Scientists Gloss Over Inate Human Evil, To Treat Psychopathy As Mental Illness

Scientists are trying to understand the brain functions in psychopaths.
BBC Scientists are trying to understand the brain functions in psychopaths.
HEALTH A project scientist attempts to understand whether the murderers antisocial behavior has a biological basis related to brain structure or if it is, as has been thought for centuries, evil beings.
Monday November 21, 2011

When Brian Dugan pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a seven year old girl, Jeanine Nicaro, many thought the guy was the spitting image of a brutal serial murderer.Although she was killed in 1983, Dugan confessed his guilt to 2009. By then he had been repeatedly convicted for rape and murder of two people, one seven year old girl and a nurse of 27 who was also raped and killed.

If the death penalty in Illinois had been withdrawn, Dugan would have been executed. But its most extraordinary thing is that he never showed any remorse for any of their murders or crimes. Now scientists think that this lack of empathy could in fact be linked to why he committed such acts. Dr. Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist at the University of New Mexico, United States, could scan the brains of Dugan as part of a unique project to understand whether antisocial behavior is linked to brain structure and function. “It was hard to understand why people were interested in what he had done,” he told the BBC Dr. Kiehl, recalling the time he interviewed Dugan. “Clinically it was something fascinating.”Psychopathy The Dr. Kiehl is considered a pioneer in the field of behavioral neuroscience. You are trying to understand the brain functions in psychopaths and use this knowledge in the development of treatments for these individuals. It is a controversial area because for thousands of years the subjects as Dugan has not been listed as sick but as evil. In popular culture term “psychopath” does not describe a diagnostic that takes compassion, but is something that inspires terror. Kiehl has a different opinion: “I tend to see psychopaths as someone who has a condition so do not use the word evil to describe them” . So what is a psychopath? “Clinically we define it as someone who gets a high score on characteristics such as lack of empathy, guilt and remorse,” says Dr. Kiehl. “They are very impulsive individuals usually do not plan or think before acting. They tend to get into trouble at an early age, “says the scientist. has long been known that many people in prison have symptoms of psychopathy, but so far not been able to obtain sufficient information on this disorder. The laboratory of Dr. Kiehl designed a unique portable brain scanner. It is equipped with the latest computer imaging technology but can be transported in a van and taken to high security prisons. The scientist used the device for carrying out two types of analysis in the brains of Dugan: observe the density and function . “Brian’s Brain (Dugan) has very low density in the paralimbic system called” the BBC said the scientist. This system is the “circuit of behavior” in the brain and includes regions known as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Scientists have long known that these areas are associated with emotional processing.Throughout the century, has studied people with brain damage in these areas because it was found that their behavior changes suddenly and become antisocial. “We believe these systems are not developed normally in Brian,” says Dr. Kiehl. Psychopathy appears to be linked to lack of development in these regions, which could be genetically determined. The doctor held scanners Kiehl time real Dugan’s brain to see his reaction to disturbing images, like the face of suffering people. The aim was to test the functioning of your brain. The scans showed very little activity in the paralimbic system for Dugan during the processing of emotions. ” out of these sessions Brian scanning and say ‘wow I had a hard time trying to understand what you wanted me to do,’ “recalls Kiehl. “And he had more errors on the test than other individuals.” emotional capacity According to researcher this proves that psychopaths lack the emotional capacity, in the same way that other people lack the intellectual capacity. And he says he has obtained similar results in a high number of subjects in prisons throughout the United States. Dugan, says the researcher, simply does not have a concept of the damage it has caused. “When he talks about his crimes is as if you are wondering what you ate for breakfast,” says Dr. Kiehl. He adds that in some sense not surprising that someone so different brain and also be seen as antisocial in scanners so different from other brains. “But only now that we have been able to see such drastic differences in these brains, people are starting to pay attention,” adds the scientist. “And this has a powerful impact on the legal system. ” The scientist hopes her work will lead to changes in the sentences of violent psychopaths like Brian Dugan. What I argue is that the understanding of psychopathy may lead us to distitnos types of sentences, in particular to end the death penalty for these individuals. “My hope is that neuroscience will help the legal system to understand that these individuals have a disease that is treatable,” says Kiehl. And these treatments should begin at key moments of life. “Brian began to suffer from their earliest years of life,” says neuroscientist. “committing acts such classics as lighting fires, damage to animals, hurting their brothers and sisters.” Although it was referred to specialist services in childhood they lacked an understanding of their disorder. In fact, children who have symptoms related to psychopathy often respond poorly to the type of technique used with children who misbehave. Because of their lack of emotional capacity, when teachers try to make them feel sorry it’s only the condfunde more and more likely to hurt more people. The intention now is to develop specific diagnoses for these children and establish programs and treatments specifically targeting your condition. In essence, teach these children laboriously have reactions in the other human beings arise automatically.

Uzbekistan Airways Multiplying Its Connections To India

Uzbekistan Airways to increase flight frequency on Delhi-Tashkent route

To connect Mumbai and Chennai to Tashkent by May 2012
By P Krishna Kumar | New Delhi
Uzbekistan Airways, the national carrier of Uzbekistan, has plans to increase its current flight frequency to Delhi from five flights a week to daily operations and add more destinations in India in the coming months. According to official sources, the airline is awaiting approvals from the regulatory authorities and will increase flight frequency on the Delhi – Tashkent route once the approvals are received. “We are hopeful that we will be able to commence daily operations on the Delhi -Tashkent route in a couple of months’ time,” the official said.

