Heavy rains swamp camps holding Haiti’s homeless

Haitian children walk in the mud near a tent city on Friday in Port-au-Prince.

By Thony Belizaire, AFP/Getty Images

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — One of the heaviest rainfalls since Haiti‘s Jan. 12 earthquake swamped homeless camps Friday, sweeping screaming residents into eddies of water, overflowing latrines and panicking thousands.

The overnight downpour sent water coursing down the slopes of a former golf course that now serves as a temporary home for about 45,000 people.

There were no reports of deaths in the camp, a town-size maze of blue, orange and silver tarps located behind the country club used by the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne as a forward-operating base.

But the deluge terrified families who just two months ago survived the collapse of their homes in the magnitude-7 earthquake and are now struggling to make do in tent-and-tarp camps that officials have repeatedly said must be relocated.

“I was on one side (of the tarp), the children were on the other side and I was trying to push the water out,” Jackquine Exama, a 34-year-old mother of seven, said through tears.

“I’m not used to this,” she said.

Aid workers said people were swept screaming into eddies of water and flows ripped down tents an Israeli aid group is using to teach school.

“They were crying. There was just fear down there. It was chaos,” said Jim Wilson of the aid group Praecipio, who came running from his own shelter up the hill when he heard the screams.

After the sun rose Friday, people used sticks and their bare hands to dig drainage ditches around their tarps and shanties.

Marie Elba Sylvie, 50, could not decide whether it was worth repairing damage to her lean-to of scrap wood and plastic.

“It could be fixed but when it rains again it will be the same problem,” said the 50-year-old mother of four.

Standing water and mud also pervaded a tarp-and-tent city on the outskirts of Cite Soleil, several miles away. Residents waded through the shallow flood collecting their belongings.

Officials know they must move many of the 1.3 million people displaced by the earthquake before the rainy season starts in earnest in April. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the golf-course camp Sunday that the people living there were in particular danger.

But after two months of searching and wrangling with landowners, the government has still not opened any of the five promised relocation sites that are better able to withstand rain and aftershocks on the capital’s northeastern outskirts.

Aid groups are also struggling to open their own camps.

“It’s been frustrating to us because we need to have those sites in order to build something … better. Until we can do that people have no incentive to move,” U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes told The Associated Press during Ban’s visit.

“We’re running out of time, honestly,” Holmes said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Uzbek Leader, Alleged Predator Casualty, Threatens Everyone

Uzbek group to ‘free Pakistan from US control’

MIRANSHAH: The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) vowed on Thursday they would “free Pakistan from the American clutches” and continue jihad for the enforcement of sharia law in the country. The message was released through pamphlets distributed in North Waziristan’s Miranshah town, marking six years of the first-ever coordinated attack by security forces on their hideout near Wana in South Waziristan on March 16, 2004. The IMU is led by Uzbek terrorist Tahir Yuldashev who survived a Frontier
Corps attack in Kaloosha region of South Waziristan. The terrorists thwarted the attack and inflicted huge losses
to the FC. staff report

Punjab can no longer live in a state of denial

Punjab can no longer live in a state of denial

– by Ayaz Amir

If FATA represents the cutting edge of terrorism in the name of Islam, Punjab, unfortunately, is the hinterland of this phenomenon. Or, to borrow a phrase from the repertoire of military folly, Punjab is the strategic depth of bigotry and extremism masquerading in the colours of Islam.

Religious extremism took root in the soil of Pakistan thanks to the so-called Islamisation policies of Gen Ziaul Haq and his role in pushing the first Afghan ‘jihad’. The dragon’s teeth of our sorrows were scattered by Zia. We are reaping the harvest. 

Next in the line of military saviours, Pervez Musharraf — may Pakistan for all its faults never have such a saviour again — could have reversed the trend of the Zia years. But he had only a limited understanding of things. President Asif Zardari is not the first of our accidental leaders. Musharraf was another product of accident and circumstances. Had he not been plucked out of Mangla and made army chief Pakistan would have been spared the misfortunes it had to endure under his star.

