US Army Resorts To Mafia-Style Terrorism, Calls It “Psy-Op”

“I’m going to put a black bag over your head and you’re never going to see your family again.”

Army uses mind games to win over last of the locals

Ben Farmer

Say cheese ... A US soldier captures the day-to-day moments of his work during a patrol in Kandahar City.Say cheese … A US soldier captures the day-to-day moments of his work during a patrol in Kandahar City.

ZHARI, Kandahar province: The biggest military operation of the year has driven the majority of Taliban fighters out of the organisation’s birthplace, according to US-led forces.

One month after Dragon Strike began, soldiers of the US 101st Airborne Division say attacks in Zhari district in Kandahar province are down by two-thirds and Taliban threats that kept residents wary of the Americans have largely ended.

Each day 350 men and children queue in the town of Senjaray to work for the US.

Residents have begun to tell the Americans where bombs are planted, and soldiers patrol unopposed where two months ago they faced certain ambush.

Most insurgent fighters have fled south or melted away during the joint US-Afghan operation.

But while their remnants may only be a handful of grenade-throwing teenagers, they are enough to jeopardise progress.

The soldiers and the district governor, Karim Jan, said they were frustrated with the reluctance of residents to turn in or drive out the culprits.

The governor decided to act after the Taliban mounted two grenade attacks against American patrols on consecutive days.

As helicopters buzzed overhead, Afghan policemen backed by US soldiers seized shopkeepers and passers-by at random and bound their hands.

A procession of captives trailed the patrol as it filed through Senjaray’s alleyways. A loud speaker used by a US psychological operations team blasted out the message: ”The people of Zhari will now be held responsible for the cowardly actions of the enemy.”

Women wailed as a family member was hauled off and children cried as their neighbours’ door was kicked in.

The governor then addressed the detainees: ”This is the last time,” he told the men, pacing before them smoking a cigarette. ”If I see anybody supporting those bastards, giving them food or water, I’m going to arrest everyone in the whole town.”

After Mr Jan’s lecture, Captain Nick Stout added his own warning: ”I don’t care who you are, if there’s a grenade goes off and I see you around, I’m going to put a black bag over your head and you’re never going to see your family again.”

Mr Jan questioned his captives then cut their bindings or sent them blindfolded to a police truck. Six strangers to the town were driven to the police station and 22 people were released.

That afternoon, at a meeting of village elders, Captain Stout repeated his plea to residents to stop sitting on the fence.

The elders appealed for another week to talk to the people. That afternoon, the Afghan army spotted a suspected grenade thrower and arrested him. The next day an informant directed the Americans to a shop where another suspected attacker was detained.

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela

[All of this is a continuation of Ollie North’s “Office of Public Diplomacy” efforts, albeit an updated, computerized version of the original “democratic” subversion process first tested in the jungle labs of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.  (SEE: The Subtle Seeds of the Terror War).]

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela

By Eva Golinger
The Chavez Code

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela
Millions of dollars are being channeled to opposition groups in Venezuela via USAID, while the Pentagon has established a new PSYOP program directed at Venezuela, including a “5-day a week television program in Spanish broadcast in Venezuela” during 2011

The 2010 annual report of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a division of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), regarding its operations in Venezuela, evidences that at least $9.29 million USD was invested this year in efforts to “support US foreign policy objectives…and promote democracy” in the South American nation. This amount represents an increase of almost $2 million over last year’s $7.45 million distributed through this office to fund anti-Chávez political activities in the country.

The OTI is a department of USAID dedicated to “supporting US foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance democracy in priority countries in crisis. OTI works on the ground to provide, fast, flexible short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs”.

Although OTI is traditionally used as a “short-term” strategy to filter millions of dollars in liquid funds to political groups and activities that promote US agenda in strategically important nations, the case of Venezuela has been different. OTI opened its office in 2002, right after the failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chavez – backed by Washington – and has remained ever since. The OTI in Venezuela is the longest standing office of this type in USAID’s history.


In a confidencial memo dated January 22, 2002, Russell Porter, head of OTI, revealed how and why USAID set up shop in Venezuela. “OTI was asked to consider a program in Venezuela by the State Department’s Office of Andean Affairs on January 4…OTI was asked if it could offer programs and assistance in order to strengthen the democratic elements that are under increasing fire from the Chavez government”.

Porter visited Venezuela on January 18, 2002 and then commented, “For democracy to have any chance of being preserved, immediate support is needed for independent media and the civil society sector…One of the large weaknesses in Venezuela is the lack of a vibrant civil society…The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a $900,000 program in Venezuela that works with NDI, IRI and the Solidarity Center to strengthen political parties and the Unions…This program is useful, but not nearly sufficient. It is not flexible enough, nor does it work with enough new or non-traditional groups. It also lacks a media component”.

Since then OTI has been present in Venezuela, channeling millions of dollars each year to feed the political conflict in the country. According to the 2010 annual report, OTI is now operating “out of the US Embassy and is part of a larger US diplomatic effort to promote democracy in Venezuela”.

The principal investment of the $9.29 million in US taxpayer dollars in 2010 went to the opposition’s campaign for the legislative elections, held last September 26 in Venezuela. “USAID works with several implementing partners drawn from the spectrum of civil society…offering technical assistance to political parties…and supporting efforts to strengthen civil society”.

In Venezuela, it’s widely known that the term “civil society” refers to the anti-Chavez opposition.


Despite revealing its overall budget, the actual flow of funds from USAID/OTI to groups in Venezuela remains secret. When OTI opened its offices in 2002, it contracted a private US company, Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), one of the State Department’s largest contractors worldwide. DAI ran an office out of El Rosal – the Wall Street of Caracas – distributing millions of dollars annually in “small grants of no more than $100,000” to hundreds of mainly unknown Venezuelan “organizations”.

From 2002 to 2010, more than 600 of these “small grants” were channeled out of DAI’s office to anti-Chavez groups, journalists and private, opposition media campaigns.

In December 2009, DAI began to have severe problems with its operations in Afghanistan, when five of its employees were killed by alleged Taliban militants during an attack on their office December 15 in Gardez. Just days earlier, another DAI “employee”, Alan Gross, had been detained in Cuba and accused of subversion for illegally distributing advanced satellite equipment to dissidents.

When an article written by this author titled “CIA Agents assassinated in Afghanistan worked for “contractor” active in Venezuela, Cuba”, published December 30, 2009 on the web, evidenced the link between DAI’s operations in Afghanistan, Cuba and Venezuela, and their suspicious nature, the CEO of DAI, Jim Boomgard, was alarmed. Days later, he attempted to coerce me into a private meeting in Washington to “discuss” my article. When I refused, he threatened me by claiming that my writing was “placing all DAI employees worldwide in danger”. In other words, if anything happened to DAI employees, I would be personalIy responsible.

But Boomgard, who claimed little knowledge of his company’s operations in Venezuela, understood that what DAI was doing in Venezuela was nowhere near as important (to his company) as what DAI was doing in Afghanistan and other countries in conflict. Weeks later, DAI abruptly closed its office in Caracas.

