Tag Archives: control

Book Review: Al Gore – “The Future – What are the drivers of Global Change.”

You can’t deny Al Gore’s knowledge & intelligence. A thought provoking book, every page of his book offers new insights. A must read book. In his book “The Future: What are the drivers of global Change”, he writes;  “The dominance of wealth & Corporate influence in decision making has so cowed most politicians that they  are scared to even discuss this existential threat in any meaningful way. (Page 323)

“With rare exceptions, the majority of legislators are no longer capable of serving the public interest because they are so dependent on Campaign Contributions from these corporate interests & so vulnerable to their non-stop lobbying.” — “It is profoundly troubling that special interests have been able to Capture Control of decision making & policy formation.” (page 326)

“ … Greece is only the best known of many examples of countries no longer able to make decisions for themselves. It must first get permission from the European Union, which supports it, and international Banks, which holds its debt.”

“U.S self-government is now about completely dysfunctional, incapable of making important decision necessary to realm control of its destiny.”

“The inequality in the distribution of wealth, property and income in the United States is now larger than at any time since 1929. The outbreak of the Occupy Movement has been driven by the dawning  awareness of the majority of Americans that the operations of democratic Capitalism in its current form are producing unfair & intolerable results. But the weakened state of democratic decision making  in the U.S. and the enhanced control over American democracy by the forces of wealth & corporate power, have paralyzed the ability of the county to make rational decisions in favour of politicians that would remedy these problems” (Page 121)

“Corporate “Persons” on the other hand now often seen to have little regard for how they can help the country in which they are based, they are only concerned about how that country can help them make more money.”

“Some political Scientists have asserted that the influence of corporations on modern governance is now almost analogous to the influence of the medieval Church during the era of feudalism” (page 125)

“Ruther Ford B – Hayes, to complain that, “this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is government of corporations, by corporations & for the corporations.” (Page 106)

“It is now common for lawyers representing Corporate lobbies to sit in the actual drafting sessions where legislation is written and to provide the precise language for new laws intended to remove obstacles to their corporate business plans – usually by weakening provisions of existing laws & regulation intended to project the public interest against documented excesses and abuses. Many U.S. state legislatures often now routinely rubber stamp laws that have been written in their entirely by Corporate Lobbies.

Having served as an elected official in the federal government for the last quarter of the 20th century, and having observed it closely before that period, and since, I have felt a sense of shock and dismay at how quickly the integrity & efficacy of American democracy has nearly collapsed. There have been other periods in American history when wealth & corporate power have dominated the operations of government but there are reasons for concern that this may more than a cyclical phenomenon particularly recent court decisions that institutionalize the dominance & control of wealth & corporate power. “(Page 104-105)

Alternatives to Capitalism

There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There

Jerry Mander’s new book explores the fatal flaws of the “obsolete” capitalist system and strategies for change.

By Jerry Mander

The following is an excerpt from Jerry Mander’s new book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Counterpoint, 2013):

Which Way Out?

Let’s start with some good news. There is no shortage of good alternative ideas, plans, and strategies being put forth by activist groups and “new economy” thinkers in the United States and all countries of the world. Some seek to radically reshape the current capitalist system. Others advocate abandoning it for something new (or old). There is also a third option, a merger of the best points of other existing or proposed options, toward a “hybrid” economic model that can cope with modern realities.

Continue reading Alternatives to Capitalism

The Twilight of American Empire?

By John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus

As people near retirement age, they enter the twilight years. Sometimes, they rebel against retirement. They want to keep working. They‘re not interested in shuffling out of their office never to return. And if they’re in fact the owner of the workplace, conflicts often ensue. Those who have power rarely want to give up that power.

The United States is relatively young as a country. It is even younger as the “leader of the free world.” But for at least three decades, reports have circulated that the American empire has entered its twilight years, perhaps even its dotage.

The U.S. government itself cautioned us to scale back our expectations in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter called on Americans to cut back on consumerism and adjust to an age of diminishing expectations. Then, after the Reagan rebound, we were warned by Yale professor Paul Kennedy of imperial overstretch in the late 1980s. The Clinton years saved us from bankruptcy and the George W. Bush administration again reasserted American power in the world.

But now, the United States has again sunk into economic malaise and the wars of the last decade have left the country badly bruised. Historian Alfred McCoy believes the U.S. empire won‘t make it until 2025. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung pulls the horizon a little closer to 2025. It’s also possible that the empire already ended and somebody forgot to make the announcement. In 2011, Standard and Poor‘s removed the United States from its list of risk-free borrowers, putting us below Canada and Australia. That could very well have been the death knell.

Predicting the end of American empire is complicated by the fact that the United States is not a traditional empire. It does not try to maintain territorial control over distant lands (though many residents of Hawai’i and Guam might disagree). It doesn‘t practice a straightforward policy of pillaging overseas possessions for their material wealth. It practices a form of consensual give-and-take with its allies in Europe and Asia.

But the American Goliath does straddle the globe militarily, with hundreds and hundreds of military bases and Special Forces operating in 71 countries. The United States remains number one in the dubious categories of overall military spending and overall military exports.

Economically, the United States attempts to use the size of its economy to negotiate favorable deals with smaller countries (think: NAFTA) and often defines its national security priorities by their proximity to valuable natural resources (think: oil). It wields disproportionate influence in international economic organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Culturally, Hollywood and the music industry and the television studios all set the standard for cool around the world. English is the world language, and the dollar (for now) is the world currency.

