46 US Warships In Costa Rican Waters

Legislators Appeal To Constitutional Court To Stop U.S Warships From Entering Costa Rican Waters

The decision authorizing the patrol of Costa Rican waters by U.S. warships is being contested by a group of legislators, headed by Gloria Bejarano, who filed an action of unconstitutionality with the Sala Constitucional (Costa Rica’s constitutional court).

The legislators believe the authorization that was voted on and granted last week for the entry of 46 naval warships, 200 helicopters, war planes and 7.000 Marines as confirmed by the president of the LegislativeAssembly, Gerardo Villanueva, violates Costa Rica’s Political Constitution.

Villanueva confirmed that there are errors in the authorization, explaining that the co-operation agreement between the United States and Costa Rica signed 11 years ago was never published in La Gaceta.

The legislators argue in their filing that since the decree was never published it is null and void and in addition was for a 10 year period and would have expired in 2009.

Villanueva, however, argues that the agreement does not have an expiry date and the publication of the decree can be made any time.

The agreement signed in 2009 establishes a joint patrol of Costa Rican waters by the United States and Costa Rican Coast Guards.

Last week the United States, as is customary and required under the agreement, filed for authorization of the U.S. warships and personnel, that would be under the control of the Costa Rican Coast Guard, to enter Costa Rican waters to combat drug trafficking in the country and the region.

US Now Conducting Simultaneous International War Games In Atlantic and Pacific

[The US Navy is running simultaneous interdiction and interoperability drills in both oceans, involving 17 different nations.

The Pacific drills are to establish “freedom of navigation as a basis for global peace and prosperity".... maritime interdiction and vessel boardings.”

The Atlantic drills, involving the US, France, Russia and Britain, to “practice interoperability for future joint operations under a UN mandate.”

Now is the time for the international order to take control over all maritime traffic as the means for establishing the global dictatorship]

Russia sends warship to international naval drills in N.Atlantic

On the board of Severomorsk guided-missile destroyer

On the board of Severomorsk guided-missile destroyer

© RIA Novosti. Alexandra Kamenskaya

The Severomorsk guided-missile destroyer from Russia’s Northern Fleet set sail Friday for British shores to team up with NATO warships in an international naval exercise in the North Atlantic, a fleet spokesman said.

The Russian Navy earlier said the Frukus 2010 exercise will be held on July 22-25.

The annual exercises, which traditionally involve France, Russia, Britain and the United States, practice interoperability for future joint operations under a UN mandate.

Previously called RUKUS, the exercises were launched in 1988 to promote dialogue between the Soviet Union, Britain, and the United States. The name was changed to FRUKUS in 2003, when France formally joined the group.

Severomorsk is an Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer armed with anti-ship missiles, 30-mm and 100-mm guns, and two Ka-27 Helix helicopters.

The Frukus 2009 drills saw the Severomorsk join forces with the French Tourville frigate, the guided-missile frigate USS Klakring and the destroyer HMS York.

MURMANSK, July 9 (RIA Novosti)

image

http://www.c3f.navy.mil/RIMPAC_2010/Press_Releases/01-10%20RIMPAC%20Exercise%20Announcement.pdf

Afghanistan’s ‘de facto’ partition best available option for ‘failing’ US: Ex-diplomat

Afghanistan’s ‘de facto’ partition best available option for ‘failing’ US: Ex-diplomat

2010-07-09 15:00:00
Former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill has warned that President Obama’s Afghan strategy is heading towards a ‘failure’, adding that the best option available with the White House was to divide the war torn country.

Blackwill, who had also served as deputy national security adviser for strategic planning and presidential envoy to Iraq during President George Bush’ regime, said that Washington must admit the truth that the Taliban would continue to control its historic stronghold in Afghanistan.

“The US polity should stop talking about timelines and exit strategies and accept that the Taliban will inevitably control most of its historic stronghold in the Pashtun south,” Blackwill wrote in his opinion piece published in Politico.

“But Washington could ensure that north and west Afghanistan do not succumb to jihadi extremism, using US air power and special forces along with the Afghan army and like-minded nations,” he added.

In his article, the former US diplomat pointed out that “after years of ‘faulty’ US policy towards Afghanistan, there are no quick, easy and cost-free ways to escape the current deadly quagmire. But, with all its problems, de facto partition offers the best available US alternative to strategic defeat”.

“It is now the best outcome that Washington can achieve consistent with vital national interests and US domestic politics,” Blackwill added.

Blackwill also warned that Pakistan would never back the idea of Afghanistan’s de facto partition, and managing its reaction would be a difficult task for the Obama administration.

“Not least because the Pakistan military expects a strategic gain once the US military withdraws from Afghanistan,” he said.

Blackwill also noted that “fearing a return of Pakistan dominance in Afghanistan, India would likely encourage Washington to continue ground combat in south Afghanistan for many years to come”.

