Archive

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan

September 30, 2010 1 comment

On October 7 the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization military allies will begin the tenth year of their war in Afghanistan, over 3,000 miles from NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The following month midterm elections will be held in the U.S. and NATO will hold a two-day summit in Portugal. The American administration is eager to achieve, or appear to have achieved, a foreign policy triumph in an effort to retain Democratic Party control of the Congress and NATO something to show for the longest and largest military mission in its 61 years of existence.

President Barack Obama has tripled the amount of American combat troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 and along with forces from other NATO member states and partner nations there are now over 150,000 foreign troops in the nation, the most ever stationed in the war-wracked country. 120,000 of those soldiers are now under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the most ever serving in a North Atlantic Alliance-led military operation. NATO Kosovo Force at its peak had 50,000 troops, but they entered the Serbian province after an almost three-month air war had ended.

The 120,000 NATO forces currently in theater – from 50 nations already with more pegged to provide troops – are at the center of the world’s longest-lasting and increasingly deadly hot war. NATO’s first ground war, its first combat operations in Asia.

Last year was the most lethal for the U.S and NATO in what is now a nine-year conflict and this year has already proven even more costly in terms of combat deaths. And there are three more months to go.

Washington and Brussels could decide to save face and end the fighting through some combination of an internal political settlement and a true international peacekeeping arrangement – rather than the subversion of the International Security Assistance Force that was established by a United Nations mandate in December of 2001 but which is now the Pentagon’s and NATO’s vehicle for waging war in Afghanistan. And in neighboring Pakistan.

But the military metaphysic prevalent in Washington over the past 65 years will allow for nothing other than what is seen as victory, with a “Who lost Afghanistan?” legacy tarnishing the president who fails to secure it and the party to which he belongs being branded half-hearted and defeatist.

As for NATO, the Strategic Concept to be adopted in November is predicated upon the bloc’s expansion into a 21st century global expeditionary force for which Afghanistan is the test case. A NATO that loses Afghanistan, that loses in Afghanistan, will be viewed more critically by the populations of its European member states that have sacrificed their sons and daughters at the altar of NATO’s international ambitions. In the words of then-Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer six years ago: “What is NATO doing in Afghanistan? Defending values at the Hindu Kush in the present day international climate. We have to fight terrorism wherever it emerges. If we don’t do it at the Hindu Kush, it will end up at our doorstep. In other words, this perception gap [of the North Atlantic military alliance operating in South Asia] in the long run must be closed and must be healed – that is, for NATO’s future, of the utmost importance.” [1]

Not satisfied with the Vietnam that Afghanistan has become, NATO has now launched its Cambodian incursion. One with implications several orders of magnitude greater than with the prototype, though, into a nation of almost 170 million people, a nation wielding nuclear weapons. Pakistan.

As the U.S. delivered its 20th deadly drone missile attack of the month inside Pakistan on the 27th, five times the amount launched in August and the most in any month since they were started in 2004, NATO conducted a series of attacks with helicopter gunships in Northwest Pakistan. Claiming the “right of self-defense” and in “hot pursuit” of insurgents that had reportedly attacked a NATO camp, Combat Outpost Narizah, in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the Pakistani border, this past weekend NATO attack helicopters conducted two forays into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where U.S. drone strikes have killed a record number of people this month.

Estimates of those killed, dutifully referred to in the Western press as insurgents, militants or terrorists, were 30, then 50, afterward 60, 70 and later “82 or higher.” [2]

The amount, like the identify, of the dead will never be definitively known.

Press reports stated the targets were members of the Haqqani network, founded by veteran Afghan Mujahedin leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who when he led attacks from Pakistani soil against Afghan targets slightly over a generation ago was an American hero, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” Two years ago the New York Times wrote: “In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a ‘unilateral’ asset of the CIA and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in ‘The Bin Ladens,’ a recent book by Steve Coll. At that time, Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Coll wrote.” [3]

As to the regret that the otherwise praiseworthy Haqqani has of late allied himself with the Taliban, one voiced by among other people the late Charlie Wilson who once celebrated Haqqani as “goodness personified,” in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last year Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told his American audience that the Taliban “was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them together. And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that….” [4]

On September 27 two NATO helicopters attacked the Kurram agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, killing six people and wounding eight. A local Pakistani government official described all the victims as civilians. According to Dawn News, “Nato has also shelled the area before.” [5] Three attacks in three days and as many as 100 deaths.

