An American in Pakistan

An American in Pakistan

Daily Times

If there is one truth that the Raymond Davis affair has driven home it is that in Pakistan, sovereignty is a sham. The entire episode stinks of the impunity with which the US does as it pleases on our soil. That Raymond Davis shot two Pakistani youths, Faizan and Faheem — whether they were dacoits or not has yet to be proved — in an act that he terms as “self-defence” was shocking enough, but for the US to insist that the man be set free because of claimed ‘diplomatic immunity’ flies in the face of the facts, justice and fair play. Reports are proliferating that Mr Davis was not just any routine embassy or consul official. Raymond Davis has been called many things. Washington calls him a ‘diplomat’ but there are reports suggesting that he was a private security officer. News reports have also shown evidence to suggest that he was not travelling with a diplomatic visa, that he had been booted out of Pakistan a year ago because of dubious activities and there were even some claims from Washington that his name was not Raymond Davis at all! That means, at the very least, that he had entered and left Pakistan repeatedly during the past year on a false passport. Now, under this cloak of ambiguity, lies a challenge to Pakistan’s much touted sovereignty.

The reports mentioned above suggest that Raymond Davis was an undercover operative and the circumstances surrounding the shooting show that he was also a trained one. After shooting the two boys with sniper-like precision, Davis asked for a back-up car, which then proceeded to kill a third man in a hit-and-run accident. The whereabouts of the driver and passengers of that car remain unknown and US embassy officials refuse to hand over any information or the vehicle. Washington is issuing statements almost daily about how Raymond Davis’s actions are covered by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, and that they expect him to be released and handed over to them. Meanwhile the Lahore High Court (LHC) has restrained the government from handing him over to the US and has directed that Davis’s name be put on the Exit Control List. This move by the LHC ought to silence the opposition, who were creating quite a ruckus about the likelihood of a ‘secret’ deal between the government and the US to hand Davis over. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that the case will proceed according to the law of the land. The resignation of Punjab Deputy Prosecutor General Rana Bakhtiar became inevitable after he was removed from the sensitive case for statements to the media.

Diplomats, particularly those from the US, have been riding roughshod over our laws and citizens for a long time now. From traffic accidents, parking misdemeanours and blatant disregard for the lives and safety of the average Pakistani, embassy officials have been implicated in some rather messy matters but have been let off the hook simply because the immunity provided to them, literally, saved their skins. Such antics have served to make a mockery of the dignity, honour and respect that the host country deserves. Now that Raymond Davis, whether acting in self-defence or not, has got the blood of two Pakistani citizens on his hands, it has become clear how foreign diplomats and embassy staff view us. This murder has given the many anti-democratic forces and anti-US elements out there a reason to come out onto the streets and berate the government for not protecting Pakistan’s sovereignty. It is not too late for the government to turn over a new leaf and act in defence of the independence and sovereignty of Pakistan. As seems increasingly likely, if investigations indicate that Mr Davis does not have diplomatic cover, he must be tried and convicted according to the laws of Pakistan. This state-endorsed impunity that has emboldened US officials to commit daylight murder must end.

Criminals Serving as Selective American Examples

Criminals Serving as Selective American Examples

Written by Solomon Comissiong

Daily Journal

regan contra diction L 226x300 Criminals Serving as Selective American ExamplesFrom Whose Perspective will You Follow:

Thugs, Criminals and Slave Owners Serving as Selective American  Examples

Like most US holidays, many American “heroes”, are manufactured based on a significantly flawed and biased “value” system. Individuals like Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan, are routinely propped up throughout public school systems as well as the corporate media as if they should be canonized. Despite doing everything from holding human-beings against their will as slaves to inflicting mass carnage on Native Americans to waging illegal wars on people throughout Central America—the likes of these individuals are hailed as models for American children to socially and politically shadow. Perhaps this is why so many Americans directly, or indirectly, support their country’s longstanding pernicious foreign policy. A great many Americans have been willing participants in their own social demise. This, in large part, has not entirely been their conscious fault—for they have been trained how to think just asIvan Pavlov’s dogs were.  Many American’s social “value” systems have been engineered for them just as widgets are within an enormous industrial warehouse—one size fits all. However, in this case inanimate objects are not being created; minds are being shaped. The American psyche has been bombarded with a pre-selected and limited array of revisionist history, among many other mentally deleterious things. Nestled within that “history” is a tainted list of historical figures that are commonly hailed as champions for “democracy”, “freedom”, and “justice’. The actions of many of these people are reprehensible by any morally sound standard. Depending on whose perspective you follow their actions certainly are not to be seen as humane, democratic, or justice oriented.

