Suicide bombers strike Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine

Suicide bombers strike Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine

 

Atleast ten people killed and fifteen injured in two suicide attacks near Abdullah Shah Ghazi, reports. – File Photo

Two explosions rock southern Afghan, killing eight

 

 

 

KARACHI: Two suicide bombers struck Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Atleast ten people have been killed while fifteen injured. Emergency has been declared in all hospitals, Police said.

Many people are also believed to have been wounded.

Police official Jam Tariq said the blasts occurred Thursday evening at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine near the coast of the Arabian Sea.

Several attacks have targeted Pakistan’s mosques and shrines in recent years, many of them blamed on militant groups. – AP/DawnNews

Pakistan rubbishes report on death of British militant

Pakistan rubbishes report on death of British militant

The United States has massively ramped up its drone campaign in Pakistan’s lawless northwest tribal region on the Afghan border. – (File Photo)

MIRAMSHAH: Pakistani security officials Thursday rejected a report claiming that a British-origin Pakistani militant tasked with attacks in Europe died in a US drone strike last month.

British media reports identifying the militant as Abdul Jabbar said he was being groomed to head a new al Qaeda splinter group in Britain that planned to launch terror attacks on Europe.

“I have no knowledge of any such militant. No one with this name existed and I will say no one of British origin died in recent drone attack,” a senior security official at Islamabad told AFP.

Intelligence officials in Miramshah also dismissed the report as baseless.

“This report is just speculation,” one intelligence official told AFP.

Another intelligence official clarified that an Egyptian national, Abdul Latif, was reportedly killed in a drone attack last month but said no one of British origin was killed.

“We have no report of anyone with the name of Abdul Jabber,” he said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to talk to media.

The United States has massively ramped up its drone campaign in Pakistan’s lawless northwest tribal region on the Afghan border, amid intelligence claims of a Mumbai-style terror plot to launch commando attacks on European cities.

The plot was reportedly caught in its early planning stages, according to media reports.

According to Pakistani officials the US has launched a record 26 drone attacks since September 3 that have killed nearly 150 people. – AFP

Afghanistan, US in contact with Haqqani insurgents

Afghanistan, US in contact with Haqqani insurgents

Jalaluddin Haqqani. –Photo by AP

LONDON: The Afghan and US governments have recently made contact with insurgent group the Haqqani network, one of the most feared foes of Nato forces in Afghanistan, a British paper reported Thursday.

The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai took part in direct talks with senior members of the Haqqani group over the summer, said the Guardian daily, citing Pakistani and Arab sources.

The United States, through a Western intermediary, has made indirect contacts over the past year, said the paper.

Talks between the Haqqanis and both countries were extremely tentative, it added.

The Haqqani network’s leadership is based in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal northwest, an area which has been targeted by a wave of US drone strikes in recent weeks.

The group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for some of the most deadly strikes in Afghanistan. It has close ties with foreign militant groups including Al-Qaeda.

Asked whether talks involving Haqqani, Karzai and the US were taking place, a senior Pakistani official cited in the paper said “you wouldn’t be wrong” but refused to comment further.

Western, Arab and Pakistani official sources cited in the paper said the Haqqanis believe a negotiated settlement is the most likely outcome of the Afghan conflict and do not want to be left out of any deal.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has taken over military leadership of the Haqqani group from his father Jalaluddin, “realises he could be a nobody if he doesn’t enter the process,” said a diplomat involved in the discussions. —AFP

Terrorist groups splintering

[The key to understanding all the terrorist groups of Pakistan is the idea that all terrorist organizations blossomed from one source, the Sipah e-Sahaba organization, or the few Shia terrorists who sprung-up to defend their communities from the Sunni killers.  Everytime investigators began to look into the splinter groups they split once again, renaming themselves to throw off investigators.  Sipah was created by Zia.]

Terrorist groups splintering

Zia Khan

The strategy is seen as a way to ‘confuse’ those operating against them.

ISLAMABADSectarian groups Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jundallah are in the process of splitting into small cells in Karachi and Quetta and might launch lethal attacks against “important personalities and places” in the near future, an intelligence report said.

Jundallah, an anti-Shia outfit with origins in Iran’s Sistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan province, has divided itself into at least three groups to operate independently in southern cities.

Several activists from the LeJ, a group alleged to have close links with al Qaeda, are also in nexus with Jundallah to make their alliance more “terrible”, said the report obtained by The Express Tribune.

Though the one-page communication between an intelligence agency and provincial law enforcement departments doesn’t give reasons for this move by sectarian jihadi outfits, experts see it as a part of a new strategy to ‘confuse’ those operating against them.

One of three groups, an intelligence official said, was behind the attack on the al Quds rally organised by the Imamia Students Organisation in Quetta on September 2 this year that killed more than 50 people.

The groups are led by Sheikh Abdul Baqi, Azizullah Irani and Qari Zaheer Abbas, the report added.

“All these are active in carrying out sabotage activities in Quetta,” the report said.

