Indian State Sponsored Terrorism

India: A State Sponsoring Terrorism

Catherine Scott-Clark declare India- A State Sponsoring Terrorism.

by Raja Mujtaba

The journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark an award-winning investigative journalist in their book comprising 500 pages put on sale from 1st May 2012 “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”  claim the Westerners were murdered by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army. The book was released on March 29 in England .

The  adventurers and nature lovers across the globe, envy to see Kashmir a paradise on earth. But for one group of travellers in 1995, a trip to the Meadow became a nightmare that none of them could possibly have imagined. These men - two Americans, two Britons, a German and a Norwegian - journeyed to Kashmir in search of nature and humanity – but became entangled in a hostage drama that lasted for six months before they vanished from the face of the earth leaving their loved ones and family in agony for rest of their life. The conclusions in the book are drawn through investigations based on the interviews with police officials then investigating the case and the wives and girlfriends of the missing men. It  reveals how the Kashmir hostage crisis was an opening shot in the war on terror; what these terrorists did to a group of western adventurers and set them on a cold-hearted path to terrorise the West.

A review of the book “In the Meadow, A chilling alternate view of the 1995 Kashmiri kidnappings” published in NY Times discussed the kidnappings of six foreign tourists in a meadow in Kashmir by a group calling itself Al Faran. The Indian government, Indian Intelligence agencies and Indian Military prolonged their capture and sabotaged negotiations with the kidnappers which resulted in the killing of the hostages. This was later discovered that it was an Indian conspiracy to put the blame on Pakistan and its intelligence agencies afterwards for the killing and kidnapping of the tourists. However, upon investigation it was learned that the men were killed by another group, funded and controlled by the Indian government(See salients from the book below). However, India has always tried to deceive its own people, region/neighbors and the world as a whole .The  TRUTH can only be blurred but never hidden. Few examples from recent history are as under:-

Own people:

  • On night between February 17-18, 2007 at least 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed in a series of explosions and a resultant fire on Pakistan-bound train in the northern Indian state of Haryana, near Panipat, about 80km north of Delhi. Initial investigations blamed the Pakistan-based LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayaba) and JeM (Jaish-e-Muhammad), so much so a Pakistan national, Azmat Ali, was also arrested in this connection…Later it was found by the police that right-wing Hindu activists and an Indian army officer Colonel Prohit had a significant role in not only the Samjhauta Express bombing but also in the Malegaon and other similar terrorist incidents. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand have now further confirmed the Hindutvaradicals’ role in terrorism.
  • In the Makkah Masjid blast on May 18, 2007, 14 people were killed and as a reaction around 80 Muslims were initially rounded up by the police. The bombs are believed to have contained a deadly mix of RDX and TNT, in proportions often used by the Indian army.” CBI director Ashwani Kumar told the media that an activist named Sunil Joshi“played a key role in orchestrating the Ajmer blast and a set of mobile SIM cards that had been used in activation of the bomb-triggers in the Makka Masjid blast was used again in the Ajmer blast. ..India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA) filed a case in a court accusing 11 Hindus and members of the ultra-right-wing Sanathan Sanstha, of masterminding and executing the October 2009 Margao blast.
  • In Ajmer Sharif  Blast on October 11, 2007 ,3 people died. In 2010, Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta, Chandrashekhar and Vishnu Prasad. Initial arrests of Abdul Hafiz Shamim, Khushibur Rahman, Imran Ali linked  to  HuJI, LeT could not be proved.  Again in Malegaon 2nd Blasts in September  2008 in which 7 died   Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Swami Amritanand Dev were found involved.

This shows a glimpse of investigation handling in India however more can be understood by a statement of Mumbai advocate Mihir who said: “It is believed that CBI is seeking directions from the home ministry to see the Ajmer, Makkah Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction, after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups”.

Source: This is how India shine, read here

Region/Neighbours:

  • India has always had hegemonic approach towards its neighbours and its goodwill gestures have mostly concluded with economic or militarily strangulating projects for the neighbours. May it be the construction of a barrage at Farakka, near the border with Bangladesh or Wullhar Barrage over River Jhelum to dry up the water resources for its neighbours.
  • Pakistan is locked in other territorial disputes with India such as the Siachen Glacier, Sir Creek and construction of dams including Baglihar Dam built over the River Chenab in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly China, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka all have host of problems leading to mistrust in neighbours relationship.
  • India has redrafted its military doctrine on building border infrastructure as a force multiplier in a real war situation. Indian Army Chief’s statement of taking on both Pakistan and China simultaneously through its cold start doctrine is an announced policy.