He signed on with the Americans in 2001 but despite the two assassination attempts on him, he was never serious about cleansing the Frontier havens where the fleeing Taliban from Afghanistan had taken refuge. Far from eradicating the Taliban, his vacillation and lack of true commitment allowed the problem represented by the Taliban to grow. The Taliban phenomenon in Swat and the Lal Masjid affair — small problems through neglect assuming a bigger shape — were testimonies to his limited vision and short-sighted policies.

The extremism Pakistan is now battling is thus a gift whose line of descent can be traced from Zia to Musharraf. The army’s predicament can be imagined. The ghost it is trying to lay to rest was conceived and tested in its own laboratories. This is the Pakistani way of doing things. First create a problem and then invoke the power of heaven to eliminate it.

As an aside I can’t help adding that one of the key figures instrumental in getting US Congress to fund the Afghan resistance was Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas. Wilson was fond of a hard drink and fond of good-looking women, tempting qualities that suggested a swashbuckling knight errant. (Most men have Wilson’s inclinations. But it is not given to everyone to fulfil them.) The irony is piquant: someone like him emerging as one of the central protagonists in an enterprise hailed by its partisans as a great victory of Islam.

Wilson had all the fun while it lasted. On his frequent visits to Pakistan during that period he was never without one or two striking companions. The Pakistani generals he interacted with were content to make a lot of money, some of which shows in the prospering business enterprises of their lucky offspring. More than in most other places, it helps in Pakistan to have the right kind of father.

But to return to the complex relationship between the Frontier and Punjab in that clash of arms, fought for the greater glory of Islam, the former was the staging post or the launching pad of that ‘jihad’ while Punjab was what might be called, in military terminology, the concentration area. The nerve centre of that ‘jihad’ was ISI Hqs in Aabpara, Islamabad. CIA supplies were landed at Chaklala Airbase and then brought for storage to Ojhri Camp next to Faizabad in Rawalpindi. From there they were transported to the frontlines of the Frontier.

Meanwhile Zia’s missionary zeal, backed by Saudi money, was beginning to transform the Punjabi landscape. Madressahs or religious schools began cropping up everywhere, including Islamabad. Backed by state patronage, mullah power, hitherto not much of a factor in Pakistani politics, began to show its muscles.

There was a ban on politics in any case. Apart from PTV, there was no other TV channel and even PTV was being conquered by the mullahs. Newspapers lay under a heavy blanket of censorship. The only thing to do under Zia was to either watch Indian movies at home or perform the various rituals of religious hypocrisy in public. The begums of the good and great, never behind their men folk in bowing to the prevailing wings, entered heavily into the business of arranging religious ceremonies (milads) under one pretext or another. Pakistan became a very pious and hypocritical society. Even army promotions began to be affected by one’s reputation for religious observance or otherwise.

All the extremist outfits with whose names we are now familiar emerged at that time: the jaish this and that, the lashkar so and so. Most of them were Punjab-based and members from all these organisations acquired battle experience in Afghanistan. My friend Colonel Imam of Afghan ‘jihad’ fame — and who, like most good people, is from Chakwal — takes enormous pride in saying that the most fearless fighters of all were from Punjab. And he should know for he was in the thick of it.

When with the departure of the Soviet army and the victory of the Saudi and Charlie Wilson-funded ‘mujahideen’, the Afghan war wound down, the fighters who had gained battle experience in Afghanistan were shifted to an entirely different front: Kashmir, where in a protracted struggle they managed to tie down half a million Indian troops.

Their godfathers in the security establishment felt elated. Forgetting the role of hard-drinking Charlie Wilson and the Saudis, they wrote a self-glorifying narrative in which it was claimed that not only had the power of faith defeated the Soviets. It had also hastened the end and break-up of the Soviet empire. If a superpower could be thus defeated, zeal and the spirit of ‘jihad’ could work similar miracles in Kashmir.

This was the mood then pervading the top ranks of the army and the intelligence agencies. So it is scarcely to be wondered at that when after the fall of Kabul to the ‘mujahideen’, a Pakistani delegation was on its way to the Afghan capital, no sooner had the aircraft carrying it entered Afghan airspace when those on board, including some Americans, were startled by a loud cry: “Allah-o-Akbar”. This from the then ISI chief, the heavily-bearded Lt-Gen Javed Nasir.

