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By JAMES RISEN
WASHINGTON — An official at the United States Embassy in Iraqhas told federal prosecutors that he believes that State Department officials sought to block any serious investigation of the 2007 shooting episode in which Blackwater Worldwide security guards were accused of murdering 17 Iraqi civilians, according to court testimony made public on Tuesday.
David Farrington, a State Department security agent in the American Embassy at the time of the shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, told prosecutors that some of his colleagues were handling evidence in a way they hoped would help the Blackwater guards avoid punishment for a crime that drew headlines and raised tensions between American and Iraqi officials.
The description of Mr. Farrington’s account came in closed-door testimony last October from Kenneth Kohl, the lead prosecutor in the case against the Blackwater guards.
“I talked to David Farrington, who was concerned, who expressed concern about the integrity of the work being done by his fellow officers,” Mr. Kohl recalled. He said that Mr. Farrington had said he was in meetings where diplomatic security agents said that after they had gone to the scene and picked up casings and other evidence, “They said we’ve got enough to get these guys off now.”
Mr. Farrington, who also testified in a closed-door pretrial hearing in the Nisour Square shooting case, declined to comment. His own testimony has not yet been unsealed by the court.
Blackwater became a multimillion-dollar contractor as the United States escalated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing protection for State Department officials and covert work for the Central Intelligence Agency.
The company, dominated by former American officials, has been described by critics as being too close to the intelligence and diplomatic agencies for which it worked.
The New York Times has reported that the Justice Department was investigating allegations that Blackwater had tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining their security business after the deadly shooting.
In December, a federal judge dismissed the criminal charges against five former Blackwater guards in the Nisour Square shooting, and criticized the Justice Department’s handling of the case, chiding prosecutors for trying to use statements from defendants who had been offered immunity and testimony from witnesses tainted by news media leaks.
The documents made public on Tuesday show that before the December dismissal, prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents working on the Nisour Square case took the stand in October to argue that they had plenty of untainted evidence. In a closed-door hearing, they also contended that they had evidence that, in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, there had been a concerted effort to make the case go away, both by Blackwater and by at least some embassy officials.
In fact, prosecutors were told that the embassy had never conducted any significant investigation of any of the numerous shooting episodes in Iraq involving Blackwater before the Nisour Square case, according to the documents.
In his October testimony, Mr. Kohl described how the Justice Department had “serious concerns” about obstruction of justice in the case. He also said prosecutors briefed Kenneth Wainstein, then an assistant attorney general, on evidence of obstruction by Blackwater management.
Mr. Kohl disclosed that prosecutors had discovered that five Blackwater guards who were on the convoy involved in the Nisour Square shootings reported to Blackwater management what they had seen. One guard, he said, described it as “murder in cold blood.” Mr. Kohl said that Blackwater management never reported these statements by the guards to the State Department.
He said that prosecutors informed senior Justice Department officials as early as 2007 that they were investigating whether Blackwater managers “manipulated” the official statements made by the guards to the State Department.
But he testified that prosecutors also had evidence of embassy officials thwarting the inquiry. In addition to the testimony of Mr. Farrington, Mr. Kohl said that United States military officials had told prosecutors that they witnessed State Department investigators “badgering” Iraqi witnesses.
He also testified that diplomatic security agents, who conducted the embassy’s initial investigation before the F.B.I. and Justice Department began a criminal inquiry, left out important facts from their report relating to a witness’s account.
Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, defended the department’s handling of the Nisour Square case. He said: “Seventeen people died in broad daylight. We took the case seriously from the outset. We invited the F.B.I. to join the investigation, and more than two years later, we continue to pursue the case and seek justice.”
Officials from Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Kohl described what he believed was “an undercurrent of obstruction in this case.”
He said that a Blackwater official had told him that the whole criminal investigation could have been avoided if the State Department had given Blackwater officials more time to prepare the official statements by the guards involved in the shooting.
“He said, do you know why this all happened, why we’re here?” Mr. Kohl recalled. “Because the State Department didn’t give us enough time to work on these statements with these guys. We only had a couple hours, and we needed to get these over to the embassy.”
The dismissal of the criminal case against the guards for Blackwater in the Nisour Square shooting prompted bitter protests by Iraqis against the United States, and it led the Iraqi government to threaten to bring a lawsuit of its own in the case.
The Justice Department has now appealed the dismissal. Blackwater has settled one series of civil lawsuits brought by victims of the Nisour Square shooting, but another lawsuit brought by another group of victims is still pending.
Washington Four Lashkar-e-Taiba gunmen, who stormed into the Kabul guest houses packed with Indian officials, came clad in burqa to hide their strapped explosives and appeared to have a detailed knowledge including names of their intended Indian victims.
While one attacker stayed to detonate van packed with explosives on the main road, the other three, including one who spoke in Urdu, spread out and entered the two hotels shouting the names of Indian officials.
Quoting Afghan intelligence officials, The Washington Post said the Pakistani militant group LeT orchestrated the deadly attack that targeted the two hotels on February 26.
The paper said the assessment could signal a departure for the group which has long focused on attacking Indians inside India. The group is blamed for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which killed 166 people in November 2008.
"We are very close to the exact proof and evidence that the attack on Indian guest house… is not the work of Afghan Taliban but was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba network who are dependent on the Pakistan military," Sayed Ansari, Afghan intelligence spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Post.
Ansari said Afghan officials had determined that one of the bombers involved in the Friday attack yelled, "Where is the Indian Director", as he stormed into one of the hotels.
The Post said others had also sought out the Indians.
"This kind of information, where the Indians are, is not the ability of the Afghan Taliban to know," Ansari said.
The victims in the Kabul massacre included six Indians, one Italian, a French filmmaker, three Afghan police and four civilians and one body which was too dismembered to identify.
However, Washington Post said American intelligence officials in Kabul believe that the attack was carried out by the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Afghan militant group.
But, the paper said that Indian officials suspect that the two groups worked together to stage the raid.
The Post said that the involvement of LeT would have significant implications as it would undermine the fragile peace efforts between longtime foes India and Pakistan, whose Foreign Secretaries met last week after a 14-month freeze.
India and Afghanistan had previously implicated Pakistan and its run Haqqani network for the bloody 2008 bombings of Indian Embassy in Kabul that claimed 58 lives.
The emerging collaboration between LeT and Afghan militant groups was corroborated by retired Pakistani Brigadier Mohammad Saad who told Post, "They (LeT are aligning with the Taliban."
The Pakistani army officer said the members of LeT were training with Haqqani network in North Waziristan and that language problems force these recruits to operate alongside Afghan militants inside Afghanistan.
The Washington Post said that indications were now emerging of clear nexus between Pakistani militant groups and their Afghan counterparts and cited the recent killing of Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Qari Zafar in a drone attack on February 24.