When the likes of Ronald Reagan are commonly extolled as national heroes and even “great communicators” the precedent is implicitly being set to champion much of his actions, both foreign and domestic. The current US president, Barack Obama, has even routinely praised Reagan for his own political gain. However, the mere mention of Ronald Reagan’s name is enough to make any socially conscious person cringe. Reagan was a man who referred to black women as welfare queens, black men as “bucks”, waged a bloody illegal war on the people of Central America, and supported the South African apartheid regime. These were among a few of the reprehensible things he did during his political career. In light of all this he is habitually praised affectionately by media pundits throughout the corporate ranks, regardless of network affiliation. If one were from another planet (or simply a programmed American) you might think he was some sort of deity.  Reagan’s social record is far from deserving any merit or commendation. However within the US Reagan and his ilk are regularly touted glowingly, perhaps because America has very little social conscious. This ensures that the next generation of political “leaders” will use some (or many) of Reagan’s policies within their own work. Humanity beware. Unfortunately examples like Ronald Reagan are NOT far and few between the annals of US propagandistic history. These foes of humanity are everywhere; meanwhile others more deserving of praise are systematically suppressed.

Ultra-repressive US states a la Arizona and Texas are now doing in the open what has been done traditionally within America’s classrooms for generations. This, naturally, has been beneficial to the government’s effective propaganda machine. So long as US government sanctioned public school classrooms promote historical figures whose ideals were white supremacist or imperialistic, in nature, they can feel much more confident about sustaining their repressive grip for generations to come. Equally, if these same classrooms continue their planned omission of historical figures whose ideals were centered on socially progressive values; they substantially decrease the odds of any forward thinking change agents from making their way into society. This, in turn, ensures that the status quo—in regards to social policies, remains virtually in tact, no matter how regressive they may be. After all, most Americans have no idea how regressive their government’s social policies can be. When the people have no point of reference, socially or historically, it can be a recipe for disaster for those same citizens.

Most Americans, in general, have a limited point of reference when it comes to everything from history, geography and geopolitics. However, this is far from accident—it is as planned as America’s ongoing imperialist wars. The more limited an understanding Americans have on issues like institutional racism, democracy, war, and even health care; the easier it remains to keep them in the dark with regards to things that are undoubtedly in their best interest. This is why in 2010 the world watched in amazement as scores of so-called middle class Americans argued or remained apathetic about something that was in their best interest to have—true universal single-payer health care. While other nations such as Norway, Venezuela, and Canada (only to name a few) enjoy the human right of having quality universal health care; tens of millions of Americans needlessly suffer. And beyond that, over 40,000 Americans die each year because of a lack of health insurance, as it also remains the number one reason Americans fall into bankruptcy. A great many Americans, due to the tiny ‘box’ they have been placed within, have no idea what they are allowing their government to rob them of, humanity.

The governmentally manufactured world created for them has many Americans believing that their country and its heroes are paragons for life, liberty and justice. This “Bizarro World” that far too many US citizens blissfully reside within faithfully keeps them obsequious to their political and corporate masters. However, in reality, Justice, Democracy, and Liberty are seldom found in the lives of America’s most poor and disenfranchised. The illusion of democracy pacifies the masses. Embracing the duplicitous records of many of the historical figures that have been fed to Americans since grade school, unfortunately, ensures that America’s domestic and foreign policies will continue to be supported by those who have to power to change them—the people. Instead of celebrating true humanitarian change agents, whether they may be American or not, they mindlessly champion war mongers, mass murderers and deniers of freedom.

