehman) and Shyam Singh and my colleague ATS Himanshu Singh (both from Udaipur Police) who were close, stood out on the road and by telling ‘Police is, therefore stop’ and made a sign to stop.”

DIG Vanzara, accused of staging other fake encounters, perhaps emboldened by his success rate, never bothered to explain why they didn’t manage to apprehend Sohrabuddin when they had such pinpointed information. The FIR continues to say that on seeing the police party Sohrabuddin attempted to turn around but the motorbike slipped. “But jumping over Sohrabuddin stood out on one side…and by taking out revolver from his waist belt took an aim at asi Chaubey. But he moved to a side and at that time I (Inspector Rehman) by taking out my service revolver told him that ‘Come and get arrested under Udaipur police’… then instead of surrendering he started firing from…Under this situation, I fired two rounds from my service pistol, asi Shyam Singh fired one round, asi Himanshu Singh fired two rounds and police inspector Dhabhi fired three rounds from his service revolver.”

Minister of State for Home Amit Shah told the cops that Kausar Bi was not Sohrabuddin’s lawfully wedded wife and ‘as she was a Pakistani, she might have escaped to Pakistan’

Here are the facts, as narrated by Pandian’s personal assistant constable Ajaykumar Bhagwandas Parmar, whose statement was recorded by the enquiry team headed by ig Geetha Johri. He told the enquiry officer that at around 4am on November 26, he was instructed by Inspector Dhabhi to bring a Hero Honda motorcycle lying in the backyard of the ATS office to Narol Circle. On reaching Narol Circle, Parmar saw that DIG Vanzara, sp Pandian and Udaipur sp Dinesh MN were present there. He says that after a while a Maruti car pulled up and dy sp Parmar and Inspector Chaube emerged with Sohrabuddin. He further says that “at that time, a Rajasthan police sub-inspector took away the motorcycle brought by me, drove it for a short distance and jumped off and the motorcycle skidded along the road. At that time Sohrabuddin was pulled out of the Maruti car by inspector Chaube and was thrown onto the road. Then pi Abdul Rehman fired two rounds from his service pistol, asi Shyam Singh fired one round, asi Himanshu Singh two rounds and pi Dhabhi three rounds. After that, Sohrabuddin was lying in a pool of blood. Thereafter Vanzara instructed dy sp Parmar to take Sohrabuddin to the civil hospital.”

THE MURDER MOTIVE
The Action Taken Reports are mum on the motive behind the killings and Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president BharATSinh Solanki is alleging that the state government has made crores by the killings. Highly-placed sources handling the case have told Tehelka that the arrested ATS officers received Rs 60 lakh from a marble trader from Rajasthan to liquidate Sohrabuddin. Sources said that the supari was given through a senior BJP general secretary related to the marble trader. Given the level of fear in the corridors of power — wherein senior police officers communicated with these reporters via notes scribbled on scraps of paper, fearing that their offices and phones were bugged — officials revealed that the government is not letting them bring the supari aspect on record. The level of fear can be gauged from the fact that several lower level policemen who were part of the fake killings, and who then gave their statements, have now gone into hiding.

HOW SOHRABUDDIN’S FRIEND WAS KILLED
After Sohrabuddin was killed on November 26 and his wife Kausar Bi went missing, Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubbabuddin Shaikh knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court. His letter was treated as a petition and forwarded to the Director General of Police of Gujarat for further inquiry. Gujarat DGP PC Pande wrote to Inspector General of Police, State CID (crime), Geetha Johri on June 7, 2006 and a case was registered as Enquiry No 66/06 with the state CID (crime).

By handing the charge of the CID to a tainted officer, OP Mathur, Shah apparently ensured more pliability in the probe from him and his subordinates

Once Johri’s team started establishing the shocking truth, the encounter cops headed by Vanzara sensed trouble. They realised that Sohrabuddin’s friend Tulsiram Prajapati was still alive to nail their lies. After Sohrabuddin’s encounter, Prajapati was shown arrested in Udaipur. Since then he had been loDGed in Central Jail in Udaipur. Aware that Prajapati was an important witness, another plot was hatched by the same three encounter specialists. On December 26, 2006 Prajapati was brought to Ahmedabad by the Udaipur police to attend a date in the court of 13th metropolitan magistrate in connection with an old offence registered at Navrangpura police station, Ahmedabad.

Here again, is some more fiction: After the court appearance, when the train in which Prajapati was being escorted back stopped at Himmatnagar railway station, the Udaipur police claim, that two men threw chilli powder in the eyes of cops escorting Prajapati and secured his release. The police claim that two days later, in the wee hours of December 28, when a team of Rajasthan and Gujarat police were patrolling in Ambaji town, Banasakantha district, they saw three individuals trying to stop a matador. But the matador did not stop. The three individuals then tried to stop the police van in which the patrol team was travelling.

At that point, one assistant sub-inspector recognised one of the three men as Prajapati who then fired at the police van, says the police FIR. The bullet hit the jeep and all three started running away, says the FIR. It then states that, on being chased, two men escaped whereas Prajapati stopped, turned back and fired at the police. The police retaliated and Prajapati was killed. The encounter took place at 5am on a winter morning. How the police could have identified Prajapati in pitch darkness is anybody’s guess.

The SP, Banasakantha district, has stated on record that the information regarding Prajapati’s escape was conveyed to him by Udaipur sp Dinesh MN — the same officer who was part of the team that killed Sohrabuddin. The other question that arises is why would Prajapati, after making an escape, roam around in Ambajai town of Banasakantha district. CoinCIDentally, Prajapati was killed in Banasakantha within two weeks of Vanzara taking over as DIG of Border range comprising Banasakntha district. As in Sohrabuddin’s killing, in Prajapati’s encounter too, police from Gujarat and Rajasthan were involved.

THE COVER-UP CONTINUES
Though the Supreme Court had asked the DGP Gujarat PC Pande to start an enquiry by its letter dated January 21, 2006, Pande took as many as six months before he asked IGP, CID (Crime) Geetha Johri to start the enquiry. The first letter that Pande addressed to Johri was dated June 7, 2006. Johri formed a team led by Inspector VL Solanki to enquire into the matter. Solanki submitted two interim enquiry reports to Johri dated September 1, 2006 and December 7, 2006 which made it clear that Sohrabuddin was not killed in an encounter as the ATS claimed but was first picked up along with his wife Kausar Bi from a bus and detained for several days.

Based on these reports Johri sent a report to DGP Pande dated December 7, 2006. However, Pande never submitted this report to the Supreme Court. Instead, it was Additional DGP, Human Rights, Chitranjan Singh who forwarded a copy of the Johri report to the Apex court. After this, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam wrote to the Assistant Solicitor General of the Gujarat High Court, Harin Raval, asking him to obtain copies of all the reports that the CID might have had submitted to DGP Pande.

Following this, Pande gave Raval a copy of Johri’s report which was then sent to Subramaniam. On December 18, 2006 when Johri and Solanki were all set to go to Hyderabad for further enquiry then Additional DG CID GC Raigar suspended the enquiry and took away all the papers from Johri on the pretext of scrutiny. As a result Johiri and Solanki’s trip to Hyderabad was cancelled. On December 28, Tulsiram Prajapati was killed in a so-called encounter.

At this stage, CID sources told Tehelka, Minister of State for Home Amit Shah directed GC Raigar to provide him with a list of all the witnesses who were mentioned in the interim reports. On January 30, 2006 Amit Shah called a meeting of DGP Pande, Addl DG GC Raigar and ig Johri at the circuit house, Gandhinagar. In the meeting Shah tried to impress upon the cops that Kausar Bi was not a lawfully married wife of Sohrabuddin and “as she was a Pakistani she might have escaped to Pakistan.” Later when Johri put up a note before Addl DG CID for registering an offence against Vanzara, Pandian, Dinesh MN and other officers, the latter while approving the note orally instructed Johri to not register the FIR without his instructions.

In the first week of February, Shah relieved GC Raigar of the charge of Addl DG CID and instead brought in Addl DG (Prisons) OP Mathur and gave him the additional charge of Addl DG CID. Mathur has already been served with a departmental chargesheet in a complaint of sexual harassment lodged against him. By handing over the charge of the CID to a tainted officer, Shah apparently ensured more pliability from Mathur and his subordinates in the ongoing probe. In the first week of March, as expected, Mathur took away the enquiry from Johri and handed it over to IGP, CID, Keshav Kumar.

On March 30, the investigation was handed over to DIG Rajnish Rai. Rai, unknown to even the DGP, made some swift moves and on March 24 arrested Vanzara, Pandian and Dinesh MN. Rattled by Rai’s alacrity, DGP Pande issued yet another directive and made OP Mathur, the Addl DG, the supervisory in-charge.

Clearly, the Gujarat government is still dragging its feet. Human lives truly come cheap in Modi Land.

A few hours before the cops shifted Kausar Bi, they took Sohrabuddin away from Disha Farm and killed him, camouflaging it as a police encounter. On the morning of November 26, television channels started flashing the news: Supercop DIG Vanzara and Co. have foiled a major terror bid by killing Sohrabuddin, a dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist. In a press conference later, Vanzara said that Sohrabuddin was planning to eliminate Narendra Modi.

First the fiction — from the FIR filed by the ATS: “On 25.11.2005, at 11.00 hours in the night, ATS police inspector NH Dhabhi received secret information that Sohrabuddin has come to Ahmedabad from Surat and today (26.11.2005) morning on a motor cycle he is going to pass from Narol Circle to Juhapura Sarkhej of the city to meet some Nazir.” A joint team of the Ahmedabad ATS and the Udaipur Police was formed to carry out the ‘encounter’. The team, along with others, included Inspector Dhabhi and constable Santram Sharma, both of whom had gone to Hyderabad and were part of the team that picked up Sohrabuddin, his wife and their companion from the bus. The ATS FIR further states: “Today on 26.11.2005, at about 5:20 hours, one motorbike rider was found coming on Naroda road from far. On coming nearer in light of battery Shri Dabhi Saheb recognised that he is Sohrabuddin. Therefore I (Udaipur Police inspector Abdul Rehman) and Shyam Singh and my colleague ATS Himanshu Singh (both from Udaipur Police) who were close, stood out on the road and by telling ‘Police is, therefore stop’ and made a sign to stop.”

DIG Vanzara, accused of staging other fake encounters, perhaps emboldened by his success rate, never bothered to explain why they didn’t manage to apprehend Sohrabuddin when they had such pinpointed information. The FIR continues to say that on seeing the police party Sohrabuddin attempted to turn around but the motorbike slipped. “But jumping over Sohrabuddin stood out on one side…and by taking out revolver from his waist belt took an aim at asi Chaubey. But he moved to a side and at that time I (Inspector Rehman) by taking out my service revolver told him that ‘Come and get arrested under Udaipur police’… then instead of surrendering he started firing from…Under this situation, I fired two rounds from my service pistol, asi Shyam Singh fired one round, asi Himanshu Singh fired two rounds and police inspector Dhabhi fired three rounds from his service revolver.”

