Klein and Makled: Extradition à la carte

Klein and Makled: Extradition à la carte

SANTIAGO SOSA

Colombia news - extradition

Colombia has been extraditing criminals ever since the Turbay administration in the late 70s, when the war on drugs was just beginning. Marijuana got hold of Colombia in the beginning of the 70s, when Alfonso Lopez Michelsen was president, and the U.S. started its anti-drug crusade by giving assistance to the Colombian government. Lopez Michelsen’s successor, Cesar Turbay, signed the extradition treaty in 1979, which aimed to have drug dealers sent to be tried in the U.S.

Drugs were key to the U.S. security agenda and were considered to be an external threat. The solution was, therefore, to fight this scourge at the source, and in the mid-80s President Belisario Betancur succeeded in convincing the U.S. to combat not only production but also consumption. The drug problem accelerated in the 80s: marijuana was starting to be grown in the U.S. and was replaced in Colombia by cocaine, which at first was brought semi-processed from Bolivia and Peru. However, the extradition treaty was found unconstitutional in 1987, just as the problem was at its worst, and extraditions were only resumed after the new 1991 Constitution came into force.

Many argued that extradition was (and is) necessary because the Colombian judicial system is not strong enough to try drug dealers, let alone members of illegal armed groups, because many judges can be bribed or threatened. Actually, most members of illegal groups are tried in the US because of drug dealing and not because of their crimes against the Colombian people. But still, some say, this is better than impunity. Nevertheless, scholars have questioned extradition, pointing out that it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent, as trials in U.S. have not stemmed the flow of new drug dealers and members of illegal armed groups.

Now, Colombia’s extradition menu has been bolstered with two cases, which are potential diplomatic crises and have become the focus of international interest.

The first case is that of Yair Klein, an Israeli who trained Colombian paramilitary forces and who was captured in Moscow because of an Interpol request. Colombia is asking for his extradition, but the European Court on Human Rights blocked the process, and so it seems that Klein will be allowed to return to Israel. This raises two issues:

First, why is the international community intervening in the Colombian request for extradition? This is quite hypocritical because the same international community holds the Colombian government responsible for the violation of human rights. There is no coherence in this.

The court argued that the trial wasn’t fair and that if Klein were extradited to Colombia, he would be subject to torture. One argument was ex-Vice President Francisco Santos’ declaration about how Klein should rot in a Colombian jail. The ex-vice president’s action could be included in a book about the DOs and DON’Ts of Diplomacy and International Relations, in the DON’Ts section of course.

Second, Colombia is one of Israel’s main allies in the continent: The Colombian government supported Israel in several occasions in the U.N. and Israel has given Colombia a lot of technical and military assistance. The fact that an Israeli is behind the training of paramilitary forces is potentially a diplomatic crisis and it is not coherent with the Colombo-Israeli tight relation.

The second extradition in question is that of Walid Makled, a Venezuelan criminal who was captured in Cucuta this year. The Chavez administration is asking for his extradition in order to have him stand trial – but so is the U.S., on charges of drug dealing. This brings a terrible crossroads for Colombia: Where should the government send Makled? If he is sent to Venezuela, it will be a very good step in the improvement of bilateral relations, which is gaining ground in terms of border security and has already shown some results.

If he is sent to the U.S. then he is sure to be punished, while some may doubt that Venezuela’s judicial system is strong enough, just as the Colombian one is seen as weak. The other advantage would be that the long tradition of extradition to the U.S. would not be interrupted. Nevertheless, doing so could endanger relations with Venezuela.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that Makled is telling the authorities that he has links with the Venezuelan authorities. The Venezuelan version is that he is trying to save himself from being tried in his country by spreading lies and misinformation, and this will earn him a one-way ticket to the U.S. Accusations of drug dealing against the Venezuelan authorities are nothing new, and they have even extended to Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras (when Zelaya was in office). Some may argue that Venezuela wants him extradited in order to silence him.

Regardless of Klein being guilty or innocent and the veracity of Makled’s allegations, Colombia is in quite a situation: It is being denied an extradition, and will itself have to deny one to either the U.S. or Venezuela. Who will be served the hot plate on the menu? It may be too soon to tell and it is not an easy choice.