He said that the Obama administration must work to assuage assuage India’s fears, and also assure it that the US would not permit the Taliban to re-emerge as a political or military force in the region.

“We would then make it clear that we would rely heavily on US air power and special forces to target any Al Qaeda base in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan Taliban leaders who aided them,” he wrote. (ANI)

Ignorance As A Weapon

Ignorance As A Weapon

July 9, 2010: While university educated terrorists get a lot of media attention, most ideologically motivated terrorists are poorly educated (many are illiterate). Poverty and illiteracy is a great motivator to do something desperate, in the off chance it might improve your lot. Thus most of the violence in the world occurs in countries with low literacy rates. While the planetary literacy rate is 87 percent, it’s only 29 percent in Afghanistan. It’s even worse in the Pushtun tribal territories (about 15 percent on the Afghan side, 23 percent on the Pakistan side). The Taliban are a Pushtun movement, and the Islamic radicals are determined to keep literacy low. They also believe in prohibitions on women working outside the home, and the use of entertainment technology (music and videos, in particular, and don’t even try to dance). Modern weapons and vehicles are another matter, as long as women are not operating these devices.

This illiteracy is a key factor in keeping radical Islam going in places like Afghanistan and Somalia (24 percent literacy rate). Islamic radicals believe in education, but a special kind of education, which is taught in a madrassa (Islamic school), and stresses memorizing scripture and learning how to hate non-Moslems more effectively.

The majority of the Islamic terrorists (gunmen, suicide bombers, helpers of all sorts) come from madrassas. Such schools are found all over the Islamic world, but the ones that produce the most terrorists are those that teach a conservative form of Islam, usually one that justifies militant Islam, hatred of non-Moslems and a favorable attitude towards Islamic radicalism. There are probably fewer than five million kids attending these conservative madrassas. But these schools turn out thousands of potential terrorists each year.

An extensive study of the madrassas in Pakistan found that only about ten percent all schoolchildren were attending the religious schools, and less than twenty percent of these schools taught militancy and hatred against non-Moslems. Most of these Islamic schools were concentrated in the Pushtun (tribal) areas. The most dangerous madrasses teach a conservative version of Islam and stress the need to fight infidels (non-Moslems), but they also teach basic literacy and some math. Since most Islamic states have terrible educations systems, parents see madrassas as a viable option.

Even with the 20,000 or so madrassas in a place like Pakistan, you still have over a third of the children not in school. The national literacy rate is 56 percent in Pakistan. The Gulf States only got high literacy rates in the last few generations, courtesy of all that oil money. Saudi Arabia and Iraq have achieved literacy rates close to 80 percent. But Pakistan and Afghanistan haven’t got that wealth. Then again, neither does China, which has a literacy rate of 90 percent (as do most of the East Asian nations). It’s a culture thing, which is not politically correct to even mention.

Even children going to state schools in Islamic nations, will get a lot of religious instruction. Parents who can afford it, send their kids to “Western” schools that teach subjects that will help the children get ahead in life. For Moslem nations, students are encouraged to study religion, even in college. While many Moslem kids realize that studying technical subjects will do them more good, at least economically, the Islamic nations turn out fewer technically trained graduates, per capita, than in the West.

This attitude towards secular education has left most Islamic nations illiterate, poor and incubators of terrorism. Trying to change that, brings out the wrath of the Islamic clergy, who insist that the best education is a religious one, and no education at all is best for girls.

A lot of Western economic aid to places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, is for education. Most parents favor this. It’s no secret that better educated kids grow up to be wealthier adults. And with an education, you can make it big in the West. But these “Western schools” are anathema to Islamic militants, and in some parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, attending such schools, or teaching in them, can get you killed or maimed.

Putin unveils new drive to end Caucasus extremism

Putin unveils new drive to end Caucasus extremism

By Anna Smolchenko (AFP) – 2 days ago

KISLOVODSK, Russia — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday time was running out for extremists in the Caucasus, as he announced an ambitious drive to bring prosperity to the violence-torn region.

Putin told top government officials to come up with plans to turn the former war zone of Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia into an investor haven as he vowed to quash any attempts to break up Russia.

“Yes, extremists are still carrying out acts of terror today but more and more they are degenerating into common criminal groups,” Putin said in the speech in the spa town of Kislovodsk in the Caucasus foothills.

“But their time is running out. We will with all our force protect the life, rights and security of our citizens,” he said, pledging that the government would turn the impoverished region into a land of world-class skiing resorts and top tourist attractions.

At the meeting considering the strategy for the region through 2020, he called for the creation of 400,000 extra jobs within the next 10 years, saying its economy should in the next few years post a growth rate of 10 percent.

