U.N. declares access to water a basic human right

U.N. declares access to water a basic human right


The U.N. Millennium Development Goal is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water. File photo
AP   The U.N. Millennium Development Goal is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water.   File photo

The United Nations has adopted a resolution, which recognises access to clean water and sanitation as a human right.

The U.N. General Assembly resolution, sponsored by Bolivia, received 122 votes in favour and 41 countries abstained. The resolution states that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

There are currently 884 million people without access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. Around 1.5 million children die each year of water and sanitation related diseases.

The resolution also called on member states and international organisations to offer funding, to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

Most developing countries voted for the resolution but several developed countries abstained on the grounds that the resolution did not clearly spell out the nature of the obligations.

“This resolution describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law; as there is no “right to water and sanitation in an international legal sense as described by this resolution,” said John F. Sammis, a diplomat speaking on behalf of the U.S., which abstained.

British delegate Nicola Freedman also said that didn’t exist “at present sufficient legal basis under international law to either declare or recognise water or sanitation as free-standing human rights.”

The Millennium Development Goal of the U.N. is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water and halving the number who do not have basic sanitation.

“We can survive quite a long time without food, but only several days without water,” said Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador. “More people die from the consequences of unclean water than the total of all deaths from AIDS, malaria and measles.”

Today’s resolution also invited Catarina de Albuquerque, the U.N. Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, to report annually to the General Assembly.

Countries like China, Russia, Germany, France, Spain and Brazil supported the resolution, which does not have any legal force. However, a General Assembly resolution carries moral and symbolic value.

WikiLeaks document release endangers lives–US

[The photo below is not new; it was added at the source site.  It is only a matter of time before they find a real victim to pin upon the leaks, when they do, the axe is sure to fall.  It may prove in the end that this is the great dividing instrument, to separate the dangerous "conspiracy theorists" from the rest of decent society.  Don't forget...We are Scum.]

WikiLeaks document release endangers lives: US

WASHINGTON: Informants whose names appear in the documents posted on the whistleblower site WikiLeaks have reason to fear for their lives, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday.

At least one person who named appeared in the documents has already complained to US officials in Afghanistan, said Colonel David Lapan.

“Anyone whose name appears in those documents is potentially at risk,” he said.

“It could compromise their position, it could be a threat on their life, and it could have an impact on their future conduct,” Lapan said, referring to fears the massive leak could dry up intelligence sources.

The more than 90,000 classified military files span a period from 2004 to 2009 as the US and NATO war effort in Afghanistan ran into a rising Taliban insurgency.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said earlier this week that the documents were checked for named informants and that 15,000 such documents had been held back. But the British newspaper The Times reported that after just two hours of combing through the documents it was able to find the names of dozens of Afghans said to have provided detailed intelligence to US forces. The Times cited one 2008 document that included a detailed interview with a Taliban fighter considering defection. The man, who names local Taliban commanders and talks about other potential defectors, is identified by name, along with his father’s name and village. In another case from 2007, a senior official accuses named figures in the Afghan government of corruption.

“The leaks certainly have put in real risk and danger the lives and integrity of many Afghans,” a senior official at the Afghan foreign ministry, who declined to be named told The Times.

“The US is both morally and legally responsible for any harm that the leaks might cause to the individuals, particularly those who have been named. It will further limit the US/international access to the uncensored views of Afghans,” the Afghan official told the newspaper.

Major General John Campbell, head of the 101 Airborne Division and in charge of a key regional command in eastern Afghanistan, said that the leaks have not resulted in any changes in military operations.

Campbell, speaking to reporters via satellite from Afghanistan, said that most of the information he has seen from the leaks was “not new news.” afp

M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion

Tanker Incident Raises Concerns About Oil Transit Through Persian Gulf

Thursday, July 29, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

In this photo released by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), damage is seen on the side of the M. Star supertanker as it arrives at Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Emirates News Agency)
(CNSNews.com) – Mystery surrounds an incident in which a laden oil tanker was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday. Maritime and shipping officials are at odds over whether the cause was an intentional explosion or a freak wave caused by seismic activity.

Whatever turns out to be the case, the incident again highlights the vulnerability of the world’s most important energy waterway, one which Iran has periodically threatened to block, in retaliation for international pressure over its nuclear program.

Up to 40 percent of the world’s daily oil supply – including three-quarters of Japan’s needs – traverses the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz chokepoint en route to markets in the West and Asia. Situated between Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the channel is less than 30 miles across at its narrowest point.

The 160,000-ton M. Star, a Japanese-owned, Marshall islands-flagged supertanker, was anchored off Fujairah in the UAE on Thursday, undergoing inspection of its damaged hull.

A photo released by the UAE’s WAM news agency showed a large, square-shaped dent in the vessel’s hull, near the waterline.

The unexplained incident in Omani waters early Wednesday morning was first described by the owners, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), as “an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources.” The statement that prompted speculation that pirates, terrorists or a military force may have been responsible.

MOL said one of the crew was lightly injured, but none of the 270,200 tons of crude oil taken onboard in the UAE the previous day had leaked from the damaged hull.

The “explosion” theory appeared to be backed up by a statement from the Japanese transportation ministry, which said one of the 31-member crew reported seeing “a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.”

But maritime officials in the UAE, Iran and Oman said that the M. Star had been hit by a large wave.

A UAE port captain was quoted as telling local media the wave was “a result of seismic shock” while an Iranian official cited an “earthquake.” One report cited the Omani coastguard as saying the wave was triggered by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide and lists all events 2.5 magnitude and bigger, has no report of any quake in that region in recent days. The most recent quake in the region was a 4.8 magnitude tremor on Saturday, July 24, in southern Iran.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also has had no tsunami warnings in the entire Indian Ocean region since June 12.

Prof. Mike Sandiford, earthquake expert and director the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said Thursday there was “zero chance” of a wave being caused by a quake four days earlier. A “submarine slope failure” – an underwater landslide – could be a possibility, he said.

MOL was sticking to its guns Thursday, with an official telling a briefing in Tokyo a quake-induced wave was unlikely the cause of the incident, and that the damage suggested the ship had been hit from the outside.

A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the ship had reported by radio that an “explosion” had occurred. The Navy had offered assistance, but the ship’s master determined it was not necessary. The ship made its way to Fujairah under its own steam.

The spokesman said the M. Star incident did not affect the shipping lane.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the U.S. had no information to suggest that the event was anything other than an accident but would be “watching carefully as more information comes in on that.”

Piracy, terrorism, military action

Maritime security experts have long warned of the danger of a terrorist or pirate attack on a supertanker in one of the world’s strategic sea chokepoints, which include the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Gibraltar and the Panama and Suez canals.

Apart from the environmental impact should a tanker’s hull be intentionally or accidentally breached, the economic cost and disruption of an incident blocking a crucial waterway for a period of time would be massive.

The Strait of Hormuz is hundreds of miles away from the area where pirates have been operating in recent years – the Red Sea and mouth of the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia.  (read HERE)

Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

[As you can see from the photo below, there is no obvious scorching or point of impact.  Apparently, whatever hit the side of the double-hulled ship did not explode.  Considering the location of the attack, it is probably a false flag incident, staged to implicate Iran.]

Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

Loveday Morris

The damaged M. Star arrives in Fujairah to be examined.WAM

ABU DHABI // Investigators were combing a Japanese oil tanker docked in Fujairah last night after it was damaged by what its owners claimed was an explosion.

The M. Star was travelling from Al Ruwais to Japan when the blast occurred in the Strait of Hormuz early yesterday. The cause is unknown but the ship’s operator, Mitsui OSK Lines, and the Japanese transport ministry said it was “highly likely” to have been an outside attack. However, Emirati and Omani officials attributed the damage to a freak wave.