Source: Who is attacking Balochistan?Read here

The world as a whole:

  • One of the Worlds biggest Glacier reservoir are depleting fast.  Blaming only global warming for rapid defrosting is a false impression being created deliberately by India with a view to covering up the serious and catastrophic environmental crime its army is committing. It leaves not even an iota of doubt that the rapid shrinkage of the Siachen Glacier is due to chemical and explosive storage and cutting of glacial ice by the Indian army and not by global warming.
  • Indian troops are involved in dumping of chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, and daily leakages of 2,000 gallons of kerosene oil. This oil passes through 250 kilometre of a plastic pipeline, laid by the Indian army across the glacier.
  • The global environment and human rights experts and activists may realise one day that they have stains of this blood on their ignorance and not putting enough pressure on Pakistan and India to demilitarise the glacier.
  • The glimpse of misguided investigation handling by India quoted above is worth noting. Wendy Sherman  US Under Secretary of state announced in New Delhi on April 02,2012  that the US had put a bounty of US $10 million on Hafiz Muhammad Saeed a leader of Pakistan based social welfare organization Jama’at-ud-Da’wah(JuD) to please India.. Despite India’s investigation record and fact that Pakistani courts has acquitted Hafiz Saeed on many occasions and in many cases due to lack of evidences against him. On October 12, 2009, the Lahore High Court quashed all cases against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and set him free. The court also notified that Jama’at-ud-Da’wah is not a banned organization and can work freely in Pakistan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, one of two judges hearing the case, observed “In the name of terrorism we cannot brutalise the law. But somehow india has succeeded in hiding reality.

See detailed study  here

Conclusion:

It is very much evident from the facts revealed in the book and above mentioned facts that in order to get psychological benefits, India has always remained indulged in dirty games. Either this benefited India or not but it gave a massive blow to humanity. India contributes in making future of this world bleak. Therefore it is the responsibility of analysts, social workers and environmentalists to take notice of these psychological wars that India has waged against not just its neighbors but against the whole world .

Review of Book “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”

A Srinagar based human rights group has requested the region’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and subsequent killing of four western tourists by a militant group in 1995 in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark in their book put on sale from 1st May 2012 “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”  claim that the four Westerners were murdered by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army. They came to the conclusion after their investigations based on the interviews with police officials then investigating the case. The book was released on March 29 in England.

The book contains blow-by-blow descriptions of the negotiations for the hostages’ release between an inspector and the kidnappers, which seemed to be nearly completed several times, only to be blown apart when the agreed terms of the negotiations were leaked to newspapers, including the Hindustan Times, infuriating the kidnappers. At times when the Indian government claimed the kidnappers and their hostages were untraceable, the book said, they were being watched and photographed by an Indian Army helicopter.

Rather than working for the hostages’ release, the Indian government, Indian intelligence agencies and Indian military prolonged their capture and sabotaged negotiations with the kidnappers, a new non-fiction book called “The Meadow” alleges. Indian officials’ actions were part of a larger plan to present Pakistan, and the Pakistan-backed insurgency in Kashmir, in as harsh a light as possible to the world at large, the book says. Ultimately, the men were killed by a second group, funded and controlled by the Indian government, the book alleges.

“All the time New Delhi said it was trying to crack Al Faran, a group within intelligence and the STF (Special Task Force, an Indian Police division) was letting them dangle, happy to let the militants portray themselves as savage criminals,” one police detective who worked on the case tells the authors.

Quoting the Kashmir police’s crime branch squad, the two authors write that the investigators had been convinced that the Government-controlled renegades had the control of four Westerners after Al Faran dropped them.

“The squad reported some of its thoughts to its seniors, using these kinds of words, ‘Sikander’s men handed over Paul, Dirk, Keith and Don to Alpha’s renegades in the third of fourth week of November, around the time when the final sightings dried up. Sikander has given up. Al Faran is finished. Embarrassingly, India controls the renegades.’”

Adrian Levy told in a interview to NYT that “We also determined the exact route taken by the kidnappers, and followed that route, through Anantnag, and over in Kishtwar and the Warwan Valley, interviewing hundreds of villagers over the years, staying in Sukhnoi where we learned from villagers, and then the IB and the J&K police, the hostages had been deliberately penned in for 11 weeks approximately, while they were observed in detail and near daily, by an Indian helicopter.”

Inspector General Rajinder Tikoo (who led the negotiations with the kidnappers) confirmed it to Adrian that the sabotaging of the talks and that intelligence did not want there to be a resolution. He resigned as a result from the inquiry. He then had no part to play and does not express a view of the ending.

A member of the Crime Branch team who worked on the case describes the “dawning realization that their desire to solve the crime was at odds with the goals of some senior figures in the military and the intelligence services, who could have saved the hostages but chose not to.” Authors claim that “The kidnapping was a boon that enabled the Indian intelligence fraternity to clearly demonstrate Pakistan backed terror and demonize Kashmiri aspirations.”

“Right from the beginning the strings were being pulled from New Delhi,” said Altaf Ahmed, a police security official who worked with the security adviser to the government of Kashmir.“Those of us dealing with the hostage-taking on the ground in Srinigar were not in control.”

On Christmas Eve, 1995, the four remaining hostages were walked into heavy, deep snow behind the lower village of Mati Gawran, shot and buried, an eyewitness to the killings said, the book reports.

“There was only one end for them, and we all knew it,” he said. “No one could risk the hostages being released and complaining of collusion, having seen uniforms and STF jeeps,” he said. (STF is the Special Task Force of police in Kashmir).

