Kyrgyz Bombers Tied To Chechen Death Squads

1 of 3
It is assumed that the underground exploded widow of the leader of Dagestani militants Umalat Magomedov Jennet (left by her husband) to take revenge for him 

Photo: NEWSTEAM / Kommersant

[Followers of Said Buryat have struck in Bishkek.  Buryat, whose widow was a “Black Widow” suicide bomber in a recent attack in Moscow, are organizing and flowing throughout the CIS zone, striking wherever US interests move them.  SEE: America’s Islamists Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread.]

Kyrgyzstan has found trace Said Buryat in an explosion in Bishkek

State Committee on National Security of Kyrgyzstan (SCNS) suggests that persons detained on suspicion of organizing terrorist attacks in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, are relevant to Russia’s religious extremists, said the agency 24.kg referring to the head office Keneshbek Dushebaeva.

According Dushebaeva arrested Kyrgyz citizens are members of an extensive clandestine extremist terrorist group, owned by the movement, one of the leaders who was a citizen of Russia, Alexander Tikhomirov, better known as Said Buryat, eliminated as a result of the FSB special operation in Ingushetia this spring.

“One of the leaders of the movement was a citizen of Russia, Alexander Tikhomirov, better known as the Buryat Said” – said Dushebaev.

Earlier on Wednesday, it became known that the police detained nine suspected of involvement in organizing terrorist acts in Bishkek at the building of police and the Palais des Sports, where he was the trial of ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his associates.

Dushebaev said that during interrogation of detained on suspicion of involvement in the bombing revealed that the group is related to the organization of extremist and a terrorist wing that carries out its activities in Russia and Kazakhstan. Dushebaev described their ideological platform as jihadism.

“We are going to interact with the special services of our partner countries to prevent terrorism. In this regard we are already working with the FSB,” – said Dushebaev.

Head of National Security Committee also told reporters that law enforcement officers detained in Kyrgyzstan, another group of people who were planning to organize a series of bombings in shopping centers of Bishkek. Dushebaev declined to disclose details of a special operation to capture suspected terrorists.

In a suicide attack on November 30 at the Palace of Sports in Bishkek, where he was on trial for the shooting of participants of the April mass riots, injured four people.Blast and a half hours before the trial began in the immediate vicinity of the entrance, through which normally give birth to the defendants. December 25 demining group SCNS Kyrgyzstan defused an explosive device found on this day in a car parked near the police in Bishkek.

“During the search the homes of suspected caches discovered that there were a lot of devices for preparation and implementation of terrorist attacks. Among them are guns, bullets, grenades, religious literature,” – said Dushebaev. The detainees, he said, are already yielding confessions.

The head of Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee noted that all law enforcement bodies of Uzbekistan in connection with a high risk of terrorist attacks are now working in a special mode.
29.12.2010

Source – RIA Novosti

US Invasion of Pakistan Will Unite Troops and Terrorists In Defense of “Land of the Pure”

“International Herald Tribune”: Pakistan may well fall apart very quickly. What do the West?

Anatol Lieven

“International Herald Tribune”: Pakistan is more important country than Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism

March madness in Pakistan

London – News reports that senior commanders in Afghanistan want to expand the number of ground raids of special forces in the tribal areas of Pakistan, quite possibly, have been leaked deliberately to increase pressure on Pakistan’s military leaders so that they have taken tougher action against militants Taliban seeking shelter in their country.

However, if the American generals are sincerely want to increase the number of such raids, you will need to state emphatically that all this is not just a crazy idea, but an approach that demonstrates how much the senior American (and British) team was obsessed with the war in Afghanistan due to the fight against terrorism in general.

Pakistan, with its huge population (about 200 million people), a large army, nuclear weapons, extensive extremist networks and diaspora in the West, is far more important country than Afghanistan, and is a much greater potential threat in terms of anti-Western terrorism. Moreover, one problem which, of course, would have led to the collapse of the Pakistani state and tremendously sharp increase in the power of extremists and terrorists, will be connected with the case where the Pakistani army will split and part of her rebel against the alliance with America. Onshore U.S. raids in Pakistan are subjected to the risks of just such disastrous results. In fact, after all sorts of conversations about the dangers disintegration of the state and the beginning of the Islamist revolution in Pakistan, namely the United States can be those who will cause such an event.

Supporters of the organization of ground raids, as seems to think that they are only just a continuation of an existing campaign attack drones on targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan, which has caused great indignation and was very doubtful success.
Pakistani officers, from captain to lieutenant-general told me that invading U.S. ground troops into Pakistan in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaeda is by far the most dangerous scenario for both the relations between Pakistan and the U.S., so and for the unity of the Pakistan Army. As explained by a retired general, attack drones, although officials and ordinary soldiers and they find it demeaning, do not constitute a critically important issue, because the Pakistani military could do nothing with them.

“U.S. ground troops inside Pakistan are a different kind of problem because soldiers can do something against them,” he said. “They can fight. And if they do not fight, then they will feel subjected to extreme abuse in the face of their wives, mothers and children. It would be a matter of honor, which, as you know, is hugely important in our society. These people vowed to defend Pakistani soil. Therefore, they will fight. And if the generals would have given them instructions to abandon combat, many of them have rebelled, starting with the Frontier Corps. ”
The most dangerous moment during my visits to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, due in August and September 2008, when on two occasions U.S. forces entered the tribal areas of Pakistan in order to make raids on suspected bases of the Taliban “and” Al-Qaeda. In the second case, the Pakistani soldiers started firing into the air to force the Americans to turn back.

Pakistan is a far more tenacious than this suggests many Western experts, and opportunities for extremists to spread the rebel activity and the revolution (as opposed to terrorism) is still substantially limited. But if the army would be divided, the State may well fall apart very quickly.

Western fears of this kind before the collapse focused on the fate of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, but the collapse of the armed forces not only increased the risk, but also would ensure that the huge number of conventional weapons (including anti-aircraft missiles), and military expertise will go into the hands of terrorists.

It would also mean a certain kind of defeat for the West in Afghanistan. In Western media reports overlooked the fact that, although the militants of Afghan Taliban find sanctuary in Pakistan, they have not received this kind of active support and assistance, which the West and Pakistan to assist the Afghan mujahideen fighting the Soviets and their Communist allies in 1980 -ies. If the West wants to support through the elimination of safe havens, it is perfect for beginning to address this issue will not be entitled to carry out ground raids, USA.

In its concern over how to achieve victory in Afghanistan, the U.S. generals are beginning to show signs of making classic mistakes in military strategy, and they become obsessed with the feature of the battlefield through the battle as a whole: the case when Napoleon at Waterloo, throwing more and more troops in an attempt to storm the Chateau d’Ugumon, Hitler made the same mistake in Stalingrad.

They also forget that success in the fight against terrorism does not mean in the end, the destruction of more members of the Taliban in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it means preventing a larger number of attacks in the West. Changing of the dead or captured commanders of the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan at greatly increased the terrorist threat in the West will lead to exchanges is extremely limited and temporary tactical success in a very threatening and long-term strategic defeat.

Anatol Lieven is a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College (King’s College) in London and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation (New America Foundation) in Washington. His next book, entitled “Pakistan: a harsh country” will be released in April 2011.

Anatol Lieven
“Interneshnel Herald Tribune,
December 29, 2010,
Translation – Zpress.kg-UVU

Source – Zpress.kg

Coffee Prices Set to Shoot Skywards

[Torrential Colombian rains and simple greed to cramp your coffee budget.]

Coffee prices peak on tight global supply concerns

Newswire18, / New Delhi December 31, 2010, 0:44 IST

Coffee prices are on the boil, tracking global supply concerns. On Thursday, prices of arabica plantation variety reached a record high of Rs 245 a kg at an auction centre in Vijayawada, climbing further from the all-time high reached on Monday, traders and analysts said.

On Monday also, the prices had breached the record levels trading at Rs 240 at the same auction centre in Karnataka. And, the coffee prices may rise further as global futures are hovering at record levels.

Supply concerns from Columbia and Central America that are reeling under torrential rains loom large over the global markets. On Wednesday, arabica beans futures for March delivery on ICE US closed at 13-and-half-year high of $2.3965 a pound.

“Coffee damage in Columbia has taken domestic prices to an all-time record and traders here are keenly looking at the volume of damage due to adverse weather conditions there,” said P Sureshbabu, proprietor of Bangalore-based Chaithanyaa Coffee, adding, “Meanwhile, prices will continue to rise.”

Supply of fresh coffee crop in India has also got delayed due to untimely rain during November and early December. Growers believe fresh coffee will hit the markets only by mid-January, even as picking of arabica crop has begun slowly in parts of key growing states, mainly Karnataka.

Also, fuelling the rise in coffee prices is feeling among growers that they should get more on their produce as exporters are pocketing huge profit margins due to steep price rise in global markets.

“At the current levels of international prices, growers here should get 10-15 per cent more on their crop,” said Anil Bhandari, a coffee grower and member of state-run Coffee Board.

Traders, however, accuse growers of holding back coffee stock expecting prices to rise further.

Amidst supply concerns from top arabica coffee growing countries, India, too, reduced its output forecast from the previous estimates. The state-run Coffee Board cut production estimates to 299,000 tonnes, from earlier 308,000 tonnes.

Still, the latest estimate is higher than 289,600 tonnes a year ago.

U.S.-Russian alliance cannot be ruled out

President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, share a toast during a luncheon at Prague Castle in Prague Prague, Czech Republic, 08 April 2010

Photo: The While House- P. Souza

Uncertain World: U.S.-Russian alliance cannot be ruled out

16:40 30/12/2010
Weekly column by Fyodor Lukyanov

When U.S. President Barack Obama was sworn in two years ago, no one thought the Russian question would become the focal point of not only his foreign but also his domestic policy.

© RIA Novosti.

Fyodor Lukyanov

The policy of resetting relations with Russia, launched to help resolve other more acute problems, has become Obama’s most successful foreign policy initiative. The ratification of the New START treaty, although it is more of a technical document than any kind of real breakthrough, is proof that the current U.S. administration can drive its point home.

The Senate was actually voting on who the boss is, rather than on anything to do with nuclear weapons cuts. The administration acted decisively and with real political mastery. But in 2011, the situation facing Obama will be much worse: the House of Representatives will be Republican-dominated and Democrats will hold only the slimmest of the majority in the Senate. However, the energetic efforts taken over the last few weeks have enabled the administration to curtail the feeling of creeping, imminent catastrophe created by the loss of the mid-term elections in November.

The ratification of the New START treaty will crown this reset policy. It is a tangible sign that the goals formulated 18 months ago have been attained. The new nuclear arms reduction treaty has been signed, sanctions against Iran introduced, cooperation in Afghanistan expanded, and tensions over the planned ballistic missile shield in Europe eased.

However, the past year and a half has witnessed a transition from deep crisis to a functional U.S.-Russian dialogue, and now both sides need a new forward-looking policy. They have created the atmosphere for it, with relations between their leaders now, for the first time in years, resembling something akin to trust.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pinpointed the main reason why U.S.-Russian relations have improved under Obama. He said in his final interview this year that Obama is “a leader who fulfills his promises.”

Although Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton were thought to be on friendly terms, as were Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, agreements reached under their various stewardships were not always honored.

The situation in the United States, however, is changing. Obama will have to work under pressure from Congress, and virtually no one in the current Republican leadership has a neutral, let alone positive, attitude to Russia. In other words, the president’s good will, which thus far we have had no reason to doubt, may not be sufficient for his policy toward Russia to be continued.

Political obstacles are compounded by conceptual problems. Americans have proposed expanding arms control talks to include tactical nuclear weapons and restoring control over conventional forces in Europe. But this unnecessary remix of old discussions would only push the two countries deeper into the past.

The proposed talks are based on the obsolete principle of the balance of forces, whereas the time of confrontation between the two systems Moscow and Washington represent is over and cannot be restarted in its previous form. The START-3 treaty has in fact revived the principle of a “civilized confrontation” formulated by Ronald Reagan as “Doveryai, no proveryai” (Trust, but verify). It was therefore logical that the U.S. administration, when arguing for ratification, claimed the new treaty would aid the resumption of mutual inspections, which ended when START-1 expired. All other arguments – nonproliferation, a nuclear free world, etc. – are mere lip service.

The situation regarding the ballistic missile shield seems absurd. Judging by the debates in the U.S. Senate and the Russian State Duma, it has sowed the seeds of unending discord by fomenting political differences. The shield’s latest trial failed (the second failure that year) even though the Pentagon has been accused of creating hothouse conditions for the tests. A report by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of

Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and outlay of public funds, expressed its concern over the increase in spending on a project that has such an uncertain future.
So, should we fight over an illusion?

We cannot be sure about relations between Russia and the United States in the 21st century. At least the Cold War paradigm was clear-cut and understandable. START-3 is the last of the big treaties designed to regulate the two superpowers’ rivalry in conditions when that very rivalry formed the backbone of global politics.

But the global situation has changed, and the international community is no longer tracking the ups and downs of U.S.-Russia talks. Iran and North Korea will attempt to produce their own nuclear bombs irrespective of how many missiles and warheads Russia or the United States may have, and China is steadily increasing its arsenal irrespective of what the nuclear giants do.

The U.S.-Russian relationship will only change when Moscow and Washington admit that much less depends on them in the world than they are accustomed to think, and that keeping the confrontations of yesteryear alive is actually a total waste of time and effort.

It is difficult to imagine Moscow and Washington as allies. But it would be unwise to rule out the possibility of any alliance in a world of such “mutable geometry,” where the lineup of forces is not set in stone but is an ever-changing quality.

 

Lawyer for Suspect in Benazir Killing Claims His Client Is Being Scapegoated

[Saud Aziz claims FIA has cell phones in question.  It will be interesting to see just how long this juggling act can go on between the Law and lawless officials.] 

‘Saud being victimized in BB case’ Anwer Abbas

ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) No-III, Rawalpindi, Wednesday rejected the request by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to extend the physical remand of former City Police Officer Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, and former ex-Superintendent Police Khurram Shahzad for nine more days and sent them to jail on judicial remand of 14 days. The Court directed the authorities concerned to reproduce them before the court by January 12, 2011. Both the former police officers are being tried for involvement in the assassination of former twice premier and ex-chairperson Pakistan People’s Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, where as Saud Aziz accused the FIA officials and Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar for misreporting the truth before the court, The Frontier Post learnt through reliable sources. Informed sources said that Anjum Wahid the lawyer of former City Police Officer Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, informed the court that statements issued by the FIA officials and the Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar were not true and were against the facts and figures. Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar informed the Court that there were some difficulties in acquiring the record of the mobile phones used by both the former police high-up on the day of incident, as both were not cooperating with the investigating authorities concerned, which was not true and his client was fully cooperating with the court. Elaborating further he maintained that the data from the cellular phone of the former City Police Officer Rawalpindi was in custody of FIA, who was refusing the reality. Expressing anger and reservations, Anjum Wahid, Aziz’s attorney termed the allegations by Chaudhry Zulfiqar as baseless accusing Saud Aziz for having contacts with the ISI and MI at the time of incident saying that his client was a government employee. Following the proceedings Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed refused the request of the FIA to extend the physical remand of both the accused for nine more days and sent them to jail on judicial remand of 14 days. Anjum Wahid vowed to make public facts and figures about allegation leveled by FIA officials soon, claiming that his client was being victimized for the crime which he had not committed.

The Wasted Gains Once Made In Afghanistan

Regaining lost ground (cached)

Frontier Post

After going through the joint statement on the Istanbul tripartite summit of the presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one feels so saddened how far ahead could have Kabul and Islamabad moved together harmoniously to their two countries’ mutual good, had they not fallen in servitude to Washington, for which they have by now lost so much of ground that it would be quite tough for both to regain it any soon. Had they been their own masters, both Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Pervez Musharraf, his Pakistani counterpart, would have made a common cause right from the outset to pacify and stabilise Afghanistan and keep Pakistan secure against the negative fallout of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. But deplorably that was not to be. Instead, they went separate ways. Karzai becoming just CIA’s slave, to whose satrapy had Bush given Afghanistan throughout his presidency, embracing warmly those this American spy agency held up as its friends, puritanically shunning and reviling those it pronounced its adversaries or foes, and acting an unquestioning obedient tool of its dirty games in the neighbourhood. For his part, Musharraf was quite happy playing a Bush administration’s obsequious valet, doing its bidding compliantly. Both should have teamed up to demand from Afghanistan’s invaders enough boots on the ground: Karzai for ensuring fleeing Taliban and their ally al-Qaeda remnants’ decimation; Musharraf for having the borders plugged off on the Afghanistan side to block off their sneaking into Pakistani territory. They did not. Karzai did whine but only humbly when Bush assembled together a war party of the like-minded and invaded Iraq illegally and unlawfully. Karzai did complain that without finishing the task in Afghanistan Bush had embarked on an adventure elsewhere; but without a loud voice. Musharraf did not even mew, whereas Bush’s Iraqi adventurism should have brought home to him as well as Karzai that the Bush’s overbearing neocons had their sights set elsewhere, not on Afghanistan, and that they were manipulating the world sympathy which the 9/11 holocaust had brought America to perpetuate their imperialist designs. As Karzai felt content with playing CIA’s slave, reading out its briefs to vilify whoever it wanted, befriending those it desired and castigating those it commanded, his presidency kept shrinking to ultimately reduce to his presidential mansion’s outer gate, with the Northern Alliance’s warlords and chieftains having carved up western and northern Afghanistan into their fiefdoms and the country’s Pakhtun-dominated southern and eastern parts in Taliban’s and other insurgents’ tight grab. More, instead of being the post-Taliban power dispensation’s central figure, he practically turned into playing a second fiddle to the Northern Alliance which was enjoying CIA’s unstinted backing for services it had rendered to the agency in Taliban’s ouster, and to India, an alliance’s close ally since its war with Taliban. Even his own National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy service, was spurning of his authority. It acted more as a CIA’s subsidiary and because of its dominance by Northern Alliance loyalists was quite chummy with India’s RAW as well. For his part, when Musharraf woke up, somewhere in 2005, it dawned on him that his American masters had played a double game on him. Not only had the CIA infested deeply, in collusion with RAW and NDS, Pakistan’s tribal region and northwestern territories, unleashing on them such monstrosities as Naik Mohammad, Abdullah Mehsud, Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah. Together with RAW and NDS, it had also softened up Balochistan, fuelling insurgency and separatism in this sensitively strategically-placed province of Pakistan. Worse, the CIA sited its sponsored Uighur dissidents in our tribal region to draw Islamabad an incensed China’s anger, and its patronised Jundullah outfit of Iranian Baloch dissidents in Balochistan, creating for Pakistan enormous diplomatic difficulties with Iran. Even then the two could have realised that both were being taken for a ride by their American masters and their allies. Indeed, had they become their own men even at that juncture and had they given a thought and a chance to cooperative efforts likes the ones the Istanbul statement has talked of, things would have been certainly different in both the countries from what are those now. Regrettably, they did not. Although the baggage of that past is too big to unload too soon, still a big start can be made even now towards a positive bright future of the two countries’ relationship. But for that, Karzai has necessarily to show himself to be a really changed man and the Islamabad establishment a real sovereign in making its decisions uninfluenced by America in its best national interests.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar and Americans’ Plot To Attack Pak Nuke Plant

Freed militant wanted to target Pak nukes

By Amir Mir
LAHORE: Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the al-Qaeda-linked ameer of the Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI), has been freed by the Punjab government under mysterious circumstances despite the fact that he is still wanted in several high-profile cases of terrorism.

His most significant target was to blow up the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant at Kundian, Punjab, by using a group of five Americans who had already been convicted by an anti-terrorism court in June 2010 on terrorism charges.

According to the charge sheet filed by Sargodha Police against the five Americans, who had been detained in Sargodha on December 9, 2009 in a police raid on a house with links to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), they were in contact with Qari Saifullah Akhtar who had encouraged them to travel to Pakistan all the way from the United States “to wage jehad against those siding with the forces of infidel”. The evidence presented by the prosecution against the American nationals included phone calls, emails, and other documents that linked them to Qari Saifullah Akhtar.

The charge sheet had described the HUJI ameer as a fugitive, adding that he had recruited the five Americans after watching their videos posted on YouTube. Having obtained their email addresses through YouTube postings, Qari Saifullah subsequently encouraged them to travel to Pakistan for the purpose of “waging jehad”. A few weeks later, the group of Americans departed US from the Dulles International Airport and travelled to Karachi, and then Hyderabad, to Lahore, and finally to Sargodha.

Once arrested, their trial was closed to journalists and was heard by a single judge in a special anti-terrorism court. According to the prosecution, one of the men had left an 11-minutes-long video expressing his view that Muslim lands must be defended against the western invaders. According to investigations carried out by the Pakistani authorities, the five Americans from Washington DC had planned to meet a contact close to the Pak-Afghan border between Punjab and the Frontier provinces, and then to proceed to the stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. During the course of investigations, that contact turned out to be Qari Saifullah Akhtar, whom Ahmed Minni, one of the five Americans, had met on the internet after he had posted remarks praising a video footage on YouTube, showing Taliban-led attacks on the US-led Allied Forces in Afghanistan.

All the five US nationals — Waqar Hussain Khan, Ahmed Minni, Ramy Zamzam, Aman Yemer and Umar Farooq were subsequently charged with five counts of conspiracy to target Pakistani nuclear installations in Chashma, attacking Pakistan Air Force bases in Sargodha and Mianwali, raising funds to carry out terrorist activities, waging war against Pakistan and planning to wage war against a friendly country. On June 24, 2010, Judge Mian Anwar Nazir found them guilty and sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment and fines of $823 each for conspiring against the state and an additional five years for financing a militant organisation.

Interestingly, the day the five Americans were convicted, their militant handler, Qari Saifullah, was declared an absconder despite the fact that he had already been arrested from Rawalpindi by that time and was in the custody of the Pakistani security agencies. Qari Saifullah had to abandon Waziristan after he was wounded in a US drone attack. He subsequently travelled to Peshawar and then to Rawalpindi for treatment before being arrested and taken to Lahore, only to be placed under house arrest in Chishtian tehsil of Punjab in August 2010, before being released in the first week of December.

However, it is not for the first time that Qari Saifullah, believed to be a tool of the intelligence establishment, has eluded prosecution. Though his role in the Karachi suicide attack targeting the welcome procession of Benazir Bhutto could not be explored further due to an apparent lack of interest by the agencies, his previous involvement in a failed coup plot in 1995 had projected him as one of the deadliest militants who, from the establishment’s viewpoint, had gone astray. A total of 40 army officers were arrested by the Military Intelligence (MI), including four serving army officers, headed by Major General Zaheerul Islam Abbasi and Brigadier Mustansar Billa. However, Qari Saifullah was described as the ideologue of the religiously motivated khakis. The arrested army officers were accused of plotting to first take over the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi during the Corps Commanders Conference and overthrow the Benazir government to enforce Khilafat system in Pakistan.

Qari Saifullah was arrested on September 23, 1995 when the Pakistani Customs Intelligence personnel stopped a Brigadier’s staff car, which was leading a cavalcade of several vehicles, including a truck carrying arms and ammunition. Video and audio cassettes of their statements that were to be broadcast on the state run TV and radio after the coup were also discovered. The arrested comprised two groups, the inner group of plotters who attempted to topple the government and the larger group of sympathisers who extended their moral/verbal support and were more or less motivated by their plan to extend complete support to the cause of mujahedeen in Jammu Kashmir. It was further revealed that the plan included plotting to kill Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and some cabinet members including the incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, who was a federal minister at that time.

The Field General Court Martial (FGCM) was constituted at Attock and was presided by Major General Zahid Hasan amongst four other officers (two Brigadiers and two Colonels including then Brigadier — later Lieutenant General — Javed Alam Khan. The suspects were charged under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and Pakistan Penal Code for “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline”, “conspiring to wage war against Pakistan” and “attempting to seduce any person from his allegiance to the government”.

However, the trial proved quite easy as Qari Saifullah Akhtar decided to become approver against his fellow plotters and acted as a star prosecution witness. There was documentary evidence in the form of the tapes, arms and ammunition and none of the accused really denied the charges either. After investigations were completed, the FGCM started its proceedings on December 31, 1995 and the sentences were announced on October 30, 1996.

The coup plotters were convicted by the FGCM and awarded different sentences ranging from two to 14 years. Qari Saifullah was kept under protective custody for a few months and as soon as the second Bhutto government was dismissed in 1996, he was set free by the agencies; he went to Afghanistan and was inducted into the cabinet of the Taliban ameer, Mulla Omar, as his adviser on political affairs.

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? Who really is Qari Saifullah Akhtar?

[Some people blame it on the fact that Pakistan’s laws contain no legal precedents for prosecuting acts of terrorism, but it is a fundamental flaw much bigger than some legal loopholes.  These terrorists could easily be prosecuted for individual acts of murder if there was a judicial will to accept the challenge.  Pakistani government cannot treat terrorism as a crime, because too often, it is just another tool in the State’s toolkit.  Pakistan’s secret terror army is no different than America’s secret terror army, because, for the most part, they are the same armies.  Pakistan is merely more blatant in its almost open use of terrorism as state policy.  SEE: Pakistan’s Best Terrorists Wait In Jail Cells, On Call Something must open this stinking can of rotting worms.  A real investigation of the Benazir Bhutto murder would do just that.  That is why there will never be a satisfactory investigation.  We see the beginning of this with the scattering of the key witnesses before they can be called to testify.]

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? Who really is Qari Saifullah Akhtar?

by Yousuf Nazar

Pakistani police officers assist injured militant commander Qari Saifullah Akhtar, centre face covered, as he exits following a court appearance in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in 2007 (Photo source)

Source: State of Pakistan

The following was originally published on February 17, 2008.

What happened after he was let go in May 2007 is not known. What is known that instead of trying to prosecute and convict him, the government chose to keep him in ‘custody’ after his arrest in August 2004. It first denied before the Supreme Court on May 5, 2007 that he was in its custody and then quietly released him and informed the Supreme Court on May 26, 2007 that he had been released.

Is Qari Saifullah Akhtar a jihadi? Is he a militant? Is he a rogue double agent who turned his back on the ISI? If so, why no attempt to try him and get a conviction from the court? OR is he an ‘intelligence asset’, a handy tool to be manipulated and dumped at an appropriate time?

QARI SAIFULLAH AKHTAR HAS BEEN AT LARGE IN PAKISTAN SINCE MAY 2007.

Who is Qari Saifullah Akhtar?

1. Was he involved in the assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007?

2. Is there a connection between his “release” from the custody of the intelligence agencies in May 2007 and the phenomenal rise in bomb attacks during the second half of 2007?

3. Why did the government keep him for nearly three years, first denied he was in its custody and then released him?

Qari Saifullah Akhtar’s role in bomb attack on Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 in Karachi

Benazir Bhutto writes in her last book about October 18, 2007 bomb attack in Karachi:

Quote:  “later I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned. According to this report, three men belonging to a rival political faction were hired for half a million dollars. They were, according to my sources, named Ejaz, Sajjad and another whose name I forgot.  One of them died accidentally because he couldn’t get away fast enough before the detonation. Presumably this was the one holding the baby. However, a bomb maker was needed for the bombs. Enter Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a wanted terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government. He had been extradited by the United Arab Emirates and was languishing in Karachi central jail. According to my second source, the officials in Lahore had turned to Akhtar for help. His liaison with elements in the government, according to this source, was a radical who was asked to make the bombs and himself asked for a fatwa making it legitimate to oblige. He got one.(p.221)” Unquote.

Who is Qari Saifullah Akhtar?

A notorious character and the Amir of Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami, Saifullah Akhtar emerged on the national scene when in October 1995, General Abdul Waheed Kakkar, the then chief of the army staff under Benazir Bhutto, discovered a plot by a group of army officers headed by Major General Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi to have him and Benazir assassinated, capture power and proclaim the formation of an Islamic Caliphate in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Abbasi and his army associates were arrested. They were found to have been plotting in tandem with a group in the Harkat-ul-Ansar(HuA) led by Qari Saifullah Akhtar. But while Abbasi and his associates were court-martialled and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, the Qari was released without any action being taken against him.

Before 1990, there were two jihadi organisations called the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami (HuJI). The HuM was headed by Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil and the HuJI by Qari Saifullah Akhtar. Around 1990, the two merged to form the HuA, with Maulana Khalil as the amir and Qari Akhtar as the deputy amir. Amjad Farooqi  – the alleged assassin of Musharraf – who was shot dead in a police encounter, used to work closely with the Qari.In the late 1980s, Abbasi as a brigadier was posted to the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi as head of the ISI station in India. The Government of India had him expelled. On his return to Pakistan, he was posted to the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan).  In the beginning of the 1990s, without the clearance of General Asif Nawaz Janjua, the then COAS under Nawaz Sharif, Abbasi organised a raid on an Indian Army post in the Siachen area and was beaten back by the Indian Army with heavy casualties.  Janjua had him transferred out and censured. Since then, he had been nursing an anger against the Pakistan army’s senior leadership and hobnobbing with the Qari.   A few months after capturing power on October 12,1999, Musharraf had Abbasi released from jail. He formed an anti-US organisation called Hizbollah, which acted in tandem with the HUJI. In December 1999, a group of Pakistani hijackers, said to be belonging to the HuM, hijacked an aircraft of the Indian Airlines, which had taken off from Kathmandu, and forced the pilot to fly it to Kandahar. They demanded the release of Omar Sheikh, a British Muslim of Pakistani origin, and Maulana Masood Azhar, a Pakistani Punjabi belonging to the HuM.  The Government of India conceded their demands in order to terminate the hijacking.  Amongst the hijackers was a Pakistani Punjabi by name Mansur Hasnain. Sections of the Pakistani media reported that this hijacker was none other than Amjad Farooqi, who was subsequently found involved in the assassination attempt on Musharraf.  On January 12, 2002, under pressure from the US in the wake of the attempted terrorist strike on the Indian Parliament at New Delhi in December 2001, Musharraf announced a ban on the Lashkar, Jaish and SSP and had their leaders arrested or placed under house arrest.  However the ban did not apply to  the HuM and HuJI, and the government did not take any action against Qari Saifullah Akhtar and Amjad Farooqi.