Minister of State for Home Amit Shah told the cops that Kausar Bi was not Sohrabuddin’s lawfully wedded wife and ‘as she was a Pakistani, she might have escaped to Pakistan’

Here are the facts, as narrated by Pandian’s personal assistant constable Ajaykumar Bhagwandas Parmar, whose statement was recorded by the enquiry team headed by ig Geetha Johri. He told the enquiry officer that at around 4am on November 26, he was instructed by Inspector Dhabhi to bring a Hero Honda motorcycle lying in the backyard of the ATS office to Narol Circle. On reaching Narol Circle, Parmar saw that DIG Vanzara, sp Pandian and Udaipur sp Dinesh MN were present there. He says that after a while a Maruti car pulled up and dy sp Parmar and Inspector Chaube emerged with Sohrabuddin. He further says that “at that time, a Rajasthan police sub-inspector took away the motorcycle brought by me, drove it for a short distance and jumped off and the motorcycle skidded along the road. At that time Sohrabuddin was pulled out of the Maruti car by inspector Chaube and was thrown onto the road. Then pi Abdul Rehman fired two rounds from his service pistol, asi Shyam Singh fired one round, asi Himanshu Singh two rounds and pi Dhabhi three rounds. After that, Sohrabuddin was lying in a pool of blood. Thereafter Vanzara instructed dy sp Parmar to take Sohrabuddin to the civil hospital.”

THE MURDER MOTIVE
The Action Taken Reports are mum on the motive behind the killings and Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president BharATSinh Solanki is alleging that the state government has made crores by the killings. Highly-placed sources handling the case have told Tehelka that the arrested ATS officers received Rs 60 lakh from a marble trader from Rajasthan to liquidate Sohrabuddin. Sources said that the supari was given through a senior BJP general secretary related to the marble trader. Given the level of fear in the corridors of power — wherein senior police officers communicated with these reporters via notes scribbled on scraps of paper, fearing that their offices and phones were bugged — officials revealed that the government is not letting them bring the supari aspect on record. The level of fear can be gauged from the fact that several lower level policemen who were part of the fake killings, and who then gave their statements, have now gone into hiding.

HOW SOHRABUDDIN’S FRIEND WAS KILLED
After Sohrabuddin was killed on November 26 and his wife Kausar Bi went missing, Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubbabuddin Shaikh knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court. His letter was treated as a petition and forwarded to the Director General of Police of Gujarat for further inquiry. Gujarat DGP PC Pande wrote to Inspector General of Police, State CID (crime), Geetha Johri on June 7, 2006 and a case was registered as Enquiry No 66/06 with the state CID (crime).

By handing the charge of the CID to a tainted officer, OP Mathur, Shah apparently ensured more pliability in the probe from him and his subordinates

Once Johri’s team started establishing the shocking truth, the encounter cops headed by Vanzara sensed trouble. They realised that Sohrabuddin’s friend Tulsiram Prajapati was still alive to nail their lies. After Sohrabuddin’s encounter, Prajapati was shown arrested in Udaipur. Since then he had been loDGed in Central Jail in Udaipur. Aware that Prajapati was an important witness, another plot was hatched by the same three encounter specialists. On December 26, 2006 Prajapati was brought to Ahmedabad by the Udaipur police to attend a date in the court of 13th metropolitan magistrate in connection with an old offence registered at Navrangpura police station, Ahmedabad.

Here again, is some more fiction: After the court appearance, when the train in which Prajapati was being escorted back stopped at Himmatnagar railway station, the Udaipur police claim, that two men threw chilli powder in the eyes of cops escorting Prajapati and secured his release. The police claim that two days later, in the wee hours of December 28, when a team of Rajasthan and Gujarat police were patrolling in Ambaji town, Banasakantha district, they saw three individuals trying to stop a matador. But the matador did not stop. The three individuals then tried to stop the police van in which the patrol team was travelling.

At that point, one assistant sub-inspector recognised one of the three men as Prajapati who then fired at the police van, says the police FIR. The bullet hit the jeep and all three started running away, says the FIR. It then states that, on being chased, two men escaped whereas Prajapati stopped, turned back and fired at the police. The police retaliated and Prajapati was killed. The encounter took place at 5am on a winter morning. How the police could have identified Prajapati in pitch darkness is anybody’s guess.

The SP, Banasakantha district, has stated on record that the information regarding Prajapati’s escape was conveyed to him by Udaipur sp Dinesh MN — the same officer who was part of the team that killed Sohrabuddin. The other question that arises is why would Prajapati, after making an escape, roam around in Ambajai town of Banasakantha district. CoinCIDentally, Prajapati was killed in Banasakantha within two weeks of Vanzara taking over as DIG of Border range comprising Banasakntha district. As in Sohrabuddin’s killing, in Prajapati’s encounter too, police from Gujarat and Rajasthan were involved.

THE COVER-UP CONTINUES
Though the Supreme Court had asked the DGP Gujarat PC Pande to start an enquiry by its letter dated January 21, 2006, Pande took as many as six months before he asked IGP, CID (Crime) Geetha Johri to start the enquiry. The first letter that Pande addressed to Johri was dated June 7, 2006. Johri formed a team led by Inspector VL Solanki to enquire into the matter. Solanki submitted two interim enquiry reports to Johri dated September 1, 2006 and December 7, 2006 which made it clear that Sohrabuddin was not killed in an encounter as the ATS claimed but was first picked up along with his wife Kausar Bi from a bus and detained for several days.

Based on these reports Johri sent a report to DGP Pande dated December 7, 2006. However, Pande never submitted this report to the Supreme Court. Instead, it was Additional DGP, Human Rights, Chitranjan Singh who forwarded a copy of the Johri report to the Apex court. After this, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam wrote to the Assistant Solicitor General of the Gujarat High Court, Harin Raval, asking him to obtain copies of all the reports that the CID might have had submitted to DGP Pande.

Following this, Pande gave Raval a copy of Johri’s report which was then sent to Subramaniam. On December 18, 2006 when Johri and Solanki were all set to go to Hyderabad for further enquiry then Additional DG CID GC Raigar suspended the enquiry and took away all the papers from Johri on the pretext of scrutiny. As a result Johiri and Solanki’s trip to Hyderabad was cancelled. On December 28, Tulsiram Prajapati was killed in a so-called encounter.

At this stage, CID sources told Tehelka, Minister of State for Home Amit Shah directed GC Raigar to provide him with a list of all the witnesses who were mentioned in the interim reports. On January 30, 2006 Amit Shah called a meeting of DGP Pande, Addl DG GC Raigar and ig Johri at the circuit house, Gandhinagar. In the meeting Shah tried to impress upon the cops that Kausar Bi was not a lawfully married wife of Sohrabuddin and “as she was a Pakistani she might have escaped to Pakistan.” Later when Johri put up a note before Addl DG CID for registering an offence against Vanzara, Pandian, Dinesh MN and other officers, the latter while approving the note orally instructed Johri to not register the FIR without his instructions.

In the first week of February, Shah relieved GC Raigar of the charge of Addl DG CID and instead brought in Addl DG (Prisons) OP Mathur and gave him the additional charge of Addl DG CID. Mathur has already been served with a departmental chargesheet in a complaint of sexual harassment lodged against him. By handing over the charge of the CID to a tainted officer, Shah apparently ensured more pliability from Mathur and his subordinates in the ongoing probe. In the first week of March, as expected, Mathur took away the enquiry from Johri and handed it over to IGP, CID, Keshav Kumar.

On March 30, the investigation was handed over to DIG Rajnish Rai. Rai, unknown to even the DGP, made some swift moves and on March 24 arrested Vanzara, Pandian and Dinesh MN. Rattled by Rai’s alacrity, DGP Pande issued yet another directive and made OP Mathur, the Addl DG, the supervisory in-charge.

Clearly, the Gujarat government is still dragging its feet. Human lives truly come cheap in Modi Land.

Close Encounters Of the Indian Kind

If you live in the national capital, you woke up yesterday to the spine-shuddering possibility that three terrorists were getting set to blow up the city’s popular Dilli Haat or at the very least, were using the food and crafts stalls as a rendezvous for raising hell. As news channels went into overdrive and police officials took their place behind the microphones, some of us were left fighting a familiar, niggling doubt. Had the police really got it right or would this case too unravel with time and scrutiny?

We are all acutely aware that we live in dangerous times and terrorists live right among us — down the road, across the street, on board our local train. Now, bomb blasts regularly rip through our illusion of comfort and well-being. We know we are not safe. So, the ominous sight of the RDX confiscated by the police should have made us count our blessings.

And yet, the cynics among us wondered about the pattern to these arrests and how miraculous it was that each time a terrorist was caught, he always had his passport or identity card on him. Not to forget, the hand-scrawled letter in Urdu faithfully ferried in his back pocket.

No one wants to trivialise the gigantic challenge of battling terrorism or undermine the sacrifice of our soldiers and policemen.

So why is there such a crisis of credibility? Why is it that we don’t automatically believe the men and women we count on to keep us safe?

The problem is that ‘encounters’ have become a military euphemism for murder.

The Delhi arrests have come in the same week that three top cops in Gujarat have been put behind bars for killing an innocent man.

Rewind to two years ago. Officers from the state’s special anti-terrorist squad went on national television to declare that they had killed an operative of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba in a fierce gun battle. They claimed that Sohrabuddin Sheikh was planning to assassinate the Chief Minister and had been shot dead while trying to escape the city on a motorbike. Journalists obliged by showcasing the story as it was being told to them. But only till the discrepancies started surfacing.

It now turns out that the cops pulled Sheikh off a bus along with his wife, Kausarbi, and a friend of theirs. The couple was locked away in a desolate farmhouse for three days. And then, in an entirely orchestrated drama, Sheikh was dragged to the heart of the city, killed and branded a would-be assassin. Exactly a year later, when investigators got their hands on the case, the sole witness, Tulsiram Prajapati, was also eliminated in an ‘encounter’ for trying to escape police custody.

Now red-faced detectives are digging up graves in the hometown of one of the arrested police officials, to see if Kausarbi’s remains can be hunted down. Government lawyers have informed the Supreme Court that she was probably murdered as well.

Is it any surprise then that police proclamations are now received with instinctive scepticism? From staged killings in Kashmir to manufactured shootouts in our cities (remember Ansal Plaza, 2002?), it’s like the fable about the boy who cried wolf too many times. When the real beast is at your door, you still think someone’s spun a yarn. The tragedy is that this way, security officials only end up discrediting themselves.

But why blame just them? It’s we, as a people, who have an astounding belief that encounters (fabricated or otherwise) are a legitimate way of eliminating the bad guys. We buy the logic that normal rules of law cannot possibly apply when it comes to terrorism and conflict. We endorse the unspoken secret that torture is an inevitable companion to interrogation. We fete our encounter specialists and make Bollywood thrillers based on their lives. And disproportionate punishment doesn’t really bother our conscience: a thief can be treated like a murderer, as long as it’s the rotten apples that are getting sifted out.

Take the now-dead witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. Tulsiram Prajapati was apparently a minor slumlord who found his way into a local gang and had been doing jail-time for a host of criminal charges. Many people would, therefore, argue that it’s no big loss that he was killed, even if it was in a fake encounter.