Zafar’s group originated in Pakistan’s heartland, but he was killed in North Waziristan, the base of Haqqani network and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The Haqqani network is led by Siraj Haqqani and is among the most lethal battling US-led forces in Afghanistan and had been implicated in several brazen attacks in Kabul
[This disproves Air Force claims that the military was using precision bombing against militants housed among civilians in Swat, FATA and Orakzai. Pakistan used indiscriminate bombing against its own people there, because it had no guided bombs before now.]
To provide 18 new F-16s by June
WASHINGTON: The US will deliver this month to Pakistan 1,000 sophisticated laser-guided bomb kits that would enable the government there to strike insurgent targets with more precision.
Lt-Col Jeffry Glenn, an Air Force spokesman, said on Tuesday the US also plans to provide Pakistan 18 new F-16 fighter jets by June. The arms sale suggests that the US officials are trying to deepen their relationship with Pakistan and increase military cooperation.
The US has been trying to encourage Pakistan to take a tougher stand against the Taliban forces operating within its borders. Lt-Col Jeffry Glenn said the US had delivered 1,000 MK-82 bombs to Pakistan last month. This month’s shipment of kits would enable Pakistan to use sophisticated laser technology to guide the bombs to specific targets, he added.
By our correspondent
PESHAWAR: Amid rumours of an impending military operation in the volatile North Waziristan region, the military and Taliban militants for the first time released strong-worded Urdu language leaflets, accusing each other of following the foreign agenda.
Tribal sources in Miramshah said the situation remained tense in the militancy-hit tribal region after the killing of two paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) men by unknown assailants and later firing by security forces, which led to the death of two tribesmen on main road in Miramshah.
The authorities had clamped curfew in the entire tribal region on Tuesday that restricted the tribesmen to their homes.Security officials said curfew in the area was imposed due to movement of the security forces.
Tribesmen saw a huge number of troops armed with heavy weapons arriving in Miramshah. Later, when the troops arrived safely, the security forces dropped leaflets from the air in which the Taliban militants were held responsible for the destruction and backwardness of South and North Waziristan tribal regions.
The tribesmen feared the government might start military action in the region as they said they had never observed the two sides using such harsh language against each other.
They said a leaflet by the military titled “Correct decision and first step towards right direction” was a clear indication of parting ways with the militants. In the same pamphlet, the Taliban militants were accused of getting funds from India, Israel and al-Qaeda to buy heavy weapons and brainwash innocent youth.
The leaflet accused the Afghanistan-based Indian consulates and the Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and other anti-Islamic organizations of financing militants. The militants were also accused of accumulating resources from opium and hashish.
It said it was wrong to call a militant as Qari, who cannot even read the Holy Quran.
The militants also circulated leaflets in which they accused military authorities of selling innocent Pakistanis like Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the US for the sake of dollars. It alleged that Pakistani security agencies were involved in the killing of innocent Pakistanis for dollars and were creating hurdles in the way of implementing Islamic Sharia in the country.
By Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi
01 March, 2010
Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering
|For two decades, Iraqi children, along with all other elements of Iraqi society, have been subjected to grave human rights violations.These violations began with the destruction of all civil services and Iraqi civil infrastructure by the US/UK aggression on Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991, and were followed by the brutal economical sanctions which deprived the people of Iraq of food, clean water, health care, education and security.
As a result more than half a million Iraqi children died during the nineties .The thirteen years of suffering under embargo ended with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Another form of suffering was born in 2003 under the American occupation. As if the causalities of the excessive use of power during military operations were not enough, the invasion operations consisted of systematically burning and looting of civil services and infrastructure, health care centers, schools and universities, industrial compounds, etc . As stated in UNAMI’s report of November 2006, Iraq can be described as “a nation that has been plunged into barbarism since the US-invasion in 2003″.
Under the American occupation, lack of security, sectarian violence, deterioration of health care systems, poverty, massive imprisonments, clean water shortages, limited or no electrical power, environmental pollution and lack of sanitation all contributed to grave violations to children’s rights and a drastic increase in the child mortality rate. It has been reported that one out of eight children in Iraq die before their fifth birthday .
The forces of the American occupation, and the occupation-assigned Iraqi government, grossly failed to fulfill their most basic duties towards the children of Iraq in accordance with the UN/CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child, Resolution 25/ Session 44, November 1989 . The convention was ratified by 194 countries of the United Nations, except the USA and Somalia.
Principals of the CRC emphasized the need to protect children’s rights’ of life and physical, mental, moral, and spiritual development in a safe environment.
We will show that the American occupation violated children’s rights on all levels, including health care, education, social security, family unity and not to separate children from their parents through detention, imprisonment and exile.
In this report the status and violations of Iraqi children’s rights under the American occupation is presented with special emphasis on the problems of the Iraqi children refugees in Syria.
During the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the USA, Iraq was denied the right to import equipment, medicine, educational items, health care requirements, etc. The economic sanctions were imposed by US/UK administrations and enforced by UN resolution 661 in 1990. The sanctions committee in the UN was dominated by the USA and UK, who insisted on blocking most essentials related to human rights .
The sanction was a war against the children of Iraq in the following ways:
When asked if the death of half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying, USA ambassador to the UN Madelyn Albright answered “We think the price is worth it.” .
This answer concludes how desperate the US and UK are to control oil fields in Iraq and all over the world.
2. Status of Iraqi Children under the American Occupation of Iraq (2003 to date):
Thirteen years of suffering and the death of more than half a million children as a result of economic sanctions ended with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. People, and the children of Iraq, have had to face the excessive use of power, the shock and awe techniques, raids, the destruction of infrastructure, burning and looting of the civil services and cultural centers of Iraq, damage to health care centers and hospitals, and the sectarian killing staged by occupation intelligence .
Numerous violations to Iraqi children’s rights have been committed continuously and systematically under the American occupation of Iraq.
The children of Iraq have been major victims of the occupation as a result of the following:
3. Deterioration of the Living Conditions of Displaced Iraqi Children
This case study was conducted by the author with the help of the Iraqi Women Will body (IWW), an Iraqi NGO fighting for Iraqi women’s rights inside and outside of Iraq.
The author and her assistant conducted door to door visits to the families who answered the questionnaire.
In October 2009, around 300 copies of the questionnaire displayed in Annex 1 was distributed to Iraqi families within the Yarmouk refugee area of Damascus, Syria. The researchers visited these families to ensure the accuracy of the answers and to conduct personal interviews.
Of the 300 distributed questionnaires, only 120 were answered as many families were fearful of giving detailed information such as the names and address of their children in fear of being exposed to further assault by sectarian militias or the security forces of the occupation assigned government.
Of the 120 answered questionnaires, 94 of them were completely analyzed with full information regarding the names and addresses of the children who answered the questionnaires.