On May 20, 2002, the Friday Times published the following story titled: “The biggest militia we know nothing about”:

Ary Digital TV’s host Dr Masood,  while discussing the May 8 killing of 11 French nationals in Karachi, named one Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami as one of the suspected terrorists involved in the bombing. When the Americans bombed the Taliban and Mulla Umar fled from his stronghold in Kandahar, a Pakistani personality also fled with him. This was Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami, Pakistan’s biggest jehadi militia headquartered in Kandahar. No one knew the name of the outfit and its leader. A large number of its fighters made their way into Central Asia and Chechnya to escape capture at the hands of the Americans, the rest stole back into Pakistan to establish themselves in Waziristan and Buner. Their military training camp (maskar) in Kotli in Azad Kashmir swelled with new fighters and now the outfit is scouting some areas in the NWFP to create a supplementary maskar for jehad in Kashmir. Its ‘handlers’ have clubbed it together with Harkatul Mujahideen to create Jamiatul Mujahideen in order to cut down the large number of outfits gathered together in Azad Kashmir. It was active in Held Kashmir under the name of Harkatul Jahad Brigade 111.

Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami and the Taliban:

The leader of Harkat al-Jahad al- Islami, Qari Saifullah Akhtar was an adviser to Mulla Umar in the Taliban government. His fighters were called ‘Punjabi’ Taliban and were offered employment, something that other outfits could not get out of Mulla Umar. The outfit had membership among the Taliban too. Three Taliban ministers and 22 judges belonged to the Harkat. In difficult times, the Harkat fighters stood together with Mulla Umar. Approximately 300 of them were killed fighting the Northern Alliance, after which Mulla Umar was pleased to give Harkat the permission to build six more maskars in Kandahar, Kabul and Khost, where the Taliban army and police also received military training. From its base in Afghanistan, Harkat launched its campaigns inside Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya. But the distance of Qari Saifullah Akhtar from the organisation’s Pakistani base did not lead to any rifts. In fact, Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami emerged from the defeat of the Taliban largely intact. In Pakistan Qari Akhtar has asked the ‘returnees’ to lie low for the time being, while his Pakistani fighters already engaged are busy in jihad as before.    The Harkat is the only militia which boasts international linkages. It calls itself ‘the second line of defence of all Muslim states’ and is active in Arakan in Burma, and Bangladesh, with well organised seminaries in Karachi, and Chechnya, Sinkiang, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. (The latest trend is to recall Pakistani fighters stationed abroad and encourage the local fighters to take over the operations). Its fund-raising is largely from Pakistan, but an additional source is its activity of selling weapons to other militias. Its acceptance among the Taliban was owed to its early allegiance to a leader of the Afghan war, Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi and his Harkat Inqilab Islami whose fighters became a part of the Taliban forces in large numbers. Nabi Muhammadi was ignored by the ISI in 1980 in favour of Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e-Islami. His outfit suffered in influence inside Afghanistan because he was not supplied with weapons in the same quantity as some of the other seven militias.   According to the journal Al-Irshad of Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami, published from Islamabad, a Deobandi group led by Maulana Irshad Ahmad was established in 1979. Looking for the right Afghan outfit in exile to join in Peshawar, Maulana Irshad Ahmad adjudged Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi as the true Deobandi and decided to join him in 1980. Harkat Inqilab Islami was set up by Maulana Nasrullah Mansoor Shaheed and was taken over by Nabi Muhammadi after his martyrdom. Eclipsed in Pakistan, Maulana Irshad Ahmad fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets till he was killed in battle in Shirana in 1985. His place was taken by Qari Saifullah Akhtar, which was not liked by some of the Harkat leaders, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khaleel who then set up his own Harkatul Mujahideen. According to some sources, Harkatul Mujahideen was a new name given to Harkatul Ansar after it was declared terrorist by the United States. Other sources claim that it was Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami that had earlier merged with Harkatul Ansar. But relations with Fazlur Rehman Khaleel remained good, but when Maulana Masood Azhar separated from Harkatul Mujahideen and set up his own Jaish-e-Muhammad. Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami opposed Jaish in its journal Sada-e-Mujahid (May 2000) and hinted that ‘you-know-who’ had showered Jaish with funds. Jaish was supported by Mufti Shamzai of Banuri Mosque of Karachi and was given a brand new Laskar in Balakot by the ISI.

Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami and Kashmir jihad:

The sub-militia fighting in Kashmir is semi-autonomous and is led by chief commander Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri. Its training camp is 20 km from Kotli in Azad Kashmir, with a capacity for training 800 warriors, and is run by one Haji Khan. Harkat al- Jahad al-Islami went intoKashmir in 1991 but was at first opposed by the Wahhabi elements there because of its refusal to criticise the grand Deobandi congregation of Tableeghi Jamaat and its quietist posture. But as days passed, its warriors were recognised as ‘Afghanis’. It finally had more martyrs in the jehad of Kashmir than any other militia. Its resolve and organisation were recognised when foreigners were seen fighting side by side with its Punjabi warriors. To date, 650 Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami mujahideen have killed in battle against the Indian army: 190 belonging to both sides of Kashmir, nearly 200 belonging to Punjab, 49 to Sindh, 29 to Balochistan, 70 to Afghanistan, 5 to Turkey, and 49 collectively to Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and the Arab world. Because of its allegiance to the spiritual legacy of Deobandism, Harkat al- Jahad al-Islami did not attack the Tableeghi Jamaat, which stood it in good stead because it became the only militia whose literature was allowed to be distributed during the congregations of the Tableeghi Jamaat, and those in the Pakistani establishment attending the congregation were greatly impressed by the militia’s organisational excellence. It contained more graduates of the seminaries than any other militia, thus emphasising its religious character as envisaged by its founder and by Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi. It kept away from the sectarian conflict unlike Jaish-e- Muhammad but its men were at times put off by the populist Kashmiri Islam and reacted violently to local practices. In Central Asia, Chechnya and Burma: The leader of Harkat al-Jahad al- Islami in Uzbekistan is Sheikh Muhammad Tahir al-Farooq. So far 27 of its fighters have been killed in battle against the Uzbek president Islam Karimov, as explained in the Islamabad-based journal Al-Irshad. Starting in 1990, the war against Uzbekistan was bloody and was supported by the Taliban, till in 2001, the commander had to ask the Pakistanis in Uzbekistan to return to base. In Chechnya, the war against the Russians was carried on under the leadership of commander Hidayatullah. Pakistan’s embassy in Moscow once denied that there were any Pakistanis involved in the Chechnyan war, but journal Al-Irshad (March 2000) declared from Islamabad that the militia was deeply involved in the training of guerrillas in Chechnya for which purpose commander Hidayatullah was stationed in the region. It estimated that ‘dozens’ of Pakistani fighters had been martyred fighting against Russian infidels. When the Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami men were seen first in Tajikistan, they were mistaken by some observers as being fighters from Sipah Sahaba, but in fact they were under the command of commander Khalid Irshad Tiwana, helping Juma Namangani and Tahir Yuldashev resist the Uzbek ruling class in the Ferghana Valley. The anti-Uzbek warlords were being sheltered by Mulla Umar in Afghanistan.  Maulana Abdul Quddus heads the Burmese warriors located in Karachi and fighting mostly in Bangladesh on the Arakanese border. Korangi is the base of the Arakanese Muslims who fled Burma to fight the jehad from Pakistan. A large number of Burmese are located inside Korangi and the area is sometimes called mini-Arakan. Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami has opened 30 seminaries for them inside Korangi, there being 18 more in the rest of Karachi. Maulana Abdul Quddus, a Burmese Muslim, while talking to weekly Zindagi (25-31 January 1998), revealed that he had run away from Burma via India and took religious training in the Harkat seminaries in Karachi and on its invitation went to Afghanistan, took military training there and fought the jehad from 1982 to 1988. In Orangi, the biggest seminary is Madrasa Khalid bin Walid where 500 Burmese are under training. They were trained in Afghanistan and later made to fight against the Northern Alliance and against the Indian army in Kashmir. The Burmese prefer to stay in Pakistan, and very few have returned to Burma or to Bangladesh. There are reports of their participation in the religious underworld in Karachi.   Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami has branch offices in 40 districts and tehsils in Pakistan, including Sargodha, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Khanpur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Mianwali, Bannu, Kohat, Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Swabi and Peshawar. It also has an office in Islamabad. Funds are collected from these grassroots offices as well as from sources abroad. The militia has accounts in two branches of Allied Bank in Islamabad, which have not been frozen because the organisation is not under a ban.The authorities have begun the process of reorganisation of jehad by changing names and asking the various outfits to merge. Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami has been asked to merge with Harkatul Mujahideen of Fazlur Rehman Khaleel who had close links with Osama bin Laden. The new name given to this merger is Jamiatul Mujahideen. Jamaat Islami’s Hizbul Mujahideen has been made to absorb all the refugee Kashmiri organisations. Jaish and Lashkar-e-Tayba have been clubbed together as Al-Jahad. All the Barelvi organisations, so far located only in Azad Kashmir, have been pout together as Al-Barq. Al-Badr and Hizbe Islami have been renamed as Al-Umar Mujahideen.

In a report in The News of September 28, 2004  titled ‘Real conspirators in Musharraf case may never be exposed,’ Kamran Khan,  wrote: ‘Senior lawyers say that the killing of Amjad Farooqi, the main accused in President Musharraf and Daniel Pearl cases, may also influence the final outcome of the two most important cases.  ‘A nationwide military investigation launched after two assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf last year had unveiled that some civilian and low level military individuals were the field operatives while Amjad Farooqi played an anchor in the abortive bids on Gen Musharraf’s life.  ‘Because of the most sensitive nature of the probe the principal investigative work was carried out under the supervision of the Commander Corps 10, who received inputs from all federal and provincial law enforcement agencies in the most extensive investigation of a crime case in Pakistan,’ Khan said.  ‘“It was very important to catch Amjad Farooqi alive,”‘ Khan quoted a senior law enforcement official as saying. ‘”Farooqi was the key link between the foot soldiers and those who ordered the murder.”‘  ‘”Amjad Farooqi is now dead with the most important secret and we still don’t know for sure the real identity of the Pakistani or Al Qaeda or any other foreign elements who had launched Farooqi into action to remove General Musharraf from the scene,” said another senior law enforcement official.’

August 8, 2004: Qari Saifullah Akhtar arrested

On  August 8, 2004, the then Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced the arrest of ‘wanted militant’ Qari Saifullah Akhtar: “We confirm that we have arrested [Qari] Saifullah Akhtar. He was on our wanted list for a very long time before, but he was not available. We did not know his location. And now from UAE, we got the information, and they delivered him to us. And now he is in our custody.”

According to a Radio Free Europe report dated August 9, 2004: “Pakistani security officials believe Akhtar is an important terrorist figure with links to Al-Qaeda. His arrest is part of a series of apparent breakthroughs in recent weeks in efforts to infiltrate Islamic terror networks.  Recent arrests are the latest in a month-long crackdown in which more than 20 terrorist suspects have been captured in Pakistan.”We are trying our best. We have arrested the most valuable people. We never go to the small arrests or the people who are expediters. We have gone for the planners. And the best planners, we have arrested,” Ahmed said. “And I think that these arrests will make a big change in their activity. They will not be in a position to [attack] some big target. Or [if there is] something [that] they want to do, it’s not [going to be] easy to do for them.” Akhtar is known to have been involved with Pakistani intelligence agencies through much of the 1990s before his group was outlawed and he left the country. His capture is being interpreted by many in the United States as a sign that the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is joining the war on terrorism with renewed vigor.  Pakistani security agencies also recently arrested Fazalur Rehman Khalil, accused of leading another outlawed group with links to Al-Qaeda, Harakatul Mujahedin.”

The Daily Times wrote an editorial [August 09, 2004] after the arrest of  Qari Saifullah Akhtar:

“ Qari Saifullah Akhtar — born in 1958 in South Waziristan — is a graduate of the Banuri Masjid in Karachi. He was a crucial figure in Mufti Shamzai’s efforts to get Osama bin Laden and Mullah Umar together as partners-in-jihad. Qari Saifullah Akhtar first came to public view when he was caught as one of the would-be army coup-makers of 1995 led by Major-General Zaheerul Islam Abbasi, but saved his skin by turning ‘state witness’. (Some say he was defiant but was still let off.) After that, he surfaced in Kandahar and from 1996 was an adviser to Mullah Umar in the Taliban government. His fighters were called ‘Punjabi’ Taliban and were offered employment, something that other outfits could not get out of Mullah Umar. His outfit had membership among the Taliban too. Three Taliban ministers and 22 judges belonged to his Harkat.  In difficult times, the Harkat fighters stood together with Mullah Umar. Approximately 300 of them were killed fighting the Northern Alliance, after which Mullah Umar was pleased to give Harkat the permission to build six more ‘maskars’ (training camps) in Kandahar, Kabul and Khost, where the Taliban army and police also received military training. From its base in Afghanistan, the Harkat launched its campaigns inside Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya. It finally became the biggest jihadi militia based in Kandahar located in the middle of the Taliban-Al Qaeda strategic merger.  The Harkat called itself ‘the second line of defence for all Muslim states’ and was active in Burma, Bangladesh and Sinkiang. Because of their common origin in the Banuri seminary, Harkat al-Jihad al-Islami and Harkatul Mujahideen were merged in 1993 for the sake of “better performance” in Kashmir. The new outfit was called Harkatul Ansar, the first to be declared as a terrorist organization by the United States after one of its commanders formed an ancillary organization, called Al Faran, and kidnapped and killed Western tourists from Kashmir in 1995. Qari Saifullah Akhtar fled from Kandahar after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001 and hid  South Waziristan.  Qari Saifullah’s outfit was truly international. When the Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami men were seen first in Tajikistan, they were mistaken by some observers as being fighters from Sipah Sahaba, but in fact they were under the command of a Punjabi commander, helping Juma Namangani and Tahir Yuldashev resist the Uzbek ruling class in the FerghanaValley. Out of the two Uzbeks being sheltered by Mullah Umar in Afghanistan, one was killed and the other was recently wounded during the Wana Operation inSouth Waziristan. The Harkat used to be entrenched in Karachi, looking after its Burmese warriors. They were located inside Korangi and the area was sometimes called mini-Arakan. The Harkat opened 30 seminaries for themselves inside Korangi, there being 18 more in the rest of Karachi. In Orangi, the biggest seminary was Madrasa Khalid bin Walid where 500 Burmese were once under training. They were later trained in Afghanistan and directed to fight against theNorthern Alliance and against the Indian army inKashmir.  Harkat al-Jahad al-Islami had branch offices in 40 districts and tehsils in Pakistan, including Sargodha, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Khanpur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Mianwali, Bannu, Kohat, Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Swabi and Peshawar. It also had an office in Islamabad. Funds were collected from these grassroots offices as well as from sources abroad. The militia had accounts in two branches of Allied Bank in Islamabad. Qari Saifullah’s repatriation signals the closing of the Saudi channel of escape for the Deobandi jihadis. But Qari Saifullah was not the only one hiding in that region. There were other less known personalities with contacts who could go at will to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to bide their time when the political heat increased in Karachi and their ‘handlers’ told them to take a sabbatical. For Qari Saifullah Akhtar the sabbatical is now over.  The timing of Qari Saifullah’s repatriation is significant. It happened after the arrest of Al Qaeda operative Muhammad Khalfan Ghailani from Gujrat along with Al Qaeda’s computer genius Muhammad Naeem Nur Khan. It is said that the Pakistani agencies recruited Khan as a double agent and were thus able to communicate with Al Qaeda through him. Because of a premature disclosure of Khan as a double agent in the United States, the slowly tightening noose around Al Qaeda in the UK had to be quickly sprung. The home-coming of Qari Saifullah Akhtar could well be connected with the revelations made in Gujrat.”

January 18, 2005  Supreme Court dismisses Qari’s petition

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition against the arrest of alleged Al Qaeda operative Qari Saifullah Akhtar and directed the petitioner to first move the High Court by filing a habeas corpus writ petition. A Supreme Court bench of Justice Hamid Ali Mirza and Justice Falak Sher ruled that the arrest in this case was not a matter of public importance, hence a constitutional petition could not be filed directly in the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

May 5, 2007  Supreme Court told Qari not in government custody

About Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the concise report presented by the National Crisis Management cell to the Supreme Court, revealed, “He is engaged in jihadi activities somewhere in Punjab”, thus denying that Qari Saifullah was in government’s custody.  Qari Saifullah’s lawyer, Hashmat Habib told the bench that government is aware of the whereabouts of Qari Saifullah since he was handed over to the Pakistani government by the UAE authorities on August 8, 2004. He substantiated his statement by narrating NCMC’s Director General Javed Iqbal Cheema’s [Admin note: the current spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, who made extremely controversial statement about recording Baitullah Mehsud’s telephone call to ‘prove’ he was behind her murder] interview to a newspaper on August 9, 2004; saying, “Qari Saifullah is in custody of law enforcement agencies and Pakistani agencies are interrogating him.” Hashmat Habib said that the then Information Minister, Sheikh Rashid’s statements given in August 2004 also confirmed that Qari Saifullah was in government’s detention. After listening to the arguments given by both the sides, Justice Javed Iqbal ordered that a specific report about Qari Saifullah be furnished in the next hearing.

May 26, 2007 Supreme Court told Qari has been released

Director Crisis Management  Cell Col (retd) Javed Iqbal Lodhi told the Supreme Court Friday that so far 98 missing persons have been traced. The two member bench comprising Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and Justice Falak Sher directed the interior ministry to submit affidavits about those who have reached their homes so that information could be collected as to who had picked them up and under what charges and circumstances. The bench also asked the authorities to expedite their efforts to find out whereabouts of remaining 156 missing people and coordinate with all the intelligence agencies including MI, ISI and the interior ministry officials of all four provinces. The counsel for Qari Saifullah Akhtar said he had been released after detention by the security agencies for two years and nine month.

The terrorist released and at large

What happened after he was let go in May 2007 is not known. What is known that instead of trying to prosecute and convict him, the government chose to keep him in ‘custody’ after his arrest in August 2004. It first denied before the supreme court on May 5, 2007 that he was in its custody and then quietly released him and informed the supreme court on May 26, 2007 that he had been released.

Is Qari Saifullah Akhtar a jihadi? Is he a militant? Is he a rogue double agent who turned his back on the ISI? If so, why no attempt to try him and get a conviction from the court? OR is he an ‘intelligence asset’, a handy tool to be manipulated and dumped at an appropriate time?

The Re-Sovietization of Hungary

Germany Denounces New Hungarian Media Law

A rally organized by students in Budapest on Monday, Dec. 20, protested the passage of a new media law in Hungary.

REUTERS

A rally organized by students in Budapest on Monday, Dec. 20, protested the passage of a new media law in Hungary.

The German government has joined a chorus of criticism over Hungary’s new media law, which some observers say could be misused to silence critical publications. The country needs to be careful of EU norms, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized a new media law in Hungary, saying Budapest needs to be careful not to violate democratic principles in its dealings with the media. The Hungarian government assumes the revolving six-month EU presidency on Jan. 1, and Merkel said her government was watching the change in Hungarian law "with careful attention," according to deputy government spokesman Christoph Steegmans, who spoke to journalists on Wednesday.

"As soon-to-be EU president, Hungary bears a special responsibility for the image of the European Union in the world," Steegmans added. He made explicit reference to criticisms already lodged by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE), which denounced the law as "unprecedented in European democracies."

Uncertain Crimes

The law, which was passed by the Hungarian parliament on Tuesday, empowers a new body, the National Media and Communications Authority, to impose heavy fines for vague infractions, including coverage that is unbalanced, or offensive to human dignity or common morals, according to the Associated Press. The law comes into effect on Jan. 1.

"I am concerned that Hungary’s parliament has adopted media legislation that, if misused, can silence critical media and public debate in the country," said Dunja Mijatovic, the OCSE representative on freedom of the media, on Wednesday. "In the absence of clearly defined guidelines, it is impossible for journalists to know when they are in breach of the law."

The potential fines are steep: For national TV channels, the upper limit is 200 million forints ($950,000); for daily newspapers and Internet news portals, 25 million forints ($119,000), and for weekly or monthly publications, 10 million forints ($48,000).

The law passed with the votes of the governing center-right Fidesz party, whichswept to power in April on a surge of resentment against the previous left-wing government, triggered in part by its painful austerity measures. The far-right Jobbik party entered parliament for the first time in the same election, with almost 17 percent of the vote, as did the environmentalist party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) with around 7 percent.

Noting that Fidesz had installed its own members in key positions on the new media council, LMP members said the law would ensure the ruling party’s "media monopoly." Some LMP members taped their mouths shut in protest during the final vote.

msm — with wires

Extorting a Taliban Pay-Off and Calling It “Victory”

[What is the bottom dollar price for buying-off the Taliban?  This is what it has come down to.  The great obscenity of it all is that this pseudo-victory is not immediate, instead of waiting while more people die, as after another round of dickering takes place.  Without “the bulldozer” Holbrooke, that could take months, if not years.]

Conference on Afghanistan: how much to buy off the Taliban?

© REUTERS/ Stefan Wermuth

On January 28, London will play host to a conference on Afghanistan, where representatives will try to organize an approach and funding for ensuring security in the Islamic Republic, integrating it into global civilized life, and integrating the Taliban into peaceful life in that country.

These goals are incredibly complicated and equally difficult to achieve. Afghanistan’s security cannot be guaranteed without the Taliban’s participation (the bulk of the political movement are ethnic Pushtuns, who make up 45% of the Afghan population), but it would be easier to start a new Afghan war than to integrate the Taliban into peaceful life in Afghanistan under the current U.S. strategy and the Hamid Karzai government.

So many unpleasant events took place in the run-up to the conference that it is now easy to predict its outcome. First it was announced that the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan would be postponed from May till September. After President Karzai’s fraudulent elections last year, the parliamentary elections would be the final blow to what’s left of his authority, which is limited to Kabul anyway. As a result, the United Nations froze its more than $50 million worth of aid to Kabul to carry out the elections.

Moreover, the day before the conference the New York Times published a cable by Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, who warned his superiors that Afghan President Hamid Karzai “is not an adequate strategic partner.”

Mr. Eikenberry repeatedly cautioned that deploying sizable American reinforcements would only deepen the dependence of the Afghan government on the United States. The British press also published a regular report from U.S. military intelligence on the Taliban’s growing horizontal and vertical influence.

Finally, Afghanistan’s donors rejected the plan for combating corruption that President Karzai set forth only a week ago. An American expert on Afghanistan said that Mr. Karzai’s cabinet is now even more corrupt than before the elections, which is why the Afghan parliament refused to endorse Mr. Karzai’s cabinet (11 out of 17 ministers’ positions are still vacant). Now the Afghan president will have to set forth a five-year plan for reorganizing and reintegrating Afghanistan at the forthcoming conference. Ouch…

Incidentally, the most realistic and specific proposal at the forum came from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, when Moscow offered to restore all the industrial and economic facilities that it had built in Afghanistan long ago. The West would have to pay for this effort, since these facilities were destroyed by the weapons it supplied to Afghanistan, in particular, to the Taliban.

In general, the outcome of such conferences is easy to predict. They start with banquets (Prince Charles hosted the banquet leading up to this conference on January 27), are followed by speeches and communiques, and eventually put off the problem until a new crisis.

The conference will be attended by 77 governments, including all 43 members of the Afghan military expedition and all of Afghanistan’s neighbors. It would seem that the choice of venue should facilitate success. After all, London’s Lancaster House (where the Foreign Office now holds receptions and international conferences) has witnessed many settlements, primarily the agreements granting independence to Nigeria, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and Kenya.

Participants in the conference could learn from the British. They waged three wars in Afghanistan from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, defeated the Afghans in the latter two wars, but then realized that defeat did not mean they could control these tribes. As a result, they left Afghanistan, which became independent in 1919.

Some participants are bound to attempt to bring up this British experience at the conference, at which there has already been a proposal to remove the names of a number of prominent Afghan politicians, who were either previously in the Taliban or actively opposed the regime, from the UN blacklist. It is clear that the goal of this proposal is to encourage them to take part in the settlement talks and thus bring other Taliban leaders into the reconciliation process. The UN first blacklisted these politicians for their alleged links to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban immediately after 9/11, in New York in 2001. They were declared outside the law and their foreign bank accounts frozen.

Needless to say, nobody is going to remove al-Qaeda’s die-hard terrorists from list, but its revision would be beneficial – pardon for the mistakes of the past is an invitation to talks and an incentive for others.

This would be good if all those “pardoned” have not already been cooperating with the Kabul regime for many years. Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Mutavakil has lived in Kabul for four years now. Former Deputy Planning Minister Musa Hotak has been an MP and chairman of the Security Committee since 2007. Former Minister of Border Guards Abdul Hakim left the Taliban three years ago and is now the governor of the Uruzgan Province.

As for the Taliban’s reintegration into Afghan life, it amounts to funds for retraining the converts and providing them with housing and jobs. This is a euphemism for buying off the Taliban. When it comes to money, the East is no longer a “tricky matter” but instead a mercantile one. It is easier to buy loyalty in the East than to win it, but for how long?

Moreover, the price tag for the loyalty of the former Taliban is a meager $500 million. This money will go to an integration fund. One of the world’s biggest charities, British Oxfam, has calculated that one American soldier in Afghanistan costs $1 million per year. During the entire seven years of Afghanistan’s occupation, the country has received a mere $93 per capita for its economic development.

Does this mean that money is the solution and Mr. Karzai the main headache? But few will dare say: “Remove Karzai and Afghanistan will quickly recover.” And who would succeed him now? British Secretary of State David Miliband has said that the alternative to this “very, very difficult project” – Mr. Karzai and his cabinet — is even worse. Speaking strictly, nobody has seriously looked for an alternative, but Mr Miliband’s words recall Franklin Roosevelt’s blunt words about one Nicaraguan dictator: “Somoza may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.”

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political correspondent Andrei Fedyashin)

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Russia alarmed by planned U.S. bases in Central Asia

[We will see if there is any truth to this report when the Defense Dept. puts-out bids for contractors.]

Russia alarmed by planned U.S. bases in Central Asia

MOSCOW
(RIA Novosti)
A senior Russian military official expressed concern on Tuesday about what he said were U.S. plans to set up military bases in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

“American military bases are dotted throughout the world,” said Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces. “The U.S. has opened bases in Romania and Bulgaria, and according to our information plans to establish them in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.”

Former Soviet republics in Central Asia have seen increased rivalry between Moscow and Washington of late.

The United States has recently stepped up ties with oil-rich Kazakhstan, which allowed U.S. planes to fly over its territory during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and also contributed troops to Iraq.

Observers in Russia say that Washington will need more bases in countries neighboring Afghanistan due to president-elect Barack Obama’s plans to increase the U.S. military presence in the war-ravaged country by 20,000 troops.

The U.S. has run an airbase in Kyrgyzstan since the war in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan expelled U.S. troops from its airbase in 2005, but has recently sought closer ties with the U.S. and other Western powers.

General Makarov also blamed Washington for pushing Georgia and Ukraine toward NATO membership. He said Russia had been surrounded by the military alliance’s forces.

The statement came amid an ongoing dispute over Washington’s plans to place a missile base in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow opposes the plans as a threat to its national security. The U.S. says the missile defenses are needed to counter possible strikes from “rogue” states.

Consequences of a failed satellite launch to GPS Competitor Glonass

[Considering Iran’s recent string of industrial failures due to sabotage, nagging questions must be arising about now in the Kremlin about a possible failure of the Russian Glonass system caused by failures of the Proton rocket delivery system.  We know that Iran’s industrial failure is considered a legitimate form of “cyber-warfare,” but does that underhanded form of covert warfare apply to Iran’s supporters as well, and would Obama be that stupid?]

Consequences of a failed satellite launch Glonass

Space industry leaders punished for a bad start

MOSCOW, December 29 – RIA Novosti. Vice President, Chief Designer of launch vehicles, RSC Energia, Vyacheslav Filin and deputy head of Roskosmos Viktor Remishevsky removed from office for errors in the calculations for refueling Block DM-3, which led to failure in launch of three GLONASS satellites, the head of Russian Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov reprimanded, said the presidential press service of Russia.

Decision is made on the basis of a report submitted to President Dmitry Medvedev, Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov.

As directed by the Head of State in Roskosmos will be taken further measures to strengthen executive discipline.

Гавайские острова. Гонолулу
Mercator
Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu

Three satellites Glonass-M “were launched carrier rocket Proton-M on Dec. 5. These machines were supposed to complete the formation of the Russian global navigation system GLONASS. However, the satellite was put into orbit were not. The upper stage with the satellites fell into the Pacific Ocean in 1,5 thousand kilometers northwest of Honolulu.

Interdepartmental Commission of Inquiry pirichin falling satellites determined that the accident occurred due to the fact that the tanks Block DM-3 during refueling at Baikonur was erroneously filled by more than 1.5 tons of liquid oxygen (a component of fuel) than was required.

Because of the excess weight of the upper stage rocket deviated from its intended path, which led to the initial findings of the three satellites in orbit unplanned and their subsequent fall into the Pacific Ocean.

‘We are getting bodies of missing persons on a daily basis’

‘We are getting bodies of missing persons on a daily basis’

By Shahid Husain

Karachi: The Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing People, Abdul Qadir Baloch, said here on Tuesday that it was not true that the non-Baloch people in the country’s largest province were being killed by Baloch people. They were being killed by the intelligence agencies in such a manner that blame was pinned on the Baloch people, he alleged.

He was responding to a question at a news conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday afternoon.

“The poor people are not exploiting the resources of Balochistan. Why will Baloch people kill the poor non-Baloch people?” he asked the questioner.