Azizullah Irani of the Jundallah group, who is active in Quetta and Karachi and is alleged to be receiving foreign funding, was reportedly involved in the al Quds rally attack.

The next target of the group can be leaders of Shia and Ismailia communities in Karachi, the report warned, adding that they also plan to kidnap wealthy businessmen for ransom.

Abbas used to be an active member of Dawood Badani’s networks and after Badanis’ arrest he joined Saifullah Usmani, who is also a wanted terrorist, the report disclosed without giving details of these characters. “Now Qari Zaheer Abbas is second-in-command of Saifullah Usmani and is heading one of his five terrorist groups,” the report added. All these tiny cells are active in and around Karachi and might move to Quetta in case they don’t feel secure in the port city.

The intelligence outfits have urged the government to be on high alert to avert possible attacks by these groups.

“It is imperative that necessary arrangements and preemptive fool-proof security measures be adopted for the protection of intended targets and personalities,” it said.

“The present situation warrants close coordination among intelligence agencies for sharing information and helping nab the terrorist before they succeed in their nefarious designs and plans,” the report said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2010.

The strategy is seen as a way to ‘confuse’ those operating against them.

ISLAMABADSectarian groups Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jundallah are in the process of splitting into small cells in Karachi and Quetta and might launch lethal attacks against “important personalities and places” in the near future, an intelligence report said.

Jundallah, an anti-Shia outfit with origins in Iran’s Sistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan province, has divided itself into at least three groups to operate independently in southern cities.

Several activists from the LeJ, a group alleged to have close links with al Qaeda, are also in nexus with Jundallah to make their alliance more “terrible”, said the report obtained by The Express Tribune.

Though the one-page communication between an intelligence agency and provincial law enforcement departments doesn’t give reasons for this move by sectarian jihadi outfits, experts see it as a part of a new strategy to ‘confuse’ those operating against them.

One of three groups, an intelligence official said, was behind the attack on the al Quds rally organised by the Imamia Students Organisation in Quetta on September 2 this year that killed more than 50 people.

The groups are led by Sheikh Abdul Baqi, Azizullah Irani and Qari Zaheer Abbas, the report added.

“All these are active in carrying out sabotage activities in Quetta,” the report said.

Azizullah Irani of the Jundallah group, who is active in Quetta and Karachi and is alleged to be receiving foreign funding, was reportedly involved in the al Quds rally attack.

The next target of the group can be leaders of Shia and Ismailia communities in Karachi, the report warned, adding that they also plan to kidnap wealthy businessmen for ransom.

Abbas used to be an active member of Dawood Badani’s networks and after Badanis’ arrest he joined Saifullah Usmani, who is also a wanted terrorist, the report disclosed without giving details of these characters. “Now Qari Zaheer Abbas is second-in-command of Saifullah Usmani and is heading one of his five terrorist groups,” the report added. All these tiny cells are active in and around Karachi and might move to Quetta in case they don’t feel secure in the port city.

The intelligence outfits have urged the government to be on high alert to avert possible attacks by these groups.

“It is imperative that necessary arrangements and preemptive fool-proof security measures be adopted for the protection of intended targets and personalities,” it said.

“The present situation warrants close coordination among intelligence agencies for sharing information and helping nab the terrorist before they succeed in their nefarious designs and plans,” the report said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2010.

‘Nato policy responsible for attacks’

‘Nato policy responsible for attacks’

QUETTA  (October 07, 2010) : Home Secretary Balochistan Cap Akbar Hussain Durrani (Retd) said that the US and Nato military officials policy of not informing the Pakistani authorities about position of their tankers had resulted in attack on Nato oil tankers parked in Quetta early Wednesday in which over fifteen tankers were set ablaze.

Talking to APP, he said that Home Department Balochistan was not informed by the US and Nato military officials that oil tankers carrying fuel for the US and allied troops in Afghanistan would be parked at a private terminal located in the outskirts of the Quetta city at night between Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said that Balochistan government with co-operation of security agencies could provide security and protection to the oil tankers if the US and Nato officials had made a request and informed them in this regard. But they did not bother to inform the Balochistan Home Department, he added. To a question, he said that, the Provincial government had provided security to the Nato supplies while being transported to Afghanistan from Karachi through Balochistan routs.

It was regrettable that the US and Nato officials used to violate the instructions of the provincial government in this connection, he said. We have strictly advised to the US led allied forces officials that their supplies should not be moved or parked individually and with out informing the home department of Balochistan; said Durrani. When he was asked whether the Balochistan government had been directed by the Federal government to shut down Chaman border for crossing over the Nato supplies, he denied and said, “No we have not received such directives so far”.