This is, in other words, an empire of consent. Other governments ask for our military bases (though often over the objections of their citizens). Other governments want to trade with the United States. No one makes people watch Avatar or Titanic, the top-grossing movies worldwide. No one forces consumers at gunpoint to eat at McDonald’s or drink Coca-Cola. It‘s true that Washington does what it can to tilt the playing field – through export subsidies, diplomatic arm-twisting, and the occasional show of force. And it can be a very lonely world for those countries, like North Korea, that consistently defy the United States. But this still remains a much more complex set of relationships than Pax Romana or Pax Brittanica.

However one defines U.S. power, though, a fundamental shift is clearly taking place in the world. China is slated to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy as early as 2016. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, many people already believe that China has done so. Indeed, if measured by purchasing power, China nosed past the United States a couple years ago.

It‘s not just China. The other celebrated members of the BRICS – Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa – are more quietly building up their economic and geopolitical power. Then there’s MIST – Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey – another group of rising powers. The proliferation of other groupings – the Next 11, CIVETS – all testifies to the transformation of world power.

Meanwhile, the United States is behaving like a country desperately trying to maintain its edge. It has proclaimed a “Pacific pivot” even though it doesn‘t have the resources to execute any significant shift from the Middle East to Asia. It has attempted to maintain unsustainable levels of military spending at a time of serious budget constraints. It has tried to maintain a surveillance state in the face of considerable challenges from both individuals and organizations. Detroit has gone bankrupt; bridges have collapsed in Washington state and Arizona; thousands in New York and New Jersey are still homeless after last year’s Hurricane Sandy; gun violence annually claims tens of thousands of lives.

And on the issues where the world truly needs leadership – global warming, global poverty, global militarism – the United States is either out to lunch or very much part of the problem.

An aging chief executive who resists calls for retirement will often whip out their trump card: apr?s moi, le deluge! In other words, if the top person goes, whatever their vices might be, the organization will collapse because no one else can provide effective leadership.

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies. His articles and books can be found at http://www.johnfeffer.com. His latest book is Crusade 2.0 (City Lights, 2012).

The views presented in this column are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Hankyoreh.

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

Courtesy: the hankyoreh
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_editorial/597923.html

Chinese Troops Set Up Post 10km Inside Ladakh – India Times

By IndiaTimes

NEW DELHI: In yet another deep incursion into Indian territory, Chinese troops apparently made inroads into the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post there this week.

Indian Army officials were, however, not too perturbed about the incursion, holding that it was a common occurrence. “In that area, patrols do have a face-off every now and then due to differing perceptions of where the Line of Actual Control lies. We resolve it through existing consultative border mechanisms,” said a senior officer.

As per reports, a platoon-strength contingent of about 50 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), which mans that stretch of the border, have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.

ITBP has asked for a flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response till now.

The Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that specializes in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China. IAF has in recent years activated advanced landing grounds at DBO and two other places in eastern Ladakh as part of the policy to build military infrastructure along the LAC, in a belated move to counter strategic moves by China in the region.

Courtesy: India Times
http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/chinese-troops-set-up-post-10km-inside-ladakh-73150.html

Democracy Military Style

By

The army chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, recently invited a team of journalists for a briefing, ostensibly to dispel rumours about the military standing in the way of the next elections. But alongside, he took the opportunity to seriously question the capacity of the politicians to handle affairs of the state, particularly their inability to resettle Swat after the army operation, the Hazara killings in Balochistan and the issue of terrorism in the country. The general also took a dig at the Chief Election Commissioner, Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim for failing to recognise the COAS after a two-hour-long meeting with him. The incident was clearly intended as a comment on the mental capacity of the CEC.

The meeting generated a lot of excitement. Some prominent journalists immediately eulogised the military commander’s sincerity in letting democracy thrive in the country. How serious the general is about democracy, however, remains to be seen. What this dialogue portends for the future of politics and the security of Pakistanis is a moot point.

If it were another country, the meeting would not even have taken place, let alone been reported on. One would like to remind the good general that in decent states, people usually do not remember the face or even the name of the army chief. And more importantly, the army chief calling journalists for a private, ‘chamber orchestra’ kind of meeting is a fairly sinister tool for intervention in politics. This is one of the many methods for derailing the democratic process. It started with General Musharraf, who was extremely fond of talking and would very often invite journalists and academics to “enlighten” them with his perspective on various national issues. General Kayani operates differently. He invites journalists and, reportedly, he sits there strategically dropping pearls of wisdom to set the tone for a debate. He launches an idea and then goes quiet. The moments of silence are filled allegedly by some of the “planted” minions in the meetings who then give interpretations of what they believe are Kayani’s thoughts. He offers no comments; he only runs rings of cigarette smoke around his captive audience.

Interestingly, he is not the only one who meets with journalists. The ISPR and the ISI have always had their own lines of communication with the media. This is not to trade any secrets, but to create a certain discourse that helps boost the army’s image vis-à-vis the politicians.’

Continue reading Democracy Military Style

14th March – 130th anniversary of Karl Marx

Leader of oppressed people of the world died on 14th March 1883.