Our rendezvous with our present extremist-flowing troubles did not come about from out of the blue. We had ploughed the land and watered it for a long time.

When the Americans attacked Afghanistan post-Sept 11, the theatre of ‘jihad’ shifted again: back to Afghanistan. The Bush administration of course screwed things up for itself by going on to attack Iraq before finishing the job in Afghanistan, a piece of folly sure to haunt the US for a long time to come. But Afghanistan was bad enough by itself. It reignited the fires of holy war and, given the iron dictates of geography, it was inevitable that Pakistan sooner or later would have its hands burned by another conflict raging in Afghanistan.

Once a change of course in our strategic course was forced upon us by the US — Musharraf succumbing to American pressure without extracting the kind of bargain that would have better served Pakistan’s interests — logic and necessity demanded a clean break with the playing-with-fire policies of the past. In other words, a clean and definitive break with Zia-minded ‘jihad’. But Musharraf played a double game. Even while dancing wildly to America’s tune he was never serious, or he lacked the will and capacity, to seriously rethink the past.

But now that under a new sun and a new sky we are finally embarked upon a new course — which marks a true break with the past — we have to realise the extent and magnitude of the problem. The terrorism we are now fighting is not a provincial subject. It is not confined to any one province. It is a composite whole, organically tied together, growing not from any isolated virus but from a sickness of the mind and soul which had the whole of Pakistan, or at least its strategic quartermasters, in its grip.

If Pakistan is to become something, realising its dreams and potential, if it has to enter the real world and leave the world of dreams and fantasies behind, then there is no course open to it except to tackle this sickness, no matter what it takes and what sacrifices it entails, without ifs and buts, and without any misconceived appeals to the Taliban.

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Brother Brother and Brother Pasha

Brother Brother and Brother Pasha

Author: Administrator | Posted: 20. February 2010 11:351

Extraordinary Rendition

By: Hakim Hazik

Dear Brother,

Do you seriously think that you can talk to the infidel Americans and the running dog Karzai while sitting in the citadel of Islam and enjoying the peace and prosperity of the city of Karachi? Do you think you can carry on behind our back while partaking of prime quality snuff, provided courtesy of the International Sensitive Agency?

You must be out of your mind brother Brother. You could easily find yourself at the wrong end of a drone fired missile. You could quite as easily find yourself on a trash heap outside Turbat, with a bullet firmly lodged in the back of the head. They would never find the empty shells brother; that’s the standard operative procedure. Anonymous bullets and dead men tell no tales.

You can run dear brother Brother, but you cannot hide. You can go to Maldives or you can go to the Oruzgan Province but in the end you will have to come home to daddy in the headquarters of the Agency. This is where you and I belong brother Brother. This is where you must come to sip your green tea and have your beard trimmed to the length prescribed by Sharia.

Oh oh, these manacles seem to have caused some abrasions to your hardy skin. Shall I get the batman to bring a turmeric dressing? It can be quite soothing really. Do you want some sugar lumps with your green tea? No no, it is no trouble at all. You must remember brother Brother you could easily have been sipping arsenic. Unlike sugar, there is no shortage. This is the land of the plenty. And as you know we have so many exotic spices and condiments in our warehouse.

When you get into bed with Karzai without telling us, don’t expect the earth to move. Nothing will move brother Brother, without our permission. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, least of all Holbrooke. Have you forgotten what has happened to Baitullah? Can you tell me where Hakimullah is today? Are you not aware of the fate of the 3 wives and 39 children of Haqqani? Helfires are precise munitions brother, but science is not infallible. You can never rule out human error.

Remember, it is us who look after the Shura. Quetta is crawling with spies brother. It is certainly no safer than Waziristan. If you want to go and talk to Amir ul Momineen, if you have received pleas for help from the infidels, that is fine. But you need someone to be watching your back. It is for your own safety. You should not wander into the unchartered territory. Our concerns are based on brotherly love only.

And yes, don’t make any mistakes. I am not in a hurry to retire. The summary is on the table of Sipah Salar Sahib. I should be around at least for another year to support you and help your through these difficult times.

I am my brother Brother’s keeper.