Pakistan says ‘no justification’ for US drone strikes

Pakistan says ‘no justification’ for US drone strikes

MOHIDEEN MIFTHAH

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7, 2010 (AFP) – Pakistan said Thursday there was “no justification nor understanding” for US drone strikes on its soil that have ramped up to record levels in the past month.
“We believe that they are counter-productive and also a violation of our sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters, adding:
“We hope that the US will revisit its policy.”Basit said that the drone war was “not serving the larger strategic interests, especially in the context of our efforts to win hearts and minds, which is part and parcel of our strategy against militants and terrorists.”Eight people were killed Wednesday in the latest attacks by the pilotless planes against militants in North Waziristan tribal district, security officials said.
The US has launched a record number of strikes since September 3 — a total of 26 drone attacks that have killed 149 people, according to officials.
Since August 2008, 142 strikes have been launched, killing more than 1,100 people.
Officials in Washington say in the past drone strikes have killed a number of high-value targets including former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and it has branded the remote border region the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.
However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.
Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, Hussein Haqqani, told the BBC that the increase in strikes in North Waziristan came after intelligence agencies uncovered the plot to “attack multiple targets in Europe”.
He also said that a drone strike on Monday in the district which killed eight militants, including five Germans, was linked to the plot.
The United States does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the pilotless aircraft in the region.

34 Tajik troops killed in ‘anti-Islamist operations’

28 troops died Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in a possible militant strike

34 Tajik troops killed in ‘anti-Islamist operations’

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

DUSHANBE — Thirty-four Tajik troops have been killed in two separate incidents during a military operation against Islamic insurgents in the east of the Central Asian state, military sources said Thursday.

Twenty-eight troops were killed Wednesday when a military helicopter crashed in a possible militant strike, the sources told AFP, although public statements insisted only four were killed in an accident.

“Not a single passenger survived the crash of the Mi-8 military helicopter on Wednesday morning,” said a military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, raising an earlier toll of 25.

A high-ranking Tajik military source, speaking on condition of strict anonymity, said that it was possible that the helicopter had been shot down by a missile fired by Islamists from their mountain hideouts.

Another six troops were killed in a separate incident caused by the accidental explosion of a mine late Wednesday, according to a military source.

“The faulty placement of a mine led to an explosion that killed six Tajik national guards,” the source told AFP, adding that more than 10 officers were wounded in the incident.

Ukraine’s State Companies Rot As Politicians Squabble Over Sale

Ukraine’s State Companies Rot As Politicians Squabble Over Sale

Kiev, Ukraine — At Kyivenergo’s facility No. 5, which supplies half of Kiev’s heating needs, workers scurry along scaffolding and crawl into rusty boilers with blowtorches trying to keep the plant in the Ukrainian capital running.

A Kyivenergo facility plant.
Their efforts might be in vain. Without the $1 billion needed to replace worn-out Soviet-made turbines, antiquated electrical equipment and heat-exchange tubing, the 10-story state-controlled utility may be forced to shut within five years, said Chairman Eduard Sokolovsky.

“In the past two years, we haven’t gotten a cent of investment,” Sokolovsky said in his office in central Kiev. “This kind of policy will lead to our demise.”

Ukraine has a population almost five times Portugal’s, yet an economy still half the size and one dependent on Russia and the International Monetary Fund. The country has dawdled behind the rest of former communist Europe in attracting foreign investment because of political wrangling over state assets.

Hundreds of the former Soviet republic’s companies risk financial collapse as the government starves them of cash amid budget cuts and indecision on their sale. The country’s biggest companies were sold mainly to local millionaires or remain in government control while neighbors Hungary and Poland sold theirs to foreign investors in the 1990s.

“The privatization process was a hostage to vested interests,” said Alexander Valchyshen, head of research at Investment Capital Ukraine in Kiev. “If it had been speedier, we would have been closer to the economic development of the countries of central and eastern Europe.”

Telecom Delay

The Ukrainian government on Sept. 28 said it aimed to sell phone company VAT Ukrtelecom by the end of this year. The previous administration said the same in 2009.

While in state hands, firms are also unable to lure private investment to modernize facilities at a time when banks are unwilling to extend loans after a credit crunch, analysts said.

For this year, the government received 514 million hryvnia ($64.7 million) of revenue from selling state assets as of Sept. 23, or 8.1 percent of the planned target of 6.35 billion hryvnia, the State Property Fund said on its website.

“The government’s privatization policy simply doesn’t exist,” said Alexander Paraschiy, an analyst at BG Capital investment bank in Kiev.

Pressure Builds

Financial pressure is building on state plants such as Kyivenergo as the International Monetary Fund demands Ukraine trim the budget deficit to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product next year from a projected 5.5 percent this year.

Without private or public financing, a large segment of the $116 billion economy can’t support jobs, foiling budget-cutting efforts further by reducing tax collection and boosting spending on social benefits. Kyivenergo is counting on mimicking other countries in the region by relying on outside money.

“Our neighbors and colleagues in Poland managed to achieve serious success and our starting conditions were quite similar,” said Sokolovsky. “I see the privatization as an opportunity for the company to attract investments.”

The Polish government has targeted 25 billion zloty ($8.8 billion) in asset sales this year, of which it has 20 billion zloty of stakes either sold or committed so far.

President Viktor Yanukovych’s seven-month-old administration is the latest of a string of governments that have presided over Ukraine’s stop-start privatization program.