But to justify this is to subvert the entire judicial system that our democracy is so boastful of. Prajapati wrote several letters to prison authorities saying he feared for his life. Even his ageing mother has the wisdom to argue that while her son had indeed fallen into bad ways, imprisonment was the appropriate punishment. Instead, he may have been murdered just so the police could get rid of incriminating evidence. Criminal or not, he still deserved the due process of law.

Sadly, those of us who demand this immediately get slotted as fuzzy liberals who don’t understand the rigours of fighting crime and war. But, forget the ethics of it for a moment.

I would argue that encounters are strategically disastrous. Eventually they make the good guys look just as bad (in fact,  worse). They make enemies of friends and supporters and only prolong conflict. And they undermine not just the credibility, but also the authority of men in uniform. We have seen the political fallout of such killings in Kashmir. And we only have to look at what American soldiers are doing in Iraq to learn what not to do and what never to accept.

The day’s not far when India may have to confront its own Abu Ghraib. At least the United States was shamed into ordering a public hearing and a transparent inquiry into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. In India we would just hide behind excuses, justifications and prolonged court trials.

But one of these days, here too, a whistleblower will swing out his mobile phone camera and bring us face to face with the visual horror of what happens, when law enforcers subvert the law they are meant to protect.

And then, finally, we will encounter our own lies.

Barkha Dutt is Managing Editor, ndtv 24×7

Fake Encounters and the Indo-Pak Peace Process

Fake Encounters and the Indo-Pak Peace Process

Kashmir Watch, July 7

By Momin Iftikhar

In the killing fields of Kashmir no poetic justice could have been timelier. Just as Manmohan Singh was embarking upon his much awaited visit to Sri Nagar in the first week of June, to renew his offer of talks to the separatists, the entire IHK went on the boil over the exposure of a fake encounter by the Indian Army at Machil on 30 April. The rather rare exposure of a routine crime, where killers were caught red handed, served to convincingly expose the phenomenon of fake encounters in IHK, routinely conducted by the Indian Army on the LoC, with persistent claims of foiling infiltration bids from Pakistan. It also brought into sharp focus the harrowing state of human rights violations in the IHK, calling into question the Indian negotiating strategy that frames Kashmir Issue as an offshoot of terrorism sustained from across the border.
The episode started in a mundanely routine manner when an Army unit conducting counter insurgency operations claimed that it had shot and killed three Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘terrorists’ while infiltrating across the LoC from Azad Kashmir. Soon after, however, the relatives of the slain youth, belonging to Nadihal village in Baramula district, raised hue and cry that the shot ‘Pakistani terrorists’ were in fact their loved ones who, days before, had been lured away by soldiers of 4 Rajputana Rifles. On a tip off by the locals to the bereaving families the trail led to a grave yard near the Unit’s camp at Kalaroos, Kupwara district. Such incidents are wont to be hushed up but the large scale protests and the sensitiveness of timings, when India and Pakistan are picking up threads for resumption of the stalled Composite Dialogue, forced a response. Hours before Manmohan Singh landed in Sri Nagar, the Army announced that it had removed Colonel D K Pathania, commanding officer 4 Rajputana Rifles from command of the Unit and suspended Major Upinder who stood out as the central character in conduct of the fake encounter. Colonel Pathania, incidentally,  became the second commanding officer to be removed from command for conducting fake encounters; first being Colonel Gloria who was removed for killing three boys in Dudipora, Handwara in North Kashmir in Feb 2006.
Machil encounter amply underscores the institutionalized phenomenon of fake encounters by Indian Army in Kashmir that are used to falsely frame Pakistan and used by the Indian spin doctors to discredit the Kashmiri struggle for liberation from India as a terrorist movement. These are heartily accepted by the Indian Foreign Office as well which is working overtime to project Pakistan as a state sponsoring terrorism. Stage managed encounters come handy as they provide India with a handle to regulate the ebb and flow of political interaction with Pakistan. The attack on Indian Parliament on 13 December 2000 was a trend setter, where within days and without any tangible proof of Pakistan’s involvement, India launched a full mobilization of armed forces that went on for ten months, taking the subcontinent to the brink of a nuclear conflict. It is instructive though to note that almost five year later the Indian Supreme Court verdict, after having taken into account the entire gamut of evidence produced by the prosecution, precluded any Pakistani role in the attack.
The capitulation of Taleban before the US onslaught facilitated by Indian prot�g�es in Northern Alliance, in Nov 2001, provided India with an ample supply of clay pigeons that could be used as gun fodder in fake encounters in IHK. Northern Alliance warlords opened the gates of their jails where thousands of Taleban prisoners were readily available for pick and choose by the Indian intelligence teams. An unknown number were transported from Panjshiri Jails to Dushanbe from where IAF’s IL-76 planes brought them to India. How many were used to sustain the thesis of “cross border terrorism” will never really be known. However most of them are believed to lie in the soggy bottom of the mass graves that dot the IHK landscape close to the LoC in the proximity of the Indian Army’s camps � much like the nameless graves in the Karloos graveyard where remains of the latest victims of fake encounter were identified.
Mass graves in the IHK containing victims of fake encounters are an aspect that is clamoring for global attention. Not that there is any dearth of evidence. The International Peoples Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice has compiled 2700 unmarked graves with nearly 3000 bodies across 55 villages in Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts of Kashmir which belong to those killed in fake encounters or custodial killings. The report; BURIED EVIDENCE Unknown, Unmarked and Mass graves in Indian Administered Kashmir compiled and released in 2009 through the hard work of Angana Chatterji and Parvez Imroz provides precise information about the location of mass graves in IHK but the Indian Government has turned a Nelson’s Eye to the issue; refusing to launch any investigations.
Incidents of fake encounters are likely to rise in the coming days and the portents are not good. As the two countries prepare to engage in the Composite Dialogue Process, Indians have suddenly started reporting infiltration attempts across the LoC. In Apr-May 2010 alone Indian military reported killing over thirty militants in encounters while allegedly attempting to infiltrate to the Indian side. With fake encounters order of the day in IHK, how many of these were locals killed in fake encounters; remains an open-ended question. Given the scenario, Pakistan needs to actively pursue the demand made by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to take up the issue of “fake encounters” with India on the negotiating table. Machil encounter could be a good starting point.

Former US congressman pleads guilty to terrorist conspiracy

Former US congressman pleads guilty to terrorist conspiracy

IANS

WASHINGTON: A former US Congressman has pleaded guilty in connection with a terrorist financing conspiracy that sent money to al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Mark Deli Siljander, who represented Michigan in the House of Representatives from 1981-87 and was a delegate to the UN under President Ronald Reagan, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent for an Islamic charity with ties to international terrorism, according to Beth Phillips, US Attorney for the western district of Missouri.

Siljander was the last of five co-defendants in the case that involved the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) of Columbia, Missouri. IARA was shut down by the US government in 2004 for connections to terrorism.

The Justice Department had charged that IARA, whose headquarters were in Sudan, also funnelled money to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the militant Afghan leader and former prime minister of Afghanistan who leads the country’s second-largest insurgent group.

Siljander, 59, was hired by the IARA to lobby for the group’s removal from a Senate list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties, justice officials said. He also failed to register as a foreign agent.

He told investigators he had received tens of thousands of dollars from IARA to write a book about bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.

“Siljander repeatedly lied to FBI agents and prosecutors investigating serious crimes related to national security,” Phillips said.

Siljander was the last of the five collaborators to plead guilty. He faces 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

The other defendants were Abdel Azim El-Siddig, a former IARA fundraiser; Mubarak Hamed, 53, a Sudan native and US citizen who raised $1-3 million a year for IARA and illegally transferred some funds to Iraq; Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 56, a Libyan native and US citizen; and Ahmad Mustafa, 57, an Iraqi citizen and legal permanent US resident alien.

US Considers Listing Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) As Terrorist Organization

[Once again, the United States government proves to the world the Zionist control at the very center.]

US investigates Turkish aid foundation after flotilla raid

WASHINGTON – Anatolia News Agency

The United States is investigating whether to add the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, to its official list of terrorist organizations, a State Department spokesman has said.

Acting deputy spokesman Mark C. Toner told reporters at a daily press briefing Wednesday that the inquiry began after a bipartisan group of 87 senators called on U.S. President Barack Obama to consider putting the İHH on the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The senators’ letter to the president came shortly after Israeli commandos raided an İHH aid ship bound for Gaza, killing eight Turks and one American citizen of Turkish descent.

In response to a question from a reporter about whether the Department of State’s investigation was ongoing, Toner downplayed the inquiry.

“I believe we’re looking at the İHH, but it’s a long process to designate something – an organization – a foreign terrorist organization and there’s nothing to announce on that,” Toner said.

The May 31 raid heightened already-tense relations between Israel and Turkey, which condemned the attack as an act of “state terror.” Israel has maintained that its commandos acted in self-defense and has launched its own inquiry while Turkey has called for an international investigation.

US Armor Columns Moving By Rail Through Kazakhistan

U.S.-Kazakh deal on 'special cargo' transit to Afghanistan comes into force

An agreement between the United States and Kazakhstan on railway transit of U.S. “special cargo” to Afghanistan came into force on Thursday after being published in official newspapers.

The Kazakh parliament, the Majilis, approved the deal on commercial railway transit of U.S. special cargo through the Kazakh territory in late June, RIA Novostireported.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Omarov said the U.S. agreement stipulated the transit of armored personnel carriers.

NATO and Kazakhstan reached in January an agreement allowing the alliance to supply non-military goods through Kazakh territory to Afghanistan.

Russia has allowed land and air transit of non-lethal NATO supplies to Afghanistan and promised more assistance in the bloc’s operations in the war-torn country by expanding transits, supplying helicopters and training Afghan security forces.

NATO has also agreed on non-lethal cargo transit to Afghanistan with Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Belarus.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) currently has some 130,000 troops in Afghanistan. U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to send an additional 30,000 soldiers to the war-ravaged country in the first part of 2010 to defeat the Taliban and establish law and order, and then will begin withdrawing troops on July 11.

EU Parliament Pulls a SWIFT One, Allows Probes By US

EU parliament approves SWIFT deal with US

The European Parliament on Thursday allowed the United States to resume searches though European Union citizens’ bank data in the hunt for terrorist financing, as they approved the so-called SWIFT deal, DPA reported.

EU lawmakers had rejected a first version of the agreement in February over concerns about privacy, but agreed after extracting key concessions on data protection as the deal was re-negotiated with the US.

Voting in Strasbourg, France, deputies backed the revised agreement by a large majority, with 484 in favour, 190 against and 12 abstentions.

At stake is access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) database, a Europe-based private consortium which records financial transactions.

US investigators had freely searched it until last year, using a SWIFT server in the US. Its closure in January raised the necessity of an EU-US agreement to let the searches continue.

EU governments gave clearance in late November, but parliament’s negative vote cancelled that green-light.

Deputies’ criticism focused on the fact that SWIFT technology does not allow for suspicious transactions to be singled out from bulk data, meaning that there is no way to prevent information relating to innocent EU citizens from being transferred and stored in the US for up to five years.

But under the revised SWIFT deal, information requests are to be “tailored as narrowly as possible” and will checked by Europol, the EU’s police coordination agency.