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to change it.” – KARL MARX

“Democracy is the road to socialism.” – Karl Marx

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.” – Karl Marx

“Revolutions are the locomotives of history.” – Karl Marx

“The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs.” – Karl Marx

Continue reading 14th March – 130th anniversary of Karl Marx

Capitalism Becomes Questionable – by Richard D. Wolff

The depth and length of the global crisis are now clear to millions. In the sixth year since it started in late 2007, no end is in sight. Unemployment rates are now less than halfway back from their recession peak to where they were in 2007. Over 20 million are without work, millions more limited to part-time work, millions have been foreclosed out of their homes. Those who retain jobs suffer declining real wages, fewer benefits, reduced job security, and more work. This year of “austerity” began with an increase in the payroll tax rate for over 150 million wage-and-salary earners from 4.2 to 6.2 per cent (a 48% increase from 2012) — a far more significant tax event than the trivial — but wildly hyped — increase of taxes on those earning over $450,000 annually from 35 to 39.6 per cent (a 13% increase from 2012). Austerity deepens as Republicans and Democrats negotiate merely details of their agreements to cut government spending on social programs helping working people.

Between the crisis and today’s austerity policies lie the bailouts — a bought government’s program to aid mega-finance and other large corporations with unlimited funds unmatched by anything comparable for the mass of working people and smaller businesses. The bailouts worked for them, for the large corporations who secured them for themselves. For that reason, “recovery” blessed them while it bypassed everyone else. Now austerity policies shift onto the general population major portions of the costs of the crisis and the bailouts. The situation is so bad and US government complicity with capitalists at the people’s expense so exposed that the capitalist system is becoming questionable. Criticism challenges the last half-century’s treatment of capitalism as the absolutely best possible economic system, beyond any need for discussion or debate, justifiably implanted around the world by military force, etc.

First of all, this deep and long crisis undermines decades of confident assurances and predictions that another deep capitalist depression was no longer likely or even possible. Capitalism’s inherent instability overwhelmed and thus proved the futility of efforts to prevent its crises. Moreover, both conventional and extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies failed repeatedly to bring Europe, Japan, and the US out of the crisis. Central banks, international agencies, and national executives charged with economic responsibilities have, since 2007, spoken with assurance and met often, posed for media photos, puffed and threatened, made a few last-minute, stop-gap agreements, resolved to meet again and do more at the next meeting. However, the crisis continued for most people. In many places it has gotten much worse. All this challenges glib notions that capitalism’s highest authorities have the system “under control.”

Implicitly, at first, millions of people began to question whether capitalism does still “deliver the goods” as its defenders so long insisted. In the US, declining economic conditions for parents coupled with rising school debts and declining job prospects for their children suggest rather that capitalism “delivers the bads.” The widening inequalities of wealth and income that contributed to the crisis have in turn been further aggravated by it.

Continue reading Capitalism Becomes Questionable – by Richard D. Wolff

Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

President Zardari announces Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

By:

ISLAMABAD: China took control of Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Monday as part of its drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential Arabian Sea naval base, sparking Indian concern. ….

Read more » DAWN

Link – http://dawn.com/2013/02/18/president-zardari-announces-chinese-takeover-of-gwadar-port/

A Pakistani soldier’s perspective

Drop in the Ocean – On whose side is Allah?

by Gen. Shahid Aziz

Published in The Nation, December 30, 2012.

Half-cocked measures never work. Public sentiments are echoed in slogans like ‘drone attacks must end’, ‘stop supporting Baloch separatism’, ‘Black Water and the likes must end terrorism in Pakistan’, ‘stop interfering in our domestic affairs’. But these are mere public appeasement proclamations, made in a manner not to offend our masters. The people, however, know that nothing short of a total breakaway from the US will end our plight. Half-cocked measures never work. And we cannot breakaway unless the current political order is replaced with something more dynamic. They have permeated to the very roots of this system and will control any change within it. This political carousel, irrespective of new players, will continue to remain compliant to US objectives. For any positive outcome, these shackles have to be entirely removed and a new citizen friendly order created; adjustments to fit ankle size will not reduce the pain.

Continue reading A Pakistani soldier’s perspective

Pakistani anti-corruption march reaches Islamabad

An influential Pakistani preacher and thousands of his supporters have reached Islamabad on Monday as part of a “long march” against corruption.

Tahirul Qadri, a preacher who returned to Pakistan from Canada last month, is leading a call for electoral reforms.

He left the city of Lahore on Sunday with thousands of supporters, and reached Islamabad late on Monday, where he addressed crowds near parliament.

The authorities accuse him of trying to postpone elections due by May.

The cleric wants the military and judiciary to be involved in installing a caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming elections.

The government is due to disband in March, and elections must then be held within six weeks.

Ultimatum

Addressing tens of thousands of supporters in the capital late on Monday night, Mr Qadri called for provincial assemblies to make way for a caretaker administration.

He wants measures put in place to prevent corrupt people or criminals from standing for elected office.

“Morally, your government and your assemblies have ended tonight,” he said from behind bullet-proof glass on a stage erected on Jinnah Avenue, less than a mile from Pakistan’s parliament.

“I will give [the government] a deadline until tomorrow to dissolve the federal parliament and provincial assemblies. After that, the people’s assembly here will take their own decision.”

Earlier, his black chauffeur-driven car was showered with pink rose petals as it approached the stage in Pakistan’s main city.