Nonetheless, OTI continues its operations in Venezuela, and although it has other US “partners” managing a portion of its annual multimillion-dollar budget, such as IRI, NDI, Freedom House and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), there is zero transparency regarding funding to Venezuelan groups.

A report published in May 2010 by the Spanish think tank FRIDE assessing “democracy assistance” to Venezuela revealed that a significant part of the more than $50 million annually in political funding from international agencies to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela was entering illicitly. According to the report, in order to avoid Venezuela’s strict “currency control laws”, US and European agencies bring the monies in dollars or euros into the country and then change them on the black market to increase value. This method also avoids leaving a financial record or trace of the funds coming in to illegally finance political activities.

If DAI is no longer operating in Venezuela and distributing “small grants” to Venezuelan groups, then how are USAID’s multimillion-dollar funds reaching their recipients? According to USAID, they now operate from the US Embassy. Is the US Embassy illegally dishing out funds directly to Venezuelans?

OTI’s 2010 report also reveals the agency’s ongoing intentions to continue supporting and funding Venezuelan counterparts. In the section marked “Upcoming Events”, OTI makes clear where energies will be directed, “December 2012 – Presidential elections”.


USAID isn’t the only US agency intervening in Venezuela’s affairs. In the Pentagon’s 2011 budget, a new request for a “psychological operations program” for the Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), which coordinates all US military missions in Latin America, is included. Specifically, the request refers to the establishment of a “PSYOP voice program for USSOUTHCOM”.

PYSOP are, “planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals. The execution of PSYOP includes conducting research on various foreign audiences; developing, producing and disseminating products to influence these audiences; and conducting evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the PSYOP activities. These activities may include the management of various websites and monitoring print and electronic media”. Or, as the 2011 request indicates, running a radio or audio program into a foreign nation to promote US agenda.

USSOUTHCOM’s new PSYOP program in Latin America will complement a new State Department initiative run out of the Board of Broadcasting Governors (BBG), which manages US propaganda worldwide. BBG’s whopping 2011 budget of $768.8 million includes “a 30-minute, five-day-a-week VOA [Voice of America] Spanish television program for Venezuela”.

This increase in PSYOP and pro-US propaganda directed at Venezuela evidences an escalation in US aggression towards the region.

And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is still running a special intelligence “mission” on Venezuela and Cuba, set up in 2006. Only four of these country-specific “mission management teams” exist: Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Venezuela/Cuba. These “missions” receive an important part of DNI’s $80 billion annual budget and operate in complete secrecy.

Source: The Chavez Code

Indian Destabilization of Bangladesh, Looking for Special Transit Rights

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house

At least three people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Bangladesh, and over 100 protesters were injured as officials evicted the leader of the opposition from the house where she had lived for 40 years.

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house 

Violence erupted in more than 20 other towns and dozens of people were injured in clashes with police Photo: AFP/GETTY

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear demonstrators in Dhaka trying to prevent authorities from evicting former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia from her house.

At least 50 people were injured and more than 20 demonstrators detained in the capital of Bangladesh.

Violence erupted in more than 20 other towns and dozens of people were injured in clashes with police.

Around 50 people were injured in Serajganj, 95 miles northwest of Dhaka, local television channels reported.

At least three people were killed and five, including a lawmaker of the ruling party, injured in the suicide bomb attack near Khustia, 190 miles west of the capital Dhaka.

The bomb was detonated at the residence of Afaz Uddin, an Awami League member of parliament.

Police would not say whether they thought the attack was related to the widespread violence over Mrs Khaleda’s eviction from her home.

Police and witnesses said up to 4,000 protesters armed with sticks and stones set fire to vehicles and attacked officers near the headquarters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former Prime Minister Khaleda.

Several thousand protesters skirmished with police close to Mrs Khaleda’s residence in the garrison area, and the clashes intensified as security forces cordoned off the building shortly before a High Court deadline for her to vacate the house.

Mrs Khaleda later told a news conference she had been forcibly evicted from the house where she had lived for 40 years.

“They entered my bedroom and ransacked all the furniture. They even beat my personal staff,” said a tearful Mrs Khaleda, speaking at her party office at Gulshan.

“I am not only humiliated but ashamed at the behaviour of the government. Now I seek justice from the people,” she added.

Mrs Khaleda’s residence in a sprawling compound was leased to her by the government in 1982, after her husband, former president General Ziaur Rahman, was killed in an abortive coup. They had lived in the house for several years.

The current government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cancelled the lease last year, intending to put up multi-storey buildings for families of army officers killed in a mutiny at a paramilitary unit headquarters in Dhaka.

The BNP later called for a one-day strike.

“To protest the (eviction) order we have called for a countrywide dawn to dusk general strike on Sunday,” BNP secretary-general Khondaker Delwar Hossain said

US Raids in the Night Push Locals Into Arms of the Taliban

Karzai calls for fewer US raids

Afghan president appeals for reduction in “problem” night-time operations saying they help turn people to the Taliban.
Karzai has said that Afghan troops can take over security by 2014 [File: Reuters]

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has appealed to the United States to reduce the visibilty and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan.

In an interview with The Washington Post newspaper on Saturday, Karzai said that the long-term presence of foreign troops on Afghan soil could only worsen the security situation in the country and hit out at an increase in night-time raids by special forces.

“The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan … to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life,” he said.

Karzai said that US troops must cease the night raids, which violate Afghan homes and encourage more people to join the Taliban.

“The raids are a problem always. They were a problem then, they are a problem now. They have to go away,” he said.

“The Afghan people don’t like these raids, if there is any raid it has to be done by the Afghan government within the Afghan laws. This is a continuing disagreement between us.”

Karzai, who said during his inaugural speech last year that he would like to have full Afghan security control by 2014, said that the US military “should and could” draw down its forces next year.

Taliban attacks

The Afghan president made the remarks as suspected Taliban attacks killed at least one foreign soldier and two civilians.

The civilians were killed when a homemade bomb, attached to a parked motorcycle, exploded in the main market area of Spin Boldak, in the province of Kandahar on Sunday.

The Nato soldier, whose nationality was not released, was also killed by a blast in Spin Boldak. It was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related.

Meanwhile, at least 14 vehicles in a convoy of Nato fuel tankers were set on fire in eastern Afghanistan. Witnesses said armed men attacked the convoy in the Beshud district of Nangarhar and the drivers fled as the attack began.

“There were 16 fuel tankers in the convoy, 14 of them have been burned and two others have escaped,” Fazel Hadi, a police officer, said.

Pakistani Prosecutors’ Bravery or Cowardice Is Key to Fight Against Jihadis

Who will save Pakistani prosecutors from the joint wrath of the ISI and extremist Deobandis?

The ISI uses extremist Deobandis of the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba as footsoldiers in its pursuit of ‘strategic depth’.