The assembly also saw to it that an EU official would be placed in Washington to scrutinise the hand over of SWIFT data to investigators in the US treasury.

In addition, it extracted a commitment from the European Commission and EU member states that a SWIFT-data-extraction process would be set up in Europe within the next three years, so that in the medium term the US would no longer receive data in bulk.

Azerbaijan rejects Armenian claims of new Karabakh proposal

YEREVAN – Daily News with wires
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian greet each other in Moscow on May 9. AP photo
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian greet each other in Moscow on May 9. AP photo

Azerbaijan has denied Armenian claims that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts with a new international plan last month to resolve the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian referred to what was discussed with Medvedev in St. Petersburg as “a new version of the Madrid Principles” of a Karabakh settlement at a news conference in Yerevan with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry dismissed these statements late on Monday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Armenian Service reported.

“Even though Russia plays a large role in this process and the Russian president has taken part in several meetings [between Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sarkisian], proposals are drawn up only by the [OSCE's Minsk Group] co-chairs,” Azerbaijani media quoted ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov as saying.

“Updated Madrid proposals exist only in the form of a document, and they were submitted to both parties last year,” he said. “Only various approaches [to these proposals] were discussed in St. Petersburg.”

Polukhov added that “the statement by Nalbandian is only aimed at distracting the Armenian and international public from the essence of the issue.”

Armenian President Sarkisian had likewise spoken of “the latest version” of the proposed framework accord as he met with the visiting French, Russian, and U.S. co-chairs of the Minsk Group on Saturday. A statement by his office said the document was “presented in the course of the St. Petersburg negotiations between the presidents of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan.”

According to senior figures in the ruling Republican Party, Sarkisian reacted positively to the new peace proposals although his Azerbaijani counterpart Aliyev apparently did not. They claim that Aliyev cut short his visit to Russia as a result.

The next day the Armenian side reported the worst fighting between Karabakh-Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed region in more than two years, with five soldiers being killed.

Baku has repeatedly claimed to have largely accepted a modified “Madrid document” that was drafted by the three mediating powers last fall.

Armenian reaction to that document has been more ambiguous, with officials in Yerevan saying only that the document’s original version – which was unveiled in the Spanish capital in 2007 – remains “a basis for negotiations.”

Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave in Azerbaijan that has been occupied by Armenian forces since the end of a six-year conflict that left about 30,000 people dead and displaced 1 million prior to a 1994 truce.

The territory’s unilateral independence is not recognized by the international community. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been negotiating on the issue under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, but little progress has been made so far.

Pakistan-Iran pipeline

Pakistan-Iran pipeline

Pakistan to construct 780-km, 42 inch diameter pipeline

KARACHI: Pakistan will construct about 780-km, 42” diameter pipeline from the border, traversing along the Makran Coastal Highway to connect with its existing gas transmission network at Nawabshah, said Naim Sharafat, MD, Interstate Gas Systems (Pvt) Ltd (ISGS) here on Wednesday.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee for Petroleum and Natural Resources about the status of the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline project, he said almost 665-km of the pipeline will pass through Balochistan while about 115-km of the pipeline will be laid in the Sindh province, he said.

This was the first Senate Committee meeting held at SSGC since Iran and Pakistan inked the historic agreement in Tehran in June 2010 for the supply of natural gas to Pakistan from 2015.

The meeting was chaired by Sabir Ali Baloch, the Standing Committee Chairman. Naim Sharafat, MD, ISGS who was accompanied by his CFO Mobin Saulat dilated on the salient features of the 1,150 km pipeline, which will connect Iran’s South Pars gas field with Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

The estimated cost of Pakistan segment is $1.2 billion to be incurred over a 4-year period, Mr. Sharafat added.

He further explained the project is planned to be funded at a debt-equity ratio of 70:30 requiring an equity investment of $373 million and debt financing of $872 million. Mr Sharafat said the project’s debt portion is expected to be secured from a combination of domestic and international financiers including Sindh and Balochistan governments, SSGC, SNGPL, OGDCL, PPL, PARCO and NBP (whose contribution will be $190 million or 51% of equity structure) as well as potential private investors including Petronas and Gazprom (whose contribution will be $183 million or 49% of the equity structure). MD, ISGS stated that under the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA), Pakistan will import 750 mmcfd gas with a provision to increase it to one billion cubic feet a day (bcfd).

The senators suggested that the stakeholders in the routes traversing the pipeline must be taken into confidence, majority of which are remote and less developed areas, with clear-cut assurances for the provision of new schools, hospitals and vocational training centres. In response to the senators’ queries, MD, ISGS said that being one of the largest infrastructure projects the country has ever seen, the IP project will create new job opportunities in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh, thus improving the income level and the standard of living of its citizens.

In response to the senators’ apprehensions, Mr. Sharafat stated that Iran-Pakistan Project’s GSPA was broad enough to allow force majeure relief in the event the project is hampered due to UN sanctions on Iran. MD, ISGS said that in case the project does not materialize, an LNG terminal will be set up in Gwadar to allow re-gasified LNG to the system.

Explaining the current status of the project, MD, ISGS said that a detailed route survey was in progress to pave way for the engineering and design of the pipeline facilities. staff report

PAKISTAN: Few women health workers in Balochistan

PAKISTAN: Few women health workers in Balochistan


Photo: Kamila Hyat/IRIN
Most Baloch women have never been to a doctor

QUETTA, 7 July 2010 (IRIN) – A new report by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), a coalition of 30 Pakistani civil society organizations, has highlighted a lack of female health workers in the country to serve the primary health care needs of women. It said Balochistan was the worst of the country’s four provinces.

According to FAFEN, two-thirds of the 554 Basic Health Units (BHUs) run by the government in Balochistan do not have any female staff. There are 5,345 BHUs in the country, according to the government.

“Almost one-fourth of monitored BHUs do not have personnel to offer family planning counselling or other services; almost 40 percent do not have a maternity kit; and almost half do not have a labour room,” FAFEN’s report said.

It said geographical disparities were “striking across the country, especially between Punjab (with the most personnel and facilities to serve women) and Balochistan (with the least).”

The lack of female staff means women suffering all kinds of ailments are reluctant to go to BHUs.

Dangerous deliveries

More health reports
Help at hand for traumatized conflict victims
Sanitation awareness on the rise – WHO report
A dangerous mixture in Balochistan
Unofficial healthcare discrimination against Bengalis

Zamonia Bibi and her newborn son are lucky to be alive after the infant was delivered by Caesarean section in a private hospital in Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan.

The baby had been in a breech position, a complication that requires it to be delivered immediately, usually by Caesarean section. Had she stayed in her village some 30km south of Quetta, the mother or baby might have died.

“There is no female doctor in my village, and the local ‘dai’ [traditional birth attendant] finally recommended we get to a hospital,” said Zamonia, 22, adding that despite two days of severe labour pains she had received no medical help.

Zamonia did not see a doctor at any time during her pregnancy or after the miscarriage she suffered 18 months ago. Like most women from her province, she does not expect to see one in the future.

“My mother didn’t even know female doctors existed,” she said. Zamonia and her six siblings were all born at home while two other children were stillborn.

According to a 2006 paper by the Ministry of Health, 500 mothers die out of every 100,000 who give birth. For Balochistan, the figure is 673, the highest in the country.

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) figures show only 39 percent of women in Pakistan give birth with a skilled attendant present.

“Embarrassing”

“I would never discuss my health issues with a male doctor,” said Azra Bibi, 40, who lives in a semi-rural area just outside Quetta and has suffered pain in her abdomen for years. “I have not even told my husband because it’s embarrassing to talk about personal issues.”

Like many others faced with this predicament, Azra said she uses leaves and herbs to combat common ailments. “The medicines are expensive. We cannot afford them anyway,” she said.

Seemin Ahmed is one of a handful Quetta-based female physicians. She said she had attended to women “brought in when they were near death” because there was no medical care available in their home areas.

“Most women have no access to female health workers of any kind. Many in the rural areas go through life without ever coming into contact with one,” she said.

The shortage of female medical staff not only prevents women from going to doctors, but also children, who are typically cared for by their mothers.

“I have never taken my children to see a doctor, though they have received vaccinations from visiting teams,” Azra said. “If a female doctor was present, or even a nurse, I would consider taking them.”

kh/ed/cb

India/Iran–the Wild Card In the Global Mind Games

Speech by Foreign Secretary at IDSA-IPIS Strategic Dialogue on India and Iran: an enduring relationship

05/07/2010
Shri N.S. Sisodia, Ambassador Nabizadeh, Dr. Mostafa Dolatyar and the distinguished participants from India and Iran in this Strategic Dialogue.

2. Over the years, the IDSA-IPIS Dialogue has become an important forum for in-depth discussion on a wide range of issues concerning the bilateral, regional and global context of our relations with Iran. I am therefore delighted to be here this morning to deliver the keynote address of the IDSA-IPIS Dialogue. Your deliberations today will no doubt, provide important inputs and insights on the India-Iran interaction as also new thoughts and ideas on the future path of this relationship.

3. The question often asked is how we define the importance of Iran for India in strategic terms. I shall attempt to do so. First of all, Iran is part of what has been defined as India’s “proximate neighbourhood”; secondly, it has a strategic position with a long coastline along the Persian Gulf, including the narrow entrance to the Gulf at the Straits of Hormuz – a region within the security parameter of India; thirdly, it is a major source of our energy and hydrocarbon supplies; fourthly, in a globalizing world where there are immense opportunities for Indian business and investment, and as both our societies seek socio-economic transformation, the scope for technical and economic cooperation with Iran is self-evident; fifthly, the threats we face from terrorism and extremism require intensified dialogue and cooperation between our two governments; and to round this off, we share many common interests in the multilateral sphere. The narrative of our relations against the background of our long-standing civilizational ties, is therefore one of fundamental complementarities and natural affinities.

4. It is certainly true that the civilizational relationship between India and Iran is unique in the world. Speaking in Tehran in 1958, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said that he doubted if there are any two countries in the wide world which have had such close and long historical contact as Iran and India. It is true that when we look at our monuments, our culture and our language, our cuisine and literature as also our intuitive societal reaction to the world around us, there is much that is in common between our two nations. And, where links between our two peoples are concerned, India and Iran are particularly blessed, because of the close people-to-people connection and constant interaction that has spanned centuries of trade and commerce and cultural exchanges and journeys of the mind. Most importantly, ties at the popular level remain vibrant, driven by not just businessman, students and tourists but also the millions of people in both countries who may have never set foot in the other country, but are conscious of their rich shared heritage, and have an instinctive feeling of goodwill towards the other.

5. This then provides us the bedrock on which to build our contemporary relations. I would argue that the India-Iran relationship will become even more important with the inevitable rise of both India and Iran in this century, which has been dubbed by many as the Asian century. Most scholars foresee a resurgence of the Asian Continent, not just in economic terms, where India’s economy is among the fastest growing in the world, but also in science and technology, in new and renewable energies, and in all the fields that are at the cutting edge of human innovation and progress.

6. The challenge we face is the following: First, how do our two countries grasp the strategic opportunities for cooperation between India and Iran? Second, how do we build a pragmatic, and therefore enduring relationship, rising above hoary ideological positions, ensuring that our multi-faceted ties are not held hostage to merely one or two issues? Thirdly, do we have the tools to leverage such a relationship to benefit our people and their standard of living, which is ultimately the goal of our foreign policy?