By the time his procession reached Islamabad, an estimated 10,000 people had joined the slow-moving convoy of cars, buses and trucks – more crowds were waiting in Islamabad to greet the cleric.

An extra 15,000 police had been deployed on the streets and many parts of the capital were sealed off.

Authorities in the capital had warned that Mr Qadri and his supporters would not be allowed into the city centre. The government had warned that militants may target the marchers.

Mr Qadri’s flamboyant preaching style and expensive television campaigns have raised his profile in Pakistan in recent weeks.

But there has also been widespread speculation that he is backed by Pakistan’s powerful military, and is being used to reassert the army’s control over Pakistani politics.

Continue reading Pakistani anti-corruption march reaches Islamabad

Gen. Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI

Former ISI chief Hamid Gul said that as long as politicians were corrupt, the Army would interfere in the state’s affairs.

ISLAMABAD: During an interview on DawnNews, former chief of the Inter Service Intelligence(ISI) General (Retd) Hamid Gul said that politicians in the country were corrupt, and at the same time admitted responsibility for creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a political alliance that was allegedly created to prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning.

He said that he is not afraid of any case leveled against him, nor is he afraid of being hanged. “The army cannot be controlled by politicians, the army has put control on itself,” he said.

Speaking on DawnNews’s programme ‘Faisla Awam Ka‘, Hamid Gul not only defended the creation of the IJI, but also credited General (Retd) Aslam Beg for helping create it.

Continue reading Gen. Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI

YouTube ban restricts rights of Pakistanis: Human rights organisation

KARACHI: Condemning hate speech on the internet in general and the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” in particular, the Bytes for All (B4A) Pakistan said it believes that banning “channels of communication [YouTube], limiting access to information platforms and steps to curtail free expression only serve to pave the way for politics-based control systems that curb the voices of individuals.”

The B4A, a human rights organisation with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies, commented on the recent ban imposed on video sharing website YouTube as per the order of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

The organisation stressed that the film should not be allowed to form the basis of systematic censorship and filtering of internet in the country.

It further stated that the blanket ban restricted the rights of Pakistani citizens, who wish to use the platform for counter-argument, expression and other educational and developmental purposes.

“This extreme step ignores the alternative, more conservative actions that were available to the government, including the issuing of a take-down notice to YouTube for the removal of specific content in Pakistan,” the B4A remarked.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Pakistanis to be banned from travelling abroad if country fails to control polio by 2013

All Pakistanis would be banned from going abroad if the country fails to eradicate polio by 2013 as per a World Health Organisation resolution, according to a report.

The Senate Standing Committee on Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) termed the move as an alarming situation and said that the government needed to take appropriate measures to meet the international requirement.

According to senior officials of the IPC, WHO was ready to present a resolution against Pakistan but it was delayed due to the efforts of the Pakistani ambassador in Geneva.

The official said the Pakistani ambassador informed the government to take measures in this regard, The Daily Times reports.

According to the paper, Senator Dr Karim Ahmed Khawaja also confirmed the WHO report and urged his fellow members that the matter required efforts on emergency bases. (ANI)

Courtesy: The Japan News

http://www.thejapannews.net/index.php?sid/207630476/scat/b8de8e630faf3631/ht/Pakistanis-to-be-banned-from-travelling-abroad-if-country-fails-to-control-polio-by-2013

Captain among eight killed in IED attack in Khyber Agency

By: Zahir Shah Sherazi and Agencies

KHYBER AGENCY: Eight soldiers including a captain were killed and three others were injured as security convoy was targeted by the militants with a remote control improvised explosive device (IED) in Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Government sources said that a convoy of the security forces was passing through Qamarabad area of Bara Tehsil in Khyber agency when it was hit by a remote controlled IED planted on the roadside. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

President Obama fears Pakistan’s disintegration: book

By: Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama told his staff in late 2011 that Pakistan could ‘disintegrate’ and set off a scramble for its weapons, claims a new book by David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.

Excerpts from the book, published earlier this month, were highlighted by the US media but it assumed an added importance when US officials started asking Pakistani diplomats, visiting officials, lawmakers and even journalists to read the book.

This forced senior Pakistani diplomats to have a second look at the book and some of them also asked Washington-based Pakistani journalists to read the book and share their views with them.

The book identifies Pakistan as President Obama’s “biggest single national security concern” and it quotes Mr Obama telling his senior aides that he had “the least power to prevent” a possible disintegration of this nuclear-armed country. And he also could not control the scramble for Pakistani nukes that this disintegration would cause.

Continue reading President Obama fears Pakistan’s disintegration: book

Heavily armed jihadi groups clash in Pakistan: 5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival Islamic militants

5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival militants groups

Firefight between Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansarul Islam began when latter’s fighters attacked stronghold of LI militants.

PESHAWAR: At least five militants were killed and five others were injured when clashes erupted between Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and Ansarul Islam (AI) in the Sanda Pal area of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency.

According to locals, the firefight between the two groups began in the early hours of Monday when fighters of AI attacked Sanda Pal, a stronghold of LI militants.

They claimed that four militants of the Mangal Bagh-led LI had been killed and two were injured, while one fighter of AI was killed and three were injured.

Clashes between the two groups occur frequently as AI fights the LI to gain control of the area.