The age range of the studied child population varied from 2 years of age to 18 years of age. The number of girls was 44, or 46.8% of the research population, while the boys numbered 50, or 53.2% of the population.
The questionnaire shown in (Appendix-1) covered the following aspects:
Table-1 : places of birth of the children included in this study:
As we can see most of the displaced children within the studied group are from the city Baghdad, which faced the highest rates of raids, killing, and sectarian violence under the occupation.
Table-2 Causes of the parent(s) death of the studied children population:
From Table 2, and answers from the rest of the members of the studied group, we can conclude the below:
Sources of Family Income:
Table-3 : The Financial Status of the Families of the Studied Children
Table 3 shows that the families of the children have no steady income. Most of the families sold their homes and other belongings in Iraq to begin a life in refuge. Later, it became very hard to maintain supporting the children without jobs and any kind of financial security. Some of the families receive a retirement pension ranging between $200 – $400 a month for the parent, or grandparent if they are living with them.
Another source of income for some families is UN financial support of about $100 / month plus $10 additional per child.
For the above reasons, many children within the studied group have to work to help sustain their families.
As can be seen from Table 3, the financial status of most of these families is much below the average standard of living, even though the majority of the children’s parents are university level degree holders (i.e. teachers, engineers, etc.).
We can also conclude that most of these families cannot afford the most basic of necessities like quality food, medical care, and a safe, healthy residence.
Educational Status of the Children:
As most of the children within the studied group are from educated families with proper degrees, the survey indicated that in spite of financial struggles, these families attempted to maintain a fair education for their children. Table 4 shows the educational status of the children within the studied group.
Table-4: Educational status of the children in the studied group
As can be seen, 22.4% of the children could not maintain their education due to extreme financial difficulties which resulted in parents being unable to afford even the free education being offered for all Iraqi refugees in Syria. (i.e. parents could not afford the very basic supplies, transportation fees, etc.). Other children were forced into labor in order to help their families survive.
For many Iraqi refugee families, we can see that continuing the education of their children is a luxury that cannot be afforded with the day to day struggle to feed and clothe children with very limited financial aid.
Health and Medical Care Status:
Along with the educational and financial issues these families face, the survey indicated serious health problems amongst the studied child population.
Table 5 below shows the health status of the studied population.
Table-5 : Health Status of the Children Within the Studied Group
Table 5 clearly indicates that 46.8% of the studied children face serious health issues. The highest numbers of disabilities are the psychological and mental disorders these children face. The major cause of these issues is the result of occupation force violence, raids, deaths and killings of family members, sometimes in front of the children. Another cause of mental instability is drastic change in the standard of living of these children.
The survey also revealed that only 21 of the 44 health issues faced by the population under study received any form of medical treatment by the Iraqi Red Crescent, UNICEF, and free Syrian healthcare hospitals. In all other cases, medical treatment could not be afforded and was not offered.
For two decades, the US administration and its allies have been committing genocide amongst the Iraqi population, including the children , . The planned genocide began with imposing brutal economic sanctions that crippled a growing nation, and ended with the occupation of Iraq. During this period, intentional, criminal acts against humanity have been committed repeatedly and purposely by the American administration.
Crimes against civilians included even the children of Iraq. These crimes included the destruction of the essentials of civilian infrastructure, exposing children to hunger, famines, pollution of the environment with radiological and persistent toxicants, initiating and promoting sectarian massacres, the killing and torture committed by occupation forces, and forcefully displacing over five million Iraqis.
The excessive and unnecessary use of power against the civilian population, and the intentional targeting of even unborn children, is an indication of a premeditated plan to depopulate Iraq. Depopulating Iraq works in favor of some of the pro-occupation minorities such as the Kurds. Under the protection of the American occupation and Israeli Mossad stationed in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991, the Kurds are extending their territories through daily killing, bombing and kidnapping Arabs, Turkmen, Christians, Assyrians, and Yazidis in the neighboring territories of Kirkuk, Dialah, Kut, Mosul and other areas within the plan of Kurdish territorial expansion. Children in these areas live in an environment of total chaos, violence and terror.
Of course, depopulation of Third World countries known to have high population growth rates is an active agenda of American Foreign Policy, as was stated by Dr. Henry Kissinger, who wrote: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of US Foreign Policy towards the Third World ”.
The direct and indirect killing of about three million Iraqis   since 1991 to control its resources and initiate major demographic changes is a criminal act. The international community is urged to stop this genocide.
The genocide will stop only when the American occupying forces leave Iraq to mend the destruction and terror they’ve been cultivating for the last two decades.
SC sets two-week deadline
By Sohail Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the last chance of two weeks to the government for furnishing a comprehensive report regarding the whereabouts of missing persons and ruled that the court would decide the case during the current month.
The court directed the government to submit a detailed report by March 18 on the individual and collective petitions filed in the apex court concerning the whereabouts of the missing persons.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, was hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and former Pakistan People’s Party senator Farhatullah Babar and many other individual complaints, filed by the relatives of the missing persons.
Justice Javed said the court would deliver the verdict on the case during the current month after the last hearing of the case. “The law will take its course irrespective of who is who,” he remarked, adding that the case would be decided once and for all and directed the government to seriously concentrate on the issue.
The missing persons have allegedly been taken away by Pakistani intelligence agencies for interrogation over alleged links to the Balochistan militants and other militant groups in the country.
Their relatives claimed that they were picked by the intelligence agencies but never produced in any court of law. The court also directed Sajjad Kamran, Director General Afghanistan Desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to appear before it on March 18 and submit a report about the Pakistani nationals languishing in the Bagram Jail, Afghanistan.
Amina Masood Janjua, one of the petitioners and spouse of missing Masood Janjua, told the court that there were 31 Pakistani nationals in different jails of Afghanistan, adding that 16 were confirmed detained in the Bagram Jail.
The court directed the federal secretaries of Interior, Foreign and Defence to appear before the court on March 18 and give final arguments for their efforts made so far for tracing the whereabouts of the missing persons.
During the course of the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Shah Khawar presented a list of at least 6,000 Pakistanis jailed in 11 countries. At this, the court inquired as to why 120 Pakistanis jailed in Thailand had not been included in the list.
Shah Khawar replied that the prime minister was going to constitute a commission in this regard. The court directed the deputy attorney general to inform the court about the nature and strategy of the commission that would work to trace the whereabouts of the missing persons.
The court also directed the joint investigation team to submit within two weeks a report on Masud Janjua, Faisal Faraz, Saeedur Rehman, Ateequr Rehman, Muhammad Ata and Muhammad Altaf, who were among the missing persons.
SP Kamran Adil, Chief of the Joint Investigation Team, informed the court that the investigation process was advancing with complete support from the military. The court took up individual cases of missing persons and directed the government to complete the investigation and file a detailed report on the progress on the next date and adjourned the hearing till March 18.