7. Let me say that India desires to promote and enhance relations with Iran in a way that serves the interests of our two countries. Our approach to Iran is embedded within the rationale that defines our foreign policy – our developmental priorities, our independent national interest, our commitment to multi-polarity over uni-polarity, our consciousness of the inequities in the global order today. Our relations with Iran are a fundamental component of our ‘Look West” policy in our immediate region, just as our “Look East” policy has propelled our relations with the countries of ASEAN and East Asia.

8. If we consider the specific areas where our interests converge and potential for cooperation is the greatest, the most important is regional stability. India and Iran shared a common border till 1947. We are both neighbours of Afghanistan and Pakistan and have both long suffered from the threat of transnational terrorism emanating from beyond our borders. India, like Iran, is supportive of the efforts of the Afghan Government and people to build a democratic, pluralistic and peaceful Afghanistan. Neither of our countries wish to see the prospect of fundamentalist and extremist groups once again suppressing the aspirations of the Afghan people and forcing Afghanistan back to being a training ground and sanctuary for terrorist groups. Our vision of Afghanistan as a hub for economic activity, trade and transit linking South and Central Asia is shared by the Iranian side. India and Iran also share an interest in the stability of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. It is but natural that our assessment of the regional situation is very similar. We need to move beyond mere articulation of positions as the Afghan conundrum deepens and could have a deleterious impact on our two countries and the region in case the forces of extremism and obscurantism are made arbiters of the fate of the Afghan people. Our cooperation and information sharing on counter-terrorism must be the subject of more intensive focus and attention in the future.

9. I had the pleasure of having detailed discussions with my Iranian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Fathollahi, during my visit to Tehran this February for Foreign Office Consultations. I sensed on many of the above issues, a convergence of views with my Iranian colleagues. I would today reiterate the need for structured, systematic and regular consultations with Iran on the situation in Afghanistan. It is also important that we build upon the progress already made on our joint cooperation projects in the region, and put in place mechanisms for carrying forward our cooperation in these areas. I would like to mention, in particular, the Chabahar Port Project, and the need for accelerating our joint efforts to fully realize the potential of the Port as well as the associated railway project. These are projects that are in the common interest of India, Iran and Afghanistan, but also the countries of Central Asia. Improving the connectivity of Chabahar Port to the Zaranj-Delaram Highway (which was built with Indian assistance despite terrorist threats and with the sacrifice of Indian and Afghan lives, and has transformed the economy of Nimroz Province in Afghanistan) will open up the Indian market to Afghan agricultural and other exports. It will also help in combating the scourge of illicit drugs production and export which has affected Iran more than any other country, and assist the trade, transport and transit network of Iran. It will help India transport its goods, including humanitarian supplies, to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.

This project is thus at the heart of the common vision that India and Iran have for Afghanistan and the region as a whole, of increased and easier flow of goods, and creation of a network of transport routes and energy pipelines that will bind our people together in an arc of stability, prosperity and peace. The International North South Corridor Project, which also includes Russia and the Central Asian Republics in addition to India and Iran, is also a concept awaiting operationalization on the ground. We would welcome greater interest on part of the Iranian Government and private sector in realizing these projects, which should be seen not only as commercial but also as strategic in nature, not just for India, but also for all the countries in the region.

10. Iran is a country extremely important to India from the perspective of energy security. There is a natural complementarity between the needs of energy-hungry India which hopes to grow at a rate of 8-10% in the coming years and Iran which is home to third largest proven oil reserves and second largest gas reserves. Iran is not only located relatively close to India permitting transportation of oil and gas at relatively low cost over sea as well as land, it also has the potential of being a transit country for supply of third country energy to India given its increasing links in this field with the landlocked countries of Central Asia. The Iran- Pakistan-India; Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan-India and SAGE undersea pipeline projects deserve special mention in this regard. These projects, if realised, have the potential of making Iran an important element of a large energy corridor stretching from Central Asia to India. India has repeatedly made clear the fact that accessing energy resources from all parts of the world is absolutely critical to the continued growth of its economy and Iran has the potential to play an important role in this regard.

11. Economic relationships, including in the energy sector help develop further complementarities and interdependencies, which are, in the modern world, more valuable than any number of political sermons or speeches of goodwill. We must strive to nurture these relationships, with a strategic perspective in mind. Our bilateral Joint Commission, headed by our External Affairs Minister and the Iranian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance, will be meeting from July 8-9 to discuss a range of bilateral issues which are of direct benefit to our two peoples. The Indian side looks forward to these discussions and the follow up meetings to instill fresh momentum in India-Iran relations, particularly in the strategic areas that I have identified above.

12. Another potential area of cooperation for our countries is in maritime security. Indian interest in the Indian Ocean region and the proximate neighbourhood of which both our countries are a part, focuses on the need for regional peace and stability, mutually beneficial relations with littoral states, accessibility of oil and gas resources, the freedom of navigation through the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz, and access to regional markets for our goods, technology, investment, labour and services. The Indian Ocean touches both our nations, and we cannot remain immune to the challenges that we face, including an increase in piracy off the coast of Africa, and beyond. We welcome suggestions from the Iranian side on how to carry forward a dialogue on cooperation in this area. We would welcome Iran’s participation in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium.

13. I would like to briefly touch on the Iran nuclear issue. India’s position on the issue has been consistent. We support the right of all States to undertake peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with their international obligations. We have conveyed to our interlocutors that all concerned should adopt a flexible approach to achieve a comprehensive solution to all issues. India has always supported dialogue and avoidance of confrontation.

14. The IAEA continues to provide the best framework for addressing technical issues related to the Iranian nuclear programme. We are justifiably concerned that the extra-territorial nature of certain unilateral sanctions recently imposed by individual countries, with their restrictions on investment by third countries in Iran’s energy sector, can have a direct and adverse impact on Indian companies and more importantly, on our energy security and our attempts to meet the development needs of our people.

15. As in the case of all multi-faceted, constructive relations between old friends, it is natural that we may have differences on one or the other issue, but I would submit that the areas of convergence far outweigh any differences. It is vital that we keep the larger picture of our relations in mind, in particular the strategic potential of our ties. I am confident that in the coming decade, the impulse in both our countries towards similar positions on a whole range of economic, political and strategic issues will remain strong. We are of the region and will belong here forever, even as outsiders come and go. Our region is, moreover, one that is rising, though yet to realize its full potential. It is in this long-term context that we must see India-Iran relations.

16. I look forward to carefully studying and learning from the outcome of your deliberations. I extend to our Iranian guests the warmest good wishes of the people and Government of India and through you to your leadership and your Government. The India – Iran relationship is good for the people of our two countries, for the region and for the world as a whole, and it is our historical responsibility to further enhance these relations.

Thank you.

New Delhi
July 5, 2010

London Bombings – The Facts Speak For Themselves

London Bombings – The Facts Speak For Themselves

BombJoe Quinn     Sott.net
Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:00 EDT

© somethinginthewater.co.uk

…with a little help from the Mossad

Five years ago today, on the morning of July 7th, 2005, someone detonated four carefully placed bombs in London. Three exploded on London underground trains within 50 seconds of each other at 8.50 am, the first on the sub-surface eastbound Circle Line, the second on the sub-surface westbound Circle Line, a third on the deep-level underground southbound Piccadilly Line. A fourth bomb exploded almost an hour later at 9.47 am on the upper deck of a double decker bus in Tavistock Square.

Fifty two innocent British civilians were killed, many of whom had already become seriously disenchanted with the Blair government as evidenced by the massive voter turnaway from the Labour party in the British general elections of March 2005.

Having initially believed that power surges in the underground power grid had caused explosions in power circuits, the British government quickly announced that this was a terrorist attack, and identified four ‘home-grown Islamic suicide bombers’ from CC camera footage of them allegedly entering Luton train station on the morning of July 7th.

Who Dunnit?

Later on the same day, a claim of responsibility was made by a ‘previously unknown group’ calling itself ‘The Secret Cell of al-Qaida of Jihad in Europe’ and posted on an Islamic website. On the same day, a letter dated June 20th allegedly from Osama bin Laden, was released wherein the al-Qaida leader said that the London bombings were part of a wider al-Qaida summer offensive: A translation of the letter stated:

“Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters. We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.” etc. etc.

Puppet on a String – ‘al-Zawahiri’

Later in September 2005, alleged ‘al-Qaeda’ deputy leader ‘Ayman al-Zawahri’, in a videotaped message aired on Arab television station al-Jazeera, stated for the first time that ‘al-Qaeda’ carried out the 7 July suicide bombings. Interestingly, in the tape, the Mr Magoo of Islamic terrorism stated that the plans to toughen the UK’s anti-terror laws in the aftermath of the bombings showed “the dreadful colonial face of Britain”. As we have noted in the past, it seems that ‘al-qaeda’ seems quite content to provide the British government with the justification to institute draconian anti-terror laws while at the same time criticising the British government for introducing those laws.

As mentioned, the claim of responsibility made by the previously unknown ‘Secret Cell of al-Qaida of Jihad in Europe’ was posted on an Islamic website. A little research turns up the following report from the UK Guardian which states:

“The claim of responsibility for the London attacks was first posted on one of the dozens of Islamic websites that are routinely monitored by western intelligence services. The statement, under the name of “the Secret Organisation of the al-Qaida Jihad in Europe”, said: “The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern and western quarters.” It was posted on an Arabic website, al-qal3ah.com, which is registered by Qalaah Qalaah in Abu Dhabi and hosted by a server in Houston The Houston company that owns the server has intriguing connections. Everyone’s Internet was founded by brothers Robert and Roy Marsh in 1998 and by 2002 had an income of more than $30m (now about 17m). Renowned for his charitable work, Roy Marsh counts among his friends President George Bush’s former sister-in-law, Sharon Bush, and the president’s navy secretary”

Despite these admissions of guilt by Islamic groups and ‘al-Qaeda’, in April 2006, the Observer newspaper published leaked details of the first draft of a forthcoming Home Office report on the bombings, compiled for the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke by a senior civil servant. On May 11th 2005, the Blair government ruled out a full public inquiry into the attacks and instead released a final “narrative” report. The report stated that the attack was planned with a budget of just a few hundred pounds by four men using information from the Internet. While they had visited Pakistan, it was declared that, despite the claims of Osama and al-Zawahiri, there was no direct support or planning by al-Qaeda and that meetings in Pakistan were “ideological, rather than practical.”

Sadly, the Blair government’s final report failed to address many pertinent details that pose serious questions about the accuracy of the official conclusions about the perpetrators and the nature of the bombings:

High Street Chemist Or High Explosive?

The Blair government claimed that the bombs were crude home-made acetone peroxide-based devices cobbled together on a ‘shoestring’ budget. However, on July 12th 2005, the Times of London ran a report stating that “a lone bomb-maker using high-grade military explosives is believed to be responsible for building the four devices.” The paper also reported that similar components from the explosive devices have been found at all four bombing sites, leading detectives to believe that each of the bombs was the work of one man using materials that “were not home made but sophisticated military explosives, possibly smuggled into Britain from the Balkans.” The paper quotes Superintendent Christophe Chaboud, the chief of the French anti-terrorist police, who is in London to help Scotland Yard as saying “The nature of the explosives appears to be military, which is very worrying.”