According to the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, the explosion hit the starboard side of the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel at about 4.30am yesterday. A lifeboat was blown off the ship in the blast and hatches were damaged.

Kazumi Makamura, a spokeswoman for Mitsui OSK, said the galley windows were damaged and “the bridge wing door was buckled … there is other damage we are checking. We do not know when the investigation will be completed”.

She confirmed one of the ship’s 31 crew members suffered minor injuries. As for the cause of the blast, “There is nothing that can explode in that part of the vessel,” a different company spokeswoman, Eiko Mizuno, told The Associated Press.

A crew member saw a flash of light before the explosion, indicating a possible external attack, she said.

The ship, which was loaded with 270,000 tonnes of oil, arrived in Fujairah about 5pm yesterday, and investigators boarded the tanker to assess the damage.

No oil was spilled in the incident, officials said. A port source said the company’s Britain-based insurance carrier was sending a surveyor and a weapons expert to examine the ship.

The UAE’s state news agency, WAM, cited a UAE official as saying there was no possibility the damage was caused by an attack, adding that no trace of explosives was found on its outer body structure. It said a large wave that resulted from a “seismic shock” was responsible.

There was no unusual seismic activity in the region, according to a spokesman for the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

The Omani transport ministry also attributed the damage to a large wave. “There’s no reason to suspect foul play,” a spokesman for the ministry said. “Our information from the Omani coast guard officers, who have been at the vessel, said that it was a strong wave that caused the damage. It has already docked in Fujairah for inspection.”

Dr Mustafa Alani, the senior adviser for security and terrorism at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, said initial investigation will focus on the nature of the damage to the ship. “It’s very easy to tell if it’s an external attack or not from whether the damage is pushing inside or internal,” Dr Alani said.

He said there were three possibilities for an attack: piracy, a state-sponsored attack or terrorism, the first two of which he discounted.

“If this was piracy, it would have been followed by an attempt to hijack the ship and there are no reports of an attempt to board.”

Pirates are unlikely to travel into the highly patrolled Strait of Hormuz, where the US and other international navies are active, Dr Alani added.

Monsoons in the Gulf of Aden also make the seas too rough for pirate skiffs at this time of year. About 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important waterways.

Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said it is difficult to draw conclusions until a full investigation has been done but discounted the theory that a wave could have been responsible in the relatively sheltered waters.

Built in 2008, the M. Star is a double-hulled tanker. Single-hulled vessels have been gradually phased out since the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 that resulted in one of history’s most devastating oil spills.

* With additional reporting by Eugene Harnan, Anna Zacharias and Saleh al Shaibany

Spain approves a drug whose active ingredient marijuana

España aprueba un medicamento cuyo principio activo la marihuana

Spain approves a drug whose active ingredient marijuana

Por: Agencia EFE
“Sativex”, is a drug for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.

Spanish health authorities authorized the marketing of “Sativex, a cannabis-derived medicine to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.

The Spanish Minister of Health, Trinidad Jimenez, said that the therapeutic use of cannabis has been discussed since “many years”, so there’s “trials and scientific evidence” of its utility in certain diseases.

The use of the substance to alleviate symptoms of several diseases is a very controversial but the truth is that some patients with diseases that present with pain turn to marijuana to alleviate the suffering.

From now on, multiple sclerosis patients with muscle spasms from mild to severe may consume this product by an oral spray, if prescribed by a specialist.

Companies Almirall and GW Pharmaceuticals will market the drug in Spain, but before the Ministry of Health must approve the price and reimbursement, a process that is expected before the fourth quarter end of the month.

The minister denied that the medical use of this drug is spreading to other ailments, as it could be cancer, and emphasized that in this case, is “a very specific use, if other treatments have failed, always given by a specialist and for a very small group of patients. “

Jimenez recalled that the product is first used in Canada and from there, has been imported to Spain in a “very controlled” and for a number of “very small” patients.

Both before and now, “Sativex” will have to be approved by the specialists, provided that did not work other drugs indicated for such illness.

The owner of Health said that Spain allows certain drugs can be prescribed, in very specific cases, for a different use for which they were originally authorized, alluding to other possible treatments with cannabis.

“You could study whether it is appropriate medical specialist and when they have failed other medications, but it would be case by case for a tightly controlled group of patients”, detail.

GW Pharmaceuticals has started registration procedures for the approval of “Sativex” in other EU member countries, including major markets like Germany, France and Italy.

For Justin Gover, the director general, the approval and launch the drug in the UK, in June 2010, regulatory approval in Spain and the submission of application for approval in other European countries mark the beginning of the international expansion of the product.

  • Agencia EFE | Elespectador.com

Turkmenistan is interested in a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and the construction of the TAPI

[The fact that Nabucco, Europe's salvation from Gazprom, depends upon Turkmenistan for the bulk of its gas, even though there is no reliable data on Turkmen gas reserves, shows the dicey nature of the whole pipeline pipe dream.  They are in such a hurry to make the pipelines a reality before the total American economic and military collapse that they are trying to build pipelines without knowing beforehand that sufficient quantities of gas will be available.]

Turkmenistan is interested in a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and the construction of the TAPI


At a July 23 meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan PresidentGurbanguly Berdymukhammedov pleased briefed the Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Rashid Meredov on the participation of the Turkmen side in a number of international meetings and conferences: an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Alma-Ata, International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul, as well as the regional meeting on the issue of water management in Central Asia in Ashgabat, the State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH).
The President drew particular attention to issues relating to Afghanistan, noting that Turkmenistan actively supports the peaceful settlement of the situation in the neighboring country, offering the development of new political and diplomatic mechanisms for solving existing problems and to stabilize the situation in this country, in particular, their willingness to provide the political space for inter-Afghan peace talks under UN auspices.

As the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, in this regard, special significance in the context of the forum in Kabul was to discuss the possibility of the project for the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), which promises, according to the Turkmen side, an enormous socio-economic benefits not only the direct project participants, but also all countries in the region.

As is known, the TAPI gas pipeline project worth $ 8 billion, the length of 1,68 square kilometers and a capacity of about 30 billion cubic meters. m per year discussed with the 1990’s. Originally, construction was scheduled for 2010 and 2015, the pipeline was supposed to earn. The project is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). U.S. supports a plan to build TAPI as an alternative to export gas to Pakistan and India from Iran.

Directly project prevented at least three reasons: the unstable situation in Afghanistan, the Indo-Pakistan conflict and the lack of reliable data on gas reserves of Turkmenistan.

France declares war against Algerian Militant Group

PARIS – The Associated Press
France embraces a US-like strategy on terrorism as the country declares war against al-Qaeda after the terror network killed a French aid worker in Islamic Maghreb. Although the PM refuses to say how France will act, the French-backed Mauritanian forces have attacked an al-Qaeda camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during a limited security and defence council at the Elysee Palace. AP photo.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during a limited security and defence council at the Elysee Palace. AP photo.

France has declared war on al-Qaeda, and matched its fighting words with a first attack on a base camp of the terror network’s North African branch, after the terror network killed a French aid worker it took hostage in April.

The declaration and attack marked a shift in strategy for France, usually discrete about its behind-the-scenes battle against terrorism. “We are at war with al-Qaeda,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.

The humanitarian worker had been abducted April 20 or 22 in Niger by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and was later taken to Mali, officials said.

The killers will “not go unpunished,” Sarkozy said in unusually strong language, given France’s habit of employing quiet cooperation with its regional allies – Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria – in which the al-Qaeda franchise was spawned amid an Islamist insurgency.