According to sources, heavy weapons were used in the fight and AI fighters took control of a number of small outposts to reach Sanda Pal – the main outpost.

Residents living in the secluded valley have little communication with the world.

The area has been under the influence of militants, including the LI, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Ansarul Islam, who have consistently targeted each other over territorial disputes and sectarian differences.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Via – Twitter » TF’s Tweet

Why India can’t give up Siachen

By: Vikram Sood

The nation cannot afford to repeat the strategic mistakes of the past — like halting our advance at Uri in 1948 or not capturing Skardu; or giving up Haji Pir in 1966; or returning 93,000 troops and territory in 1972

The strategic advantage accruing to India in Siachen should not be given up for apparent short-term political gains. Giving up Siachen as a gesture of friendship would also mean that its recapture would be extremely expensive to India in men and material, says Vikram Sood.

Continue reading Why India can’t give up Siachen

Persecution – Connivance at a cost

Targeted killings of Shias this time is not business-as-usual. It follows the pattern that is evident countrywide and it is linked to the Taliban finding new havens and areas of control

By Raza Rumi

It seems that Pakistan is heading towards another purge — this time a violent process of cleansing the Shia population. There is a mysterious wave of terrorism that is killing Hazara population on a daily basis in Balochistan, Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan, Kurram Agency and elsewhere.

In the last one-month, dozens of Shias have been targeted and killed as if Pakistan was a medieval land, practicing witch-hunting. The ‘banned’ organisations have taken responsibility for most of the attacks in Balochistan.

The case of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), on the other hand, has faced a virtual media blackout. Not long ago, GB was touted as the fifth province but when it comes to the vital question to protecting its population, the state is miserably failing.

The most gruesome incident took place when 15 passengers of the Shia community were taken off the buses in Chilas, Diamer district, and shot. People from the region say that GB is under attack by the Taliban insurgents from Malakand division and Waziristan. The Darel and Chilas Valleys provide them refuge. The stronghold of Salafis and Wahabis on Pakistan’s Afghan and, consequently, Taliban policy cannot be delinked from the ongoing massacre.

Continue reading Persecution – Connivance at a cost

Punjab/Pakistan denies Sindh’s share of water

Pakistan/Punjab: Water is life! But, life in Pakistans Sindh province has become extremely difficult due to unavailability of sufficient water. The problem has been created by Punjab, which is getting the lions share of Indus waters while denying Sindh’s rightful share. Sindh and other constituent units  in Pakistan are battling serious water shortage, even as Punjab is going ahead with Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad link canal projects. It is estimated that by June Sindh will face water shortage to the tune of 54 per cent as compared to 14 per cent by Punjab. A recent move by Punjab government to control water flows and forcible opening of flood canals has triggered widespread protests in Sindh and even Balochistan.

Courtesy: South Asia News » YouTube

Challenges for the new DG ISI – Dr Moeed Pirzada

Did General Pasha and his colleagues ever realise that their mid-20th century organisation, built on ‘paradigms of control and fear’ and buttressed through old fashioned notions of ‘national security’ and ‘patriotism’ needs a strategic rethink to face the challenges of a new interactive age? …

Read more » Daily Times

Pakistan heading towards anarchy, cautions author

By: Reuters

Excerpts;

…. Pakistan’s escalating problems are rooted in its reliance on US aid, its complex politics, the government’s lack of control over both its military and intelligence service and its failure to protect minorities and secure regions controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, the book maintains. That spells more trouble for Washington if such groups gain further control in a nuclear-armed country where the military now largely controls foreign and security policies and has taken the lead in relations with the United States, he said. “Pakistan has all the potential of becoming a failing state,” Rashid, 63, said in an interview, explaining the title of the book that follows bestsellers including “Taliban” and “Descent Into Chaos” that were translated into dozens of languages. “I feel very much that the lack of state control, the lack of state authority is going to mean there is going to be increasing anarchy in many different parts of the country,” said Rashid, who has received numerous death threats and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Judicial Jinn (genie) – By Waris Husain

My father told me that when he was growing up in a remote village in Pakistan, his community wholeheartedly believed in jinn (genies), and he would see them often as a child. He left his village at a young age to attend school in the city, where he was able to interact with people outside his small native community and develop independent ideas.

Upon his return to the village, all the jinn of his childhood vanished, even though the people of his community who spent their lives in the village still saw them. This is the story of Pakistan’s Courts, which are viewed by average citizens as genies that magically appear to solve unsolvable problems. However, those who have “ventured outside the village” know that there are no judicial genies, just human judges who are liable to make mistakes. This means that the Court must create standards to limit its own powers, lest it become a jinn the people can’t put back in the lamp.

Jinn are described as “smokeless fire,” possessing superhuman powers including the ability to travel expansive distances unimaginable by man. In some stories, the jinn grants three wishes to an individual, allowing the wisher to accrue untold power and wealth. These supernatural abilities distinguish jinn from humans, as jinn possess a greater power to control their environment or reality.

Lately, the media has depicted politicians as weak humans, while assigning a mystic ability to the Court to unilaterally “do justice” in the country.

Continue reading Judicial Jinn (genie) – By Waris Husain

ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

The army was constitutionally mandated to be an arm of the Pakistan state with elected civilians in control of the executive. But it has seized the commanding heights and subordinated the other organs of the state to its own unaccountable purposes.