The book’s claims echo some of the darkest fears brewing in the international intelligence community after the hostages, or their bodies, failed to surface month after month.

Almost a year after they were taken, the fate of the hostages was still uncertain, despite diplomatic appeals and secret military operations from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, The New York Times reported.

Source: Opinion Maker

Ukraine Nuclear Plant Halts Russian-Built Reactor As Power Fails

[Is India paying attention to this, as Kudankulam protests build in intensity?  Nuclear power is actually only primitive steam-generated power, utilizing a hotter and ever more dangerous power source.]

Ukraine nuclear plant halts reactor as power fails

Phys.Org

Ukrainian veterans of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster cleanup carry a mock coffin in a demonstration last November. A reactor at a nuclear power station in Ukraine has been disconnected from the grid following an electrical failure but radiation levels were not elevated, authorities said on Tuesday.

A reactor at a nuclear power station in Ukraine has been disconnected from the grid following an electrical failure but radiation levels were not elevated, authorities said on Tuesday.

The second  of the Yuzhno-Ukrainskaya  in the south of Ukraine was put on minimal capacity following the failure of its main transformer and the subsequent breakage of the high voltage power line late Monday, the emergencies ministry said.

“Reactor No 2 has been switched to the minimum capacity and unplugged from Ukraine’s ,” the emergencies ministry said in a statement on its website.

“Radiation and fire safety levels are normal,” it said, adding that the nuclear power station’s employees were taking steps to bring the situation under control.

Repair work at the station was continuing Tuesday afternoon.

“Specialists are looking at what exactly happened. Equipment is being changed,” plant spokeswoman Vlada Tishkova told AFP by phone.

According to the current plan, the reactor will go back online Thursday.

“Everything is okay. The level of radiation is what we always have,” Tishkova said.

The nuclear plant operator said in a separate statement that scheduled repair work was also under way at the third reactor. Its first reactor was functioning in a normal mode.

Ukraine is home to the now defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant whose fourth reactor exploded in April 1986 with fallout hitting the three Soviet republics along with a large part of Europe.

The Chernobyl nuclear plant is located about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Kiev and close to the borders with Russia and Belarus. The explosion remains the world’s worst .

(c) 2012 AFP

Looted Libyan weapons found in Nigeria

Looted Libyan weapons found in Nigeria

From: Nigeria | Thisdayonline
Looted Libyan weapons found in Nigeria
Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada, yesterday confirmed speculations that weapons stolen from Libyan armoury have found their way to Nigeria.

In the dying days of the regime of Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the armoury was looted and some sophisticated weapons were reportedly stolen.

There had been unconfirmed reports that some of the looted weapons, which included surface-to-air launchers, had found their way into Nigeria and might be part of the Boko Haram armoury.

Obada, speaking in Abuja when a delegation of the National Defence University of Pakistan visited the Ministry of Defence, confirmed the report but expressed confidence that Nigeria is at peace with all countries of the world and, therefore, free from any form of external security threats, especially from its immediate neighbours.

“Today in Nigeria, we are at peace with our neighbours and do not face any external threats. I cannot recall right now any external threats because we are at peace with everybody. However, we are aware that since the end of the Libyan war, some weapons made their way down south and in Nigeria. Nevertheless, today in Nigeria, we do face serious internal threats, but we do hope that the threats will be reduced to the barest minimum,” she said.

She however acknowledged that the country was being challenged by serious internal security threats, such as the current terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.

“We also use this opportunity to advise those who are involved in this dastardly act to sheathe their sword and let peace reign in Nigeria,” she said.

The minister also noted that in addition to the Boko Haram challenge, the country had other internal issues of arms smuggling, piracy and oil theft, which she described as non-military issues that constitute security threat.
Obada commended the long standing Nigeria-Pakistani military relations, which dates back to 1960s, as mutually beneficial for both countries.

She, however, urged the Pakistani authorities to review what she described as exorbitant fees their various security institutions charge Nigerian military officers.

Earlier, the leader of the Pakistani delegation, Brig-Gen. Syed Haider Ali-Nagri, said the group, which comprises 19 senior military officers and two civilians, was in the country in furtherance of cementing existing relations with Nigeria.

Ali-Nagri said the National Defence University of Pakistan deals with policy and strategic level training of their officers on the security issues of the country through the military platform.

The group, which also includes six senior military officers from Sri Lanka, sought to know the current security challenges in Nigeria and whether there were external links or dimension.

The Hypocrisy of Double Standards In Democracy, Human Rights and Terrorism

The concept of Democracy, Human Rights, Terrorism and Double Standards

Mathaba

Photo: a Syrian rebel, claiming to fight for democracy with surface-to-air-missile.

By Honourable Dr Saka

In recent times, the West has made so much noise about their so-called democracy and human right credentials and the need for others to emulate. They have on many occasions criticized Iran, Syria, Libya, Zimbabwe, North Korea, even Russia, China and Venezuela of ‘human right violations’ and their lack of ‘democracy’.

At the same time, the West find themselves in bed with many brutal dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Uganda, and many others whose human right records are highly questionable. This is hypocrisy and double standards.