Pakistani prosecutors decline cases against militants

By Awais Saleem, IANS

Islamabad: Public prosecutors in Pakistan have refused to proceed with cases involving suspected militants on the pretext that the banned terror outfits are threatening them with dire consequences if they appeared in court.

Media reports Saturday said the anti-terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, could not try cases against arrested suspects belonging to militant outfits because no public prosecutor was present.

“Judge Anand Ram was scheduled to hear a case against arrested suspects of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, while Judge Hasan Bokhari was to hear a case against an accused linked with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,” Aaj TV reported.

“We are receiving constant threats from accomplices of these terrorists and can’t risk our lives anymore,” a public prosecutor were quoted as saying.

“We requested the police to provide us adequate security but it has failed to do so,” he said.

The anti-terrorism court has issued notices to the Sindh home secretary and the chief secretary to appear before it on the next date of hearing and explain why the public prosecutors – Muhammad Khan Bararo and Mubashir Mirza – who were to appear on behalf of the government, did not come to the court.

At least 19 people were killed and over 140 injured in a suicide bombing targeting a police station in Karachi Thursday night, just a day after six Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants were arrested carrying lethal weapons and other sensitive materials.

Last month, a shrine was attacked, while two Shia processions were targets of suicide bombings earlier this year.

“We have arrested 56 high-profile terrorists during the last couple of months and are being targeted for revenge,” Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza said after Thursday’s deadly attack on the police station where the arrested militants were being kept.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for all these attacks and is known to work in tandem with Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for terror strikes in urban areas.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at

Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent

The greatest factor in promoting and sustaining state-fascism is not any act of violence but simply this – the systematic and studied ignorance maintained by the mainstream intelligentsia on the state’s gravest atrocities.

In today’s world, it doesn’t take any kind of effort to be well-informed on any political issue that one can choose. You can, for example, go to and enter in “Parachinar Blockade”. What will you see?

Not a lot of hits, but it’s a good start. Clicking on the first one, one can read a report about Colonel Tausif Akhtar’s announcement of the closure of the five border crossing points that previously served as the only exit points from Kurram Agency to the outside world. From a quote from a local inhabitant, one gets the opinion that this move by the security forces was an attempt to bring the Parachinari Shias “to their knees” and that for the last 4 years all local paths (within Pakistan) to Parachinar have been blocked and that the locals have had to use these border crossing to communicate with the outside world.

The second link provides a deeper analysis of the issue by Dr. Muhammad Taqi in the Daily Times. It is his view that this blockade is part of a strategic plan by the Pakistani military to safeguard it’s long-term assets, the Haqqanis and protect them from any possible military operation in North Waziristan that the Pakistani army may be forced into due to US pressure.

The third is a link from the BBC summarizing the facts in both the above articles.

One simple search, three links, and one is confronted with some extremely troubling information. For many, the information contained in these three links would shake the very foundations of their faith in the Pakistani army and its dedication to fighting terrorism within Pakistan. After all, an army that deliberately blockades its own citizens whose only crimes are that they a) belong to a minority religious sect and b) that they are unwilling to provide shelter to viciously sectarian and violent terrorists cannot be an army that is committed to ending terrorism within Pakistan’s boundaries, can it? So when confronted with this troubling and paradigm shaking bit of news, the average news-reading, mainstream intellectual Pakistan makes a very simple decision.

he chooses to ignore it

And so we have the collective decision to maintain a studied ignorance of the Pakistani state’s complicity in the persecution of its own citizens. And that is the way we perpetuate state tyranny from the comfort of our own computer desks. Not by taking up arms, or taking over someone’s house, or accusing someone of blasphemy, but by simply ignoring key events, shaping the public discourse of a national security state, and manufacturing consent for its greatest atrocities on its most helpless citizens.

How Panjgur is losing the battle

How Panjgur is losing the battle

panjgur dates

By Malik Siraj Akbar

I was told that a lot of money was coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many other Arab countries these days to radicalize the Baloch society. Religious schools are mushrooming. Outsiders are nipping to the town to get education from the religious schools lavishly funded by Arab countries. Interestingly, the language centers that once played a magnificent role in the development of the society have now began to teach the kids the translation of short Quranic verses, the six Kalimas and the religious prayers prescribed for eating, sleeping etc. “Perverted images” from the New American Streamline textbook have been removed and “filthy words” such as “love”, “kiss”, “sexist” have been “carefully rephrased” in order to “ensure” the “sanctity of the classrooms”

The Pakistani Establishment, fully cognizant of these developments, is delightedly viewing this process of Islamization of the Baloch society. Foreign money has made the local clerics of the most influential political and economic stakeholders of the society. More and more foreigners are entering the town without legal documents. In my childhood, I had not heard of Turks and Uzbaks coming to Panjgur. Today’s Jang, Pakistan’s most circulated Urdu newspaper, reports the arrest of three Turks and one Macedonian national from Panjgur. Where do they come from? Who is sponsoring these trips? What is actually happening in my town?

Baloch nationalists in Panjgur have lost to the Mullah and pro-establishment nationalists. The level of nationalistic awareness has embarrassingly declined. A town once known for its liberal writers, intellectuals and committed nationalists is gradually derailing. Not many people truly realize in the area how much you lose when you shut a library. It is the society that becomes the biggest loser when cricket/football tournaments and Balochi musical programs stop taking place.

The only “good news” I heard about Panjgur was about the allotment of a huge area in Khudabadan town by the government to the Tabligee Jammat (the group of Islamic preachers) to conduct a huge congregation of the Islamic preachers in the town.

“You see we have become very lucky by now,” boastfully mentioned the young boy sitting beside me on the bus on my way back to Quetta, “Allah has chosen by His blessings the town of Panjgur for this august annual gathering. Every year, around two hundred thousand Muslims come from Iran, Afghanistan and all over Pakistan to cogitate about the fate of the Muslim Ummah.”
“Has the government allotted land for any libraries in the area,” I inquired.
“What are they?” he asked back.
“Oh sorry. You don’t kno them. Are there any universities in the area for the students?” I tried to find out.
“No. There are no transportation facilities. Who will come and go to a university?” he replied.
“Has the government provided the town with a railway track by now?” I asked again.
“No. No one takes interest in the development of the area,” he added.
“Any industrial units?” I went on.
“No. They are an agent of distraction. If you have a lot of money around you then you will never think about your life hereafter. We are glad we don’t’ have them,” he explained.
“So who makes arrangements for a mammoth religious gathering in this tiny town,” I asked.
“Allah!” he retorted.   (read HERE)

“Islamist” Indoctrination–Imposing Arabic language on Baloch children

With a longstanding demand of Baloch and Pashtun nationalists over the past many years in Balochistan concerning the introduction of mother tongues (Balochi, Pashtu and Bravi) as the medium of instruction at the educational institutions, the government of Balochistan stunned everyone on Friday with its ridiculous decision to introduce Arabic language from class one to class tenth all over the province.