In recent times, however, something even more sinister has been happening. This is the creeping growth of the ISI from a small arms-length intelligence directorate or department of the military (Inter Services Intelligence Directorate) in the initial decades of independent Pakistan to an omnipotent and invisible “deep state within the state” that now controls both military strategy and civilian policy.

General Pervez Musharraf’s unprecedented appointment of General Ashfaq Kayani, a former DG-ISI, as COAS was the first step in this direction. The second was General Kayani’s own decision to routinely rotate senior and serving ISI officers to positions of command and control in the army and vice-versa, coupled with his insistence on handpicking the DGISI and extending his service. Together, these decisions reflect a harsh new reality. The ISI has walked into GHQ and seized command and control of the armed forces.

This is a deeply troubling development because it violates the established norm-policy of all militaries in democratic societies – intelligence services must consciously be kept at arms length from GHQ because “field commanders must not get contaminated” or tainted by cloak and dagger operations in grey zones. That is why COAS Gen Zia ul Haq kicked Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, DGISI, upstairs to CJOSC rather than give him troops to command. That is why COAS Gen Asif Nawaz sidelined DGISI Gen Asad Durrani as IG Training and Evaluation. That is why COAS Gen Waheed Kakar prematurely retired Gen Durrani from service for playing politics in GHQ and then recommended Gen Jehangir Karamat as his successor rather than his close confidante and former DGISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. Indeed, that is why the CIA, RAW, MI6, KGB, MOSSAD etc remain under full civilian operations and control even though soldiers may be seconded to them or head them occasionally.

The ISI’s meteoric rise in the 1980s is well documented. It became the official conduit for tens of billions of dollars of arms and slush funds from the US and Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Three serving generals of the time were billed as “the richest and most powerful generals in the world” by Time magazine in 1986. Two of them, Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Gen Hameed Gul were in turn DGs-ISI while the third, General Fazle Haq, was the Peshawar gatekeeper to Afghanistan.

Three Prime Ministers have fallen victim to the ISI. PM Junejo ran afoul of DGs ISI Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman over the Ojhri Camp disaster. Benazir Bhutto was undermined by DGs ISI Gen Gul and General Asad Durrani. And Nawaz Sharif by DG ISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and COAS Gen Waheed Kakar. Indeed, Mr Sharif might have survived in 1999 if Gen Musharraf had not earlier cunningly moved Gen Mohammad Aziz from the ISI to GHQ as CGS because it was the latter who nudged Corps Commander Pindi Gen Mahmood Ahmed to execute the coup in the absence of Gen Musharraf.

The ISI’s creeping coup – ISI officers returning to command positions in the army – against GHQ is fraught with problems. It has eroded the credibility and capacity of both the current DG ISI and COAS within the military and civil society. The ISI’s spectacular failures (BB’s assassination, Mumbai, Raymond Davis case, missing persons, Memogate, Mehrangate, Abbotabad, Saleem Shehzad, Get-Zardari, etc) can all be laid at GHQ’s door just as the ISI’s anti-terrorist policy failures are responsible for the loss of over 3000 soldiers to the Pakistan Taliban and the terrorist attacks on GHQ and Mehran Navy Base. The fact that both the COAS and DG ISI have taken extensions in service has also undermined their credibility far and wide.

Continue reading ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Welcome to 1984

By Irfan Husain

OVER the years, despite repeated bouts of military dictatorship, Pakistan has remained a relatively open society. Even with spooks running around unchecked, people have expressed themselves pretty openly, both privately and publicly.

In large measure, this has been due to the incompetence of our bureaucracy. Few cops and spies are very enthusiastic about surveillance duties. More often than not, they file their poorly written reports that go unread, and pile up in some dusty government archives, never to see the light of day.

But all this is about to change. According to an international tender floated by this government, it is aiming to acquire technology that will enable it not just to block websites at will, but to read our emails and monitor all Internet traffic.

Continue reading On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Who will demand justice for Sindhi victims of Enforced Disappearance?

By Khalid Hashmani

Sindhi Victims of Enforced Disappearances

It looks like the powers that fully or partially control Pakistan have found a new target to vent their anger – the Sindhi nationalists! With Baloch nationalists continuing to win more and more public relations battles against those who are bent upon enforced control of Balochistan, these forces have now unleashed their fury on Sindhis. Not a single day goes by without a story about a Sindhi nationalist disappearing or a bullet-riddled body of a Sindhi young man being found. The federal and provincial governments that won largely because of support of Sindhi masses are pre-occupied with looting more and more and/or saving their government from another group of looters and dictators. They seldom find courage to come to the rescue of Sindhis whether they are victims of severe floods or victims of enforced disappearances. Sindhis must realize that they cannot solely rely on international human rights’ organizations to fight for their human rights and the time has come for them to get involved and demand justice for Sindhi victims of Enforced Disappearances. A partial list of missing persons who are presumed to have fallen victims of enforced disappearances include:

Sources:
http://rightsnowpak.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/three-more-enforcedinvoluntary-disappearances-in-sindh-will-that-ever-end/
http://www.balawaristan.net/Latest-news/four-activists-also-disappeared-after-their-abduction-by-the-law-enforcement-agencies.html
http://www.worldsindhicongress.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=347&Itemid=1