On the same day a U.S. drone-launched missile strike killed four people in the North Waziristan agency. “The identities of the four people killed in the attack were not known….” [6]

The above events occurred against the backdrop of the revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars that “a 3,000-strong secret army of Afghan paramilitary forces run by the Central Intelligence Agency had conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.” [7]

After mounting in intensity for two years and consisting in part – helicopter gunship attacks and special forces assassination team raids – of covert operations, the U.S. and NATO war in Northwest Pakistan is now fully underway and can no longer be denied.

The Pentagon – the helicopters used in the attacks on September 25 and 26 were American Apaches and Kiowas – defended the strikes over the weekend as falling within its rules of engagement and Defense Department spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. had adhered to “appropriate protocol” and “Our forces have the right of self-defense.” [8]

A spokesmen for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force initially denied that Alliance forces had launched any attacks inside Pakistani territory, although Afghan police officials had confirmed that they did. On September 27, however, the International Security Assistance Force verified that NATO forces had conducted the deadly strikes. As the third attack by NATO helicopters occurred on the same day, “Coalition officials said the cross-border attacks fell within its rules of engagement because the insurgents had attacked them from across the border.” [9]

A NATO official informed the press that “ISAF forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission.” [10]

Mehmood Shah, former top security official of the Pakistani government in the region where the helicopter gunship and drone strikes have killed over 200 people so far this month, said of the recent NATO attacks: “This should be considered a watershed event. They [Nato] must be warned: the next time you do this, it can lead to war. Our units should be deployed to fire upon them. This border has sanctity. Nato must realise they have a mandate to operate in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.” [11]

On September 27 Interior Minister Rehman Malik denounced the NATO raids as a violation of Pakistani territorial integrity and national sovereignty and told the nation’s Senate that the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad would be summoned to explain the attacks. Malik and the Pakistani government as a whole know that the Hamid Karzai administration in Kabul has no control over what the U.S. and NATO do in its own country, much less in Pakistan. The interior minister’s comment were solely for internal consumption, for placating Pakistani popular outrage, but as Pakistan itself has become a NATO partner and U.S. surrogate [12] its officials, like those of Afghanistan, will not be notified of any future attacks.

Nevertheless domestic exigencies compelled Malik to denounce the strikes inside his country and assert “I take the drone attacks in Pakistani territory as an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan.” A senator from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz “asked the government to inform the parliament about any accord it had reached with the US under which drone attacks were being carried out.” [13]

At the same time Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit went further and lodged what was described as a strong protest to NATO Headquarters in Brussels over the weekend’s air strikes, issuing a statement that said in part: “These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” as its mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghan border.

“There are no agreed ‘hot pursuit’ rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.” [14]

By the evening of September 27, after the Pakistani complaints were registered, NATO’s ISAF attempted to conduct damage control and reverted to the military bloc’s original position: That it has not launched attacks inside Pakistan at all. On that very day it had dispatched two more helicopter gunships for the third raid in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

NATO will continue to launch lethal attacks inside Pakistan against whichever targets it sees fit and will proffer neither warnings nor apologies. The U.S. will continue to escalate attacks with Hellfire missiles against whomever it chooses, however inaccurate, anecdotal and self-interested the reports upon which they are based prove to be.

The death toll in Pakistan this month is well over 200 and for this year to date over 2,000. The justification for this carnage offered by the U.S. and NATO is that it is intended to extend the policy of Barack Obama to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” insurgent networks in Afghanistan into Pakistan, supposedly the sooner to end the war.

Forty years ago Obama’s predecessor Richard Nixon began his speech announcing the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia with these words: “Good evening, my fellow Americans. Ten days ago, in my report to the nation on Vietnam, I announced the decision to withdraw an additional 150,000 Americans from Vietnam over the next year. I said then that I was making that decision despite our concern over increased enemy activity in Laos, in Cambodia, and in South Vietnam. And at that time I warned that if I concluded that increased enemy activity in any of these areas endangered the lives of Americans remaining in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.” [15]

He claimed that “enemy sanctuaries” in Cambodia “endanger the lives of Americans who are in Vietnam,” and “if this enemy effort succeeds, Cambodia would become a vast enemy staging area and a springboard for attacks on South Vietnam along 600 miles of frontier: a refuge where enemy troops could return from combat without fear of retaliation.”

The course he ordered was to “go to the heart of the trouble. And that means cleaning out major North Vietnamese and Vietcong occupied territories, these sanctuaries which serve as bases for attacks on both Cambodia and American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.”

The practical application of the policy was that “attacks are being launched this week to clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border.”

In language that has been heard again lately in Washington and Brussels – with nothing but the place names changed – Nixon claimed: “We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam….”