The Fraud of Constitutional Rule

In the 21st century, the principles of constitutional rule and democracy, however nice they appear on paper; is nothing but a sham; far from reality. You want answers? Look no further. Under a democratic/constitutional rule, which law is supposed to be the supreme law of the land? The constitution. We’re told that the constitution is the “supreme law” of the land and that ”any other law” found to be “inconsistent with this constitution” shall to the extent of its inconsistency be “null and void”.

These are clear and explicit terms with specific emphasis on ‘any law’ that contradicts the constitution. Of course the constitution recognizes other laws passed by parliament/congress. But the key issue is ‘inconsistency’- laws that clearly violate ANY provision in the constitution.

In the US, the constitution recognizes the powers of the judiciary, guarantees fundamental human right, the right to fair trial, the right to a lawyer/attorney, etc. Suddenly, NDAA has been passed, and this law subsequently nullifies constitutional provisions; a direct violation of Article II of the Constitution. In effect, a provision in the NDAA, has trashed the constitutional provisions mentioned (above). Is the NDAA subservient to the constitution or vice versa? Which of these two provisions; those in the constitution or the NDAA are valid? Yet the NDAA is shamelessly been enforced by the US government!

Therefore this principle of “constitutional rule/democracy”; isn’t it a sham? Where is the respect for the constitution which the president and the congress swore to uphold and defend? Should there be the need for such provisions in the NDAA, then why wasn’t the constitution first amended to accommodate it? Yet, Washington has been lecturing every country, especially Africa and the Middle East on human right and democratic path.

Despite promising otherwise, Barack Obama committed U.S. military resources to overthrow Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi without any kind of congressional authorization whatsoever and without citing any evidence that Libya under Gaddafi was a threat to the security of the United States. Furthermore, Obama shamelessly undermined the power of Congress by insisting his authority came from the UN Security Council and that Congressional approval was not necessary. “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question,” Obama churlishly remarked writes Paul Joseph Watson.

The Selective Justice System

As of today, the brutal murder of “Muammar Gaddafi” by NATO (NATO warplanes attacked the convoy at 8:30 a.m before the alleged Gaddafi was captured by the rebels), some of his children, the plot to murder Assad and his family by the rebels and many human right atrocities against the Palestinians have not even received the attention of Washington’s numerous human right NGOs, the so-called international community and the “International Court of Criminals”.

How about the massacre of the Iraqis and the Afghanis, the bombing of civilian pharmaceutical plant in Sudan on August 20, 1998 by the Clinton’s administration, the women and the children of Pakistan, andSomalia, brutally murdered by drone attacks?

These and many horrific crimes are being carried out on a mass scale, yet the sufferings of these victims and their demand for justice have always escaped the headlines of the corporate media. Because of these, the corporate media and the so-called human right institutions have become nothing but exist merely as imperialists’ tools to serve the selfish and barbaric agenda of the New World Order.

Since its inception, the ICC has targeted many African Leaders who firmly stood against the dictates of the West, and a few African warlords as its main victims while deliberately paying a blind eye to crimes committed by other leader in America, Europe and some dictators in the Middle East.

According to the ICC, Saif Gaddafi is wanted for “Crimes Against Humanity”. But, what is a crime against humanity? The recent “war crime exhibition” held in Malaysia revealed very horrible and graphic images of serious war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan which led over 1.2million innocent people dead in Afghanistan and over 800,000 people slaughtered in Iraq by NATO. Yet, ten years on, the ICC has not found anybody in NATO to be guilty of “crimes against humanity” in Iraq nor Afghanistan.

In the Libyan war, the Gaddafis are already accused by the ICC. What about the massacre by the rebels and their NTC leaders? How about the ethnic cleansing of black people in Libya by the NTC? How about Hilary Clinton who openly called on the rebels to assassinate Gaddafi? As if that was not shocking enough, Hilary Clinton rejoiced live on TV (CBS)with “we came, we saw, he died hahaha”. So tell me, what do you think would have happened if it was an African diplomat, or a diplomat from the third world that exhibited the exact attitude as Hillary Clinton did?

Of course, one would expect to hear a series of press conferences followed by sanctions from those who have declared themselves the world leaders, as they would lambaste and condemn such actions, if it had been exhibited from elsewhere. The ICC and those human right institutions should spare us these double standards on what they often refer to as human right violations and crimes against humanity.

Today, any leader who stands up to the west is demonized and tagged a terrorist. Take a look at Nelson Mandela, the man most Africans look up to as the hero of our time. Did you know that for many years, the US considered Mandela as a terrorist and banned him from travelling there even when he became the president of South Africa? Did you know that it was until 2008, that Mandela’s name was finally removed from the US terrorist watch list?

But of course, when Michele Obama visited South Africa in 2011, she called Mandela “a man of inspiration for many” in Africa and across the world. Mind you, she spoke in her capacity as the first lady of the United States and of course she was on official government trip. So what changed all of a sudden about Mandela’s personality within these 3 years that Obama came to power? Was she implying that Mandela became a “symbol of inspiration and a hero” within the last two years?