Besides adding frequencies on Delhi-Tashkent route, the airline is also looking at launching operations from Mumbai and Chennai as well. When asked about the flight frequencies the airline is looking to introduce in these two destinations, the official said that they will be launching twice-weekly flights from these destinations. “Although we currently do not have any flights from these destinations, we have our offices in all these cities. We get a lot of passengers from South India through our interline local airline partners and so, after discussing with our travel partners, we have decided to expand our operations to these two cities as well,” he said. The airline is hopeful of commencing operations on these two routes by April or May, 2012.

Uzbekistan Airways currently connects Delhi and Amritsar to Tashkent. They have four weekly flights from Amritsar to Tashkent. “While we generally operate a 194-seater Airbus on the Delhi –Tashkent route, we bring in 264-seater Boeing when there is demand. For Amritsar, we fly a brand new Airbus 320, with 150 seats,” the official said.

Russian chess masters are allowing Obama to outplay them in Tajikistan

[Is it so important to Russian leaders that they appear outraged at the Tajik court decision that they alienate the Tajik government?  I can't believe that Russian chess masters are allowing Obama to outplay them in Tajikistan.  He already has Uzbekistan in his pocket, with Turkmenistan maintaining its usual position of "neutrality" (even though it remains anti-Russian), Kyrgyzstan keeps wobbling between the US and Russia, and Kazakhstan is practically allied with the West.  Putin appears to be losing the battle to preserve the Russian foothold in the Stans, without ever firing a shot.  The aircraft/pilot episode is an American/Afghan set-up.  Instead of persecuting the Emomali Rahmon govt., Putin/Medvedev should be downplaying the incident and resort to some real underhanded diplomacy like the Americans do, in order to find-out Rahmon's reasons for turning towards the Americans, especially after renewing the lease for the 201st Motorized Rifle Division.] 

Russia threatens Tajikistan with import sanctions

© RIA Novosti

Lidia Isamova

Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy and his Estonian co-pilot were sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in Tajikistan for smuggling and border violations on November 8. Moscow said the charges were "politically motivated.”

Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy and his Estonian co-pilot were sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in Tajikistan for smuggling and border violations on November 8. Moscow said the charges were “politically motivated.”

MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti)

Russia threatened on Monday to slap sanctions on vegetable imports from Tajikistan, a move that comes shortly after the jailing of a Russian pilot in the Central Asian republic.

Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy and another pilot, an Estonian national, were sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in Tajikistan for smuggling and border violations on November 8. Moscow said the charges were “politically motivated.”

Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring, Rosselkhoznadzor, said it may impose temporary restrictions on vegetable imports from Tajikistan in connection with what it called “violations” of hygiene regulations.

In a much publicized move, Russia has also deported at least 300 Tajik migrant workers following the jailing. President Dmitry Medvedev said then the expulsion of the Tajik migrant workers had nothing to do with the pilot case. He also said that illegal migrants would be deported regularly from now on.

South China Sea matters not a whit to Philippines, U.S.

South China Sea matters not a whit to Philippines, U.S.

English.news.cn

 By Li Hongmei

The Philippines has been playing an active hand in roiling the South China Sea of late. It has not only renamed some water areas as “West Philippine Sea,”: following its President Aquino’s lead, the Philippine weather bureau has adopted the name “West Philippine Sea” to refer to waters of the South China Sea in its official advisories, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also followed suit addressing the waters as “West Philippine Sea.” The Philippines even sent officials to claim sovereignty on a disputed island and called on the ASEAN countries to form a “united front” against China.

The cabinet members of the Philippines have also fiercely lashed out against China, stressing that the U.S.-Philippine military cooperation “delivers a strong warning signal to China.”

 Philippine’s constant provocations are mostly “political stunt”, far form a real bite; but many people here in China advise that the country should take fitting measures to pay the Philippines back, as they believe it is necessary to prevent another country taking a leaf out of the Philippines’ book against China.

As to some of the foul-mouthed Philippine officials, their performance has thus far been taken as an echo posture to Washington’s “Return to Asia” strategy.

But people cannot help but wonder how much the South China Sea issue virtually means to theU.S., and what is the true significance of the Philippines’ high-pitched claims over the sea.

First, it is an unwise move if it insists on playing a meddling hand in the South China Sea disputes. Some analysts take it risky that Washington would stake its prestige on a remote and strategically third-rate ally when it provokes a clash with a neighboring far stronger nation, whom the U.S. has been increasingly counting on to recover its dislocated economy, combat terrorism and shared challenges, and deal with a host of global problems.

A couple of months ago, Prof. Lyle Goldstein painted a doleful picture in the Foreign Policy magazine. He said if U.S. leaders heed his advice, they should shed most commitments in Southeast Asia, which he portrays as a region of trivial importance situated adjacent to an increasingly powerful China. He maintained that “Southeast Asia matters not a whit in the global balance of power.”

When tense maritime stand-offs occur in the heated region, it is wise for the U.S. to avoid getting embroiled in the intricate disputes poisoning regional politics, in lieu of what it is currently doing: sowing discord or acting as an agitator in the flare-up. Otherwise, Washington risks a new diplomatic setback for the so-called unconceivable “gains.”