Balochistan is the only province in the country where a Baloch child cannot read or write Balochi because (s)he is not taught Balochi at school level either as a medium of instruction or a language. Same is the case of the Pashtun children or the Bravi speaker Balochs who are denied the opportunity to learn their mother tongues at school level. This is the government-backed cultural genocide of different nationalities living in Balochistan, to say the least.

Over the years, the society in Balochistan has been silently questioning the logic behind the forceful imposition of Urdu, which is the mother tongue of barely 1% of the total population of the province, as a medium of instruction. The Balochs and Pashtuns have always seen this with resentment as Urdu was taught to them on gunpoint at the cost of surrendering their own mother tongues. Likewise, they would not complain so passionately if some room was left for their mother tongues at the schools. What is most disturbing is the fact that currently Balochi or Pashtu are not taught at any level inside the schools of Balochistan. On the top of it, Arabic was forcefully imposed on the students during General Zia-ul-Haq’s process of Islamization inside the educational institutions. Children were forced to learn an extra language, along with Urdu and English, at middle level starting from class six up till eight. That was three-year unnecessary learning of Arabic which has now been extend to ten years of learning.

Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani’s most surprising decision since assuming the office comes in the wake of a boycott call given by the Baloch Students’ Organization (BSO-Azad) of Pakistan Studies text books. Hundreds of text books of Pakistan Studies were torched all over Balochistan the other day by the activists of the organization. The BSO and Baloch intellectuals maintain that the Pakistan Studies subject does not utter a single word about Baloch history and historic figures. The text books taught at schools and colleges glorify wars, invasions and conversions. They forcefully impose an Islamic and Pakistani identity on the students and keep them in complete darkness about their own history, culture and heroes. The history taught at schools seems more like a script of a play which very tactically excludes diversity, secularism and multiculturalism.

The text books taught at schools make kids believe that their history begins with the arrival of Arab invader (whom the books identify as a great Muslim conqueror) Mohammad bin Qasim in 712 AD in Sindh. Before his arrival, the indoctrination goes on, there was darkness, ignorance and no civilization. In the words of Hussain Haqqani, Pakistani ambassador to the United States, this is the Nasim Ejazi (an Urdu novelist who glorifies Muslim invasions and ridicules non-Muslims) interpretation of history.

BSO’s rebellion against the text books is an extraordinary development in the history of nationalistic politics in Pakistan. Baloch students have done what Sindhi and Pashtun nationalists have not been able to do over the years in spite of living under a similar distortion of their history and civilization. This clearly manifests the very high level of political consciousness that exists among the Balochs. The BSO revolt is in fact the outburst of anger and dissatisfaction of the past six decades. The Baloch kids have always wondered why they were not introduced with their own heroes like Chakar Khan Rind, Gul Khan Naseer, Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi or Atta Shahd. The Pak Studies books hardly mention a sentence about Mir Yousaf Aziz Magsi, Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd, Mir Ghose Baksh Bizeno, Prince Abdul Karim or any other Baloch leader. It is this reason that they have finally and angrily decided to boycott the Pakistan Studies text books.

Amid the BSO boycott, the decision to impose Arabic language at all schools and colleges needs to be reviewed. How could a handful of politicians take such a decision within a few minutes without holding broad-based consultation with educationists, intellectuals and scholars of Balochistan? This is clearly a politically motivated decision of the government of Balochistan to please some Arab sheikdoms. Learning Arabic language in the contemporary world is totally meaningless for the Baloch kids or the children of any other non-Arab nation. Arabic does not hold any significance in today’s world where English-speaking countries like the US dominate all technological advancements. While teaching English at primary level makes sense, Arabic even does not merit a second thought as a more pressing issue right now is the induction of mother tongues at schools and colleges.

Every time one questions the significance of learning Arabic, we are told by the supporters of the language that it will help us in the Life Hereafter!

The Baloch Students Organization, the Balochi Academy, the Bravi Academy and the Pashtu Academy and all nationalist parties should take immediate notice of the government decision and protest against it as stridently as possible. Indigenous cultures should not be blackmailed on the name of religion. Learning Arabic does not in any way translate into making people better Muslims. A Baloch or a Pashutun will remain a “good Muslim” even without obtaining a degree in Arabic. The official decision that paves the way for Arab cultural imperialism on Baloch and Pashtun society should be resisted tooth and nail until the government of Balochistan withdraws its decision. In addition, concerted efforts should be made by the local populations to force the government to introduce mother tongues at schools. Otherwise, these local languages will perish in the fast changing world.

United Against Arab Sheiks and Their “Islamization” Programs

Baloch Hal

Almost all mainstream political parties in the province have complimented Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly, Mohammad Aslam Bhootani, for taking a firm and principled stance against the alleged sale of 70,000 acre land to Arab sheiks in the coastal region of Balochistan. The Speaker had revealed in a rare press conference that the Balochistan government was under constant pressure from the Prime Minister House in Islamabad to endorse a summery, which is currently pending at the Revenue Department, to provide huge areas of land to  the Arabs.

While Bhootani does not belong to a nationalist party, he has gained tremendous backing from Baloch nationalist parties that have assured him full and timely cooperation on the matter. Senator Abdul Malik Baloch, the central President of the National Party, spoke to the media in his party office in Turbat and admired Bhootani for bringing up the issue to public notice. Senator Malik said he would protest on the floor of the Senate against the plot to sell the Baloch land. He was reported as saying that no one should assume that Balochistan lacked leaders to guard its territorial integrity. “Balochistan is not orphan,” he said, “we will fight for it.”

Senator Malik Baloch pointed out that Islamabad was greedily aspiring to grab land in Balochistan under varying pretexts. Previously, similar attempts were made to deprive the people of Balochistan of their lands under the excuse of constructing a port in Gwadar. Later on, Pakistan Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guards also expressed their desire to acquire land in Balochistan’s coastal areas.

“Instead of selling the Baloch land to Arab sheiks, the federal government should make efforts to provide facilities to the local farmers to work on these huge areas of land,” suggested Malik, whose National Party has a strong influence in Mekran region.

Balochistan’s largest nationalist party, the Balochistan National Party (BNP), has reacted to the news in a very harsh tone and warned, “anyone who eyes the Baloch resources will get his eye taken out by the ‘honorable’ and “brave”Balochs”. In a media statement, Dr. Jhanzaib Jamaldini, the acting central President of BNP, said BA Speaker Bhootani had proved himself as a “real son of the soil” by raising the issue in a press conference before it was too late.

Insisting that the people of Balochistan had not been taken into confidence in a number of significant developments during the previous government, the BNP has demanded the cancellation of agreements signed with Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and companies operating at the multi-billion Sandak and Reko Diq projects.

“The Federal government is acting on an anti-Baloch policy,” alleged the BNP president,”Islamabad is trying to sell Balochistan to foreign forces, multinational companies and Arab sheiks. We’d like to warn the federal government to give up the hostile policies of the previous governments towards Balochistan. Otherwise, every Baloch knows how to take out those eyes which are set to capture our resources.”