The man who was for many years considered a terrorist is now a hero and an inspiration all of a sudden? With all these contradictions, one sometimes wonders what exactly the West often refers to as “terrorist”. Indeed for a man like Mandela to be declared a terrorist by the West, when the same leaders were seen cheering on the rebels in Libya and those terrorist groups in Syria is quite hypocritical.

Today, even Wikileaks is seen to be “a terrorist organisation” by the very people that hold the freedom of the press in high esteem. So again, what exactly is the true definition of a terrorist?

Responsibility To Protect and the Al-Qaeda Fraud

With the United States and its allies in the police world, the right of interference obviously always belong to the strong against the weak, and never the reverse. Does Iran have the right to intervene to save the Palestinians? Does Venezuela have the right to intervene to end the bloody coup in Honduras? Russia has the right to intervene to protect the Bahrainis?

Yesterday they killed thousands of Libyan civilians “to protect them,” and tomorrow they will kill civilians in Syrian or Iran or Venezuelan or Eritrea “to protect them” while the Palestinians and all other victims of ‘Strong’ continue to suffer dictatorship and massacre – (michelcollon.info).  Today, the rebels in Syria can defend themselves but the Palestinians cannot.

In Libya there were 26,000 NATO air strikes yet “no civilian casualties”! Yet even though Gaddafi never dropped a single bomb on the rebels, the human right groups were able to count thousands of casualties to which the UN blamed on Gaddafi. So what exactly do we often mean by “humanity”? It tells you that some people mean nothing, especially those of us from the third world.

This is why l feel very ashamed of the African leaders who sold out Gaddafi in their individual closets. Anytime an African country had been colonized, it was always done with the collaboration of some black men (African stooges), who call themselves African leaders. As for the UN itself, I need not remind anybody of how corrupted it has become. An institution which was founded with the sole responsibility to promote global peace and security has now turned out to be a war-making institution.

To quote Charles Abugre, (via allafrica.com) “My greatest disappointment and shame, was to see the United Nations Secretariat always beating the war drums and cheering on the battle rather than sing the songs of peace”.

The fact is whenever the West bombs a defenceless country, they call it intervention. When they arm terrorists groups to topple ‘dictators’ they call these rebel groups “revolutionaries”. Meanwhile when peaceful protestors (the Occupy Movement) take to the street to make some demands, they’re domestic terrorists and radicals. I am yet to imagine anywhere in Europe where a government will stand aside and watch some armed groups take to the streets and terrorize civilians as they’re currently doing in Syria and see if the corporate mainstream media would call them “revolutionaries” as they call those in Libya and Syria.

Let us just imagine some rebel fighters operating near the US-Mexican border, calling on the UN to establish a “buffer zone” for them to take refuge as they’re doing in Syria. Since September 2001, the whole world has been made to believe that Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization. In fact, the US and NATO invaded Iraq to get rid of Al-Qaeda. But today, even though Bin Laden “is dead” Al-Qaeda is still hanging around in the Middle East and now North-Africa toppling dictators with NATO’s support. Perhaps the shocking part is that Al-Qaeda now appears to be a NATO ally. For the first time in history, we have seen the West fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda in Libya and in Syria. But isn’t Al-Qaeda supposed to be a terrorist organisation that poses a threat to global peace and security?

The War on Terror and The Case of Syria

Over the past one year, terrorists groups have been destabilizing the peace and stability in Syria, killing both civilians and security forces, anddumping their bodies in the gutters.  It is sad that these terrorists have been recognized by the West as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

But isn’t this strange? The world was told that the rebel fighters which include Al-Qaeda elements and other terrorists groups who are responsible for terrorists’ activities in Syria have a right to “defend themselves”. In this regard, we saw a few NATO states, QatarSaudi ArabiaUS and France calling for arms to be delivered to the rebels  for them to defend themselves when in fact the rebels are the very terrorist groups that are killing many NATO soldiers in the Middle East and now turning Syria into chaos.

Even Britain pledged to give the Syrian rebels more funds for training. Meanwhile when these Al-Qaeda terrorists  strike in any of the NATO countries, a war on terror is declared. So on what basis will one justify that terrorists groups, which include Al-Qaeda rebels, which have killed thousands, blown up gas pipelines and continue to do so on a daily basis, have a right to defend themselves against a government?

To the extent that under the watch of the UNSC and the international community, many NATO member states have held summits, calling on one another to contribute weapons to help Al-Qaeda fighters to defend themselves against a regime. As a result, many sophisticated weapons; including anti-aircraft missiles have been delivered to Al-Qaeda rebels to defend themselves in Syria.

Al-Qaeda which is supposed to be a threat to the world, now has a right to defend itself against a regime?  Is it because the regime in question is not an ‘ally’? So if tomorrow, Al-Qaeda were to declare a war on any of the NATO member states like Turkey, Israel, Britain, etc just as we saw the recent shooting incidence in France; would the UN allow those terrorists access to such weapons in order for them to “defend themselves” against the French government? This is hypocrisy!  But some of us are not surprised.