“We understand that it’s a very difficult task but it needs to be done,” Putin told the gathering of his ruling United Russia party and top local officials, including Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Ingushetia’s Yunus-Bek Yevkurov who was nearly killed in an attack last year.

“We all need a peaceful, prosperous Caucasus.”

Russia is battling a violent Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, and deadly attacks in the republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan are a near-daily occurrence.

Militants from the Caucasus were also blamed for the bombings on the Moscow metro on March 29 carried out by two female suicide bombers that killed 40 people in a pair of coordinated attacks.

At the meeting Putin said widespread unemployment was the region’s most acute problem and helped militants recruit new fighters.

One out of five people has a hard time finding a job in the region, with unemployment standing at over 50 percent in Ingushetia and 30 percent in Chechnya, Putin said.

The Kremlin attempted to strengthen its hold on the region in January, when it appointed a new envoy responsible for the North Caucasus, businessman Alexander Khloponin.

Khloponin has been tasked with coming up with a blueprint to end violence in the region and excerpts published in Russia’s Newsweek showed he pins his hopes mainly on economic development, including the creation of new jobs and the setting up of development banks.

Putin said a branch of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank would be set up in the Caucasus to help with investment projects, while the finance ministry would provide loan guarantees for business projects undertaken there.

Foreign and Russian entrepreneurs prefer now to do business elsewhere but regional officials should do their best to bring investors in the region, Putin said, adding that regional leaders should treat any investor as “a family member.”

Critics charge that a major weakness of the Caucasus strategy is that no one clearly knows how much money is required for the plan for the region, where corruption and nepotism are a way of life.

The Stavropol region, which includes Kislovodsk, lies on the northern edge of the Caucasus and has until now rarely seen the bloody attacks that characterise the simmering guerrilla war between Russian forces and separatist rebels.

But in a sign that the region still presents a major security risk, the government first said that Putin would fly to the nearby city of Pyatigorsk, notifying reporters at the last minute his visit would be to Kislovodsk.

Putin, who once famously said that Islamist militants should be “wiped out in the outhouse,” also told the party meeting “I sometimes feel sorry” for the militants because of the lack of opportunities available to them.

Democracy? it’s not real.

Democracy? it’s not real.

Putin adds his own perspective on the current state of American democracy

by Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze on Thursday, July 8, 2010 9:40am – 3 Comments
Getty Images

Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, though frequently raising a few eyebrows when he does, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a scrum of French reporters recently that the Western model of democracy simply doesn’t exist.

“Can you tell me what it is—the Western model of democracy? France has one model of democracy, the U.S.A. has another one,” Putin said, then added his own perspective on the current state of American democracy. “A French politician told me once, ‘One cannot do anything at the elections in the U.S.A. without money—whether they are elections to the Senate or Congress, not to mention the presidential elections. There is nothing to do there without a sack of money.’ ”

Putin also took this opportunity to defend Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. “People died as a result of the criminal action launched by President [Mikheil] Saakashvili two years ago. Russia was forced to defend the lives of its peacemakers and the citizens of South Ossetia,” the prime minister declared. “We stopped 15 to 20 km from Tbilisi. We stopped there not because we could not enter Tbilisi—we stopped because we didn’t want to do it. We didn’t want any military action at all.”

Georgia Approves Sale of Pipeline Delivering Russian Gas To Armenia

Georgia Approves Sale of Pipeline Delivering Russian Gas To Armenia


TBILISI (Oil & Gas Eurasia)–The Georgian parliament has approved the sale of a trunk gas pipeline which pumps Russian gas across Georgia to Armenia. eighty-eight members of parliament favored the law, while five voted against the measure.

Despite the law being passed by parliament, the Georgian opposition does not share the majority’s enthusiasm for the sale which they say will be “an energy and economic threat to Georgia”, RBK reports.

Parliament members of the opposition suggest that instead Georgia should retain a 51 per cent stake in the pipeline and remain the pipeline operator. The majority however, deemed the “Russian threat” exaggerated and passed the law. Another argument used in favor of the sale was the fact Tbilisi believes “private companies are more effective in managing such sites than the government”.

The trunk pipeline was built in the 1970s. it has not been upgraded since 1980.

Minority Ownership Of Georgian Gas Pipeline Could Go To Azeri Firm, With Possible Problems For Armenia

Minority Ownership Of Georgian Gas Pipeline Could Go To Azeri Firm, With Possible Problems For Armenia

July 8, 2010 Armenia No Comments

Minority Ownership Of Georgian Gas Pipeline Could Go To Azeri Firm, With Possible Problems For Armenia

Georgia’s intention to sell a trunk gas pipeline (north-south) delivering Russian natural gas to Armenia across Georgia has raised concerns in Armenia that the gas pipeline might be sold to an Azeri enterprise, which already owns Georgia’s 30 natural gas distributor companies.