Meanwhile, with the progress of the China-ASEAN free trade zone, which was established in 2010, as well as policy initiatives carried out in both countries, China and the Philippines are embracing new opportunities for cooperation. In 2010 alone, China-Philippines trade amounted to 27.7 billion dollars, making China the third largest trade partner of the Philippines. Both are settled to work to double their trade volume to hit 60 billion dollars in the coming five years.

Hence, it is equally of no wit to play up the South China Sea issue in the world’s only economically dynamic region and at such a critical juncture.

The Philippines will never be so naive that it would sacrifice its vested interests for an intangible and unreal promise from Washington to counterbalance China.

Karzai skates on thin ice

Karzai skates on thin ice 

By M K Bhadrakumar

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has seriously dented the credibility of one of the noblest institutions of his country’s history and culture. A large number of Afghans today would hope that the institution of the loya jirga (grand tribal assembly) survives Karzai’s presidency.

There are very few Afghan institutions remaining after the systematic vandalization of society and its native traditions through the past three decades of civil war, foreign interference and blood-soaked chaos.

Loya jirgas are called rarely – fewer than 20 have been held in the past 300 years of Afghan history. And they were probably never called to sanctify the bonding of an Afghan ruler with a foreign power. Karzai has violated a sacrosanct tradition. There could be a price to pay.

The 2,300-strong four-day jirga that concluded in Kabul on Saturday was packed with “tribal leaders and other community leaders” whom Karzai nominated. According to the New York Times:

From the beginning, the jirga was called into question by both its timing – it seemed to undercut an active session of parliament – and its composition, in which about 90% of the delegates were handpicked by Mr Karzai or his aides.

Important Afghan figures, including many members of parliament, prominent civic leaders and political opposition, responded by boycotting the meeting. That undermined the traditional weight that jirgas are given in Afghan society.

Karzai’s nominees dutifully handed to him their approval for his decision to ink a strategic partnership with the United States that allows American military bases after most foreign troops leave in 2014. The jirga resolution noted that the strategic partnership would be for 10 years and could be extended if necessary.

Put plainly, Karzai can now claim he has a mandate from the Afghan nation even if parliament were to refuse to ratify the Afghan-US strategic pact.

More questions than answers 
Karzai promptly declared, “I agree with your decisions and the resolution read out today has been a comprehensive decision that will be represented and implemented.”

The funny side is that Karzai did not even share with the jirga the terms of the agreement, since Washington insisted it might not be a good idea to publicize them. Indeed, this political theater was not entirely Karzai’s brainwave.

Washington wanted Karzai to secure a mandate from a loya jirgabefore the pact is inked at the Bonn Conference II on December 5 to which 90 countries have been invited.

The US expectation is that the loya jirga’s “mandate” and the presence of the “international community” at Bonn will give the strategic pact a degree of legitimacy that irate regional powers – Russia, Iran and Pakistan, in particular – may find difficult to question.

Washington is also sensing (rightly so) that Afghan opinion would militate against foreign occupation. Significantly, the recently formed National Front, which includes heavyweights like former vice president Ahmad Zia Massoud (brother of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud), Jumbish leader Abdur Rashid Dostum and Hezb-e-Wahdat chief Muhammad Mohaqiq with a power base among the Tajiks, Uzbek and Hazara communities, called Karzai’s move to convene a loya jirga “unconstitutional” and boycotted it.

The administration of US President Barack Obama burnt its fingers in Iraq where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wouldn’t or couldn’t steamroll public opinion into accepting an extended US presence after formal withdrawal at the end of this year.

Again, regional opposition to the US military bases is much stronger with regard to Afghanistan. Tehran has been a trenchant critic of Karzai’s proposed pact. Pakistan has made no bones that it disfavors US military bases in Afghanistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov questioned American intentions in a lengthy statement in Moscow on Thursday. He seemed to have had the ongoing jirga in mind:

It is not yet clear how the planned 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, determined, we are told, by the completion of the anti-terrorist operation there, correlates with the plans to set up large US military bases in the country.

We put these questions to our American partners, and discussed them with the leadership of Afghanistan. So far there are more questions than answers – especially with the information that US colleagues want to expand their military presence in Central Asian countries.

Since the beginning of the operation against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, we have been constantly told that the foreign presence in Afghanistan and the use of the transit facilities in Central Asia are only required to remove the specific terrorist threat, which manifested itself on September 11, 2001, and thatno long-term geopolitical calculation is hidden behind this. We will assume that the principles referred to in the beginning of the operation must be respected in full. (Emphasis added.)

With the Taliban repeatedly and categorically stating their opposition to Karzai’s pact with Washington and influential sections of Afghan (non-Taliban) opinion and key regional powers questioning the move, what does the Afghan president hope to achieve?

In a nutshell, he hopes to secure American consent to his continuing in power in the period beyond 2014. But Karzai will find the going very tough now that his peace and reconciliation process with the Taliban has run aground.

His equations with the Pakistani leadership continue to deteriorate. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar last week publicly aired annoyance with the Karzai government. The recent Turkish move to mediate apparently met with no success. Karzai had a frosty meeting last week with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of a regional South Asian summit in Male.

Once a lion, ever a lion 
To be sure, the most critical factor on the chessboard is that Pakistan views the Bonn Conference with a singular lack of enthusiasm. Without Pakistan’s whole-hearted support, the Bonn process won’t have much meaning. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle visited Islamabad last week and met army chief General Ashfaq Kiani.