He said the alienation in Balochistan was totally due to the atrocities against the Baloch people in the last 63 years, and despite the fact that the government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had offered a package to Balochistan and that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry, had been taking suo motu action on the “missing” people in Balochistan, “we were getting dead bodies of missing Baloch people on a daily basis in one part of the province or another”.

He said during the last two months alone as many as 80 disfigured bodies of Baloch activists had been found in different parts of Balochistan, some of them beyond recognition.

“Yesterday, four disfigured corpses of Baloch people were found in the jungles of Dagari Dasht and Mastung, who were identified as Shadi Khan Marri, Sohbat Khan Baloch, Zubair Sarpehra Baloch and Tariq Bangalzai Baloch while Balochistan National Party (BNP) leader, Latif Shahwani, was killed in Khuzdar in broad daylight,” he said.

He said according to the list prepared by the “Voice for Baloch Missing People” as many as 1,330 people were “missing” in Balochistan.

The chief minister and the governor of Balochistan themselves handed over a list of 992 “missing” people to the chief justice of the Supreme Court and to the home minister, he added.

The “Judicial Inquiry Commission for Missing People” was constituted, but it neither bothered to visit the residence of any “missing” person nor provided any information about torture cells. Its report published a few days ago was biased and untrue and “we condemn it, and urge the Supreme Court to investigate how much money was spent on it from the exchequer”, he said.

Baloch said two days ago in Killi Qambrani area of Quetta, the FC conducted an operation at night and forced women and children to stay outside in intense cold and arrested some 70 people.

He said that the Constitution said that a person arrested must be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours after his arrest, but the law of the jungle prevailed in Balochistan.

He said police were not ready to lodge an FIR against the FC on a “missing” person or a disfigured body.

“After the order of the Supreme Court only two FIRs have been lodged, one about my son, Jalil Reki, who was arrested by the ISI and the Frontier Corps personnel on February 13, 2009, in my house in broad daylight and who is still missing. The other of Abdul Karim’s son, Sameer Baloch, who was arrested in Turbat on October 14, 2010,” he said. “Nobody knows about their whereabouts or whether they are alive or not,” he said.

Baloch said “Voice for Baloch Missing Persons” had been organising hunger strike camps in Karachi, Islamabad and different cities of Balochistan for the last one year. In Karachi, he said, the camp was organised for the third time since December 19.

He said the nationalist parties of Balochistan were protesting regarding “missing” Baloch people almost daily.

Responding to a question he said it was wrong that Taliban leader Mullah Omer was hiding in Balochistan.

To another question, he said it was also erroneous to say that the provincial government of Balochistan had been getting its due share from the Centre.

The Balochistan chief minister had been in such a deplorable condition that he could not construct the Quetta-Mastung road for the last six years, he said.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrint … 22728&Cat=4&dt=12/29/2010

Belarussian Journalists Held In KGB Detention Ward

[SEE: K G B Psychiatry]

IPI/SEEMO Concerned at Continued Investigation and Detention of Belarus Journalists Following Mass Arrests and Assault Earlier This Month

Mirjana Milosevic

Riot policemen scuffle with foreign journalists in front of the hotel they are staying in central Minsk December 19, 2010. Belarussian riot police on Sunday waded into crowds of demonstrators protesting over the certain re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, beating people with batons, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Vienna, 29 December 2010 – The International Press Institute (IPI), and its affiliate organisation, the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), are alarmed that dozens of journalists arrested in a brutal police crackdown on demonstrations that followed the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko on 19 December remain in prison, some of them reportedly in KGB investigation wards.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), 24 journalists were arrested in the crackdown, and 21 were physically assaulted.

A number of the arrested journalists have already been sentenced to up to two weeks’ detention. Others remain “under investigation” – some of them in the “KGB ward” of a Belarus prison, according to sources.

Since the crackdown, there have also been raids on critical Belarusian media outlets and equipment has been confiscated, according to the independent website charter97.org.

Among those journalists arrested were Iryna Khalip, a correspondent for the Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a BAJ member. Earlier this month, Khalip received the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism.

According to the BAJ website, Khalip was being held in the “KGB investigation ward”. On 21 December, BAJ also reported that Khalip met her lawyer but her parents were not allowed to send her a parcel. The website said she was being treated as a suspect in a criminal case initiated under an article of the Criminal Code relating to “mass disturbances”.

The BAJ website also reported that Natalya Radzina, a BAJ member and editor of charter97.org, was beaten by police in Minsk’s Independence Square on the evening of 19 December and was later detained when police raided the offices of charter97.org. The website said Radzina was being held in the “investigative isolation ward of [the] KGB (State Security Committee)”, and, like Khalip, was being treated as a suspect under the Criminal Code article related to “mass disturbances.” The website reported today that Radzina is suffering from bleeding from her ears due to being beaten.

Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General of the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), said: “We are alarmed at the arrests and jail sentences handed down to journalists. In particular, we are concerned that Natalya Radina, the editor of the website Charter 97, and Irina Khalip, correspondent for the Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta, remain in detention, at the Minsk detention facility of the Belarusian police. We would like to remind the Belarusian authorities that only a few weeks ago, on 2 December 2010, Iryna Khalip received our CEI SEEMO Investigative Journalism Award.”

Vujovic added: “We are disturbed by the fact that Khalip was forcibly taken by police while on the air with the radio station Echo Moskvy on 20 December 2010. Her husband, presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, was also arrested. For us, it is important that in Belorussia journalists be able to work independently, professionally and freely, like in other countries.”

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “We urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately release all of the journalists and to transparently investigate assaults committed against them. Press freedom is a fundamental human right anywhere in the world, and journalists should be able to do their work without fear of arrest, assault and imprisonment.”

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic and IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills are open to the possibility of visiting Minsk and of meeting with journalists and authorities in connection with the post-election developments.

Pakistan’s Best Terrorists Wait In Jail Cells, On Call

Qari Saifullah Akhtar, ISI’s most valued asset, resurfaces in Punjab

He was eventually put under house arrest in Chishtian, only to be released recently. Interestingly, his release orders coincide with the third death anniversary of Benazir who had named the Qari in her posthumous book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, as a principal suspect in the attempt to kill her in Karachi, a few hours after her homecoming.

In her book, which was published in February 2008, Bhutto had narrated in detail the suicide attacks targeting her welcome procession as well as the involvement of Qari Saifullah Akhtar in the assassination bid.

She wrote: “I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned… Three men belonging to a rival political faction were hired for half a million dollars…. However, a bomb maker was needed for the bombs. Enter Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a wanted terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government. He had been extradited by the United Arab Emirates and was languishing in the Karachi central jail…. The officials in Lahore had turned to Akhtar for help. His liaison with elements in the government was a radical who was asked to make the bombs and he himself asked for a fatwa making it legitimate to oblige. He got one. The bomb blasts took place in the army cantonment area in Karachi.”

Subsequently, on February 26, 2008, the Qari was arrested by the Musharraf regime for the purpose of interrogation in the Bhutto murder, although there were many in establishment circles who believed that Qari Saifullah had actually been taken into protective custody by his spy masters.

Key witness of BB murder probe leaves country

DAWN.COM

benazir 543 Key witness of BB murder probe leaves countryFormer Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, before assassination. – File photo

ISLAMABAD: A key witness of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination probe, Dr musadiq left for USA without the Government permission, sources told DawnNews on Monday.

Dr Musadiq was the principal of Rawalpindi Medical College, who examined the wound of Benazir Bhutto when brought to the general hospital on Decemeber 27, 2007.

Detained cops name ISI, MI officers in Benazir Bhutto assassination case

Benazir BhuttoIslamabad, Dec 24 (ANI): The investigation into former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination is likely to be widened to unveil some faces who have so far been out of the picture, after two former police officers who were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder case, told investigators that some intelligence officials were in contact with them on December 27, 2007.

Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters that the arrested duo- former Rawalpindi city police chief Saud Aziz and SP Khurram Shahzad- had informed the investigators that four officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) had been in contact with them.

Their names could not be disclosed as of now, as it was yet to be ascertained in what context they were in contact with the accused, he added.

However, if concrete evidence was found against the intelligence officers, they would be included in the investigation, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency obtained six days’ physical custody of the arrested officers to recover the cellphones they were using on the day Bhutto was murdered in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh.

The FIA investigators said in the court that forensic tests of the cellphones were needed to ascertain who had been in contact with the two police officers on the day of Bhutto’s assassination.

Advocate Zulfiqar said that the phone data would help the investigators to know if other elements were also involved in the murder.

He said that the police officers had given divergent statements about the cell phones and the numbers used by them three years ago, initially saying that they had lost their phones and later claiming that their mobiles had broken up. (ANI)

RAWALPINDI: An Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi on Wednesday denied the Federal Investigation Agency’s request to extend the physical remand of former police chief of Rawalpindi Saud Aziz and former Superintendent Police (SP) Rawal Town Khurram Shahzad in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The former police officials, who were arrested for alleged negligence of duty over the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, were produced before the court on Wednesday.

The FIA had requested the ATC to extend the physical remand of Aziz and Shahzad for nine more days. The court, however, turned down the request and sent the two accused to Adiyala prison on a 14-day-long judicial remand.

The court then adjourned the hearing till January 12 and ordered the FIA to present the accused in court on the said date.

Speaking to media representatives after the hearing, Aziz’s lawyer said the allegations levelled against his client were unfounded.

An Account of the Invaluable Services of the ISI

An account of invaluable services of the ISI to the nation –

by Muhammad Ali

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency members of whom were found guilty of raping more than 35000 women in East Pakistan. 1386 members of the famous ISI were recommended to be trailed in the Hamood ur Rehman Commission’s report.

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency which made millions of petro-dollars in the Afghan War. Tempering the myth of Jihad was an easy job on hand with lush green dollars. General Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Hameed Gull exported children of poor helpless mothers for the Jihad e Afghanistan when their own sons were studying in the United States.

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency that sold Stinger Missiles received as an aid in the black market. Upon an inspection, the Ojhri Camp blasted out bringing the doom’s day for the citizens of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency which holds the prestige of looting the nation via Mehran Bank Scandal. Lt. Gen Asad Durrani the then DG ISI alone made 1.6 billion in the filthy trade.

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency which took clothes off the Baloch Women. Zarina Marri, a Baloch school teacher was abducted by the ISI and gang-raped, she was further used as a humiliation tool for the Baloch Nationalists.

ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence, an agency which is involved in the human trade. General Pervez Musharraf exclusively explains in his books the norms of human trafficking. 500 U.S. dollars was the rate of each Pakistani citizen sold to the U.S. That included Dr Aafia Siddiqi and several others.

There is a lot more to say about the “Prestigious and Patriotic” role of he ISI but these facts might not ruin the show of our clowns in the blog-sphere.

“ISI is committed to defending our borders.”

ISI, the Inter Services of Intelligence, an agency which only holds political scandals on its credit sheet. ISI has on numerous occasions tried to subvert the elected governments. ISI is the name of a filthy political player.

ISI managed to create IJI, a right wing alliance to counter the Leftist Pakistan Peoples Party though an alliance of the Pakistan Muslim League and several religio-political parties including the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jamaat-e-Islami and others. For this purpose, ISI used state money and resources to bring the fundamentalists on political front.

ISI tried to over-throw the elected government of Benazir Bhutto via Saudi riyals. ISI distributed huge sums of money in the right wing politicians to buy loyalties of pro-Benazir Bhutto parliamentarians.

ISI distributed millions in right wing politicians in order to ensure their victory against Benazir Bhutto.

ISI rigged the elections 2002 to ensure the victory of its divine master Pervez Musharraf. The ISI chief Lt. General Ehtashnm Zameer later confessed the fact in the Pakistani media.

A lot more can be written on what ISI’s real role is, but the clowns of the establishment in Pakistan’s mainstream and alternative media might find it hard to ruin their show.

I will just give a glimpse of what “ISI has done to protect the borders of Pakistan.”

ISI briefed the MO branch on the possible reaction of the Indian side on the Kargil Adventure. According to ISI India will at the most move forward with Special Operatives and try taking back the Tiger Hill. There are rare chances of application of artillery as India would try not to agitate Pakistan. Role of Air Force or Navy is beyond possibility grounds. India will never look forward to a full scale war. All these fables of ISI were flushed to gutter when India respond to Kargil drama with full might and Pakistan Army had to accept the bodies of it’s soldiers with humiliation.

Pakistan is under attack but by whom?  (read HERE)

“Year 2010 Review, Anti Taliban Resistance in Tribal Areas”

“Year 2010 Review, Anti Taliban Resistance in Tribal Areas”

by Sajid Hussai

“Year 2010 has almost gone and we witnessed blasts and incident of Terrorisim throughout Pakistan especially in Fata & Kpk the latest in Bajur Agency even by female succider according to reports.Here we will Focus the Anti Taliban Resistance in Fata & Kpk which is role model for all who want to end terrorisim.”

 

“Year 2010 Review, Anti Taliban Reistance in Tribal Areas”

[CAPTIONS FOR ATTACHED PICTURES:-Along with Article two rare file Pictures are also attached,in first picture actually a newspaper report before the foundation of Pakistan when tribal delegation from Kurram fata meet Quaid e Azam in delihi ,While in second Picture Quaid-e-Azam is addressing Tribals].

Year 2010 has almost gone and we witnessed blasts and incident of Terrorisim throughout Pakistan especially in Fata & Kpk the latest in Bajur Agency even by female succider according to reports.Here we will Focus the Anti Taliban Resistance in Fata & Kpk which is role model for all who want to end terrorisim.

Tribal People who are the soldiers without pay of western borders of Pakistan,their loyalty and love with founder of Pakistan Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan is examplery.But unfournatuly now a days they are receiving the fruit of this loyality and patriotisim in form of militancy & Talibinization in the name of so called war against terrorisism.The curse of terrorism in strategic important tribal areas neighboring Afghanistan has also affected the overall country especially KhyberPakhtoonkhawa(KPK)adjacent to FATA. After

9/11 and invasion of Afghanistan by occupied forces the militancy started in this area in form of Talibinzation which is actually the fruit of seed sown by American CIA their partner arab countries wealth and implemented by a puppet dictator zia in the name of jihad in the decade of 80’s. In both the mentioned situation either before 9/11 or after those areas of KPK and FATA suffered a lot whose people welcomed and facilitated the influx of foreign fighters in the name of jihad and islam.While there are some exceptional cases and areas in FATA & KPK who did not allow this curse of militancy in the name of talibinzation,a brutal wahabi brand of jihad in form of succide attacks on public places, holy places  and even mosques as tool for defaming islam and muslims globally by world arrogant and evil forces.

It is the power of people or community of that area if they do not want militancy or talibinization then no one either International establishment or domestic even if want cannot do anything this shows that how people or masses are powerful. We have examples of areas in FATA like Salarzai area in Bajaur Agency,Landikotal in Khyber Agency,Turi Bangash tribes areas in Upper Kurram and surrounding as well as Lower part of Orakzai Agency where the people did not allowed talibinazation and even when it was tried to impose by force they Resisted this curse. Similarly the Swabi,Charsada,mardan,hazara region majority areas of KPK also opposed the talibinization that is why these areas are quite peaceful as compared to those areas of KPK & FATA who welcomed Taliban.While other parts of FATA and KPK whose people welcomed and facilitated the foreign terrorists for their wasted interests of getting money and even they set family relations by marrying their daughters and sisters to arab and uzbek nationals are suffering a lot from their own wrong decision. One aspect is clear that both either who give warm welcome to Taliban and those who resisted suffered from the militancy and curse of terrorisim with a difference that one type of sufferings are with shame & humiliation while other type with dignity and proud. It is also a fact that those who opposed talibinzation they suffered for one time by resisting the Taliban armed invasion and rule While those who welcome and facilitated these foreign and local militants Taliban,they are suffering daily and continuously.

In this entire Resistance against Talibinization one exceptional and rare case of Resistance which not mentioning will be a crime in opinion of any human friendly individual is the Resistance by the Turi and bangash tribes people living in Parachinar Upper Kurram and surrounding areas. They resisted the militants Taliban armed lashker and talibinzation by giving sacrifices of more than fourteen hundreds causalities and thousands other  injured by not allowing the curse of terrorism and Taliban in their areas.This is the role model for all,because even people can defeat the curse of talibinzation if they want.In other areas of FATA like Salarazi Bajaur Agency & FR Peshawar Mattani areas anti Taliban armed tribal lashkers were formed & supported by Govt even by supplying them weapons against Taliban.But in Parachinar Kurram Agency instead of helping anti Taliban turi and bangash tribes they received a prize in the form of inhuman crippling siege and economic blockade in the form of blocking main Thall Parachinar road the only route connecting it to rest of country by converting it into  Pakistan Gaza as Gaza in Plaestine.While Ironically this main Thall Parachinar Road is open for all even security forces FC political adminstartion except anti taliban Turi Bangash tribes of Parachinar and surrounding areas of Upper Kurram is a question marak.The tribals people are saying that If quaid-e-azam alive today then they will not face such a step mother treatement but it is now the Zaradari,Kiyanni and Gillani’s i cube Pakistan where they are facing such rewarad for loyalty and patriotisim.The Chief Justice of Pakistan who seems to be the person of quaid-e-azam vision by taking suo motive action even on minor issues as potriated by media But on Humantarian Crisis of Parachinar created by continous four year imposed Siege his(CJ Pakistan)silence is big question marak awaited for answer.The resistance of Turi & Bangash tribes of Upper kurram also raised a logical question on so called war against terror that when People can defeat the armed Taliban lashker by resisting,then why the security forces failed to do so who are engulfing the eighty percent of poor country Pakistan budget in the name of defense. Second question is that what is the crime of these patriotic Pakistani who are not only resisted talibinization but also protecting their mother land as well as Pakistan because Kurram touches four provinces of Afghanistan,latest example is the armed Taliban attack from Afghanistan side in September2010 on village Khevas Shalozan resisted by Turi & Banagsh tribes with braverly.Tribal people of FATA especially in Upper Kurram located on Pak Afghan border are soldiers without pay and they sacrificed for Pakistan even in struggle of Pakistan and after that in 1947,48,65,71 & Kargil war.This credit also goes to elders of Turi & Bangash tribes of Kurram Agency Parachinar that they sent a delegation to meet Quaid -e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Delhi by encouraging him and giving all support to him in making Pakistan,the news item with picture published in English daily at that time is  available in homes of those elders and even on internet as soft copy till now. That is Why after the foundation of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam in his visit allowed the people of FATA to carry weapons and even initially they were provided weapons of that time by government for protecting the Pakistani terroitry.The Peak of oppression in the form of step mother treatment is committed with these patriotic and loyal tribals of Pakistan that instead of appreciating their pro Pakistan role they are receiving heavy weapons and gunship helicopters shelling by Security Forces FC murdering innocent children. When the Turi Bangash tribes in September2010 resisted the armed militants Taliban attack from Afghanistan on Pakistani terroritry of Khevas village Shalozan the security forces and FC instead of helping them against foreign militants started heavy weapons and gunships helicopters shelling on their own people how shameful act it is. But no one is there to take action against authorities concern for this blunder. Now the Turi Bangash tribals besides buying daily food stuff and medicines on two to three times more prices due to imposed siege and demand supply ratio,they are also purchasing weapons with their own money by selling cows and other livestocks for their own and motherland Pakistan pak-afghan border protection. It seems that the name of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is only restricted by placing his picture in offices and pasting on currency notes while his words and promises with all especially people of FATA has no value at all. The rulers sitting in Islamabad and Rawalpindi should think seriously on this point. While the Tribals are sufferings in so called war against terrorisim by millitry and militants Taliban. The famous thinker and scholar Allama iqbal mentioned in his Persian poetry that “The example of Asia is like a body and Afghankistan is the heart of this body,If heart is healthy and fit the whole body will be fit and healthy & vice versa” ,So the Peace in entire Asia especially afgh-pak region depends on Afghanistan stability. But this peace can be achieved if the People of afgh-pak region especially FATA & KPK will set examples of Resistance against talibinazation in their areas. Because from facts it is clear like a day light that talibinzation is actually the justification of foreign occupation,when people will not allow Taliban in your area by setting an example of resistance then no one can impose talibinzation in your locality or area. Otherwise all the people of entire Asia & even world will be suffering continuously.

Taliban In ISI Uniforms?–The Asinine Agency

Taliban kidnapped 11 persons from Adiala Jail in ISI uniform: ISI told Supreme Courts

International Professor

Yesterday the legal representative of ISI and MI (Inter Services Intelligence & Military Intelligence) told Supreme Courts that 11 missing persons are in the custody of ISI & MI, he also told courts that Taliban in the uniform of ISI kidnapped those persons earlier acquitted by courts and took them to Waziristan, where our brave army on the earth arrested them with 9 other persons. Moreover those are now under court martial of army trial courts.

If you did not laugh than try to laugh on the statement of our F.A. pass generals, laugh on ISI uniform and insight of Taliban.  What non-sense officials are sitting at GHQ, shame on Pakistan army and its criminality driven mentality. There are so many other absurdities committed by Raja Irshad, the council of army agencies and later admitted in TV program News Beat (Meher Bokhari) on Dec 10, 2010.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered the release of Dr Niaz Ahmed, Mazharul Haq, Shafiqur Rehman, Muhammad Aamir, Abdul Majid, Abdul Basit, Abdul Saboor, Shafique Ahmed, Said Arab, Gul Roze and Tehseenullah, but those were disappeared soon before release from the Jail.

All of above persons were indicted in four different cases and four different courts found them not guilty. And later all had been acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in April this year in four different cases, such as rocket firing on the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, rocket firing on a plane of former president, a suicide attack on the bus of personnel of an intelligence agency in Rawalpindi, and the suicide attack on the main entrance of the military headquarters.

Allegations against poor prosecutions are baseless because army agencies have the history of accusing citizens with the spectacle of war of terror, mostly innocent and poor persons are victim of sectarian and ethnic abhorrence of Pakistan army, and fake were ill prepared cases were not proved in civil courts. In all fabricated cases courts finally acquitted innocents. Now problem lies with army that it is a mercenary force and US is paying for their salaries, allowances, equipments, transportations, communications, messing and some peoples joke that condoms and Johnny Walker are also claimed by army finance departments in monthly invoice of costs for reimbursements on account of war of terror.

There are above 15000 thousand persons in the custody of army since many years and where about of those are not known, neither anyone is charged, however time to time mutilated dead bodies of citizens are found on road sides. In additions to that above 15000 are missing since many years and that are not included in above figure. And on the name of war on terror 20,000 to 35,000 persons have been killed with the help of heavy artillery, helicopters and air force jets. Almost above 100,000 persons either have been killed, kidnapped and kept under hidden prisons or sold to US for dollars.

Whole power of open vagabonds revolves around “Army Act”, whereas that is not part of constitution, and since yesterday army had the notion that Pakistan army was above constitution or any national law. So, whenever any courts ever summoned to secretary Defence, he refused to appear before the courts. Moreover in current case initially army crudely informed courts that it is above any law in Pakistan. Question is who is responsible for so called Army Act? Answer is dictators and politicians. All the three forces are equally involved in criminal activities and facilitating each other in hiding citizens in secreted prison cells, tortures and extra judicial killings.

Why US war of terror is unpopular in Pakistan and why above 95% population hates US agenda? Because everyone in Pakistan believes that Pakistan army and current Government are puppets of U.S. Exclusively untutored elite, ex Communists, prostitution gangs, alcoholics and thugs are pro-Americans in Pakistan; if anybody has doubt about this judgement then CIA has the capacity and resources to check moral character of their mercenaries, that is the reason so as to those are suspicious in the eyes of public.

Generally war of terror has no morals and principles, and cronies of US in Pakistan are most hated persons throughout country, mostly thugs, corrupt and criminals. US are depending on a few corrupt journalists and media groups or on army media cells, than those must remember that all of individuals have a mission to suck dollars since long and their families are residing in West.

Most trusted mercenaries of U.S. like Musharraf, Benazir, Zardari, Gaillani, Kiyani and Pasha have no credibility in general public. Their corruption and criminalities are loudly telling peoples about facts. Strategies like creation of Lashkars and hiring of Sufi Brelvi’s have also failed. Army did not disburse to private armies as those were promised, Washington was charged but money was reversed into pockets of generals. Brelvi and Sufi Mullahs proved to be corrupt, like greedy and hungry Mullah Tahir Qadri, “Hajj Pirate” Ahmad Saeed Kazmi and 350 million plot’s bribe to Mullah Fazal Karim are a few examples of Brelvi Sufi’s.

For the sake of U.S’s pleasure and to save U.S. air force base at Jacobabad, homes of thousands of peoples were drowned by breaching canals. Round about 3 million peoples were pushed out of homes without any planning from Swat, Malakand, FATA and other areas and those were ruined, their corpses were destroyed, cattle’s were died, homes were demolished or damaged and those are begging for survival.

Pakistan army and air force are single largest mercenaries of U.S. on the earth, from Korean War to current war of terror, no any army is so obedient than Pakistan army in do as you are told U.S. orders, and set siding national interests. 50% part of the country was lost and it is still squeezing. Generals became billionaire but their appetite is unending. 25,000 are working to protect U.S. interests as peace keepers, same army is helping U.S. to kill its own citizens through drones, and every operation is happening for the sake of free dollars. US $ 18 billion have been gone into pockets of corrupt generals.

If U.S. administration is fool than we cannot help, however if there is one percent desire of friendship on national level between two countries than U.S. must stop breeding corrupt generals and politicians unilaterally. Pakistan army has long experience in making fool to Americans and tactfully putting hand into pockets for dollars, why U.S. is protecting looted wealth of Pakistan being kept at overseas? Or hidden in Western banks and billions properties on their soil by Zardari and mafia.

Abolish “Army act” immediately:

Chief Justice of Pakistan we are proud of you that finally our honest judges have exposed criminals and it is time to move forward to trample head of the snake once for all. MI is nothing to do with civilians and ISI is enjoying undue advantage of national security, whether it is not criminality to use MI against civilians.

Corrupt ruling elite has extended tenures of Kiyani, Shuja Pasha and other generals that is mafia and Kiyani has imposed known political minded generals on the key posts. It is now known as “Jhelum-Gujar Khan syndicate” ruling on GHQ, boy friends of Kiyani, roommates, golf mates, class mates and Ghakkars have been posted on top posts of army, usually unfit to work as generals. Usually relatives of Kiyani are sucking Pakistan as appointed on top posts, such as DG, MI Gen. Kiyani, Raja Pervez Ashraf Minister of Power, Farzana Raja Minister of Benazir Loot Program, Babar Awan Minister of Law and if you draw a circle of 100 KM, pointing from Gujar Khan, than 70% corpse commanders and leading generals are either childhood or boyhood friends of Kiyani.

Athar Ali, secretary defence says that he is also boy friend of Kiyani since boyhood. It is a mafia and don’t have wisdom to think about human rights, citizen rights, national security or constitutional powers of generals, it is might is right brigade, chiefly cowards, hypocrites and cruel.

Ethnic and sectarian problem:

Current top creed at GHQ is mentally limited to TC mafia (flatterers) who have superseded the professional soldiers of Pakistan army by obeying illegal orders of Mush and Kiyani type superiors. The extensions have been given to exclusively flatterer mafia. Peoples still remember Gen. Waheed Arshad, current GOC and other DG, ISPR’s, none have been retired and have superseded professional soldiers or appointed on civilian posts.

It was Corpse Commander Mangla who bowed his head in the feet of Ms. Pattersen at Swat, he was reappointed next day to his retirement. Gen. Tariq ex DG FC and Gen. Aslam ex Corpse Commander Peshawar have been exposed by Wiki Leaks. Former is promoted as Corpse Commander Mangla and later was granted extension. There are dozens of examples how Mush and Kiyani have ruined Pak army and top post are being filled with the political generals.

Since Athar Ali, secretary defence is patron of armed wing of “Mahdi Army”, and Zardari is heading political wing of “Mahdi Army”, so Gen. Kiyani in real terms is believer and implementer of “Shia Crescent”. Their connections with Northern Alliance are well known and their exclusive efforts revolves around elimination of Pakhtoon of Pakistan, and any sect that is hurdle in Shia Crescent is liable of elimination. Last week Gaillani has signed a secret accord with Ustad Mohaqiq at Kabul and rise of sectarian killings in the Hungo, Para Chinar, and Kurram agency areas shows that foreign terrorists are crossing in to Pakistan daringly to help army’s proxy warriors branded as Lashkars.

According to doctrine of ISI, MI and FIA, the Pushtoon, Deobandi, Ahle Hadis, Salfi and Wahabi’s are exclusively under tyranny of agencies, majority of missing persons, convicted in falls terrorism charges, bullet riddled bodies dumped on road sides and propaganda of Lashkar e Jhangvi has same significance. Not only Pak army that is working as tool of corrupt politicians but Shaitan Malik, Minister of Interior and Zulfiqar Mirza, Min of Interior Sindh have openly created criminal gangs that are involved in sectarian killings. Since last 7-8 months with a new strategy Shaitan Malik with the help of Gen. Athar Abbas lead media within hours of occurrence of any incidence of terrorism announces the names of Lashkar e Jhangvi, Jindullah or blame any seminary connected to above sectarian groups.

We don’t know is it desires of CIA or agencies are making fool to U.S. administration for making money. There is no doubt that War of Terror has no moral grounds and it is a matter of personal ego problem for U.S. politicians.

Same as it is also an ego problem of Pak army generals to kidnap peoples, torture them or kill them secretly. Does ISI have any uniform? No ISI person commits crime in army uniform, those are cowards and their operations against civilians are being conducted like thieves. ISI has no moral courage to produce those kidnapped persons in any civil court of law.

It is first time in the history that Supreme Courts have used anti-constipation pills against ISI and as a result those have committed kidnapping of 20 persons. It is a myth that ISI is working for national security, its targets are political motivated and openly against local poor and helpless peoples. Wiki Leaks has disclosed that Gen. Kiyani was begging for back channel talks with India. Shuja Pasha was spying for MOSAD and for the security of Israel. Political and army elite have sold air force bases to NATO, where from drones are flying and killing citizens. We pray that Chief Justice may use another dose so 15000 missing persons may reach back to their love ones, and may be forced to produce 15000-30000 peoples under detention since two years as well.