If Azeri-owned (though Georgia expects to retain 51 percent), it is possible that transfer to Armenia would be shut off, losing a source that supplies about 70 percent of Armenia’s natural gas.

Earlier this week the Georgian parliament, on first reading, approved the bill on removing the gas pipeline from the list of strategic facilities, and later its privatization will be allowed according to the law.

The issue of selling the pipeline has been voiced since 2005, when the Russian Gazprom Company wanted to buy the pipeline to recover and repair it.
However, later, the United States sponsored its repair works, and that issue was closed.

In 2008, after the SOCAR Energy Georgia subsidiary company of an Azeri oil company bought about 30 natural gas distributor companies in Georgia, the issue of the natural gas entering Armenia was voiced again.

Georgian analysts are sure that it will not be sold to the Russian Gazprom by any means, so the second most probable purchaser is the Azeri SOCAR Energy Georgia.

Stepan Safaryan, head of the oppositional Heritage parliamentary faction, is sure that it may result in serious problems for Armenia, even up to an energy crisis.
“The Armenian authorities must do everything possible to prevent that deal, otherwise it may have serious consequences,” Safaryan told ArmeniaNow.
Hrant Bagratyan, former Prime Minister of Armenia, says that the first step that Armenia must take is to buy it.

“If Azerbaijan buys it [gas pipeline], the consequences are very clear. But first of all, the issue must be discussed why Armenia is not doing anything to buy it. The Republican Party [of Armenia] should have already discussed the issue for at last ten times, and must have looked for solutions,” Bagratyan told ArmeniaNow.

The Republican Party, however, has not discussed the issue.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Samvel Nikoyan told ArmeniaNow that as far as the major part of the gas pipeline (51 percent) stocks will be under Georgia’s control, “possibly no problems will occur no matter who buys it.”

“There are some concerns, but the ArmRosGazprom [joint Russian-Armenian national gas distribution company] recently made a statement that there was nothing to worry about,” Nikoyan says. He does not know yet whether Armenia will participate in the auction.

“It would not be bad if any Armenian enterprise bought it,” he says.

Source: ArmeniaNowOriginal Article

‘Last Chance For Armenia,’ Threatens Aliyev

‘Last Chance For Armenia,’ Threatens Aliyev


BAKU (Combined Sources)–”This is the last chance for Armenia to leave the occupied lands voluntarily for the sake of its own future and its own security,” threatened Azeri President Ilham Aliyev Tuesday during the inauguration of a center for the so-called “Azeri Community of Nagorno-Karabakh,” reported the Turan news agency.

The threat comes two days after Aliyev held talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who urged both sides to refrain from “use of force or the intention of use of force” to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In his lengthy remarks, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan had accepted the updated Madrid Principles drafted by the OSCE Minks Group that is mediating the peace process.

He said the time had come for Armenia to adopt the principles, accusing Yerevan of deliberately delaying the process.

The Azeri President said his country’s growing economic and military potential and the strengthening of its position in the international arena will help it restore its territorial integrity.

“Today our army is able to solve any task,” the Azerbaijani President said. Aliyev, however, did not touch upon the mechanism of development of the final legal status of Nagrono-Karabakh during his speech.

In related news, Azerbaijan has denied Armenian claims that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts with a new international plan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at their meeting in Saint Petersburg last month, reported Radio Free Europe.

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian referred to them as “a new version of the Madrid principles” of a Karabakh settlement at a joint news conference in Yerevan with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday.

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

The Azei Foreign Ministry dismissed these statements late on Monday. “Even though Russia plays a large role in this process and the Russian president has taken part in several meetings [between Aliyev and Sarkisian,] proposals are drawn up only by the [Minsk Group] co-chairs,” Azerbaijani news agencies quoted the 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,” Polukhov said. “Only various approaches were discussed in Saint Petersburg. The statement by Nalbandian is only aimed at distracting the Armenian and international publics from the essence of the issue.”

The three co-chairs made no mention of the Saint Petersburg in a statement issued after their latest tour of the conflict zone. They instead reiterated the U.S., Russian and French presidents’ joint calls for the parties to “take the next step and move towards completing work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a peace agreement to begin.” They also urged the sides to “strictly observe the 1994 ceasefire and exercise restraint along the Line of Contact.”

“During their visit, the Co-chairs also presented to the parties their plan to undertake a mission to the occupied territories in this fall, which was accepted in principle,” added the statement.

Armenia, Azerbaijan Trade More Accusations

Armenia, Azerbaijan Trade More Accusations

July 8, 2010 ArmeniaAzerbaijanTop News No Comments

Armenia, Azerbaijan Trade More Accusations

Armenia and Azerbaijan have again accused each other of torpedoing the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process ahead of a new round of peace negotiations which international mediators hope will bring them closer to a settlement.