Washington indeed expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia, with what disastrous effects the world is fully aware, and soon thereafter departed Southeast Asia in defeat, leaving vast stretches of Vietnam and Cambodia in ruins.

Afghanistan and Pakistan will not fare any better.

Advertisements

Denge Fever infested Mosquitos may kill the Delhi Games

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Denge Fever infested Mosquitos may kill the Delhi Games

  • An outbreak of Denge Fever caused by mosquito infested puddles in the sites may be the last straw against the games.
  • TWO of India’s top track-cycling Commonwealth Games medal hopes have been struck down by dengue fever.
  • Vinod Malik, 25, and Somvir, 23, became seriously ill while training on the velodrome in Delhi recently and were rushed to hospital.

Dengue fever, which is passed by mosquitos, produces flu-like symptoms and can be fatal.

“I had one rider in hospital for eight days, the other four,” said Sydney-born India cycling coach Graham Seers.

“Dengue (fever) is definitely an issue and has been a major concern of mine with the team ever since I took on the coaching job for the Games 14 months ago.

“On any given day, I’d have up to 10 per cent of my squad off on sick leave with flu-like symptoms, high fever and diarrhoea.

“The two guys who went to hospital are two of my best and tests showed they had low white-blood-cell counts.

“Hygiene is another major worry in Delhi.”

Seers said he had taken extra precautions with his squad of 18 male and nine female riders in the lead-up to the competition starting on October 4.

“I’ve banned the wearing of shorts and T-shirts,” he said. “Long pants and long-sleeved shirts and blouses for the women is a must in Delhi.

“The squad has also attended compulsory seminars in Bangalore, about 1500km from where the team is based, attending lectures on dengue fever.”

Seers said the typical symptoms the riders were told to watch out for included the sudden onset of fever and intense headaches.

  • Next to the Commonwealth Games village, last-minute preparations are on at an athletics practice facility as armed police keep a close watch.
  • In fact, the security is almost oppressive. Armed commandoes are in position all along the road leading to the village.
  • Others are on the lookout from watchtowers on the perimeter. Last Sunday’s shooting in Delhi’s old city – in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured – is still fresh in everyone’s mind and the Commonwealth venues are under virtual lockdown.

Even the policemen are conscious that India’s reputation is on the line.

“Please tell the world it’s OK to come,” one of them tells me.

“All of you have been exaggerating the extent of the problems. Our national pride is at stake, don’t let it down.”

But that is a sentiment not everyone shares.
Filthy

The Games Village is still out of bounds but the BBC has managed to get hold of pictures from inside showing the conditions.
Continue reading the main story

In pictures: paw prints and leaking toilets
Send us your pictures of the village

They show filthy toilets with wash-basins and walls stained with betel leaf (chewed and spat out by contruction workers), bedrooms in a mess and flooded apartments, a result of all the heavy rain Delhi has experienced over the past few weeks.

Extra cleaning crews have been pressed into service and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has been in to take stock.

Even outside the area, workers are busy fixing the pavements, making sure the plants are in place and generally cleaning up.

Despite the sense of urgency there is a growing feeling, especially among some from the visiting teams, that it has been left a little too late.

There has been a constant stream of visitors, representatives of the participating nations, trying to assess the situation and feed the information back home.

Members of the Malaysian high commission are the latest to arrive, pulling up in a black limousine and being waved inside by the security guards.
Continue reading the main story
Related stories
Photographs expose Delhi concerns
NZ adds to India’s Games pressure
Delhi Games: Indian reaction

Although most of the initial criticism of the facilities came from Western countries, including England, Scotland, Canada and New Zealand, other nations including some of the smaller ones are also monitoring the situation.

It has forced Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call a crisis meeting of top ministers and officials to get a handle on the situation.
Scathing

His government is coming under intense criticism, not just from the international community, but increasingly from a furious Indian public.

In online polls carried out by national newspapers, radio call-in shows, blogs and television news programmes people are scathing in their criticism.

Many are particularly incensed at the insensitivity shown by one of the senior members of the Games’ organising committee, Lalit Bhanot, when he dismissed the concerns of many of the participating nations, putting them down to “different standards of hygiene” in the West.

“Does he mean we are happy living in filthy conditions?” one angry viewer asked on a TV show.

Many Indians fear their international standing will be left in tatters

Others have been asking why things have come to such a pass with India’s global standing taking a beating.

There are still some who think India can pull it off.

But a walk just beyond the Games Village makes you want to question their optimism.

The village has been built close to the Yamuna river which flows through Delhi. The incessant rain over the past few weeks has flooded much of the area.