Nat Turner, John Brown, Demark Vesey and Harriet Tubman are but a few of the individuals born within the illegally confiscated boundaries of the US that should be nationally celebrated. They literally gave their lives to resist one of the most oppressive systems known to man—chattel slavery. This is the same system that significantly built up America’s current oppressive economic arrangement—-capitalism. Converse to the aforementioned champions for freedom; American children are routinely fed a steady diet of individuals who were selective deniers of freedom. In essence they were champions of illegal incarceration, white supremacy and repression. They include the likes of George Washington (owner of over 300 African slaves), Woodrow Wilson (rabid racist and repressor of Haitians), and Andrew Jackson (slave owner and Native American murderer). For their destructive and inhumane deeds they have been rewarded with everything from having their images placed on currency to having bridges named after them. Without a mass progressively focused educational intervention far too many American children will continue to embrace the ideals and selective values of historical figures that routinely used their power to suppress the freedom of scores of people. Thus many of us who are in-tune with our collective consciousnesses must boldly ask ourselves the question, “From whose perspective will we follow?”  Will we demand a more humane and socially conscious education for our children regarding history and social studies, or will we go the way of the coward—thus ensuring that injustice will be passed down to younger generations?  We can no longer afford to selectively choose to extol historical figures that were repressive then profess that we are champions of freedom, justice, and equality for all. Those we praise with holidays, naming of streets, and buildings should, at the very least, have been uniform champions of those virtues. After all, can one truly be a defender of civil liberties and human rights when they owned people as property or waged bloody wars for imperialist purposes? We must turn the page towards justice and equality for all. Building this type of progressive culture begins with extolling those who actually upheld those admirable values. The perspective of the human rights champions must be followed, anything less is socially unacceptable.

Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.blogtalkradio.com/Your-World-News) and http://www.yourworldnews.blip.tv.

Can Pakistan Free Itself From the Corruption?

[An excellent report from a brave little website, PAKPOTPOURRI

Every country in the world is riddled with corruption.  In less "civilized" countries, the corruption of government is less subtle, more out in the open, you might say.  In Pakistan, it seems like an open secret.  It is like millions of big and little sponges, soaking-up money whenever it is available, to the greatest possible degree.  Perhaps it is the same way everywhere.  In such an environment, real "democracy" cannot work, since the powerful elite control all the resources and with it the people themselves.  The result is that there are no "rights," no "equality," no personal freedom to set the course of one's own life.

When the so-called "free press" of Pakistan does not yet exist, but the Internet does, then real patriots in Pakistan have a moral duty to their Motherland to use the Web to become their own news sources.  When the "legitimate press" lets you down, fails to report on vital news, or feeds the people slanted reports, then the alternative press is Pakistan's only hope.  If corruption or false religious indoctrination prevent progress, then trusted websites must expose this and  talk about the political corruption that permeates Pakistani society at all levels.

For now, the Internet remains free and you can express your political thoughts here.  I suggest that all of you do so...NOW.]

Can a Pakistani express his political preference?

This is a PAKPOTPOURRI EXCLUSIVE

By: F. M Shah

A Pakistani judge is totally handicaped when giving judgements over the cases brought before him. Because FIRs are based on the personal grudges and not the facts of the crime, there is a lack of resources and expertise and intent of investigation at the hand of institutionally corrupt police, the accused and the witnesses are under no moral pressure to tell the truth (even under oath), the spins and deceitful debriefing by the lawyers on the both sides compel the witness to present concocted stories. The district attorney who is supposed to be helping the prosecution case is biased for whatever reasons, and the judge is under threat from the higher authorities or the politically and materially strong parties involved in the case then how can a judge even if he is a man of integrity, make a decision that reflects the true spirit of justice.

A typical middle class Pakistani voter, is never in a normal frame of mind, surrounded by the socioeconomic uncertainties of working as a professional in Pakistan. He never get time to give a real analytical thought over political environment. He is still a voter and being asked to give his opinion upon an issue (who should form the government) that he does not have sufficient and or correct knowledge about.

