Master, Organ-grinder and the Monkey

Master, Organ-grinder & the Monkey

There has been much analysis and comment on the three year extension granted to the Chief of Army Staff by the Prime Minister.  The fact that the Prime Minister got all dressed up to appear on television for two minutes to announce this indicates that, to paraphrase the immortal Inspector Jacques Clouseau, hidden forces are at work.  It escaped nobody’s notice that during the “strategic talks’, the COAS has remained the focus of American attention and all meaningful discussions have been held with him directly, while mere photo opportunities have been saved for the civilian leaders.  A friend of mine summed up the situation better than I ever could:  “The masters have realized that if they can deal directly with the organ-grinder, then why waste time dealing with the monkey?”

Yours Sincerely,

Ameer Bhutto


Doku Umarov Resigns as Emir of Caucasus

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video announces resignation of Chechen rebel

(AP) – 2 hours ago

MOSCOW — The leader of Chechnya’s separatist militants, who claimed responsbility for the Moscow subway bombings that killed 40 people in March, has purportedly announced in a video posted on YouTube that he is stepping down.

Doku Umarov, regarded in the United States and Russia as a terrorist, says in the grainy footage that he is ceding leadership to a younger and more energetic deputy. The authenticity of the video could not be verified, and a website sympathetic to the rebels of the Russian province was down on Monday.

The 46-year-old Umarov took over as so-called Emir of the Caucasus Emirate — the separatists’ top post in Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region — in 2006. The rebels seek an independent Shariah state.

Umarov has claimed responsibility for several recent terrorist attacks in Russia.

Framing Pakistan: How the pro-Israel media enables India’s surrogate warfare

Framing Pakistan: How the pro-Israel media enables India’s surrogate warfare

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

(This is a cross post)
In its bitter rivalry with India, Pakistan is at a fatal disadvantage. Unlike its South Asian neighbour, Islamabad lacks an ally with considerable influence over American mainstream media.

The latest example of US media complicity with the Indo-Israeli alliancecame in the aftermath of the much-hyped Times Square “car-bomb”incident. Typical of the media orgy of Pakistan-bashing that followed the discovery of an SUV packed with 250 pounds of non-explosive fertilizer was a piece written by Newsweek’s Indian-born editor, Fareed Zakaria, in which he brands Pakistan as “a terrorist hothouse.”
“For a wannabe terrorist shopping for help, Pakistan is a supermarket,” writes Zakaria. “There are dozens of jihadi organizations: Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Qaeda, Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani’s network, Tehrik-e-Taliban, and the list goes on. Some of the major ones, like the Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, operate openly via front groups throughout the country. But none seem to have any difficulty getting money and weapons.”
Zakaria is in no doubt about who’s to blame.
“From its founding, the Pakistani government has supported and encouraged jihadi groups, creating an atmosphere that has allowed them to flourish,” claims the CNN pundit.
To back up his assertions, Zakaria cites no less an authority that Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. In Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, which Zakaria considers a “brilliant history,” Husain Haqqani claims that support for jihad has been “a consistent policy of the state.”
Case closed for the prosecution? Perhaps not.
The Pakistani diplomat’s credibility as an objective critic of jihadism is undermined somewhat by his intimate ties to the Israel-centricneoconservative network. A former fellow at the Likudnik Hudson Institute, Haqqani co-chaired Hudson’s Project on Islam and Democracy. Its director, Hillel Fradkin, was a Project for a New American Century signatory to a 2002 letter to George W. Bush equating Yasser Arafat with Osama Bin Laden in an effort to convincethe White House thatIsrael’s fight against terrorism is our fight.”
Haqqani also collaborated with another neocon, Stephen Schwartz, on the Institute for Islamic Progress and Peace. A project of the notoriousIslamophobe Daniel Pipes, it is widely suspected to be an attempt to “divide and conquer” the American Muslim community. In short, if Tel Aviv had handpicked Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, they could hardly have found a more suitable candidate than Haqqani.
Also advancing “the Pakistan Connection” to the Times Square plot is Haqqani’s onetime collaborator Stephen Schwartz. Writing in Rupert Murdoch’s staunchly pro-Israel Weekly Standard, Schwartz pushes “the Pakistani Taliban did it” storyline. Faisal Shahzad’s arrest, he writes, “lends credibility to the claim by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the branch of the Afghan terrorist movement operating there, that they planted the unsuccessful car-bomb.”
Like Zakaria, Schwartz holds Pakistani authorities responsible.
“Pakistani reality cannot be evaded,” he writes. “The jihadist domination seen in the Pakistani army and intelligence services (ISI) is visible everywhere South Asian Muslims congregate. It explains the reluctance of the Pakistani government to fulfill its commitment to fighting the Taliban. And it equally accounts for conspiracies like that foiled in Times Square.”
The one evading “Pakistani reality,” however, is Schwartz. If any government is to be held responsible for terrorism carried out by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it is not in Islamabad but in Tel Aviv or New Delhi.
As Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today, revealed in a recentinterview: “We have very little doubt that the Indians and the Israelis, that are all over Afghanistan with German passports pretending to be military contractors, are operating 17 camps along the Taliban regions training and arming terrorists.”
According to Duff, “The Pakistani Taliban is in close cooperation with, supplied, financed, armed and trained by Israel and India to attack Pakistan.”
Duff’s claims are based on a February 2010 fact-finding tour of Pakistan, where he was briefed by the highest levels of the country’s military and intelligence establishment, including Lieutenant GeneralHamid Gul, former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Mirza Aslam Beg, former Chief of Army Staff.
Fearful of offending their Israel-conscious paymasters in Washington, the Pakistani military and intelligence services have been forced into the humiliating position of leaking their side of the story through the Veterans Today website.
According to the ISI leak, the Times Square terror plot was a “false flag operation to implicate the Pakistani Taliban and then threaten and force Pakistan to ‘do more’ in North Waziristan.” This was followed by “a massive media disinformation war” to induce the belief that “all global terrorism is emerging from the Pakistani tribal pocket of North Waziristan, and that the ISI/army is either hands and gloves with the Taliban or not willing to do more.”
Clearly, Israel and India share a common geostrategic interest in thedestabilization of the nuclear-armed Muslim nation. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, “Our ties with India don’t have any limitation….”
Israel, however, has proven itself a rather dubious ally—as a growing number of Americans are beginning to realize. Perhaps one day policymakers in New Delhi will have a similar awakening. But for the time being, the media component of its alliance with Tel Aviv affords India a powerful weapon to wage surrogate warfare against Pakistan.