More articles by Hakim Hazik

India-Pakistan conundrum

India-Pakistan conundrum

Experts have predicted that future wars will be fought over water. States within India, like Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan, are continuously at each other’s throats because of this scarce natural resource.

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Pakistan, with a regressing economy, cannot keep up with Indian defence outlays even on proportional basis. Therefore, Pakistan has no choice but to detract and pull India back through other means

Like many last decades, the recent Indo-Pak talks in Delhi did not make any breakthrough. As usual, they provided the forum for both countries to restate their positions. The US can force the horse to the water, but cannot make it drink. As a matter of fact, Indo-Pak reconciliation is becoming more difficult every passing year because of increasing scarcity of water, a mutual desire to pull the other side down, and conflicts riddling societies in both countries. Sometimes it appears that keeping the tensions up serves both sides.

Pakistan was adamant to put the Kashmir and water issues on the agenda, while India was mainly interested in terrorism originating from Pakistan. For Pakistan, the territory of Kashmir may not be as important as the water issue. If the Pakistani claims are valid, then Indian infringements into the rivers running from its territory into Pakistan will leave major parts of Pakistan barren. Agriculture is not possible in Punjab and Sindh without river water. Therefore, unless Pakistan is assured on the supply of water, it will never abandon the proxies that can keep India on its toes by destabilising Kashmir.

Many world experts have predicted that future wars will be fought over water. States within India, like Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan, are continuously at each other’s throats because of this scarce natural resource. If federating units within India and Pakistan cannot forgo their claims, how will the two hostile nations? Therefore, the Indo-Pak dispute over water in the garb of the Kashmir problem is not unique and will not go away unless credible international organisations provide effective guarantees.

Besides the real issue of water, future scenarios are also an unending source of tension. India is growing fast and may want to leave Pakistan behind so that the competition between the two neighbours becomes irrelevant.

Following the Reagan strategy against Russia to raise defence expenditures to the level that your enemy breaks down if it tries to compete, India, by military expansion, is forcing Pakistan to follow suit and economically get destroyed.

Pakistan, with a regressing economy, cannot keep up with Indian defence outlays even on proportional basis. Therefore, Pakistan has no choice but to detract and pull India back through other means. Pakistan’s strategy has not worked very well because, despite the Kashmir issue, India has grown steadily. Probably, Pakistan’s military leadership is aware of its unsuccessful strategy and, therefore, trying to strengthen the state institutions to match Indian economic growth. However, it cannot let go of instruments developed to keep India distracted.

Besides the real geographic and economic issues between India and Pakistan, the public opinion in both countries has hardened. The new electronic media, run by not-so-well-groomed people, looks for the easy formula to dub villains in a situation.

The Indian media quickly blames Pakistan for any bomb blast in their country and the Pakistani media reflexively traces the tragic incidents on its territory to an Indian conspiracy. The situation has become so messy that it is hard to tell who is doing what.

The public in both countries accept the media versions because of changing public psyche due to internal conflicts and extreme rightwing forces donning the mantle of patriotism. While Pakistan is fighting the Taliban and other Jihadi outfits, India is also mired in communal, ethnic and guerrilla insurgency.

The Gujarat massacre of Muslims, the Shiv Sena crusade to cleanse Maharashtra and Mumbai of North Indians, and the Maoist guerrilla war are just a few things that have embittered the public psyche. A psyche born out of a constant conflict-ridden atmosphere can easily be turned against other nations.

The right wing’s monopoly over patriotism in Pakistan, a well-entrenched phenomenon, has been replicated in India. The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially the Narendra Modi brand, and the likes of Bal Keshav Thackeray, founder of Shive Sena, have become the standard bearers of national pride. They have pushed the Congress Party to the right as well in pursuit of patriotism.

The decline of communist parties in North India has also been responsible for the unchecked rise of a jingoistic style of nationalism. The dynamics of generating hatred are becoming much more powerful than the forces preaching reconciliation within the country and in the international arena.

Settlement of longstanding issues between India and Pakistan is becoming more difficult than it was in the past. The fight over water with hardening public opinion in both countries is further complicating the situation. No one knows how and where the chips are going to fall.