Kuchma’s Legacy

Beginning with former President Leonid Kuchma, who was accused by the European Union and the U.S. of selling state properties to family and business partners, investors have grown wary of sales on concern they aren’t transparent enough, said Iryna Piontkivska, an economist at Troika Dialog in Kiev.

“We have to understand that people who came to power and many politicians of the previous governments made their fortunes out of privatization,” said Piontkivska.

Kuchma was president from 1994 until January 2005, the longest-serving head of state since Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. He denied any wrongdoing. He was replaced after the so-called Orange Revolution that swept President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to power.

Tymoshenko took steps to renationalize some assets after she took office in 2005 because she deemed they were sold under questionable conditions or without an open tender.

Squabbles between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko halted other announced sales of coal mines, energy companies and VAT Odeskyi Pryportovy Zavod, Ukraine’s second-biggest ammonia producer.

Latest Promise

Since then, Yanukovych’s Cabinet, in office since March, has failed to move ahead with campaign promises to embark on the sale of companies including Ukrtelecom, the main phone company in the country of 46 million people.

Ukraine, which owns almost 93 percent of Ukrtelecom, has put off its sale for more than a decade because of disputes between state agencies. The most recent sale was scheduled for December 2009.

Ukrtelecom lost 456.4 million hryvnia in 2009. The company agreed in March to defer a payment on a $500 million loan for three months after its financial condition “deteriorated.”

It needs cash to develop mobile and Internet services as it battles for clients with rivals including ZAT Kyivstar and Russia’s largest mobile-phone company, OAO Mobile TeleSystems.

“Ukrtelecom, as it exists now, doesn’t have many prospects,” Oleksandr Ryabchenko, chairman of the Ukraine State Property Fund, said in a Sept. 3 interview. “It should offer something new, new services.”

Mittal Purchase

Successful sales, like VAT Kryvorizhstal, the country’s largest steel mill, to ArcelorMittal in 2005 for $4.8 billion, are overshadowed by inaction in other assets.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, since has been waiting to buy coal mines and the Kryvyi Rih iron-ore enriching mill, whose construction was started by the Soviet Union, Romania, and Slovakia in 1985 and was never completed.

At Kyivenergo, the banging of hammers and sharp hiss of metal saws echoes around the cavernous heating plant, piercing the din of the whirring generators. Some workers, dressed in blue overalls and white hard hats, crawl in and out of a worn- out boiler, while others were wrestling carpet-sized insulation.

“We have plans for replacement, but the National Energy Commission has yet to confirm them,” said Vitaliy Beshun, the plant’s chief engineer. “All the technicians understand that the equipment is past its usefulness. That size of a task has never yet been performed in Ukraine.”

Source: Bloomberg

Reprivatization of Neo-Soviet Industrial Assets In Ukraine

ArcelorMittal: Can’t Rule Out Seizure Of Ukraine Plant


By Alex MacDonald

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

 

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- ArcelorMittal (MT, MT.AE) on Wednesday said it can’t exclude the possibility that a Ukrainian court hearing next week could become the start of a process to illegally seize the steelmaker’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the Ukrainian Kryviy Rih steel plant.

“Judging from the speed with which the case is being handled, we cannot exclude that 12 October will start the process of launching a pre-conceived and illegal return of the enterprise into state ownership with further re-sale of it to a new owner,” the company said in a statement.

The court proceeding comes at a time when Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, is championing economic reform to improve foreign investment in the country.

ArcelorMittal bought the plant, previously named Kryvorizhstal, in 2005 for $4.8 billion on condition that the steelmaker would continue to invest in the plant in accordance with an agreed-upon plan. ArcelorMittal later agreed with Ukraine’s State Property Fund, which is responsible for privatizations, to amend the purchase agreement in order to delay some agreed investments in 2009 after it declared force majeure due to the global economic downturn, which took a huge bite out of global steel demand, particularly in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s general prosecution office in July launched legal action against both ArcelorMittal’s Ukrainian unit and the SPF on grounds that the amendment was improperly granted. ArcelorMittal, SPF and the Ukrainian government’s cabinet of ministers deny the claim.

ArcelorMittal also said the court hearing is being handled in a manner that violates the terms of the purchase agreement and raises concerns over whether it will be granted a fair hearing.

The hearing began Friday at a Ukrainian commercial court rather than at the International Court of Arbitration, as required by the purchase agreement. Secondly, the case was brought in the name of the state, but a representative from the government’s cabinet of ministers said at a hearing on Tuesday that the government did not support the lawsuit and said that there were no violations in the amended agreement.

The court has postponed the case until Oct. 12. At the next hearing, the parties are to announce their position regarding the case and will submit evidence.

ArcelorMittal filed motions to request enough time to prepare its defense but those motions were rejected or only formally noted, the company said.

“In the view of ArcelorMittal a trend is becoming obvious in the way the case is being handled: the judge is consistently refusing to agree all the monitions of the defendants, regardless of the substantial proof provided about existing violations of the law.” ArcelorMittal said in a statement. “We can only see this as evidence that the judge is following a pre-approved plan.”