Although many say that extradition is not effective as a deterrent, it is still a diplomatic instrument, necessary for the well-being of international relations. The fact that a country would extradite a criminal wanted by another is proof of a healthy and friendly relationship, and it is coherent with the international system, showing that a state respects international law and is committed to building and strengthening the international society.

Perhaps we shall soon see Colombia signing extradition treaties with more states worldwide. As the illegal armed groups have links with many foreigners, the solution to their violence will also have to be framed in international terms. Only time will tell if the global community will respond with solidarity.

Santiago Sosa studies International Business at Universidad EAFIT in Medellin

The Columbian FARC and America’s Islamists–Two Sides of Same Coin

[Columbia’s FARC problem cannot be resolved by military means, no matter how many neighbors are blamed and have their borders violated by the Columbian Army.  The Columbian conflict has the same roots as every other war involving US and Israeli organized and trained guerrillas, militias or paramilitary forces, the solutions to the conflicts that they have created are not military solutions.   Wherever they wage covert war in Central America, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Bosnia, Africa, or anywhere in the former Soviet Union–America’s illegal, private foreign armies are the source of all current global destabilizations.

The way to peace, at this time, in any location that is under direct threat of war, is for the United States to shut-down its entire global paramilitary network.  This is the real international terrorist network, not the mythical creation called “al-Qaeda.”]

Venezuela and Ecuador Resolve Differences with Colombia at Regional Summit

http://www.politicalaffairs.net/venezuela-and-ecuador-resolve-differences-with-colombia-at-regional-summit/

Original source: Venezuelanalysis.com

Mérida, March 8, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com) – During the 20th Presidential Summit of the Río Group, held Friday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Ecuadorian, Colombian, and Venezuelan heads of state reached an agreement that effectively cooled off the diplomatic crisis, which had raged across Latin America last week following air and land attacks by Colombian armed forces last Saturday on encampments of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) inside Ecuadorian territory.

The declaration endorsed by the 19 member countries of the Río Group, which was created in 1986 to be a political forum for Latin American heads of state, included a rejection of the violation of Ecuadorian territorial sovereignty and an endorsement of the resolution of the Organization of American States (OAS), which had denounced Colombia’s attack on Thursday. Moreover, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe issued a formal apology to the Ecuadorian government and people and took full responsibility for the attacks.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa had made clear throughout the week that mere diplomatic apologies would not suffice for the resolution of this conflict, so the Río Group declaration also sealed the commitment of President Uribe to ‘not repeat’ the acts that provoked the conflict, and of all member states to respect national sovereignty and uphold peaceful coexistence in the region.

In return, President Correa agreed to receive the documentation that the Uribe administration claimed incriminated Correa for having an inappropriate relationship with the FARC.

During the summit, Uribe read the documents, which were allegedly salvaged from the wreckage of the attacks in a computer that belonged to Raúl Reyes, the FARC second in command who was killed in the assault. Correa responded by asserting that his hands ‘are not stained with blood’ and he rejected the idea that the Ecuadorian government had ‘collaborated with the FARC’.

However, Correa had made clear on Thursday that his government had been in contact with the FARC in order to negotiate the liberation of 12 hostages, including the French ex-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt whose release is a top priority of French President Nicolás Sarkozy. French Foreign Relations Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed that his government was aware of Correa’s negotiations with the FARC.

Correa claimed that Uribe knew that the Betancourt’s liberation was being arranged for this month and accused the Colombian president of deliberately obstructing the humanitarian process by going ahead with the attacks on the previous Saturday.

The Ecuadorian president proposed to the Río Group Friday the creation of an ‘international force that controls the border that Colombia does not know how to control with its militarist policies.’

Uribe remained staunchly opposed to any such international group that would presumably be involved in the Colombia-based conflict, including the idea supported by several presidents, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, of forming a multi-state negotiating group to bring forth a humanitarian accord between the Colombian government and the FARC.

Also in the Summit’s final declaration was a commitment among those involved in the recent conflict to maintain the lines of communication open.

While Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega called the Colombian assault on FARC encampments ‘state terrorism,’ he nonetheless retracted his termination of diplomatic relations with the Colombian government, proclaiming that ‘the agreements reached permit Nicaragua to backtrack in its rupture of relations with Colombia.’

Ecuador’s President Correa, however, said that the restoration of diplomatic relations with Colombia ‘will take a little time,’ because ‘it will be very difficult to restore trust,’ and added that he would ‘coordinate with Venezuela and make a timeline’ and try to repair the relationship quickly.

President Chávez, who in the past week had railed against Uribe, called for heads of state at the Summit to ‘reflect, keep a cool head, because if we continue, this will continue heating up.’

Chavez argued that Uribe’s defense of the violation of Ecuador’s soveriengty represented nothing less than a ‘vindication’ of the principle that terrorism may be fought anywhere in the world, regardless of the affected country’s sovereignty. This is the same principle that led to the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Responding to the Colombian government’s charge that the FARC computer’s supposedly proved Chavez’s support for the FARC, Chavez related two anecdotes of how a former president of Colombia, Ernesto Samper, and a former president of Ecuador, Hugo Banzer, both eventually apologized to him for having launched similar accusations against him at different points in his life.

Chavez reiterated that there is no military solution to the conflict in Colombia, declaring his desire to ‘move closer to the path of peace, [and] distance ourselves from the path of war,’ adding that Ecuador and Venezuela so far have ‘done everything possible’.

‘We have reached the time to detain this whirlpool in which we could end up repenting, and not only ourselves but our peoples, children and communities, for who knows how much time,’ Chávez advised the group, while reiterating that the Venezuelan government has not collaborated with the FARC.

Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Trancoso praised the positive interventions of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, whose call for ‘frank dialogue’ to reduce tensions at the summit was echoed by Uribe and several others. He also thanked Argentine President Cristina de Kirchner, Panamanian President Martín Torrijos, and President Chávez, who, he said, ‘behaved like a true pacifist.’

Morales Trancoso hailed the outcome of the Río Group as the autonomous achievement of a more united Latin America. ‘We have to remember that the Río Group is the only political forum that we Latin Americans have, [and] without the influence of anybody we have come to an agreement and resolved this big problem.’

Following the heated debates that took place over the 10-hour day, President Correa announced that ‘through dialogue, we were able to overcome a very grave conflict.’ Nonetheless, the Ecuadorian president maintained a stern demeanor upon shaking hands with Uribe at the end of the summit.

‘The problem is not solved with an embrace,’ Correa commented after making amends with Uribe, urging the Colombian President to ‘accept international mediation to resolve the problem of the FARC.’

Along with his call for peaceful dialogue, Chávez announced that he had received proof of life of 6 FARC hostages, and Venezuelan Minister of Justice and the Interior Ramón Rodríguez Chacín confirmed that the total proofs of life had been increased to 10 just before Chávez’s departure for Santo Domingo. It remains unclear when these hostages might be released, and whether they will be released unilaterally or in exchange for insurgents currently imprisoned.

On the same day, news reports accompanied by photographs allegedly recovered from the scene of last Saturday’s bombardment revealed that a group of Chilean Communist Party members had visited the FARC encampment where Raúl Reyes was killed in his pajamas by Colombian forces last Saturday.

41 year-old Manuel Olate commented that the camp was ‘pretty simple’ and meant to provide a safe space, outside of Colombia, to ‘receive people who worked for humanitarian exchange,’ as 25 year-old Valeska López put it. ‘It had wooden beds and a classroom. There was nothing that one could say was a camp for military actions,’ Olate recounted.

Aside from the declaration about the conflict with Colombia, the Río Group also ratified Haiti as the 20th member of the Río Group.

Wikileaks Reveal Ugly Truth About US “Public Diplomacy,” Betraying the People’s Trust

[The State Department’s “Office of Public Diplomacy” was called “The Enterprise” by Ollie North, when he used it to put-out false information about his “Contras.”  It has been an instrument of psychological warfare directed against the American people ever since then.  The other Zionist state calls its office of public lying “Hasbara.”  At least they are honest about it being responsible for shaping public opinion to suit the state model.  Here at home, nothing so “ludicrous” as an American department of public lying would ever be acknowledged on any level.