Because Hilary Clinton recently admitted that it was the US that created the Taliban. Besides, according to Mathaba analyst Stephen Lendman, “Al-Qaeda itself was a CIA creation and America uses Al-CIAda strategically as both enemy and ally as and when necessary”. And there is no better example as Libya and now Syria.

It is a positive sign that gradually, the people are realizing the truth. Also thanks to NATO especially France and Qatar for their kind gesture. Today all those sophisticated weapons they poured on Libya have finally arrived in Nigeria for the next Al-Qaeda operation in the West African sub-region, which will as usual be blamed on Boko Haram.

Democracy, Is It Discriminatory?

Today, democracy is good for Syria and Libya, but it is not good for Saudi Arabia, Qatar nor Bahrain. The Western press and their democratic NGOs have repeatedly advocated for democratic reforms in Syria but completely remain silent on Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They show us dictators in Zimbabwe but they have been blind on Uganda.

The rebels in Syria who claim to be fighting for democracy have a right to “defend themselves” but those in Uganda who are equally fighting for democracy do not have any right to self-defense. It is always one set of rules for “our allies”, another set of rules for the others. Just take a look at the one-horse race (elections) that was recently held in Yemen- an election which was not even contested. The whole thing made a complete mockery of democracy. Yet the West hailed this ‘elections’ as acceptable and applauded the country for their new ‘democratic government’.

But can anybody imagine what the West and the mainstream press would have said, if such an election were to be held in Syria by Assad? Just imagine Assad or his chosen candidate holding elections in a one-man contest. The whole elections would have been declared illegitimate. The sanctions that would have followed such elections would have been enormous. But because Yemen was a case of one of “our allies”, everything is okay.

But that shouldn’t be a problem, for as long as international law and sovereignty is respected. Therefore for those in the international community who accept that international laws are made to be broken and accept that the law of the jungle should be applied, where the strongest bullies the rest by force, there is one thing you need to understand: your days are numbered because NO empire will survive for eternity.

It happened to the Romans, the Germans, the Japanese and others. Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator) has assured humanity that: so long as men die, liberty will never perish.  In the near future, the people will be free. And all these double standards will end. “The near future will also show that with courage and determination, wrongs can be righted and the criminal elements in the international justice system, whoever they are, will be brought to justice.” (Mathaba author Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey).

– Honourable Dr Saka is a contributor to the Mathaba News Network via the Mathaba Publication Bridge.
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More “Trophy” Photos Emerge of Great White Hunters Posing with Taliban Remains

U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers

An American soldier says he released the photos to the Los Angeles Times to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline. The Army has started a criminal investigation.

 A soldier from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division with the body of an Afghan insurgent killed while trying to plant a roadside bomb. The photo is one of 18 provided to The Times of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses.

The soldier who provided The Times with a series of 18 photos of soldiers posing with corpses did so on condition of anonymity. He served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne’s 4th Brigade Combat Team from Ft. Bragg

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles TimesThe paratroopers had their assignment: Check out reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber. Try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification.

The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan’s Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held — and others squatted beside — the corpse’s severed legs.

A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three insurgents who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs.

Two soldiers posed holding a dead man’s hand with the middle finger raised. A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man’s hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading “Zombie Hunter” next to other remains and took a picture.

The Army launched a criminal investigation after the Los Angeles Times showed officials copies of the photos, which recently were given to the paper by a soldier from the division.

“It is a violation of Army standards to pose with corpses for photographs outside of officially sanctioned purposes,” saidGeorge Wright, an Army spokesman. “Such actions fall short of what we expect of our uniformed service members in deployed areas.”

Wright said that after the investigation, the Army would “take appropriate action” against those involved. Most of the soldiers in the photos have been identified, said Lt. Col. Margaret Kageleiry, an Army spokeswoman.

The photos have emerged at a particularly sensitive moment for U.S.-Afghan relations. In January, a video appeared on the Internet showing four U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. In February, the inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. base triggered riots that left 30 dead and led to the deaths of six Americans. In March, a U.S. Army sergeant went on a nighttime shooting rampage in two Afghan villages, killing 17.

The soldier who provided The Times with a series of 18 photos of soldiers posing with corpses did so on condition of anonymity. He served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne’s 4th Brigade Combat Team from Ft. Bragg, N.C. He said the photos point to a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops.

He expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated. The brigade, under new command but with some of the same paratroopers who served in 2010, began another tour in Afghanistan in February.

U.S. military officials asked The Times not to publish any of the pictures.

Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the conduct depicted “most certainly does not represent the character and the professionalism of the great majority of our troops in Afghanistan…. Nevertheless, this imagery — more than two years old — now has the potential to indict them all in the minds of local Afghans, inciting violence and perhaps causing needless casualties.”

Kirby added, “We have taken the necessary precautions to protect our troops in the event of any backlash.”

Times Editor Davan Maharaj said, “After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops.”

The photos were taken during a yearlong deployment of the 3,500-member brigade, which lost 35 men during that time, according to icasualties.org, a website that tracks casualties. At least 23 were killed by homemade bombs or suicide bombers.