Either he is or else deliberately made ignorant of the fundamental issues of the country. He is not informed of the true economic situations; the past the current or future.

One year “macro economy” is doing very well. Then suddenly he is told that the micro as well as macroeconomy is in ruins. He is confused regarding the status of the security and the threats. On one hand it is the sworn enemy of sixty years who is indulged in Confidence Building Measures and on the other it is those who are officially regarded as “our friends and coalition partners” are repeatedly bombing Pakistan and killing the civilians. No one is there to explain how Zardari gets away with billions in his pocket and how Nawaz Sharif, convicted of highjack, is first exiled and then comes back to win the elections. No one explains how a person who confesses of breeching the Constitution of Pakistan stays and holds at the highest office in the country……..and so on.

Jinnah’s Pakistan socio-political culture allows only corrupt and badmoaash type of people to perform in the political playground. When the list of national assembly candidates from my constituency is presented before me to make a choice, there is not even a single person to have a standard of character as leader.

There are also dangers of going to the polling booth to caste vote. Because innocent people how got killed or injured by the political activists gathered around the polling booths for the purpose of intimidating the voters or else in their celebratory mood anticipating a win. 

Everyone will lay his life for the country and would certainly caste vote and risk his life if he only know that his opinion would be counted when making the decisions in the best interest of the nation. The worst is the fear that such decisions are made by those who are not only the enemies of country but also the enemies of faith and philosophy of life.

How far the integrity of the ballot boxes is respected by those who are posted there to do that very job. How much the members of the parliament would regard the opinions once they get access to the ruling quarters. How easily two dozen armed men can come and kick off elected Prime Minister and put him or her in a jail on whatever charges. This is an act of extreme insult to the whole Pakistani nation while the perpetrators not only get away with it but also get highly rewarded. How much pleasure ruling elites have when they bow to the wishes of the foreign forces who hold the ideology that totally contradicts fundamental beliefs.

Under such circumstances none would prefer not to be asked for democratic opinion. Nobody would caste vote and rather avoid humiliation of his thoughts and ideology and would try and preserve his self-respect and dignity as best as he can. He would not, with his own hand endorse the sinful acts of the ruling-establishment by giving an open (opinion) cheque to the rulers. He would not take an oath upon any one person or a group of persons for an undisclosed (filthy) adventure. They would rather have a dictator ruling Pakistan under the state of individual and national sovereignty because a dictator will not commit any sin in his name. How can a patriotic Pakistani express his political opinion?

(F M Shah is a graduate of SZABIST with a keen interest in political development with special relation to Pakistan).

Pakistan MP drops effort to repeal blasphemy laws

[Pakistan's leaders have created the blasphemy laws as another tool for mind-control and behavior modification.  They use these tools now to further agitate and radicalize the Pakistani people, so that they might be stampeded like a herd of frightened cows.  Logic or rational discussions of the country's many problems gets trampled under the thundering hooves, leaving the people in a state of shock, unable to defend the country from the next attack from the people who have turned the Prophet's words (PBUH) into the "Great Satan's" weapon.  Before the government Islamification layered Saudi "Islam" over the entire country, there was a different Islam, an older Islam, an Islam of Peace.  Instead of preventing the real blasphemy from taking place (the distortion of scripture) and properly educating the children of Pakistan over the many years, with knowledge of the real world, Saudi-funded madrassas have poisoned the minds of thousands of Pakistani and Afghan boys, filling them with ideas of "jihad," waging "jihad" even though that would really mean that they would fight for the Americans and Saudis.

If Pakistan cannot get free from the many layers of radicalized religion layered over it, then it will surely suffocate.  If this effort to repeal the blasphemy laws has really been halted, then an effort must be made to amend them in different meaningful ways.]

Pakistan MP drops effort to repeal blasphemy laws

Supporters of Pakistani religious parties take part in a rally to protest against any attempt to modify the blasphemy laws Many in Pakistan are opposed to any effort to alter the blasphemy laws

A Pakistani politician has dropped her attempt to amend the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, accusing her party of appeasing extremists.