Stinking liars!  If the American people had any sense they would force the closing of the US State Dept.  Hillary is not the source of all diplomatic lies, just the most recent ones. ]

WikiLeaks and the sham of “public diplomacy”

BY BEN BARBER
WikiLeaks and the sham of

AP/Dita Alangkara

As the latest WikiLeaks revelations have shown, when diplomatic cables are made public they are often far from diplomatic. In fact, they aren’t even good journalism.


It is shocking that in the hundreds of cables released in recent days, U.S. diplomats often repeat unverified rumors. If I tried to base a story on such information, my editors would routinely send it back to me with an admonition: “Get some better sources. Find someone to speak on the record. Verify some of this stuff.”

So now the State Department is rushing to mollify foreign leaders in Italy, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This idle and unsubstantiated rumor-mongering by U.S. diplomats has shattered the brittle façade of official smiles we have dubbed “Public Diplomacy” — a euphemism for public affairs that some also call “propaganda.”

Propaganda is meant to persuade the public that black is white. Public affairs tells the public about the good things our government does while simply ignoring the bad things we sometimes do. Public diplomacy is a hybrid of the two — explaining policies to foreign audiences with the hope of changing minds.

Winston Churchill wrote that informing the public during wartime about progress in fighting the Nazis and defending democratic civilization is a worthy and noble task. It builds hope and prepares the public for the slow and costly battle to achieve victory over evil forces.

When Edward R. Murrow was director of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in 1963, he told Congress that “American traditions and the American ethic require us to be truthful, but the most important reason is that truth is the best propaganda and lies are the worst. To be persuasive we must be believable … “

However, the field of international relations that is called “public diplomacy” is a new breed of animal that emerged only in the past 15 years — since Jesse Helms, installed as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the 1994 elections, began pushing for the USIA to be absorbed by the State Department and shut down, something that officially happened in 1999.

Before that, the USIA was an open and accessible source of information set up in every international capital. It gave out official U.S. policy statements as well as fairly straightforward reports on U.S. culture, economics and politics. Foreign students, journalists and researchers found it easy to visit the American libraries attached to the USIA buildings, which were deliberately separate from the intimidating American embassies.

As a foreign correspondent in the 1980s and 1990s, I would go to USIA public affairs officers for information and to set up interviews with political officers. The American Libraries were a breath of fresh air in countries that either lacked freedom or were so poor that most journalists could not afford to buy its varied publications, dictionaries, encyclopedias and newspapers. In many cities, the USIA would obtain by fax or cable the top daily international stories from U.S. newspapers and provide free copies to many newspaper editors each morning — a service they could not have afforded to purchase.

These days the Internet provides free access to U.S. media and State Department statements. And anti-American terrorism in recent years has made all U.S. facilities overseas less open. Had we not shuttered our USIA offices and American Libraries, visitors would have to pass a terrifying barrier of heavily armed guards, searches and security checks as they do at embassies today.

But the abolition of the USIA has caused great harm to America’s ability to tell its story to the world. To save money and consolidate U.S. international affairs under the State Department, the 2,000-strong independent agency was abolished in 1999. Its staff was now under the control of State Department bureaucrats, forced to rein in the open, informal style of their contacts with the international and U.S. media. “Public diplomacy” was thusly born.

Some — including the conservative Heritage Foundation  — say that the lack of a quasi-independent public affairs office that knows how to speak to the international media without resorting to deliberately confusing “State speak” has crippled efforts to reach Muslims who are subject to a global barrage of anti-American Islamist propaganda.

Our diplomats have been so enamored of their fancy toy of public diplomacy they believe if they can word a policy cleverly enough other nations will swallow it, no matter who benefits. For example, one secretary of state announced her policy would be “transformational diplomacy,” which meant to the rest of the world — if you read some of its materials — that we would transform you. It was not widely swallowed.

Other senior public diplomacy officials circled the globe trying to persuade foreigners that they would happily accept U.S. leadership — if only they understood what fine people we are and what great family values we had.