Suicide attacks on two bases of the brigade’s 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment killed six U.S. soldiers and four Afghan interpreters. The platoon whose soldiers posed for the photos was part of the battalion.

The soldier who provided the photos, and two other former members of the battalion, said in separate interviews that they and others had complained of inadequate security at the two bases.

An Army investigation into a July 2010 suicide attack in Kandahar that killed four U.S. soldiers found that senior members of the battalion had complained about security. But it concluded that force protection measures were “reasonable and prudent” in the face of limited resources.

Virtually all of the men depicted in the photos had friends who were killed or wounded by homemade bombs or suicide attacks, according to the soldier who provided the images. One paratrooper on the mission wore a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen comrade.

On the first mission, to the police station in the provincial capital of Qalat, Afghan police told the platoon that the severed legs belonged to a suicide bomber whose explosives detonated as he tried to attack a police unit, according to the soldier who provided the photos.

On the second mission, to the morgue in Qalat in late April or early May 2010, Afghan police told the platoon that explosives had detonated as three insurgents were preparing a roadside bomb.

The platoon was able to obtain some fingerprints from the corpses for a database maintained by U.S. forces, the soldier said.

The soldiers felt a sense of triumph and satisfaction, especially after learning that the insurgents had been killed by their own explosives, he said.

“They were frustrated, just pissed off — their buddies had been blown up by IEDs” — improvised explosive devices — the soldier said. “So they sort of just celebrated.”

The Qalat photos were circulated among several members of the platoon, the soldier said, and soldiers often joked about them. Most of the soldiers in the photos were low-ranking — including six specialists or privates.

Col. Brian Drinkwine, then-commander of the 4th Brigade, and Lt. Col. David Oclander, then-commander of the 1st Battalion, said they were not authorized to comment on the photos.

The Pentagon declined a Times request that Army officials contact all active-duty soldiers in the photos to provide an opportunity to comment. The Times sent requests for comment by email and Facebook to seven soldiers in the photos. One, now serving in Afghanistan, declined to comment. The others did not respond.

The photos were taken during a tumultuous period in the brigade’s deployment.

In January 2010, the commander of the brigade’s 2nd Battalion and the battalion’s top noncommissioned officer were relieved of duty and ordered home after slides with racial and sexist overtones were shown during daily PowerPoint briefings.

Separately, an Army investigation criticized Drinkwine for failing to prevent his wife from threatening and harassing some unit officers and their spouses during the deployment.

Ft. Bragg’s commanding general, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, told the Fayetteville Observer in June 2010 that Drinkwine had created “a dysfunctional situation” in the unit. Drinkwine remained in command until after the deployment ended that August.

david.zucchino@latimes.com

Saudi Trial Ploy Exposing Western Connections Between “Al-CIA-da” and “Arab Spring” NGOs

Al-Qaeda’s rights

By TARIQ ALHOMAYED

Saudi television recently aired a recorded telephone conversation between an alleged member of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Saudi Ambassador to Sanaa, during which Al-Qaeda revealed that it had kidnapped the Saudi deputy consul in Yemen, and stated its conditions for the safe release of the kidnapped diplomat, one of which was the release of all prisoners in Saudi Arabia affiliated to the terrorist organization.

Of course, this is not the whole story. Interestingly, the Al-Qaeda member identified the names of some prisoners, including some Saudi women, who the terrorist organization wants released and then sent to Yemen! Amazingly, the Al-Qaeda member during the telephone conversation identified the names of the female prisoners, who are as follows: Najwa Al-Saidi, Arwa Baghdadi, Hanan Samkari, Najla Al-Roumi and Haifa Al-Ahmadi! This is amazing for one simple reason, namely that most of those women’s names identified by Al-Qaeda are already the subjects of major campaigns undertaken on their behalf on the Internet, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, under the guise of human rights demands.

Indeed, some human rights activists and institutions claim that they, i.e. the female prisoners, have been incarcerated because of their opinions, and the Saudi government is suppressing them!

Of course, these campaigns in the name of human rights garnered great support at the time because of the surplus emotion generated by the so-called Arab Spring. Matters soon became intertwined to the extent that those prisoners, accused by Saudi Arabia of being affiliated to Al-Qaeda, became equated to the activists who had been arrested in the states that recently witnessed revolutions or uprisings. All this confusion, of course, was thanks to the frenzied online campaigns and the inflamed Arab sentiments about what was happening in the region, particularly with regard to Tunisia and Egypt, and likewise thanks to increasing Western media attention toward Saudi Arabia, particularly last year during the day of incitement that was falsely branded the “day of rage”. Today, according to the recording aired by the Saudi Interior Ministry, it is clear that those who were previously thought to have been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia “because of their opinions,” defended in turn by those who described themselves as human rights activists, are nothing more than affiliates of Al-Qaeda. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda does not only demand their release, but wants them transferred from Riyadh to the terrorist organization’s headquarters in Yemen! Here the outstanding question is: Has Al-Qaeda become affiliated with human rights activists? Or have human rights activists become affiliated with Al-Qaeda? This is an important and indeed essential question, because it is clear that our confusion is not a coincidence, nor does it stem from ignorance, but rather it is a result of these organized campaigns that are aimed at incitement and pushing matters toward chaos, for whatever reasons.