Further confirming that the explosives used were not “home made” by four teenagers, a report in July 2005 from German newspaper Bild am Sonntag as quoted by Israeli daily Ynet News‘ stated:

The terror attack in London last week may be tied to a suicide bombing on Tel Aviv’s beachfront in April 2003, German newspaper Bild am Sonntagreported Monday. According to the paper, Mossad officials informed British security authorities that the explosive material used in the Tel Aviv attack on Mike’s Place pub was apparently also utilized to stage the series of bombings in London on Thursday. After analyzing the explosive material used in the Mike’s Place attack, the Mossad concluded it was produced in China and later smuggled into Britain, the paper reports. The explosives were apparently stashed by terrorists connected to al-Qaeda who were able to evade raids by British security forces. According to the newspaper, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said the explosive in question is very powerful, and much more lethal than plastic explosives and can be smuggled undetected due to its composition. The Mossad was also able to determine the substance was developed and produced at the Chinese ZDF arms factory, located about 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) from Beijing, the paper reports.

As a general rule, two-bit terrorist organisations and British teenagers would find it difficult to procure high-grade military explosives from Chinese arms factories that generally confine their business to the world of international arms deals between governments. It is certainly interesting that explosives used in alleged “islamic terror attacks” in London and Israel are being traced to arms factories in China, especially since the UK and Israel both have long-standing arms deals with China, which include such high-grade military explosives.

These facts were ignored by the final British government report on the London bombings, which maintains that the explosives used were manufactured from materials “found in high-street chemists”.

Amazing Coincidence?

Amazingly, on the morning of July 7th 2005,a UK-based crisis management firm, Visor Consultants, was running terror drills that simulated bomb attacks at the very same train stations as the actual bombings.

The managing director of Visor Consultants, Peter Power, an ex-Scotland Yard anti-terror branch man, stated on ITN news on July 7th 2005:

POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.

HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this and it happened while you were running the exercise?

POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning, we planned this for a company and for obvious reasons I don’t want to reveal their name but they’re listening and they’ll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they’d met and so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking and so on.

Mr. Power refused to name the company that had employed his services to stage the mock terror attack on London underground trains, however, the Visor website states “our clients include one of the top seven companies in the USA and key Departments of the UK Government.

Can it really be a mere coincidence that a crisis management company was running a terror drill that simulated terrorist bombings on the very same London underground trains and stations at the very same time as duplicate real bombings were occurring? Should the fact that the very same coincidence occurred on the morning of September 11th 2001 when FEMA was conducting a simulated bioterrorism attack in New York raise any eyebrows?

What about the fact that on the morning of September 11h 2001, officials at the Chantilly, Va.-based National Reconnaissance Office had planned and was running an exercise in which an errant aircraft crashed into one of its buildings?

The US government called this a “bizarre coincidence”. What would you call it? At what point does ‘coincidence’ become evidence of criminal activity?

On the morning of 9/11, with FEMA, oh so conveniently already on the ground as the attacks occurred, a Mr. Richard Sheirer, in his capacity as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, was heavily involved in overseeing the City’s rescue and recovery operations. On departing the office of the Mayor of New York, Giuliani established Giuliani and Partners, a company “dedicated to helping leaders solve critical strategic issues, accelerate growth, and enhance the reputation and brand of their organizations in the context of strongly held values”, and other nonsensical business-speak. The important point is that, as a close confidant, Giuliani took Mr Sheirer with him, with Sheirer currently enjoying life as Vice President at Giuliani and Partners. The ‘bizarre coincidence’ that I want to point out here is that Sheirer, and the above mentioned Visor Consulting director Peter Power, are quite well acquainted with each other and, as of January, 2005, both were serving on the advisory board of the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness and both Guiliani and Partners and Visor Consulting specialise in security preparedness and mock terror drills.

Coincidences on top of coincidences! But it gets better.

Giuliani and Netanyahu On The Scene

Guess where Rudolf Giuliani just happened to be on the morning of July 7th 2005? Rudy was lounging at the Great Eastern hotel just a few yards from Liverpool street station where one of the bombs went off. In the same Great Eastern hotel where Giuliani was staying, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange just happened to be hosting its economic conference. Guess who the keynote speaker was? Israel’s then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The same guy who, when asked by a news reporter on the afternoon of September 11th 2001 what he thought of the 9/11 attacks, responded:

“It’s very good… well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy for Israel”

As it turned out, Netanyahu never arrived at the Great Eastern Hotel because, as news reports in the days after July 7th informed us, Netanyahu had in fact received a warning from the Israeli embassy, (by way of the British Metropolitan police) that bombings were to occur and that he should stay in his hotel in Mayfair. Again, the official British government report makes no attempt to address how British police knew at least 6 minutes (probably longer) in advance that the bombings were to occur when, ‘officially’, British authorities were not even aware that they were dealing with bombs, believing that the explosions were the result of a power surge, until the bus bombing one hour after the first train explosion.

CCTV – Close Circuit Or Complete Codswollop?

According to the official government report, the bombers were identified by CCTV images of them arriving at Luton railway station at 07:21 a.m. on 7 July (below)

However, a Sunday Mail report from July 2005 recounted the eyewitness testimony of a survivor of the bus bombing who claimed to have seen Hasib Hussain the alleged bomber:

Bus blast survivor Richard Jones yesterday revealed how he came face-to-face with one of the London bombers. The Scots IT expert got off the doomed double-decker just seconds before it was torn apart in an explosion that killed 13 passengers. “This young guy kept diving into this bag or whatever he had in front of his feet,” he told The Associated Press. He said the bomber was around 6ft tall, in his mid-twenties, clean-shaven and smartly dressed. The man was wearing hipster-style fawn checked trousers, with exposed designer underwear, and a matching jersey-style top. ‘The pants looked very expensive, they were white with a red band on top… He was standing with his back to me downstairs at the driver’s side, which is exactly where the explosion was.

Hasib Hussain is seen on the extreme left in the above image as he entered Luton railway station on July 7th, allegedly on his way to carry out the bus bombing.

Below, he is seen inside the train station:

Compare his clothing with the claims of the eyewitness who said he saw him on the bus.

To date, these are the only images that the British police have released, and they refuse to release further CCTV footage which they claim shows the four ‘bombers’ emerging on to the concourse at King’s Cross where, according to the home office narrative report, they are seen hugging and appear “euphoric”.

Indestructible ID

In an amazing turn of luck, British police claimed that they were able to salvage credit cards and documents from the scenes of the bombings enabling them to quickly identify the bombers. Amid the carnage of twisted metal and bloody body parts, it was claimed that credit cards and other ID were recovered. Two weeks after the bombings, the Pakistani government, for some reason, released a copy of a passport that they claimed belonged to Hasib Hussain and which proved, British authorities claimed, that Hussain (and his fellow bombers) had visited Karachi in Pakistan on 15 July 2004, and that this constituted ‘evidence’ that they had undergone ‘ideological training in Jihad’. However, as reported by the BBC, the passport actually belonged to a very much alive teenage boy living in High Wycombe, north-west of London, also called Hasib Hussain. As the BBC report stated: “evidence showing that all three of the London bombers of Pakistani descent visited Pakistan last year has been thrown into doubt.”

These claims of miraculous discoveries of identification of terrorists are strangely similar to the events of 9/11 and the incredible (literally) recovery in the rubble of the WTC towers of a passport belonging to one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers. We are also reminded of the BBC report that, at least four of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were still alive.

Impossible Journeys?

The British government and Metropolitan police claim that the bombers boarded the 7.40am Luton train for Kings Cross (from where it is claimed that they boarded their respective ‘bomb trains’) The three ‘bomb trains’ left King’s cross station at 08:35, 08:42 and at 08:48.

However, as can be seen from the following official timetable, the 7.40 from Luton was cancelled, as was the 7.46, leaving the bombers with no option but to take the 7.48, which arrived at King’s Cross at 8.42, meaning that two of the bombers would not have had enough time to board the trains on which they allegedly detonated their bombs. Of course, the bombers, having arrived at Luton at 7.21am could have taken the 7.24am or the 7.30am trains to King’s Cross, but the official Home Office Narrative Report insists that they took the 7.40am. Again, no explanation for this problem has ever been given by British authorities.

Thameslink Trains: Luton to Kings Cross on 7 July 2005
Official Timetable Actual 7 July Timetable
Depart Luton Arrive Kings Cross Platform Departure Time Arrive Kings Cross
7.04 7.40 1 or 3 7.04 (On Time) 7.40 (on time)
7.08 7.56 1 or 3 7.08 (On Time) 8.26 (30 mins late)
7.16 7.48 1 or 3 7.21 (5 minutes late) 8.19 (31 mins late)
7.20 8.08 1 or 3 7.20 (On Time) 8.15 (7 mins late)
7.24 8.00 1 or 3 7.25 8.23 (23 mins late)
7.30 8.04 4 7.42 (12 minutes late) 8.39 (35 mins late)
7.40 8.16 N/A Cancelled Cancelled
7.46 8.28 N/A Cancelled Cancelled
7.48 8.20 N/A 7.56 (8 mins late) 8.42 (22 mins late)
7.56 8.32 N/A Cancelled Cancelled

Bombs That Suck?

Equally absent from the official British government narrative report on the London bombings is any reference to a very disturbing eyewitness report from theCambridge Evening News from July 2005. Dancer Bruce Lait had just boarded the train at Liverpool Street station on his way to the South Bank for a rehearsal when an explosion occurred:

“We’d been on there for a minute at most and then something happened. It was like a huge electricity surge which knocked us out and burst our eardrums. [...] We were right in the carriage where the bomb was. I was knocked out. I did not know what was going on.” He and Crystal (his dance partner) were helped out of the carriage. As they made their way out, a policeman pointed out where the bomb had been. “The policeman said ‘mind that hole, that’s where the bomb was’. The metal was pushed upwards as if the bomb was underneath the train. They seem to think the bomb was left in a bag, but I don’t remember anybody being where the bomb was, or any bag.”

If someone would kindly explain to me how a bomb in a rucksack on the floor of a train can cause the floor of the train to be blasted inwards, I would truly appreciate it.

For The Love Of Terror

I have written in the past about the counter-insurgency strategy currently being employed by US and British military intelligence agencies in Iraq, where covert attacks on the civilian population of Iraq are being carried out in order to confuse and demoralise the Iraqi population, and the real insurgency that they support, in an attempt to consolidate US government control over the future of the Iraqi nation. It is my opinion that in the 9/11 attacks, and the Madrid and London train bombings, we are witness to the very similar counter-insurgency tactics, only this time they are being used against the American, British, Spanish and wider European and world civilian population.