Nation must patiently think to kick all extension holder generals and cronies of Musharraf out of Pak army immediately. Our struggle against dictatorship has been lost because we never thought that our friends in PPP would change the sides and a new kind of dictatorship would emerge from the ashes of previous dictator. ISI and MI is a criminal gang against poor peoples of Pakistan and our politicians must think patiently to bring them under state laws. PPP is their victim since long and PML N is also victim of vicious activities, media has observed barbarity of ISI, then what are you thinking how to control criminality of agencies?

For further reading:

Pakistan Army Commandos of Zarar battalion deserves Noble Peace Prize

http://makepakistanbetter.com/why_how_what_forum.asp?GroupID=5&Group_title=Pakistan&ArticleID=10444

Reincarnation of Gen. Zia ul Haq, incest of C.I.A and Johnnie Walker whisky

http://www.makepakistanbetter.com/why_how_what_forum.asp?GroupID=5&Group_title=Pakistan&ArticleID=9406

Dismiss General Kiyani to save Pakistan

http://www.makepakistanbetter.com/why_how_what_forum.asp?GroupID=5&Group_title=Pakistan&ArticleID=8384

Uranium Deposits In Kurram War Zone

Radioactive Ore in Kurram Agency

By Dr Ghayur Ayub

I wrote on the religio-political situation in Kurram Agency in my previous articles titled “Is Islamabad losing Parachinar to Kabul?” and “Parachinar is burning”. Today, I am writing on another aspect of this troubled region which has been ignored by Islamabad. It pertains to the mineral deposits. According to the ‘Mineral Wing’ of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation PMDC) Kurram Agency has large mineral deposits including coal, copper, zinc, soapstone etc. With exception to soapstone the other minerals have remained unexplored. In recent months, vast amount of mineral in Baluchistan and FATA region have been highlighted both in the local and foreign media but I am not going to talk about that.

Instead, I want to write on a mineral which has been concealed from media for decades and relates to thermonuclear. A research project was carried out by Dr Zahid Ayub at Peshawar University in the mid 1970s on the subject titled “The Potential Role of Nuclear Power in Pakistan and Prospects of Selecting a Suitable Site for a Nuclear Power Plant in NWFP”. Chapter Five and its subsection “Uranium and Thorium Deposits” dealt with Deposits of Nuclear Materials in Kurram Agency. The reason he selected Kurram was two folds. He belonged to the area and so could move freely at will but most importantly, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) had started a project called Minnupp under which handsome deposits of uranium were discovered in the Khyber region. The Minnupp project was a success, resulting in making indigenous fuel rods for the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) that requires natural uranium. Since Kurram is part of the same mountain range he was hopeful to find the same there too. According to him “My preliminary physical prospecting of the region revealed unusually high radioactivity all along Spin Ghar (White Mountain) and Wacha Dara area.”

He undertook a survey and although he could not cover the entire Spin Ghar range but he managed to survey the adjacent Raju Mela mountains and Wacha Dara area. In those areas he monitored high level of radioactivity which was orders of magnitude beyond what is called background activity. The results of the study were presented to the PAEC officials. No action was taken. Thus the government lost an opportunity to explore indigenous uranium and Kurram Agency remained neglected in this field as other regions of FATA. This is one aspect of nuclear ore in Kurram Agency.

There is a negative aspect too. In nature such deposits have little harmful effects since they are in balance with nature. It only emits what is called the background radiation which is safe. The story does not stop here. After 9/11 things have changed as the region has turned into a battle zone exposing these ores to foreign bombardments. A typical example is visible across the Spin Ghar in Tora Bora region in Afghanistan. Those mountains are known for having enormous amount of radioactive ore. When US carried out deep carpet bombing in that area, they disturbed the ore strata by generating temperatures in access of 1000C. At that temperature the chemical reactions take place and the ore becomes poisonous.

A Canadian group called “Uranium Medical Research Centre, http://www.umrc.net/collected data in the Nangarhar province and found higher doses of radioactivity amongst the population. This was the first study of its kind. According to Dr. Asaf Durakovic of the study group, “the purpose of the study was to determine the concentrations and precise isotopic compositions of four uranium isotopes (234U, 235U, 236U, and 238U) in urine specimens from the civilian population of Afghanistan after Allied Forces Operation Enduring Freedom. Eight male civilians from Nangarhar-Jalalabad region who presented with symptoms of fatigue, fever, musculo-skeletal and neurological alterations, headaches, and respiratory impairment after inhalation of dust during bombing raids in June 2002 had urine samples collected under controlled conditions and analysed. The mean concentration of uranium in eight samples was found to be considerably greater than what is regarded as a reference range. Our results demonstrate that contamination in Afghanistan with a source consistent with natural uranium has resulted in total uranium concentrations up to 100 times higher than normal range for various geographic and environmental areas throughout the world.”

Many scientists including Dr. Ayub believe that population in Kurram Agency is equally exposed to this radiation. The reason they give is that the Tora Bora bombing spilled nuclear dust on this side of Spin Ghar too. They call it the ‘Uranium Tailing’ effect. All it means is that when uranium is extracted from the ground, the rock is dug up and crushed leaving behind finely pulverized material like flour. A century ago, Marie Curie observed that 85 percent of the radioactivity in the ore remains behind in the crushed rock. According to nuclear scientists the effective half-life of such radioactivity is 80,000 years; meaning that in 80,000 years there will be half as much radioactivity in these tailings. Here comes the crunch. As the tailings are left on the ground after crushing of rocks as seen in Tora Bora bombing, they are blown by the wind and are washed away by the rain into the water systems helping in its spread. In addition these tailings continually generate radon gas which being eight times heavier than air, stays close to the ground. A light breeze can take it away for one thousand miles in any direction. During its spread, it deposits on the vegetation as the radioactive by-products including polonium. To make the situation worse, the by-products which are also called the radon daughters are deposited in animals, fish and plants. The ill effects of such a spread are immense and enumerable.

Kurram Agency is a stone-throw away from Tora Bora. When the deep penetration bombs in tens of thousands of tons came pouring down those mountains it created a burning mine-like scenario. This has been a major concern for those who know about the ill effects of turning natural uranium into radioactive dust and its fall out on this side of Spin Ghar in Kurram Agency. As opposed to the limited study carried out on the other side of the border in Nangarhar province, none has been carried out on this side. Some cynic religious leaders from Upper Kurram blame government of Pakistan for deliberately turning blind eye to this problem as it did during the brutal onslaught of Taliban. “Why should these Taliban sympathisers help us?” Asked one disgruntled religious leader. Irrespective of his cynic ignorance there is no doubt that such radioactivity is a slow killer and most of the people in Kurrram Agency do not have access to medical facilities and they will die unnoticed from radioactive poisoning. It is pity that, so far, no study has been carried out to see how many locals have been exposed to radioactive dust? This is besides the benefits the government can get by exploring the supposedly enormous reservoir of nuclear ore deposits.

Dr Ghayur Ayub

More Efforts To Create “Neo-Contra” Movement In Nicaragua

By Tim Rogers
jahob

Rearmed contra “Comandante Jahob” declared war on the government.

The ghosts of a counterrevolutionary insurgency were awakened this year when former contra special forces commander José Gabriel Garmendia, known by the codename “Comandante Jahob,” returned to the mountains in July and declared war on President Daniel Ortega, promising to remove the president from office “with bullets” if Ortega refuses to step down when his term ends in January 2012.

“I am prepared to be a guerrilla fighter, I am prepared from a political-military point of view to confront the Army,” said Jahob, who was reportedly trained in sabotage and espionage by the Argentines and CIA in the 1980s.

Ortega said Jahob is a common criminal with ties to drug-traffickers and Honduran military officials. Ortega accused the opposition media of “saying marvelous things” about Jahob, and “converting a delinquent into a guerrilla leader.”

Friends of Jahob told The Nica Times this year that the former contra commando is being manipulated by “those who fantasize about war” and that he’s not leading a rearmed movement, rather is hiding from the government because “he feels cornered.”

Jahob’s alleged rebellion had not produced any military actions by the end of the year. His whereabouts, true intentions and number of followers remains unknown.

Oleg Kashin Makes a Come-Back

[SEE: Kommersant Reporter in Coma After Brutal Attack (not a robbery) ]

About Gagarin and About Myself

feature photoAfter spending nine days in a medically-induced coma andundergoing multiple operations, Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin is thankfully on his way to a strong recovery. After a brutal beating on November 6 that left him with skull fractures, broken shins and a set of maimed fingers, Kashin is well enough to walk on crutches and joke about flirting with his nurses in Moscow Hospital No. 36.

In an interview with television personality Leonid Parfenov, Kashin said he has no idea who ordered his beating, that his assailants said nothing during the attack, and that a variety of the topics of his articles could have been motivating factors. But which one it was – the Khimki Forest, Kremlin-sponsored youth groups, or insulted Russian governors – Kashin couldn’t say. An investigation under the supervision of prosecutor general is still ongoing.

In his first article since the attack, Oleg Kashin reveals that, far from embodying the glorified image of a fearless crusader that developed while he lay unconscious, the Kommersant journalist wishes most of all to simply go on with his work as usual. That, and to get rid of the feeding tube stuck up his nose.

About Gagarin and About Myself
By Oleg Kashin
November 29, 2010
Kommersant/Vlast

An unfamiliar man in a white coat took an instinctive step to the side, and my hand, stretching towards his chest pocket, grasping only air, falls back again to the mattress.

“What does he want?” asks the man, feeling his pocket.

“The pen, probably,” posed a woman’s voice; and that woman, who I didn’t see, was right: the pen, of course, I needed the pen. The blue gel pen from the chest pocket of the white coat of that man.

“A writer,” the man with the pen said respectfully – but he did not give me the pen. Discussing the amusing incident, the entire delegation took off, leaving me alone with the artificial ventilation lung that went through a special hole made in my throat. The hole was made lower than the vocal chords; therefore, even after regaining consciousness, I couldn’t speak. Seeing the pen in the doctor’s pocket, I would have been thrilled to take the pen and, at least on my own bandaged hand, write: “It itches under the cast!!!!!!” – they would read it and help, scratch it with something. And instead of that – the backs recede in their white coats, and there’s no help at all. At that point I still didn’t know that one of the backs belonged to a paid agent of the LifeNews publication – the resident resuscitation expert (I exposed him a week later), and who, several hours later and under the heading “Braveheart,” told how I demanded a pen and paper in order to begin, even while still attached to an artificial breathing machine, to write the horrible truth about the people behind the attack on me.

In the resuscitation ward, wrapped in tubes and wires, I could sleep (and slept) as much as necessary in any form, whether artificially medicated or healthily and naturally. I could keep quiet, I could (from the ninth day onwards) speak and, even while I couldn’t talk, still resolved the communication problem: a childrens chalkboard, left behind by someone, was found, and by drawing a rectangle with my hands in the air – a conventional gesture that everyone immediately understood for some reason – I could write what I was concerned about and what I wanted on this board. Only, I didn’t need to write about the itchy cast; they removed it faster than the board turned up. Therefore, the main topics of my notes were complaints about the probe in my nose – they fed me through the nose with some kind of special food – and flirting with the nurses. My life in those days, any way you look at it, was interesting and fascinating.

But aside from me personally – yes and the doctors and nurses as well – who knew about this life? Nobody knew. My real life was happening, maybe, a half-hour drive from the hospital. Outside of the police office at Petrovka, switching places with one another, my friends and former enemies stood in solitary pickets with posters of my name, having suddenly become friends (I say this without irony; enemies may sometimes seriously become friends). A newspaper called “Kashin,” completely devoted to me, was printed. On Pushkin Square, and afterwards on Chistie Prudy, rallies were held in my defense. “Do you want the classic Kashin or the one with his signature?” girls politely asked a line of pensioners waiting for my portrait, which they could attach to their chests.

The term “Journalist Kashin” appeared in President Medvedev’s lexicon. When a group of students in the journalism department at Moscow State University, locked in a classroom with windows facing the Kremlin, hung a poster out the window reading “Who beat Kashin?” a joke started going around: Dmitri Medvedev barricaded himself in his office, with windows facing the journalism department, and hung a poster out the window: “It wasn’t me!” – the joke is from Twitter, but who could guarantee that it didn’t really happen? The events in the week after my beating proved it: anything is possible, anything in general. The universal childhood dream, not to die but to be at one’s own funeral and hear who says what and how, came true for me alone. “Oleg, you’re going to wake up and be stunned!” – a phrase from the book of honorable recordings from a routine Kashin rally. And it’s true, I woke up and was stunned.

Journalist Kashin – that is to say, I – quietly came to in the resuscitation ward. A half-hour drive away from me, somebody was going on a rampage, somebody who even people who knew me personally were ready to take for Journalist Kashin, brave and uncompromising, personally presenting a threat to the Kremlin, as well as hope for freedom and happiness. “Kashin, get up! Kashin, write!” cried the square. The square didn’t know that I was already up in bed and was writing on the board: “I want to go to the bathroom.” The tabloids quoted Journalist Kashin (but not me): “They will not silence me!” – unfortunately, without indicating what topic Journalist Kashin wanted to have his say on. There was only one thing that interested me at the end of the second week after the attack. There was once a handsome young pilot named Gagarin. He was somehow chosen to be astronaut number one, and at the age of 27, or something, he flew into space for a bit more than an hour. He came back – and that was it, there was no more life, just presidiums, banquets, presentations that stamped the impending doom onto his handsome young face. This went on for seven years before he died for good. I lay in the resuscitation ward, flipped through the “Kashin” newspaper, and thought about Gagarin and how we are alike.

But I have one important advantage over Gagarin. The New Year’s recess – a terrific, as I understand now, invention. December is now beginning, I’ll likely be ill the whole time, and then the country will start to drink. We’ll return to work together, the country after the holidays and myself after rehab. Nobody will remember. Nobody will notice. And it will be normal, like before, to work. After all, they will not silence me.

Translation by theotherrussia.org

“Just Say Nyet” to New Soviet Union, Putin

Russian leaders argue about Soviet model

Russian leaders argue about Soviet model Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting with regional governors in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev says that ethnic tensions are threatening Russia’s stability.AP

Associated Press

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pointed at the Soviet model as an example of how various ethnic groups can have friendly ties, drawing a quick retort Monday from the president in a rare sign of friction between the two leaders.

Putin’s protege and successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, countered him by saying that the Soviet experience wasn’t exactly a positive one and it can’t be repeated, adding that Russia may learn from the U.S. experience.

The public exchange will likely fuel speculation about tensions between the two leaders as the nation approaches the 2012 presidential election.

Putin and Medvedev have denied any rift between them and said they would decide who would run for president in 2012 so that they don’t compete against each other. Most observers expect that Putin, who remains Russia’s most powerful figure, will reclaim the presidency.

Speaking at a Kremlin meeting focused on ways to assuage ethnic tensions that spilled into the open during riots outside the Kremlin on Dec. 11, Putin said that Russia has failed to learn from the Soviet experience and called for cultivating Russian patriotism.

Speaking immediately after him, Medvedev said that the Soviet experience can’t be reproduced.

“Can we repeat what was done during the Soviet period? he said. “No, it’s impossible. The Soviet Union was a state based on ideology, and, let’s say it openly, quite a rigid one. Russia is different.”

“We need to work out new approaches,” Medvedev said.

During the Dec. 11 riots, soccer fans and racists chanting “Russia for Russians!” clashed with police and beat members of ethnic minority groups from the Caucasus region.

The violence in Moscow raised doubts about the government’s ability to control a rising tide of xenophobia, which threatens the country’s existence.

While ethnic Russians make up four-fifths of Russia’s population of 142 million, the country is also home to about 180 ethnic groups. The Caucasus region, with its mountainous terrain and isolated valleys, hosts at least 100 ethnicities including Chechens, who have waged two separatist wars against Moscow after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin suggested Monday that the authorities might restore harsh Soviet era-restrictions on movement into big cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg. Such a move would target dark-complexioned people from the Caucasus, who flee their impoverished regions for big cities.

“We went for liberal rules of registration too early,” Putin said.

Medvedev, however, warned against trying to isolate ethnic groups. “We can’t block people from moving around the country, although we need to control that,” he said. “We are a single country, and we must learn to live together.”

Medvedev warned that ethnic tensions could break Russia up if the government fails to stem violent nationalism and act more harshly to disperse riots.

“Interethnic conflicts are deadly dangerous for Russia,” Medvedev said. “We mustn’t allow some dimwits to destroy our common home.”

Putin also suggested limiting jury trials, introduced all over Russia in recent years. He said that trials by jury for suspects in murders and other grave crimes should only be held on an inter-region level instead of a local level to prevent acquittals based on clan loyalties.

During his eight-year presidency, Putin steadily rolled back Russia’s post-Soviet freedoms, abolishing direct elections of provincial governors and pushing other electoral changes that strengthened the Kremlin’s control over Russia’s political life. The former KGB officer once described the Soviet collapse as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

Medvedev has been markedly more critical about the Soviet past, trying to cater to a more liberal and educated part of the electorate and improve Russia’s image in the West. But differences between the two leaders are mostly limited to style and Medvedev so far has acted as a loyal placeholder for Putin.

Nikolai Petrov of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow office suggested that Monday’s exchange between the two leaders could be aimed to distract attention from a second trial of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The judge on Monday declared Khodorkovsky guilty of theft in a verdict that could keep the tycoon behind bars for years to prevent him from challenging Putin’s power.

Hakeemullah Kidnaps 23 Mehsud Leaders for Meeting Kayani

Taliban kidnap 23 tribesmen for meeting Kayani

* TTP spokesman says Taliban courts deciding how to punish abducted tribesmen

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The Pakistani Taliban defied an ongoing military offensive and kidnapped 23 tribesmen who had met with army chief General Ashfaq Kayani during a recent trip to the area, intelligence officials, tribal elders and the terrorists’ spokesman said.

Intelligence officials and a local government official said 23 elders from the district of South Waziristan were summoned by the Taliban to Razmak, a town in North Waziristan, on December 17 and have not returned. “Our reports say that they had been detained by Taliban,” a tribal administration official said. The kidnappings further threaten the government’s shaky effort to convince hundreds of thousands of displaced members of the Mehsud tribe that the Taliban are defeated and that it is safe to return to their homes in South Waziristan. Taliban courts in South Waziristan are deciding how to punish the men and boys being held, and should have a “verdict” within days, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told The Associated Press.

“This is a warning to the tribal people to not come to the area because we are still present in South Waziristan,” Tariq said via phone. He claimed that seven Taliban courts were functioning in South Waziristan, as well as 22 offices. “On one side, the government says peace is established in South Waziristan, and on the other our tribesmen are being kidnapped,” said Maulana Esamuddin Mehsud, one of two Mehsud tribal leaders who said they learned of the kidnappings from the victims’ relatives. The 23, who include several students, were among those who attended functions with General Kayani in the Ladha and Makeen areas of South Waziristan on December 7.

The circumstances surrounding the capture of the 23 were murky. According to local intelligence officials, the terrorists lured the victims to a town on the border of South and North Waziristan, with promises of food rations. They then grabbed the unsuspecting tribesmen. Those kidnapped hailed from different families in various parts of South Waziristan and are believed to have stayed in South Waziristan or in North Waziristan throughout the fighting. All are part of the Mehsud tribe. agencies

Death Squads Are Forever

[Pakistan has fully embraced the American solution to “self-defense” against the Taliban militants, local “self-defense forces”,  a.k.a., “death squads.” Following the line laid-down by the Western media, readers are urged to compare Pakistan’s situation to that which developed in Iraq with the “awakening movement.”  It is easy to see from Iraq’s experience with the paramilitary forces the great dangers that could arise from a failed militia movement, but it is imperative that Pakistani leaders look to earlier successful examples of this American “low-intensity conflict” solution, such as Colombia, to see the far greater dangers that could arise from a successful paramilitary campaign.

Colombia is now entangled in an attempt to “demobilize” some 33,000 militia forces without destroying the state in the process.  It is easy to accept rivers of American cash and weaponry to create paramilitary forces, according to American instructions, but it much more difficult, if not impossible, to disband these groups of armed thugs after they have murdered most of the leaders of the opposition.  If Colombia’s history is not compelling enough to dissuade Pakistan from embracing the American paramilitary solution, then it should look back even further to the creation of the paramilitary Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, to see the permanent nature of the problems that these criminal groups create.

There is very little difference between the Taliban and the Lashkars, just as there was little difference between the FARC and the AUC in Colombia, all are pieces in the same American puzzle.  One justifies the other, therefore the “bad” side (FARC, Taliban) must precede the “good” (AUC Paramilitaries, Lashkars).  There are no “coincidences” in geo-politics, so the rising of “bad” militant groups wherever the US corporate state wants to go, cannot be written off as “coincidence.”

If the “911 Truth” crowd would devote a little of their limitless energies to exposing these ongoing convenient “coincidences” of the Empire, then they would arrive at the same destination they seek, only they would get there a lot quicker.

Smell the Big Stink, people–This is it.]

https://i0.wp.com/centralasia.foreignpolicyblogs.com/files/2008/10/23lasker-600.jpg https://i0.wp.com/www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2306/images/20060407000905903.jpg

Militias stem Pakistani Taliban, but at what cost?

MATANI: Tribal militias allied with the government helped block a Taliban advance in this corner of northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border, but their success has come at a price: the empowerment of untrained, unaccountable private armies that could yet emerge as a threat of their own.

Tensions are emerging between authorities and the dozens of militias that they helped to create predominantly in and near the northwest tribal regions. Operating from fortress-like compounds with anti-aircraft guns on the roofs, the militiamen have made it clear that the state now owes them for their sacrifices. They show photos on their cell phones of Taliban they killed and point to the scrubland outside, with graves of relatives who died in the fight.

The leader of the largest militia near the town of Matani, a wealthy landowner named Dilawar Khan, warns that he will stop cooperating with police unless he gets more money and weapons from authorities. Speaking to The Associated Press, he adds what could be a veiled threat to join terrorists.

“Time and time again, the Taliban have contacted us, urging us to change sides,” he said.

Another local militia commander is locked in a dispute with local police, who recently raided his compound and accused him of stealing and overstepping his authority.

The experience in the Matani area – 12 miles from Peshawar, shows the advantages of using proxies to counter al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also the pitfalls. In Iraq, similar forces were credited with creating a turning point in the war, when Sunni tribes rose up against al Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups. Many of those Iraqi Sunnis, however, now feel they are being marginalised by the Shia leadership.

In Afghanistan, the United States is backing the creation of militias, dubbed local village defence forces, to fight the Taliban. The Afghan government is less keen, having seen the damage that warlords with private armies did to the country in the 1990s.

Pakistan’s own past shows the hazards of proxies. A large part of the insurgency tearing at the heart of Pakistan today is made up of armed groups that the government trained and funded to fight wars in Afghanistan and against Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir, as well as extremists they long tolerated to keep control in places like the Swat valley.

“Every time the state delegates its authority by parceling it out to non-state actors, it ultimately backfires,” said Ail Dana Haas, a researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The arming of militias in the medium- to long-term always leads to further lawlessness. The militias will seek to maximise their own power, and they will do so at the cost of the state.”

Pakistani support for militias, known as lashkars, is less widespread and organised than in Iraq.

Most operate in the tribal regions close to Afghanistan, where the raising of private armies has a history going back to British colonial times. The army and political authorities dole out money and arms to tribal leaders so their fighters hold areas retaken by the military. Terrorists have ruthlessly targeted the lashkars this year with suicide bombings aimed at their meetings with authorities.

The northwest region is also where the al Qaeda’s top leaders are thought to be hiding and is increasingly being targeted by US missile strikes from drone aircraft, particularly in North Waziristan.

Six suspected US missiles struck two vehicles in the Shera Tala village of North Waziristan on Monday, killing 18 alleged terrorists, intelligence officials said. The Matani area represents one of the most successful uses of the lashkars.

A year and half ago, the poor, hilly region was under the effective control of terrorists who moved in from the adjacent tribal region of Khyber and enforced their will on the population.

This year, the Taliban were largely pushed back from Matani, and while no one is claiming total victory, attacks are down by three-quarters in Peshawar, police and locals say. The army has also undertaken operations in other parts of the tribal regions against known terrorist strongholds, further squeezing them, while the US has increased drone-fired missile attacks.

“The militants’ backbone is broken,” claimed Peshawar city police chief, Liaqat Ali Khan.

Three tribal militias in Matani backed by the government played a vital role in pushing back the Taliban and continue to ensure the terrorists do not return in significant numbers, said Matani police officer Hidayat Khan.

The tribesmen make good proxies because they know the terrain, have a network of contacts in the area and are motivated to fight terrorists, who in some cases have killed their relatives. Each lashkar is typically made up of an extended family or tribe, strengthening their loyalty.

Dilawar Khan claims to have between 300 and 400 men in his lashkar – and he boasts that he can call up “an entire village” if he wants. His forces have stocks of grenades and rockets, along with automatic weapons. His walled compound, on a hill at the end of a newly paved road, has three Russian-made anti-aircraft guns and a 100-foot-high (30-metre) watchtower that gives him a view across the hills to Khyber.

But he says he is unhappy with the level of support he is receiving from local authorities and pointed out that he lost 17 men to the terrorists since the fight began. He made clear he wants more money and weapons, though would not go into detail about how much he demands – or how much he has already received from authorities. “If we don’t get compensated, we will stop cooperating with the police,” he said. ap

Colombia/Us Tip-Toeing Past that Whole Death Squads Thing

[It is very interesting to watch Pres. Santos trying to untie the American knot.  So far, he has walked a fine line defending Colombia’s interests without cutting their own throats with the American administration.  The Colombian Supreme Court has challenged the demobilization plan to pardon most of the paramilitary foot-soldiers, but nothing has been said about the American role in the illegal armies.  Since all of the players in the paramilitary history have been administrators of an American plan, with nearly all of the military leaders trained either at School of the Americas or by American Special or Delta Forces.  Everyone used American-supplied weapons, wearing American uniforms…

There is no daylight between the Colombian and US Armies in this dark chapter.  It seems that Colombia will only be able to play a role compatible to American interests if Santos can demobilize the entire Colombian Civil War without exposing its nerve center.]

Santos: ‘Colombia can play a role . . . that coincides with the U.S. interest’

By Juan Forero

Washington Post Staff Writer

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was inaugurated Aug. 7 and has taken his country by storm with a wide array of new initiatives, spoke to The Post’s Juan Forero on Dec. 6 in New York and again on Dec. 10 in the Colombian capital, Bogota.

Q: You and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela had been bitter rivals. How did you change that relationship?

A: I told Chavez from the beginning: "Let’s not pretend to change each other’s minds. We think very differently on many aspects but let’s respect our differences, and if we respect our differences we can have cordial relations, and that is in the best interest of both the Venezuelans and the Colombians." And that is what I have been doing, establishing a cordial relationship under the understanding that he doesn’t mingle in our internal affairs and vice versa.

Q: What did you get out of this new relationship?

A: So far we have done very well in the sense that we have been starting to collaborate on aspects that for us Colombians are very important. We started having trade, he started paying our exporters, he started collaborating in security issues and for the first time he has helped us recover a couple of kidnapped people that were taken to Venezuela.

Q: You also immediately began to try to reestablish relations across the continent, though your closest ally is the United States. What’s your strategy?

A: I have had extremely good relations with the United States and with both parties (Republicans and Democrats), and I hope to continue to have these good relations, which I, again repeating, do not consider to be mutually exclusive with having good relations with Venezuela or Ecuador or whichever country in South America. And as a matter of fact, President Obama, Secretary Clinton and many members of Congress have celebrated that we have improved our relations with Venezuela and with Ecuador.

Q: You speak of "enhancing" the relationship with the U.S., which has long been defined by the war on drugs. What do you mean?

A: We have improved enough [in the security situation] to be able to include other points in our bilateral agenda like education, the environment, like transfer of technology. . . . Let’s really be strategic partners, not in name but in practice. And what does that mean? That means that Colombia can play a role in the region that coincides with the U.S. interest, like for example helping the Central American countries and the Caribbean countries an

Q: You were defense minister in Uribe’s government but are taking a different path as president. Did you not support his policies?

A: Uribe and I have very good relations. I owe him loyalty, I admire him, he did great things for our country, and I think that because of what he did, I can now concentrate on different issues, different from what he concentrated on.

Q: The Colombia congress has been busy since you took office. What initiatives are you hoping to push through?

A: In these first four months, the congress is approving reforms that nobody ever imagined were going to be even presented, and we not only presented the reforms but they have been approved by congress and with an overwhelming majority. Reforms on royalties, for example, something almost impossible a couple of years ago. This law that is going to allow us to restitute the land to the peasants that were displaced by the illegal groups, or another law that is going to repair [through compensation] the millions of victims that have suffered more than four decades of violence.

Q: Your predecessor, President Uribe, fought with the Supreme Court and criticized its rulings. Was that damaging to democracy and how important do you see the separation of powers?

A: Of course it was damaging the democracy. . . . Democracy is like three oxen pulling a plough. The oxen are the independent powers, but you have to walk in the same direction; otherwise, you cannot plough and that is what was happening in Colombia. One ox was walking in one direction, the other in another direction, so the democracy was not working. The very first step I took was to reestablish relationships with the judicial power, respecting its independence but reestablishing good relations.

Q: What worries do you have about the drug war?

A: There are some fundamental structural contradictions in this war on drugs. . . . We in Colombia have been successful, but our success is hurting the whole of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, and eventually it will backfire on us again. So are we pursuing the correct long-term policy?

Q: So is legalization of drugs an alternative?

A: I don’t object to discussing any alternatives, but if we are going to discuss alternatives, let’s discuss every alternative. Of course, I am not going to be stupid enough to propose legalization by myself, as a country, but let’s discuss what alternatives do we have – what is the cost, what is the benefit of each alternative?