(Maidhc Ó Cathail is widely published writer based in Japan. His work has appeared in, Khaleej Times, Pakistan Observer, Tehran Times, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and many more publications.)

America’s “Dog in the Fight”

America’s “Dog in the Fight”

Will Hezbollah leash ‘Nabi’ ?

Part IX of a Series on
Securing Palestinian Civil Rights
in Lebanon

Franklin Lamb
Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, Beirut
For months as Lebanon’s historic debate over basic civil rights for Palestinian
refugees has unfolded, the Obama administration has watched idly along
the sidelines. As hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees cough and
slow-bake while inhaling rancid camp air in Lebanon’s sweltering breezeless
heat, the White House has now sent Lebanon’s Parliament a message.
The United States will not support meaningful civil, social or economic rights
for the World’s largest and oldest refugee population and it wants them
naturalized anywhere except anyplace in Palestine.

Many had been hoping that President Obama would honor in Lebanon
his calls for “American style civil rights” for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,
where daily US military actions betray American founding principles.
Or that his administration would act to give some credence to Obama’s June
2009 Cairo speech or at least the pledges of Presidential envoy George
Mitchell to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that “the United States will
work without rest until the inhuman conditions of Palestinians in all the
refugee camps are ended.”

The US Embassy media office in Lebanon advised Palestine Civil Rights
Campaign volunteers last month, referring to the Parliamentary debate, that
The United States does not have a dog in the fight.” An odd choice of words,
one might think, given still fresh Lebanese memories of dogs in the fight from
18 years of Israeli troops brutally occupying 151 South Lebanon villages
and using US funded attack dogs to terrorize the population and employing
dogs to desecrate dozens of South Lebanon’s Mosques.

In point of fact the Obama administration does have a dog in this historic
civil rights struggle in Lebanon. Figuratively speaking, the cur is a cross
between a Pit-bull-Doberman and rabid Rottweiler and is known locally as
“NABI” (Naturalization Anywhere But Israel).

The White House, and the Congressional Israeli lobby, intends that “NABI”
shepherds and corrals Lebanon’s Palestinians and resettles them permanently
and painlessly (at least for their well paid host countries) around the World.
The further from Palestine the refugees end up the better with perhaps
as many as 100,000 Palestinians slated to be kept in Lebanon, even though
they will be arrested if they travel south anywhere along the ‘ blue line’ and
happen to rest at villages like Maron al Ras and wistfully gaze towards
their former homes and villages near Akka or Safad, for example. The US
also expects NABI to disembowel the Right of Return and has begun
arranging for Arab oil cash to foot the bill for this US-Israel project. The
Obama administration, colluding with Israel, is backing the gradual
naturalization of the Palestinians wherever they are or can be embedded. In
this context, and according to the information acquired by the Kuwait Daily,
Al-Anbaa, “the State Department has formed a team of Arabs and Europeans,
in order to pressure the Gulf States into financing a fund to support any
country that will accept and nationalize Palestinians.”