Source: Wichaar.com Image: rupeenews.com

Israel Is Boss

Freedom Rider: Israel Is Boss

Posted Tue, 03/16/2010 – 21:44 by Margaret Kimberley

bibi and hillaryby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Corporate media pretend U.S.-Israeli relations are in “crisis,” just as they have many times in the past. It’s all a charade, a play for national and international audiences. In real crises, relationships are called into question. But there has never been any question about who is in charge of this “partnership”: Israel. And don’t you dare forget it.
Freedom Rider: Israel Is Boss
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The Obama administration, like every other presidential administration in the last sixty years, does what Israel wants it to do.”
The United States may invade and occupy Iraq, undermine elected presidents in Haiti and throw its weight around in numerous ways in numerous parts of the world. Yet there is one country it does not dare to confront. Of course, the nation in question is Israel.
Israel and its allies in the United States make certain that no president, no political party, no congressional leader nor any citizen who wishes to be in any way influential, will dare to step outside the lines of proscribed behavior and discourse. The American public, either because they are aware of the pro-Israel grip on power, or because they have swallowed the propaganda whole, remain cowed and silent.
Israel can do whatever it wants not only with the United States, but with other western nations as well. Mossad agents succeeded in murderingHamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabouh in Dubai last month by using doctored British, Irish, French, Australian and German passports and credit cards issued to an Israeli-run bank located in South Dakota. None of the nations involved has uttered more than the slightest peep after having their sovereignty violated in such an obvious manner.
None of the nations involved in the Dubai assassination has uttered more than the slightest peep after having their sovereignty violated.”
Just in case there was any doubt about who is in charge, Israel insulted Vice President Joseph Biden and the United States government when Biden made a recent visit to Jerusalem. Biden made the pro forma journey to go through the motions of requesting that the peace process continue. The Israelis could have nudged, winked and gone through the pretense of moving forward on a just peace process. Instead they announced that more Jewish housing will be constructed on Palestinian land, embarrassing the Vice President and his boss, who wanted to pretend to be even handed when they and the rest of American political leadership are anything but. The Obama administration, like every other presidential administration in the last sixty years, does what Israel wants it to do. There shouldn’t be any reason for Israel to yank the Americans’ chain so hard and so publicly, but why follow the rules of diplomatic niceties when doing otherwise has been so successful?
The only thing worse than the obvious slap in the face, is the phony outrage surrounding it. No one gets anywhere near a presidential nomination without first swearing obedience to the Zionists and their lobby. If Obama and Biden and Hillary Clinton were truly upset with the Israelis, it is only because they were so blatant in making them all look like chumps.
No one gets anywhere near a presidential nomination without first swearing obedience to the Zionists and their lobby.”
Just a few weeks before Obama was sworn into office, George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice were the victims of an Israeli public beat down. Bush was literally pulled off a stage where he was about to give a speech and forced to take a phone call from then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Rice had worked on a Security Council resolution which merely called for a cease fire in Israel’s massacre of thousands of people in Gaza. Olmert bragged in a press conference, “I said, ‘I don’t care; I have to talk to him.’” Not content to tell the world that he ordered the American president to follow his orders, he took a swipe at Rice too. “He gave an order to the secretary of state, and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed, and abstained on a resolution she arranged.” It isn’t surprising that Israel would repeat the humiliation just a year later with a different president.
It doesn’t matter if David Axelrod goes on the Sunday morning news shows and fakes outrage about Israel’s settlements. It matters that Israel continues to steal Palestinian land and it matters that only those willing to go along with the crime are allowed to entertain any idea of having a role in United States foreign policy decisions.
The United States government is actually becoming more and more like Israel.”
Far from being angry at Israel, the United States government is actually becoming more and more like that nation. The Obama administration claims the right to carry out extra judicial assassinations just like their Middle East partner in crime. The temporary embarrassment and damage control pronouncements are not worthy of anyone’s attention.
The only lesson to learn from this sorry episode is that nothing new has taken place between the United States and Israel. All Americans are still made complicit in the joint criminality and earn the enmity of most of the world as a result. So don’t believe the hype. There is nothing to see here, just move along.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.