According to the government’s finding presented before the court last week, about 1,600 persons went missing till 2008. Of these, 1,300 went missing after the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006 and after the military operation launched against the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in 2007.
The list of HRCP, prepared in 2007, indicated that there were 198 people missing of which 99 were traced out while 99 were still missing. Earlier Hashmat Habib, counsel for Dr Aafia Siddiqui, told the court that she could be released from the US court as all the facts earlier had not come on the surface and her arrest was not known.
He said how she was arrested, where she was shifted and how she reached the US were the facts, which must be known and after knowing these, her case could be presented in a better way that could help in her release as well.
Deputy Attorney General Shah Khawar said if such information had been shared earlier, it would have greatly helped in her case. At this, Justice Javed Iqbal said that according to the US law, additional evidences could be provided to the court at any stage.
A US court on February 3 found Dr Aafia Siddiqui guilty of attempting to murder US agents while she was detained for questioning in Afghanistan in 2008. Hashmat Habib advocate filed a civil miscellaneous application (CMA) in his petition already pending before the court since July 25, 2007, requesting the court to direct the federal government to prepare a report in chronological order regarding Dr Aafia Siddiqui from the date of her kidnapping i.e. March 2003 from Karachi till the date of her resurfacing on July 7, 2008 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. He requested the court to direct the government to send the same report, duly documented through the court process along with her children to the American trial court.
“‘Further evasion is out of order. We must come to grips with America’s State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy.’ Re-industrialization is essential ‘to restore jobs and production competence – industry by industry.’
‘Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive exit,’ for the nation or its people.”–Seymour Melman
by Stephen Lendman
Cartoon by Carlos Latuff
Post-9/11, Dick Cheney warned of wars that won’t end in our lifetime. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said America “is engaged in World War IV, and it could continue for years….This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us.” GHW Bush called it a “New World Order” in his September 11, 1990 address to a joint session of Congress as he prepared the public for Operation Desert Storm.
The Pentagon called it the “long war” in its 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), what past administrations waged every year without exception since the republic’s birth, at home and abroad. Obama is just the latest of America’s warrior presidents that included Washington, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush preceding him.
This article covers WW II and its aftermath history of imperial wars for unchallengeable global dominance throughout a period when America had and still has no enemies. Then why fight them? Read on.
Wars Without End
America glorifies wars in the name of peace, what historian Charles Beard (1874 – 1948) called “perpetual war for perpetual peace” in describing the Roosevelt and Truman administrations’ foreign policies – what concerned the Federation of American Scientists when it catalogued about 200 post-1945 conflicts in which America was, and still is, the aggressor.
Historian Gore Vidal used Beard’s phrase in titling his 2002 book, “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” and saying:
“our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.”
In his 2002 book “Dreaming War,” he compared GW Bush’s imperial ambitions to WW II and the 1947 Truman Doctrine’s pledge:
“To support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”
It was to keep Greece and Turkey from going communist, but it applied globally and initiated America’s National Security State strategy that included:
— NATO in 1949 for offense, not defense;
— NSC-68 against Soviet Russia in 1950 to “contain” what was called an enemy “unlike previous aspirants to hegemony….animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world” at a time America was the only global superpower, the Soviet Union lay in ruins, threatened no one, and needed years to regain normality.
— Truman’s instigated June 25, 1950 war after the DPRK retaliated in force following months of ROK provocations, what Americans call the Korean War, South Koreans the 6-2-5 War (meaning June 25), and the North its “fatherland liberation war” that left it in ruins, the South occupied to this day, and it was only the mid-century beginning as succeeding administrations continued an agenda for what’s now called “full spectrum dominance” for global US hegemony.
It worried historian Harry Elmer Barnes (1889 – 1968) in his 1953 collection of leading historical revisionists’ essays titled, “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and It’s Aftermath” in which he wrote in the preface:
“If trends continue as they have during the last fifteen years, we shall soon reach this point of no return, and can only anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace. Such an era could only culminate in a third world war which might well, as Arnold J. Toynbee has suggested, leave only the pygmies in remote jungles, or even the apes and ants, to carry on ‘the cultural traditions’ of mankind.”
He cited how America’s “needless” entry into two world wars converted its pre-1914 dream “into a nightmare of fear, regimentation, destruction, insecurity, inflation, and ultimate insolvency.” He debunked the cause and merits of WW I, “the folly of our entering it, and the disastrous results that followed.” He cited “popular fictions” about WW II, the injustices to Germany and Austria that caused it, the war Roosevelt wanted early in the 1930s as captured Polish documents and the censored Forrestal Diaries confirmed.
Before it began, he wanted US neutrality legislation ended, then after September 1939, he dropped any pretense by supporting Britain and France and opposing peace efforts after Poland’s defeat. His June 1940 “dagger in the back” address was a de facto act of war by beginning vast amounts of weapons and munitions shipments to Britain after Dunkirk, followed by the September 1940 (peacetime) Selective Service Act, the first in US history, in preparation for what close advisor Harry Hopkins told Churchill in January 1941 that:
“The President is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it,” followed by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold Stark telling his fleet commanders that “The question of our entry into the war now seems to be when, and not whether.”
Only a pretext was needed, first by trying and failing to provoke Germany, then deciding Japan would be attacked, whether or not it struck US ships, territory, or forces in the Pacific. In a July 4 radio broadcast, Roosevelt said:
“solemnly (understand) that the United States will never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel desert of dictatorship.” Then his July 25 Executive Order froze Japanese assets, stating it was:
“….To prevent the use of the financial facilities of the United States in trade between Japan and the United States in ways harmful to national defense and American interests, to prevent the liquidation in the United States of assets obtained by duress or conquest, and to curb subversive activities in the United States.”
Britain followed suit the next day, and Roosevelt nationalized the Philippines’ armed forces “as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States” with dominion over its Asian colony.
As early as 1937, he planned a naval blockade, but dropped the idea after an adverse reaction. It resurfaced in 1938 because he knew strangling Japan economically assured war.
Throughout his administration, from 1933 through late 1941, he spurned Japanese peace overtures that would have protected all American interests in the Pacific. By November 25, the final die was cast. America chose war, and on that day, War Secretary Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that it depended only on how to maneuver Japan to attack with the lowest number of US casualties.
Tokyo had no other recourse, knowing it couldn’t win, but hoping for a negotiated settlement to solidify whatever Asian control it could retain. It failed, lost the war, and remains an occupied US vassal state.
In the late 1930s, Roosevelt encouraged a Japanese attack by stationing the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor against the advice of two key admirals, James Richardson, Pacific Fleet commander and Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations until March 1942.
Selling arms to Japan’s enemies and an embargo assured war, and US cable documentation confirmed it was coming. Breaking the Japanese code let Britain and Washington track its fleet from the Kurile Islands to its North Pacific refueling point en route to Pearl Harbor on or about December 7.