Another former secretary of state gave me heartburn when she statedthat the United States was “the only indispensable nation.” This was diplomatic? So what about my friends and colleagues in Britain,Thailand, Israel, France, India and Morocco. Are we saying they are dispensable?

Every nation has created its own unique culture, language, agriculture, architecture and religion. But too often our diplomats and other government officials are forced to wear blinders and hew to the jingoistic party line that we are the best and the only indispensable nation.

When we fought as allies in World War II, we respected the contributions of our allies. When we faced down nuclear Armageddon in the Cold War, we did so with European allies in NATO. And in fighting the Islamic terrorism of recent years, our troops mixed their blood in the soil of Iraq and Afghanistan with Afghans, Iraqis, Brits, the French, Danes, Canadians and others.

We need to restore a public voice to this country that is freed from the onerous obligation of parroting American supremacy in order to satisfy domestic political imperatives. Even if we are less indispensable than other nations — due to our huge military, economy, standard of living and rule of law — real public diplomacy would know not to vaunt that status.

To counter the anti-Americanism growing not just in Muslim countries but in Latin America, it is time to treat others with greater respect and to present a more humble image around the world. We must recall the fable in which the powerful lion needed a tiny mouse to remove a thorn from his paw. We may be that limping lion. And the WikiLeaks documents show us roaring aimlessly, trafficking in unverified facts while an increasingly dubious world looks on.

Has Iran Used-Up Its Uranium?

Iran Produces First Uranium Yellowcake from Southern Mine
Iran has produced its first batch of uranium yellowcake, the raw material for enrichment, from a mine in the south of the country, atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday.
“The West had counted on the possibility of us being in trouble over raw material but today we had the first batch of yellowcake from Gachin mine sent to Isfahan (conversion) facility,” Salehi said on state television.

Conversion is the process by which yellowcake is converted into uranium hexafluoride for enrichment.

The atomic chief said the new step made Iran “self-sufficient” in the entire nuclear fuel cycle as it had previously been obliged to import yellowcake from abroad but he declined to reveal the amount of the first domestically produced batch.

“We cannot cover the overall need of the Isfahan facility but we will produce a significant part of it” from the Gachin mine near the Gulf port city of Bandar Abbas, Salehi said.

He said Iran would formally notify the International Atomic Energy Agency of its yellowcake production.

The announcement came as Iran is poised to hold a new round of talks with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme in Geneva on Monday.

Uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities as the process can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or in highly extended form the fissile core of an atom bomb.

Iran denies seeking a weapons capability but has pressed on with uranium enrichment in defiance of repeated U.N. Security Council ultimatums.(AFP)


Iran searching for new domestic uranium deposits

By Ali Akbar DareiniAssociated Press Writer / August 25, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran—Iran said Wednesday it is making the search for new uranium deposits in the country a top priority now that it has started up its first in a planned network of nuclear power plants.

The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency did not explain why Iran was intensifying the exploration at home. Tehran has in the past denied its uranium stockpile was running low, as some international nuclear experts have concluded.

U.N. Security Council sanctions bar countries from selling uranium to Iran in response to its refusal to stop uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to produce fuel for power plants or material for bombs.

“The most important priority, after the Bushehr nuclear power plant, is the exploration and discovery of uranium throughout the country,” the official IRNA news agency quoted nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as saying.

The United States and other nations have tried to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium out of concern Tehran is seeking a pathway to weapons production under the cover of its civil nuclear power program. Iran denies such an aim and says it only wants to enrich uranium to fuel a future network of power plants.

With Russian help, Iran began loading uranium fuel into its first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr on Saturday after years of delays.

Salehi, who is also Iran’s vice president, said only one-third of the country has been explored for uranium deposits. He said the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will carry out exploration work anywhere it detects a uranium vein.

“With the assistance of President (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and the allocation of a budget, we hope to survey the whole country as far as uranium exploration is concerned,” Salehi was quoted by IRNA as saying. He didn’t elaborate but said the study and exploration activities throughout Iran may take eight years.

“Anywhere there is a vein of uranium, we will enter into exploration work,” the Iranian government website quoted Salehi as saying.