However, an all-consuming political crisis is threatening to unfold in Pakistan – stemming from disclosures that a few months ago the civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari sought Washington’s help to crack down on the military leadership.

These are early days, but two things are becoming apparent. One, the political crisis is bound to strengthen the Pakistani military vis-a-vis a civilian government that is perceived to be selling out to the US.

Two, Washington figures at the epicenter of the ensuing civil-military rift in Pakistan and this is bound to weaken the US’s capacity to influence the leadership in Islamabad in the near term.

The high probability is that the Pakistani leadership will not budge from its position as regards the Afghan settlement. The US can have its security pact with Karzai, but it means nothing if the peace process can’t get underway. The more time passes, the more untenable Karzai’s position would become.

Karzai would know that Washington has a poor opinion of him and that there is no dearth of Afghan politicians who could fill his shoes in 2014 and equally sub-serve American interests.

Washington couldn’t have felt comfortable with Karzai’s “fiery” speech at the loya jirga on Wednesday when he posed as a staunch nationalist who is at loggerheads with the Americans. For establishing his nationalistic credentials, Karzai said words that have since become the butt of jokes in the Kabul bazaar:

Even if old, sick and feeble, a lion is still a lion. Other animals in the jungle are afraid of even a sick lion and stay away from him. We are lions, the United States should treat us as lions, and we want nothing less than that. We therefore are prepared to enter into a strategic agreement between a lion and America.

A lion hates a stranger entering his home; a lion dislikes a stranger trespassing its space, a lion does not want his offspring taken away at night. The lion does not allow parallel structures to operate, the lion is the king of his territory and he governs his own territory. The lion has nothing to do with others in the jungle.

Then he added:

They [US presence] bring us money; train our soldiers and police, and provide security for the home of the lion. The lion does not have leisure time to do all these things. They should protect his surroundings but should not touch the lion’s home. They should protect the four boundaries of the jungle.

Karzai seemed acutely self-conscious that the Afghan people would not take kindly to a ruler who is so obviously the puppet of a foreign power. Shuja Shah was put on the throne by the British in 1839 out of sheer gratitude for concluding Kabul’s first and only “strategic pact” with an imperial power, but could not remain in power when the British left.

The saving grace is, perhaps, that Karzai is intuitive. He chose to make the short trip from his presidential palace to the venue of thejirga by helicopter. On the conclusion of the meeting on Saturday, when he returned home, two additional helicopters were also deployed as decoys.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

Hezbollah Outs A Dozen CIA Informants In Lebanon

CIA forced to curb spying in Lebanon

The agency’s crucial post in Beirut is affected after the arrest of several informants this year, sources say.

HezbollahHezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link Friday in Beirut’s southern suburbs. He announced in June that three members had been arrested as spies. (Bilal Hussein / Associated Press)
By Ken Dilanian
Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington—

The CIA was forced to curtail its spying in Lebanon, where U.S. operatives and their agents collect crucial intelligence on Syria, terrorist groups and other targets, after the arrests of several CIA informants inBeirut this year, according to U.S. officials and other sources.

Beirut station is out of business,” a source said, using the CIA term for its post there. The same source, who declined to be identified while speaking about a classified matter, alleged that up to a dozen CIA informants have been compromised, but U.S. officials disputed that figure.

U.S. officials acknowledged that some CIA operations were suspended in Beirut last summer. It’s unclear whether full operations have resumed. Beirut is considered a key watching post for turmoil in the Middle East.

Senior CIA officials have briefed congressional staffers about the breach, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, visited Beirut recently to interview CIA officers. Committee staff members want to determine whether CIA operatives used sloppy practices that revealed sensitive sources and methods.

Much in the case remains unclear, including the extent of the damage and whether negligence by CIA managers led to the loss of the Lebanese agents.

According to the source, CIA case officers met a series of Lebanese informants at a local Pizza Hut, allowing Hezbollah and Lebanese authorities to identify who was helping the CIA. U.S. officials strongly disputed that agents were compromised at a Pizza Hut.

U.S. officials also denied the source’s allegation that the former CIA station chief dismissed an email warning that some of his Lebanese agents could be identified because they used cellphones to call only their CIA handlers and no one else.

Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, and Lebanon’s internal security service have used software to analyze cellphone calling and location records to help them identify a network of alleged Israeli spies since 2007, according to several people familiar with the case. Dozens of people were arrested.

In 2010, U.S. counterintelligence officials determined that the CIA’s Lebanese agents could be traced the same way, the source said. But the station chief allegedly ignored the warning. “He said, ‘The Lebanese are our friends. They wouldn’t do that to us,’ ” the source said.

The Times is withholding the former station’s chief’s name because he remains undercover. He now has a supervisory role at CIA headquarters in operations targeting Hezbollah. The CIA declined to make him available for comment.

“Espionage has always been a complex business,” said a U.S. official, who declined to be identified in discussing the Lebanon case. “Collecting sensitive information on adversaries — who are aggressively trying to uncover spies in their midst — will always be fraught with risk.”

Hezbollah is “an extremely complicated enemy,” the official added. “It’s a determined terrorist group, a power political player, a mighty military and an accomplished intelligence organization — formidable and ruthless. No one underestimates its capabilities.”