Pakistan People’s Party MP Sherry Rehman made her decision after the government ruled out changing the law.

Correspondents say Ms Rehman is one of only a few politicians prepared to speak out on the blasphemy law.

They say there has been a climate of fear since the murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer who opposed it.

Mr Taseer was killed in January by one of his bodyguards, who later admitted murdering the governor because he had spoken out against the blasphemy law.

Hundreds of people are in prison on charges under the law. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths and is sometimes exploited by people pursuing grudges against others.

It has been under scrutiny since a Christian, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death in November. Ms Bibi denies insulting the Prophet Muhammad in her Punjab village in June 2009.

‘Blow-back’

Ms Rehman told the BBC in January that she received death threats every half hour, but would defy them.

However, in a statement received by the BBC on Thursday, she said she would not be proceeding with her proposed bill following remarks by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani earlier in the week.

“Since the PM announced that there cannot even be discussion on procedural amendments, and the committee announced by the party to amend the laws has been disbanded, then as a PPP representative I had no option but to abide by the party’s decision in parliament.

She added: “Appeasement of extremism is a policy that will have its blow-back.”

Mr Gilani had said that no amendment in the law could be considered. He also disbanded a committee set up to determine how to amend the laws.

The BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says politicians in Pakistan are increasingly reluctant to amend the law – many are afraid of being targeted in the way Mr Taseer was.

He says Ms Rehman’s courageous stance against what is seen by some experts as a flawed law has few public supporters.

Ms Rehman stressed that she had not agreed to “withdraw” her private member’s bill.

“There was never any question of withdrawing the bill as the Speaker had never admitted it on the agenda,” she said.

Ms Rehman added that if the Speaker had allowed her bill “perhaps some of our colleagues would have understood that it was not suggesting total repeal of the law, but protecting our great Prophet’s name against injustices done via procedures introduced by [former President] Zia ul-Haq.

“It was a question of protecting our citizens from injustice done in the name of a religion that values peace and tolerance more than anything else,” she said.

Her statement came as Human Rights Watch urged the government to release a boy of 17 who is under arrest in Pakistan, accused of blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad in a high school exam.

Russia has likely lost another satellite

[Do you smell cyberwarfare?]

Russia has likely lost satellite

MOSCOW, Feb. 2 (UPI) — Russia has likely lost a military satellite it shot into space this week.

Russian news agency Interfax quoted an unnamed source from the Russian space industry as saying that the GEO-IK-2 satellite, designed to help the Russian military pinpoint targets on Earth, can’t be reached.

“Contact has still not been established with the spacecraft and it will most likely be considered lost,” the source told Interfax.

Launched Tuesday from the Pesetsk station in northern Russia via a Rockot carrier rocket, the satellite was designed to create a detailed three-dimensional image of the Earth’s surface

A loss of the satellite would be yet another blow for the Russian space industry, just five weeks after Russia lost three Glonass positioning satellites when their Proton-M carrier rocket crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

The incident angered the Kremlin, its main backer Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, who fired two senior space industry officials.

The Glonass satellites, of which Russia has 26 in orbit, are the backbone of the Russian system that’s competing with the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The new satellite was intended to circle the globe at an altitude of around 600 miles. Interfax said there were reports that U.S. monitoring services detected the satellite orbiting just 200 miles above Earth.

“The spacecraft will not be able to perform its intended functions at these orbit characteristics,” another space official told Interfax.

The Russian Defense Ministry and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos have set up a joint task force to locate the satellite and possibly steer it back on course, a difficult, if not impossible task, observers say.

The loss of the Glonass satellites had already been a major blow to Russia’s ambitions to restart its once highly advanced space program and become independent on foreign technology.

After a state commission concluded that experts from Energia, the space company that designed the booster attached to the carrier rocket, had miscalculated the booster’s fuel needs. Medvedev sacked Energia’s chief rocket designer and the deputy head of space agency Roscosmos.

Russia in October said it would put eight Glonass satellites into orbit between 2011 and 2013 to ensure the worldwide operation of its positioning system.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.