From the road you can make out the gleaming towers of the village in the distance, across what seems to be an enormous lake – water that has collected over the past month.

And, on the road, people are living in makeshift tents having been moved from lower ground.

With talk of further rain and the level of the river rising even higher, it looks likely that more problems are on the way.
What’s Gone Wrong

Athletes’ village – Indian media reports only 18 of 34 towers are completed
Yamuna River – flooded in worst monsoon rain for 30 years, leaving pools attracting mosquitoes
Nehru Stadium – part of false ceiling collapsed in weightlifting area
Bridge leading to the Nehru Stadium – collapsed on Tuesday
Jama Masjid Mosque – Two tourists injured in shooting near mosque, Indian Mujahideen threatens more attacks
Shivaji Stadium – no longer to be used as a venue because it was not going to be ready in time
Yamuna Sports Complex – roof damaged by heavy rain in July

Superpower Democracy Mass-Murders Abroad! Largest Democracy Mass-murders Its Own Children

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Superpower Democracy Mass-Murders Abroad! Largest Democracy Mass-murders Its Own Children

  • The half-billion Indians who are nourished, and the millions that are over-nourished go about their lives and occupations in full knowledge and awareness of this mass death, though distracted by India’s commercial media’s entertainments, advertising to consume, dramatization of religious conflict and promoted fear of neighboring nations.
  • How many millions more over the age of five and how many of their parents perish is perhaps best illustrated by this month’s UN report that one third of the world’s starving ‘live’ in India. (India’s population is 1,150,000, 000, billion, one third would be 38,000,000.)
  • 42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight
  • Should Indian Leaders Who Spend Billions on Submarines While Others Starve Go Unpunished?
  • “While 2 million children die of malnutrition and starvation, India builds and buys submarines at the cost of this pathetic death and the stunted development of over 40% of its children who along with their parents suffer hunger.
  • About 60% children in Madhya Pradesh state are malnourished. Lying on a bed is a tiny malnourished child.

US media have never called millions killed in their own homes, by US military during invasions and occupations since Korea through Iraq, mass murder. Likewise, the annually legislated starvation of millions of Indians in the ‘largest democracy in the world’, is never called mass murder. India buys WMD, with money saved, seeks to use the market to solve the problem. NY Times fields a question, “Should Food be a Right?

CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, the New York Times and the Washington Post have never called the millions killed by U.S. military in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, along with the thousands in the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the hundreds in Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Grenada, Somalia and Yemen, mass-murder. The monolithic, Pentagon-fed, conglomerate owned U.S. media has presented each one of these invasions as just, and, as a way of excusing the killing, reminded us that ‘war is war.’

However, war was never declared during any of these death bringing activities. They were called “police actions,” ‘peace keeping’ or ‘protective’ military interventions. In every case, initially, Congress carefully avoided calling any of these invasions a war.

Shooting people dead in their very own country, more often than not, in their very own residences is simply mass-murder, whether justified as anti-communism, anti-terrorism or the protection of capital investments. One doesn’t have to be Einstein himself to see this clearly.

Likewise, U.S. corporate commercial mass-media, would never call India’s consistent, year after year, intentional allowing of millions of its citizens to die of starvation, mass-murder. India is always described as the world’s largest democracy, and media and U.S. politicians make a show of proudly promoting support for democracy. everywhere. So, no criticism of India, corporate ally of U.S. imperialism and globalization – certainly no charge of homicidal crime for its annual starvation of millions of its citizens.

But, in jurisprudence, when a parent is arraigned in court for having intentionally caused the starvation death of a child, the charge is murder. If a homicidal crime is judged to have been caused by unpremeditated neglect, the charge will be reduced from murder to manslaughter. In the case of India, the officials of the Indian government have witnessed millions of its citizens dying of year after year in photographs, video, testimony and detailed written material from annual government investigations, as they approved legislation that assured its continuance.

UN statistics over decades have shown no improvement in reducing this horrendous and painful death toll, and often, even recently, a worsening of the amount of its citizens dying for having been denied food has been documented. Yet year after year this mass death goes on being legislated.

The half-billion Indians who are nourished, and the millions that are over-nourished go about their lives and occupations in full knowledge and awareness of this mass death, though distracted by India’s commercial media’s entertainments, advertising to consume, dramatization of religious conflict and promoted fear of neighboring nations.

UN statistics show death by starvation or from malnutrition caused diseases for two million of India’s children under the age of five every year. How many millions more over the age of five and how many of their parents perish is perhaps best illustrated by this month’s UN report that one third of the world’s starving ‘live’ in India. (India’s population is 1,150,000, 000, billion, one third would be 38,000,000.)