There is a very clear link between the American and Israeli war in Iraq, Palestine and soon the wider Middle East, and the need for the population of Europe and America to believe in the reality of the ‘war on Islamic terror’. The invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq by American and British forces is, after all, being pursued under the aegis of the very same ‘war on Islamic terror’. It is essential therefore for the populations of America and Western Europe to continue to believe in the ‘reality’ of ‘ Islamic terrorism’ in order for the US, British and Israeli governments to continue to expand their war of aggression in the Middle East and beyond. Given the absence of any real worldwide Islamic terror threat, it has long been understood by these governments that such a threat must be manufactured. In the 9/11, London, Madrid and other alleged Islamic terror attacks, we have evidence of just such a campaign of manufactured Islamic terrorism, and the glaring holes in the official accounts of how and why those attacks occurred provides more than enough evidence to support this thesis.

Forest Gate – Psychological Terror Op

On June 2nd 2006, 250 heavily armed British police descended on a house in East London where, it was alleged, ‘Muslim terrorists’ were manufacturing chemical weapons to unleash on innocent Londoners. During the raid, which has become know as the ‘Forest Gate Raid’, one of two brothers living in the house was shot and both were arrested. At a press conference after their release, the brothers (aged 23 and 20) described their ordeal.

When Kahar heard the front door being smashed down, he assumed it was a burglary and left his bedroom to come down stairs, where, at a distance of ‘two or three feet’, a policeman opened fire without issuing a warning or identifying himself. “We had eye contact and he shot me straight away,” recalled Kahar. The bullet entered his chest and exited through his shoulder, sparing his life by inches. “I was begging him, ‘Please, please, I can’t breathe,’ and he just kicked me in my face. He kept on saying, ‘Shut the fuck up’…. one of the officers slapped me on the face … I thought that they’re going to either shoot me again, or they’re going to start shooting my brother.” Koyair, the brother, was also sworn at and beaten. Their elderly mother was dragged out in handcuffs. Their sister, Humeya Kalam, told the BBC, “I heard doors being smashed, windows being broken. I woke up, opened my door and saw a person dressed all in black, gun pointing towards me.” Meanwhile, the police raided the house next door, where the residents received similar rough treatment.

In what has become standard policy, the police attempted to smear the two victims by claiming first that Kahar had been shot after he had struggled with officers, then that he had actually been shot by his brother during a scuffle, and then that a police officer had ‘accidentally’ discharged his gun as a result of wearing thick gloves. It was also stated that the brothers had attended militant Islamist demonstrations and that Kahar’s wound was superficial. Not surprisingly, all of these were outright lies, and the two brothers were entirely innocent, but even more shocking was the subsequent revelation that the police informant who provided the information that led to the raid, was an “utter incompetent” with an IQ of 69.

Mohammed Abu Bakr Mansha (22) is a friend of the two brothers and had been imprisoned in January for possessing an old address of a decorated British soldier. This was an operation that involved 250 heavily-armed and bio-suited officers in a pre-dawn raid on a London home. Such operations are not sanctioned without meticulous planning, including, in theory, rigorous checking to make sure that the ‘target’ is a genuine, or likely to be genuine ‘terrorist’. Are we to assume that the British ‘securocrats’ that sanctioned this operation were unaware that, given that the informant was a 22 year old incompetent idiot, any information he might offershould have been treated with serious suspicion, especially if he was being offered early release in exchange for any information on ‘terrorists’ he could provide, meaning that there was a distinct possibility that the information he provided was bogus, as indeed it turned out to be?

The obvious conclusion here is that the Forest Gate raid was given the green light, not because any faith was placed in the ‘tip off’ from the incompetent idiot, but rather because it would help to create the ‘reality’, in the minds of the British population, that Islamic terrorism is a real threat to the world and that the Blair government is justified in introducing further draconian anti-terror laws. After all, if 250 heavily-armed police are kicking in doors and shooting people, then there simply must be a good and justifiable reason for it, right? Well, yes, there is a justifiable reason for it, but it’s not any justice that you or I would readily ascribe to, unless of course we were deceived into doing so.

Candy From A Baby

Incompetent half-wits – the FBI wants You For Islamic Terror Opportunities!

We are also reminded of the ‘Miami Seven’ affair in the US, where an undercover FBI agent, posing as an ‘al-Qaeda’ operative, approached a group of apparently incompetent half-wits living in a warehouse in Florida. The group’s name is “the Sea of David’ and far from having anything to do with ‘Islamic terrorism’ they all claimed to be Christians who “trained through the bible”. In a perfect example of how agents of the US government are actively attempting to manufacture Islamic terrorism, the undercover FBI agent:

approached the group and asked them if they wanted to join ‘al-Qaeda’

‘swore one of them in’ as an ‘al-Qaeda’ member

offered them $50,000

provided them with army boots and a video camera

suggested that they might want to blow up some government buildings

suggested that they wanted to blow up the Sears tower

suggested to them that they wanted to wage “full ground war against the United States.”

identified that one of them knew what the Sears tower was and had actually been to Chicago – once.

All of this was trumpeted in the mainstream press as evidence of an “Islamic terror cell” working out of Florida and planning attacks against the American people. I kid you not, and not once was the most appropriate word used – entrapment

Jihad From Jail

Manfactured Terrorist – ‘al-Muhajir’

Arch ex-bogeyman and ‘al-Qaeda in Iraq’ leader al-Zarqawi was killed in a June 2006 bombing of his safe-house in Iraq. Despite having two 500lb bombs dropped on his head, a picture of his only slightly-blemished face was spread around the world as proof that, not only is the ‘war on terror’ real, but the US is actively fighting it. Immediately after al-Zarqawi’s demise, a successor was needed, so out popped ‘Abu Hamza al-Muhajir’ who, courtesy of one of Osama’s dubious tapes, was lauded as al-Zarqawi’s successor and the man to lead the jihad against the occupiers of Iraq. However, the US government hardly had time to slap a $5 million bounty on his head before this newest bubble of fake Islamic terror was unceremoniously popped by an Egyptian lawyer who declared that he had just recently visited ‘al-Muhajir’ in the Egyptian prison, where he has been languishing for the past seven years.

Now, answer me a couple of questions: Don’t you think that ‘Osama’, if he is all that the US government says he is, would have known that there was slight problem with the new leader of his Jihadi forces in Iraq in prison in the form of him being locked up in an Egyptian cell? Why then would he have announced to the world, via one of his infamous and very suspicious tapes, that an Egyptian jail bird was to spearhead Islamic terror in Iraq and around the world?

All of it stinks folks, but we are dealing with a very particular odour here – I’m getting Langley, VirginiaThames House, London, andHerzliya, Israel

Stating The Obvious

The facts are clear: there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism in terms of there being a world wide network of terrorists who want to “hurt civilised people everywhere”. Any such suggestions should be seen for the clear Nazi party-style government propaganda that they are.

All of this may sound like a joke, albeit a rather sick one, that the US, British and Israeli governments are perpetrating against the global population, but make no mistake, from their point of view, this is no joke – the 1 million+ Iraqi civilians and the growing number of Palestinian civilians that have been butchered in the name of the ‘war on Islamic terror’ is a stark testimony to that fact.

It’s time (again) to wake up and stop blithely swallowing government lies and manipulations. Unnecessary and brutal war is being waged in your name and, until now, with your support. How long the killing continues is entirely – 100% – up to you.

The People of India Teach the World About the Awesome Power of the People

[The Pakistani people should take a lesson from their Indian brothers and sisters, who are reminding them of their latent power--the power which brought down the Empire.  It's time to take-down the latest empire--the global Empire.  Let's bring 'er down, people!]

Democratic rights under attack

By Devinder Sharma

The schizophrenia displayed by industry organisations over nation wide protests against price rise indicates their rising intolerance for people’s movements. If the suffering people are not even allowed to raise their voice what options they will have other than taking recourse to violence?


People’s anger against government’s failure in controlling prices
is on the rise

It was expected. As people observed a successful nation wide Bandh against rising prices of essential items, the industry and its mouthpieces went into a tizzy. TheEconomic Times shrieks: “Bharat is left badly bruised as age-old bandh politics over fuel price hike hits industrial activity and disrupts normal life.” Its sister publication The Times of India is a little restrained when it says: “Opposition parties on Monday joined forces to enforce a countrywide strike against rising prices, in an effective protest that marked the return of a hot-button political issue and is being seen as a wake-up call for the UPA regime.

The opposition parties had given a call for a nationwide protest in the form of a ‘Bharat Bandh‘ against high inflation and a sharp increase in fuel prices. The Bandhas a newspaper headline says: put India on hold.

All through on Monday, most of the TV channels went on chanting the Corporate mantra: “Monday’s Bharat bandh, which disrupted life, stopped work, created loss and damaged property, not so much articulated democratic rights as abused them.” All of them quoted imaginary figures of collateral damage that the three industry lobbying groups put up. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimated a loss of Rs 3,000 crore; the Assocham raised it to Rs 10,000 crore; and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) put both the figures together and came out with a magical estimate of Rs 13,000 crore.

The other argument against bandh is that it is the people who bear the brunt of such protests. But what about the sufferings of people who have been reeling under the stupendous rise in prices for over a year now?

If a day’s protest has cost the country Rs 13,000 crore, industry lobbyists should demand making it compulsory to work for seven days a week. Why should we have a five-day week? In fact, FIICI should even consider seeking an extension in work hours. If we believe such bogus industry claims for a day of protests, the amount nation loses every year on account of a 5 day week should be phenomenal!

Nevertheless, the media’s reaction is a reflection of what India Inc thinks. And India Inc is willing to go to any absurd length to defend the decisions of the incumbent UPA government, which actually is a government of the industry, by the industry and for the industry. So let us not unnecessarily worry about what the media says or be carried away by the ‘pro-people’ cliches on TV by our impotent netas.

During the day, I was asked by a TV channel whether bandh is the right form of protest. My response was that there are only two ways of expressing your anger and protesting against the high-handedness of the government: using the democratic form of protest or by picking up the gun like the naxals have done in 230 districts of the country.

The other argument against bandh is that it is the people who bear the brunt of such protests. But what about the sufferings of people who have been reeling under the stupendous rise in prices for over a year now? They have been bearing the brunt silently. How long do you want the poor to go to bed hungry unable to buy two square meals a day? What about those millions who cannot afford to buy their daily quota of dal andchapati?

Anyway, the media decries bandh. The media also slams the opposition for disrupting the proceeding in Parliament if ever the Opposition parties come together on popular issues. What is the choice then? Should the people be left to adopt militant means? Or the media expects people to write letters to the editor? Even that space has disappeared in most newspapers, with hardly few inches of space left for public feedback.

It is not only the newspapers which have drastically curtailed space for public opinion, increasing privatisation is actually taking away the right of expression. Let me illustrate this. Some years back, I was in Manila to attend a conference. In the afternoon, we heard slogans outside the hotel. There were groups of farmers and activists who were protesting against the corporatisation of agriculture. Within minutes the police arrived telling the protesters that they can’t demonstrate inside the hotel’s boundary walls.

The protesters moved to the road outside. Again, they were told that the road was also a private property. They then went back to the small park in front of the hotel. They were then told that the park was also a private property.

In reality, India Inc is trying to take away all democratic spaces. They do not want any finger to be raised at the usurping of resources that the business and industry is engaged in. The economic loot that goes on with the support of the government is something they don’t want to stop. Obviously the share prices go up, and that keeps the middle class happy. Those who suffer are not allowed to raise their voice. With the dominant media on their side, Corporates are trying to muffle all democratic options and voices. In other words, it is actually an assault on the fundamental right of expression.