The Salafist Group for Call and Combat formally merged with al-Qaeda in 2006 and spread through the Sahel region – parts of Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Officials suggest France will activate accords with these countries to stop the terrorists in their tracks.

“It’s a universal threat that concerns the entire world … not just France or the West,” Defense Minister Herve Morin said Tuesday on France-2 television. “We will support local authorities so these assassins and (their) commanders are tracked, judged and taken before justice and punished. And, yes, we will help them.”

Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger in April opened a joint military headquarters deep in the desert to respond to threats from traffickers and the al-Qaeda offshoot. U.S. Special Forces have helped the four nations train troops in recent years.

The United States said it would help the French “in any way that we can” to bring those who killed Germaneau to justice, according to U.S. State Dept. spokesman P.J. Crowley. “There is no religion that sanctions what can only be described as cold-blooded murder,” Crowley said Tuesday.

Fillon refused to say how France would act. “But we will,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio. And perhaps it already has. On Thursday, the French backed Mauritanian forces in attacking an al-Qaeda camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists. It is the first time France is known to have attacked an al-Qaeda base.

France said it was a last-ditch effort to save its citizen, while Mauritania said it was trying to stop an imminent attack by fighters gathering at the base.

For the French, the move may have backfired. The al-Qaeda group said in an audio message broadcast Sunday that it had killed Germaneau in retaliation for the raid. However, French officials suggested, however, that the hostage, who had a heart problem, may already have been dead. Even now, “We have no proof of life or death,” Morin said.

“We can expect an increase in the French riposte,” said Antoine Sfeir, an expert on Islamist terrorists who has traveled in the region. An estimated 400-500 such fighters are thought to roam the Sahel region, a desert expanse as large as the European Union.

Despite meager numbers, the region’s al-Qaeda fighters pose a clear threat. Among the more recent victims, a British captive was beheaded last year and two Spanish aid workers were taken hostage in Mauritania in November. Spain is working to free them. Mauritanian soldiers also have fallen in numerous attacks.

The head of the French Institute of Strategic Analysis suggested the French government’s rhetoric was normal. “It’s important to make that kind of announcement,” Francois Gere said. “I think it’s made of the same stuff” as former U.S. President George W. Bush’s tough line on al-Qaeda.

But “a government has to make clear it must respond strongly” while maintaining the discretion needed to ensure cooperation, Gere said. In the past France has been cautious because those governments don’t want the appearance of interference from the West, he said.

Spain has maintained a low profile as videos by the al-Qaeda franchise regularly call for the conquest of “al-Andalus” – a reference to the period of Muslim rule of much of Spain in medieval times.

US Envoy to Azerbaijan Talks-Up Old TAPI Pipeline Project–(Turkmen., Afg., Pak., India)

U.S. Special Envoy: Trans-Afghani gas pipeline project is interesting from commercial point of view

You can read the rest of the American diplomat’s enlightening comments on the Trans-Afghani gas pipeline (TAPI, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) if you are a paid subscriber to Trend news service.

Since I am not, I dug-up the following link that confirms that the original pipeline planned by Texas oil companies and supported by the Taliban, at one time.  TAPI remains a reality and its scheduled completion date is for 2015, one year after the end of “Enduring Freedom.”

It has always been about war and we have always known it.   Pretending from the beginning that we were in Afghanistan for reasons of self-defense, the American people have simply played along because we wanted the gas and oil.

The world now knows that this has all been a big monstrous lie.  It remains to be seen whether the rest of the world is also without morals, or whether we will be called to task for the war crimes that are being revealed on a daily basis.

Trio sign up for Turkmen gas

Alternative source: Turkmenistan

related stories

Representatives of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework deal in Islamabad yesterday to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan, Pakistani media reported.

Upstream staff

The US-backed deal allows India to join a pact signed in 2002 to begin importing gas from Turkmenistan by 2015, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said in its online edition.

The agreement, which will require the building of a pipeline projected to cost $7.6 billion, is seen as an alternative to the so-called Peace pipeline plan to bring Iranian gas to India and Pakistan via Afghanistan.

The US is opposed to the Peace pipeline because it hopes to isolate Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The newspaper said uncertainty about the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline continued amid ongoing disputes between the partners about transportation fees and tariffs.

The Turkmenistan pipeline will supply 90 million cubic feet of gas per day to the Dauletabad field to Fazilka on the Pakistan-India border.

Under today’s deal, Afghanistan is proposing to tap 5 million cubic metres per day from the pipe during the first two years of operation and 14 MMcm per day thereafter. India and Pakistan will split the remaining capacity.

However, Pakistan and India both reportedly said following the signing that they remained commited to the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.

“There is no pressure on us over the IPI and we will move forward on the project,” Pakistani Oil Minister Khwaja Asif said at a press conference, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said.

Indian Energy Minister Morli Deora was quoted as saying: “We are still committed to the IPI”.

The pair said they would discuss the IPI pipe in talks in Islamabad today.

Asia Development Bank director Peter Fedon said the bank had assisted in the signing of the Turkmenistan pipe deal. However, he reportedly would no say whether the bank would play a role in the Iranian pipe project.

The Worst Idea Ever–Indian Troops In Afghanistan

Indian boots in Afghanistan?

Bidanda Chengappa

US Special Representative for AfPak Richard Holbrooke’s recent statement that Pakistan is critical to stabilise Afghanistan has serious implications for Indian security interests. Considering he was also dismissive of New Delhi’s concerns over reconciliation with the Taliban, calls for a radical review of India’s Afghanistan policy.

New Delhi can no longer afford to kowtow to US policy interests, given Pakistan’s insecurity vis a vis India. With the ground being laid for the creeping return of the Taliban to Kabul, India faces a far greater threat to its national security interests from Afghanistan than the US. New Delhi therefore seriously needs to consider the possibility of military deployment in Afghanistan to support and strengthen the US led coalition military efforts against the Taliban terrorists.

India has never flexed its military muscles against Pakistani-sponsored cross border jehadi terrorism —except occasionally for some shallow penetration trans-border commando raids — besides the December 2002 coercive diplomacy through military mobilisation. A sizeable and powerful Indian military presence in Afghanistan could however rattle Pakistan, support /strengthen US /ISAF force levels and help to hit the Taliban harder.

Today President Hamid Karzai is being coerced by Islamabad and Washington to talk to the Taliban, mainly because Washington is dependent on Islamabad for support in logistics, intelligence and operations. Evidently Islamabad’s rationale in pursuing such a policy is to ensure that Afghanistan continues to remain under its sphere of influence and a sanctuary for cross border terrorism against India.

For India therefore to curtail Pakistan’s capability to foster cross border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, the first step would logically be to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the US led NATO/ISAF forces making little headway against the Taliban, Indian military participation would certainly contribute to the counter-insurgency effort underway.

It can be argued that Indian involvement should be avoided because the Taliban would massacre our troops deployed there. The Indian experience in Sri Lanka notwithstanding, the Indian Army is not a para-military force that the Taliban can easily slaughter. It did succeed in Somalia where even the US Army Rangers failed to deliver in 1992.

The case for military intervention can be buttressed with the argument that while Western forces have an option to exit Afghanistan, considering their countries are not vulnerable directly to cross border terrorism, India has no such luxury.

It goes without saying that only strict rules of engagement for Indian troops would prevent indirect or direct clashes with Pakistan soldiers to avoid a shooting match between them.

Objections about a shortage of military manpower to secure our territorial interests are equally invalid. India has massive para-military forces trained for precisely these tasks unlike the army which fights wars. The almost 9000 Indian troops deployed on UN peace keeping missions could easily be re-deployed in Afghanistan.