At a December 5 cabinet meeting, Navy Secretary Frank Knox said: “Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese fleet is?”
“Yes, I know,” responded Roosevelt, saying “Well, you tell them what it is Frank,” who explained where it was, where it was heading until Roosevelt interrupted adding that perfect information wasn’t available in spite of navy reports confirming it in Pacific waters heading toward Hawaii. On December 6, officials awaited the attack until it came the next morning at 7:55AM Hawaii time.
It was a day of infamy and deceit, with Pearl Harbor’s commander, Admiral HE Kimmel, denied crucial intelligence to let it proceed unimpeded, arouse public anger, and give FDR his war – one decoded Japanese messages showed they didn’t want but Roosevelt gave them no choice.
Like other presidents, he lied the country into war against the wishes of 80% of the public, at a cost of millions of lives in both theaters, and a policy henceforth of perpetual wars for perpetual peace to achieve unchallengeable US dominance. In the modern era, FDR’s foreign policy began it, leaving a bankrupted moral and political legacy active to this day.
Consider also what revisionist historians say about Lincoln – that he provoked the Fort Sumpter (in Charleston, SC harbor) attack and began the Civil War for economic reasons, not to end slavery.
Consider also that ordinary people and soldiers don’t want war, just their leaders and commanders – to wit, Christmas 1914 during WW I when German and British troops stopped fighting, didn’t know why they were doing it, then defied orders by fraternizing with each other for two weeks despite risking being court-martialed. Unable to stop them, their officers joined them in a celebratory pause that didn’t stop another three years of carnage, millions of lost lives, and post-war policies that assured WW II.
The lesson is clear. All wars are immoral, unnecessary, and only happen when one side provokes the other for reasons unrelated to national security threats.
In his seminal book, “A Century of War,” Gabriel Kolko called the 20th century:
“the bloodiest in all history. More than 170 million people were killed,” 70% of whom in WW II were civilians, “mainly (from) the bombing of cities by Great Britain and America.” There was nothing good about “the good war” nor any others.
In Kolko’s later book “Another Century of War,” he stressed how America contributes to much of the world’s disorder through its interventions and as the world’s largest arms producer and exporter. Post-WW II, the US became a global menace, today claiming “terrorism” as the main threat – a bogus fiction to justify militarism, perpetual wars heading the nation for moral, political and economic bankruptcy. According to Kolko:
“The way America’s leaders are running the nation’s foreign policy is not creating peace or security at home or stability abroad. The reverse is the case: its interventions have been counterproductive.”
In his newest book, “The World in Crisis,” Kolko believes that America’s decline “began after the Korean War, was continued in relation to Cuba, and was greatly accelerated in Vietnam – but (GW Bush did) much to exacerbate it further.” He also thinks:
— US power is declining everywhere;
— “the world is no longer dependent on its economic might” because other nations like China and India are growing and may some day equal or surpass America;
— after the Soviet Union’s collapse, “the absence of identifiable foes has been a disaster, leaving the US aimless – (so) it picks and chooses enemies: rag-tag Afghan tribesmen, Iraqis or all sorts, perhaps China, perhaps Russia….South American caudillos,” whatever bogus ones can be invented for imperial wars, but the justification is wearing thin, and the burgeoning cost unsustainable.
The result is that America’s “century of domination is now ending.”
America’s Permanent War Economy
It’s how Seymour Melman (1917 – 2004) characterized it in his books and frequents writings on America’s military-industrial complex. One of his last articles was titled “In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy (CounterPunch, March 15, 2003) in which he said:
“at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy.” He then examined the horrific toll:
— a de-industrialized nation, the result of decades of shifting production abroad leaving unions and communities “decimated;”
— government financing and promoting “every kind of war industry and foreign investing by US firms;” war priorities take precedence over essential homeland needs;
— America’s “Permanent War Economy….has endured since the end of World War II….Since then the US has been at war – somewhere – every year, in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Balkans, Afghanistan – all this to the accompaniment of shorter military forays in Africa, Chile, Grenada, Panama,” and increasingly at home against its own people;
— “how to make war” takes precedence over everything leaving no “public space….on how to improve the quality of our lives;”
— “Shortages of housing have caused a swelling of the homeless population in every major city (because) State and city governments across the country have become trained to bend to the needs of the military….;” the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) currently estimates over 21,000 are on city streets nightly, and during winter months it’s dangerous;
— the result is a nation of growing millions of poor, disadvantaged, uneducated, and “disconnected from society’s mainstream, restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad;”
“State Capitalism” characterizes America’s government – business partnership running a war economy for greater power and wealth at the expense of a nation in decline, corrupted leadership, lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, and suffering millions on their own, uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten.
Melman stressed that:
“Further evasion is out of order. We must come to grips with America’s State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy.” Re-industrialization is essential “to restore jobs and production competence – industry by industry.”
“Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive exit,” for the nation or its people.
Dwight Eisenhower’s January 17, 1961 Address to the Nation
It was his farewell address delivered 30 years to the day before Operation Desert Storm began in which he warned about the “military-industrial complex,” citing the “grave implications” of a “coalition of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government.”
He stated “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence….by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
He also said that:
“Every gun that is made, every war ship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed,” the result of what some analysts call the “iron triangle” of Congress, the Pentagon, and the defense industry that includes producers of sophisticated technology for digital age warfare of a kind Eisenhower never imagined.
In combination, they’ve addicted America to war, not for threats, but for the power and profits that result. In his book “The Political Economy of US Militarism,” Professor Ismael Hossein-Zadeh refers to “parasitic military imperialism,” consuming over 40% of the national tax revenue at the expense of unmet human needs.
Morality aside, it’s not justified economically. It’s wasteful, inefficient, comes at a great cost, and over time is ineffective and self-destructive.
“The control over huge amounts of national resources tends to lead to an undermining of democratic values, a perversion of republican principles and a reduction of civil freedoms, as well as to the political corruption at home and abroad.” Moreover, “The constant need for international conflicts makes (America’s) military imperialism….more dangerous than the imperial powers of the past.”
It’s made war-making a giant enterprise “not only for expansionism but, in fact, for the survival of this empire,” yet consider the fallout Hossein-Zadeh examined in a July 10, 2007 article titled, “Parasitic Imperialism:”
— the redistribution of income and resources to the wealthy;
— the undermining of physical and human capital;
— the nation’s increased vulnerability to natural disasters;
— economic and financial instability, the result of the growing national debt now totally out of control;
— less foreign market potential for non-military ventures;
— the undermining of civil liberties and democratic values; and
— “foster(ing) a dependence on or addiction to military spending, and, therefore….a spiraling vicious circle of (unsustainable) war and militarism” that’s sucking the nation into decline.