We are therefore at a very crucial stage in history. If we let the debate over democratic norms be defined by the Corporates and their agents (and I am including the economists in this list), it is time to say goodbye to democracy.

The greatest power the consumer has is the power not to buy

The greatest power the consumer has is the power not to buy: Anwar Fazal

By Biju Negi

“The essence and face of the consumer movement is not so well known because people associate it with the labour movement”, says Anwar Fazal, the renowned consumer rights leader.

Anwar Fazal (69), a former President of the Consumer International (CI – formerly International Organization of Consumers Unions – IOCU), has been one of the prime movers of nearly a dozen local and global citizens’ movements, namely Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Health Action International (HAI), and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). He has initiated several popular global anniversaries including World Consumer Rights Day (15 March), World Wetlands Day (1 February), World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) and World Migrants Day (18 December).

Currently the Director, Right Livelihood College and concurrently Visiting Professor, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang, Malaysia), Anwar is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (1982), the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) “Global 500″ honour, the Mother Earth News Hall of Fame and the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Peace Award.

This year on 20 April 2010, at its 50 years celebrations in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Consumer International in association with the Federation of Malaysians Consumers Association awarded Anwar its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, citing him as “the most influential figure in the history of the international consumer movement”.

Biju Negi of Beej Bachao Andolan interviewed Prof Anwar Fazal in Penang (Malaysia), for d-sector.org.

Q: In your booklet published recently on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Consumer International, the first sentence states that 50 years ago, the Consumer International was born, giving life to an idea whose time had come. What do you think? Its time is still there?

A: It’s an eternal one. In fact the sentence you mention is taken from the poem I composed in 1985 on the occasion of 50 years of the Consumer Union of the United States. So, you see the issue has an eternal relevance. One thing we have to remember, humans will always be consumers. People forget that we are consumers of many kinds of things – we are consumers of things that we have to purchase. We are also consumers of things that we are entitled to which may be government services; and we are also consumers of what would be described as free products given to us by god although they are also now becoming commercialized.

For instance, the air that we breathe. Now you find ‘oxygen clubs’ where you actually pay to get a bout of oxygen. Or water – just see how it has been commercialized, to the extent that our natural water sources and systems have been totally brutalized and destroyed by all kinds of mechanical systems. We have a situation where even companies like Coca Cola and Nestle are now selling bottled water and find there is a lot of money to be made in just selling water, because for these you pay hundreds and even thousands times over what you would be paying if you just drank water from the tap. And because, according to studies conducted, there is no material difference between the bottled and tap water, what do Coca Cola and Nestle do? They make “magical” improvements to the water, by adding tinges of colour – orange with a little bit of flavour; purple, with a little bit of flavour! The coloured water – it becomes a symbol of luxury and fashion. This is how, we as consumers, are exploited.

All this is done very methodically through advertising. They play on our fears and insecurities – like the pharmaceutical industry – to get us to use their products. Or they lure us with a false sense of pleasure, prestige and status. These companies know that if they can influence and capture you early and get you addicted, then the addiction becomes a part of your personality and to unlearn is very difficult. I always say it is ten times more difficult to unlearn than to learn.

Q: Do you think part of this exploitation of the consumer is in someway also related to the word – consumption and consumerism. The connotation of these words pertains to someone who takes, uses or receives.

A: Very much so. But interestingly, while the word consumerism itself signifies the whole culture of wanting, buying and consuming more and more, this word was also used against consumers and consumer movements by the right wing capitalist groups in the USA. If you look at the early history of the consumer movement, the earliest consumer organizations were all very much linked with the labour and justice movements. So the capitalists labeled the ‘consumer movement’ as consumerism, to have it rhyme with the word communism and say that these organizations were anti-market.

The first UN study done on consumer movement was by the International Labour Organization. It was called the “Study Guide for Consumer Protection”. And it said, workers have two ways of improving the quality of their life – one is, they can ask for more wages so that they have more income; and second, they can become good consumers, and make sure they don’t waste their money, but use and spend it wisely, and make sure that their money is not stolen – referring to the credit system, particularly the hire-purchase system that provided you a loan to own a product in advance. And while you paid back the loan installment monthly, with an interest rate, which may be 8-10% – on the principal sum, so that the effective interest rate that ended up paying was 40%.

“Every one of us can change the world. We just decide that we will do what we can, wherever we are, with whoever we can. We, as individuals just decide we will not buy those kinds of products, we will not engage in those kinds of services; we will live simply, we will help others, we will help the environment.”

Q: So there was a sense of awareness on getting the best value for your money?

A: Not just that. One was also targeting goods that were not produced under fair conditions. This essence and face of the consumer movement is not so well known because people then associate it with the labour movement. Similarly, the consumer movement also developed a concern over the effect of the production process, and the consumption process, and the waste process after consumption, and the impact that had on the environment.

The first editorial in the publication of the Consumers International (It was then known as International Organization of Consumer Unions – IOCU) stated that we must not just be looking at a product for its use, but that we must be equally concerned with the conditions under which that product was made. Equally concerned! We talked about value for money but also value for the environment, reflecting an awareness of the workers’ conditions, and also of the effect on the environment.

In the first annual consumer report of the Consumers Union (of USA), for as many of the products as it could, the report provided an evaluation of the companies in terms of their labour commitments. In the 1960s and 1970s, in the Third World particularly, very often where the consumer movements were young and environmental movements were practically non-existent, very often Consumer Movements took all these elements. When I was President (of the Consumers International, then International Organization of Consumer Unions, from 1978-1984), we decided to take up the issue of pesticides, and brought together environmental groups, trade union groups, church groups.

Then we went on to the breastfeeding issues, bringing together all kinds of groups, religious groups, development aid groups. We worked around pharmaceuticals and created Health Action International. All these movements brought together people from such diverse backgrounds and those movements were actually the faces of this new wave of the consumer movements, with a consumer consciousness that drew on the three values – for money, for people, for environment. The consumer movement therefore can then give that holistic, all embracing kind of activist leadership that is very often needed in this kind of effort.

In the early 1980s, there was actually a catalogue that was called “Shopping for a Better World” that had this kind of seven or eight social and environmental agendas or criteria – Is this company linked with the military? And if company is involved in military and defence, don’t support it. Is this company supporting apartheid in South Africa? Don’t buy its product. The greatest power the consumer has is the power not to buy.

“Unfortunately, we now have a global system that media-wise, financial-wise, political-wise acts totally as a juggernaut to capture people, or capture the economic system in such a way that you become its captive – Captive of the capitalist system in which your mind is conditioned to certain, I would never call them values, to certain conditions which are aimed to profit the companies, and to stimulate greed, to stimulate craze for fashion and waste among the people.”

Q: So, the movement is consciously addressing issues outside the per se consumer thing?

A: My definition of what would be per se the consumer is such a big one that it is not outside anything. I think that any consumer organization that doesn’t take this larger view, going beyond value for money to value for people and value for the environment is only a fragmented organization. It is not a holistic organization. A really credible consumer organization will take all these three dimensions to be part of its soul.

Q: But the challenges are still there.

A: Indeed. We have movements all over the world not just for ethical consumption but also for voluntary, simple living; going back to Gandhian ways. Buy what you need and not according to your greed. But unfortunately, we now have a global system that media-wise, financial-wise, political-wise acts totally as a juggernaut to capture people, or capture the economic system in such a way that you become its captive – Captive of the capitalist system in which your mind is conditioned to certain, I would never call them values, to certain conditions which are aimed to profit the companies, and to stimulate greed, to stimulate craze for fashion and waste among the people. With the result, we have now reached a stage where conspicuous consumption has become the norm and is encouraged.

So, we still have a long way to go. The period of Reaganism and Thatcherism broke down many consumer protection laws. Product safety laws that were obtained after decades of struggle were dismantled – corporations were given tremendous power, markets were so-called liberated – liberated for exploitation, not liberated for the people. And so, we have more people hungry in the world today than there were before. So, we’re actually fighting a system. The very fundamental issues for the consumer movements continue to remain relevant.

We have a major struggle against capitalist globalization process, regarding accountability, businesses without morality, but the spread of Internet gives us new kind of power. It is amazing how you can reach everybody, any time, anywhere. Take the example of the wonderful “Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard. How simply and powerfully it deals with the issue of waste. But the consumer movement must learn to use this new media to great effect because many of these new kinds of movements will be where consumer movements, environment movements, women’s organizations, church organizations, the workers’ organizations, all of them can collaborate and then we will be able to see all the dimensions of the issue; and the relationship we build in organizing that campaign, the links we build and the knowledge that we build then can be transferred to many other campaigns.

Q: You have mentioned Gandhi. Who are the other people who have inspired you?

A: Many, many. I think every single person who has done good work, has inspired me. Not just the people who made it high, but the hundreds of people all over the world who made the change. At times, we forget little people doing little things in little places in the world. They have actually made the difference. It’s their stories that are very important, but very often these little stories are forgotten.

I hope more and more people will remember them and share their stories. I believe, one small person doing a small thing in a small place can make the change. It is important that we, as an individual person, take decision. Every one of us can change the world. We just decide that we will do what we can, wherever we are, with whoever we can. We, as individuals just decide we will not buy those kinds of products, we will not engage in those kinds of services; we will live simply, we will help others, we will help the environment. What we buy will impact on human beings in the correct way, impact the environment in the correct way. Then we can see a better world.

(For more information on Anwar Fazal go to www.rightlivelihood.org and www.anwarfazal.net)

Protest at Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuke Weapons Complex, July 5

36 Nonviolent Nuke Resisters Arrested at Y-12 National Security Complex

eileen fleming

[July 5, 2010: Oak Ridge, Tennessee] Priests and nuns, atheists, anarchist and one clown were among the 23 arrested by the State and 13 by the Federal Government for nonviolently resisting Nuclear Weapons at Y-12 in the morning of July 5, 2010.

Those facing State charges were arrested for obstructing the road way, one for failing to obey a police officer and Federal charges are for trespassing.

The action topped off a weekend long celebration of 30 years of The Nuke Resister and Nukewatch which had gathered 200 nonviolent activists who came as far away as Australia, from the California coast to New Hampshire, Canada and this lone voice from Florida

IMG_0898 by ecumei.
Clowns of Conscience at Y-12, 5 July 2010
IMG_0915 by ecumei.
Clowns and other people of Conscience for a Nuke Free World
IMG_0913 by ecumei.
Sr. Ardeth Platte smiling with JOY while the empire’s minions TRY to hold her down
IMG_0900 by ecumei.
The empire’s forces VS People of Conscience
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Dominican Sister Ardeth Platte, on her crutch being arrested by the American Government for NONVIOLENTLY resisting Nuclear Weapons at Y-12, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, July 5, 2010.
IMG_0885 by ecumei.
NONVIOLENT Americans of Conscience forced to the ground after being arrested at Y-12, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
IMG_0884 by ecumei.
NONVIOLENT Americans of Conscience being arrested at Y-12, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
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IMG_0862 by ecumei.