That same New York Times that regularly nicknames India ‘the world’s largest democracy’ got around to feature a horrific side of India’s particular type of formal democracy with pathetic photo of a mother sitting next to her starving child on the front page of its August 8, 2010 edition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09food.html?th&emc=th

India Asks, Should Food Be a Right for the Poor? by Lynsey Addario

“JHABUA, India — Inside the drab district hospital, where dogs patter down the corridors, sniffing for food, Ratan Bhuria’s children are curled together in the malnutrition ward, hovering at the edge of starvation. His daughter, Nani, is 4 and weighs 20 pounds. His son, Jogdiya, is 2 and weighs only eight.

Jogdiya, 2, lay with an intravenous drip in the Jhabua District Government Hospital as his father, Ratan Bhuria, looked after him and his 4-year-old sister. [More Photos]

Landless and illiterate, drowned by debt, Mr. Bhuria and his ailing children have staggered into the hospital ward after falling through India’s social safety net. They should receive subsidized government food and cooking fuel. They do not. The older children should be enrolled in school and receiving a free daily lunch. They are not. And they are hardly alone: India’s eight poorest states have more people in poverty — an estimated 421 million — than Africa’s 26 poorest nations, one study recently reported.”
.
The best part of the article is where the talk turns to making money from feeding the starving as an incentive. (Financial gain being a preferred motive if not common provision within capitalist economics,)

“The question is whether there is a role for the market in the delivery of social programs,” said Bharat Ramaswami, a rural economist at the Indian Statistical Institute. “This is a big issue: Can you harness the market?”

There follows shocking and massive incriminating evidence of simple cruel murder of the poor, victims of the controlling private investment banking and its police enforcement inherent in a government of, by and for conscienceless free enterprise:

“India vanquished food shortages during the 1960s with the Green Revolution, which introduced high-yield grains and fertilizers and expanded irrigation, and the country has had one of the world’s fastest-growing economies during the past decade. But its poverty and hunger indexes remain dismal, with roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight.”

The New York Times and all U.S. media, while didactically supporting parliamentary democracy in capitalist economies while excusing the amoral byproducts of business priorities and exploitation of class division, have always jumped to designate as mass murder any loss of life caused in revolutions against the world ruling imperial system, caused precisely by desperation to feed hungry children.

For example, the killing during the bloody civil war in Russia created by the invasion of armed forces from fourteen nations and the immense starvation in its aftermath are attributed to communism. Allied invasions (two American armies among them) were meant to overthrow the Bolshevik led fledgling Soviet Union, a new popular government come to power peacefully by consensus in the bloodless October Revolution. (“Bolshevik’ means ‘majority’). But the invader nations are not accussed of mass murdering.

Many of the various efforts of the Mao Zetong led revolution to prevent the starvation of millions under the foreign banking backed government of Chiang Kai-shek are still characterized in capitalist media as mass murder. In other words, starvation is only murder if it happens under communist and anti-imperialist rule. The earlier horrendous starvation that precipitated revolution is never referred to as mass murder.

U.S. media can have it anyway they want it, but millions dying of starvation, as they have been for so many years, under the formal (or pseudo) democracy of huge India cannot be excused as unintended, or accidental or attributed to merciless forces of Nature. No! Nature has provided the wherewithal in resources for there to be no starving. These resources have been stolen from these people, to make money and buy things other than food, as indicated in the OEN published article August of last:

http://www.opednews.com/populum/page.php?p=1&f=Should-Indians-Who-Spend–by-Jay-Janson-090806-253.html

Should Indian Leaders Who Spend Billions on Submarines While Others Starve Go Unpunished?

– synopsis:
“While 2 million children die of malnutrition and starvation, India builds and buys submarines at the cost of this pathetic death and the stunted development of over 40% of its children who along with their parents suffer hunger. Lets help bring public awareness to bear on this homicidal horror of misplaced values by India’s political leaders. We speak up to save the children.”

In New York, when Prime Manmohan Singh was to address the UN General Assembly, a petition was circulated by the The Riverside Church Global Justice and Peace Ministry and the All Souls Unitarian Church Peace Task Force:

“Riverside Global Justice and Peace Ministries Endorsed Event

Petition

India Prime Minister Mammohan Singh Please!

SAVE MILLIONS OF CHILDREN DYING OF STARVATION & ALNUTRITION while
$BILLIONS for NUCLEAR SUBMARINES are being spent

Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh launched a 3 billion dollar nuclear submarine. A sub that can carry Russian built missiles equipped to deliver India’s Atomic bombs. A submarine made at the cost of taking bread from the mouths and life from the chests of Prime Minister Singh’s fellow citizens. Both the cost of building nuclear submarines, and the purchasing of others, are paid for with funds drawn on the treasury of a “democracy’ that does not feed its children.