We admire BNP and NP for supporting Aslam Bhootani over his brave stance instead of playing routine party politics. The newly emerged issue does not necessarily pertain to a single political party nor does it have to be related to those who believe in parliamentary politics or independence of Balochistan. All stakeholders in the province should get together to make sure that no foreign force manages to secretly acquire land in Balochistan.

The increasing influence of Arab countries in Pakistan and particularly in Balochistan is a matter of dire concern. It is regrettable, though not puzzling, that right-wing political parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Jammat-e-Islami (JI) assemble thousands of people and issue regular statements to resist the “American presence” on their “sovereign land” but they do not utter a word about the Arab influence. What are the objectives, intentions and designs of the Arab countries in Balochistan? The people of Balochistan must be informed.

Mark Steyn, the author of America Alone: The End of World as We Know it, once rightly remarked that the principal export of Saudi Arabia was not oil but ideology. Some Arab countries are pumping huge amounts of money in Balochistan to radicalize the Baloch society and counter the progressive nationalistic movement. Steyn also observed that the Arab countries were the only ones which met both the ends of the Bush Doctrine. They were among the friends as well as the enemies. While some of the Arab sheiks love to send their kids to Europe and America to get “western education”, they keep sending hefty amounts in backward societies like Balochistan to promote radical version of  Islam. Thus, we are today confronted with a rising generation of radicalized youth.

Balochistan Chief Minister Raisani is in fact an equal culprit in providing space to the Arabs as he recently announced to introduce Arabic language from the next academic year in all schools of Balochistan.

Political parties and the civil society in Balochistan must unite to fight common threats for the greater welfare of the province.

China currency float to unleash ‘tsunami’: Australian treasurer

A Chinese artist uses 100 yuan bank notes to create a model of Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD), 13 October 2007. Australia’s treasurer has warned that a “huge tsunami” will engulf global financial markets when China bows to international pressure and floats its currency.

China currency float to unleash ‘tsunami’: Australian treasurer

(AFP) – Oct 25, 2007

SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia’s treasurer has warned that a “huge tsunami” will engulf global financial markets when China bows to international pressure and floats its currency.

“That will be a wild ride when that happens,” Peter Costello told The Sydney Morning Herald in an interview published Friday. “That will set off a huge tsunami that will go through world financial markets.”

Costello has been treasurer for the past 11 years, presiding over an economic boom in Australia driven by China’s hunger for resources, and is heir-apparent to Prime Minister John Howard.

Expanding on his dire prediction in a radio interview Friday, Costello said China should float its currency but warned of major volatility when that happens.

“The day they decide to float their currency you are going to get huge reversals of financial flows around the globe, which will affect all exchange rates, that’s why I compared it to a tsunami,” he said.

Critics in the United States and elsewhere say China is keeping its currency artificially weak, giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.

Costello denied that his warning was aimed at persuading Australia’s central bank not to raise interest rates at its next board meeting on November 6, just weeks before general elections.

Howard and Costello won re-election in 2004 on a promise to keep interest rates low, but economists expect that inflationary pressures will force the Reserve Bank to raise rates for the sixth time since then.

“This has nothing to do with the Reserve Bank and its meeting. This is an observation about the global economy, looking out over the horizon,” Costello said.

All countries on path to bankruptcy

The key driver for state bankruptcy and currency collapse is the amount a country owes or is liable to foreigners

The only reason that people who work for a living support a government is that they expect their government who collect a percentage of their incomes through payroll deductions expect their government to provide them with basic social services. These benefits are not the largess of government or a tax on the rich, they are services that working people have paid for. If our government has lost our money by investing it in private corporations then we expect our government to recover the losses through cuts and increased taxes on those who benefited; not the workers. The Greek people are simply demanding that their government be just and fair. Who wants to return to feudalism?

global debt crisis country bankruptcy risk

People will say it is basically about borrowed money. Borrowed from whom? Banks. Why do banks have all this money? Do you think it comes from service charges? From interest rates on car loans? What about taxes? How much do you think banks pay in taxes?
We have a government who is taxing the people to death for a sum that is not enough to do all the things they are supposed to do, and borrowing from people who have all the money, but don’t get taxed.
This is a sinister variant of feudalism. The rewards of labour go in one direction: only Up. The Russian revolution, the French Revolution, the Chinese revolution, the American revolution were all results of the people saying “That’s it. No more.” The scenarios they faced are now being propagated on a global scale. It may take a few years; it may take a few decades, but the system in place right now is not sustainable, because it depends on the co-operation of a population who are being victimized by the system. And eventually, victims fight back.

When it comes to public debt, many attempt to distort the picture by bringing up different factors but in reality there are only 2 groups responsible: The bankers who lend and those who borrow (different levels of government)s. The third group, which consist the overwhelming majority of people on this planet are the victims who asked to repay the legalized financial fraud.

Global Sovereign Debt Crisis, Country Bankruptcy Relative Risk of Default

Market Oracle

All countries are on the path towards bankruptcy, to measure where a country stands along this path it is critical to look beyond official statistics that focus primarily on public sector net debt and the annual budget deficit in terms of % of GDP.

The key item missing from most commentary on this subject matter is debt and liabilities that are denominated in foreign currencies as that can mask a stealth trend towards potentially imminent bankruptcy that can suddenly blow up in the face of a countries citizens who had been previously mislead by official statistics into thinking that the debt situation was under control, much as Icelanders experienced during 2008 where one day they enjoyed one of the highest standards of living amongst westerners to next day wake up to be bankrupt and poorer in terms of purchasing power than many third world countries. The key driver for state bankruptcy and currency collapse is the amount a country owes or is liable to foreigners, as debt denominated in foreign currencies cannot be inflated away as governments can do with domestic debt so it is one of the primary driving forces for a country going bankrupt as it is unable to meet the increasing interest payments due in foreign currency as its own currency falls.

World heading toward end of globalization

“A “grave recession” in the world economy may lie ahead, with a profusion of new barriers to trade and capital flows, if the Group of 20 major economies (G20) fail to come up with solutions to the present crisis. The G20 will probably begin to suffer “progressive fragmentation” at its Nov. 11-12 summit in Seoul, because it is based on “unsustainable coalitions” and there are insurmountable conflicts between members, according to Fernando Cardim, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.”

Problem seems to be that all of a sudden protecting your property, family or even country and countrymen/women has become to other countries a bad word. The US. nor Canada nor any other country should be dependent for their survival on another country. However, when our parents allowed without fighting all the other countries in the world a say in how our countries are run we lost that ability. Many pundits, analysts, economist have debated at length about this. Free trade does not imply fair trade. If you take a look at what eliminating trade barriers have done to less developed nations, you would be appalled.

When you really look at it, what is truly made in Canada/US these days? According to our own rules and regulations, a product can be considered made in Canada/US if 51% of the costs associated with it are within Canada/US.