America’s Post-WW II Imperial Grand Strategy
Post-WW II, America emerged as the world’s sole superpower – economically, politically and militarily, given the war’s toll on East Asia, Europe and Soviet Russia. In his book, “The Cold War and the New Imperialism,” Professor Henry Heller examined it with emphasis on the Cold War, America’s containment policy, and its efforts against leftist forces in support of fascist elements on the right at both state and local levels.
The Soviet Union controlled Eastern and Central Europe while Mao’s War of Liberation defeated Chiang Kai-Shek Nationalists. Cold War confrontation followed. It pitted US imperialism against an opposing ideology, the aim being which side would triumph or could both co-exist peacefully and avoid conflict.
War was never an option given each side’s nuclear strength under a policy of “mutually assured destruction (MAD)”. In addition, post-Stalinist Russia began reforms and expanded its sphere of influence. It wasn’t to destroy the West, but to co-exist equally. America and Soviet Russia only competed for developing country allies to keep them from the opposing camp, so neither would be dominated by the other or more vulnerable to being isolated, marginalized, or shut out from world markets and influence.
US Imperialism Post-WW II
James Petras and others have said behind every imperial war is a great lie, the more often repeated the more likely to be believed because ordinary people want peace, not conflict, so it’s vital to convince them.
In the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration overthrew two popularly elected governments in Iran and Guatemala, and sought greater influence in Africa and Southeast Asia as anti-colonial movements gained strength.
On January 1, 1959 Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution ousted the US-backed Batista dictatorship. He then survived America’s failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, but faced decades of US hostility, including an embargo, destabilization, intimidation, and hundreds of attempts to kill him, unsuccessful so Cuba is still free from US dominance, but hardly safe from its northern hegemon.
In the 1950s, America also backed French Southeast Asian imperialism until defeat at Dien Bien Phu drove them out. A repressive South Vietnamese client regime was established at the same time, supported by US military advisors teaching war and repression tactics. Unifying North and South elections were blocked, and direct intervention began in 1961. In 1958, Washington also subverted Laotian democracy and incited civil war. Cambodia as well was targeted but remained free.
Early in his administration, Kennedy intervened, but a new James Douglass book titled “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” says without conviction because he opposed using force. After the Joint Chiefs demanded troops for Laos, he told his Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:
“Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
He wouldn’t agree to using nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia and refused to bomb or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis, saying afterwards that “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.”
In June 1963 (a few months before his assassination), he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, ending the Cold War, and moving forward for “general and complete disarmament.” In October 1963, he signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 to withdraw 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by year end and all of them by 1965. He said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” He wanted peace, not conflicts. It cost him his life, and future presidents got the message.
Johnson resumed Southeast Asian escalation to establish client regimes and military bases across East and South Asia, encircle China, and crush nationalist anti-imperial movements. The Indochinese war engulfed Cambodia and Laos as well under Johnson and Nixon. It killed three to four million, inflicted vast amounts of destruction, caused incalculable human suffering, got America to sign a peace treaty in January 1973, but war continued until its clients were defeated in April 1975.
Prior to Reagan’s election, the “Vietnam syndrome” and easing Cold War tensions and disarmament efforts alarmed militarists to fear defense spending cuts detrimental to profits. A propaganda campaign exaggerated bogus threats, manipulated intelligence to heighten fear, and got the Reagan administration to approve large military spending increases to confront “Soviet expansionism” at a time it was transitioning from Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko to Gorbachev in 1985, followed by perestroika in 1986, glasnost in 1988, border openings and the Berlin Wall’s collapse in 1989, then the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991 – a new threat militarists feared would bring large, not to be tolerated, defense budgets cuts.
In the late 1980s, however, leading figures, including Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Huntington, and Albert Wohlstetter alleged Third World conflicts threatened US interests in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Western Pacific, and recommended deterrence to stop them. Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney agreed. Others wanted large defense cuts for a peace dividend, including Johnson’s DOD chief Robert McNamara who proposed reductions up to 50%.
Throughout the 1989 – 1999 period, mostly under Bill Clinton, US-instigated provocations, sanctions, and armed insurrections support involved America in 134 military operations according to the Federation of American Scientists. The most egregious was Clinton’s bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, an act playwright Harold Pinter called:
“barbaric” and despicable, “another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile” to consolidate “American domination of Europe.” Worse was yet to come with the election of George Bush, America’s worst president in a country that never had a good one and never will as it’s now governed.
Long before 9/11, Middle East restructuring plans were based on bogus terrorist, rogue state, and “clash of civilizations” threats by hordes of Islamofascists, including the Palestinian resistance, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saddam Hussein targeted in the 1990 – 91 Gulf War, followed by years of devastating sanctions, then ousted by GW Bush in 2003.
Iraq was destroyed, occupied and balkanized. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran face similar threats, the common thread being dominating Eurasia through endless conflicts and increased military spending for war profiteering bounties. September 11 assured it, and got Michelle Ciarocca of the Arms Trade Resource Center, in September 2002 to say:
“The whole mind set of military spending changed on Sept. 11. The most fundamental thing about defense spending is that threats drive (it). It’s now going to be easier to fund almost anything.”
Hossein-Zadeh investigated the growing role of private contractors creating a “built-in propensity to war that makes the US military-industrial complex a menace to world peace and stability, a force of death and destruction,” as virulent under Obama as George Bush.
The fallout includes a burgeoning national debt, loss of civil liberties and democratic freedoms, erosion of social services, collapse of the dollar, America already in decline, its coming loss of preeminence as a world power, its potential bankruptcy, perhaps demise in its present form. and the possibility of WW III.
America’s Illegal Wars of Aggression – The “Supreme Crime”
All US post-WW II conflicts were premeditated wars of aggression against nations posing no threat to America –
what Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg called:
the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Canadian Law Professor Michael Mandel explained America’s guilt in his superb 2004 book, “How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity,” his main theme being Jackson’s Nuremberg “supreme crime” declaration, as relevant now as then.
Tragically, as Edward Herman observed in reviewing Mandel’s book:
“The problem for the United States (and the world) has been that this country is now in the business of aggression and its commission of the “supreme crime” is standard policy, thereby bringing the “scourge of war” across the globe in direct violation of the UN charter.”
Its Purposes and Principles state that:
“The Purposes of the United Nations are:
(1) To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”
Conspiratorially with NATO and Israel, America willfully and repeatedly violates international and US laws, punishes its victims, absolves itself, and since WW II has directly or indirectly murdered millions of people globally, mostly civilian non-combatants.
Barack Obama – America’s New Warrior President
America glorifies conflicts and the righteousness of waging them, packaged as liberating ones for democracy, freedom, justice, and the best of all possible worlds. Obama is just the latest in a long line of warrior leaders promising peace by waging war, justifying them by bogus threats, and calling pacifism unpatriotic to further an imperial agenda for greater wealth, power, and unchallengeable global dominance.