The US picked Pakistan as its primary entry point into landlocked Afghanistan. However after the US-led global war on terror gained momentum in 2001, India’s attempt to dilute Pakistan’s monopoly as a gateway into Afghanistan began by building a strategic corridor that connects the hinterland of Afghanistan with the Iranian port city of Chahbahar. The 280-km road from Delaram on the Kandahar-Herat highway to Zaranj on the Afghanistan-Iran border brings the landlocked country 1,000 km closer to the sea. From an Indian security perspective this strategic road implies that New Delhi, with the concurrence of Iran, can transport military logistics overland to support a war fighting role in Afghanistan after reaching it to Chahbahar by sea. That Iran too wants the Americans out of Afghanistan but not at the cost of seeing the Pakistan backed Taliban re-entry is another factor.

Clearly, Afghanistan forms part of India’s neighbourhood and New Delhi needs to work against the US and Pakistan’s Taliban-centric policy by involving other neighbours like Iran and the Central Asian states to counter Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan to keep India out as far as possible. Its time India asserted itself as the regional power that it is.

(The writer is a Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi)

India politician held over murder in Gujarat

India politician held over murder in Gujarat

Amit ShahMr Shah is a close ally of the chief minister Narendra Modi

A former minister in India’s Gujarat state has been arrested in connection with the 2005 killing of a man by police.

Amit Shah, former junior home minister in the state’s Hindu nationalist BJP government, has been remanded in custody.

He said the charges against him were “fabricated and politically motivated”.

The Gujarat police have said that Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian, was killed in a staged gun-battle.

At least three top policemen in the state were charged with the murder of Mr Sheikh.

They are alleged to have attempted to cover up the killing by claiming he belonged to an Islamic militant group.

The Gujarat government, headed by Mr Narendra Modi, then admitted that the missing wife of Mr Sheikh, Kausar Bi, was also killed and her body was burnt.

‘Fake encounter’Mr Shah was detained shortly after appearing in public to protest his innocence. He resigned on Saturday when the charges against him were first filed.

A close ally of Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, he said the charges of murder and kidnap are politically motivated

Mr Sheikh and his wife had been travelling by bus when they were taken away by the Gujarat police in November 2005.

At the time, police claimed Mr Sheikh belonged to a banned militant group and was plotting to assassinate Mr Modi.

Gujarat has been heavily criticised for the treatment of its religious minorities.

According to official figures, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed during the riots that broke out after nearly 60 Hindus were killed when a train was set on fire in Godhra town, allegedly by a Muslim mob, in 2002.

The state administration was accused of not doing enough to stop the riots.

Security forces in India have on occasion admitted to extra-judicial killings – described by the local media as “fake encounters” – in which they had at first said they had killed militants after coming under gunfire.

More on This Story

Related stories

Japanese Tanker Attacked Leaving the Strait of Hormuz

In this undated photo released by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in Tokyo, Japan’s shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ tanker M. Star is shown. The Japanese shipping company said Wednesday, July 28, 2010, an explosion, suspected to be an attack, has damaged the oil tanker near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, causing one minor injury but did not cause an oil leak. (AP Photo/Mitsui O.S.K. Lines)

Explosion rocks Japanese tanker in Persian Gulf

By ADAM SCHRECK (AP) – 45 minutes ago

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An explosion damaged a Japanese oil tanker as it exited the Persian Gulf on Wednesday. Though the cause of the blast was not immediately known, the ship’s owner said the vessel may have been attacked.

If an attack, it would be a rare assault on a tanker in the Gulf or at the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for about 40 percent of oil shipped by tankers worldwide. Al-Qaida has in the past carried out attacks on oil infrastructure on land in nearby Saudi Arabia, as well as a 2002 suicide bombing against a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen.

The blast onboard the M. Star supertanker happened shortly after midnight as it entered the strait, heading out of the Gulf, Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said.

Mitsui said the explosion at the back of the ship was believed to be caused by “a suspected attack from the outside” while the ship was passing through Omani waters in the western part of the strategically vital strait, a narrow chokepoint between Oman and Iran at the Gulf’s mouth.

“We believe it’s highly likely an attack,” Mitsui spokeswoman Eiko Mizuno said. “There is nothing that can explode in that part of the vessel.”

One of the ship’s 31 crew members noticed a flash of light right before the explosion, she said, suggesting something may have struck the vessel. The explosion occured at the back of the tanker, near an area where rescue boats are stored, causing cuts to a crew member who was struck with broken glass.

Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said the ministry was not immediately suspecting an attack, but added that the possibility cannot be ruled out.

The tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from Das island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said. It said the tanker is registered in the Marshall Islands.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast.

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping lane for crude oil and other goods headed out of the Persian Gulf. It is far from areas where Somali pirates typically prey on slow-moving ships, though smugglers are known to operate in the area between Iran and an enclave of Oman on the other side of the strait.

The Japanese ministry said none of its ships has been attacked by pirates in the area.

Omani officials couldn’t immediately be reached. Officials in the UAE, whose waters ships cross on both sides of the strait, said they had no immediate information.

Iran has in the past threatened to close the strait if the United States attacks it over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, though there were no immediately signs of Iranian involvement.

The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, which patrols the region, said it is investigating the explosion but does not know what caused it.

“We’ve heard about it. We’re still in the process of trying to get details,” said Commander Amy Derrick-Frost.

Initial reports from the ship’s owner say one life boat was blown off the ship, and some starboard hatches were damages, according to the Navy. It said it offered to assist the tanker after the explosion but was told no help was needed.

After the blast, the tanker was headed to the Emirati port of Fujairah under its own power.


Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed reporting.

(This version corrects headline to say tanker was in the Persian Gulf instead of near)

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it.”

Forget about the Wikileaks scandal for a moment and focus on the real threat to the games being played to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes..  The Wikileaks have brought the story of the kidnapping of Pakistani ISI agent Col. Imam to a head, and it is about to pop.  The proof of the importance of this issue is found in the way that the story is being reported in the media.  There is a strange consistency in all of the reports, regardless of where the story is surfacing in the “legitimate press.”

Every news site reports quotes this sentence, [I] will reveal all the weaknesses of our nation,” as though it reflected the real meaning of Col. Imam’s message.  Coincidentally (?), every report omits Imam’s next sentence naming the weaknesses that he threatens to reveal:

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it.”

The fact that the message is being censored in both the Pakistani press and in all the Western media, reveals that it is not only Pakistan that wants to hide from Col. Imam’s secret revelations.  If he spills his guts, then the world will know that the Afghan war has been nothing more than a massive “wild goose chase,” or an international “snipe hunt,” wasting billions of dollars and thousands of lives in pursuit of the dead terrorist mastermind and his merry band of alleged super-terrorists.

I hope that Col. Imam sings like a big bearded canary!

The following news is censored:








Irked BHC Takes Suo Moto Action Against Missing Person’s Killing

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) has taken suo moto notice of the killing of two “missing persons” and directed the concerned Station House Officer to submit a complete report about the incident.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Justic Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Noor Miskanzai passed this orders on a petition regarding missing of Ashfaq Ahmed Mullazai whose dead body was found along with dead body of Farooq Mengal from Qambrani Road area of Quetta city a day earlier on Monday.

The court directed that the report should include copies of FIR, medical report, progress made in the matter and any statements recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. by or before the next date of hearing. Issue notice to learned DAG and AG.

The petition was filed by the father of Ashfaq Ahmed. The petitioner stated in the petition that his son, namely Ashfaq Ahmed who was a student of Baluchistan University was picked up on 28.05.2010 by some unknown persons and he was not seen ever since.

The court had issued notice to the respondents and the matter was fixed for August 3, 2010.