Q: Are you looking more toward Asia, as are other Latin American countries?

A: We depend too much on the U.S., as we depend too much on Venezuela, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t give a tremendous importance to the U.S. The fact that we are looking to China and Asia is simply the reflection of reality. China is becoming an engine of growth, and we want to participate in that growth.

Berdymukhammedov’s Backwards Pipeline Plans–TAPI Will Not Bring Peace

Touted project of Trans-Afghan pipeline has satisfied only the political ambitions of Ashgabat

IWPR:

Touted project of Trans-Afghan pipeline has satisfied only the political ambitions of Ashgabat, analysts say NBCA.

Turkmenistan: Agreement on Tapi’s message “to all importers of gas

News Briefing Central Asia – have summarized News Central Asia (NBCA), December 23, 2010

December 11 in Ashgabat, the signing of the quadripartite intergovernmental agreement on the project to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI). If the pipe length of 1,680 kilometers will be built it will provide annual deliveries in the amount of 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

“TAPI gas pipeline is not just a mutually beneficial energy and economic project – said at the summit, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. – He should be an example, when there is political will and constructive reached the main goal – to balance the interests of producers, transit countries and consumers.”

Despite such optimistic statements by the leader of the oil and gas rich country, the high risks in the project by more than obvious, experts say.

Firstly, it is the instability in Afghanistan, where there will be little willing to invest in the construction of the pipe.

Second, the complicated relationship between India and Pakistan, as New Delhi does not wish to depend in its energy supply from Islamabad, although according to Murli Deora Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas of India “is a dynamically developing country, needs a large amount of energy.”

NBCA experts do not advise to take the signing of an agreement on the construction of pipes, as the real beginning of the project. They point out that not once signed the contract that were never translated into reality.

Some commentators believe that such lobbying TAPI pipeline project, the official Ashgabat, is trying to create competition among buyers of its gas and push them towards the early realization of other, more realistic ideas.

“Berdymukhammedov hopes for the creation of alternative transport corridors to export its own gas, and TAPI can become just such an alternative – said Rovshan Ibrahimov, doctor of political sciences from Baku .- In addition, the signing of the contract and can accelerate the realization of other pipelines. It’s – Frozen Caspian project pipeline or Trans-Caspian pipeline, which interested countries and companies-members of the consortium for the construction of Nabucco.

Turkmen leader is trying to diversify its energy dependence on Russia as Gazprom is worth a lot of nerves. Two months ago, the Kremlin announced that it has no plans to increase imports of Turkmen gas, and will continue in 2011 to buy 10 billion cubic meters instead of the previously imported 40-50 billion in bad news and was freeze project to build the Caspian pipeline.

Berdymukhammedov has repeatedly proposed sale of gas at the border, regularly appealed to the international community to take measures to ensure the safe transit of energy, expressed consent for the construction of Caspian pipelines without addressing the issue of delimitation of the Caspian Sea.

“This president wants to protect himself – says a commentator on politics pipeline in Ashgabat. – He suggests that interested in obtaining energy part, must take risks for the construction, transportation, and if you want to re-export in any form. He wants international guarantees .

Commentator as an example, led pipeline project of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, after the launch of which Azerbaijan has emerged from Russia’s influence, and now pursues an independent policy in the energy sector.

An official from the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan, be helped to remain anonymous, said the NBCA, that agreement on TAPI, “seamlessly fit” into the idea of the settlement of intra-Berdymukhammedov problem.

“The president believes that the military used the model permits the Afghan conflict is hopeless and therefore initiates a non-military methods of solving problems, among them, and TAPI”, – stressed the official.

This article was prepared under the project “News Briefing Central Asia”, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Source – IWPR

At Least 46 States Have Imposed Cuts That Hurt Vulnerable Residents and the Economy

An Update on State Budget Cuts

At Least 46 States Have Imposed Cuts That Hurt Vulnerable Residents and the Economy

PDF of this Report (16pp.)

By Nicholas JohnsonPhil Oliff and Erica Williams

With tax revenue still declining as a result of the recession and budget reserves largely drained, the vast majority of states have made spending cuts that hurt families and reduce necessary services. These cuts, in turn, have deepened states’ economic problems because families and businesses have less to spend. Federal recovery act dollars and funds raised from tax increases have greatly reduced the extent, severity, and economic impact of these cuts, but only to a point. And federal aid to states is slated to expire well before state revenues have recovered.

The cuts enacted in at least 46 states plus the District of Columbia since 2008 have occurred in all major areas of state services, including health care (31 states), services to the elderly and disabled (29 states and the District of Columbia), K-12 education (34 states and the District of Columbia), higher education (43 states), and other areas. States made these cuts because revenues from income taxes, sales taxes, and other revenue sources used to pay for these services declined due to the recession. At the same time, the need for these services did not decline and, in fact, rose as the number of families facing economic difficulties increased.

These budget pressures have not abated. Because unemployment rates remain high — and are projected to stay high well into next year — revenues are likely to remain at or near their current depressed levels. This has caused a new round of cuts. Based on gloomy revenue projections, legislatures and governors have enacted budgets for the 2011 fiscal year (which began on July 1, 2010 in most states). In many states these budgets contain cuts that go even further than those enacted over the past two fiscal years.

Cuts to state services not only harm vulnerable residents but also worsen the recession — and dampen the recovery — by reducing overall economic activity. When states cut spending, they lay off employees, cancel contracts with vendors, reduce payments to businesses and nonprofits that provide services, and cut benefit payments to individuals.All of these steps remove demand from the economy. For instance, at least 44 states and the District of Columbia have reduced overall wages paid to state workers by laying off workers, requiring them to take unpaid leave (furloughs), freezing new hires, or similar actions. State and local governments have eliminated 407,000 jobs since August 2008, federal data show. Such measures are reducing not only the level and quality of services available to state residents but also the purchasing power of workers’ families, which in turn affects local businesses and slows recovery.

States are taking actions to mitigate the extent of these cuts. Since the recession began, over 30 states have addressed their budget shortfalls in part by increasing taxes. Like budget cuts, tax increases remove demand from the economy by reducing the amount of money people have to spend. But tax increases can be less detrimental to state economies than budget cuts because some of the tax increases affect upper-income households, so are likely to result in reduced saving rather than reduced consumption. Many more states will need to consider tax increases or other revenue measures, as well as such steps as tapping remaining state rainy day funds, as a way to minimize harmful budget cuts.  (read HERE)

Germany probes possible poisoning of Russian dissidents

BERLIN – Agence France-Presse

German prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into whether two Russian dissidents living in Berlin were poisoned, a spokesman told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

“An investigation has been opened. It is being carried out by a department dealing with politically motivated crimes,” a spokesman for the public prosecutors’ office in the German capital said.

The German weekly Focus reported earlier this month that doctors had detected in Viktor Kalashnikov, a former colonel in the Soviet KGB, and in his historian wife Marina Kalashnikov dangerously high levels of mercury.

Both have suffered health problems, with Marina losing half of her hair and Viktor considerable weight, and medical experts have recommended that the couple undergo further tests and be watched closely, the magazine said.

“Moscow poisoned us,” the husband told Focus.

The couple has worked as freelance journalists since the late 1990s, publishing articles that have angered the Kremlin. They arrived in Berlin in September.

Focus earlier this month reported that doctors at Berlin’s Charite hospital found 53.7 micrograms of mercury per liter in the 58-year-old dissident’s blood and 56 micrograms in his wife’s body.

“The maximum safe level is between one and three micrograms of mercury in a liter of blood,” the magazine then quoted Frank Mertens, a toxicologist at Charite, as saying.

In 2006, dissident Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by radio-active poisoning in London, prompting an icy period in Moscow’s diplomatic relations with Britain.

Anti-fascist rally in Moscow brought together more than 2000 people

Митинг на Пушкинской площадиMeeting “Russia without fascism, according to various sources, collected from 1.5 to 4 thousand people

Sunday’s rally at Pushkin Square, was held under the slogan “Moscow – for all”, “Fascism will not pass” and “Russia without the Nazis.”

In the management of Information and Public Relations Moscow police say that the rally passed without incident.

Journalists working for the campaign estimate the number of participants at about 2,5 thousand people. In the Russian capital’s police department said in a rally attended by about fifteen hundred people. The organizers say about 4 thousand.

The action came in response to a ride in recent years in Moscow and other Russian cities rioting and clashes on ethnic grounds.

Despite the fact that the rally was attended by many politicians, including the organizers of the “Marches of Dissent” and shares the 31 th, political slogans may sound.

The gathering were popular Russian film actors and directors, writers and public figures.

Writer Viktor Shenderovich read a letter from Elena Bonner, who was unable to come to the Pushkin.

Акция протеста в поддержку Ходорковского перед Белым домомDecember 26 was also held rally in support of Khodorkovsky, the White House

“Think of what I went there again to save the motherland, even though his legs do not walk” – ended with the message of his wife of Andrei Sakharov.

Came to the rally director Pavel Lungin, poet Dmitry Bykov, actress Chulpan Khamatova, the governor of Kirov Region Nikita White and many others.

Another rally was held Sunday at the White House, where a group of activists organized a performance in support of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Established a group of protesters in front of the home government a symbolic cage, which was placed a masked man Putin.

Along with this, they unfurled a banner calling to release Khodorkovsky, who on Monday shall be declared the verdict on the so-called second Yukos case.

The rally was foiled by police. As a result, briefly detained several photographers protest.

Assassinating national leader of Pakistan

Assassinating national leader of Pakistan


The nation is observing the third death anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto today

remembering the services she rendered to the country and its poor people with complete dedication and commitment. Criminal conspirators killed her when she delivered her historic speech at the mammoth public meeting at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi and she was on way back to her residence in Islamabad. There was no post mortem examination of the dead body and it was handed over to her husband for burial with it. The Government is responsible to undertake post mortem examination immediately and as per laws of the land. But it was not done presumably on the instructions from the higher ups. There was a definite conspiracy to eliminate the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan as she had been receiving threats from hostile elements. The Government was responsible for providing security to every citizen of Pakistan, particularly the national leader who remained prime minister of the country twice and leading the biggest political party of the country for the past many decades. Before leaving UAE for Pakistan, she told newsmen and close aides that she is facing threat for her life and despite this fact, she would return to Pakistan ending her decade long self exile during the entire regime of General ® Pervez Musharraf. Off and on, Pervez Musharraf was reminding the people of Pakistan, obviously through media, that he would not permit Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan and their political activities. Even he was opposed to Benazir’s return to Pakistan despite an agreement brokered by the United States Government. She held direct talks with Pervez Musharraf in Abu Dhabi in presence of top US officials of the State Department. Despite that agreement, he refused to permit her to return to Pakistan. However, she came back and landed in Karachi where more than two million people received her at the Airport. Before she reached her residence in Clifton, he came under terrorist attack at Karsaz leaving more than 180 people, all her personal and party guards, were killed and over 500 injured in a massive bombing attack. The military dictator was opposed to holding huge public meetings and public rallies and advised the former Prime Minister not to hold such mammoth public meetings and public receptions as it heightened the sentiments of the people against the military dictatorship ruling this country for a decade for the fourth time in our national history. The United Nations had conducted the investigations during which the Rawalpindi Police chief made disclosures that the site of crime scene was washed at the behest of high officials very close to Pervez Musharraf. When the FIA started the investigations, he backed out of his earlier statement given before the UN Commission. Now the FIA had widened the scope of investigation and collecting evidence against other top officials who might have played some role in washing out the evidence or others who instigated the murder of the former Prime Minister. Five of the people, including the two top police officials of Rawalpindi, are in custody and the prosecution had framed specific charges against some of them. FIA is expected to make more arrest before collecting other evidence. In any case, the Government of the day was responsible for the murder. There is a definite possibility that some of the officials might have been involved in the criminal conspiracy to assassinate the former Prime Minister. Sooner or later, the Government will have to frame criminal charges against former military dictator General ® Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir assassination case. If it is confirmed that some higher officials of the Government had issued those instructions, then there is a possibility that the former Military dictator will face direct murder charges. The law will take its natural course and the sitting Government is determined to expose the conspiracy before the end of its present political tenure.

US Testing Pakistani Reactions, As 2 NATO helicopters violate Pakistan’s air space again

2 NATO helicopters violate Pakistan’s air space

2 NATO helicopters violate Pakistan's air space

Two NATO helicopter gunships violated Pakistan’s air space in its northwest border area Monday morning.

Two Nato helicopters violated Pakistan’s border limits on Monday morning, entering through the Torkham border located in Khyber Agency, said security officials.

According to details, the helicopters penetrated into the Pakistani territory near Torkham and remained there for about five minutes before they returned to Afghanistan. No firings have been reported. Security officials are investigating the matter.
Such incidents occurred several times in the last few months. Earlier this year, NATO helicopters entered the Pakistan’s territorial sky, killing three Pakistani border soldiers while intending to attack some militant’s hideouts on the Pakistani side.
This incident has led to a closure by the Pakistani government of a border pass for NATO convoys supplying goods and fuel to the U.S.-led NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan via Pakistan, leaving hundreds of NATO supply trucks stranded on the way, falling prey to numerous terrorist attacks.

Don’t cross the ‘red lines’

Don’t cross the ‘red lines’

EDITORIAL  (December 27, 2010) : Don’t cross the ‘red lines’, Pakistan has warned the United States, saying it could complicate counter-terrorism co-operation. One of the red lines is to refrain from landing its boots on Pakistani soil, and the warned ‘complication’ is that in case of territorial invasion, Pakistani people would not stay neutral and join the side of the Taliban militants – a strong possibility, the taste of which was given to Nato sometime back when scores of its supplies containers, were burnt down in retaliation of an incursion.

Pakistan’s position stems from the fact that the Nato and Isaf mandate is restricted to Afghanistan. In fact, even the drone attacks that the CIA is carrying out in the border areas of Pakistan are in violation of international law and are not covered by the UN mandate – which in itself, was against the spirit of the principles of justice. The fact is that Pakistan’s co-operation in the US-led Nato military campaign in Afghanistan has lost public support and for the Zardari-Gilani government, it’s a hell of an unpopular mission to stay committed to.

No doubt with only six months left for President Obama’s deadline to commence troop drawdown in Afghanistan, a kind of angst seems to be pushing his administration to justify withdrawal when the war is far from over and victory is uncertain. The public in the United States and its allies are increasingly critical of their governments’ commitment to an unnecessary and unwanted conflict in a far-off Afghanistan. Their perception is that after nine years of bloody battles and murderous raids by the Isaf forces, the adversary remains defiant and largely unsubdued. No wonder their public wouldn’t mind their soldiers’ quiet departure from Afghanistan irrespective of victory or defeat, but that’s not the case for their commanders. So, as the endgame unfolds, the generals are hectically searching for a scapegoat – which, if the recent ‘disclosures’ in some of the American papers is any indication, is going to be Pakistan. The blame for failure in Afghanistan, now being pinned on Pakistan for allegedly providing ‘safe havens’ to Afghan insurgents, is gaining unanimity among US military circles to put its boots on the ground in Pakistan, say the newspapers.

Without going into the debate whether the urge to expand military operations into Pakistan will help President Obama vindicate his pledge to begin a troop drawdown next July or not, we in Pakistan would insist that the envisaged incursions entail dangerous consequences not only for the Nato’s engagement in Afghanistan but also for the peace of the entire region. The people of Pakistan will stand up to this aggression leaving the military leadership and the government of Pakistan with no option but to make a complete U-turn on its so-called anti-terrorism alliance. If at all there was a justification for the UN mandated invasion of Afghanistan, that’s not available anymore. What is now going on in that country is essentially a civil war, where outside interference if mandated by the United Nations, should merely be for peacekeeping and not geared to win victory for a certain group of people. Going by the reports over the past several years, the epicentre of terrorism is now located in Europe and North America where certain sections of the public are increasingly prone to be radicalised – for whatever reasons. Ambassador Hussain Haqqani has rightly pointed out that instead of ‘rather than blaming Pakistan, the West should concentrate and focus on how to end increasing radicalisation’.

As they say, for the generals, advancing ahead and winning victories is not as challenging as staging a safe and secure retreat. That seems to be quite a dilemma for the Isaf generalship as it finds itself caught between President Obama’s unalterable withdrawal timeline and a battlefield victory that should not appear to be Pyrrhic. After all, what more can Pakistan do – after being fully sucked into an unwanted war with all its enormous collateral cost in terms of loss of life and property, socio-economic turmoil and earning the epithet of the world’s most dangerous place to visit.

There is a need for its so-called allies in this war on terrorism to comprehend the myriad thankless consequences Pakistan is suffering in return for its commitment to remain a faithful ally. The truth is that Pakistan’s patience with the unsavoury statements and ungrateful behaviour of its allies is wearing thin and has arrived at a tipping point. Should something like the recently reported plan of crossing the ‘red lines’ come to happen, we would have come to the fork, and today’s friends may be tomorrow’s foes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2010

Nuclear Power/People Power

“It is surprising that while on one hand government expects us to use democratic methods for airing our views and grievances, for smothering our voices it uses strong-arm tactics and stoops to any level without any qualms. Even though the anger is slowly corroding the daily lives of locals, we are still attempting to walk on democratic paths.”

Fear Over Konkan

By Prabhat Sharan

26 December, 2010
The Verdict Weekly

The fear amongst the natives of Jaitapur in Konkan belt of Maharashtra
is now a constant subliminal hum emanating from slapping of serious
criminal charges as punishment for not heeding the internal protocol
devised by the government – a protocol that is never spoken in the
press…

Natives of Jaitapur in Konkan-the green ribbon which runs across the
coastline of Maharashtra, is flaming red. The anger of people is
expanding. It is relentless, exponential, riding and rushing like the
waves of Arabian Sea which crashes on the shore.

For the Indian State neither empirical evidences of nuclear disasters
or people’s anger has any place in its deranged experiment. After
being hounded out from various parts of country and forced to put its
plan for nuclear installation on hold- the Indian State has zeroed in
on Konkan belt.

The government has learnt lessons learnt from places like Haripur
mouza in East Midnapore and Gorakhpur where it had tried to usurp 700
acres and 1000 acres respectively for Nuclear Power Corporation of
India Ltd (NPCIL,) plans.

Today, it has converted Jaitapur into a concentration camp. Charges
are being slapped on protestors and now there are more armed policemen
than the natives whose eyes glint in the twilight paths with the fear
of a helpless animal pinned in the headlights of an oncoming truck
full of armed men.

The fear amongst the natives is now a constant subliminal hum
emanating from slapping of serious criminal charges as a punishment
for not heeding the internal protocol devised by the government- a
protocol that is never spoken in the press.

The area is cordoned off, and outsiders read ‘unauthorised,’ people
are not allowed in the region where NPCIL has decided to put up
Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) having 6 reactors, each of 1650
MWe totalling 9,900 MWe. Two reactors have already been approved in
the first phase.

With just a tokenism of support from the establishment press having an
attention span of gnat, and politicians of various hues dancing out
political businesses in the region, the people of the area are slowly
being reduced to semiotic ghosts.

The Bhopal gas tragedy preys on everybody’s mind and ironically this
time it is the women who have taken up the fight. Talking to The
Verdict, Comrade Vaishali Patil of Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi
Samiti (KVPVS,) from Madban said that a criminal technology with a
proven killing record is being carved out and installed with all kind
of lies and stories framed in sci-fi imagery that permeates the
culture.

“Scientists themselves are talking politics and what we see here is a
concentration camp… the state government is forcibly acquiring the
land at Madban, Karel, Niveli and Mithgavhane in Rajapur Taluka.
Locals till now are opposing and protesting the forcible land
acquisition democratically. But the government does not seem to know
any kind of democratic methods…a silent genocide, ethnocide and
ecocide is being carried out.”

In May this year, a public hearing was held where villagers spoke
against the project. Strangely, despite sans any clearance from the
Ministry of Environment and Foresty, NPCIl and Maharashtra government
started issuing tenders for geological surveys and construction of
compound wall building near Niveli village, “as if people’s voice does
not matter at all.”

With the initiation of work on sites, eruption of a confrontation was
inevitable. And in August, the inevitable happened between the
contractor and his men on one side and villagers on the other side.
And as expected police waiting in the wings swung into action and
started picking up villagers. According to Vaishali Patil, when
villagers tried to point out to the authorities as well as the
contractor about the non-clearance from MoEF, 40 FIR were filed
against the locals.

According to activists, “It is surprising that while on one hand
government expects us to use democratic methods for airing our views
and grievances, for smothering our voices it uses strong-arm tactics
and stoops to any level without any qualms. Even though the anger is
slowly corroding the daily lives of locals, we are still attempting to
walk on democratic paths.”

Till date neither the Centre nor the State nor NPCIL has bothered to
answer queries raised by locals. According to leaders from KVPVS-the
umbrella organization of various protest movements in Konkan, the
French firm Areva which has been asked to set up the nuclear reactors
in Jaitapur, was recently penalized by nuclear regulatory authority of
Finland for its flawed design and construction of reactors.

Moreover, sometime back even France, found serious difficulty in
maintaining safety at its nuclear infrastructures. A couple of years
back, in Romans-sur-Isere in Southeastern France, Uranium-bearing
liquid leaked from an underground pipe of Areva’s nuclear plant. The
cleaning up operation is still on, according to reports.

Moreover, Ms Patil points out that Konkan region is a seismic zone and
the site selected for JNPP falls under seismic zone 4. “The tremors
experienced over the years in Koyna valley and Ratnagiri district
makes the site inappropriate for a nuclear power plant. Lacs of liters
of sea water sucked in and released into sea at higher temperature
everyday will severely damage marine aquatic life. Fish & fishing will
be in danger. The increased temperatures of the surroundings,
billowing clouds of steam, will endanger and destroy the well
developed mango, cashew, other horticulture, forests and also health
of people. Considering all the factors, it is an obvious inference
that the site selection is unscientific and dangerous.”

She also points out that apart from this “there are 8 coal-based
thermal power plants of 23,000 MWe capacity proposed in Raigad,
Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. The State Government has also
accorded permissions to mining projects in Mandangad, Dapoli and
Dodamarg talukas. Huge piles of stored coal and fly ash will
contaminate of water bodies in the surroundings. The pollutants e.g.
Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Carbon monoxide and Carbon dioxide
along with Arsenic, Cadmium will spread over 25~30 km and contaminate
air, soil, water. These proposed projects will result in destruction
of ecology and means of livelihood of toiling masses of Konkan. CRZ
norms will be violated.”

In its study paper, KVPVS points out, “…the risk associated with
nuclear power which is usually long-term effects is not just confined
to human beings but also to the trees, livestock, fish and environs.
Exposure to radioactivity leads to the increase in incidence of
tumors, cancer, infertility, congenital deformities, stillbirths etc.
The most serious matter is that due to genetic mutations these can be
transmitted through generations. An even more monstrous problem is
that of safe storage of nuclear waste. Finally, considering the
complexity of the technology of a nuclear reactor, there is no way to
ensure that a serious accident at a nuclear power plant will not take
place. An accident at a nuclear power plant is not a simple accident;
it affects the very sustainability of life on Planet Earth. Nuclear
energy is also no less harmful in greenhouse gas emissions as compared
to coal or gas fired electricity generation, when the entire nuclear
cycle from uranium mining to waste storage is considered.”
Maybe, in the process of ravaging, pillaging and destruction some
places might be preserved as a kind of historical park for the future
generations to show what once was-Konkan with semiotic phantom bits of
cultural imagery also added to it. And natives probably would be left
with mementoes of a scorched out decayed existence and a life not
asked for.

And if at all a nuclear disaster does strike then the middle-class
which tom-tomms about the much-bandied and abused word ‘development,’
may find themselves snuffed out and maybe the nuclear proponents
sitting in Delhi, will spin out platitudes and rake in monies on the
howls, cries and deaths of radioactive corroded bodies in cheap
coffins.

CHINA SYNDROME

March 16, 1979: Hollywood film “China Syndrome,” hits the screen in
USA cities. The film revolves on an impending nuclear disaster in one
of the plants. The nuclear hawks and proponents dismiss it and term it
as “an exaggeration, pseudo-science and a hypothetical improbability.”
Twelve days later. March 16, 1979, in an island just 10 miles from
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, disaster struck in Three Mile Island.
Though no fatalities were reported, till date nobody is sure as to
what effects radioactive water released in Susquehanna river at the
time have had on the people living in vicinity. Thirty-one years have
passed since the disaster and no
April 26, 1986, near Kiev in Ukraine, one of the worst nuclear
disasters occurred. The effects are still to be assessed. Twelve
years later in Tokaimura in Japan over a 100 people were hospitalized
and two workers exposed to radiation during the disaster in the
nuclear plant died.

The list is long and it goes back to 1952 when the first recorded
disaster occurred on in the Chalk river experimental nuclear plant in
Canada. Five years later in the Great Britain’s Windscale reprocessing
plant (Sellafield) three tones of uranium caught fire. The effect:
over 200 people developed terminal cancer. The exact magnitude could
not be ascertained as the radiation spread hundreds of miles across
northern Europe.

Facts and Figures

• Over the past 60 years, the standards set for occupational exposure
has dropped from 30 rems per year in 1934 to 5 rems per year in 1987.
These changes in the exposure limits were dramatically altered, as the
health effects of radiation became further understood.
• Single radiation doses of over about 1 gray can cause radiation
sickness. Acute effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,
sometimes accompanied by malaise, fever, and hemorrhage. The victim
may die in a few hours, days or weeks. Other acute effects can include
sterility and radiation burns, depending on the absorbed dose and the
rate of the exposure.
• For radiation doses less than about 1 sievert, stochastic, or
random, effects are of the greatest concern. Cancer and inheritable
genetic damage may appear many years or decades after exposure.
Estimates of the magnitude of low-dose radiation effects have tended
to rise over the years, but remain the subject of controversy. That
Chernobyl is giving rise to a new range of deformations and that
cancer in the United States is becoming an epidemic, provides new
opportunities to assess the health risks of routine exposure from
leaks in commercial power plants, nuclear weapons production
facilities, uranium mines and test sites.
• The largest source of radioactive waste threatening human health and
genomes is the tailings resulting from uranium mining. These mines are
often in indigenous communities with lower than adequate public health
monitoring and medical facilities.
• Approximately 2,051 nuclear weapons were detonated in the pursuit of
‘security’ between 1945 and 1995, an average of one every 9 days
during a 50 year period. The 423 above ground tests are estimated to
have put 11-13 million curies of strontium-90, 17-21 million curies of
cesium-137, 10 million curies of carbon-14 and 225,000 curies of
plutonium into the environment.
• The US National Cancer Institute released a report in 1997 revealing
that iodine-131 from nuclear testing was found in every single county
of the United States.
• Temporary sterility in men can occur with a single absorbed dose, of
about 0.15 grays, to the testis. In children, the threshold for
congenital (existing at or dating from birth) malformation and other
developmental abnormalities has been estimated to be 0.25 grays of
radiation exposure up to 28 days of gestation.
• The dose at which half the exposed population would die in 60 days
without medical treatment is called the LD50 dose (LD for lethal dose,
and 50 for 50 percent). It is about 4 seiverts for adults.

Source: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/technical/factsheets/health.html
Reaching Critical Will- Health Effects and the Nuclear Age.

Prabhat Sharan is a Senior Journalist with interest in social, working
class, wild-life conservation, media, philosophical and literary
studies. He can be contacted at sharanprabhat@gmail.com.

Breakfast on Eternal Flame Sparks Anger in Kiev

Nationalists cooked breakfast on the sacred eternal flame marking the Soviet liberation of Kiev, sparking a scandal in the Ukrainian capital city.

Kiev police arrested 32-year-old Anna Donets this past week as a suspect in the protest at the city’s Park of Glory on Dec. 16. Four women gathered that day around the eternal flame that burns before the monument to the Soviet soldiers who died freeing Kiev from the Nazis. Then the women pulled out a pan and demonstratively used it to fry eggs and hot dogs.

On Tuesday, the press office of an extreme Christian nationalist party called “The Brotherhood” disseminated a link to a video of the event.

The party’s site says that “in prosecuting the girls who participated in this act the state is taking an expressly heathen, anti-Christian position, since the rituals of the Ukrainian state are the rituals of heathen cults — in particular, the placing of memorial wreaths by the Ukrainian president before the eternal flame at the Glory Monument in Kiev several times each year.”

The police have reported numerous outraged calls from people who viewed the video. An attempt to defile a monument to military glory and defense of a country evokes an outcry anywhere, of course. But the local situation is more complex.

The population of the Ukraine is split between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians, between speakers of Ukrainian and Russian. The monument is to Soviet soldiers, including both nationalities. As interpreted by extreme Ukrainian nationalists, the victory of the Nazis returned Ukrainians to their oppression by Russians.

The situation is compounded by the fact that for the countries of the former Soviet Union, as for much of Eastern Europe, World War II is not textbook history, but very much a matter of national pride and a continuing part of life. The war is often mentioned in the news, politicians remember it in their speeches, and it is celebrated ostentatiously on several holidays each year. Veterans are honored and receive special privileges.

The monument where the women demonstrated is a special place in Kiev. At its base is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Leading up to it is the Alley of Heroes, lined with the graves of 34 Soviet soldiers. No one is buried in the tomb itself.

The video shows “a recipe for making eternal eggs.” The song “Once Again the Battle Continues,” recorded in 1974 by a Soviet pro-state pop singer, was added as background music. The end of the chorus is: “And Lenin is so very young, and a young October awaits!”

The women, whose faces are not hidden, came prepared with ingredients and a pan, which they display to the camera. As one of them holds the pan over the flame, police officers who were on duty near the memorial come over to talk to them. Apparently, the women were able to convince them that the action was no big deal. Soon, two more join in, cooking hot dogs on sticks.

The Brotherhood has pointed out to the press that Donets was arrested on Josef Stalin’s birthday, Dec. 21, making her “a victim of the spiritual executioner of the Ukrainian people.” According to reports, Donets is accused of violating Article 296 of the Ukrainian criminal code, which outlaws “hooliganism.” She could face three years in prison.