 

-By Alex MacDonald, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)207 842 9328; alex.macdonald@dowjones.com

 

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine refused to support the General Prosecutor’s lawsuit against ArcelorMittal

Kyiv, October 6, 2010. During the court hearing on the lawsuit against the State Property Fund of Ukraine (SPFU) and ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih on October 5 the main result was an appearance of a representative of one of the plaintiffs – the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.The representative stated that the Cabinet of Ministers does not support the lawsuit as there have been no violations of the interests of the Ukrainian state. The lawsuit was initiated by the prosecutor precisely in the name of the entities of the Ukrainian state.

This basically means that in the opinion of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the additional agreement, signed by ArcelorMittal and the SPFU, that is being currently questioned in court, does not violate the interests of the state.

This basically destroys the attempts of the prosecutor to launch the reprivatization process at Kryvorizhstal.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the prosecutor’s lawsuit was not supported by the Cabinet of Ministers, the court continued to consider the case.

ArcelorMittal wishes to point out that that this damages the legal basis for the prosecutor’s lawsuit. Moreover, as no violations were committed in signing the Additional agreement, as was confirmed both by the SPFU and the Cabinet of Ministers’ representative, it is unclear whose interest the prosecutor is protecting in this case.

In other regards the second court hearing went according to expectations: the judge rejected both motions of the defendants – about transfering the case to the International Court of Arbitration and about suspending the case because a similar case is currently being considered in the Administrative court.

The first motion was based on the Sale and Purchase Agreement provisions stating that all disputes should be handled at the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) at the Chamber of Commerce of Ukraine (CCU). Contrary to the provisions of the SPA, the General Prosecutor’s Office files its lawsuit not to the ICA, but to the Commercial court. Despite the objections of most of the parties in the case, judge Oleh Khrypun refused to cancel the case, which is a serious violation of Ukrainian and international law.

Further motions by ArcelorMittal for providing enough time to prepare and providing the foreign defendant enough time to prepare for the court hearing were also rejected or only formally noted.

In the view of ArcelorMittal a trend is becoming obvious in the way the case is being handled: the judge is consistently refusing to agree all the monitions of the defendants, regardless of the substantial proof provided about existing violations of the law.

We can only see this as evidence that the judge is following a pre-approved plan. The following national and international laws have been violated: the European convention on foreign trade arbitration, the New York convention on admitting and fulfilling of foreign arbitration decisions, the Laws of Ukraine “About international agreement of Ukraine”, “About international commercial arbitration” and of a whole list of procedural norms.

The judge announced a break until 12 of October. At the next court hearing the parties will announce their position regarding the case and will submit proof.

Judging from the speed with which the case is being handled, we cannot exclude that 12 October will start the process of launching a pre-conceived and illegal return of the enterprise into state ownership with further re-sale of it to a new owner, as well as the beginning of a totally new era in relationship with investors.

Israel plans to introduce an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state

Israel plans to introduce an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state

07.10.2010 12:50

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday, October 6, the intention to introduce an oath of allegiance to the “Jewish and democratic state” as the procedures required to obtain Israeli citizenship.

His initiative is going to draw in prime form of an amendment to the Citizenship Act and to submit it for approval by the Cabinet in the near future, according to Korrespondent.net

“Israel – a national state of the Jewish people. This is the guiding principle of government policy, domestic and foreign, the foundation of Israeli law. He has found expression in the phrase” Jewish and democratic state “which should be included in the text of the oath for those seeking to become naturalized citizens of Israel,” – said Netanyahu.

A similar legislative initiative was introduced last year to the government party Israel Our Home (NDI), which has the third largest faction in the Knesset and is the largest coalition partner of the ruling Likud Party.

The bill, as a result failed the cabinet, had to realize in practice the most famous campaign slogan NDI and its leader, the Russian-speaking Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – Without loyalty no nationality.

According to analysts, their initiative Netanyahu is trying to enlist the support of right-wing parties, which allow to prolong the moratorium on settlement building in order to preserve the negotiating process with the Palestinians. With the prolongation of the ban on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Palestinians have linked their limiting participation in direct negotiations with Israel.

At the same time, critics have accused the Israeli prime minister in the attack on the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, especially the Israeli Arabs, who constitute one-fifth of the citizens of Israel and accept a Jewish State in 1948 as a national catastrophe.

Earlier, Israeli authorities barred Jews from entering the country with a criminal record, despite the fact that the right to repatriation is enshrined in one of the major government rules, the Law of Return. According to the instructions MIA, all wishing to return to their historical homeland must submit a certificate of no criminal record and problems with the law.

Al-Qaeda’s Suspect Humanitarianism

Al-Qaeda’s Suspect Humanitarianism

Is bin Laden’s concern for flood victims a ruse to destabilise Pakistan?

 

We seek him here, we seek him there,

Those Yankees seek him everywhere.

Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?

That damned, elusive bin Laden

 

If we are to believe the Associated Press, that demmed elusive Osama bin Laden has spoken again.

 

According to the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering organization, the fugitive al-Qaeda leader, who some intelligence experts believe has been dead since December 2001, has just released an audiotape in which he calls for the creation of a new relief body to help Muslims affected by this summer’s devastating floods in Pakistan. Bin Laden, AP suggests, is “seeking to exploit discontent … by depicting the region’s governments as uncaring.”

 

Seemingly unfazed by news of the CIA’s 3,000-strong Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams hot on its trail, al-Qaeda has, in recent weeks, according to the AP report, put out three messages, including the one featuring bin Laden, concerning the massive floods that affected around 20 million people in Pakistan, “signaling a concentrated campaign by the terror group to tap into anger over the flooding to rally support.”

 

AP’s sole source for the 11-minute tape, with the oddly contemplative title “Reflections on the Method of Relief Work,” is SITE Intelligence Group. The U.S.-based group, which purportedly “monitors jihadi forums,” provided AP with a copy of the message that it claims was posted on unnamed “Islamic militant websites.”

 

There are questions, however, about whether SITE Intelligence is the most objective source of information about terrorism.

 

SITE co-founder Rita Katz, an Israeli Defense Forces veteran, is an Iraqi-born Jew, whose father was publicly hanged in Iraq after the 1967 Six-Day War as an Israeli spy. Considering Tel Aviv’s obvious interest in having the world’s only superpower fight a “global war on terror” against the Jewish state’s Muslim neighbours, it somehow never occurred to Associated Press, or other mainstream media outlets, to ask the question, Like father, like daughter?

 

Moreover, there are reasonable grounds for suspicion about al-Qaeda’s other pronouncements on the floods in Pakistan.

 

In a recent video, presumably also found online by Rita Katz’s SITE, al-Qaeda’s California-born spokesman, Adam Gadahn, castigated Islamabad for its “sluggish and halfhearted” response to the floods, and called on Muslims in Pakistan to join the Islamist militants fighting the government.

 

Gadahn, who has since 2001 run al-Qaeda’s media wing, As-Sahab, found his way to the Islamic Society of Orange County while living with his grandfather, Carl Pearlman, a board member of the Anti-Defamation League. Ostensibly a civil rights organization set up to fight anti-Semitism, the ADL is a de facto adjunct of the Israeli government which, significantly, has been caught spying on American critics of Israel. Like grandpa, like grandson?

 

In a previous video, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said to be al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, also incited Pakistanis to rise up against their government due to its “failure” to provide relief to flood victims.

 

But when Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, analysed a 2006 video of al-Zawahiri for alterations and enhancements, he discovered that the logos of As-Sahab and IntelCenter (the other group supposedly tracking terrorists online) had been added at the same time.

 

IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, former director of intelligence at iDefense, a VeriSign company. VeriSign is a partner of Verint, formerly known as Comverse Infosys, which was founded by former Israeli intelligence officer Jacob “Kobi” Alexander. In 2006, Alexander fled to Namibia after the U.S. Department of Justice indicted him on multiple counts of fraud. Comverse/Verint, one of a number of Israeli eavesdropping and surveillance companies created by veterans of Unit 8200, the technology intel unit of the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Corps, has been widely suspected of spying on Americans.

 

If, as seems likely, the al-Qaeda messages concerning this summer’s floods in Pakistan are fakes, they would seem to provide further evidence of an Israeli-inspired campaign to destabilise the world’s only Islamic nuclear power.

 

The question then becomes, what, if anything, Islamabad will do to counter such efforts before it too goes the way of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer based in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

Let There Be Light–Reconditioning Broken Soldiers

[It is sometimes a wondrous thing, the way evidence of what you are investigating seems to drop out of nowhere.  That is the way it was with the following documentary on WWII psychological reconditioning of "psycho-neurotic" soldiers.  I didn't suspect that such a video even existed, until I came across it on my TV guide, playing on CurrentTV.  The majority of the young men and boys who went through the military's reconditioning program, documented here by maverick director, John Huston, were simply those who didn't want to be in the military, an unavoidable byproduct of the draft.  Others refused to adapt to the mold which the military was forcing upon them.  The reconditioning program was just another way to break the spirit of these boys and turn them into good little killing machines.

It is likely that the number of men with actual issues of traumatic shock syndrome then was no higher than in modern times.  The truth about this program was that it was calculated to increase the number of mentally fit troops, more than it was intended to help these men.  The only way that this treatment could have "helped" these men was to enable them to fit into the mold of a "good man" that the US Govt. had crafted for them.  The "inadequate soldier" was somehow, not quite a "man," in the military definition of manhood.  This was a "medical" cure for "gold-bricking," for those not "man enough" to kill their fellow man, or to fight wars for Imperialism.

My Dad was one of those guys, and he died a couple of weeks ago.  The effects of the damage done to his mind by the electroshock "therapy" and all the rest of the Nazi mind-sciences used upon him and his fellow inmates never left him until the day he died (SEE: Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State).]


Let There Be Light

At the request of the Signal Corps, John Huston made a wartime documentary of the emotionally disturbed war veterans being treated at Mason General Hospital. For three months, Huston immersed himself in the project, observing the various methods used to pull these shattered-in-spirit men out of their mental anguish, ranging from shock treatment to hypnosis. The key scene in Let There Be Light, as the film would be known upon its completion, a weeping veteran is brought back to the real world through the utilization of trance-inducing drugs. There is nothing that smacks of the sensational in this remarkable film, most certainly not the warm, reassuring narration of John Huston’s father Walter. Yet when Let There Be Light was scheduled for a private showing at the Museum of Modern Art, the army confiscated the film, refusing to allow its release to any civilian audience. Huston later determined that the army simply didn’t want the U.S. to see its fighting men as anything other than grinning, self-assured victors. Let There Be Light was not made available to the public until 1980, and then only on the special orders of vice-president Walter Mondale. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

 

‘LET THERE BE LIGHT,’ JOHN HUSTON VS. THE ARMY

By VINCENT CANBY

Published: January 16, 1981

FOR more than 30 years, the United States Army has been suppressing public showings of ”Let There Be Light,” one of the documentaries made for the Army Signal Corps by John Huston toward the end of World War II. That’s not to say the film has gone unheralded. The late James Agee wrote about it with enthusiasm in Time and The Nation in 1947 and 1948. Though the picture is now, at long last, opening a limited run today at the Thalia, the Army – which didn’t supply this print – apparently continues to be alarmed. At this late date, it’s difficult to see what the fuss is about.

”Let There Be Light” is a good, slickly made documentary about the treatment of psychoneurotic combat veterans at Mason General Hospital on Long Island. The treatment involved the thenrevolutionary use of truth drugs and hypnosis and, though the movie tells us more than once that the cures we see will have to be supported by long, intensive psychiatric care, the impression given and even encouraged by the film is of a series of miraculous cures.

With its voice-over narration (provided by Walter Huston), its use of wipes and dissolves and its full-orchestra soundtrack music, ”Let There Be Light” is an amazingly elegant movie, far different from the kind of documentaries we’re now used to and pioneered by such post-World War II film makers as Morris Engel, Robert Drew, D.A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Albert and David Maysles.

Its studied look may have the effect of softening the movie’s impact on today’s audiences, who’ve grown up seeing riots, wars and assassinations live-and-in-color on their home television screens.

Yet it’s not difficult to understand the force of the film. Among the patients we see from their arrival at Mason General through their treatments, cures and releases are men suffering from amnesia, hysterical paralysis, stuttering and acute melancholia.

In the late 40’s, the Army seemed to feel that the film would scare off potential recruits. In his recently published autobiography, ”An Open Book,” Mr. Huston reports the Army justified its censorship on the grounds that a public showing of the film would invade the privacy of the soldiers. He also reports, in passing, that he photographed some patients being given shock treatment, though there are no such scenes in the print being shown at the Thalia.

Also on the Thalia bill is ”Independence Day,” an independent feature about black workers in Los Angeles, which was reviewed in The New York Times on Nov. 10, 1976, when it opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Unheralded Study

LET THERE BE LIGHT, directed by John Huston; written by Mr. Huston and Charles Kaufman; produced by the Army Signal Corps. Running time: 60 minutes. This film is not rated.

INDEPENDENCE DAY, directed and produced by Bobby Roth; director of photography, Elliot Davis, film editor, John Carnochan. At the Thalia, West 95th Street at Broadway. Running time: 87 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Mel Rosier, Gammy Burdett, Michelle Davison and Henry Gayle Sanders. At the Thalia, West 95th Street at Broadway.

Confiscating Childhood in the Occupied Territories

Confiscating Childhood in the Occupied Territories

By AHMAD BARQAWI

Thirteen is the age for a lot of things; it carries a certain significance for every boy that reaches that age with all the promises that life has to offer; it’s a time when boys get their first bike, enjoy their favorite video games, make it into the school’s football squad, it’s a time when boys begin to marvel at and appreciate the mysteries of life pre-adulthood, and for some; it’s even a time when they experience their first innocent crush; but if you’re a thirteen year old boy in occupied Palestine; you’re placed under house arrest by the Israeli authorities.

Thirteen year old Palestinian boy; Karam Khaled Da’nah was sentenced by an Israeli court to five months of mandatory house arrest in his uncle’s house –away from his parents and siblings- and a 2,000 shekel bail after a shameful charade that isn’t very well masquerading as a court hearing last Tuesday September 28th 2010, in complete disregard for anything even resembling human rights (or even common human decency for that matter); Karam was first arrested on the 20th of September right in front of his school in the old city in southern Hebron, dragged away from his friends and classmates and savagely beaten by Israeli forces before being thrown into the back of their military jeep and driven away; and the charge is… wait for it… lopping stones at (illegal) Israeli settlers.

And here you thought that peer pressure was the biggest source of anxiety for most parents, however; Palestinian parents will always have something else to worry about when it comes to their children; whether it’s sudden arrests, deadly assaults, torture, you name it; the list of horrific –and very possible- scenarios that Palestinian families are made to live with day in and day out are endless; indeed parenthood carries a whole different meaning in Palestine.

What’s particularly troubling though; is that the Zionists have -over the years- committed so many crimes and gross violations of international laws that I can’t believe the rest of the so-called civilized world haven’t called them out on it yet, they insist on placing “the only democracy in the Middle East” on a strangely unparalleled, high pedestal as the ultimate paragon of virtue; whereas when it comes to Palestinians it seems; the concept of human rights suddenly blurs, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) becomes a hazy afterthought; is it acceptable only if the victim is a Palestinian kid? Is it acceptable to snatch minors off the streets, torture and browbeat them into submission in Israeli prison chambers? Is all of this acceptable if everyone is practically silent about it?

These days we keep hearing all about poor little Binyamin Netanyahu and how “difficult” it is to be in his place; caught between the hammer of American pressures to re-impose a temporary freeze on settlement building and the anvil of a fragile government coalition of right wing fascists who firmly stand behind the settlement enterprise, we keep hearing how “unbearable” it is to be in the position of President Mahmoud Abbas, who is left with very few limited options; the best of which amounts to political suicide; but what about those who live under occupation and suffer its agonizing consequences, we sure have a tenuous grasp of their bitter reality, we disregard them -and often we do so with intent- in our quest to decipher the intricate details of the Middle East conflict, so let us this time try and place ourselves in Karam Da’nah’s shoes for a moment:

Imagine you’re thirteen years old, living in a neighborhood your family has been inhabiting for generations; yet is becoming less and less familiar to you -thanks to swarms of hostile (and armed to the teeth) Israeli settlers-, the day starts and ends with their vulgar harassments, verbal and physical abuse and often with them hurling their trash at your house for good measure, your daily trip to your own school and back disturbs the very delicate sensibilities of these “new neighbors”, they spit on you, shower you with unspeakable insults that a typical thirteen year old wouldn’t normally hear; there’s absolutely nothing neighborly about that! you try another (longer) route hoping against hope that this “maneuver” will spare you another one of those grueling confrontations, but to no avail; they’re all over the place; they enjoy the very same right and freedom of movement you’ve been long pining for; and always under the attentive watch of the IOF, going to school soon becomes a dreaded burden; an exercise in frustration and futility; you can’t help but feel like you’re a moving target; your destination –no matter how close- is always so far away, well beyond countless of check points, humiliating strip searches, antagonistic soldiers, exclusive Jewish-only roads, life-threatening altercations with over-zealous colonizers and a separation wall that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Nonetheless; you try as hard as you can to reconcile yourself with this harsh reality just to be able to enjoy –even if for a brief and fleeting moment- a false sense of normalcy; until one day and out of the blue; you get rounded up, accused and immediately convicted for a bogus crime you didn’t commit; there is absolutely no evidence except for a testimony by an illegal Israeli settler who’s hell-bent on forcing you out of your own land with no idea what he wants beyond that, you spend about a week incarcerated in a prison cell, exhaustion from ruthless interrogation sessions -designed specifically to “overcome” your frail thirteen year old mind and body- and fears of never being able to see your family ever again start to mount inside your small teenage chest until you can’t even take a proper breath anymore; when you’re finally released; you find out that you can’t live with your family anymore, instead; you’re sent to live with relatives and to top it all off; you’re not allowed to see the outdoors for at least five months; you have to say goodbye to playgrounds, football games, family picnics, going to school and basically all the activities that made up a huge and beloved part of your previous life.

Karam’s story is merely the latest in a litany of brutal practices and policies of aggression by the Zionist state and its raging herds of xenophobic settlers against Palestinians; only a little over a week ago; a Jewish settlement “guard” (whatever that means!) shot down a 32 year old Palestinian man –a father of five- in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem: pretty much an open and shut, slam dunk case of cold blooded murder; from which the perpetrator was, yes you guessed it, exonerated after half an hour of “friendly” questioning by Israeli authorities (probably over a cup of coffee for all we know!); while, on the other hand, Karam Da’nah still has to adjust to his new living situation placed under house arrest deprived of all the things that millions of normal kids around the world take for granted.

Moreover; a recent CNN report revealed several cases of sexual abuse of Palestinian children detained in Israeli jails; the report included victims’ heart-breaking detailed accounts of what they’ve endured on the filthy hands of their Israeli captors; molestation, beatings, being forced to remain in painful positions and being grabbed by their private parts; are but few of the many methods mentioned in the report that are systematically employed by Israeli interrogators in sleazy albeit sadistic attempts at extracting forced “confessions” from kids as young as 9 years old; this in no doubt; will take its immense and devastating toll on these youngsters; physically, psychologically and emotionally as well; sure these kids will survive, they will continue to live, some might even grow up to be great leaders for their people; but I think their childhood and everything about it has been seared for life.

Indeed not only lands that are being arbitrarily bulldozed and confiscated in the occupied Palestinian territories, but most dangerously; childhood too.

Ahmad Barqawi, a Jordanian freelance columnist & writer based in Amman, having acquired his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics; he has done several studies, statistical analysis and researches on economic and social development in Jordan. He can be reached at: ahmad.s.barqawi@gmail.com