“It is brought to our attention that the said Ashfaq Ahmed was found dead in the area of Killi Qambrani within the jurisdiction of Police Station Shalkot, Quetta. Mr. Zahoor Baloch, learned counsel for the petitioner further points out that the body of Ashfaq Ahmed was discovered along with the body of Farooq Mengal in respect of whom another petition i.e. C.P. No.356 of 2010 was filed. Learned counsel has placed on record the news report in this regard published in daily ‘Mashriq’ and ‘Jang’ of 27th July 2010,” court observed.

Chief Justice said “We are extremely perturbed with the deaths of Ashfaq Ahmed and Farooq Mengal and the same are of great concern.”

Accordingly, SHO Shalkot, within whose jurisdiction the said bodies were found, is directed to submit complete report about the said incident. Such report should include copies of FIR, medical report, progress made in the matter and any statements recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. by or before the next date of hearing. Issue notice to learned DAG and AG.

Office is directed to fix both petitions, i.e. the instant petition and CP No.356/2010 together on the next date of hearing.

Another two Baloch forced-disappeared persons found dead

Another two Baloch forced-disappeared persons found dead

on 2010/7/27 0:00:00 (73 reads)
ccupied Balochistan: The bullet-riddled bodies of two men who had been missing since May 2009 were found on Qambrani Road here on Monday morning.

According to officials, residents of Qambrani Road spotted the two bodies lying in a field and informed local police. Police said the victims’ hands and feet were bound.

The bodies were taken to Bolan Medical College for an autopsy and were later shifted to Provincial Sandeman Hospital, where they were identified as 25-year-old Ashfaq Mullahzai and 30-year-old Farooq Mengal.

The victims received multiple bullet wounds on their heads and died on the spot, Dr Noor Baloch of Sandeman Hospital told The Express Tribune.

According to families of the victims, both men had been missing for more than two months. “Farooq Mengal was picked up by secret agencies from Lakh pass area, at the exit point of Quetta city, on May 10, this year,” claimed one of his relatives. The relative added that Ashfaq had been whisked away from Saryab area of Quetta on May 21. The victims were residents of Jail Road Hudda.

A case has been registered against unknown persons at New Saryab police station and officials say they are investigating the murders.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) held a demonstration before the Quetta Press Club on Monday, demanding that authorities trace the whereabouts of missing persons immediately.

Protestors carried placards and photographs of missing persons and chanted slogans against the government and judiciary, condemning them for their failure to locate missing people.

Addressing the protestors, VBMP Chairman Nasurrallah Baloch said the ‘democratic’ government and the ‘independent judiciary’ did not seem to be sincerely invested in the plight of missing persons and their relatives.

“Missing persons are being killed and the list of deaths has been increasing every day,” Baloch claimed, adding that “after the killing of Najeebullah Lango, Faiz Baloch and Farooq Mengal there is threat to the lives of other missing people.”

Other relatives at the protest also criticised the United Nations and international humanitarian organisation for their silennce regarding issue of missing persons.

They warned that if the missing persons issue was not taken up by the UN soon, they would organise a long march in protest and attempt to disrupt Nato supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan.


Army Arrests German Suspected of Spying for Israel

Army Arrests German Suspected of Spying for Israel

The Lebanese army intelligence has arrested a German engineer on suspicion of spying for Israel in eastern Lebanon, media reports said Tuesday.
An Nahar daily said the army raided “Liban Lait” dairy factory in the town of Talya on the Riaq-Baalbeck road at 1:30 pm Monday and arrested Manfred Peter Mog, the engineer in charge of maintenance of the factory’s machines.

As Safir said the army is questioning Mog, 58, over his use of transmitters.

Lebanon on Edge after Hizbullah Revelation on STL Findings

Lebanon on Edge after Hizbullah Revelation on STL Findings

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s disclosure that his party is likely to be implicated in the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri could send the country sliding back to chaos, analysts warn.

“This new situation is very alarming,” said Paul Salem, head of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Centre.

“Hizbullah is in a very worrisome position and the tribunal is just one symptom of this position,” Salem told AFP in reference to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

“If there is movement towards peace in the region, then Hizbullah has a problem,” he added. “If there’s movement toward war, Hizbullah has a problem. And now if the tribunal moves forward, they will also have a problem.”

Oussama Safa, who heads the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, estimates Lebanon has a “50-50 chance” of descending into yet another round of violence in the light of Nasrallah’s surprise announcement late on Thursday.

In a rare press conference, the Shiite leader said Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, had informed him months ago that Hizbullah members would be accused by the STL.

He said Hariri had also assured him that he would publicly avow that it was “undisciplined” Hizbullah members, and not the party itself, who were implicated.

“The country could go towards a confrontation and it could also go towards a way to contain this — certainly not by stopping the indictment,” Safa told AFP. “But I think all parties have an interest in containing this.”

Politicians and judges, including STL president Antonio Cassese, have said they expect an indictment by the end of the year, sparking fears of a repeat of the violence in May 2008 that brought Lebanon close to a new civil war.

More than 100 people were killed that month when Hizbullah staged a spectacular takeover of mainly Sunni west Beirut following a crackdown on the party.

Omar Nashabe, a specialist in criminal justice and columnist with Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, said Nasrallah’s speech on Thursday was a well-timed wake-up call.

“He is calling for a revision … by the group that chose the wrong path by accusing Syria, and now that same group is moving toward Syria,” Nashabe said, referring to Hariri’s alliance.

“They should think carefully if they want to accuse Hizbullah to avoid repeating the same mistake as with Syria,” he added.

“At a time when Hizbullah feels under attack and Nasrallah is making these statements, Hariri is in Syria meeting and making agreements and I think Hizbullah is wondering where Syria is going,” Salem said.

Safa believes the newfound rapprochement bodes well for stability in Lebanon.

“I think the better Hariri’s relationship with Syria gets, the more detente we will see and the more we are able to keep a lid on any violent reaction,” he said.

Political blogger Elias Muhanna for his part says the commotion surrounding the U.N. tribunal’s finding could well be a ploy to defuse tension.

“By the time that the STL gets around to indicting Hizbullah members a few months from now… the development will be old news, already dissected, analyzed and picked over by Beirut’s punditocracy,” Muhanna wrote on his blog Qifa Nabki.

“No one will be surprised and (if Nasrallah and others get their way), no one will really care.”(AFP)

US, Israel Threaten Lebanon as Arabs Prepare to Visit Beirut

[The new crisis point that is nearing "critical mass" in Lebanon (just like the new crisis brewing in Pakistan over the Wikileaks and revelations of ISI support for the Taliban) is a smokescreen which hides the larger question--"Why is it acceptable for Israeli leaders to openly threaten to bomb their civilian neighbors?"   (In the Wiki case it is--"Why is it acceptable for the US to provide indirect support to the Taliban?") No other nation on the earth can get away with this brazen verbal terror and not be treated as a terrorist state.  Why does Israel enjoy special rights to act outside of acceptable norms?]

US, Israel Threaten Lebanon as Arabs Prepare to Visit Beirut

Hussein Assi Readers Number : 764

27/07/2010 Once again, Lebanon found itself in the middle of the storm…

Nothing is new. The current stage is difficult and sensitive. Lebanon didn’t enter it as usual from the gate of an Israeli war or an internal sedition, but from the gate of the international tribunal, the latest Israeli scheme.

It’s the tribunal believed by a Lebanese main bloc to be nothing but an Israeli project, a logic rejected by another bloc insisting that the tribunal constitutes a “red line” and therefore it’s forbidden to doubt its credibility.

It’s the tribunal that awakened the Israelis from their long and deep sleep and made them remember the language of “threats” they used to be expert in before their humiliating defeat in July 2006 in Lebanon.