In June, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, announced the arrest of three of its members. He said two were “affiliated with the CIA, and one more might be affiliated with either the CIA, European intelligence or Mossad,” Israel’s foreign intelligence service.

Nasrallah did not disclose their names, explaining that he wanted to protect their families, “whom I know personally.” He said that CIA officers, working under diplomatic cover at the U.S. Embassy, had recruited them in early 2011.

The U.S. Embassy dismissed the charge. “These are the same kind of empty allegations that we have heard repeatedly from Hezbollah,” it said in a statement.

Lebanon’s security service was able to isolate the CIA informants by analyzing cellphone company records that showed the numbers called, duration of each call and location of the phone at the time of the call, the source said.

Using billing and cell tower records for hundreds of thousands of phone numbers, software can isolate cellphones used near an embassy, or used only once, or only on quick calls. The process quickly narrows down a small group of phones that a security service can monitor.

In 2005, an Italian prosecutor used cellphone calling and location records to help identify 26 Americans who he said took part in a 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric on a street in Milan. A judge later convicted 23 Americans, including the CIA’s former Milan base chief, in absentia for their role in the “extraordinary rendition” case.

Washington has given Lebanon’s government more than $1 billion in various forms of aid since 2006 and has proposed an additional $236 million in aid this fiscal year.

The Obama administration has struggled with the relationship since 2008, when Hezbollah fighters seized control of parts of Beirut. That resulted in an Arab-brokered peace deal that gave Hezbollah a major role in Lebanon’s government.

The group’s political arm now has 16 of the 30 seats in the Cabinet of Lebanon’s prime minister, Najib Mikati. Hezbollah is also active in Lebanon’s security and intelligence services.

ken.dilanian@latimes.com

Democracy In Egypt

Democracy In Egypt, posted with vodpod

Casualties mount from protests in Egypt

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN

Cairo (CNN) — The number of people wounded in three days of clashes in Egypt has reached 1,700, a health ministry spokesman said Monday.

In addition, 20 people have died, including at least 10 on Sunday in confrontations between protesters and security forces in Cairo.

Doctors at Cairo’s Tahrir Square said injuries include gunshot wounds, excessive tear gas inhalations and beatings to the head.

“I have received many people suffering of convulsions,” said Tarek Salama, a medic in a makeshift hospital in Tahrir Square. “Lots of gunshot wounds from rubber and bird shots. And I have seen two cases who have been hit with actual live bullets.”

Tahrir Square — once a center of euphoria following the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in February — continues to be a major flashpoint for the unrest.

“People here feel that they have been cheated and that they have moved from an autocracy to a military dictatorship,” protester Mosa’ab Elshamy said. “So they are back to the square — back to square one — to ask for their rights once again.”

Egypt’s parliamentary elections are set to take place November 28. But demonstrators are upset about a proposed constitutional principle that would shield the military’s budget from scrutiny by civilian powers. They worry that the military would be shaped as a state within a state.

Mohamed Higazi, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office, said the government will continue dialogue on reaching a constitution that ensures the election of a civilian government.

The military said it wants to transfer power to a civilian parliament and president, but many citizens are dissatisfied with the pace of the transition and the resolve of the military rulers.

Some on the streets expressed little confidence in the current government, saying there had been little progress since Mubarak’s ouster.

“Nothing has changed,” said Zahra, one protester. “We’ve gone backwards. The military council is garbage. Mubarak is still alive and well, and the people are dying.”

Fighting erupted Saturday when police worked to clear Tahrir of people who remained after massive protests on Friday. Thousands have denounced a plan for a constitution that would protect the military from public oversight.

Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks and torched a police van. Scuffles broke out on side streets and clouds of smoke rose from burned tires.

Clashes between protesters and police also reportedly broke out in the cities of Suez and Alexandria.

Hisham Qasim, a publisher and human rights activist, said that Egypt can’t afford anything — including another revolt — that could further hamper its already struggling economy. The nation’s once thriving tourism industry continues to struggle, while unemployment remains high.

“The poverty belt is now the ticking time bomb in Egypt,” Qasim said. “It threatens that what we went through (earlier this year) could be repeated. … I don’t think we’ll survive a second uprising in the span of 10 years.”

CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Saad Abedine and journalist Ian Lee contributed to this report

 

 

India to open military hospital in Tajikistan

NEW DELHI: When Ahmed Shah Masood, the legendary Northern Alliance leader who fought Taliban in Afghanistan, was mortally wounded in a terrorist attack on September 9, 2001, it was to a hospital run by India in Tajikistan that he was rushed to. An Indian Army doctor declared him dead, just two days before the terrorist strike of 9/11 in the US.

In what many say was a strategic blunder, New Delhi later closed down the hospital at the Farkhor Airbase, losing its strategic presence so close to Afghanistan. The move was all the more baffling given the chaos and confusion in Afghanistan and jockeying by various foreign powers in the post-9/11 world.

The government, sources said, has now decided to go back to Tajikistan and open a military hospital. The original proposal to revive its presence in Tajikistan was taken a year back, but the defence ministry sat on it. With prodding from the security establishment, sources said efforts are now underway to open a field hospital before winter sets in. At a high level meeting a few days ago, the government decided to speed up the plan, a senior source said.