Official Yerevan said late on Wednesday that the presidents of the two warring nations reached important “understandings” at their last meeting in Russia and that Baku is now trying to walk away from them. It also condemned Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s fresh threats to resolve the Karabakh conflict by force.

Addressing officials in Baku earlier on Wednesday, Aliyev spoke of “the last chance” for the Armenians to peacefully return the disputed territory and Azerbaijani districts surrounding it to his country. He again claimed that Armenia has still not responded to a draft framework peace accord that was modified by the U.S., Russian and French mediators late last year.

He reiterated that Baku accepted the so-called “Madrid principles” of a Karabakh settlement “with certain exceptions.” “If Armenia does not react to those proposals positively, then it will make no sense to continue negotiations in the current format,” Aliyev said.
“There are no peacekeeping forces in that region right now, there are only Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers,” he added. “The distance between them is 40-50 meters in some sections [of the frontline.] Nobody can guarantee that no unpleasant events will occur there.”

The Armenian Foreign Ministry swiftly denounced these threats as well as Baku’s earlier denial of Armenian claims that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented Aliyev and Armenia’s Serzh Sarkisian with a new Karabakh peace plan when he met them in Saint Petersburg on June 17. A ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, portrayed these statements as further proof that Azerbaijan provoked the worst Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire violation in Karabakh since 2008 the day after those talks.

“They are clearly aimed at torpedoing the negotiating process,” Balayan said in a statement. “As they are trying to step back from understandings reached in Saint Petersburg, Azerbaijan’s leaders are misleading their own people by distorting the essence of negotiations and agreements reached during them.”

According to senior figures in the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Sarkisian reacted positively to the new peace proposals, unlike Aliyev. They have claimed that Aliyev cut short his visit to Saint Petersburg as a result.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry insisted earlier this week that Aliyev and Sarkisian received no formal peace proposals from Medvedev and only discussed “various approaches” to peace in the Russian city. Aliyev likewise insisted that the Madrid principles put forward by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in December remain on the table.

Aliyev claimed that restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is the most important of those principles and downplayed the mediators’ support for the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination. “Possibilities of peoples’ self-governance and self-determination must not breach the territorial integrity of states,” he said, according to Azerbaijani media.

The Azerbaijani leader also emphasized the fact that under the proposed settlement, Karabakh would have an “interim status” until an agreement is reached on its final status, the main bone of contention. But he said nothing about how that status is to determined.
The basic principles, which were first formally submitted to the conflicting parties in 2007, reportedly call for a referendum on the status to be held within the disputed territory. According to Armenian officials and some Western diplomats, Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population would be able to vote for independence, reunification with Armenia or return under Azerbaijani control.

“The self-determination of the Nagorno-Karabakh people can not be restricted by Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity mentioned for 13 times in a single speech,” said Balayan. “Having failed to learn real lessons from history, Azerbaijan’s leaders are threatening new provocations and adventures.”

The bitter recriminations came ten days before a planned meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In a joint statement issued on June 26, the presidents of the United States, Russia and France said they are instructing their top diplomats to “work intensively to assist the two sides to overcome their differences” before and during that meeting. They also urged the parties to “complete the work on the Basic Principles.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conveyed the same message to Aliyev and Sarkisian when she visited Baku and Yerevan at the weekend. But she left no indications afterwards that the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal is imminent.

Copyright (c) 2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

HOLIER THAN THE COW

HOLIER THAN THE COW

Karnataka plans to criminalise possession of beef and restrict transport of cattle. But isn’t this an attack on secularism?

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Sanjana

THE PRE-MONSOON session of the Karnataka state Legislative Council that began on June 28 will, by all counts, be a stormy one as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government attempts to get a Bill through the Upper House. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010, if enacted, will impose a blanket ban on slaughter of cattle in the state.

Karnataka, like several other states in the country, has always had an Act that puts restrictions on the slaughter of cows. Balancing a Brahmanical notion of sacredness with widespread cultural practices of beef eating, the existing legislation allows cows to be sold to slaughterhouses if they are over 12 years of age — by when they stop producing milk. Before the sale, cows have to be mandatorily certified by qualified veterinary doctors. The proposed legislation is a significant departure from the existing Act on several counts.

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Illustration: SAMIA SINGH

By expanding the definition of cattle to include “a cow, calf, bull, bullock, buffalo”, the government proposes to ban beef completely. Further, the legislation proposes to criminalise the act of possession of beef and imposes severe restrictions on even the transport of cattle. Offenders can be imprisoned for a period of one to seven years, or fined Rs 25,000–50,000. Yet another significant departure in the legislation is the power that it accords to non-state actors — they are authorised to raid premises on mere suspicion.