The police are still on the lookout for the three other participants. Two of the police officers on duty near the monument have been fired, according to reports, and three others have been subjected to disciplinary measures.

CIA Mouthpiece–Part II, Syed Builds on CIA Theme, “Al-Qaeda” Has Infested Quetta

[Here we have part II of Asia Times dispensation of latest dangerous CIA myth, that “Al-CIA-da” has established a “watershed” in the area around Chaman.  As with all CIA “Public Diplomacy” psyops such as this, the well-placed agency writer/patsies, like Syed Saleem Shahzad, follow the traditional tactic of citing his last installment as established fact and self-reinforcing proof of his latest claims.  His words gain credibility when unnamed “security officials” give unsubstantiated leaks that are echoed by current news reports–“al-Qaeda” captured in Chaman, coinciding with British press claims of Iran releasing “al-Q” leaders.  This tactic echoes the mind-bending techniques perfected in Oliver North, Wm. Casey and Otto Reich’s Central American “Contra” deception operations.  They have been working on these techniques for a long time–I guess that is why it takes old researchers with long memories like Robert Parry to tie today’s CIA deceptions with yesterday’s CIA deceptions.

The following line gives away his entire deception, expressing truthfully what he and the spooks would like us to believe.]

“An indication of a strong pro-al-Qaeda LJ presence in the region shows a complete anti-thesis of the grand American designs for an endgame,”

[Keep in mind that the covert government has entrapped us in a Hegelian trap, intending to trick the American people and everyone else into embracing contradictory solutions.  Seen in this light, the CIA mouthpiece’s words make it a little easier for us to understand what is going on.  If they want us to believe that “al-Qaeda” has established a beachhead near Quetta, then the opposite of that is the real truth–THERE IS NO ISLAMIST PRESENCE IN QUETTA, except for a few token “Islamists” imported into the area for publicity purposes, such as the alleged IMU terrorists also supposedly captured near Chaman, on the same day as Bugti’s 12-16 vehicle convoy was busted allegedly importing heavy weapons.

The US Army/CIA must be getting desperate to attempt such a lame gambit, even though it probably will give them their objective, allowing military actions to flow from Kandahar  into Balochistan.  The flurry of Iran/al-Qaeda/IMU reports will increase and become blurred with those about Shahzain Bugti.]

CIA Mouthpiece Credits “al Qaida” With “Strategic Corridor” Idea

[For those of you who know the work of Asia Times reporter, Mr. Syed Saleem Shahzad (or his Agency counterpart, Mr. Michael Scheuer  SEE:  CIA Sees Dead People), you already know that he is used to introduce false narratives, the “official version” of planned events.  He previously outlined the “Taliban split” psyop that introduced the official story on the TTP to the world.

Now, Syed is setting us up for the next psyop, by introducing the concept of the “strategic corridor” into the media (SEE: ‘Final Solution’ Frenzy – Part Four: Final Solution for Pakistan), only he is doing his usual job of flipping the truth, making claims that it is “al Qaida” who has plans to occupy the western corner of Balochistan, setting us up by introducing the false plot line, in order to justify pursuit by the American/international coalition.

Balochistan: Al-Qaeda’s watershed in the region

A sudden surge in attacks on Afghanistan-bound (through the Chaman-Kandahar border crossing) North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) supplies, a hallmark of al-Qaeda and its allied groups, especially in the ethnically Baloch regions of Balochistan, forced decision-makers for the first time to rethink the serious penetration of al-Qaeda in the region that had been the domain and ownership of the indigenous Pashtun Taliban.

“This is evidence that the situation is clearly slipping out of control,” a senior security official told Asia Times Online. “There was a hope in the past that Pakistan could intervene and talk through the Taliban who run southwestern Afghanistan without any al-Qaeda influence, but if they have opened a theater in Balochistan, that means the situation is taking a new turn and the war theater will flare up.”

“An indication of a strong pro-al-Qaeda LJ presence in the region shows a complete anti-thesis of the grand American designs for an endgame,” the Pakistani security official said.

 

 

 

 

PAF Military Trainer Airplane Crashes Near “Beehive of Activity,” Chaman, Balochistan

[Normally, this would not rate as very newsworthy, but these are not normal times.  The war zone of Kandahar is in the process of “surging” across the border at Chaman, with recent stories of alleged weapons convoys being stopped, along with other stories about “al Qaida”/IMU terrorists being apprehended there, odds are, the military spotter plan was shot down.]

Pak’s military trainer aircraft crashes; pilots killed

Islamabad, Dec 22 (PTI) A military trainer aircraft crashed while on a flight over a mountainous region in southwest Pakistan today, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

The Mushak aircraft from the Army Aviation Wing crashed in Muslim Bagh area of Balochistan province, the military said in a statement.

“The aircraft crashed due to technical fault,” it said. There were no reports of damage on the ground.

The army has formed a team of senior aviation officials to investigate the incident.

150 Taliban attack five militia posts, 35 killed in fighting

150 Taliban attack five militia posts, 35 killed in fighting


News Desk

PESHAWAR: At least 11 soldiers and 24 militants have been killed in clashes near the Afghan border in north-west Pakistan, officials have said. About 150 Taliban launched co-ordinated attacks against five Frontier Corps checkpoints in Mohmand tribal region, they said. The Taliban said only two of their fighters had died. The military has launched offensives in the region in recent months, but insurgent attacks have continued. Amjad Ali Khan, administrator of Mohmand, confirmed that 11 soldiers had been killed following initial reports that three had died. He said 12 other soldiers had been injured. Mr Khan said the Frontier Corps paramilitary troops had “repulsed” the militant attacks in the Baizai area which began at 0200 local time. “The troops responded with artillery fire and raids by helicopter gunships, killing 24 militants,” he said. “Seven of their bodies are in our possession.” He said that the fighting ended later Friday morning. However, Sajjad Mohmand, spokesman for the Taliban in Mohmand, told the BBC that only two insurgents had been killed in the clashes. He said they had captured two soldiers alive and held the bodies of six others. Security officials have rejected the claim, saying no soldiers are unaccounted for. Mohmand is a transit point for insurgents crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan and a stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says militants are proving that they can still carry out attacks, despite the military campaign against them. Earlier this month, a twin suicide bomb attack at a government compound in Mohmand’s main town of Ghalanai left 43 people dead. Local officials had been meeting tribal elders to discuss forming an anti-Taliban militia at the time of the blasts. In July, another twin suicide bombing attack, also targeting tribal elders, killed more than 100 people in the village of Yakaghund in Mohmand. Mohmand is one of seven Pakistani tribal areas. Pakistan has faced growing pressure from Washington to launch a major ground offensive in the tribal region of North Waziristan, considered a fortress for militants fighting US-led troops in Afghanistan. Islamabad has denied accusations that it is not doing enough to fight the Taliban in the restive north-west of the country. It says more than 2,400 Pakistani soldiers have been killed fighting Islamist insurgents since 2002. Pakistan supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan from 1996-2001, but later became an ally of the US when it led an invasion in 2001.

Anti-Taliban Militias On Pakistan’s Front Lines, Using Own Guns and Ammunition

Anti-Taliban militias undeterred by bombs

Men remove debris a day after twin suicide bombings killed 43 people in the tribal district, attacking an anti-Taliban militia and pro-government elders. PHOTO:AFP

PESHAWAR: The leader of a tribal militia in northwest Pakistan, undeterred by a suicide bombing in the area a day earlier, said on Tuesday he was determined to fight off Taliban attempts to seize control of the region.

The bombers attacked the office compound of the top government official in the Mohmand region on Monday during a meeting on ways of strengthening the militias, known as lashkars. At least 40 people were killed and 60 wounded.

“Listen, we are not going to lay down our arms. We will not let the Taliban re-take control of our land. We will fight them,” vowed Dilawar Adezai, whose 1,200-strong militia is one of those set up to help the government fight militants.

Adezai was critical of the level of government support for the militias.

“The government doesn’t even pay for the bullets we fire. It’s very sad. Militants are better off than my men because they get arms and ammunition free and their families receive compensation if they get killed,” he said.

Cash-strapped Pakistan needs all the help it can get in the fight against al Qaeda-linked militants bent on destabilizing its US-backed government.

The army has launched several offensives against militants since last year. But its enemies often melt away when attacked, and suicide bombings persist, scaring away foreign investors needed for the fragile economy.

Pakistani authorities have been encouraging Pashtun tribesmen on the Afghan border to revive traditional militias to counter the rising militancy.

Under a centuries-old tradition, ethnic Pashtun tribes raise lashkars in their semi-autonomous regions to fight criminal gangs and enforce their tribal codes.

The Taliban have hit back by assassinating tribal elders and militiamen and carrying out suicide bombings.

“The Pakistani Taliban is very strong and we are not. There is no match. You have seen what they did with those who stood up against the Taliban,” said Aisamuddin Mehsud, a tribal elder in South Waziristan who resisted government pressure to form a lashkar.

The stakes are high. Some of the world’s most dangerous militant groups have bases and hideouts in the northwest tribal regions. The United States believes its war on militancy cannot be won unless Pakistan removes them.

“You cannot control such a large area for a long time with just soldiers and you have to push residents to take responsibility for the security of their village or town,” said a senior military official in the northwest.

“Tribesmen know their lives are at risk and militants will continue to attack them, but they have to fight for their survival.”

Mohammad Ali Haleemzai, who heads one of the tribal “peace” committees that oversee lashkar operations, seems determined to help keep the campaign going.

“I cannot bear to see my kids become militants or get killed in a bomb blast or fighting,” said Haleemzai, who was in the compound during the Mohmand attack. “This is for the peace. It is a battle for peace and security.”

Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said the lashkar had helped the government prevent militants from returning to areas cleared by the military.

The militias, armed mostly with AK-47 assault rifles, conduct patrols and carry out raids with the police. But long-term success against militancy requires more than bravery.

“You have got to help tribesmen financially and militarily. Their areas need a lot of investments and development and if you don’t, you will lose their support, and that ultimately benefits militants,” said Rizvi.

Understanding Empire in Latin America

Understanding Empire in Latin America

Benjamin Dangl

Reviewed: Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, by Greg Grandin, (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).

The past ten years in Latin America have witnessed a major shift to the left in both the halls of government power and society. Since the turn of the century, ten different Latin American nations elected leaders who campaigned on platforms to end destructive neoliberal economic policies, resist US imperialism, provide more opportunities and freedoms for a majority of the population through socialistic economic policies, and work for justice through investigations into human rights violations committed during dictatorships. From Honduras to Argentina, and Chile to Venezuela, to varying degrees, presidents followed through on their campaign trail promises, transforming the continent’s political landscape and challenging Washington.

At the same time, the George W. Bush administration became known for largely the opposite of these policies and values. Some of his notable stances included justifying war in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, cracking down on civil liberties and pushing forward on free trade agreements and neoliberal policies around the world. The contrast between Bush and the presidents of Latin America was stark, and resulted in a flurry of newspaper articles and books seeking to explain Bush’s imperial designs, the leftist trend in Latin America and the dynamics of US-Latin American relations.

In Empire’s Workshop:Latin America, The United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism Grandin makes connections between the work of the US empire across decades and presidencies.

“What is happening today in Latin America? To find out, read Empire’s Workshop.” This is what Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had to say about Grandin’s book. Indeed, Empire’s Workshop book provides a road map for understanding the roots of US-Latin American relations and their enduring legacy in Washington.

In Empire’s Workshop, Grandin explores the ways in which foreign policy toward the Middle East during the Bush administration was based on the US policies toward Central America during the Cold War, particularly during the Ronald Reagan administration. With the central thrust of the book being this connection to the Bush administration, Empire’s Workshop provides a brief history of US-Latin American relations from the end of the 1900s onward, then covering history of US interventions and meddling during the 1980s in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, how Washington’s actions there were kept from the US public, and why these actions were commercially lucrative for US businesses.

Grandin writes that Central America served as a kind of testing ground for the American empire following the Vietnam War, a testing ground which Reagan used to rally Christian evangelicals, paramilitaries and conservative politicians. This was rekindled by the imperial presidency of Bush.

Grandin’s investigations yield a number of familiar names. Bush’s Deputy National security Advisor, Elliot Abrams, was Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. In the Iran-Contra investigations, Abrams pleaded guilty but was later pardoned by G. W. Bush. Bush’s Chief Intelligence Officer John Negroponte, was the US Ambassador to Honduras during the Contra War against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal as well. Otto Reich became Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere in 2002 under Bush, and had founded Reagan’s Office of Public Diplomacy. John Poindexter and John Bolton were involved in the Iran-Contra during Reagan’s terms as well, and later ended up in the Bush administration.

These members of the Reagan administration got their diplomatic and foreign policy feet wet in the bloody conflicts in Central America where they “had near free rein to bring the full power of the United States against a much weaker enemy in order to exorcise the ghost of Vietnam” and made their case for US imperialism in a new era.

Some of the lessons these politicians learned in Central America that were used in the Bush administration included how to wage successful counterinsurgency wars, undermine international law and institutions, strong arm uncooperative local politicians and bureaucrats, and censure and pressure the press. Riech himself founded and ran the State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, which provided countless op-eds to the media, catered to reporters friendly to Washington’s efforts in Central America while sidelining and intimidating critical journalists and their editors. All of these tactics proved to be useful during the War in Iraq under the Bush administration where many of the same politicians returned to Washington.

Empire’s Workshop was clearly informed by current events in the US. In an interview on Democracy Now!, Grandin discussed how in the time between September 11th, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq, historians, journalists and commentators found it fitting to compare the US to other empires in world history. They looked to Rome, France, Britain, and Germany and Japan following World War II. Grandin said, “they all seemed to ignore the one place where the United States had the most extensive imperial experience, and that was in Latin America. … In Latin America was where the United States learned how to be an exceptional empire, extraterritorial—administer extraterritorial countries without actual direct colonialism.”

One profound connection between the Reagan and G. W. Bush years was the rhetoric being used to drum up support for, and justify, the Bush administration’s wars. In an interview with journalist Jeremy Bigwood, Grandin discusses this link. “It seemed to be unique for the Republican Party to justify militarism in such idealistic terms – ‘bringing democracy to the world.’ Then I realized that this wasn’t actually unique for the Republicans – it was very familiar for anybody who had worked on Latin America, particularly Central America.” Grandin spoke of Reagan elevating the paramilitary Contras fighting the Sandinistas to “the moral equivalents of the U.S. founding fathers and began to justify the patronage of these killers in terms of keeping faith with America’s revolutionary heritage.”

In making such connections, Empire’s Workshop helps us understand the machinations of the Bush administration, and the roots of the imperial policies that have continued into the Barack Obama presidency. This book works as both an accessible primer for those seeking to grasp the history of US-Latin American relations, and as an insightful resource for long-time observers of the region looking for a way to understand the twentieth century’s bloody ties to today’s news headlines.

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Bill Van Auken

Washington’s encouragement of South Korea’s live-fire military exercise in disputed waters off the North Korean coast is emblematic of the increasingly incendiary role played by US imperialism in Asia.

The latest round of war games was staged on Yeonpyeong island and was virtually identical to the live-fire artillery drill conducted by South Korean forces there last month. That operation provoked a retaliatory artillery barrage from North Korea that killed two South Korean civilians and two marines and sparked worldwide fears of an outbreak of all-out war on the Korean peninsula.

There was one notable difference between the two military exercises. This time the Pentagon ordered the deployment of some 20 US military personnel on Yeonpyeong to ensure that, in the event of a North Korean response, Washington would have a casus belli to join with the South Korean armed forces in unleashing massive retaliation.

There is no disputing the provocative character of these actions. Yeonpyeong lies little more than seven miles off the North Korean coast (and some 50 miles from South Korea). The waters into which South Korean artillery was lobbing shells and F-15K fighter bombers were dropping bombs are claimed by North Korea, which rejects the so-called Northern Limit Line, unilaterally imposed by the US military at the close of the Korean War in 1953.

Given the sequence of events last month, the US-backed military exercise amounted to a deliberate dare to Pyongyang to strike again, in order to provide the pretext for a South Korean counter-attack. Appealing to his right-wing base and to the military, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has instituted a new policy allowing South Korean forces to unleash disproportionate retaliatory force, meaning air strikes on North Korean targets.  [SEE: South Korea’s Chief of Army and Defense Minister Have Both Quit, Live-Fire Drills Continue]

After North Korea failed to make any military response to Monday’s exercise, Washington and Seoul were reportedly preparing still more drills in order to “send a strong message” to the North and potentially trigger an armed clash.

The US used its veto power and temporary presidency of the United Nations Security Council to turn an emergency session convened Sunday—after deliberate delay—to stonewall efforts to avoid a renewed confrontation between the two Koreas. Russia had called for the session in an effort to prevail on both the North and the South to refrain from further military actions that could lead to war and to have a UN special envoy dispatched to both Seoul and Pyongyang to seek a resolution of the conflict.

Washington, however, was interested not in diffusing the tensions, but in ratcheting them up as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region. US Ambassador Susan Rice rejected any resolution outside of a unilateral condemnation of North Korea and dismissed any other action by the council as irrelevant.

What is the US ruling elite after in its pursuit of an increasingly bellicose policy on the Korean Peninsula, where nearly 34,000 US troops, at least 114,000 Chinese soldiers and as many as four million Koreans died in a brutal war half a century ago?

The principal aim of US policy is not that of preventing military conflict between the two Koreas, but rather exploiting the danger of conflict as a means of exerting pressure on China and countering its increasing economic and political weight throughout Asia.

In an effort to diminish tensions, China sought to convene a meeting of the participants in the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula—the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan—which have been suspended since 2008. Washington, however, adopted an opposite approach. It hosted its own meeting of the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan in Washington in what amounted to solidifying an anti-Chinese bloc over the Korean crisis.

This has been joined by the nearly continuous staging of a US military show of force in the region, with repeated war games and deployments of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group in the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Sea of Japan, in defiance of Chinese protests.

Posing as a champion of freedom of the seas and inserting itself as a defender of China’s adversaries in territorial disputes, such as those over the Spratley and Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Washington has sought to forge a series of military alliances and agreements aimed at encircling and containing China.

Washington is responding to a profound shift in the geo-strategic situation in Asia and internationally signified by China’s rise to the position of the world’s second largest economy and by the profound crisis of US capitalism. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the response of the US ruling elite is an attempt to offset economic decline by ever greater reliance on the residual military power of American imperialism.

Increasingly, the US military is being trained to view China as its most likely adversary in the outbreak of a new major war.

This year’s US Joint Forces Command’s Joint Operating Environment (JOE) report—a strategic guide to perceived threats and future deployments of the US military—includes the chilling warning, “The course that China takes will determine much about the character and nature of the 21st Century—whether it will be ‘another bloody century,’ or one of peaceful cooperation.”

It goes on to sketch out potential scenarios for US-Chinese military conflicts, including the possibility of a war for oil between the world’s two largest economies. The document warns that “China’s concern for protecting its oil supplies [in the Sudan]… could portend a future in which other states intervene in Africa to protect scarce resources. The implications for future conflict are ominous, if energy supplies cannot keep up with demand and should states see the need to militarily secure dwindling energy resources.”

In other words, should China’s actions cut across US imperialism’s own attempts to militarily assert its hegemony over the world’s key energy producing regions, the result could be war.

The implications of such a war, between two nuclear-armed powers, are beyond horrific.

Curiously, last week the New York Times ran an article entitled “US Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable,” which dealt with the latest thinking within policy circles on the survivability of a nuclear war.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Times. “We have to be ready to deal with it.”

An article that appeared last December in the influential foreign policy journalForeign Affairs indicated that such consideration of the “unthinkable” has been directly focused on China. It cited a study by US nuclear weapons analysts on the “consequences of a US nuclear attack using high-yield warheads” to knock out China’s own intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal.

“Even though China’s silos are located in the countryside,” the article reported, “the model predicted that the fallout would blow over a large area, killing 3-4 million people.”

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the danger of a nuclear conflagration is greater than ever and is growing, driven by the historic crisis of US and world capitalism. This danger carries with it a threat to the future of all humanity.

The only progressive answer to the poisonous growth of militarism in general and the incendiary role played by US imperialism in particular is the struggle to unite the working class across national boundaries in a common fight for the socialist transformation of society.

West’s Imperial Lust in Afghanistan

West’s Imperial Lust in Afghanistan

By Karamatullah K. Ghori, The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Dec 25, 2010
Print Issue: 1-15 December 2010

Historians through ages have regularly bemoaned Afghanistan’s tragedy as a victim of its geography. Its location as the gateway to India left it prone and vulnerable to the imperial lust of invading conquerors.

There is, however, a major difference between conquering invaders of the past centuries-from Alexander down to Imperial Britain-and those western powers that have been in occupation of Afghanistan since the end of 2001. The past invaders didn’t seek to occupy Afghanistan for the sake of it; they merely used its land corridor to make incursions into the South Asian sub-continent. The only exception to the rule was imperial Britain that tried to occupy it for good because it feared its rival imperial power, Russia, would do it if it didn’t. However, three wars spanning 80 years-later, even that British Empire that otherwise boasted that the sun never set on it gave up its incontinent lust to keep Afghanistan in its imperial bondage.

But the 48-countries-strong armed forces of occupation that have been keeping, or trying to, Afghanistan in their thrall for the past nine years think they will be able to re-write history by fashioning Afghanistan they way they desire it and thus disproving the old historical maxim that no outside power has ever been able to subdue the valiant Afghans.

The 48 armies making up the US-Nato-and like-minded countries’ military presence in Afghanistan believe that they are there not as a force of invasion or occupation but rather to prevent Afghanistan from ever again used as a launch-pad for terror activities in US or anywhere else in the western world. They have been calling themselves, accordingly, as an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help the Afghan government created by them according to their own choice-and convenience, more than anything else-to combat the menace of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They basically think they are in Afghanistan on a ‘humanitarian mission’ to protect and insulate its people against the depredation of the Taliban who had ruled Afghanistan with an iron hand before the cataclysm of 9/11 paved the way for western armies to swoop over the land.

But despite all the sophisticated fire-power at the disposal of this 150,000-strong force-and state-of-the-art weaponry and logistics at its command-this formidable force hasn’t, quite, been able to accomplish its mission of removing the cancer of the Taliban and cleanse the country of their continued presence. After 9 long years, there’s precious little for this huge occupation force to show by way of tangible accomplishments. The Taliban are on rebound. They are resurgent and the western armies have been put on to the back-foot because of their inability to keep the Taliban in check despite tall claims to the contrary routinely made by their leaderships.

ISAF, as the world knows, is basically a handmaiden of US, whose concerns in the wake of 9/11 for security of its homeland had forced its 28 Nato allies, and 20 other like-minded countries, to respond to Washington’s call for arms and men. Under George W. Bush the mission to teach the Taliban a lesson and make them run under the fierce onslaught of this formidable army of occupation was rushed because that warrior-president was anxious to settle scores. The Americans make up the largest contingent-of more than 100,000 soldiers- in ISAF and have, by virtue of it, been dictating policy on war and peace in Afghanistan to its minions and ‘allies.’

President Obama, taking a realistic assessment of the war front-and its impact on the American people-had announced last year that US would start withdrawing its army-in stages, of course, and spread over an unlimited period-with effect from July 2011, even though the Pentagon and its top military brass felt unhappy over their commander-in-chief announcing a timetable which they thought would only help the ‘enemy.’

It seems, however, that in keeping with his now-familiar flip-flop on policy issues and matters of importance, Obama is having serious second-thoughts about his strategy on Afghanistan. And true to esprit de corps that should, logically, be prevailing among the allies contributing to the American war effort and objectives, other western countries and leaders are also on the same page with Obama about a serious policy review on Afghanistan. Birds of a feather, in this case too, seem determined to flock together.

The Nato leaders assembled in Lisbon, Portugal, for two days-November 19 and 20-to take stock of the situation on ground in Afghanistan and devise a common strategy to serve their common interest.

The choice of Lisbon as venue of the summit may have been entirely coincidental but conveyed, as emphatically, the imperialist thrust of this latest western venture in neo-colonialism. Portugal, in the halcyon days of empire-building by maritime-wise- powerful European nations, had taken the lead in implanting the imperialist flag in far off African and Asian colonies.

Lisbon has produced, at the end of two days of intense deliberations, a new resolve by 24 member states of Nato to prolong their ‘mission’ in Afghanistan up to 2014 which according to the Taliban enemy, is a clear admission of the occupation force’s inability to subdue its quarries and prevail upon it on the battle field.

However, even this new deadline, four years hence, is not the bottom line to many a hardened imperialist involved in the game. The joint statement still attaches a caveat: this will be the date to taper off the combat mission if the security environment so permits. Old masters of the imperialist game like Britain, with its capital of experience of Afghanistan at the peak of the 19th century ‘Great Game’ still fresh at its disposal, spelled out unambiguously that combat activity will not, for certain, come to an end in 2014. David Cameron, the newly-anointed scion of the imperialist legacy, proudly and unabashedly informed the world media that his country will not be disappearing from Afghanistan for many more years after 2014.

Obama, whose vacillations on issues of substance are becoming nauseatingly too frequent, desperately tried to be seen still as a man seeking a way out of Afghanistan despite his pathetic foot-dragging, insisted that some token withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would begin in July, 2011, as earlier committed. However, the combat mission will go on for another 3 years, at the very minimum, beyond that now laughable deadline. But, unsurprisingly, in view of his dismal record on keeping his deadlines, there would be few takers of his futile effort to market himself as a man of peace. It seems, increasingly, that Obama hasn’t only owned the Bush wars as his own but is also rapidly veering in the direction of embracing the Bush ‘phobia’ of imperialism, or Pax Americana in the 21st century. In his bid to thwart the neo conservative backlash against him Obama is trying hard to adopt as much of their agenda as possible. However, he’s embarrassing those in the process who had paved the way for him to the White House in the hope of seeing a real ‘change’ in US policies at home and abroad.

On the face of it, the Nato unanimity and consensus on postponing the process of draw-down of combat is an indirect admission of this super alliance’s inability to dent the Taliban resistance against their occupiers. For world and domestic consumptions, however, the change of face is being couched in palatable jargon.

The new mantra of an overwhelming western military presence in Afghanistan is that the local Afghan security apparatus-made up of army and the police-is not ready, yet, and not fully trained to take over the burden of securing the country against the Taliban ‘scourge.’ The combined strength of 200,000 of Afghan army and police is said to be not only half-baked, in terms of its preparedness to deliver, but is also insufficiently equipped. That in itself is an indictment of the puppet Karzai regime in Kabul which has failed to make the best use of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance poured into its coffers by its western mentors over the years. But the indictment applies equally to the mentors themselves; they know little about governance and the interaction of political forces inside Afghanistan. In the case of the Americans, a big chunk of the money is eaten away by private contractors and mercenaries deployed in Afghanistan. Their numbers exceed the strength of the US men in uniform.

The new target in numbers for the Afghan army and police, as enunciated at Lisbon, is to raise them to 306,000 by the autumn of 2011. This target, then, logically presumes that it would still take two to three years to train and equip them fully to live up to the expectations that may be reposed in them.

Cold logic dictates that the new deadline set by Nato, at the behest, clearly, of Washington, should be accepted as such. The made-to-order Afghan leader, President Hamid Karzai, was summoned to Lisbon to put his own seal of approval on the new Nato diktat, which he did without demur. What else could he do? He played strictly according to the guidelines laid down for him and hailed the new pragmatism-which is expediency and political chicanery to most independent observers-of his western supporters and mentors as the most realistic chance for Afghanistan to overcome the huge challenge standing in front of it. He was assured, publicly, by the Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, that “this process will be completed by the end of 2014.”

But the ink had hardly dried on the ostentatious declaration that IMF-that immutable guardian and protector of western imperial interests in the struggling half of the world-announced that Afghanistan will not be able to support, in terms of financing it, this huge number of army and police from its resources until 2023!

In simple language, it translates as giving the western powers at least another decade to keep Afghanistan at their mercy and in bondage.

All these shenanigans aside, however, the elephant in the room at Lisbon that none of the summit participants wished to talk about, was the issue of a national gas pipeline from the Central Asian Republic of Turkmenistan, through Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and down, finally to the Port of Gwadar on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast in the province of Baluchistan.

This pipeline project has been in the works for several years. It’s the very same project the details of which were being negotiated with the Taliban when they were in power until before the 9/11 cataclysm. The Taliban were then considered reliable partners to work with in safeguarding the huge profits that western multi-nationals planned to reap from it.

The pipeline project has already received the formal endorsement of G-8 at their summit in Toronto earlier in summer this year. All these of 8, with the exception of Russia, have their troops involved in Afghanistan. The Asian Development Bank in Manila is the project sponsor and financier. It’s, for all intents and purposes, a done deal.

Washington attaches huge importance to this gas pipeline project in more ways than one. For one, it would reap windfall profits and gains for a number of American companies involved in it. For another-and a major consideration for US enmity against Iran-its completion would then make it unnecessary for Pakistan to work on its bilateral accord with Iran for a natural gas pipeline from Iran to the gas-starved Pakistan. Islamabad has been under enormous pressure from Washington for years-and still is-not to proceed with its deal with Tehran. India will also be a major beneficiary of the Turkmenistan project. A four country summit-India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan-is slated for December this year, under US auspices, at which the formal agreement between these states would be signed to seal the deal.

The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2014, if all goes well in the region around Kandahar. No wonder that all the big guns of Nato are concentrated in and around Kandahar, which has also the notoriety of being the Taliban stronghold.

Any doubts in any minds as to how neatly and smartly the cards are being arranged to marry the imperialist ambitions of a neo-colonialist west with the corporate lust of its multi-nationals? Afghanistan is still the big prize that it was when arch imperialists of 19th century were facing off each other in the then Great Game. History is repeating itself in all of its vicious splendour.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2010 on page no. 26

Pakistan Comes Through for Iran–Chabahar Bomb Suspect Apprehended

[Pak Ministry of Interior now claims no arrest has been made.  SEE:  Pakistan: No Jundallah man arrested]

Riggi may be handed over to Iran soon

Saturday, December 25, 2010

By Amir Mir
LAHORE: Jundallah chief Abdul Rauf Riggi, who was tracked down by Pakistani authorities through his wireless set while he was making a call to a London-based newspaper from his Pak-Iran border area hideout in Balochistan, may soon be handed over to the Iranian authorities after interrogation by Pakistani security agencies.