In opposition to his announced Afghanistan surge, peace activists gathered across from the White House on December 12 for an “Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally” organized by “End US Wars”- a new coalition of grassroots anti-war organizations.
Speakers included Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Granny D (age 100 on January 24, 2010) former Senator Mike Gravel (1969 – 1981), and former Representative and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, among others.
This writer was asked to prepare a short commentary to be read to the crowd. Updated, it’s reproduced below:
Obama’s Permanent War Strategy
Disingenuously calling Afghanistan a “war of necessity, not choice,” Obama ordered 30,000 more troops deployed over the next six months with perhaps many more to follow. In one of his most defining decisions, he’s more than doubled the force count since taking office, angered a majority in the country, and continues his permanent war agenda while calling himself a man of peace.
Next target, Yemen, and its newest, occupied Haiti for plunder, exploitation, and very likely killing unwanted Haitians by neglect, starvation, disease, and face-to-face confrontations if they resist.
As a candidate, Obama campaigned against imperial militarism, promised limited escalation only, and pledged to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. That was then. This is now, and consider what he has in mind – the permanent occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and more.
Besides the Afghan escalation, he’s also destabilizing Pakistan to balkanize both countries, weakening them to control the Caspian Sea’s oil and gas riches and their energy routes to secured ports for export. The strategy includes encircling Russia, China, and Iran, obstructing their solidarity and cohesion, defusing a feared geopolitical alliance, weakening the Iranian government, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, eliminating Israel’s main regional rival, and securing unchallenged Eurasian dominance over this resource rich part of the world that includes China, Russia, the Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.
Like George Bush, Obama plans permanent war and more military spending than all other nations combined at a time America has no enemies. He promised change and betrayed us. Grassroots activism must stop this madness and make America a nation again to be proud of. The alternative is too grim to imagine.
Over 50 years ago, Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) warned:
“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war” and live in peace, because we have no other choice.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached
By Nabil Yousaf
A senior police officer said soon after the men’s arrest that authorities were likely to deport them, but it now looks increasingly likely that they will face trial in Pakistan on charges that carry a maximum term of life imprisonment.
The men could be indicted on as many as seven charges at their next hearing March 10, lawyer Hamid Malik said. The judge ordered the defense to review the prosecution report presented in the Sargodha town court and to prepare a rebuttal.
Pakistani police have publicly made several accusations against the young men, saying the suspects contacted Pakistani-based jihadi groups. They accused the five of using the social-networking site Facebook and video-sharing site YouTube while they were in the United States to try to connect with extremist groups in Pakistan.
Also yesterday, Pakistan’s army said that it had wrapped up military operations in a former Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold in the country’s northwest that it had declared free of extremists a year ago only to see violence continue.
The second declaration of victory in the Bajur tribal region along the Afghan border showed the difficulty of fully pacifying the country’s volatile northwest, even with the deployment of thousands of troops.
Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, commander of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, said the latest offensive launched in late January meant that extremists in Bajur were no longer able to cross over into Afghanistan to join the fight against U.S. and NATO forces and would find it more difficult to stage attacks inside Pakistan.
By David Glenn Cox
March 01, 2010 “Salon” — Feb. 25, 2010 — I want you to look very closely at this picture and try and keep it in your minds eye. This was a perfectly healthy twenty two-year-old young man who in the service of his country got half of his head blown off. I think that’s important, I think that’s newsworthy. Let me tell you how newsworthy I think it is. I think that it’s more important than chocolate cake recipes and far more important than comic book reviews. It is more important than who fell and whose swell at the winter Olympic games.
It is far more important than any self-serving load of crap banged out by Pseudo doctor Amy. It is more important than American Idol or Lost or any other mindless goat droppings the public chooses to chew on. This is some American mother’s son, her little boy, he may be gay or straight or transgender but his life is fucked forever.
How did this come to happen to this poor mother’s son? It came to happen because the people in the media who are supposed to foster a public debate on such public issues as war instead used their franchise to promote articles about chocolate cake and comic book reviews. They see their free press as free to choose not to look when bad thinks happen. They feel no need to explain to his parents or to anyone that the war that blew off half of this poor boys head was based on out and out lies.
It was a war perpetrated by people who hoped to gain from it be it in oil or pipelines or service contracts and like the media they don’t care that this mother’s son is mangled and mutilated. Do you care? I’ve been married twice for a combined twenty-five years and in that time I doubt my wives ever baked a chocolate cake. I don’t read comic books or watch goat crap TV but you see I’ve got a son about this boy’s age. My heart aches and my mind fills with rage because the people that have the power and authority to show this picture would rather talk about American Idol and from where I sit that makes them an accomplice to a war crime.
Because not content to ignore the current victims they support more crimes and call for more wars. Several years ago in Iraq parents waited for their children at a bus stop. An errant coalition missile struck the bus stop and blew the elementary school age children to pieces. Needless to say this wasn’t widely reported but the parents in a frenzy began fighting over the body parts of their children. Little arms and legs, little headless torsos identifiable only by the shirt or dress they were wearing. Imagine the horror, imagine the type of people who could do such a thing. How do they live with themselves? How do they sleep at night?
They do it by watching Lost and American Idol and by eating chocolate cake. They read comic books and watch sports. It makes life easy because the media will not intrude on their fantasy world but instead will promote the fantasy. Oh, but who won the gold metal in curling and who was eliminated on American Idol.
Iraq war Coalition Deaths 4,696
Iraqi civilian deaths and injured, 1,366,650
Afghanistan coalition Deaths 1,659
American taxpayers bill as of today $964,044,305,874
© 2010 Salon Media Group, Inc.
The increasing rate of preventable maternal mortality is a symptom of the larger social injustice of discrimination against women. Thousands of avoidable maternal deaths each year indicate the government’s unfaithfulness to domestic and international laws
During the recent visit of
President Asif Ali Zardari, due to closure of the roads in Quetta, a poor woman gave a birth in an auto rickshaw. The situation in Balochistan will not be any different if the president would not have visited, but thanks to the media’s ambivalent relationship with the president, they highlighted and debated the issue at length to disparage Mr Zardari.
Though, fortuitously, this impecunious woman survived, there are hundreds of unfortunate women in the province who lose their lives simply because of natal complications and lack of maternal healthcare facilities.
The state of women’s rights in the province presents an extremely grim picture, where the maternal mortality ratio in rural Balochistan is 750 compared with the national average of 270 deaths per every 100,000 live births.
Women are discriminated against in the country at large, but in Balochistan they are discriminated against by the state. They have no access to enabling opportunities required for the empowerment of women in any modern and civilised society. Due to acute poverty, lack of medical facilities and trained personnel, and extremely poor infrastructure and communication resources, women in Balochistan are the prime victims of systematic and institutionalised discrimination imposed by Islamabad’s super-elite and policy makers.