For Dalits, Muslims, Christians and several other communities, consumption of beef is part of regular diet. What should draw our attention is that a democratically elected government that is bound by secular constitutional values is willing to criminalise cultural habits of millions of people to uphold the religious beliefs of a few. Neither is the matter one of headcount — if it were, Dalits, Muslims and Christians in the state are sure to outnumber those who are opposed to slaughter of cattle. It is about drawing the lines — us and them, the beef-eaters and those who don’t, the killers and the pious ones. And reinforcing those lines with the power of the State behind one section.

When the Bill was introduced in the state Assembly, there was a four-hour debate on the issue. Even as opposition party representatives rushed to the well of the House, Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa talked at length of the proven medicinal benefits of cow urine (See: Yes, Hindus Really Do Drink “Holy” Cow Urine) and the possibility of Karnataka exporting it as a medicine. Surabhi GomutraYet another BJP minister talked of the state facing a deficit of milk if cattle were not accorded protection — the legislation had to go through, he said, for the sake of Karnataka’s children. In the end, the legislation was passed by voice vote in the lower House. It is impossible to tell who shouted the legislation down and who didn’t.

Outside the realm of cultural, religious and communal notions lies a purely economic one as well. A rally in Bengaluru to protest against the Bill saw 10,000 people warning the government of further unrest if the legislation went through. A large section of the crowd were farmers for whom the legislation would spell economic doom. Cattle that was unproductive and that could not be sold to slaughterhouses would be an economic burden they could not bear. To say nothing of the people who survive on the fringes of the slaughterhouses.

What is definite is that the line in the Preamble to the Constitution, where we promise ourself a secular republic, will be read in a softer voice.

WRITER’S EMAIL: sanjana@tehelka.com

From Tehelka Magazine

Hollywood stars cancel trips to Jerusalem festival after flotilla crisis

ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires
Actress Meg Ryan. AFP photo
Actress Meg Ryan. AFP photo

Two Hollywood stars have decided to sit out this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival, reportedly in protest of Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman canceled their planned appearances at the festival, the Jerusalem Post reported on its website Wednesday. Neither actor cited the raid as the reason for the cancellation, but the Jerusalem Post quoted Cinematheque associate director Yigal Molad Hayo as saying, “It became quite clear that this was the reason.”

Israeli commandos raided an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip on May 31, killing eight Turks and one American citizen of Turkish descent. The attack sparked an international outcry and led to pressure on Israel to lift or at least ease its blockade on the besieged area.

Ryan, who has starred in films such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” reportedly backed out of the festival the day after the raid.

“Although they claimed it was because she was too busy, it was clear to me that it probably had something to do with what had happened,” Molad Hayo said.

Hoffman’s publicist claimed he never planned to attend the event, but Molad Hayo told the Jerusalem Post that festival organizers had been negotiating an appearance before the flotilla crisis.

“We were very close to reaching an agreement with him, then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended,” the Cinematheque associate director said.

Prince Albert of Monaco was also scheduled to attend the festival but later canceled, which Molad Hayo attributed to likely pressure from his own country.

“I’d already made arrangements for a tribute to Grace Kelly to appear in the festival program,” he said, adding that he believed Prince Albert’s cancellation could have come from domestic pressure not to make an official visit to Israel at this time. “I think they believed it could have been very negative for him and even dangerous,” Molad Hayo said. “Many people from the Gulf States have their bank accounts in Monte Carlo and they might not have approved of him coming to a festival in west Jerusalem.”

Despite the apparent boycotting by high-profile guests, this year’s festival will still bring in some 150 official guests from all over the world, including heads of other international festivals, actors, producers and directors. It will also debut roughly 50 homegrown movies, documentaries and short films.

America’s Zionist Ku Klux and the threat it poses to the future of our Constitutional Republic

America’s Zionist Ku Klux and the threat it poses to the future of our Constitutional Republic

Anisa Abd el Fattah

Americans born and raised in the United States during the 50s, 60s and 70s might have a unique perspective of our country’s progress from an apartheid state of Jim Crow segregation, to what we thought we were as a people just prior to 9/11. It seems like a long time ago that we viewed ourselves as a people who had defeated the forces of evil racial supremacism and the politics and culture of racial hatred and fear that had divided us for so long. It was hatred and fear that had been imposed upon us for so many years, and presented to us as American culture that had divided us. America had suffered ugly years, and the consequences included spiritual and social deformity resulting from centuries of brutal human bondage, slavery and genocide that had to be falsely justified.

The false justification was couched in an American narrative that implied the racial inferiority of one group, and the racial supremacy of another. America justified its crimes of slavery and genocide with a narrative that was both Biblical and secular in its insistence that it was either God or Darwin who had selected the White race to preserve God and nature’s intrinsic order and selection of the races. It was suggested by both scripture and science in America, that it was in fact the duty of the supposedly “superior race” to dominate all of the other supposedly “inferior races” of people. Sometimes this message was subtle, and sometimes it was not. The spiritual and social deformities resulting from such hoaxes, lies and evil would have certainly destroyed the United States, had we as a people not faced our demons in the streets of Selma and Montgomery Alabama and other racial hot spots that became the battle grounds between good and evil from where our country’s racist demons were seemingly driven out.