Armed with the tribunal’s “hopes” to achieve the “unachieved” Israeli goals of disarming and dismantling Hezbollah, Israel threatened Lebanon and the US backed its “self-defense right” amid a suspicious international silence.

The newest Israeli threat was launched by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak who warned that the next time violence breaks out, Israel would strike directly at the Lebanese government, which he said is allowing Hezbollah to rearm. “If Hezbollah fires a rocket into Tel Aviv, we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher,” Barak told The Washington Post. “We will see it as legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to Hezbollah,” he claimed.

Barak’s threats got a direct approval from the United States. In this context, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley expressed his administration’s full support for the Israeli threats and said that every country has a right to defense itself.

However, the Arabs won’t remain silent. They actually decided to act and expressed their “concern” for the current situation.

Thus, Beirut started preparations to receive Syrian President Bachar Assad and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz who would arrive in the Lebanese capital after visiting Egypt and Syria, in a tour in which the Lebanese files would be a priority according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit who simply joined the political internal club, confirming himself a side in Lebanon by claiming that the May 7 events should not be repeated.

Free the Wiki-Leaker

Mike Gogulski on July 16th, 2010

Florida attorney and Bradley Manning supporter James Cerveny wrote the letter below and sent it to the editors of a number of newspapers in Florida.

Let’s hope it gets published. Letters such as these do not change public opinion or government policy overnight, but sustained campaigns have long used them as one tool in the kit that’s both cheap and potentially powerful.

Why not send a letter to the editors of papers in your area? You can find a substantial directory of their email addresses here: http://www.mapinc.org/perl/directory.pr

Bradley Manning, currently held in a military gulag by the US government, is an American hero. His “crime” was to release to WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website, a suppressed videotape of a blatant war crime in which US soldiers chortle with glee as they gun down unarmed civilians, including children.  Manning has also allegedly released numerous diplomatic cables exposing massive corruption involving US officials as well as those of the puppet government we have installed in Iraq.

The government, and Manning’s detractors, claim that the release of the video jeopardizes “national security.”  This rings false, as the video is over three years old.  Rather, the government is charging him under draconian laws, including a statute typically used in espionage cases, to make an example of him for embarrassing our ruling class and for breaking through the tight censorship that has been increasingly successful in shielding the American people from exposure to the harsh realities of our illegal wars of aggression.

In case it hasn’t sunk in, the man was charged with espionage for revealing information to the American people that they should be entitled to have.  This is what our “republic” has come to.

Two “journalists” from Wired magazine (both convicted felons), using grossly unethical methods of selection and omission in writing their article, conspired with each other as well as the government to silence Manning and to smear him as a “traitor.”  Not surprisingly, the substance of this Orwellian hit piece has been parroted unquestioningly by our sycophantic mainstream media. Readers desiring a balanced approach to the Manning story should read the excellent article by Glen Greenwald in Salon.com.

The actions of the US government in prosecuting Manning, instead of the moral cretins in the helicopter and their superiors, are those of a tyrannical state.  The actions of our media in their “reporting” of the story are like those of their counterparts in North Korea.

God help this nation.

James Cerveny
Gainesville FL

Afghanistan Asks, Why the Silence?

Afghanistan questions U.S. silence over Pakistan’s role

A soldier with an injured ankle from the US Army's 1-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division is assisted past his burning M-ATV armored vehicle after it struck an IED on a road near Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley, July 23, 2010. None of the four soldiers in the vehicle were seriously injured in the explosion. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A soldier with an injured ankle from the US Army's 1-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division is assisted past his burning M-ATV armored vehicle after it struck an IED on a road near Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley, July 23, 2010. None of the four soldiers in the vehicle were seriously injured in the explosion. REUTERS/Bob Strong

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL | Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:24am EDT

(Reuters) – The United States has pursued a contradictory policy with regard to the Afghan war by ignoring Pakistan’s role in the insurgency, the Afghan government said on Tuesday, following the leak of U.S. military documents.

The classified documents released by the organization, WikiLeaks, show current and former members of Pakistan’s spy agency were actively collaborating with the Taliban in plotting attacks in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, in its first reaction to the leak, Afghanistan’s National Security Council said the United States had failed to attack the patrons and supporters of the Taliban hiding in Pakistan throughout the nine-year conflict.

“With regret … our allies did not show necessary attention about the external support for the international terrorists … for the regional stability and global security,” the council said in a statement.

Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for meddling in its affairs, accusing the neighbor of plotting attacks to destabilize it. Islamabad, which has had longstanding ties to the Taliban, denies involvement in the insurgency and says it is a victim of militancy itself.

The National Security Council did not name Pakistan, but said use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy was a dangerous gamble and had to be stopped.

“Having a contradictory and vague policy against the forces who use terrorism as a tool for interference and sabotage against others, have had devastating results,” it said.

At a news conference later on Tuesday, council head Rangeen Dadfar Spanta was more specific, questioning the billions of dollars in cash aid and military assistance Washington has given to Pakistan over the years.

“It is really not justifiable for the Afghan people that how come you give to one country $11 billion or more as help for reconstruction or strengthen its security or defensive forces, but from other side the very forces train terrorism,” he said.

He warned that the war would not succeed unless there was a review of Afghan policy by Washington that focuses on Taliban sanctuaries and bases in Pakistan and their supporters.

Those supporting militants should be punished rather than be treated as an ally, said Spanta, who served for years as foreign minister in President Hamid Karzai’s government until last year.

The White House has condemned the WikiLeaks disclosures, saying it could threaten national security. Pakistan said leaking unprocessed reports from the battlefield was irresponsible.

The documents numbering tens of thousands also said that coalition troops had killed hundreds of Afghan civilians in unreported incidents and often sought to cover up the mistakes that have shaken up confidence in the war effort among many in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the Afghan government said it had spoken in private and in public meetings with its Western allies about the need to stop civilian deaths.

“In the past nine years (since Taliban’s fall) thousands of citizens of Afghanistan and from our ally countries have become victimised,” it said.

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)

Turkey to follow UN sanctions on Iran, not tougher EU or US bans

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey will not follow US or EU sanctions on Iran but will apply the ones imposed by the United Nations. We will fully implement U.N. resolutions, but when it comes to individual countries’ demands for extra sanctions, we do not have to [follow suit], says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek
'The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the UN resolution should and will continue,' says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.
‘The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the UN resolution should and will continue,’ says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

Turkey has said it will abide by U.N. sanctions against Iran, but not the more sweeping restrictions imposed on Tehran by the United States and the European Union.

“We will fully implement U.N. resolutions, but when it comes to individual countries’ demands for extra sanctions, we do not have to [follow suit],” Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said in an interview published Sunday in the daily Financial Times.

“The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the U.N. resolution should and will continue,” he was quoted as saying. “If a trade deal needs to be financed, we will have to find a way to pay for it.”

Şimşek’s comments came as the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that a state-owned Turkish refiner, Tüpraş, had stepped in to supply Iran after several international companies stopped selling the country refined petroleum.

Turkey’s foreign economic relations board has meanwhile said the country’s ports, notably Mersin and Trabzon, would try to handle some of the trade with Iran that has been going through Dubai, the daily reported. The Gulf emirate is steadily restricting its economic ties with Tehran.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation last month shutting any banks with ties to Iran – or any companies selling petroleum products to the country – out of the American market. These measures were followed Monday by unilateral EU sanctions, new measures that restrict trade related to Iran’s nuclear program.

The sanctions limit financial assistance and funding and allow EU members to inspect all cargo going to or from Iran.