1. Sanaullah Bhatti – He was kidnapped on February 7, 2011 from the city of Hyderabad.
2. Muzafar Bhutto – Kidnapped on February 24, 2011.
3. Riaz Kakepoto – Kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
4. Ali Nawab Mahar – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
5. Shah Nawaz Bhutto – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
6. Jam Bhutto – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
7. Lala Yasir – Kdnapped from Karachi.
8. Shafqat Brohi He is a clerk of Maleer Court Karachi and was kidnapped from Karachi.
9. Afzal Pahnwar – A student of the University of Sindh, kidnapped on June 26, 2011.
10. Mukhtiar Pahnwar – kidnapped on September 28, 2011 from Chandni Chowk, Hyderabad.
11. Babar Jamali – Kidnapped on December 8, 2011 near Hyderabad by-pass Gas Station.
12. Mohummad Bashir Arisar disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
13. Ahsan Malano disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
14. Mohsin Shah disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
15. Noor Muhammed Khaskheli.
16. Shahid Notayar.
17. Shoukat Brohi.
18. Faisal Wagan.
19. Mohammed Brohi.
20. Nadeem Lashari.
21. G M Abro.
22. Noor Abro.
23. Anwar Depar.
24. Yasir Notiar.
25. Zulfiqar Jamali.
26. Hameed Shar.
27. Ali Bachal Themor.
28. Ghulam Kadir Boryio.
29. Taj Mohammed Themor.
30. Mohammed Boryio.

In a recent press statement, Dr. Rubina Greenwood, Vice Chairperson of World Sindhi Congress (WSC) said that a number of prominent political leaders and activists have been killed. Those who lost their lives in 2011 include:

1. Zulfiqar Kolachi
2. Aijaz Solangi
3. Sirai Qurban Khuhawr
4. Roplo Choliani
5. Nadir Bugti
6. Noorullah Tunio
7. Haji Abubakar
8. Abdul Ganai Mirbahar

Abduction Details about some Sindhi victims

Continue reading Who will demand justice for Sindhi victims of Enforced Disappearance?

Pakistan – As always, too late

The ignored Baloch

By: Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

As always, too little too late

Rehman Malik has announced the withdrawal of cases against the Baloch militant leaders driven to the mountains or forced into exile by what they call the brutality of the security forces. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wants to convene an All Parties Conference on Balochistan.

Had these cases been withdrawn four years back and a genuine reconciliation process initiated, this could have led to talks and arrested the situation from reaching a point of no return.

There was enough goodwill in Balochistan for the PPP-led government when it took over in 2008. There were also hopes that parliament would act forcefully and the courts would exert their authority to end the atrocities initiated by the Musharraf regime.

The PPP government simply failed to pursue the peace process meaningfully. Instead, it willingly agreed to follow the policy being pursued under Musharraf. This meant continuing the military-cum-FC operations in Balochistan that displaced thousands of people, allowing forced disappearances and the torture, killing and dumping of the disfigured corpses on roadside.

In June 2008, Senator Sanauallah Baloch who had returned from exile after the restoration of democracy resigned from the House after a speech that moved the entire Senate. Soon after Baloch leaders rejected the move by the government for an All Parties Conference. They instead demanded direct talks on issues highlighted by leaders like Akhtar Mengal that included end to operations in the province, tracing persons forcibly taken away and the ownership of Balochistabn’s resources by the Balochis.

Month after month, there were peaceful protests all over Balochistan to press for their demands. There were calls by nationalist parties for shutter down closures, hunger strikes, and hoisting of black flags. Baloch representatives in parliament underlined the dangers if no measures were taken to improve the situation. Year after year, the government continued to look the other way.

Raisani complained of being powerless and accused FC of running a parallel government that was harming the process of reconciliation. Gilani, however, failed to take any notice as the federal government had decided to follow the policy formulated under Musharraf. It was willing, as before, to bribe the tribal leaders in the provincial assembly and offer crumbs to the population. It was not willing to concede what Baloch considered their rights.

Continue reading Pakistan – As always, too late

The price of Baloch blood

By: Hashim bin Rashid

The ‘clink, clink’ reverberate

Who are these benevolent youth

The gold coins of their blood

Clink clink, clink clink –Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Salima Hashmi, Faiz sahib’s daughter, dug out this gem of a poem and dedicated it to the Baloch martyrs at the Faiz Aman Mela in Lahore last Sunday. The very next day, Monday, three bodies of Baloch missing persons, including former BSO-Azad Chairman Sangat Sana Baloch were found. The day after, Tuesday, Baloch-dominated areas in Balochistan observed a shutter down strike.

‘Chhan chhan, chhan chhan,’ Faiz’s words reverberated across the province.

The body of Sangat Sana was found only two weeks after the Domki murders, murders that had sent the entire Balochistan Assembly, generally the most complicit of the Baloch, up in a furore. Three Baloch ministers stood up to narrate a gruesome incident in which two Baloch youth were bound up and shot by FC troops on the Quetta-Turbat road.

The trouble was that the consequences of the murder of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister were not fully contemplated by the most likely murderers, although they should have. The lesson of Balochistan always was: blood spilt is thicker than blood flowing. This was indeed why Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing in an army operation bestowed the legacy of a martyr on him and spurred insurgency.

Balochistan has been under siege since 1947, with the current insurgency that started in 2005 being the fifth: the last four were brutally suppressed through similar military action. It is only this one which is spiralling out of control.