According to well-informed security officials in Islamabad, the Pakistani agencies had been making frantic efforts to track down Riggi, especially after the December 15 killing of 40 people in a deadly suicide bombing in the Iranian city of Chabahar, when the most wanted Jundallah chief appeared on their radar on December 21, making a call on his wireless set to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, a leading international Arabic newspaper.

As the call had given the Pakistani authorities a fair idea about Riggi’s whereabouts on the Pakistani side of the Iranian border, they moved quickly and detained him in the next 24 hours following a brief commando operation.

Interestingly, the arrest came the day the Pakistani and the Iranian presidents were in Istanbul at the Economic Cooperation Organisation’s summit. Riggi will be handed over to Iran shortly after being interrogated by the Pakistani security and intelligence agencies.

Abdul Rauf Riggi had actually succeeded his elder brother Abdolmalek Riggi as the Jundallah chief following his arrest and subsequent execution in Iran. The elder Riggi was captured in February 2010 in a dramatic operation by the Iranian authorities while he was spotted on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan. The Iranian warplanes subsequently forced the commercial aircraft to land in Iran.

It is widely believed that the “Get Riggi” operation could not have been possible without the help of the Pakistani agencies, which had passed on vital information about his travel plans as soon as he had left an American military base in Afghanistan after holding a clandestine meeting with the Nato military chief there. After a quick trial, Abdolmalek Riggi was sent to the gallows on terrorism charges on June 20, 2010.

Jundallah is a Baluchi insurgent group that operates in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran and has substantial presence in the Pak-Iran border belt of Balochistan. The Sunni majority of Sistan-Baluchistan has had tense relations with Iran’s central government since long and the Jundallah leadership claims it is fighting for the interests of Sistan-Baluchistan’s large ethnic Baluch community.

Jundallah or the Army of God claims to represent the rebel Sunni community of the Iranian Baluch. One of the brothers — Abdolgafoor Riggi — had executed a suicide car bombing on December 28, 2008, targeting the headquarters of Iran’s joint police and anti-narcotics unit in Saravan city.

Since then, Jundallah has carried out several deadly suicide bombings in Iran, the latest being the December 15 suicide bombings in the Iranian city of Chabahar. In a telephone call hardly 24 hours after the Chabahar attack, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had lodged a protest with his Pakistani counterpart President Zardari and asked him to order his security forces to quickly arrest ‘known terrorists’ and hand them over to Iran.

President Zardari assured the Iranian president that Pakistan would not withhold any help in uprooting terrorism. On December 20, a few days after Ahmadinejad and Zardari had spoken, the Iranian government hanged 11 members of Jundallah who were convicted of bombings in Iran that killed 15 policemen and 12 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The next day, on December 21, a furious Abdulrauf Riggi made a phone call to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper and threatened Tehran that an official of the Iranian nuclear plant, who was kidnapped by Jundallah in October this year, would be executed shortly if the group’s demands for the release of over 200 militants and political prisoners being held in the Iranian jails were not met.

Riggi had added that the likely execution of the Iranian official should also be taken as a reaction to the execution of 11 Baluch in Iran, who he said were innocent civilians and had nothing to do with Jundallah. While releasing his interview 24 hours before his arrest, the newspaper said that Rigi was speaking on the phone from ‘somewhere inside Balochistan mountains.’

Are Balochs Being Re-Branded As “Al-Qaeda”?

[What do you make of the following reports, apparently taking place within 24hrs. of each other, in the same town?  Are these reports two different versions of the same event?  If so, then there is some severe news spinning going-on to turn the Baloch insurgency into some bizarre IMU/Al-Qaeda thing?  Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this latest CIA/ISI gambit is that a column of Baloch foot-soldiers and another (or the same?) group of IMU terrorists methodically traveled from the Kandahar “surge” zone to the next intended target city, Quetta.]

Six Suspected Al-Qaeda Terrorists Arrested in Balochistan

QUETTA: Authorities in Quetta said on Thursday that they had detained at least six “international terrorists” linked with Al-Qadeda while trying to enter Quetta on their way from border town of  Chaman.

According to officials, six suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists were arrested while entering provincial capital Quetta. They were caught on the basis of information provided by the intelligence sources. Officials said they had discovered maps, laptop computers and discs from the custody of the foreigners who intended to blow up buildings and other installations inside Balochistan.

The head of the group was identified as Alam Najeebi while most of the arrested suspects were reported to be Uzbek nationals.

Authorities said the suspected Al-Qaeda activists had been shifted to an unknown location for further investigations. They said they were hoping to find out the names and locations of more terrorists during interrogations.  “Important revelations are expected during the investigations,” said one official requesting anonymity.

Shahzain Bugti held with `illegal arms`

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, Dec 22: In a deve- lopment with far-reaching implications, paramilitary troops arrested on Wednesday Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, a grandson of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and president of the Balochistan chapter of Jamhoori Watan Party, along with several personal guards, after finding a huge quantity of illegal arms and ammunition in vehicles of his convoy coming from the border town of Chaman.

The arrest of one of the high-profile Bugti heirs on charges of possessing and smuggling arms and ammunition sparked tension in Quetta and other parts of the already volatile province, with people fearing a negative political fallout and a possible violent backlash.

Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj-Gen Obaidullah Khan, addressing a press conference along with Inspector General of Police Malik Iqbal, said that acting on information provided by security agencies, FC troops intercepted the convoy of Shahzain Bugti in the Baleli checkpost area in the outskirts of Quetta.

He said that FC personnel informed the JWP leader that they wanted to check the vehicles but he allowed the checking of only three vehicles of the 16 vehicles in his convoy. He said Mr Bugti refused to allow them to look into other vehicles.

After three hours of negotiations the FC personnel took all the vehicles into custody and detained Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti and his guards after disarming them. He said that during the search of the vehicles a huge quantity of illegal arms and ammunition was found in the smuggled vehicles.

Gen Obaid said that the arms and ammunition recovered from the vehicles included anti-aircraft guns, rocket-launchers, mortar guns and other advanced weapons.

“Mr Bugti and his armed guards did not offer any resistance when security forces took them into custody,” General Obaid said.

The arms and ammunition recovered from the 16 smuggled vehicles included 50 SMGs, 4 LMGs, two 12.7mm AA guns, two 14.2 mm AA guns, one SPG-9, one 9mm pistol, one AUG, 46,000 rounds of SMG, 1,600 rounds of 12.7/14.5, 570 rounds of AUG, 880 rounds of sniper rifle, 39 rounds of 9mm pistol, 17 mobile phones and 16 vehicles.

 

 

Former Russian Intelligence Col. Kvachkov Arrested for Attempt To Incite Armed Rebellion

Следователи собираются обыскать квартиру Владимира Квачкова, главного фигуранта дела о покушении на Анатолия Чубайса, которого оправдал суд

Investigators are going to search the apartment of Vladimir Kvachkov, the main helper of the case of the attempt on Anatoly Chubais, who was acquitted court

Kvachkov Back in Prison for ‘Coup’

The Moscow Times

Former intelligence colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, cleared Wednesday of involvement in a high-profile assassination attempt, is back in detention after being held on suspicion of preparing a violent overthrow of the government, Interfax reported.

Law enforcement officers also searched Kvachkov’s apartment before detaining him, his lawyer Alexei Pershin told the news agency.

Investigators did not comment on the case. Kvachkov told Gazeta.ru that he had barricaded himself in his apartment and attempted to prevent Federal Security Service officers from entering.

Kvachkov was earlier questioned by the FSB for calls to overthrow the government allegedly made by a member of the Minin and Pozharsky’s Public Militia group, which he heads, Interfax reported, citing Kommersant.

An outspoken ultranationalist, Kvachkov was charged with leading a shooting and bombing attack in 2005 on a convoy carrying Rusnano chief Anatoly Chubais, who at the time was head of national power monopoly Unified Energy System.

Chubais, an architect of the liberal reforms in the 1990s, is reviled by many for the chaos that accompanied the country’s rapid transition to a market economy.

A jury cleared Kvachkov, former paratroopers Robert Yashin and Alexander Naidenov, and nationalist writer Ivan Mironov in 2008. The Supreme Court overturned the decision in 2009 and a retrial ended with another acquittal in September, upheld by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

A new investigation has been opened into the attack on Chubais, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday.

 

GRU colonel acquitted Kvachkov was arrested on suspicion of rebellion. Behind him came in 1912 security forces

Следователи собираются обыскать квартиру Владимира Квачкова, главного фигуранта дела о покушении на Анатолия Чубайса, которого оправдал суд
17 марта 2005 года в 1,5 км от поселка Жаворонки Одинцовского района Московской области на обочине дороги произошел взрыв управляемого взрывного устройства в момент следования служебного автомобиля, в котором находился Чубайс
16 июня 2009 года Мособлсуд на основании вердикта присяжных оправдал Квачкова, Яшина и Найденова. Однако оправдательный приговор был отменен Верховным судом РФ, а дело возвращено на новое рассмотрение

Detained and subsequently arrested Vladimir Kvachkov, the main person involved in the case of the attempt on Anatoly Chubais, who was acquitted court . Now he is suspected of facilitating terrorist activity and attempted to organize an armed rebellion, reports “Interfax” . “The Russian revolution is inevitable!”, – Said Kvachkov, when the court announced the decision to arrest.

Happy Tuesday Kvachkov himself and his lawyer were told that home to the Colonel came twelve siloviki – FSB investigator with a search warrant and the police. First, investigators have not reported in any criminal proceedings are conducted these acts.But in the decree of the search contains language that Kvachkov impute the preparation of an armed rebellion.

– Near the house Kvachkov grabbed four of his associates
– Kvachkov: the persecution initiated by Chubais. The story of the tolyattinskim crossbow

Kvachkov locked himself in his apartment, in connection with which there called experts MOE for hacking. While it is unclear whether the door had to hack, or Vladimir Kvachkov voluntarily left the apartment and went to a detainee in court.

The apartment is planned searches. According to the most Kvachkov, “plans are going to look for an armed uprising, weapons and ammunition.” In turn, the lawyer Kvachkov Aleksey Pershin, was quoted by RIA Novosti news agencyconfirmed that his client wants to take into custody and accused of organizing an armed rebellion.

Kommersant newspaper earlier reported that the FSB is investigating the case “of public appeals to violent change of constitutional order” (Article 280 of the Criminal Code), allegedly committed by one of the members of “militias behalf of Minin and Pozharsky. Leader of this movement is Kvachkov, he was interrogated. On Thursday the Federal Security Service confirmed that a criminal case against Kvachkov.

Later it was confirmed in Lefortovo Court of the capital, where he was taken to Kvachkov. There clarified: in the case file states that “the colonel suspected of” facilitating terrorist activities “and” attempted to organize an armed rebellion. ”

The court clarified that part 1 of article. 205 approx. Criminal Code says about the decline, recruitment or persons involved in the commission of terrorist activities.

The Court considered the petition of the investigation of the arrest of Vladimir Kvachkov behind closed doors, because the materials secret. Late in the evening it became known that the arrest warrant was issued. The term of arrest is set to February 23, 2011. The retired colonel was taken into custody in the courtroom during a meeting he was not handcuffed and was not in a cage.

Near the house Kvachkov grabbed four of his associates

Four associates of Vladimir Kvachkov detained Berezhkovskaya Moscow near his apartment. GRU colonel retired, allegedly on the site , “People’s Militia of Minin and Pozharsky” – an unregistered organization, headed by Kvachkov.

“Close to Home V. Kvachkov arrested Tatiana Bragin and three other people.” They came to the house Berezhkovskaya in downtown Moscow, when received information about the detention of their leader, “- according to the website.

Also in this communication contains clarification that the apartment Kvachkov actually taken by storm: cut electricity and broken door special means. ”

In turn, the leader of the nationalist organization “Slav Power” Dmitry Demushkin said that the organization of Vladimir Kvachkov “Militia” limited and not a serious force.

“Today, his people called me at the moment when the detectives broke into the apartment door, where he lives Kvachkov, and requested assistance, but rather the information” – said Demushkin. According to him, the organization Kvachkov “there are a few muddy people, but there does not communicate with anyone.””We met at rallies, but I have long since severed relations with them, because they do not see any reason to continue,” – said Demushkin.

Also, for its part, is one of the leaders of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) Alexander Belov said that his arrest Kvachkov was expected.

I told him long ago said that the phrase, which he admits is too rigid. But he did not hesitate. I agree with what he does, but the methods he chose, could be interpreted wrongly, “- said Belov.

“Against him opened a criminal case is not for specific acts, but for the ideas and words. In our time, to allow such statements, which he said, ihodya of legal practice is very dangerous,” – said Belov.

Kvachkov: the persecution initiated by Chubais. The story of the tolyattinskim crossbow

Vladimir Kvachkov himself told reporters that the reason for his new persecution began reading his teammate from Togliatti.

“According to those documents which are, in Togliatti, armed with a crossbow for 10,000 rubles, stress, a person sent a group to Vladimir, which was preparing an armed rebellion there,” – said Kvachkov. He explained that the associate was the leader Togliatti branch of the People’s Militia of Minin and Pozharsky. “He was arrested. After 10 days of interrogation, he gave evidence to me” – said Kvachkov, though this person really did not say anything.

He could not specify where, according to the investigation, preparing an armed rebellion. “Now we need to read” – added arrested. “It’s the continuation of the events of July 20, when I have been searched,” – he said.

Kvachkov believes that his prosecution was initiated by Anatoly Chubais. “The Supreme Court after a nearly 6-year ordeal finally acquitted me,” – said the prisoner.

According to him, no evidence that the “Militia” – a terrorist organization, which was preparing an armed rebellion, the investigation does not.

“Articles that are imputed to me now, in particular, 205-I (facilitating terrorist activity) have been derived from the competence of jurors. Now everything is rovnenko. Chubais was rebuffed by a jury and went on the knurled pattern,” – said Kvachkov.

In turn, associate Kvachkov, a member of staff “people’s militia” Yuri Ekishev told Interfax that this summer, in addition to searches of Kvachkov they were among forty of his associates throughout the country.

“After this search, we came to court to get us acquainted with the grounds for investigation. It turned out that Peter Galkin from Togliatti office went to Syzran, there was conducted covert audio recordings, we did not hear. On the basis of such absurdities that’s been concocted excuse for searches across the country, “- said Ekishev.

Petra was detained in Vladimir Galkin in the woods with a sports crossbow. He is, “said something about Kvachkov,” said Ekishev. In this case, Galkin, spent in pretrial detention for two days now, still at large.

Law enforcement authorities on July 20 held a series of searches of dozens of activists of the All-Russian militia behalf of Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Kurgan, and Vladimir, including the apartment Kvachkov.He then called the raids “the present action of intimidation.” “It’s about the attempt on Chubais was stalled, and apparently decided to come up with something else,” – said the colonel.

According to his information, searches were conducted in a criminal case against one of the activists, accused of extremism. “He supposedly once called for the overthrow of this government,” – said the colonel.

Double-justified “killers”

March 17, 2005 at 1,5 km from the village larks Odintsovo district of Moscow region on the roadside exploded controlled explosive device at the time following the official car, which was Chubais, who was at that time the head of RAO UES, and car maintenance with a guard.

On suspicion of involvement in the assassination attempt on Chubais on March 19 of that year, was detained by Colonel Kvachkov. March 25 prosecutors charged him. Later, his colleagues were detained by Yashin and found.December 11, 2006 in Moscow, was detained by the fourth defendant in the case of the attempt on Chubais, a history teacher Mironov. On the same day he was charged.

June 16, 2009 Mosoblsud on the basis of the verdict of a jury acquittedKvachkov, Yashin and Naidenov. However, the acquittal was repealed by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and the case returned for reconsideration.

In this case Mironov, considered until then separately, were merged into one proceeding with the other persons involved. The criminal case was pending in Mosoblsude since March 2006, when the court twice dissolved jury. A second trial at the request of defense also held with a jury.

Defendants accused of endangering the life of the state or public figure (Article 277 of the Criminal Code) and the attempted murder of two or more persons who committed socially dangerous way a group of persons by prior agreement (Part 3. 30, Part 2, Article 105) .

Kvachkov, Yashin and Naidenov also charged with the illegal manufacture of weapons by an organized group (Part 3 st.223), illegal purchase, transfer, possession of weapons, ammunition, explosives, committed by an organized group (Part 3, 222), and intentionally destroying or damaging property (Part 2, Article 167).

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

[We are a long way from the point where our Afghan follies are admittedly described as mistakes.  Even though most of us already understand that we have failed, very few are willing to admit that the entire terror war has been a huge mistake.  Just like our failure in Vietnam, there is a time lag of years between the point where we realize that we have lost and the point where we understand why we have lost–because we were wrong all along.  Between that future time where we understand our massive error and now, how many more people will die and how many more uncounted billions will be poured down the bottomless pit?

If America really had a peace movement, then we would now be witnesses to and participants in a massive effort to save our sinking country by hastening the day of our understanding.  Unlike the ending of the previous war, the resolution of the this war will affect our own survival as a functioning Nation.  The longer it takes to reach its inevitable conclusion, the worse our chances become to survive the impending economic/military collapse.  As long as we keep dedicating trillions to a lost war and trillions more to the corrupt financial centers who have financed that corrupt war (fueled on pure debt), we will have nothing left but austerity to deal with our real problems.   If we resolve it more quickly, devoting less resources to futile schemes at “winning,” then the more resources will be available to fix the collateral damage.

There is nothing as costly to a Nation as an entire government of failed leaders who are intent upon hiding their mistakes.  A single admission of error is seen as the final fatal mistake.]

The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Courtesy of the ITAR-TASS News Agency. source

The costs of war

“We are winning” in Afghanistan, says Gen. David H. Petraeus. President Obama declares that the December military review shows we are “on track.” No doubt the president and the general are right: We will keep “making progress” for as many months or years as we choose to fight what is now America’s longest war – until we finally pull out, in defeat or in political exhaustion, wondering what we have accomplished for all the blood and treasure spent.

The president’s review only confirmed what informed observers already know. U.S. troops can win nearly any firefight. But ultimately we are no more secure, and Afghanistan is no closer to becoming a stable and developing country. No matter how light or agile their “footprint,” U.S. and allied occupying forces end up generating as many enemies as they kill, not only in Afghanistan but in other Muslim lands. No matter how much help we give to the Afghan people, inevitably it is seen as being on behalf of a government that is more a kleptocracy than a democracy.

How does one measure progress in what should be more accurately described as a counterproductive and now unnecessary war? We’re chasing a diminished band of al- Qaeda terrorists who now pose little threat to us in the forbidding terrain of North Waziristan and Baluchistan on the Pakistani border, while our Pakistani allies cynically buy into both sides of the fight.

We’re spending $100 billion a year on a country that had a gross domestic product of a little more than $2 billion when we invaded in 2001. We manage this feat only by helping to fund both sides of the conflict (much of the aid ends up in the hands of the Taliban as well as regional warlords who don’t support the Karzai government). The military focus displaces attention that should be devoted to regional diplomacy and a political settlement within Afghanistan. Instead we are “making progress,” even as the review quietly shifts our departure date from 2011 to 2014.

Missing in the president’s review are the actual costs of the war. That includes what economists call “opportunity costs,” or what we miss by continuing this course. By 2014, this administration will have spent more than $700 billion on Afghanistan directly. Poverty is an unfashionable word in Washington, but it afflicts a record 43 million Americans. Childhood poverty is rising. Nationally, only one in seven black male teens held any type of job in the first quarter of this year. We should not fool ourselves: A generation of children raised on dangerous streets is being condemned to a life of misery – hunger, broken families, unemployment, drugs and crime. The nation we are failing to build in Afghanistan is our own.

If poverty is too liberal a concern, consider the costs of Afghanistan to our economic competitiveness. America is literally falling apart. Our aged and decrepit infrastructure is becoming a clear and present danger. Lives are lost when a bridge falls in Minneapolis or the levees collapse in New Orleans. SUVs are swallowed by collapsing sewage systems in New York. Children go to schools judged dangerous to their health. Hours are lost when aged train switches freeze, sewer systems collapse or traffic snarls. Even the basics of civilization, such as access to clean water, are increasingly at risk because of aging and leaky sewage systems. Our electric grid, our broadband system and our transportation system all lag behind those of global competitors. Combine the $700 billion spent in Afghanistan and the $700 billion to be squandered on tax breaks for the richest 1 percent of Americans over the next decade, and you have real money, even for Washington. Money that this increasingly challenged country can no longer afford to waste.

Notably absent in the commentary about the president’s review, too, are the war’s human costs. The service of those in our volunteer army is routinely praised on all sides. The Democratic Congress under President George W. Bush and Obama committed itself to improving military pay, educational benefits and medical and psychological care. But celebrating servicemembers’ courage ignores the basic question: How do you ask young men and women to give their life or limbs for a cause that you know is lost? Or worse, has no justifiable purpose?

The December military review has resulted in a predictable political straddle. The president fulfills his pledge that some troops will come home in 2011; General Petraeus gets a commitment for another four years of occupation before the Afghan government might “assume responsibility.” In the 2012 presidential race, the withdrawals can be advertised to unhappy doves, while the continuing commitment can be used to appease the appetite of hawks.

Afghanistan now awaits its Fulbright. It is time for the Senate to make an independent review of the war, and to challenge – as Sen. J.William Fulbright did during the Vietnam war – a president unwilling to end a conflict he knows will not be won. Surely, it is fate that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Sen. John Kerry. Nearly 40 years ago, as a brave, decorated, young Navy lieutenant returning from Vietnam, he challenged senators to do their duty, saying that each day “someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows . . . that we have made a mistake. . . . How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Does Sen. Kerry, now steeped in Washington’s political culture, have the same courage as that young man? Will he stand up, as Fulbright did before him, to challenge a president of his own party in the nation’s best interest? A new generation of young men and women depends on him to lead.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of the Nation and writes a weekly online column for The Post.

World court to hear Costa Rica/Nicaragua border row

[This border dispute in a former Contra hot spot is a modern renewal of US/Nicaragua hostilities.  The early deployment of Nicaraguan troops to the area under former Contra/Sandinista “Commander Zero” speaks of hidden intelligence agency agendas, but whose agency?  It would seem on the surface to be a Moscow-sponsored prevarication, except for the fact that the man in charge of the operation, “Zero,” Eden Pastora, has worked both sides of the fence in the past.  If the Russian/American “reset” is real, and if it applies to the relationship outside of the “pipeline war zone,” then none of this would seem to make any sense.

Since America has some very definite military plans for the region, then that could indicate that this was another “false flag” type of operation, intended to justify American military actions in the region.  Judging from the ongoing love-fest between Obama and Medvedev/Putin, it seems pretty clear to me that they are looking to make a love child.  Costa Rica is toast.]

World court to hear border row

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 – By Adam Williams
The Nicaraguan occupancy of the Isla Calero will go before the International Court in January. While Costa Rican officials enter the proceedings confident that Costa Rica will win the case, most aren’t considering the alternative: What if the court rules in favor of Nicaragua?
Nica Soldier Checks Boat

Tim Rogers | Nica Times

Quid Pro Quo: A Nicaraguan soldier checks papers aboard a Costa Rican tourism boat on the Río San Juan. Nicaragua is demanding navigation rights to Costa Rica’s Río Colorado, in exchange for Costa Rica’s navigation rights to the San Juan River.

Costa Rican officials are confident the International Court of Justice at The Hague will rule on their behalf next month in the dispute over Nicaragua’s alleged occupation of Costa Rica’s Isla Calero.

But what will happen if Costa Rica loses the case?

“The Hague is the final resource that exists for Costa Rica to be able to resolve this issue,” said Antonio Barrios, an international relations professor at Costa Rica’s National University.

“We’ve already taken every other diplomatic step to resolve the problem and we still haven’t been able to stop the Nicaraguans from damaging the area,” he said. “If we don’t win the case at The Hague, there are no other resources.”

The case at The Hague is scheduled to begin Jan. 11 and last for two days.

The border dispute between Nicaragua, country whose leader is increasingly authoritarian, Costa Rica, a nation known for its pacifism, has already been presented twice before the Organization of American States (OAS), to little effect. The 35-member OAS voted 22-2 agaainst Nicaragua’s presence of troops on the disputed land along the Caribbean coast. But the troops are still in the area and the environmental damage caused by the ongoing construction of an artificial river channel continues.

The sentiment among most Costa Ricans is that the law is on their side. But the world court’s decisions will rest more on its interpretation of a 19th century treaty than on Ticos’ public opinion. The fact that the world community increasingly looks upon Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s dictatorial policies with disdain might not have any bearing whatsoever on the case, analysts say.

Interpreting the Cañas-Jerez Treaty of 1858 will be a tricky task for the court.

Nicaragua’s claim to the area is based partially on the Caño Sucio, a small tributary that branches off the Río San Juan into Nicaragua. The land north of Caño Sucio, an area called Harbour Head, belongs to Nicaragua, officials from that country say.

Nicaragua also claims that the Río San Juan has changed course over time, and that the original mouth of the river was at Punta de Castilla, on the Caribbean coast. If the world court agrees, the northern tip of Isla Calero could be declared Nicaraguan territory – even though Nicaragua says it’s a separate island, and not part of Isla Calero, which Nicaragua says it has no claim to.

That decision would be a stunning blow to Costa Ricans, and an incredible political victory for Ortega and his Sandista administration.

Costa Rica will tell the court that Nicaragua’s occupation of Isla Calero is an “invasion,” and will argue that Nicaragua has violated Costa Rica’s national sovereignty.

Presenting the case to the world court will also be costly. An estimate by Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry put the price tag of taking a case to the world court at $2 million per year, but that figure may be exaggerated. However, some experts believe the Isla Calero case could drag on for years.

Last week, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza presented pictures taken by OAS representatives in late November that provide evidence of further land changes at Isla Calero. Nicaraguan crews have cut down trees and etched a water channel from the Laguna de los Portillos to the Río San Juan.

One overhead photo shows a long, canal-shaped deforested swath of land that is gradually filling with rain and seawater.

“You can see in the photos that they have already connected the canal from the Laguna de los Portillos to the Río San Juan,” said Allan Astorga, a University of Costa Rica geologist who is studying the potential environmental impact of the canal. “It is small now, but with more rain, it is only going to get wider and deeper. The damage has been done and will only get worse. The area will never be restored to be as it was originally.”

This is not the first time the two neighboring countries have met at The Hague to settle a dispute. In 2009, the court ruled on Costa Rica’s rights to navigate the San Juan, which forms the border between the two countries. That case took four years to resolve and cost $1.6 million.

“The unfortunate truth is that there are many more important cases that take priority over this conflict,” UNA’s Barrios said. “I’m not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic. Unfortunately, there are more pressing cases than the Nicaraguan occupation of the Isla Calero.”

Meanwhile, Nicaragua seems to be preparing an alternative strategy. On Tuesday, Sandinista lawmakers and their allies approved a package of national defense and security laws that will further militarize the country, especially the border region around the San Juan River (see separate story in The Nica Times, Page N1).

Ortega’s military bolstering has not interrupted Costa Rica’s pursuit of diplomatic dialogue. Even the World Court’s previous ruling seems to indicate Costa Rica has the advantage.

“The case for Costa Rica is solid,” said Nuria Marín, a lawyer and international policy expert at the University of Costa Rica. “In addition to the support of the OAS, an impartial body, the world court previously ruled that maps of the San Juan River from both countries coincided that Isla Calero is Costa Rican property. Now Nicaragua will [likely] present a new map to the court.”

Compliance is another issue.

“There is nothing the court can effectively do to make a country comply with the ruling,” Barrios said. “In the past, some countries have ignored rulings, others have not. If Nicaragua chose to ignore the ruling, the only other judicial step that can be taken is going to the United Nations Security Council.”

Several countries have ignored world court rulings, including the United States. In 1984, the court ruled against the U.S. government and in favor or Nicaragua over U.S.’ illegal war on Nicaragua. The United States was ordered to pay reparations, but never did. Ortega continues to demand payment until this day.

Costa Rica’s other international option is to take the issue to the UN Security Council. Ignoring a resolution there can result in trade sanctions and other measures.

“We will still pursue diplomatic dialogue with Nicaragua as a means to pressure them into finding a resolution,” Marín said.

“I advised President [Laura] Chinchilla to also apply pressure through allies that exist in both countries, including those that have companies and environmental organizations in Nicaragua, such as the Netherlands,” she said.

Currently, 14 cases are pending in The Hague and priority is given to those filed first.

Chinchilla, meanwhile, continues to press for peace. At Costa Rica’s annual Festival of Lights last weekend, she said her primary goal for 2011 is to restore national peace.

“We will continue to look for a way to restore peace and calm, and take whatever steps necessary to do so in 2011,” she said.

    Deindustrialization–Death Sentence for the American Republic

    19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

    The Economic Collapse Blog

    The United States is rapidly becoming the very first “post-industrial” nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.  It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.  But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America.  Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.  Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now  just a shadow of what it once was.  Once upon a time America could literally outproduce the rest of the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?

    Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every single month America does into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.

    So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

    The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

    For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.

    The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind….

    #1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.

    #2 Dell Inc., one of America’s largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

    #3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November.  Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

    #4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

    #5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economywill lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

    #6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

    #7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

    #8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

    #9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

    #10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.

    #11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

    #12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

    #13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

    #14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

    #15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

    #16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products.  Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

    #17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.

    #18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

    #19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

    So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?

    How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

    How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

    How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

    The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis.  It needs to be treated like one.

    If you disagree with this article, I have a direct challenge for you.  If anyone can explain how a deindustrialized America has any kind of viable economic future, please do so below in the comments section.

    America is in deep, deep trouble folks.  It is time to wake up.