The IMF has gone to great lengths to ensure that the value of a nation’s currency is devalued so that the resources of that nation can be purchased very cheap. For example, pineapples from Brazil are traded using US dollars however, the conversion from the Brazilian currency makes that pineapple worth only 5 cents US. Now we in Canada/US can by it for 7 cents based on our currency exchange. So we buy all these pineapples from Brazil and then make pineapple juice. The cost of processing the pineapple costs 8 cents. Not surprisingly after this, “produced and made in Canada/US” can legally be attached to that pineapple juice. That very same juice can be sold for $3.00.

However the farmer back in Brazil gets less than 1 penny of the value of that pineapple and his family farm was seconded by a corporation which means he can only grow pineapples, not food for his family. This goes for all products from US corporate controlled, ie IMF supported, countries. We need to take a step back from this free trade system and look towards fair trade.

Carlos Tadheu de Freitas, chief economist for the National Trade Federation and former head of Brazil’s Central Bank, said nothing but “hot air” would come out of the Seoul summit. He forecast a period of global “stagflation”, with stagnation or deceleration of economic activity in emerging countries that had previously been growing, aggravated by inflation.“After three decades of globalization, the worldwide system of production of goods and services is integrated, and it would be seriously disrupted if an epidemic of protectionism blocks the flow of trade and investment,” said Mariano Laplane, head of the University of Campinas’ Institute of Economics. 

The US is increasingly relying on other nations to provide basic and important goods and services that keep our nation running. Actual production of the goods, services, and knowledge that consumers, businesses, and the military rely on are done by other nations in increasing levels. We are becoming a nation of owners, managers, and marketers that no longer know how to work the front lines. “Real work” is not being done in the US anymore. Corporate bosses bicker in boardrooms over whether blow-dryers should be beige or translucent instead of invent, improve, or manufacture blow-dryers. 

Aside from the economic risks of losing access to the front-line “economic soldiers” to other nations, there are less training paths in which future managers and marketers can learn their trade. How can a US manager of software development learn how to manage software developers without ever having the chance to be a software developer? Software development will no longer happen in the US frequently enough to cultivate future managers. Can we have generals who never experienced live battle? Are we going to have to start sending manager jobs overseas also because we lack the experience at home?

An alarming number of experienced technicians are fed up with a dwindling demand for their skills, and are preparing to move out of tech and into fields such as interior decorating, massage therapy, landscape architecture, herbal consultant, lawyer, etc. Although these are fine careers, they don’t really provide the kind of expertise that is going to keep US a forward-moving economic power. We are handing over our economic keys to other countries, and they will drive away with more modern workforces and industries.

Comparing this ‘recession’ to the 1982 recession

1980 had a rally and it crashed down to 1982 which was the bottom of the DOW. The problem with 1982 is compared to 89 82 was start of meaningful bull market but 2009 is the same thing as the 1929 massacre where the Dow dropped substantial amount and recovered 50% just like in 2009 and then it went into a C decline, A down, B recovery, C decline that ended up wiping out 89% of the DOW’s market cap. So, in 1982 the P?E multiple which is price of stock multiplied by earnings, was 8 times in 1982 and is 26 time sin 20009. Bull markets do not start with PE of 26. Dividend yields were 6 percent in 1982 and now in 2009 they were 2 percent.

US debt and inflation being transferred to rest of the world

In seeking to solve its own crisis, the United States is transferring the cost to the rest of the world. The policy adopted by the Fed between 1979 and 1981, when it gradually raised interest rates to more than 20 percent a year to tame inflation, plunged a large part of the world into a crisis which cost indebted countries one or two “lost decades.”

Today, the situation is different: the goal is to overcome recession and devalue the dollar to increase exports, to the detriment of trading partners. But “emerging countries nowadays have means to defend themselves,” Laplane said.

Brazil, for instance, has acquired massive foreign exchange reserves of close to 300 billion dollars, paying a high price for keeping them because of its high basic interest rate, at present 10.75 percent. Unable to stem the appreciation of the local currency, the real, against the dollar, it raised taxes on inflows of foreign capital, from two percent to six percent.

San Juan River Dispute Widens

By Adam Williams
NEWS ANALYSIS: Costa Rica gives Nicaragua an ultimatum to remove troops from Isla Calero, which Nicaragua seems likely to ignore.
Nicaraguan helicopters 

Tim Rogers

Flexing Muscle: The Nicaraguan Army this week insisted it will defend the Río San Juan at all costs. Lawmakers and top military brass this week left from San Carlos to do a flyover of the river and visit the disputed border region where Nicaraguan soldiers are stationed.

Despite diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua along the Río San Juan, as of Thursday afternoon, both nations remain in a standoff.  The dispute centers on the ownership of Isla Calero, on the south side of the river, a portion of which is claimed by both countries. The Río San Juan serves as the eastern portion of the border between the two countries.

After a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday to present recommendations to assist in resolving the conflict, an additional meeting was scheduled for Thursday afternoon to further discuss the issue. Late Thursday, the meeting was postponed until Friday.

The OAS proceedings this week followed visits by José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the international body, to both countries over the weekend. Insulza met with President Laura Chinchilla and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during a three day visit to the region, which included two flyovers of the river and the disputed portion of Isla Calero.

Upon his return to the OAS in Washington, D.C., Insulza presented four recommendations to the Permanent Council to defuse the situation.


Diplomatic Intervention: José Miguel Insulza, right, the secretary general of the OAS, met last weekend with Costa Rican Foreign Minister René Castro, right. Insulza visited Costa Rica and Nicaragua in an effort to defuse the growing conflict between the countries.

Ronald Reyes | Tico Times

Of the ideas presented to bring about a peaceful resolution, Costa Rica was most interested in Insulza’s third suggestion: “To create a favorable climate for dialogue between the two nations, the presence of armed forces in an area where they could generate tension should be avoided.”

Although it did not specify, the statement was presumed to be aimed at the presence of armed Nicaraguan troops on Isla Calero. The troops were first reported on Isla Calero on Oct. 21 and since then, they have constructed a makeshift base (TT, Nov. 5). Although Insulza claimed not to have seen Nicaraguan troops during a flyover of the area on Monday, their widely reported presence on land claimed by Costa Rica is the basis of what has become a heated international dispute.

In response to Insulza’s recommendation, Enrique Castillo, the Costa Rican ambassador to the OAS, issued an ultimatum to Nicaragua on Monday afternoon, demanding that all Nicaraguan troops be removed from the area within 48 hours.

“Beginning right now, we are demanding that Nicaragua remove all military personnel from Isla Calero within 48 hours,” Castillo said on Tuesday afternoon. “We consider their presence on Isla Calero to be a direct violation of national sovereignty and Costa Rican territory.”

At press time Thursday, Nicaraguan troops remained in place on the disputed tract.

Castillo went on to say that Nicaragua has been the “aggressor” in the conflict and that failure to comply with the OAS’ recommendations would be a “mockery” of the OAS and other diplomatic efforts resolve the dispute.

“Nicaragua is making a mockery of everyone here today,” Castillo said.

Castillo did not mention whether Costa Rica planned to remove the estimated 30 members of the National Police stationed at Barra del Colorado, approximately 10 kilometers south of the Río San Juan, at the southern end of Isla Calero.