The almost abandon with which intelligence agencies operate in the Baloch province is matchless. Barely anyone is left in doubt as to who picked up whom for allegedly ‘anti-nationalistic’ sentiment and the message is delivered forcefully with every punctured, dumped body of a Baloch missing person.

While the same matters went unnoticed in the last four operations, what changed on the ground was that the Baloch intellectuals and leadership, fearing for their lives, began to take up outposts in exile and developed lobbies to relay the situation in Balochistan to international organisations. In Balochistan, the BLA, the BLF and the BRA continued to fight from the mountains while Baloch political parties and the various factions of the BSO continue to develop the space on the ground to unite the Baloch community and speak to the few in the Pakistani media that still want to hear a Baloch speak about Balochistan.

Coverage has been selective. When the BLA killed 15 FC troops in the army-operated Chamalang coal mines area in response the Domki killings, media splashed the event. But when a counter-military operation was launched in Chamalang, there was complete silence by the media on it.

The reason: journalists based in Balochistan were instructed not to – at the risk of their lives. 20 journalists had been killed in the last decade. However, Baloch resistance websites, forced to operate from outside Pakistan, and still banned in Pakistani cyberspace, began to carry gruesome accounts of unchecked brutalities. However, Pakistani airwaves and cyberspace remained clear of any such ‘anti-state’ accounts.

Baloch blood was being spilled with no one brave enough to speak of it. Amidst this re-launched operation, exiled Baloch leaders were able to play the card they had wished to play much earlier: the US Congress took up a debate on Balochistan and tabled a bill to acknowledge the Baloch ‘right to self-determination’. The same ‘right to self determination’ was, of course, something Pakistan itself had been campaigning foreign powers for in the similarly gruesome 64-year old Indian-occupation of Kashmir. The US is telling Pakistan: what about the suppression in Balochistan?

Balochistan is the thaw no one in Pakistan wishes to admit as much as discuss – or solve. The late politics over it by Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan has come to naught, so clear is Baloch nationalist sentiment. Imran Khan’s pseudo-rally in Quetta, announced for 23 March, seemed to be an attempt to engineer and announce a new Pakistan resolution from the Baloch capital amidst a flailing nationalist project. Nawaz Sharif’s All-Parties Conference on Balochistan fell apart because Baloch parties refused to join in, making the attempt look silly.

No Baloch takes the more than 270 ‘killed-and-dumped’ bodies as a joke. No Baloch believes the army high command when it says, “No military operations are being carried out in Balochistan and no security forces have been involved in human rights abuses.”

And this is the worst part: all political actors and intellectuals in Pakistan, including this writer, are speaking about the Baloch but not to the Baloch. Journalists from Balochistan are able to relay how the army views the mere act of putting up a Pakistani flag as a victory. To the Baloch, the rising flag means being conquered. And it is being conquered that the Baloch resist when they are whisked away and they return as tortured, bullet-ridden bodies.

The price of Baloch blood is not that Pakistan might split again – it is that we will fool ourselves again, as we do now, when the Foreign Office issues condemnations of the US Congress debate on Balochistan, on why we split. To condemn the military operation, to condemn the killing-and-dumping and to return the missing Baloch, that is what should have been the government’s response. In its absence, it will be sure to learn the price of Baloch blood the hard way.

Continue reading The price of Baloch blood

Taliban will rule Afghanistan again, says leaked US military report – The Guardian

Classified document is said to warn that Pakistan is plotting to help reinstall Taliban once Nato-led forces depart

By Reuters

The Taliban have secured Pakistan’s support for a return to power in Afghanistan as well as toning down their severe brand of Islamism, according to reports citing a leaked US military assessment.

The Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after Nato-led forces withdraw from the country, according to reports citing a classifed assessment by US forces.

The Times described the report as secret and “highly classified”, saying it was put together last month by the US military at Bagram air base in Afghanistan for top Nato officers. The BBC also carried a report on the leaked document.

“Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban,” the report was quoted as saying. “Once Isaf (Nato-led forces) is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable.”

The document stated that Pakistan’s security agency was helping the Taliban in directing attacks against foreign forces – a charge long denied by Islamabad.

The findings were based on interrogations of more than 4,000 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees, the Times said, adding the document was scarce on identifying individual insurgents.

A US state department spokesman and Britain’s Foreign Office both declined comment on the report. Nato and Pakistani officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Despite the presence of more than 100,000 foreign troops, the UN has said violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by US-backed forces in 2001.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says levels of violence are falling.

Citing the same report, the BBC reported on its website that Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency knew the locations of senior Taliban leaders and supported the expulsion of “foreign invaders from Afghanistan”.

“Senior Taliban leaders meet regularly with ISI personnel, who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan.”

Continue reading Taliban will rule Afghanistan again, says leaked US military report – The Guardian

Al Jazeera – Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.

By Al Jazeera

In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.

“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader

The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.

But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …

Read more » al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

In Unstable Fields

Comment by Omar Ali

The writer is a former Secretary of the Indian intelligence agency RAW (an agency no more capable than other arms of the Indian government, but thought in Pakistan to possess superhuman powers and very beautiful female agents who trap Pakistani patriots, or so we hope).  His views on things to come..

To read the article » In unstable fields by Vikram Sood » CLICK HERE

Via » Brown Pundits