Eager to promote trade with its neighbors, Turkey has been following a more assertive and independent foreign policy when it comes to Iran, to the frustration of Washington. Ankara was one of only two U.N. Security Council members, along with Brazil, to oppose Resolution 1929, which tightened sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Sources close to the Turkish government suggest that Ankara will watch the behavior of Russia and China to gauge the extent to which it can afford to ignore unilateral U.S. sanctions, the Financial Times wrote.

Chinese companies have also been supplying Iran with petroleum.

Greece, Bulgaria to await environment report on pipeline plan

[If the environmental impact report kills the Bulgaria-Greece pipeline, then Turkey plans to obtain legislation to make tanker traffic the Bosphorus Strait too expensive for tanker traffic, leaving only the pipeline routes through Turkey.  Russia and Turkey may part ways over this one.]

Greece, Bulgaria to await environment report on pipeline plan

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Bloomberg

Greece and Bulgaria agreed to wait for the results of an environmental impact report on a planned oil pipeline that bypasses Turkey’s crowded Bosphorus Strait before deciding whether to scrap the plan.

Turkey is using the environment damage caused by BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill to press its case that oil traffic through the straits is unsafe and potentially dangerous. Turkey said on July 1 it has broad support from 20 oil companies for steps that would make use of the Bosphorus straits for oil traffic more expensive than pipelines.

Bulgaria has threatened to back out of the project to construct the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline on concern an oil spill would harm the Balkan country’s Black Sea resorts. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boiko Borissov, met on Tuesday in Sofia to discuss the disagreement.

Russia, Bulgaria and Greece agreed in 2007 to build the 285-kilometer oil pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea. The 1 billion-euro ($1.25 billion) pipe, with a capacity of 35 million metric tons of oil a year, would bypass the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, saving shipping costs.

“Greece understands Bulgaria’s environmental concerns, and we still think the pipeline project is important for the region,” said Papandreou after the meeting. “But we will accept the environmental assessment.”

EU conservation

A referendum held in the Burgas region in 2008 opposed the pipeline on grounds there was a high risk of an oil spill from tankers filling the pipe, which could damage Bulgaria’s biggest Black Sea resorts.

The projected pipeline route violates a European Union directive for conservation of wildlife, known as Natura 2000, because it passes through protected areas. This alone would allow Bulgaria to pull out of the project without paying penalties, according to Borissov.

He said at the Sofia briefing that the contract was signed without a proper assessment by his predecessor. “It is important for Bulgaria have the pipeline, but the environment safety is more important,” Borissov said. “We will take a final decision after the environmental impact assessment is done.”

The project competes with a similar $2.5 billion pipeline agreed between Russia, Italy and Turkey last year to carry oil from the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun to the Mediterranean port at Ceyhan.

Latest video of Colonel Imam

[Like a dam holding back a flood of putrid water, the deadly Pakistan/American secrets have allowed the stinking game to go on and on and on.  The Wikileaks revelations are making the secret players act, which explains the timing of this video, coming after the leaks.  Pakistan creates the Taliban to fight the Americans in the great psy-op, while the Americans create the anti-Taliban, the TTP, to fight the Pak Army, thus justifying the war of Pakistan on Pakistanis, and the American war upon everybody else.

The whole thing is a great "cluster fuck," as the American military such things.]

Breaking News: Latest video of Colonel Imam Sultan Amir Tarar kidnapped by the Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorists

Flashpoint Exclusive: Captive Pakistani Intel Officer Threatens to Reveal “Secret Game” Behind Afghan Conflict in His Video Recorded on 24 July 2010
By Evan Kohlmann

Here is an evidence of how extremist Deobandis (terrorists of the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba) are now attacking the very institution, i.e., the ISI, which once groomed and nurtured them. Yet, Generals Kayani and Pasha are unable to liberate themselves from the God forsaken good Taliban and strategic depth theories. In the following video, Colonel Imam, an envoy of Pakistan’s ISI and General Hamid Gul to the Taliban threatens the ISI to spill the beans unless certain demands of his captors (terrorists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba) were met by the Pakistan government. Obviously, the ISI chicken are coming home to roost.

In the wake of the latest embarrassing disclosures about Pakistan’s unhelpful role in the Afghan conflict, Flashpoint Global Partners has obtained an unpublished video of retired Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer Colonel Imam Sultan Amir Tarar, who has been held hostage by militants in Pakistan’s tribal region since March 2010, when he arrived in the area alongside another former ISI officer Khalid Khwaja.

Tarar, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war and a reputed expert on guerilla warfare, has acknowledged a long relationship with the Afghan Taliban and its leader Mullah Mohammed Omar—but has been far more critical of the Pakistani Taliban movement. During a recent New York Times interview, Tarar admonished the TTP and its leadership as “troublemakers” who should be “neutralized.”

In his latest video-recorded message, Colonel Imam Tarar claims that he has been kidnapped by “Lashkar Jhangvi al-Alami, Abdullah Mansour” faction and insists that the Pakistani government has done nothing to facilitate his release. If the government continues to refuse negotiations for his freedom, Tarar further threatens to disclose highly sensitive information about “the weaknesses of our nation” and the secret “game being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America.”

Still images and an English transcript of the video of Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar are now available via the website of Flashpoint Global Partners – http://www.flashpoint-intel.com.

In his latest video, Colonel Imam claims that he has been kidnapped by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-Al Almi Abdullah Mansour (Sipah-e-Sahaba International) and insists that the Pakistani government has done nothing to facilitate his release. If the government continues to refuse negotiations for his freedom, Tarar further threatens to disclose highly sensitive information about “the weaknesses of our nation” and the secret “game being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America.” In prior statements and videos about the kidnapping, Tarar’s captors had identified themselves simply as “the Asian Tigers.”

Complete English transcript

“Today is July 24, and tomorrow, it will be July 25. I am Sultan Amir, son of Ghulaam Amir, and people know me as Colonel Imam. I am in the custody of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami, Abdullah Mansoor. I sent my statements and CD messages to the government several times, but no
attention has been given until now.”

“You know what mentality these people have and what are they up to. Khalid Khwaja has already been killed and we might receive an even harsher treatment, which will be damaging for Pakistan.”

“They cannot be pressured by anyone. They are well organized.

According to them, my previous statements have not been released to the media either. I appeal, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, DG ISI (General Pasha), General Hamid Gul (ex-DG ISI) and General Aslam Beg (ex army chief), to accept the demands of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami as soon as possible.”

“You people know about the services I rendered for my country. If the Pakistan government does not care about me, then I don’t have any reason to care about the nation either, and [I] will reveal all the weaknesses of our nation.”

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it. It is now for the Pakistani government to decide. Four months have now passed but you don’t care about me. I am fed up of spending my whole life all the time in a basement.

“It should be conveyed to my family to pray for me and to take care of the children. I also want it to make it clear to my son Nauman Umar to resign from his government post. At the moment, they don’t seem to care about me, so why would they make a fuss over him in the future either.”

“Wasalam, your well wisher, Sultan Amir.”

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

[Here is the joyfulness of Islam.  Take note of the happy women joining in the celebration of life.  These merrily spinning women provide a stark contrast to the usual image of dour fearful women dominated by the dark fundamentalists.  The image of Muslim women burned into the minds of Western audiences is normally that of two beautiful, though terrified, eyes peering from beneath the sanitizing blackness of the burka.]

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

The Soung Fakirs at the New York Sufi Music Festival on Tuesday in Union Square.

By JON PARELES, July 21, 2010

Hands waved overhead. Voices shouted lyrics and whooped with delight. Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders. In the tightly packed crowd a few dancers made room to jump. T-shirts were tossed to fans from the stage.

Yet in the songs that Abida Parveen was singing, saints were praised. They were Islamic saints, the poets and philosophers revered by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. It was the first New York Sufi Music Festival, a free three-hour concert on Tuesday in Union Square, and it had music from the four provinces of Pakistan, including traditional faqirs who perform outside temples, Sufi rock and a kind of rapping from Baluchistan.