Singh’s India is a gigantic torture chamber for the 47% of its children under five who suffer malnutrition. [47% is a World Bank estimate] Malnutrition makes children prone to illness and stunts their physical and intellectual growth for a lifetime, with dire consequences for mobility and mortality. Its also torture for the parents who watch in agony as 2.1 million of their kids die before their fifth birthday from malnutrition and preventable illnesses. [UN estimate from Malnutrition in India, Wikipedia]

As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists by Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 3/12/2009

“NEW DELHI “Small, sick, listless children have long been India’s scourge “a national shame,” in the words of its prime minister, Manmohan Singh. after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse …” Seems by the Prime Minister’s own admission, his wife breaking the bottle of champagne on the bow of this incredible investment last month becomes a hideous spectacle of death over life.

Akshay Mangla in Delhi complains that the pathetic state of child health and education in India should be seen as no less than a total failure of its democracy, public institutions and civil society.

Malnutrition getting worse in India by Damian Grammaticas, BBC News, Madhya Pradesh

“About 60% children in Madhya Pradesh state are malnourished. Lying on a bed is a tiny malnourished child. Her limbs wasted, her stomach bloated, her hair thinning and falling out. She stares, wide-eyed, blankly at the ceiling. Roshni is six months old. She should weigh 4.5kg. But when she is placed on a set of scales they settle at just 2.9kg.

BBC News, 7/26/09 India launches nuclear submarine. “… a second one is due to be constructed shortly. Pravda, Russia, 20.08.2008 “India places two-billion-dollar order for Russian missiles ” made for submarines of the Indian Navy. The nearest order is seven submarines.” Manasi Kakatkar, ForeignPolicyBlogs.com, “”India getting two Akula class nuclear powered attack submarines from Russia, and six Scorpene submarines from France”

With its attention getting front page article India Asks, Should Food Be a Right for the Poor? featuring a photo unbearable to look at, the New York Times has broadened responsibility for this ultimate inhumanity to include its readers outside India.”

Starvation on a planet where obesity is a growing problem is grotesque commentary on the indifferent heartlessness of otherwise decent people in the desperate, and sometimes savage, commodified and commercialized society most of us have accepted as necessary. But when staring at the photo of one dying child among millions, few of us escape seeing something of ourselves or our own children in that expiring life pictured in the newspaper.

Jay Janson is archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer, who has lived and worked on all the continents and whose articles on media have been published in China, Italy, England and the US. He now resides in New York City
. Superpower Democracy Mass-Murders Abroad! Largest Democracy Mass-murders Its Own Children By jay janson, 14 August, 2010, Countercurrents.org

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09food.html?th&emc=th

Evidence of Trouble in India

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Evidence of Trouble in India

After ruthless and indiscriminate attacks on the security forces and police stations, it is would not be wrong to infer that the followers of the Mao’s movement are rapidly increasing. According to a recent study, Naxalite groups are busy extending their influence, with rough estimates about their strength suggesting a number running into tens of millions. Recent incidents such as attacks on police stations in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa, and the storming on the house of a Congress leader A.S. Gautam, in Dantewada, suggests that this revolutionary struggle is now getting out of hand.

Whilst the Indian security forces have increased their efforts to crack down on the revolutionaries, little if any attention has been giving to ascertaining the causes behind the rapid rise in the popularity of the movement. While India has always tried to shift all the blame concerning terrorism on Pakistan, it has conveniently ignored the factors which are helping spawn the menace within its own boundaries. The deprived and discriminated masses, which form about 40 to 50 percent of the population, are subject to poor governance and social injustice. A close analysis of the situation on the ground renders the old argument about infiltration from the Pakistani side, an old cliché; without any rhyme or reason.

The Indian region is a unique example in the world as the region that continues to be in a perpetual state of war. The cut-throat political vendetta between warlords (both local and outsiders), clashes of egos, simmering religious and sectarian tensions are compounded by the complex linguistic and literary developments, all of which have led to the proliferation of a suicidal culture during the last three millennia.

In hindsight, it is obvious that most of the efforts launched by Delhi to bring a lasting “peace” in India have proved to be unsuccessful. Despite the claims of a miracle economic growth and the world’s largest democracy, issues such as racial apartheid, expansionism and hegemonic muscle-flexing have not been addressed properly, which has led to poor relations with the neighbouring states as well.