The endless military operation, internal displacement, disappearances, intimidation and the prolonged Baloch-Islamabad conflict are hitting hard the already deprived women in the province. The central government’s discriminatory policy is not only resulting in a slowdown of gender empowerment, it is affecting the overall social and economic development process in the province.
During the recent offensives against the Baloch people started in 2003 and escalated in December 2005, about 2,600 to 3,200 innocent people have been killed in the operations including air raids in Balochistan, especially in Marri and Bugti areas. About 80-85 percent of those either killed or injured were women and children.
According to the United Nations December 2006 estimates, there were 84,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Balochistan, of which 26,000 were women and 33,000 were children. The provincial officials have not provided any relief and standard shelter to the Baloch IDPs. According to local sources, due to total blockade of Marri and Bugti areas by the security forces, about 8,000 to 10,000 allegedly died due to exodus, malnourishment, lack of shelter and disease. They had been reportedly living in deplorable conditions in the makeshift camps with no access to potable water, food, and other basic necessities. No medical facilities, electricity or even fuel to run water pumps was provided to these areas.
There have been reports of a severe malnutrition crisis among the IDPs. UNICEF, in its internal assessment report on nutritional status of women and children among the IDPs, revealed that 28 percent children under the age of five were ‘acutely undernourished’. Out of them, six percent were in the state of ‘severely acute malnutrition’ and 80 percent of the deaths among the IDPs were of children under the age of five. Six percent of the children were so underfed that they would die without immediate medical attention.
From the beginning, Islamabad has outrageously tried to cover up its ill-conceived and discriminatory policies by blaming the Baloch themselves for their appalling state. However, findings on health, education, communication, political empowerment and economic development clearly indicate that human development in Balochistan has been deliberately ignored by successive governments.
The increasing rate of preventable maternal mortality is a symptom of the larger social injustice of discrimination against women. Thousands of avoidable maternal deaths each year indicate the government’s unfaithfulness to domestic and international laws. Experts have indicated the basic lack of safe drinking water and sanitation as the major cause of infant and maternal mortality in the province.
The Pakistan Living Standard Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2004-5, identifies a sharp inter-provincial disparity with regard to access to safe drinking water. Several reports state that 52 percent of the population in Balochistan uses wells and open ponds for drinking water, compared to three percent in Punjab, 13 percent in Sindh and 35 percent in NWFP.
Despite being a signatory of major international conventions, Islamabad continues to ignore women’s basic rights to education in Balochistan. Access to all levels of education is crucial to empowering girls and women to participate in economic, social and political life of their societies. Education unlocks a woman’s potential, and is accompanied by improvements in health, nutrition, and well being of their families. The PSLM survey reported alarming regional disparity in the education sector. According to the survey, only 27 percent of the students in Balochistan complete primary or higher education, compared to 64 percent in Punjab. The increasing dropout rate is due to the unavailability of middle and high schools.
Islamabad is totally inactive and ignorant about the need to reduce or remove the interprovincial gender disparity and bring the neglected women of Balochistan at par with the rest of the provinces. Inter-provincial gender inequality in the employment sector is unspeakable. According to the State Bank of Pakistan’s 2005-06 report, Balochistan and the NWFP have the highest female unemployment rate of 27 percent and 29 percent, compared to seven percent and 20 percent for Punjab and Sindh respectively.
In fact, acute poverty at the margins appeared to be hitting the hardest at women. As long as women’s access to healthcare, education and training remains limited, prospects for improved social status of female population will remain bleak.
A large number of women’s vocational and training centres in Punjab make women more capable and confident to qualify for market jobs. Punjab has 111 women’s vocational institutes; Balochistan has only one.
Due to the severe shortage of girls’ schools in the province, only 23 percent rural girls are lucky enough to be enrolled at primary level as compared to 47 percent in rural Punjab.
The Social Policy Development Centre 2005 report discovered that the percentage of the population living in a high degree of deprivation stands at 88 percent in Balochistan, 51 percent in the NWFP, 49 percent in Sindh and 25 percent in Punjab. According to poverty-related reports, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line stands at 63 percent in Balochistan, 26 percent in Punjab, 29 percent in the NWFP and 38 percent in Sindh.
No development policy could succeed unless it is based on the needs and participation of the people in the process. In Balochistan’s case, what the people need is socio-economic development, political empowerment, clean drinking water, electricity, practical education, basic health facilities, and proper roads and infrastructure connecting rural towns to the main centres.
But the central government is doing the opposite. The Baloch are subject to extreme discrimination. No state in the present era singles out its citizens on the basis of region and ethnicity. My friend President Zardari, instead of giving a few hundred thousand rupees to the victim whose case was highlighted due to his visit to Quetta, needs to address the appalling state of women’s rights and issues in Sindh and Balochistan and rectify some of the discriminatory institutional policies preventing women’s empowerment in all aspects of society.
The writer is a former Senator and Research Fellow at Inter-Parliamentary Union Geneva, Switzerland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A leading Islamic scholar has issued a fatwa in Britain condemning “terrorists” as the enemies of Islam, in a bid to deter young Muslims from extremism.
Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, head of the Minhaj ul-Quran religious and educational organisation, said suicide bombers were destined for hell as he released his 600-page edict in London on Tuesday.
“They can’t claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma [the wider Muslim community], no, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are leading towards hellfire,” he said.
“There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered Jihad,” he said.
‘No place in Islam’
At a news conference, ul-Qadri said Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty, “betterment”, goodness and “negates all form of mischief and strife”.
“Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts,” he said.
A number of edicts condemning extremism have been made by Islamic groups since the September 11 attacks on the United States, but ul-Qadri insists his is the most wide-reaching.
“This is the first, most comprehensive fatwa on the subject of terrorism ever written,” he told the Reuters news agency.
“I have tried to leave not a single stone unturned on this particular subject and I have tried to address every single question relevant to this subject.”
Pakistan-born ul-Qadri, 59, has written about 350 books on Islam, and is a scholar of Sufism, a Muslim branch that focuses on peace, tolerance, and moderation.
The Quilliam Foundation, a UK counter-extremism think-tank, said the fatwa was “arguably the most comprehensive” theological refutation of Islamic extremism.
Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge University, said while ul-Qadri’s step of declaring “miscreants as unbelievers” was unusual, it was unlikely extremists would take notice of his edict.
“Those who are already hardliners will pay no attention at all. But ‘swing voters’ – poorly educated and angry Muslims, who respect mainstream scholars, will probably take note,” he told Reuters.
Ul-Qadri said he felt compelled to issue the edict because of concerns about the radicalisation of British Muslims at university campuses and because there had been a lack of condemnation of extremism by Muslim clerics and scholars.
The Minhaj-ul-Quran movement, founded in Pakistan in 1980, works around the globe to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.