Sources said an Army team has already completed reconnaissance in Tajikistan and has identified a location outside Dushanbe, the capital city. Army has also identified personnel from its medical corps to set up a 20-bed field hospital. “They are ready to leave on a short notice,” the source said.

“The proposal (to open hospital) was first mooted when the Army chief (Gen V K Singh) visited Tajikistan last year. But the entire proposal has been pending with the MoD for a year now,” a senior source in the security establishment told TOI. The hospital would cater to both civilians and Tajik military, he said. The Tajik Army has for long been engaged in fighting a bloody insurgency. “So, our hospital would be of great assistance to the Tajik Army,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the security establishment is also witnessing discussions about further intensifying India’s security engagement with Tajikistan, which shares a 1,400-km border with Afghanistan. A strong section in the security establishment would like to extend the runway at Farkhor airbase and stage air force assets there.

India has never deployed its air force assets outside its territory, except in UN operations and as part of Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka in the late 80s. Maintenance of air assets abroad is a logistically complex issue needing huge number of technicians and regular spare-parts supply. So the suggestion is to base either Russian-made helicopters or Russian fighters there and then invite the Russians to maintain them. However, the air force for now is reluctant to move its assets so far out, sources said.

The decision to open a military field hospital and discussions to base air assets in Tajikistan comes even as the deadline for US withdrawal from Afghanistan draws closer. By this year-end, US would withdraw 10,000 troops and by 2014 they would have completed the withdrawal. The US troop withdrawal could be followed by further chaos in Afghanistan and a desperate scramble by Pakistan to establish strategic depth in the country. In such a tense atmosphere, presence in Tajikistan would give a firmer presence for India in the strategically crucial region, and a better view of Afghanistan, sources said.

The Israeli Solution To Palestine Is In Jordan

No second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan.”

[SEE: The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan]

Jordan king to visit West Bank

Jordan's King Abdullah II

Jordan’s King Abdullah II

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Jordan’s King Abdullah II will visit the West Bank on Monday where he will hold talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, Palestinian officials said on Sunday.

“King Abdullah II will visit Ramallah tomorrow for a meeting with president Abbas and the two leaders will hold a press conference at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah on the latest political developments,” a senior Palestinian official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Jordan’s official Petra news agency confirmed news of the surprise visit.

“King Abdullah II will on Monday visit Ramallah for talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the framework of Jordan’s efforts to support the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people,” the agency said.

The visit, which Petra said would bolster efforts “to achieve peace and the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” comes at a delicate political time for Abbas.

The Palestinian leader has angered Israel and Washington over his attempt to secure full state membership for Palestine at the United Nations, and through his attempts to cement a reconciliation deal between his Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza.

“We consider this visit an important part of King Abdullah’s support for president Abbas on the direction of Palestinian policy as well as for the Palestinian people, particularly under the current circumstances,” the official told AFP.

He said Abdullah would fly to Ramallah by helicopter and arrive at around 11:30am (0930 GMT, 5.30 pm Singapore time). He would then hold talks with Abbas after which the two would hold a joint news conference at 1:00 pm.

The visit will be Abdullah’s second official visit to the West Bank, but the first since Abbas took office in 2005, Palestinian officials said.

A spokesman for Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu said the premier was unaware of the visit.

Details of the trip were announced shortly before Abbas was to fly to Cairo to meet exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on implementing the reconciliation deal the two parties signed in May.

The long-awaited deal called for immediate formation of an interim government of independents to pave the way for presidential and legislative elections within a year.

But implementation of the agreement, mediated by Egypt and signed in Cairo, stalled over the composition of the government and, in particular, who would serve at its head.

Abbas reportedly sought to keep his current prime minister Salam Fayyad, who was strongly opposed by Hamas.

But Fayyad has said publicly in recent days that he would be willing to step down for the sake of a unity government, and reports suggest Abbas and Meshaal will agree on an alternate, politically independent candidate later this week.

Fayyad is well regarded by the international community and particularly by Washington, which has expressed caution about Abbas’s decision to sign the reconciliation deal with Hamas.

On Sunday evening, US deputy secretary of state William Burns held talks with Abbas in Ramallah, and was to meet Netanyahu on Monday.

Israel’s Maariv newspaper had earlier reported that Burns was to deliver a warning that any new government must renounce violence, agree to abide by previous agreements with Israel and recognise Israel’s right to exist.

The US consulate in Jerusalem confirmed the meetings, but had no details on the agenda for the talks.

NED and Its NGOs Equal CIA Subversion

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY OF US

B. RAMAN

4-13-2000

The post-Watergate enquiries into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US exposed details of its covert political activities in other countries in order to promote US foreign policy objectives. Amongst such activities were the secret funding of individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) favourable to US interests and funneling of money to counter the activities of those considered anti-US.

After taking over as the President in January, 1977, Mr.Jimmy Carter banned such activities and imposed strict limits on the CIA’s covert operations in foreign countries. During the election campaign of 1980, Mr.Ronald Reagan used effectively against Mr.Carter the argument that the post-Vietnam and post-Watergate decline of the US under Mr.Carter was due to the emasculation of its military and intelligence apparatus.

After his election in November, 1980, and before his taking-over as the President in January, 1981, Mr.Reagan appointed a transition group headed by the late William Casey, an attorney and one of his campaign managers, who was to later take over as the CIA Director, to recommend measures for strengthening the USA’s intelligence capability abroad.