During her Congressional confirmation hearing last month, Ms. Maura
Conelly, slated to replace Michele Sisson as US Ambassador in Lebanon, was
asked by a Congressional AIPAC agent where the State Department stood
on the issue of shipping Palestinians in Lebanon around the World.
She replied, “ Senator, the United States is opposed to forced naturalization”
implying that using cash inducements and other incentives to settle
Palestinians, rather than a spring 1948 Nakba ethnic cleansing operation
would be ok. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey
Feltman had assured Lebanon that the US was absolutely against
naturalization of Palestinians in Lebanon, but that was during the run up to
last spring’s Lebanese municipal elections when many US political promises
were being made in the hope of buttressing the poll prospects of the
anti-Hezbollah and anti-Palestinian voters, who today are, by and large, the
same politicians opposing Palestinian civil rights.

MP Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah ally,
(except on the issue of granting Palestinians even elementary civil rights),
has been barnstorming this week warning of the US-Israeli project. On
7/26/10 Aoun declared:

“This ( project to settle Palestinian refugees) is an issue that we reject,
and we will not be subject to any foreign policy planning to execute
certain plans. The US is not interested in assuring the security, stability
and sovereignty of Lebanon, but only in solving Israel’s Palestinian
problem at the expense of we Lebanese.”
Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel quickly added his voice to that of his
rival Aoun and expressed his fears of the Israeli-US plan to naturalize
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. He revealed in an interview with Al-Jazeera
that he has information “of an Israeli plan, backed by the American side, to
naturalize Palestinians through the efforts of international institutions”.

Amin has no problem with scuttling the Right of Return and is in favor of
naturalization as long as it does not happen In Lebanon. This is 50% of the
Israeli and American position—only point of contention expressed by the
Lebanese right wing elements is that the US and Israel have no problem with
Palestinians being naturalized in Lebanon— the NABI concept.

The Obama administration reckons that the Lebanese government can be
“induced” to cooperate and social services for the remaining Palestinian
refugees can be paid for by allies including some OPEC members even as
UNRWA is to be phased out which, Israel and the US favor in the
intermediate period.

Why UNRWA must be dismantled

For Israel and its American proxies in Washington, UNRWA, by the simple
fact of its existence, is metaphorically Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell Tale Heart that
won’t stop beating and with each ever louder beat reminds the World of
Israel’s serial international crimes. The reason UNRWA must be mauled by
NABI is that Israel has long believed that by its very name, The United
Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,
UNRWA, haunts people to inquire into its work and what happened in
Palestine during the Nakba. Israel cannot abide the current maturing
generation, especially in the West, but also in Israel, studying UNRWA’s
history of achievements for the Palestinians in the context of six decades of
massacres, land grabs and ethnic cleansing.

The Tell Tale Heart of UNRWA must be silenced and its services assumed, at
least for a few years, by Europe and the US using Arab money. The US-Israeli
plan is that the naturalized refugees will be on their own wherever they end
up and UNRWA can be permanently dismantled.

US Congressional sources close to Israel expect UNRWA to be abolished
outright or at least financially gutted following Congressional Hearings and
an Israeli lobby organized vilification campaign resurrecting the ‘terrorists
in their ranks’ and the false ‘anti-Semitic UNRWA textbooks’ paradigms
of the recent past. A campaign similar to the never proven charges made by
Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and others at AIPAC events that
leveled charges such as raising terrorists in UNRWA schools, is what is under
consideration. In Lebanon, the fact of the matter is that UNRWA hermetically
seals its 78 schools from Palestinian politics and history. Youngsters in
the camps report to the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon (PCRC)
that UNRWA is so afraid of criticism by Israel or the US Congress that it does
not even allow them to wear the traditional keffiyeh or tee shirts, bracelets,

necklaces or flag pins which might suggest (heaven forbid!) political support

for their own country, Palestine.
The American brand

The US government strongly favors the draft law proposal of Samir Geagea’s
Lebanese Forces- March 14th “coalition”. This lowest common denominator,
watered down approach, currently scheduled for an August 17th
Parliamentary vote, offers the Palestinians refugees some crumbs including
adjusting Article 9 of the Labor code to make it easier to secure a work permit
but does not allow home ownership, meaningful social security benefits or
access to the more than 20 syndicated professions. As currently drafted, the
March 14 “consensus proposal” will achieve essentially nothing towards
granting internationally mandated civil, social and economic rights for
Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees. The US government is backing the March
14th coalition proposal and will apply pressure to see it passed, at least, if it
looks like the Jumblatt-Progressive Socialist Party or the Syrian Socialist
National Party may have a chance of being adopted. Either of these two bills
would be a huge improvement over the ‘scattered chicken feed’ Lebanese
Forces bill or March 14 “consensus bill”.  If the American brand bill is enacted the US administration  will pressure its friends in the region to accept it and no doubt will announce  ‘ Palestinians civil rights mission accomplished.’ It will be a lie and pressure from the youth generation in the camps who are being denied dignity and any real
opportunity in life will continue to build toward explosion.