In response to Castillo’s ultimatum, the Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS, Denis Moncada, denied that Nicaragua was the aggressor in the conflict.

Although the meeting of the OAS was intended to provide the two countries with diplomatic suggestions to mend the situation, by the end of the session, it was clear that the sides were nowhere close to a resolution.

Other Recommendations

In addition to the removal of its armed forces, the OAS’ other recommendations were that the two countries consider creating new demarcation to determine the official boundaries, that both countries work together to combat drug and arms trafficking in the region and that the Presidents of each country be present when the two nation’s Binational Commission to discuss the Río San Juan issue on Nov. 27.

The recommendation to re-establish the demarcation of the border was presented by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during Insulza’s visit to Managua last Saturday (NT, Nov.7). According to Ortega, there are 137 points where border markers should be placed, although Costa Rica has certified only 17 of them.

“Placing the border markers will help us settle this issue once and for all,” Ortega said on Saturday.

The issue of demarcation is expected to be one of the themes discussed at the Binational Commision meeting this month in Costa Rica’s northwestern province of Guanacaste While the meeting has been scheduled for months, due to escalating tension surrounding dispute over the Río San Juan, there has been no confirmation by either side that the meeting will take place.

“If Nicaragua asks for a bilateral meeting, we will accept, but Costa Rica will not go looking for one,” Castillo said Tuesday.

The OAS’s final recommendation, which encouraged the countries to join forces to combat the drug trafficking in the area, is a concept that many, including Moncada, consider an overlooked wrinkle in the border conflict.

“Some of the people most interested in this conflict are drug traffickers,” Moncada said Tuesday at the OAS.

There might be merit to his words. In recent visits by The Tico Times to Barra del Colorado and San Juan de Nicaragua, just north of the Río San Juan, many residents said that the only benefit created by the heavy police and military presence in their towns was diminished drug activity.

“That’s been the nice part about having all these police here,” said Guillermo “Memo” Cunningham, who owns a small restaurant and hotel in Barra del Colorado. “All the drug traffickers are hiding out and worried. It’s disrupted their business for a few weeks and made the town a little more peaceful.”

The isolated, largely unpatrolled rivers and lagoons of the region have long been a portal for drugs. Both the Río San Juan and Río Colorado provide entryways into the countries from the sea and, in a region with very little police or military presence, traffickers are known to carry drugs into both nation’s hearts.

Edén Pastora, Sandinista revolutionary hero turned Contra rebel, who is now in charge of Nicaragua’s controversial dredging project on the Rio San Juan, told the Nicaraguan television station La Prensa TV that he entered Isla Calero in mid-October to control drug trafficking activities taking place on Finca Áragon, located in the area contested by both countries. Pastora said the Nicaraguan military found 72 barrels of fuel, high-powered boats, satellite telephones, weapons and undocumented Honduran workers.

Although Marco Reyes, the owner of Finca Aragón, denies Pastora’s claims, cooperation to combat drug trafficking in the region could be an important step in fighting drug distribution in the region. Both Costa Rica and Nicaragua are listed on the U.S. government’s list of 20 major drug trafficking or producing countries (TT Sept. 17).

“We agree with and accept the recommendations of the OAS,” said Costa Rican Foreign Minister René Castro. “While not the prominent issue in these proceedings, there is a definite need to reduce drug trafficking in the region.”

The Clock Is Ticking

The timer on the 48-hour ultimatum issued by Castillo expired Thursday afternoon with Nicaraguan troops still present on Isla Calero. Should Nicaragua continue to refuse to remove its troops from the territory, which they claim as their own, Costa Rica has said that they would take the issue to a higher authority.

“We have been very clear: If the inter-American system fails us, if it proves weak, we will consult higher authorities,” Chinchilla said on Sunday. “We are willing to take it, if the case calls for it, to the Security Council of the United Nations.”

Should Nicaragua fail to comply to the ultimatum issued by Castillo, and if the OAS fails to take further measures, the first step in the resolution process – involving the OAS – will have proven ineffective.

“Whatever solution that comes from this process will be a peaceful one,” Chinchilla said this week. “Costa Rica is asking only for a fair exit to the conflict.”

Pakistan—Marvelous people, dangerous confusions

[The following report from Khyber Watch website gives powerful testimony on the misery we have inflicted upon our greatest ally in South Asia, Pakistan.  The price of friendship with the government of the United States is a demoralized nation-wide state of misery.  Add to the misery inflicted intentionally by us, the immeasurable suffering visited upon them by Mother Nature.  Our response to all of this should be a greater reaching-out to our old friends, instead of planning an invasion of their western region.  God help Pakistanis, because America surely won’t.  I cannot imagine a worse place to be right now than in FATA or Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa.]

Pakistan—Marvelous people, dangerous confusions

By Shiraz Paracha

It was a very hot and bright day in July when I entered the main hall of a newly built private hospital in Peshawar for a medical checkup. A wave of cool breeze touched my face as I opened doors of the air-conditioned hall of the hospital. The semi-dark hall was covered with whiteness from one end to the other. Actually, it was a huge crowd of men in white shilwar Kameesz waiting to see doctors. The majority had beards. All of them had come from different parts of the Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa but almost all of them were wearing the same color traditional Pakistani dress.

While waiting for my turn, I heard the people around me talking about threats to Islam and how bad the Pakistani rulers were. Most people in the waiting area of the hospital had common opinions. They saw the world in black and white.

For the last 10 years, I visit Pakistan every few months. During each visit, I see that more and more of my friends and relatives have grown beards in a race to become ‘good Muslims’. Children are named after Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The number of mosques and visits to mosques has increased tremendously in the past two decades. Young people are joining preaching tours of the Tabligi Jamat. There is a fear that Islam is in danger. Most ordinary people believe in a past that is glorified in school textbooks as well as in the media. People dream of an ideal Islamic society where all their problems will be resolved. Nevertheless, everyone appears to have his or her own interpretation of such Islamic society.

Religious zeal has been rising in Pakistan since the 1980s when the country was under a US-backed military dictatorship, however, the West’s occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the mass murder of innocent people in occupied Muslim lands has deeply affected thinking of many Pakistanis. They see the West as Muslims’ cruel and dishonest enemy. Reaction to the West’s continued aggression has led Pakistanis to seek the revival of the glorious Islamic past when Muslims dominated the world. Pakistan’s nuclear capability is a sign of great pride for a vast majority of Pakistanis as it gives them a sense of security against the West and from a perceived Indian threat.

Pakistanis are a wonderful people. In fact, in some ways, Pakistanis can be role models for other peoples and societies. They are warm and loving. They are sincere and simple. Pakistanis are kindhearted and emotional but they can be hotheaded if they observe unfairness. Indeed, the majority of Pakistanis believe in a fair and just world.

The institution of family is very strong and plays a central role in the lives of Pakistanis. In the Pakistani society husbands and wives are extremely faithful to each other. Values of love and respect are very dear to Pakistanis and they care a lot for their elderly and sick. Pakistanis are also among the few people who generously donate to charities and participate in charity work.