One of its recommendations was to revive covert political activities. Since there might have been opposition from the Congress and public opinion to this task being re-entrusted to the CIA, it suggested that this be given to an NGO with no ostensible links with the CIA.

The matter was further examined in 1981-82 by the American Political Foundation’s Democracy Programme Study and Research Group and, finally, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was born under a Congressional enactment of 1983 as a “non-profit, non-governmental, bipartisan, grant-making organisation to help strengthen democratic institutions around the world.”

Though it is projected as an NGO, it is actually a quasi-governmental organisation because till 1994 it was run exclusively from funds voted by the Congress (average of about US $ 16 million per annum in the 1980s and now about US $ 30 million) as part of the budget of the US Information Agency (USIA). Since 1994, it has been accepting contributions from the private sector too to supplement the congressional appropriations.

Thirty per cent of the budgetary allocations constitute the discretionary fund of the NED to be distributed directly by it to overseas organisations and the balance is distributed through what are called four “core organisations”—the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI).

In 1994, the NED set up two other organisations called the International Forum for Democratic Studies (IFDS) and the Democracy Resource Centre (DRC), both largely funded by the private sector.

Since its inception, the NED and its affiliates have been mired in controversy in the US itself as well as abroad. Amongst its strongest supporters in the US is the Heritage Foundation of Washington DC, a conservative think tank, which played an active role in influencing the policies of the Reagan and Bush Administrations.

It brought out two papers on the justification for the NED, when questions were raised in the US on the continued need for it after the collapse of the communist regimes of East Europe. In the first paper of July 8,1993, (Executive Memorandum No. 360) it described the NED as “an important weapon in the war of ideas” and said:” The NED has played a vital role in providing aid to democratic movements in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Vietnam and elsewhere….. Communist dictatorships still control China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam. Moreover, ex-communists masquerading as nationalists continue to dominate several of the Soviet successor states. The NED can play an important role in assisting those countries in making the turbulent transition to democracy….. Local political activists often prefer receiving assistance from a non-governmental source, as aid from a US government agency may undermine their credibility in the eyes of their countrymen.”

In the second paper of September 13, 1996, (Executive Memorandum No.461), it said:”The NED advances American national interests by promoting the development of stable democracies friendly to the US in strategically important parts of the world. The US cannot afford to discard such an effective instrument of foreign policy at a time when American interests and values are under sustained ideological attack from a wide variety of anti-democratic forces around the world…The NED has aided Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement in Poland, Harry Wu’s human rights efforts in China and independent media outlets in former Yugoslavia. Russian political activists affiliated with the NED also played a major role in President Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign against the reinvigorated Communist Party earlier this year…. The NED is a cost-effective way to encourage captive nations to liberate themselves without committing the US to a prohibitively risky and costly military crusade to free them from communism.”

Testifying before the Sub-committee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives on March 13,1997, Mr.Carl Gershman, President of the NED, said: ” I just want to say that the Endowment’s work is based upon a very, very simple proposition. And that is, where there are people who share our values, where there are people who might be called the natural friends of America, then it is our obligation to help those people in some way.”

Amongst the critics of the NED are Ms. Barbara Conry, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute of Washington D.C. and Mr. Ralph McGehee, stated to be a former CIA official.

In a paper of November 8,1993(Foreign Policy Briefing No.27), Ms.Conry said: “NED is resented (abroad) as American interference; it is often further resented because it attempts to deceive foreigners into viewing its programmes as private assistance…. On a number of occasions, NED has taken advantage of its alleged private status to influence foreign elections, an activity that is beyond the scope of AID (Agency For International Development) or USIA and would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation….. What finally drew public attention to NED’s meddling in foreign elections was an aborted attempt to provide opposition candidate Violeta Chamorro with $ 3 million in funding for her 1989 election campaign against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The plan was abandoned after it was determined that NED’s charter, which expressly forbids campaign contributions, would be violated. In the end, the money was channeled to programmes that aided Chamorro indirectly rather than through direct campaign contributions.”

In a statement of January 19,1996, Mr.McGehee described the post-1991 activities of the NED as “political action operations targeting China and Cuba.” Another NGO of the US has said: ” NED engages in much of the same kinds of interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, which were the hallmark of the CIA. The NED has financed, advised and supported in many ways selected political parties, election campaigns, unions, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, even guerillas in Afghanistan and, in general, organisations and individuals which mesh well with the gears of the globalised-economy machine…. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, and also founded the Centre for Democracy, one of NED’s funding middlemen, was quite candid when he said in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilisation.”

Initially, the NED’s activities were directed mainly against the communist regimes of East Europe, but, subsequently, it started combating the communist parties in multi-party democracies of West Europe too. In the 1980s, when the late Francois Mitterrand was the French President, an NED report showed an expenditure of US $ 1.5 million “to promote democracy in France.”

There was an uproar in France when the French press discovered that part of this amount had been given by the NED, through the FTUI, to the National Inter-University Union of France, allegedly a right-extremist and xenophobic organisation, in an attempt to use it to defeat communist candidates in the elections to the National Assembly. Embarrassed by the controversy, the Reagan Administration dissociated itself from the NED activities in France.

After the collapse of the communist regimes of East Europe, the NED has been focussing its activities against the communist regimes of Cuba, Vietnam, China and North Korea and the Myanmarese military regime and against the resurgence of the communist parties in East Europe due to the economic difficulties there.