Since its establishment, the caste system in India has persisted as a strong social and economic divide. Even during the Raj, it was only the Brahmans who were selected to fit into the British scheme of sharing power with the locals. Interestingly, prominent leaders such as Nehru and Gandhi too emerged from the higher castes, with lower castes often having little representation. Leaders belonging to the Dalit caste, the bottom rung of the ladder, such as the Indian constitutionalist Ambedkar were often overlooked
Dalits, who constitute approximately 20 percent of India’s one billion plus population, have often struggled against the caste hierarchy, a system which has sentenced them an the eternal yoke of serfdom. The continuation of such a discriminatory outlook has led to a vicious cycle among the caste systems due to the excessive feelings of discontent amongst “lower” classes. Thus, the concept of a unified nation still seems to be elusive as far as India is concerned.

Since philosophy of Communism relieves the society from any polarisation, it is considered by a growing number of people as the only panacea to overcome class differences. Mao’s political theory has not only gained popular support amongst the lower sections of Indian society, but has also alienated the privileged and dominant groups, as they are not ready to share their perks and privileges with the ‘have-nots’. Now the former group has turned to force, as a tool to fight for their betterment. It is thus no wonder that the Indian Prime Minister has come out and stated that India is facing its most grave threat from the Maoists, and this factor must be not be overlooked if we are to tackle the terrorism issue in the region.

The Nation

And now Krishna clears ISI of terror charges in India

— disapproves Home Secy’s remark on ISI’s role in Mumbai attacks

— snubs Pillai over irresponsible statement

From Christina Palmer

NEW DELHI—Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday rued that home secretary G K Pillai’s remarks about the role of the ISI in 26/11 attack were made on the eve of his talks with Pakistan.

“Mr Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit,” Krishna said in an interview to a television channel, making public his displeasure with Pillai for the first time.

Pillai had commented that the Mumbai carnage of November 28, 2008, was planned by the ISI “from beginning to end”. “When two foreign ministers are meeting after the Mumbai attack, there was a special significance for this meeting,” Krishna said.

“Everyone who was privy to whatever was happening in government of India ought to have known that the right kind of atmosphere from India’s side should have been created for the talks to go on in a very normal manner, but unfortunately this episode happened,” he added.

“Well, I have had some discussions with the prime minister,” Krishna replied when asked if he had conveyed his dissatisfaction over Pillai’s remarks to the prime minister.

After his talks with Krishna in Islamabad on July 15, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a joint press conference that the remarks made by India’s home secretary were not “helpful” for better relations when a journalist asked him about Pakistan’s action against Hafeez Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the Mumbai attack.

The next day, Krishna told reporters in Delhi that there was no comparison with Saeed and Pillai as the former was crying jihad against India.

Krishna’s criticism of Pillai has brought out in the open differences of perception within the government over engagement with Pakistan. At a seminar in New Delhi on Tuesday, Menon had endorsed Pillai’s remarks by pointing out links between the official establishment and the existing intelligence agencies. Krishna, however, was also critical of Qureshi’s abrasive style in his interaction with the media.

“We should understand the spirit of Thimphu and spirit of Thimphu was to make earnest effort to bring about reconciliation between two countries and I do not want that spirit to be eroded even by a remotest possible way,” he said.

“I think we can put forward any contention that a country can face in a most forceful way but there has to be dignity, there has to be civility and civility is certainly no weakness,” he added.

Even when Krishna was in Islamabad on July 16, Qureshi held a press conference with Pakistani journalists and criticised India for its selectively focusing on terror and sidelining other vital bilateral issues like Kashmir.

Kabul conference highlights Pakistan’s seminal role

Kabul conference highlights Pakistan’s seminal role

It has been a cascading series of events. The Afghan president visited Pakistan and called the countries inseparable conjoined twin brothers. This cleared the way for the Tehran Agreement (Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan), then there was Istanbul Meeting (All the neighbors of Afghanistan and Turkey), then there was London Conference (62 members of the international community). After the London Conference an Afghan jirga was held which approved reconciliation with the Afghan National Resistence (aka Taliban). President Hamid Karzai called the Taliban “Talibjan (Dearest students) and has been talking to the Afghan National Resistance. Now there is the Kabul Meeting with 72 countries represented in Afghanistan’s capital.

In all the previous conferences a Pan-Afghan has been suggested and proposed. Now the Kabul Conference is suggesting and advertising a similar message for all Afghans. Even Bharat which was opposing the Pan-Afghan solution or any reconciliation with the Afghan National Resistance–has now accepted the reconciliation formula proposed by Pakistan.