International experts have said Iran’s stockpile of uranium oxide — used to make the gas that is spun through centrifuges in the enrichment process — appears to be rapidly diminishing.

Tehran still has hundreds of tons of the uranium hexafluoride gas used in the enrichment process.

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency believes Iran’s rapidly expanding enrichment program has been built on 600 tons of uranium oxide imported from South Africa during the 1970s as part of plans by the U.S.-backed shah to build a civil nuclear power program.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said last year that, based on 2008 IAEA statistics, Iran had already used up close to three-quarters of its South African supply.

Iran’s own principal source of uranium is the Saghand mine in the center of the country, which has the capacity to produce 132,000 tons (120,000 metric tons) of ore per year. Located about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Tehran, the mine consists of an open pit with minimal reserves and a deep mine. It has a total estimated uranium ore reserve of 1.73 million tons (1.58 million metric tons).

It also has smaller uranium deposits near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas where a mill is reportedly converting raw uranium into uranium ore concentrate known as yellowcake.

Iran announced discoveries of new uranium deposits in 2006 at three sites in the central Khoshoomi, Charchooleh and Narigan areas.

China Internet cafe blast kills 6, injures 38

[Why would anyone bomb an Internet cafe?  In the world of terrorist attacks and “false flag” terrorist attacks, the usual objective of these nuts is either to send someone a clear signal in the “dialogue of weapons,” or to put a stop to some sort of activity connected to the site of the attack.  Which is the case in this Internet attack, and who author of the attack?  We can assume at this point, that it was not a false flag attack by the Chinese government, based upon the fact that there is no known record of China following this line of thinking in the past, but then, China may be following some “new thinking” in the terror war.  If China wanted that particular locus of online activity silenced, there are many other, more quiet ways to accomplish this.  But, we are left thinking,

who else but the Chinese govt.

would want to silence a nest or free-thinkers, or anti-govt. radicals?

Perfect “false flag” attack!  If evidence seems to point one conclusion, even though that is an apparent contradiction to the history leading up to that moment, then it is a suspicious anomaly, which must not be taken at face value.  This bombing in China, like other suspicious attacks in nations that have been targeted by the Evil Empire, such as in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, are merely devices, intended to deflect blame from the powerful people who contract the attacks, and to arouse suspicion about the possible Chinese use of terrorism upon its adversaries.

Like all of these attacks, look to the greatest source of terrorism that the human race has ever known, to find the perpetrators.  The scariest part of everything we uncover about this source of malevolence is its awesome ability to distort reality itself, so that the common man cannot begin to understand the truth about the facts that he his has seen with his own eyes.

“State terrorism” cannot possibly refer to actions of the United States, even if the attacks amounted to cold-blooded mass-murder.  [sarcasm–ed. note]  In a psychological environment where the minds of the people have been so conditioned that they cannot begin to hold the truth about the US Govt. in their minds, truth is seen as a contradiction, therefore an impossibility.  People who have been brainwashed all their lives are perfect participants in a “false flag” psychological war.

Who wanted to create the impression that this was a Chinese attack?]

 

China Internet cafe blast kills 6, injures 38

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B40B420101205

Firefighters investigate at the scene of an explosion at an Internet cafe in Kaili, Guizhou province December 5, 2010. REUTERS/China DailyFirefighters investigate at the scene of an explosion at an Internet cafe in Kaili, Guizhou province December 5, 2010. 

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

BEIJING | Sun Dec 5, 2010 3:02am EST

(Reuters) – Six people were killed and 38 others injured in an explosion at an Internet cafe in southwest China, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

The explosion occurred late on Saturday in Kaili city in Guizhou province, Xinhua said, citing local police. It was caused by illegally stored chemicals in an adjacent room.

“The explosion and ensuing fire totally obliterated the cafe,” Xinhua said, adding that the blast also shattered the windows of nearby residential buildings.