It would have been almost impossible to have been a teenager or young adult during that tumultuous period of 30 odd years in US history, and not have been touched in some way by these events as they transpired. The change was there, in our daily news and nightly in the streets of our cities. America was changing, and to some of us it seemed fast, hard, and beautiful. To others it was merely frightening. For all of us, it was necessary.

In African-American communities there were stark differences between the worlds of adults and teenagers, except when it came to civil rights. This melding of the Black, specifically the African-American mind that closed the traditional generational gap in our communities was due, for the most part, to the preachers in the Black Churches. They made it clear to all of us every Sunday, that Jesus had said “suffer the children to come unto me,” which meant that we were not excused from the struggle. It was ours, whether we liked it or not, and whether we understood it or not. We cried when our parents cried, we got angry when they got angry, we marched when they marched, and we sat still and quiet and stood back when they told us to. Their tears, along with all of the expressions of joy and anger, faith and hope that animated their strong faces were sometimes all we had to go by. So we learned to read their faces and to understand, what it all meant.

For our parents, the fight had been long and unyielding. For many of them memories of slavery, only a generation or so past, were fresh in their minds. They knew what was at stake, and what they were fighting for. They were authentic. They were heroes, and their legacy was left to everyone who considers themselves part of this experience and experiment called America. We held on to their moral coattails all the way from Alabama in the 60s, to New York City. We let go, and began our collective fall from grace on September 11th, 2001.

How many of us would be willing to say today, that we as a people and a country are at our best and that the state of our union today is strong and sound? The racial supremacism that we stared down and the demons we thought we had defeated half a century ago are back. They have taken on a new form, and they are threatening our country again, but this time as religious supremacism barely hidden in the language of scripture and science, draped in the US flag while claiming piety, just as racism and Jim Crow had before.

Those of us, who are heartbroken by what now parades itself as the United States of America, understand that 9/11 changed us in many ways that were not good. We can see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of our fellow citizens, the hatred, the fear, and the anger. We understand that what we see and hear is a response to what is being said and demonstrated by our so called leaders and politicians who, just as before, have created a narrative that is ripe with false justification for the deprivation of rights for some Americans and blatant favoritism for others.

Whereas in the past, the ideas that divided and deformed us were contrived for the sake of justifying the demonization and domination of supposedly inferior races, today‘s dangerous ideas are aimed at creating a new American identity. An identity that is being crafted by Zionists who want to convince us that White European Jews are God’s selected or chosen people and that gentiles are inferior. They want us to believe that they have access to God, while our souls are trapped inside husks, making us nearer to animals in our consciousness, while they are supposedly superior and nearer to God.

The identity they are crafting for our country suggests that the gentile was created to serve and to protect the so called “chosen ones” with our lives, blood, and treasure, while it is their supposed duty to God, to dominate and to subjugate us and to use us for the fulfillment of their destinies and desires, whether in Heaven or in Hell. They want to recreate the United States, not in God’s image, but in an ugly image of modern day slavery where our people, including our children, will work long hours for little pay, no pensions, no sick days, no social security, no affordable health care, and no retirement. The trade off is that they will set no limits to our immorality, pornography, and sexualization and exploitation of our children. They have nothing vested in our spiritual growth or salvation, since according to their Talmud; we were created only to serve them.

Today, the United States of America sends 7 million dollars per day to Israel in foreign aide. That does not count for the military aide, or the security aide, the weapons and other ways that we funnel money to Israel that cannot be detected. Meanwhile, we are also paying billions to finance two wars being fought to secure Israel’s geo-political dominance in the Middle East and to capture oil and natural resources, much of which was reserved for Israel, and not the United States.

The Zionist Ku Klux in the US wants to recreate us as a country where the children of the rich and elite go to college, while the children of the poor go to war. They want us to surrender our morality to their genocides being carried out in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. They want to shield themselves from the consequences of their immoral crimes. They want us to overlook and justify their immorality and lawlessness. They want us to return to our dark past, a past from which we thought we had broken free.

Once we understand that today, in our country there exists a Zionist Ku Klux, similar in every way to the racist white Ku Klux Klan of history, we will understand why we are fighting for Zionist Israel’s global dominance in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will understand why we are fighting Islam in a bogus so called War on Terrorism and killing Muslims throughout the world, hoping to eliminate any resistance, challengers, detractors and/or competitors against Zionism. This Klan fights to sustain its control over our government, and many of our churches, civic and political organizations, schools and labor unions. This is why whenever we begin, as an American people, to ask questions, to demand our freedom from increasing government invasion of our privacy and protection of our rights, and our money, we are taken back to 9/11, and reminded that we should be afraid. It is why we are threatened and silenced with the very so called Anti-Terrorism laws that we thought were passed to fight terrorism, while it is becoming increasingly clear that they were really passed to fight us. They were passed to deprive us of rights, and to silence us and to prevent us from ever again challenging and battling our demons in our streets. The Zionist Ku Klux in America learned the lessons of our past. They learned, and remembered the important lessons that we forgot.

Even prior to 9/11 this Zionist Klan began their war of terror on the United States. It began as a very subtle suggestion that if we hoped to be safe from terrorism, we must change our laws, including our Constitution which our Congress was told presented a barrier to fighting terrorism. Now we know that the real message was that unless we changed our laws and got rid of our Constitution we would be the victims of an act of terrorism that would reach so deep into our collective psyche with fear, that we would forget all of our lofty ideas and past struggles, and surrender our rights anyway. What we didn’t known then, were that our own attempts to speak the truth and to exert our rights as a self-governing and sovereign people, to demand justice in our courts, and an end to wars and a balanced budget, would be called acts of terrorism. While Zionists and their political flunkies in our Congress stoked the flames of hatred against Muslims, Islam, and Middle Easterners after 9/11, falsely claiming that it was Muslims, led by an extremist Islamic idea, who attacked us on 9/11. AIPAC, the Israeli organization that overseas and manages Zionist power in the US, was busy buying and blackmailing our Congress, stealing our state secrets and passing laws to be used against all of us, but only after being tested successfully on our Muslim and Middle Eastern citizens first.

In May of this year 2010, a ship filled with medicines, food, and cement set sail for a place in Palestine called Gaza. For three years Gaza has suffered under an illegal economic embargo imposed by Israel in a failed attempt to overthrow the elected Palestinian government. While this ship was in international waters, headed for the coast of Gaza, Israeli commandos illegally boarded the ship and murdered 9 of the humanitarian activists aboard the ship, including a 19 year old American student. His autopsy shows that he was killed due to being shot 4 times in his brain at close range. There were other Americans on that ship the Mavi Marmara, and also on other ships that made up what was called the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Thinking that they still enjoyed Constitutional rights in their country, some of the survivors upon their return home to the US, have sought to speak out, and to tell their fellow countrymen and women what happened to them and also what happened to that young American who was executed by the Israeli commandos. Rather than to be greeted with sympathy, and solidarity, or to be received by our government as heroes and citizens to be proud of for their humanitarian efforts, they were met with hatred, not by the people, but by Zionist politicians and their AIPAC cronies and operatives. There was no grief expressed by our government to the family of the fallen. No resolution passed in his honor by our Zionist Congress. No memorial held by our Zionist churches and synagogues, and not a tear shed for our country’s loss, suffered in the death of that brave young 19 year old American who was killed for carrying food to hungry Palestinians.

California Congressman Brad Sherman, along with others including New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn, Representatives Jerry Nadler, Anthony Weiner, Carolyn Mahoney, Charles Rangel, and Scott Stringer issued threats to have the survivors arrested using anti-terrorism statutes, and to have them silenced with threats of government investigations into their private lives to supposedly determine if they have ties to terrorists. All actions aimed purely at depriving these citizens their constitutional rights.

The Zionist Ku Klux in America has shown its ugly face, and they have demonstrated for us in a most dramatic way, how they will use the so called anti-terrorism laws that our Zionist Congress passed without ever reading, to silence us and to deprive us of our Constitutional rights. One of the Zionist leaders of this cabal, Joseph Lieberman even threatened to pass a law stripping US citizens of citizenship if we dare criticize Israel, or take political positions opposed to those of our Zionist masters. They have proven by their own words and actions, that they will not honor the social contract between the governed and the governing known as the Bill of Rights. In their minds, they have already changed and remade America in a Zionist image, and all that is left is for us to either submit, or be treated as terrorists by our own government and elected officials whose purpose is no longer to serve, protect and represent the interests of the American citizen, but rather to serve, protect, defend and finance their false god and idol Israel, and to shield Israel from any accountability for its numerous crimes against gentiles, and violations of international law. Unless we are willing as a people to reject what is happening to our country, and to organize and to stand against it, we should expect to return to the days of the ugly and grossly deformed America. The old America from where we thought we had been liberated, and transformed. Together we stand, divided we fall.

On June 17th, Flotilla survivors Lara Lee, Ahonet Unsal, and Kevin Overdon will speak at the House of the Lord Church in New York City. They will speak about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and what happened to them and other human rights activists on board flotilla ships, including those who were killed. We should turn out in huge numbers to support them, and other flotilla survivors and their right to speak, and to dissent.

POSTED BY LET FREEDOM RING AT 2:46 AM