    Source

    Weasly Words Cannot Change the Fact That the Durand Line Is a “Red Line”

    • Zahid Hussain and Catherine Philp
    • From:The Times

    ISLAMABAD has warned the US their counter-terrorism alliance will be broken if Washington attempts to expand its ground war.

    There are fears the war will move across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory.

    The warning came yesterday after the US military reportedly pressed for permission to open a second front against militants by using special forces in cross-border raids into Pakistan. One officer said: “We’ve never been as close as we are now to getting the go-ahead.”

    US military officials told The New York Times that commanders had drawn up plans to attack Taliban and al-Qa’ida sanctuaries in Pakistan.

    They had concluded that Islamabad had no intention of dislodging the militants, who are concentrated in the lawless tribal area of North Waziristan.

    The officials said they were pushing for the White House to adopt the plan as a means of allowing a troop drawdown to begin as scheduled next year.

    Abdul Basit, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman, reacted angrily to the suggestion that Islamabad would allow such incursions. “We have drawn a red line and any move to cross it will have a serious consequence,” he said.

    Major-General Athar Abbas, Pakistan’s chief military spokesman, insisted: “There is a clear understanding that the Pakistani and US-led coalition forces will operate on the respective sides of the border.”

    A senior Afghan official told The Times that the US cross-border plans were real, although he suggested that they were intended more to exert pressure on the Pakistanis than to prepare for an imminent incursion. “It is true but mainly symbolically and a mere warning,” the official said.

    The New York Times report was denied yesterday by NATO’s deputy chief of communications in Afghanistan, US Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, who said there was “absolutely no truth” in it.

    He added that NATO and US forces had developed a strong working relationship with the Pakistani military to address shared security issues.

    “This co-ordination recognises the sovereignty of Afghanistan and Pakistan to pursue insurgents and terrorists operating in their respective border areas,” he said.

    Signing off on special forces operations into Pakistan would effectively authorise the opening of a second front in the Afghan war, a high-risk strategy about which the White House remains highly sceptical.

    Vice-President Joe Biden has previously advocated stepping up a campaign in Pakistan that could include special forces raids, but did so as an alternative to the current troop surge in Afghanistan rather than as an added extra. White House officials fear the political backlash from expanding the ground war into Pakistan would far outweigh any military or intelligence benefits. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration over how to ensure the promised troop reduction can begin on schedule next northern summer, with increasing concerns being voiced about Pakistan’s failure to tackle the source of the conflict — the presence of Taliban sanctuaries on its soil.

    In recently leaked diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Islamabad, the American ambassador predicted “no amount of money” could force Pakistan to withdraw support for the Afghan Taliban. Military officials, however, told the New York Times that several recent combat operations had been carried out by members of the CIA’s covert Afghan militia based in eastern Afghanistan.

    The Times

    The Return of Fascism

    [Fascism is driven by fear and impossible to bear economic conditions.  The more fearful and frustrated that people become, the more vulnerable they become to demagogues who know how to convince them that their troubles are caused by too many foreigners or dark-skinned people.  The key to negating the seductive power of fascism is the same as the key to a better future for all mankind–hope and opportunity.  Take away the power to strangle people into submission and turn it into a mechanism for giving people a real economic foothold and together we will all climb up the hill.

    Hope it the only answer, people; find ways to multiply it.]

    The Return of Fascism

    There was nothing unexpected about the racially motivated rioting and attacks that took place in Moscow and other cities during the past 10 days. But many people are still shocked by the image of Russian youth giving Nazi salutes against the backdrop of the Kremlin wall and by reports of an angry, blood-thirsty mob sweeping through metro cars and beating dark-skinned passengers.

    The rioters had no political agenda or ideology other than their hatred for non-Russians. Even the most demagogic of the mobs did not chant a single slogan calling for social or political change.

    The fact that both sides turned out in large numbers in several cities within a very short span of time creates the strong impression that their actions were coordinated in advance.

    Regardless of whether there was a screenwriter behind the rioting, the scenario that is playing out suggests only one possible ending: the collapse and destruction of Russia.

    The logic of Russian fascists has always stood in sharp contrast to the logic and traditions of the development of the nation. The problem is not that most ultranationalists are poorly acquainted with the history and culture of the people in whose name they claim to speak, which is true of fascist movements in all countries. The problem is that, historically, Russia developed as an imperial nation for which ethnic and cultural diversity is the natural and only form of existence. If fascist propaganda in ethnically homogenous societies could claim to be an ideology unifying the majority of the population, then Russian fascism never even attempted to present itself in that light.

    From the moment it first appeared in the 1920s, Russian fascism has been an ideology of national division focused on opposition to and destruction of the existing Russian state.

    It was natural for Russian fascists to fight with Nazi Germany against their own country. Hitler’s plan to eliminate the Russian state did not contradict the ideas of Russian fascists. That plan called for the existing Russian nation with its history and traditions to give way to a new ethnic community of pureblood Slavs and Aryans. This group had nothing in common with the larger Russian population — ethnically, culturally or even religiously, because Christianity supports a unity based on common faith, not shared bloodlines or tribal affiliations.

    But where did all these fascists come from? How is it possible that they prefer Hitler to taking pride in their own country and its history?

    Surprisingly, a significant number of those who turned out to beat Russia’s “blacks” are from well-to-do families, and they are graduates of respectable schools and universities. The cause of the unrest does not lie in the poverty or lack of privileges suffered by certain individuals or social groups, but in the larger social crisis gripping Russia. The mobs of modern-day Black Hundreds and the gangs of North Caucasus natives are the product of the general breakdown of the processes of social integration and education.

    Many years ago, Erich Fromm in his book “Escape from Freedom” described how the unraveling of social ties in a society that lives according to the principle of every man for himself would create a psychological and cultural breeding ground for fascism. If the economic processes moving in that direction are not stopped, we will be headed not for a totalitarian nightmare.

    Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

    The Dictatorship of Chavez–Vs- the Power of People

    Venezuelan opposition decries Chavez ‘coup’

    Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez

    CARACAS: Incoming opposition legislators decried as a “coup d’etat” new laws that clamp down on press freedoms and grant President Hugo Chavez sweeping new powers.

    The mood was echoed in Washington, where an influential US lawmaker urged the regional Organization of American States (OAS) bloc to stand up against the Chavez “tyranny.”

    The calls come after laws were pushed through Venezuela’s National Assembly by the ruling Socialist Party just weeks before a new assembly, in which pro-Chavez legislators lose their supermajority, takes office on January 5.

    The measures include granting the president temporary power to decree laws, restricting Internet content and broadcast media freedoms, and punishing legislators who switch parties.

    “We energetically condemn the coup d’etat that is taking place by the regime,” read a statement from the 67 opposition legislators set to take office in January.

    They believe that supporters of Chavez, a key ally of Communist Cuba, “intend to implant a communist system in Venezuela through a totalitarian and militarized state.”

    The statement called on the Venezuelan people “to unite, to reject and peacefully activate themselves” against the “absolute concentration of power in the hands of the president of the republic.”

    The government “has become a tyranny that the Venezuelans should defeat, and will defeat,” added the statement.

    Opposition legislators won 67 of the 165 seats in the single chamber National Assembly in September elections, shattering a five-year streak in which pro-Chavez legislators had an overwhelming majority.

    Chavez supporters say the authority to govern by decree was necessary to handle a weather emergency, and that the media laws are designed to prevent abuses as well as regulate, not censor, the Internet.

    Chavez said Wednesday that his opponents are “calling for someone to kill me.”

    Speaking at a military base and surrounded by military officers, Chavez said that opposition leaders “have been driven mad, and are calling on the armed forces to refuse to recognize” the government.

    In Washington, congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, soon to become chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, blasted the OAS for doing little about events in Venezuela.

    “Choosing to take no side in the battle between tyranny and democracy in Venezuela only helps the tyrannical side,” Ros-Lehtinen, who left Cuba as a child, said in a statement.

    “It is shameful that Chavez’s actions to usurp power and impose Castro-style control over the media have been met with barely a whimper from most member-states of the Organization of American States, an organization that is supposed to promote and protect democracy in the Western Hemisphere.”

    Ros-Lehtinen, 58, is a fierce critic of the Castro regime in Cuba, as well as the leftist regimes of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

    The Republican, who represents a south Florida district that includes thousands of Cuban exiles, has in the past proposed channelling Washington’s OAS dues instead to US programs.

    The Washington-based OAS comprises the 35 independent states of the Americas, though Cuba and Honduras are currently excluded. Its goals include strengthening democracy and defending human rights.

    Her call comes days after Washington warned that US-Venezuelan ties will suffer now that Chavez has formally rejected US President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador.

    Meanwhile Chavez and his supporters “are once again ratcheting up the government?s power to punish critics,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

    HRW described the new measures as “an assault on on free speech (and) civil society.”

    The new media law now gives Chavez “legal cover to expand its longstanding practice of bullying local human rights defenders and trying to keep international advocates away from the Venezuelan public,” Vivanco said.

    -AFP/ac

    Man Claims To Possess Video of 17 People Being “Disappeared” Near Peshawar

    Petitioner tells PHC he has video of killing of missing people

    * Claims 17 people, including his two sons, three relatives, shot dead by security agencies

    * DAG directed to submit written reply about missing people

    By Akhtar Amin

    PESHAWAR: A father of two missing students on Wednesday informed the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that his sons and three relatives were shot dead along with 12 other missing people, who were allegedly picked up by the military and Frontier Corps, on suspicion of being Taliban during an operation in the Frontier Region (FR) Peshawar about 10 months ago.

    Asghar Khan, the father of Rahim and Abid, students of 10th and 9th classes respectively, informed a division bench that he has a video of execution of 17 people. Among the executed were his sons and three youngsters, Dad Khan, a first year student, Noor Khan and Samiullah.

    Asghar said about three months ago, a man met him at the Kohat bus stand in Peshawar and introduced himself as an MI personnel by the name of Sajid, and took the video from him. He told him that there was pressure on military officers concerned from Islamabad and they were sending the video to Islamabad.

    Asghar said he had received the video from some people from Darra Adam Khel who told him that the youth and others were shot dead in Tor Spin Ghar, a semi tribal area of Darra Adam Khel and buried in a mass grave. Counsel for the missing people, Arif Jan, submitted that the video was made through a mobile phone, and the father of the executed students would provide it on a CD in the court on the next hearing. He contended that according to the family members of Saeed Nazir, he was still in the military’s custody.

    When the court asked about the video, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Iqbal Mohmand, who is representing intelligence agencies and the federal government in the case, showed his ignorance and said he would get details from the defence and interior ministries.

    The court directed the DAG to submit a detailed written reply about the missing people on January 18.

    Earlier, Mohammad Yousaf filed a petition submitting that on February 25, military and Frontier Constabulary personnel arrested his six relatives from his hujra during a joint operation in the area and detained them at an undisclosed place.

    The counsel for the petitioner contended that the arrested men were neither involved in any anti-state activity nor had affiliation with any terrorist group. They had been unlawfully detained, which was a violation of Article 4 of the constitution. He prayed the court to direct the authorities concerned to produce the detainees before the court if they were involved in anti-state activities.

    In another case, the bench issued notice to the MI directing it to submit a written reply regarding the whereabouts of a missing man. Abkar Ghani, a resident of Shah Dheri in Kabal tehsil of Swat district, had filed the petition claiming that the military had picked up his brother Roshan Ali in May for suspected links with the Taliban and his whereabouts were still not known.

    Maj Majid, commanding officer of 24 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army, showed his ignorance about Roshan Ali.

    US Penalizes China for Pakistani Reactor Construction

    US-China firm fined $3.75m for Pakistan nuclear exports

    WASHINGTON: The US on Tuesday fined the Chinese subsidiary of a US firm $3.75 million for exporting coatings to a Pakistani nuclear site.

    PPG Paints Trading in Shanghai, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PPG Industries, agreed to pay $3.75 million over the exports – from which it had earned just $32,319 – the US Justice Department said.

    The fines “represent one of the largest monetary penalties for export violations in the history of the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security” established in 1987, it said.

    The company was accused of “illegal export, re-export and/or transshipment of high-performance coatings from the US to the Chashma 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan via a third-party distributor (in China)”, it said.

    In addition to the maximum criminal penalty of $2 million, the two companies agreed to pay an additional $1.75 million in civil penalties and submit to a US audit.

    US Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald Machen said in a statement that the case should “serve as a warning to corporations that would violate US export laws”.

    “It is not only unlawful, it is also bad business. In this case, the millions in fines to be paid by the corporate defendant are 100 times more than the gross proceeds generated by the unlawful export scheme,” he said. afp

     

    Massive Arms Cache Seized from Bugti Convoy, Bugti Claims Govt. Set-Up

    By Saleem ShahidQUETTA, Dec 22: In a deve- lopment with far-reaching implications, paramilitary troops arrested on Wednesday Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, a grandson of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and president of the Balochistan chapter of Jamhoori Watan Party, along with several personal guards, after finding a huge quantity of illegal arms and ammunition in vehicles of his convoy coming from the border town of Chaman.

    The arrest of one of the high-profile Bugti heirs on charges of possessing and smuggling arms and ammunition sparked tension in Quetta and other parts of the already volatile province, with people fearing a negative political fallout and a possible violent backlash.

    Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj-Gen Obaidullah Khan, addressing a press conference along with Inspector General of Police Malik Iqbal, said that acting on information provided by security agencies, FC troops intercepted the convoy of Shahzain Bugti in the Baleli checkpost area in the outskirts of Quetta.

    He said that FC personnel informed the JWP leader that they wanted to check the vehicles but he allowed the checking of only three vehicles of the 16 vehicles in his convoy. He said Mr Bugti refused to allow them to look into other vehicles.

    After three hours of negotiations the FC personnel took all the vehicles into custody and detained Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti and his guards after disarming them. He said that during the search of the vehicles a huge quantity of illegal arms and ammunition was found in the smuggled vehicles.

    Gen Obaid said that the arms and ammunition recovered from the vehicles included anti-aircraft guns, rocket-launchers, mortar guns and other advanced weapons.

    “Mr Bugti and his armed guards did not offer any resistance when security forces took them into custody,” General Obaid said, adding that the JWP leader could not produce licences of the vehicles and permits for carrying such a huge quantity of arms and ammunition.

    “Such a huge quantity of arms and ammunition cannot be carried for personnel protection,” the FC inspector general said, adding that Mr Bugti and other arrested people would be handed over to police for legal action.

    Balochistan IGP Malik Iqbal said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik was closely monitoring the situation and ordered formation of a joint investigation team.

    “A joint investigation team headed by the DIG investigation will conduct a probe into the recovery of illegal arms and ammunition from Mr Bugti`s motorcade,” he said, adding that the accused would be given full chance to prove their innocence.

    The arms and ammunition recovered from the 16 smuggled vehicles included 50 SMGs, 4 LMGs, two 12.7mm AA guns, two 14.2 mm AA guns, one SPG-9, one 9mm pistol, one AUG, 46,000 rounds of SMG, 1,600 rounds of 12.7/14.5, 570 rounds of AUG, 880 rounds of sniper rifle, 39 rounds of 9mm pistol, 17 mobile phones and 16 vehicles.

    DIG Operation Hamid Shakeel, DIG Investigation Wazir Khan Nasar and DIG Frontier Corps Brigadier Shahzad also attended the press conference held at the headquarters of Ghaza Band scouts (A wing of FC).

    Meanwhile, JWP`s central President Nawabzada Talal Bugti, termed the allegation of smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition a conspiracy against his son and demanded an independent inquiry by a tribunal of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

    Addressing a press conference, he claimed that the case against Shahzain Bugti had been registered at the behest of Interior Minister Rehman Malik because Shahzain had unveiled his corruption.

    He said that Shahzain had gone to Qila Abdullah for party work and when he was returning to Quetta three vehicles of secret agencies carrying arms and ammunition joined his motorcade. He said it was a big conspiracy hatched against his party.

    However, Talal Bugti said if his son was found guilty by an independent inquiry tribunal set up by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he would oust him from the party. “I will oust Shahzain Bugti if he was found guilty for smuggling arms and ammunition,” he told reporters while replying to a question.

    He said he had no confidence in inquiries conducted by secret agencies, FC and police investigation teams.

    He said his party would resist attempts to produce Shahzain Bugti before an anti-terrorism court.

    “We are looking at all legal aspects of the incident and will fight against this conspiracy at all forums,” he said, adding that the JWP would not abandon its mission.

    Meanwhile, Shahzain Bugti said that the drama of arms smuggling had been staged to stop him from holding a march to Dera Bugti on January 28.

    Has Obama/Zionist Lobby Gone Soft On Armenia, or Abandoned Them To Putin?

    [SEE: Attacking Armenia means attacking Russia]

    White House Indifferent on Genocide Resolution

    WASHINGTON—In what can be seen as the most indifferent response from any administration on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Tuesday told reporters that President Obama has not made calls to Congressional leaders to halt the passage of the H. Res. 252, the current iteration of the Armenian Genocide bill pending in Congress.

    When asked what the president’s reaction was to a recent letter from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who expressed serious concern about the Genocide resolution, the impact of its passage on future relations with Turkey, or whether the President had called Speaker Nancy Pelosi to oppose the resolution, Gibbs, in his Tuesday briefing was indifferent, at best.

    “Well, obviously our relationship — our bilateral relationship with Turkey is enormously important. I do not know that the President — I do not believe that the President has made any calls specifically on this, and I think his views on this are known,” said Gibbs in response to the inquiry.

    Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, hopes that the resolution would be placed to a vote on Tuesday faded, but the House leadership indicated that the House will be in session on Wednesday, as calls to Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer continued to pour in from Armenian-Americans in the thousands.

    Also on Tuesday, a Dear Colleague Letter signed by members of the Armenian-American Caucus Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), urged fellow House members to vote for the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

    On the other hand, four members of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey, were joined by one-time Genocide resolution supporter, Massachusetts Democrat Bill Dellahunt to oppose the resolution, citing the classic anti-Genocide talking points of US interests in Turkey and the Incirlik Airforce base.

    Armenian-Americans continue to push for the passage of the resolution by this Congress and are urged to continue to call Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s offices to urge the leaders to place the bill for a vote Wednesday when the House convenes to hear other important issues on its agenda.

    Connect: anca.org

    Europeans March To Survive–Americans Play Army and Pray for Unemployment Extensions

    [Because the people are so programmed to see things through the rose-colored lenses supplied by Hollywood, it is presently impossible to make a logical assessment of the American psyche and have it understood by more than a handful.  If, by some miracle, it was possible to write a comprehensible assessment, it could not circulate beyond the alternative universe.

    For those reasons, it will be up to future historians to interpret why the American people of the current generation just sat on their asses quietly, passively, while their world caved-in all around them.  Maybe some of us who still bother to think for ourselves should leave them a few clues to aid them in their investigation of our collective dereliction of duty.  Perhaps they will have to look no deeper than our national addiction to electronic entertainment, but in my opinion, the downfall of the American Republic reflects mankind’s genetic flaws, imperfections of the human experiment.

    We were genetically programmed to fail, because man, the hybrid animal (neanderthal + homo sapien), has always been at war with himself–and modern man (Americans especially) has done nothing to bring that inner conflict to an end.  We have no science that is dedicated to healing the mental turmoil that is “Man.”  To the contrary, every available means has been exploited by the American and British governments to exacerbate human conflict, in particular, primitive human reactions have been exploited by amoral political scientists to serve as the basis for an elementary system of behavioral mind-control.

    Where man, the psychologically conflicted being, was naturally going to have problems evolving beyond his primitive state, Americans, as life-long subjects in a massive illegal mind-control experiment, have had to overcome a form of evolutionary sabotage coming from a hidden military dictatorship masquerading as a benevolent govt.  In my mind, where the Creator might have created us in an imperfect form, American govt. has compounded those imperfections and guaranteed the failure of the political experiment known as the American Republic, in order to multiply profits for a limited few, many of them not even American citizens.

    America, the strong “superpower” is fast becoming a pauper state which cannot be saved by any conceivable military action, no matter what the brainwashed “warrior culture” believes to the contrary.  Americans will remain on their asses, while the TV tells them that some “surge,” escalation, or other military ejaculation issues forth to cover the crime scenes with their superior warrior seed, thus miraculously saving the town and the blushing leading lady, and the “hero” rules the day.  The armchair patriots will wipe a tear from their eyes, knowing that all is swell here in “Pleasantville,” and the bankers will really haved saved our Nation from the greed that enslaves us all, until their TVs are taken or have no power, and their busted armchairs sit propped-up on bricks in the alley or behind the local mall.

    Sit on your asses and mock those stupid Europeans, as they pour into the streets and demand that government save their “Socialist” health care system.  Suppress your instinct to react to my words by smacking me in the face for a few moments, while your minds have time to reflect on what I have said, and your wiser internal voice will tell you that I am right.]

    Italian students demonstrate against new education law

    Italian students demonstrate against new education law

    Italian students hold anti-government protests

    ROME : Students took to the streets across Italy on Wednesday amid heavy security to protest against a radical reform of the university system planned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

    The rallies came just over a week after protest clashes in the centre of Rome that injured nearly 200 people and saw cars set alight and tear gas fired in some of the most tourist-heavy streets of the Italian capital.

    Protest organisers on Wednesday said they would avoid a confrontation with police by steering clear of the “palaces of power” in the city centre.

    A student delegation was set to meet with President Giorgio Napolitano later on Wednesday to present a list of complaints over the planned reform.

    “I hope that everything takes place without any serious incidents,” Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini told reporters.

    Several hundred students clashed with police in Palermo in Sicily, as they tried to enter a local government building. A group of students was later seen throwing stones and bottles against the main police station in the city.

    The university reform — which would merge some smaller universities, limit academic hiring and introduce non-academic university deans — is set to be adopted definitively by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, this week.

    Napolitano would then have to sign the reform into law.

    The student protest has become part of a wider opposition movement against the government’s austerity measures and high rates of youth unemployment.

    – AFP /ls

    Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

    Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

    Protests in Athens ahead of 2011 austerity budget vote

    ATHENS : Protests and rubbish clogged central Athens on Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to approve an austerity budget under a tough economic overhaul imposed after the debt-hit country’s international bailout.

    Unionists, Communists and leftists staged separate demonstrations to reject the economic blueprint containing over 14 billion euros in savings for 2011 in a bid to restore balance to Greece’s woeful public finances.

    The streets of the capital were already clogged with traffic since morning from a public transport strike — the fourth this month — against wage cuts and parts of the city are overflowing with garbage after a sanitation walkout.

    The 2011 budget includes cuts in the badly mismanaged Greek health sector and public companies, a two-percent increase in the lower sales tax rate from 11 to 13 percent, a tax evasion crackdown, lower defence spending and a nominal pension freeze.

    The Socialist government of George Papandreou has a six-seat majority in parliament and is expected to carry the vote to be held after midnight.

    But the strain of the fiscal correction after decades of profligacy has exposed deep strains in the ruling Pasok party, with many prominent lawmakers now publicly questioning a strategy that has plunged Greece into recession.

    “Is this budget reliable? The answer is no,” said Vasso Papandreou, the head of the Greek parliament’s economic affairs commission, and no relation to Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    “It has shortcomings in its aims and execution,” she argued in the chamber.

    Investors also doubt that Greece can pull off what it promises, despite having slashed its public deficit by some six percent of output this year.

    One of the big rating agencies, Fitch, said on Tuesday it could downgrade its rating on Greece after a similar warning from another agency, Moody’s, last week.

    In an interview with Newsweek magazine on Wednesday, the prime minister insisted that “reform was long overdue.”

    “Greece is one of the richest countries in the world but was also one of the most mismanaged. The world financial crisis highlighted all our weaknesses.”

    With thousands of jobs already lost, wages cut and prices climbing from tax hikes, the country’s influential unions have hit back with seven general strikes this year and waves of street protests.

    “Right now people are in limbo,” Papandreou admitted on Wednesday.

    “Our drastic measures are still fresh, and people feel the pain. Reforms need time to kick in and show results,” he said.

    Fearful of further social unrest in the midst of the festive season, the government has opted to postpone to early next year a controversial reform to liberalise scores of regulated professions.

    Officials say that existing entry or pricing restrictions in these sectors have stymied competition for decades but many of the professionals targeted in the reform, including notaries, pharmacists, engineers and architects, counter that the measure will harm quality of service and have pledged to resist it.

    The economic overhaul has been mandated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund which in May extended Greece a 110-billion-euro (145-billion-dollar) loan when the country came close to bankruptcy.

    The money is released in instalments conditional on Greece making progress in its reforms.

    Under the terms of the rescue, Greece agreed that its public deficit would be reduced to 7.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2011, aiming to eventually reach the EU limit of three percent.

    But additional measures became necessary after the 2009 public deficit was revised upwards last month to 15.4 percent of GDP from the previous 13.6 percent by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

    The resulting effect is that the 2010 shortfall will now be 9.4 percent of output, above the 8.1 percent target.

    Accordingly, Athens has had to find extra savings to keep its finances on track to meet the 2011 target.

    – AFP /ls

    20% of Detroit To Be Abandoned By City Govt.–the shape of things to come

    [Which film clip below represents Detroit’s real future (or are both predictions correct)?]

    Less Than a Full-Service City

    Plan for Detroit Would Pull Resources—and Population—From Blighted Districts

    By MATTHEW DOLAN

    DETROIT—More than 20% of Detroit’s 139 square miles could go without key municipal services under a new plan being developed for the city, with as few as seven neighborhoods seen as meriting the city’s full resources.

    Those details, outlined by Detroit planning officials this week, offer the clearest picture yet of how Mayor Dave Bing intends to execute what has become his signature program: reconfiguring Detroit to reflect its declining population and fiscal health. Yet the blueprint still leaves large legal and financial questions unresolved.

    Associated PressDetroit’s Michigan Central Depot train station is now abandoned.

    DETROIT

    Until now, the mayor and his staff have spoken mostly in generalities about the problem, stressing the need for community input and pledging to a skeptical public that no resident would be forced to move.

    But the approach discussed by city officials could have that effect. Mr. Bing’s staff wants to concentrate Detroit’s remaining population—expected to be less than 900,000 after this year’s Census count—and limited local, state and federal dollars in the most viable swaths of the city, while other sectors could go without such services as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair and street lights.

    Karla Henderson, a city planning official leading the mayor’s campaign, said in an interview Thursday that her staff had deemed just seven to nine sections of Detroit worthy of receiving the city’s full resources. She declined to identify the areas, but said the final plan could include a greater number.

    Ms. Henderson said her team amassed hundreds of data—on household income, population density, employment, existing city services, philanthropic investments and housing stock —in its effort to identify the neighborhoods with the brightest outlook—those that could be stabilized with additional city, state and federal resources.

    “What we have found is that even some of our stronger neighborhoods are at a tipping point with vacancy,” Ms. Henderson said. “Vacancy adds to blight and blight is a disease that takes over the whole neighborhood. So the sooner we can get those homes occupied, the better for the city.”

    Officials bristle when their efforts are described as downsizing, saying their aim is to repurpose portions of the city, not redraw its borders. “We will not be shrinking the city,” Ms. Henderson said. “We are 139 [square] miles and we’ll stay that way.”

    Lynn Garrett, president of the North Rosedale Park Civic Association, applauded the mayor’s effort to reimagine how the city will function, especially as her own northwest Detroit area fights encroaching blight. But the wife of a former city fire-commissioner said many details remained unknown.

    “I haven’t really quite got my arms around that,” she said of proposals to encourage people to move to more viable neighborhoods and convert vacant land to other uses, including farming. “It’s an urban city. I do understand that the population is decreasing, but what would the advantages be?”

    The city plans to present its findings publicly in meetings this winter and spring, culminating in June with at least three options for supporting targeted areas and pulling services from thinly populated neighborhoods. The city estimates it has about 60,000 parcels of surplus land.

    The final plan, though, may need local and state approval, as well as an influx of funds to rehabilitate vacant homes in neighborhoods deemed worthy of saving and to move residents wishing to leave areas with reduced services.

    Already, city officials say, Detroit is failing to properly serve many neighborhoods, making the effort to refocus services all the more urgent. “If we have an honest conversation, we know there are many areas of the city where we are not providing adequate service at this time,” Ms. Henderson said.

    Write to Matthew Dolan at matthew.dolan@wsj.com

    Does Every Imperialist Country Muck About In Colombia?

    UK helps Colombian commandos fight cocaine trade

    By Frank GardnerBBC security correspondent

    A Jungla counter-narcotics commando putting on body armour A man holding a rope

    British intelligence and counter-narcotics agents are playing an increasingly active role in Colombia’s war on drugs.

    British agents, we discovered, are helping to run networks of informants in the country through vetted units of Colombians and setting up communications intercepts to try to stem the flood of South American cocaine coming into Britain.

    In a lush green valley west of Bogota the police commandos line up for their turn.

    One by one they grip the rope that dangles alarmingly down to the ground far below, then step off the metal platform and shin down at speed, breaking their fall at the last minute.

    It’s called “fast roping” and it’s how the men of the Jungla, Colombia’s elite police counter-narcotics commandos, train to descend from Black Hawk helicopters to seize remote cocaine laboratories deep in the jungle.

    Set up by Britain’s SAS in 1989, and trained by them, then the Americans, the Jungla have become largely self-sufficient.  (read HERE)

    In Neo-Soviet Belarus, Run for President Go To Jail for 15 Years

    MINSK, Belarus (AP) — A Belarusian human rights organization says seven of the candidates who ran against the country’s authoritarian leader face charges that could lead to 15 years in prison in the wake post-election violence and massive arrests.

    Ales Belyatsky of the human rights center Vesna said the charges have been filed by the KGB, as the former Soviet state’s security service is still called.

    Some 700 people, including the candidates, were arrested after Sunday’s election that gave authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office. Many of the arrests came on Sunday night, when thousands protested over what international monitors called fraudulent results.

    Two of the arrested candidates were later released, but Belyatsky said Wednesday that one of them, Grigory Kostusyev, had been brought in by the KGB for further questioning.

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