When recent floods hit Pakistan, the way people helped and supported each other was remarkable. There were wonderful and marvelous stories of exemplary human behavior. People opened their doors even for strangers. They provided them with food, shelter and offered flood victims with what ever they had, and not for a day or two but for weeks. In hundreds of cases several families were staying in one house but hosts were not bothered by their presence.

I saw young men risking lives to rescue the flood victims and their belongings. The house of a government minister in Nowshera came under the flood water but he was on the streets saving others’ houses. Charities and activists of different political parties worked day and night to save lives and properties.

Unfortunately, there is lot of confusion and mistrust in Pakistan. People are suffering from anxiety and depression. The situation is exacerbated by mullahs and the media while the military plays with peoples’ minds by putting its own spin on events and circumstances.

Many people are confused about Islam and Islamic teachings. They offer prayers, they talk about Islam but often they do not understand it. Instead of educating people on virtues of peace and tolerance, and about civic responsibilities the media and the mullahs protect powerful interest groups by playing the blame game. They do not criticize the military and the judiciary but civilian governments and foreign forces. The media and the mullahs spread rumors without verifying the validity of charges. Indeed, they can be held responsible for promoting a victim’s mentality in Pakistan.

Television anchorpersons wearing expensive cloths talk about the miseries of the poor, and armchair intellectuals write about conspiracies waged against Pakistan and its people by Pakistan’s inner and foreign enemies.

The media in Pakistan are biased, polarized and politicized. They have been poisoning the environment fanning mistrust and hate in the name of religion and ethnicity.

The media and the mullahs should also be blamed for intolerance, narrow-minded behavior and growing violence in the society. Self-obsessed, arrogant and intellectually bankrupt anchorpersons of TV talk shows encourage fights and negative sentiments. TV shows are loud and noisy where interviewers become more important than interviewees. Loud voices and aggressive gestures and body language precede any substance.

The Pakistani military, the mullahs and the media have jointly promoted a perception of Islam where the stress is on rituals and appearance. The spirit of Islam is based on kindness, honesty, modesty and simplicity but the mullahs terrify innocent people by portraying God as the unkind, mechanical and coldhearted force that just punishes poor and helpless sinners. Torture and violence in the name of the God are core messages coming out of those mosques which are led by semi-illiterate mullahs many of whom suffer from deep anger and other complexes including an inferiority complex. The character of Pakistani mullahs is darker than that of medieval European priests.

Before the Friday prayer, I often heard the mullahs giving fiery political speeches that were full of hate and anger. Their message was full of pessimism and hopelessness. They were using the platform of mosques and loudspeakers to spread fear. They were accusing others without a shred of proof that is in fact against the Islamic teachings.

Due to the confusion created by the media, the mullahs and their main sponsor, the military, contradicting and hypocritical behaviors have developed in the Pakistani society where people are forced to live double lives and believe in cultural and religious taboos. For example, many journalists, generals and politicians, including leaders of some religious parties, consume liquor but in public they staunchly oppose drinking alcohol.

A large number of Pakistani journalists demand residential plots and ask for other favors from the government. Hundreds of journalists have accepted bribes from successive governments in form of residential plots, licenses and permits to import or sell different products and services. They have obtained other favors as well. But the same journalists promote a false, confused and jingoistic brand of Islam through their writings and now in their television programs. There is no criterion to become a reporter or a journalist in Pakistan. Many journalists, writers, anchorpersons as well as editors and publishers are former activists of Jamat-e-Islami, a sister organization of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and a traditional ally of the Pakistan Army. Large media organizations often ask for money if one wants to work as a reporter or a news stringer. Several media groups do not pay salaries to their staff because they expect that their reporters and writers can ‘earn money’ and thus do not need to be paid. A section of the media is closely connected with elements in the military that have been instrumental in undermining the civilian rule in Pakistan. The media in Pakistan have turned into mafia which has stakes in the corrupt system.

Because of the above factors usually it is not important how kind, affectionate, and humane a person is, what really matters if one attends prayers in his favorite mosque and how many hajj and Umras one has performed. Upper middle class of Pakistan is fascinated by imitating the West in spending money and showing off their possessions, while lower and lower middle classes have turned to a confused form of religion where just going to a mosque is not enough: you must go to your ‘own mosque’ as mosques have brands and categories based on sectarian divisions and ethnicity. One can be branded as an enemy of ‘true Islam’ if he visits a mosque that is visited by people who believe in a different Islamic school of thought. Dishonest traders, businessmen cruel to their employees, corrupt policemen and civil servants all offer prayers and pose as best Muslims.

During my stay in Peshawar, Nowshera and Rawalpindi Islamabad I saw mosques opposite to each other and even side by side. All mosques have a number of loudspeakers; some have extended the loudspeaker network beyond mosques. The loudspeakers are placed on roofs tops of houses, on electric posts and even in police stations. A mosque in Nowshera has installed its loudspeakers inside a police station. Another mosque has been built in a football stadium and it is gradually occupying the playground.

When the floods hit Nowshera there was no water and no power for more than a week but the mullahs continued giving speeches via the loudspeakers in mosques because they had generators to produce power. One mullah in Nowshera locked the mosque doors while homeless people with no food and water waited outside. The mullah would return to the mosque and bombard the people with his speeches but he would not let them use water or stay in the mosque.

Throughout the floods the military’s public relations department, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) was engaged in building the image of the Pakistan Army. They portrayed the Army as the only peoples’ friendly institution while subtly denouncing the civilian government.

AVT Khyber is a Pashto language TV channel popular in the Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa, tribal areas and Afghanistan. This channel has a vast viewer ship in the Middle East as thousands of Pashtoons live and work in the Middle East. Surprisingly, ATV Khyber is owned by a Punjabi who is said to have deep links with the military establishment of Pakistan. Young men and women who appear on the Channel wear western costumes. Copying Bollywood actors, the young Pashtoon men and women speak Pashto with foreign accent and often mix English words with their Pashto. The Channel’s policy seems to fit into the goals of the US led ‘War on terror’ in Afghanistan that includes modernizing and pacifying Pashtoon worriers. However, there could be other agendas because soon after the floods reporters from the ATV Khyber were in the flood-affected areas asking pointed questions that targeted the civilian government and politicians. On the second day of the flood, I was interviewed by an Urdu TV channel but my interview was cut in the middle when I said that the Army helicopters were rescuing only army personals, and civilians were left out. The ISPR was using the tragedy to boost the Army’s image amidst cries and calls that the military should be in the driving seat for the fifth time. Some see the Chief Justice of Pakistan as the new man.

Well, Pakistan does not need a new man or a military driver to fix its problems. A General or a Judge cannot bring Pakistan out of the destructive illusions. Politicians, parents and teachers can. The starting point would be to give up the habit of living in the distorted and imaginary past and strongly reject all those who want to use the trap of reviving that past. A fresh historical, political and social narrative as well as honest and harsh soul searching may help Pakistan to find its place in the world.