The US-Israel worry about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon securing the basic
right to work and to own a home has nothing to do with fears of al tawtin,
(naturalization) or the loss of the refugees Right of Return, which is a huge
concern of the Lebanese. Indeed, US-Israeli concerns are precisely the
opposite. Both want Palestinians to become citizens in dozens of countries if
necessary and to fade into the woodwork, and to forget about UN General
Assembly Resolution 194 which mandated their unalienable Right of Return.
Israel’s problem is that the Palestinian Right of Return is gaining
international momentum partly because of continuing Israeli crimes.

Despite sometimes mouthing support for the Right of Return, in a clumsy
and transparent effort to avoid granting Palestinians civil rights in the
interim, some US protégés in Lebanon could care less about the refugees
reclaiming their stolen homes and lands in Palestine. But, like the Palestinian
refugees themselves, they are dead set against the refugees staying any
longer than absolutely necessary in Lebanon. Consequently, the right-wing
Christian insistence on “No Naturalization” (emphatically shared by the
Palestinian refugees) is at odds with the American-Israeli project and this
issue is making for some interesting bedfellows.

The only political force in Parliament that can defeat this latest US-Israel
project which also indirectly targets Hezbollah and Iran, is the National
Lebanese Resistance with its broad based public support and legislative allies.
The Hezbollah-led resistance can marshal the 65 votes to enact an
internationally mandated civil rights law instead of the current feel-good feeble gesture the US-Israel and their proxies are currently planning for August 17. It is better for all concerned that this vote be postponed for 60  days rather than facilitate the US-Israel supported project.

If adopted, this  current, regressive “consensus” and fake “Palestinian refugee civil rights law” will fail to meet Lebanon’s internationally mandated duty to her refugees
and it will not even minimally comply with the requirements of the 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the 1966 International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the 1966 International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights; and the Casablanca Protocol on the Treatment
of Palestinians in Arab Countries of 11 September 1965. If passed in its
current form, it will guarantee bleak prospects for Lebanon’s Palestinian
refugees, and quite likely for Lebanon and the region for years to come.

Franklin Lamb volunteers in Lebanon with the Palestine Civil Rights
Campaign.  He is reachable c/o

Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon


Nine killed in anti-India protests in Kashmir

Nine killed in anti-India protests in Kashmir

Main Image 

Kashmiri protesters set ablaze a government vehicle after the death of two people in police firing in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar August 1, 2010. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Main Image 

A government vehicle is seen in flames as it was set on fire by Kashmiri protesters after the death of two people in police firing in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar August 1, 2010

Main Image 

Kashmiri women shout anti-India slogans outside a hospital where injured of a firing incident were brought in for treatment in Srinagar August 1,

Main Image 

Indian police patrol a curfew-bound locality in Srinagar August 1, 2010. A teenage boy was killed and 25 others wounded on Saturday when police in Indian Kashmir fired to disperse thousands of angry anti-India protesters

By Sheikh Mushtaq

SRINAGAR | Sun Aug 1, 2010 4:33pm EDT

India (Reuters) – At least nine people died in Indian Kashmir on Sunday in clashes between pro-independence protesters and police, officials and witnesses said.

It was the biggest death toll in a single day in the latest wave of protests in Kashmir which have strained relations between India and Pakistan.

Four people, including a girl, died from bullet injuries when police opened fire to quell a violent protest, while five others died in a blast after protesters set fire to a police station stored with explosives.

At least 35 people were injured in the blast in the Pampore area on the outskirts of Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar, where all the deaths happened during Sunday’s clashes.

"So far four people have died of bullet wounds and five have died when an ammunition dump went off after an angry mob torched a police camp," a senior police officer, who did not want to be named, told Reuters. Another top police official also confirmed the deaths.

At least 27 people, mostly of them protesters throwing stones, have been killed by security forces over the past six weeks during the biggest demonstrations against Indian rule in two years.

The latest deaths brought thousands of people out into the streets in Pampore and other neighboring areas shouting: "Go India go!, We want freedom!," as they set fire to government buildings and police vehicles.

Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear patrolled deserted streets across Kashmir and warned residents to stay indoors, witnesses said.

A separatist strike and security lock-down has dragged on for nearly a month-and-a-half in Kashmir, where thousands have been killed since an insurgency broke out in 1989.

Authorities have pleaded for calm.

"Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed to all sections of the society to extend their wholehearted cooperation in restoration of peace and normalcy in the valley," a government statement said.

Unrest in Kashmir will complicate efforts to improve relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, as the two countries try to revive peace talks halted after the 2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants.

The nuclear-armed rivals have fought two of their three full-scale wars over Kashmir.

(Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Myra MacDonald)