The concert was presented by a new organization called Pakistani Peace Builders, which was formed after the attempted bombing in Times Square by a Pakistani-American. The group seeks to counteract negative images of Pakistan by presenting a longtime Pakistani Islamic tradition that preaches love, peace and tolerance.

Music fans at the festival.

Sufism itself has been a target of Islamic fundamentalists; on July 1 suicide bombers attacked Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, spoke between sets on Tuesday. “What we’re here to do today,” he said, is “to be at peace with all of America.”

The music’s message was one of joyful devotion and improvisatory freedom. Ms. Parveen, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated musicians, was singing in a Sufi style called kafi. Like the qawwali music popularized worldwide by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, kafi sets classical poems — about the love and intoxication of the divine, about seeking the spirit within — to visceral, handclapping rhythms and vocal lines that swoop and twist with passionate volatility.

Ms. Parveen carried songs from serene, hovering introductions to virtuosic euphoria. Long, sustained notes suddenly broke into phrases that zigzagged up and down an octave or more; repeated refrains took on an insistent rasp and became springboards for elaborate leaps and arabesques; quick syllables turned into percussive exchanges with the band. Each song was a continual revelation, making the old poems fully alive.

Abida Parveen at the New York Sufi Music Festival.

While the crowd was there for Ms. Parveen’s first New York City performance in a decade, the rest of the program was strong. The Soung Fakirs, from Sachal Sarmast Shrine in Sindh, danced in bright orange robes to devotional songs with vigorous, incantatory choruses. Akhtar Chanal Zehri, though he was introduced as a rapper, was backed by traditional instruments and seemed more of a folk singer, heartily intoning his rhythmic lyrics on a repeating note or two and, eventually, twirling like a Sufi dervish.

Rafaqat Ali Khan, the heir to his family’s school of classical singing (khayal), was backed only by percussion, pushing his long-breathed phrasing into ever more flamboyant swirls and quavers. The tabla player Tari Khan, who also accompanied Rafaqat Ali Khan, played a kinetic solo set that carried a 4/4 rhythm through variants from the Middle East, Europe, New York City and (joined by two more drummers) Africa. There was also instrumental music from the bansuri (wooden flute) player Ghaus Box Brohi.

On the modernizing side, Zeb and Haniya, two Pakistani women who started their duo as college students at Mount Holyoke and Smith, performed gentler songs in the Dari tradition, a Pakistani style with Central Asian roots, with Haniya adding syncopated electric guitar behind Zeb’s smoky voice. Under wooden flute and classical-style vocals the Mekaal Hasan Band plugged in with reggae, folk-rock and a tricky jazz-rock riff. But the lyrics quoted devotional poetry that was 900 years old, distant from the turmoil of the present.

“If a man like Muhamed (pbuh) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
– George Orwell

“Do not worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are watching you”
– Robert Fulghum

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is often our own indifference”
– Bess Myerson

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos.”
– Will Durant

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
– Will Durant

“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes ‘election by the incompetent-many’ for ‘appointment by the corrupt-few’.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“May you live every day of your life.”
– Jonathan Swift

“Pity the nation… that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again.”
– Khalil Jibran

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
– Angela Monet

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
– Voltaire

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
– Samuel P. Huntington (author The Clash Of Civilisations)

US announces special projects for Balochistan

[It is very revealing that the American side sent a Special Forces general to the ceremony in Balochistan, especially an intelligence officer who is a specialist in direct action operations intended to force a reaction from militants.  Former CIA chief Michael Hayden called the process "tickling."  (See: CIA HAS BEEN TICKLING PEOPLE TO DEATH FOR YEARS) Expect such US "tickling" operations to add to the misery of the Baloch people in the near future, or perhaps this has been going on for a while.]

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA, July 26:- US Consul General Karachi William J. Martin has reiterated to open American consulate in Quetta for working more closely with provincial government and NGOs in designing and implementing assistance projects for the people of Balochistan and said that his government was working with Balochistan government for building water stoage dams besides helping QESCO to improve services to public.

US diplomat made these remarks in a recention on 234 anniversary of Independence of United States of America which first time in the history to celetrate in the provincial capital of Quetta. The US Ambassador Patterson could not attend the function due to some her engagement in Islamabad.

The U.S. Army General Michael Nagata and other diplomatic staff including head of Public Affairs Dr. Carton were also present. The US Independence day celeration was also attended by Speaker Balochistan Assembly Mohammad Aslam Bhootani, the provincial ministers, the representatives of political parties, bureaucrats and staff colleage foriegn and local student-officers.

US Consul General said that in addition to a national high efficiency irrigation project that also included Balochistan, US government were working with Balochistan Government on providing a system of water storage dams. The project, he said, would support plans by the provincial government and would enhance existing programs for irrigation and distribution while also promoting watershed enhancement and integrated crop management.

He said that energy was also a matter of concern in Balochistan and his government already had a program with the Quetta Electricity Supply Company to help it improve service to the public, reduce losses, and increase efficiency. He said that the U.S. Geological Survey would also provide assistance in identifying natural gas resources and their development in Balochistan. He assured that there would be more projects for Balochistan announced by the U.S. Government in the coming months.

Mr. Martin said USA would also provide assistance to help Pakistan improve it regulatory and fiscal regimes in order to attract more investment to develop this critical resources and that would most certainly create more opportunities in Balochistan.

He said that he was pleased to note that US would soon open an American consulate in Quetta in the near future which would allow US government to work more closely with our Balochistan government and NGO colleagues in designing and implementing assistance projects that meet the needs of the people of Balochistan. He said that the proposal for a new consulate clearly demonstrated Americans long terms commitment to the people of Pakistan and, specially to the people of Balochistan. He said that by working together, both Pakistan and United Sattes of America could learn from each other and strengthen the relationship, strengthen the partnership and build a brighter future for our nations.

He said that in Quetta, his government proud to work alongside our Pakistani colleagues in their efforts to improve health, education, and energy. Last week,he said , Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Pakistan, and announced several new assistance programs costing many millions of dollars and many of these projects would directly benefit the people of Balochistan. He informed that during meetings with U.S officials, the government and people of Balochistan told them the most important need in the province which was water.

US diplomat said that he was very pleased to note the presence of U.S. Army General Michael Nagata in the function of celerations in Quetta and a decorated general’s presence reflectd the close working relationship of our two great military forces, as did the recent visit of our top soldier, Admiral Mullan to Islamabad and the delivery of advanced F-16 fighter planes. He said that there should no doubt that United States deeply appreciated the struggles and sacrifices of Paksitan’s security forces in their efforts to make the country safe and secure for all and it applauded Pakistan’s elected officials, civil servants, and community activists who spoke out against extremism, and worked for a better future for all Pakistanis.

“Our two countries share many of the same goals and ideals. We embrace not only freedom and democracy, but also family, religion, education and hard work. By working together, we can learn from each other and strengthen the relationship, strengthen the partnerships, and build a brighter future for our nations”, he said.

Mr. Martin said that with great appreciation for the challenges facing both countries, with deep gratitude for the men and women who served in US armed forces, and with ehartflet respect for the friendship between the United States and Pakistan, he was honoured to celebrate American’s 234th Independence Day with all of them.

He said that on July 4th, 1776, in Philadelphia, American’s founding fathers adopted the declaration of indpenedence which enunciated clearly the basis for new nation, saying “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He said that these words had inspired many generations, and continued to be the guiding principles for United States in the present tiem. He said “We believe that these principles are universal and there is no doubt that the Pakistani people hold these values to be paramount as well.