As NATO is seeking deeper links with Pakistan–in a post Afghan phase, and Kabul and Islamabad seem to be drawing closer with trade and access to ports, there has been a transformational improvement in the atmospherics in the two capitals. Pakistan is proposing joint monitoring of the Durand Line and is now training Afghan Army officers in one of the finest military academies in the world–in Kakul.

Pakistan has been a crucial and important player in the reconciliation process.

British and US sources are confirming internal Afghan and NATO documents which outline the beginning of the withdrawal and the end of the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

As international leaders arrive in Kabul for a key conference on Afghanistan’s future, Channel 4 News has obtained the document on which the Afghan government’s plan to reintegrate the Taliban is based.

As International Editor Lindsey Hilsum writes, it says fighters could be retrained in forestry and literacy skills. … I say it’s a government document, because the front page says “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan National Security Council”, but the 80 pages of management consultant-speak about ‘stakeholders’, ‘change management’, ‘broad strategic vision’ and ‘a menu of conflict recovery options’ suggest that the men from the Afghan ministry were not the ones to write the draft. The flowery paragraphs about “We Afghans desire… a consolidated and sustainable peace”, and statements that it’s all ‘Afghan owned and led’ do not convince. The document says that international donors will spend $772m over five years to retrain former Taliban fighters in forestry, literacy, technical and vocational skills and keep them busy on agricultural conservation and public works.’ – UK Channel 4 News

The Official Chinese media is highlighting Pakistan’s role at the Kabul Conference:

ISLAMABAD, July 21 (Xinhua) — The international conference in Kabul has backed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s efforts of reconciliation with Taliban. Representatives of almost every country in their speeches tried to announce the end of its engagement in Afghanistan. This is now a test case for the Afghan security forces as how to deal with the law and order in 2014, the deadline set by President Karzai to hand over security to Afghan forces.

Some 150,000 US-led NATO troops have fought their enemy — the Taliban and remnants of al-Qaeda in nearly nine years, but the fast growing deaths of foreign troops raised concerns over how foreign troops will deal with insurgents.

June was the deadliest month for foreign forces in Afghanistan with 102 deaths including 60 of Americans. Over 50 NATO troops have died this month. Taliban failed to disrupt the Kabul Conference, but their rockets fired at Kabul international airport forced diversion of the plane of the UN Secretary General to the U. S-controlled Bagram airbase north of Kabul. The rocket attack to some extent highlighted Taliban ability that they can attract the world attention.

The conference highlighted the role of Pakistan in any possible political reconciliation and reintegration process as it is strongly believed that Islamabad still has influence on the Afghan Taliban. The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said in Islamabad on Wednesday that Pakistan can play important role in Afghanistan’s political reconciliation. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quick to add that Islamabad will play role in political reconciliation after the Afghan government formally makes a request for such a role.

When Pakistan announced this January to reach out Afghan Taliban, several Afghan experts and foreign media opined that Islamabad can play a role as it has influence on Afghan Taliban. Pakistan is believed to have strong contacts with Haqqani network, which is based in North Waziristan tribal region and led by Siraj- ud-Haqqani,the son of former Taliban Minister Jalaluddin Haqqani.

No delegate opposed talks with Taliban in the Kabul conference as NATO member countries are anxious to quit Afghanistan as they have not succeeded in defeating their enemy despite spending some 40 billion US dollars and loosing hundreds of soldiers.

After President Obama’s announcement to start withdrawal of forces in July 2011, several other voices emerged for political reconciliation and the Kabul conference endorsed those voices.

Late last month, head of the British army Gen Sir David Richards surprised the world when he suggested politicians and military chiefs to talk to members of the Taliban sooner rather than later. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australian Defence Minister have also said they could start withdrawal of troops in 2011.

These are among NATO’s important countries and the others will follow them to leave Afghanistan. NATO is confident to train the Afghan forces to take responsibility in 2014, but Afghan experts say it may be very difficult for the Afghan forces to deal with the Taliban and that is why the notion of reconciliation is gaining momentum. Pakistan would play a key role in this process. The Afghan President, on a number of occasions, sought Islamabad’s help to reach out to Taliban.

Many believed that without the help of Pakistan it would be impossible to oust Taliban and it would also be difficult to reconcile with Taliban. Pakistan’s contacts with Afghan Taliban are not a secret. Some local security officials privately defended such contacts as a must as Islamabad needs influence in the neighboring country. Kabul conference highlights Pakistan’s role. English.news.cn 2010-07-21 23:56:13 FeedbackPrintRSS, by Muhammad Tahir

Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

Categories: Article Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,