If it is true that one of the achievements of the so-called Arab Spring was the renouncement of a series of lies and false slogans that plagued our region for decades, whether politically, religiously or culturally, then today we are instead witnessing great confusion at the level of politicians, intellectuals and senior media figures. Today we are even witnessing further lies being exposed, namely those of human rights advocates in Saudi Arabia, as it becomes clear that those who they championed as innocent, imprisoned for their opinions, are nothing more than affiliates of Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization that calls for their release today, and even wants them transferred to Yemen! This really is the year that the mask finally fell.

The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.

Write to him at tariq@asharqalawsat.com

Opium Farmers Continue Harvesting Bumper Crops, NATO Keeps Ignoring Them

An Afghan farmer cuts poppy bulbs near Kandahar
An Afghan farmer cuts poppy bulbs near Kandahar. Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium poppies in the world – and output is expected to rise, according to the UN. (Photo: Majid Saeedi / Getty Images)

Opium farming in Afghanistan rising again, bleak UN report admits

News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

Insecurity, corruption and flagging economy blamed but UN official declares that ‘lion’s share of income goes to big patrons’

Emma Graham-Harrison

Opium farming will increase across Afghanistan in 2012, driven by insecurity, massive corruption and economic fears for the future, spreading to more areas than it has in the past four to five years, the United Nations has warned.

Drugs help fund the Taliban insurgency, but Afghanistan’s elite is also earning huge amounts from the trade and the government lacks the political will to clamp down on a crop worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, the United Nations’ leading drug control official in Afghanistan said.

The bleak figures were laid out in an annual risk assessment PDF, which has previously been announced with a press release but this year was uploaded to a UN website with no publicity.

Just 15 of Afghanistan’s provinces, or well under half, are likely to be free of opium this year, the report said. In 2009 and 2010 poppy farming was eradicated from 20 provinces.

Asked about the report, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, country representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan, warned: “We are back in the situation we had in 2007-08.

“For a long while, when we had 20 opium-free provinces, it seemed that we were able to push the opium back into the most insecure southern provinces. Today that is not any longer the case, and the governance issue is key to that,” he told the Guardian.

“The Taliban definitely get income from opium cultivation … but the lion’s share of the income still disappears here, into the hands of the big patrons of this country,” he added.

In 2011, the farm-gate value of opium production more than doubled from the previous year to $1.4bn (£880m) and now accounts for 15% of the economy, Reuters news agency reported.

Without strong signs from the government that it intends to clamp down on those within the system profiting from the drugs trade, the trend is unlikely to change, Lemahieu said.

“The political will does not need to translate itself into putting everyone in prison, but to have a few good cases really indicating that the rules of the game are changing. And that is not happening today, or happening insufficiently.”

The annual survey looks at poppy planting, and plans to cultivate the crop, so is not an absolute guarantee of production levels. Eradication programmes may take out some fields and low rainfall, crop blight or other farming problems can also reduce the actual harvest, later in the year.

But it gives a broad picture of trends and warns that opium cultivation seems clearly linked to security levels, which are declining in much of the country. Another UN office said recently that civilian deaths and injuries rose in 2011 to the highest level on record for the decade-long war.

“The Risk Assessment of this year indicated the strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation,” the report said. Instability makes it harder for government officials to monitor and eradicate crops, and also fuels demand from local factions – not necessarily linked to the insurgency – for money to buy weapons and pay fighters.

Central Ghor province and northern Takhar province are listed as the two areas that might lose their “poppy-free” status – meaning 100 hectares or less are cultivated – although the amount grown in both will still remain “insignificant” by Afghan standards, the report said.

Eight other provinces, spread across most of the country from Herat in the west to Uruzgan in the south, Nangarhar in the east and Badakhshan in the north-west, are expected to show an increase in opium poppy fields.

In a glimmer of good news, Helmand province, which grows more opium than the rest of the country put together, will not see a rise in production, and poppy crops are expected to fall in the Taliban’s birthplace, neighbouring Kandahar.

The nationwide spread of the poppy is linked not just to the insurgency but to economic worries about the future as billions of dollars in aid and security spending that have been pumped into the country start to dry up.

The World Bank forecasts that Afghanistan’s budget deficit after the 2014 deadline for foreign combat troops to withdraw could be as much as $7bn a year.

Opium has a very high value and can keep for years, and impoverished farmers who have survived three decades of conflict in Afghanistan are often acutely aware that it is one of their few forms of insurance against turmoil in coming years.

Lemahieu said: “The economy was really living from the international aid and security investments; all that will really disappear, so there are a lot of question marks with regard to what is to happen.

“From the farmer level, the trader level, it’s an economic hedging for the future.”

Prices have fallen by about a fifth from a year ago, to about $220 a kilogramme from $274 in March 2011, but are still high by historic standards; the high price was given as the main reason for growing opium by nearly three-quarters of village headmen surveyed for the United Nations.