Its activities relating to China are of two kinds: Those, which are legitimate in the Chinese perception such as training of local village officials in the holding of elections, training of local business executives in better management practices, advice on the drafting of economic reform legislation etc and those, which are legitimate in the US perception, but interference in internal affairs in the Chinese view, such as support to political dissidents, human rights activists and Tibetan exiles and projection of Taiwan as a democratic model worthy of emulation.

The first type of activities is carried out by workers of organisations affiliated to the NED, either based in China or visiting the country and the second by off-shore offices of the NED, which were located in Hong Kong before its reversion to China in June, 1997, and which were thereafter reportedly shifted to Australia since the ASEAN countries would not host them. Finding Australia not a convenient place, the NED has reportedly been eyeing India as a possible base for its activities directed against China.

Beijing has reasons to be concerned over what it considers as the illegitimate activities of the NED. Of the 28 NGOs of Asia funded by the NED, 14 focus on China, four of them of Tibetan exiles, five on Myanmar, two on Cambodia, and one each on Vietnam and North Korea and the remaining five on the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

In his testimony of March 13,1997, before the House Sub-committee on International Operations and Human Rights, Mr.Gershman said:” There has been a doubling of resources spent in Asia (primarily China, Burma and Cambodia) and a tripling of resources for the Middle East. There were also dramatic increases in Central Asia and the former Yugoslavia…While the discretionary programmes and those of our affiliated labour institute support the activities of various pro-democracy networks, among them Human Rights in China, the China Strategic Institute, the Laogai Research Foundation, and the Hong Kong based activities of labour activist Han Dongfang, IRI and CIPE have targeted opportunities created by the official reform policy in the areas of local elections and economic modernisation.Additional grants support the democracy movements in Hong Kong and Tibet and,through the International Forum, we have highlighted the role of Taiwan as an Asian model of successful democratisation.”

The trans-border activities of the NED against the Myanmarese military regime seem to be directed mainly from Thailand and India. This is evident from a testimony given by Ms.Louisa Coan, NED’s Programme Officer for Asia, before the House Sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific on September 17,1997.

She said: “NED has been able through its direct grants programme to support the dissidents, to support the democracy movement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, particularly through assistance to the groups along the borders in Thailand and in India, including twice daily radio programming through the Democratic Voice of Burma (author’s comment: based in Scandinavia), newsletters, underground newspaper, underground labour organising, particular programmes to foster inter-ethnic co-operation and unity among the opposition forces in support of Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for tripartite dialogue and national reconciliation.”

It is not known whether New Delhi was aware of the India-based activities of the NED against the Yangon regime.

Before the recent visit of the US President, Mr.Bill Clinton, to India, the NED headquarters in Washington issued the following press release: “Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced on Tuesday March 14 that the US and India will launch a joint non-governmental initiative called the Asian Centre for Democratic Governance during President Clinton’s upcoming trip to South Asia.

“Jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the NED, the Centre will be based at CII’s offices in New Delhi, The Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, an affiliate of the Indian Parliament, will partner with the CII in implementing the activities of the Centre.”

The press release said the expenditure on the initiative would be shared by the CII and the NED.

It is an interesting case of an important member of the Clinton Cabinet, announcing on behalf of a self-proclaimed NGO of the US funded by the Congress, a non-governmental initiative in collaboration with a non-governmental Indian business organisation with which an office of the Indian Parliament would also be associated.

This launching was duly done at New Delhi.

There are three likely implications of this unusual venture:

*  Possibility of misunderstanding with China which might interpret it as directed against it and its presence in Tibet.

*  Impropriety in co-operating with an American organisation working against the present Government at Yangon, which has normal diplomatic relations with New Delhi and has been co-operating in counter-insurgency measures in the North-East.

*  The presence in Indian territory, with official blessing, of an organisation, which aims to wipe out communism as a political and ideological movement all over the world and which might utilise its presence to undermine the Indian communist movement. NED has never criticised the Indian Communist parties, but a reading of the past statements of those in the US supporting the NED would indicate that they hold communism and democracy as incompatible.

The US has also announced the association of India as co-sponsor with a forthcoming conference of “communities of democracies ” in Poland being funded by the Stefan Batory Foundation of Poland, set up by George Soros in 1998, to counter the resurgence of communism in East Europe, and the Freedom House of the US.

The Freedom House was founded in the 1940s “to strengthen free institutions at home and abroad”. It played an active role in carrying on a psychological warfare (psywar) against the troops of the USSR and the late President Najibullah in Afghanistan during the 1980s through the Afghanistan Information Centre set up by it, allegedly with CIA funds. The offices of this centre at Peshawar in Pakistan trained the Afghan Mujahideen groups and Pakistani organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (formerly known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, presently active in Kashmir, in techniques of media management and psywar.

Since 1983, part of the funds voted by the Congress to the NED are funneled to the Freedom House, which also gets contributions from the private sector. The Freedom House focuses its activities on media and communications and, according to a 1990 study by the Interhemispherique Resource Centre of the US, more than 400 journalists in 55 countries were collaborating with the Freedom House in its activities against communist parties and regimes.

Before going ahead with these projects, there is an urgent need for an examination of the implications of our collaboration with such organisations from the point of view of our national security and political stability.

B.RAMAN                                                          13.4.2000

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute for TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: corde@vsnl.com).