Police have detained a man for the illegal possession of the chemicals and have taken the cafe’s boss and manager into custody for questioning, it added.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

US Has Taken Over Pakistan–(if only the Pakistanis knew)

US Has Taken Over Pakistan

http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/us_aid_to_pakistan_2_by_latuff2.jpg

It is a measure of the Pakistani state’s weakness that the Americans apparently have such scope and leeway to influence and direct its affairs

LONDON, UK—Pakistan was already under the American hammer before the WikiLeaks crisis blew. But leaked US diplomatic cables published by the Guardian show the extraordinary extent to which Pakistan is in danger of becoming a mere satrapy of imperial Washington.

The US assault on Pakistani sovereignty, which is how these developments are widely viewed in the country, is multipronged. At one end of the spectrum, in the sphere of “hard power”, US special forces are increasingly involved, in one way or another, in covert military operations inside Pakistan.

These troops are being used to help hunt down Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the tribal areas and co-ordinate drone attacks, as revealed by the Guardian’s Pakistan correspondent, Declan Walsh. Their activities come in addition to previous air and ground cross-border raids; and to the quasi-permanent basing of American technicians and other personnel at the Pakistani air force base from which drone attacks are launched.

The US hand can be seen at work in Pakistan’s complex politics, with the standing and competence of President Asif Ali Zardari seemingly constantly under harsh review. At one point, the military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, reportedly consults the US ambassador about the possibility of a coup, designed in part to stop the advance of the opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif.

At the same time, Pakistani diplomats are convinced the Americans are somehow trying to commandeer the country’s nuclear deterrent, which they see as its only real defence against India. And all this importunity is underpinned by “soft power”, by a reverse cash tribute from Washington to Islamabad, approaching $2bn a year. In a very real sense, the Americans buy their way in.

This sort of helpful meddling, or shameless intrigue, or outrageous interference – decide yourself what you want to call it – in the internal affairs of a sovereign country is supposed to have gone out of fashion with the retreat of the British empire and the end of the Raj.

But that was never true in reality, of course. All great powers intrude in pursuit of their own interests; it’s what they do – and picking up where the British left off, the US is no different. It is a measure of the Pakistani state’s weakness that the Americans apparently have such scope and leeway to influence and direct its affairs.

What is equally remarkable, however, is how little the Americans appear able, ultimately, to control their satraps. Zardari talks a good game but achieves little. Millions of US taxpayer dollars earmarked for fighting Islamist extremists allegedly disappear into government coffers, never to be seen again. Washington’s staunch Pakistani allies in the “war on terror” play both sides, maintaining their ties to friendly Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group while simultaneously accepting America’s largesse. Being an imperialist is never easy.

So the Americans don’t get what they want. But neither do ordinary Pakistanis. The larger point is that Pakistan is suffering grievously, in terms of lives lost to terrorism; in soldiers and civilians killed and wounded in the campaigns against Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas; in a ravaged economy, acute poverty and lack of education; and in the all but forgotten but still terrible aftermath of this year’s floods.

Pakistan needs less foreign interference, not more. And that applies to Arab jihadi fanatics as much as it does to imperious Americans. But on current trends the opposite is happening. The clear danger, highlighted by the leaked cables, is that the west’s unwinnable war in Afghanistan is spilling over into its weak, ill-led and much put-upon neighbour – and that Pakistan, too, could become a war zone.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

© 2007-2010. All rights reserved. PakNationalists.com

Medvedev failed to mention Northern Caucasus–Is that Good or Bad?

Adallo: in his address to Federal Assembly Medvedev failed to mention Northern Caucasus

http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/15396/

Ali Adallo. Photo by the "Caucasian Knot"

The famous poet and public figure Adallo said in his comment on the annual address of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the Federal Assembly that he was surprised with its content – the President made no mentioning of Northern Caucasus. In their turn, politicians do not share this opinion, noting that the President drew public attention to all the country’s problems.

Let us remind you that yesterday, on November 30, Mr Medvedev delivered his annual message to the Russia’s Federal Assembly. This year the topic of Northern Caucasus was not included into his speech, whereas last year President Medvedev called safety in Northern Caucasus “the most serious domestic political problem” of Russia.

“Russia has many problems, but the most important, in my opinion, is Northern Caucasus. If the situation here fails to normalize, disintegration of Russia may start from here. And I’m amazed that the country’s leader said not a word about the region,” Ali Adallo told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent.