June 04, 2005

U.S. and Israel evacuate staff from Uzbekistan

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/06/04/news/uzbek.php


By C.J. Chivers The New York Times

SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2005
MOSCOW Signs of instability deepened Friday in Uzbekistan after Israel
swiftly evacuated most of its diplomats from the country amid fresh
warnings of terror attacks, and the U.S. Embassy authorized much of
its staff to leave as well.

Only the Israeli ambassador and a senior official remained in
Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, according to Mark Legev, a spokesman for
Israel's Foreign Ministry, who said that 13 other embassy employees
and their families flew out of Uzbekistan on Thursday night.

The evacuation came as the United States issued a warning saying that
it had received new information that Islamic terror groups were
planning attacks, perhaps against Americans.

The warning mentioned four terror organizations - Al Qaeda, the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and the
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement - that it said are active in the
region.

Diplomats from both countries declined to release details of the
intelligence. Legev said in a telephone interview only that Israel had
received "a specific threat against an Israeli target by an extremist
element." After the threat was evaluated, he said, the decision was
quickly made for most of the diplomatic corps to leave.

The threats underscored the fresh difficulties in Uzbekistan for the
United States, whose activities in the country are being restricted
simultaneously by the risks of terror attacks and by diplomatic chill.

The Uzbek government, stung by criticism of its bloody crackdown on a
prison break and antigovernment demonstration last month, and
increasingly isolated by its antidemocratic posture, has adopted a
cooler position toward the United States, which has used a former
Soviet air base near the Afghan border since late in 2001.

This week, the Uzbek government refused to renew visas for 54 Peace
Corps volunteers, who were forced to leave the country, according to
Barbara Daly, the Peace Corps' spokeswoman in Washington.

The nation's stability and direction are in question. An authoritarian
state with a population deeply resentful of its central government's
repression and corruption, it has been buffeted by terror attacks and
wider public unrest and has suffered three waves of violence since
early last year.

In April 2004, several attacks, including ones by suicide bombers,
were staged in Tashkent and Bukhara, an ancient Silk Road city in the
country's west. Nearly 50 people were killed, according to official
Uzbek reports.

Three more suicide bombers struck nearly simultaneously last July, one
each at the Israeli Embassy, the American Embassy and the Uzbek
general prosecutor's office in Tashkent. In addition to the bombers,
at least two more people died.

The country, an ally of the United States in efforts against
terrorists, has been enveloped by uncertainty since May 13, when Uzbek
security forces used gunfire to put down a revolt, prison break and
large antigovernment demonstration in Andijon, a city in the
northeastern Fergana Valley.

Witnesses say hundreds of unarmed people were killed when the
authorities resorted to indiscriminate force.

The Uzbek government says 36 soldiers and 137 others, mostly armed
men, died.

By either account, it was the worst violence of its sort in a
post-Soviet region since the Soviet Union collapsed.

With violence apparently fueled both by social disaffection and
militant Islamists, it is not entirely clear who has been responsible
for each outbreak - a subject of debate among diplomats, analysts,
scholars and intelligence officials.

The government of President Islam Karimov, who routinely blames
Uzbekistan's ills on Islamic terrorists, has said the Andijon uprising
was planned by international terror groups and a faction of Hizb
ut-Tahrir, or Party of Liberation, a mostly underground organization
that seeks to create governments ruled by its view of Islamic
tradition.

The party, which says it is peaceful, has denied any involvement.

Demonstrators who survived the crackdown contend the uprising was
organized by local men made desperate by the economic underdevelopment
and repression that have become synonymous with Karimov's regime.


MOSCOW Signs of instability deepened Friday in Uzbekistan after Israel
swiftly evacuated most of its diplomats from the country amid fresh
warnings of terror attacks, and the U.S. Embassy authorized much of
its staff to leave as well.

Only the Israeli ambassador and a senior official remained in
Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, according to Mark Legev, a spokesman for
Israel's Foreign Ministry, who said that 13 other embassy employees
and their families flew out of Uzbekistan on Thursday night.

The evacuation came as the United States issued a warning saying that
it had received new information that Islamic terror groups were
planning attacks, perhaps against Americans.

The warning mentioned four terror organizations - Al Qaeda, the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and the
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement - that it said are active in the
region.

Diplomats from both countries declined to release details of the
intelligence. Legev said in a telephone interview only that Israel had
received "a specific threat against an Israeli target by an extremist
element." After the threat was evaluated, he said, the decision was
quickly made for most of the diplomatic corps to leave.

The threats underscored the fresh difficulties in Uzbekistan for the
United States, whose activities in the country are being restricted
simultaneously by the risks of terror attacks and by diplomatic chill.

The Uzbek government, stung by criticism of its bloody crackdown on a
prison break and antigovernment demonstration last month, and
increasingly isolated by its antidemocratic posture, has adopted a
cooler position toward the United States, which has used a former
Soviet air base near the Afghan border since late in 2001.

This week, the Uzbek government refused to renew visas for 54 Peace
Corps volunteers, who were forced to leave the country, according to
Barbara Daly, the Peace Corps' spokeswoman in Washington.

The nation's stability and direction are in question. An authoritarian
state with a population deeply resentful of its central government's
repression and corruption, it has been buffeted by terror attacks and
wider public unrest and has suffered three waves of violence since
early last year.

In April 2004, several attacks, including ones by suicide bombers,
were staged in Tashkent and Bukhara, an ancient Silk Road city in the
country's west. Nearly 50 people were killed, according to official
Uzbek reports.

Three more suicide bombers struck nearly simultaneously last July, one
each at the Israeli Embassy, the American Embassy and the Uzbek
general prosecutor's office in Tashkent. In addition to the bombers,
at least two more people died.

The country, an ally of the United States in efforts against
terrorists, has been enveloped by uncertainty since May 13, when Uzbek
security forces used gunfire to put down a revolt, prison break and
large antigovernment demonstration in Andijon, a city in the
northeastern Fergana Valley.

Witnesses say hundreds of unarmed people were killed when the
authorities resorted to indiscriminate force.

The Uzbek government says 36 soldiers and 137 others, mostly armed
men, died.

By either account, it was the worst violence of its sort in a
post-Soviet region since the Soviet Union collapsed.

With violence apparently fueled both by social disaffection and
militant Islamists, it is not entirely clear who has been responsible
for each outbreak - a subject of debate among diplomats, analysts,
scholars and intelligence officials.

The government of President Islam Karimov, who routinely blames
Uzbekistan's ills on Islamic terrorists, has said the Andijon uprising
was planned by international terror groups and a faction of Hizb
ut-Tahrir, or Party of Liberation, a mostly underground organization
that seeks to create governments ruled by its view of Islamic
tradition.

The party, which says it is peaceful, has denied any involvement.

Demonstrators who survived the crackdown contend the uprising was
organized by local men made desperate by the economic underdevelopment
and repression that have become synonymous with Karimov's regime.


MOSCOW Signs of instability deepened Friday in Uzbekistan after Israel
swiftly evacuated most of its diplomats from the country amid fresh
warnings of terror attacks, and the U.S. Embassy authorized much of
its staff to leave as well.

Only the Israeli ambassador and a senior official remained in
Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, according to Mark Legev, a spokesman for
Israel's Foreign Ministry, who said that 13 other embassy employees
and their families flew out of Uzbekistan on Thursday night.

The evacuation came as the United States issued a warning saying that
it had received new information that Islamic terror groups were
planning attacks, perhaps against Americans.

The warning mentioned four terror organizations - Al Qaeda, the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and the
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement - that it said are active in the
region.

Diplomats from both countries declined to release details of the
intelligence. Legev said in a telephone interview only that Israel had
received "a specific threat against an Israeli target by an extremist
element." After the threat was evaluated, he said, the decision was
quickly made for most of the diplomatic corps to leave.

The threats underscored the fresh difficulties in Uzbekistan for the
United States, whose activities in the country are being restricted
simultaneously by the risks of terror attacks and by diplomatic chill.

The Uzbek government, stung by criticism of its bloody crackdown on a
prison break and antigovernment demonstration last month, and
increasingly isolated by its antidemocratic posture, has adopted a
cooler position toward the United States, which has used a former
Soviet air base near the Afghan border since late in 2001.

This week, the Uzbek government refused to renew visas for 54 Peace
Corps volunteers, who were forced to leave the country, according to
Barbara Daly, the Peace Corps' spokeswoman in Washington.

The nation's stability and direction are in question. An authoritarian
state with a population deeply resentful of its central government's
repression and corruption, it has been buffeted by terror attacks and
wider public unrest and has suffered three waves of violence since
early last year.

In April 2004, several attacks, including ones by suicide bombers,
were staged in Tashkent and Bukhara, an ancient Silk Road city in the
country's west. Nearly 50 people were killed, according to official
Uzbek reports.

Three more suicide bombers struck nearly simultaneously last July, one
each at the Israeli Embassy, the American Embassy and the Uzbek
general prosecutor's office in Tashkent. In addition to the bombers,
at least two more people died.

The country, an ally of the United States in efforts against
terrorists, has been enveloped by uncertainty since May 13, when Uzbek
security forces used gunfire to put down a revolt, prison break and
large antigovernment demonstration in Andijon, a city in the
northeastern Fergana Valley.

Witnesses say hundreds of unarmed people were killed when the
authorities resorted to indiscriminate force.

The Uzbek government says 36 soldiers and 137 others, mostly armed
men, died.

By either account, it was the worst violence of its sort in a
post-Soviet region since the Soviet Union collapsed.

With violence apparently fueled both by social disaffection and
militant Islamists, it is not entirely clear who has been responsible
for each outbreak - a subject of debate among diplomats, analysts,
scholars and intelligence officials.

The government of President Islam Karimov, who routinely blames
Uzbekistan's ills on Islamic terrorists, has said the Andijon uprising
was planned by international terror groups and a faction of Hizb
ut-Tahrir, or Party of Liberation, a mostly underground organization
that seeks to create governments ruled by its view of Islamic
tradition.

The party, which says it is peaceful, has denied any involvement.

Demonstrators who survived the crackdown contend the uprising was
organized by local men made desperate by the economic underdevelopment
and repression that have become synonymous with Karimov's regime.


MOSCOW Signs of instability deepened Friday in Uzbekistan after Israel
swiftly evacuated most of its diplomats from the country amid fresh
warnings of terror attacks, and the U.S. Embassy authorized much of
its staff to leave as well.

Only the Israeli ambassador and a senior official remained in
Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, according to Mark Legev, a spokesman for
Israel's Foreign Ministry, who said that 13 other embassy employees
and their families flew out of Uzbekistan on Thursday night.

The evacuation came as the United States issued a warning saying that
it had received new information that Islamic terror groups were
planning attacks, perhaps against Americans.

The warning mentioned four terror organizations - Al Qaeda, the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and the
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement - that it said are active in the
region.

Diplomats from both countries declined to release details of the
intelligence. Legev said in a telephone interview only that Israel had
received "a specific threat against an Israeli target by an extremist
element." After the threat was evaluated, he said, the decision was
quickly made for most of the diplomatic corps to leave.

The threats underscored the fresh difficulties in Uzbekistan for the
United States, whose activities in the country are being restricted
simultaneously by the risks of terror attacks and by diplomatic chill.

The Uzbek government, stung by criticism of its bloody crackdown on a
prison break and antigovernment demonstration last month, and
increasingly isolated by its antidemocratic posture, has adopted a
cooler position toward the United States, which has used a former
Soviet air base near the Afghan border since late in 2001.

This week, the Uzbek government refused to renew visas for 54 Peace
Corps volunteers, who were forced to leave the country, according to
Barbara Daly, the Peace Corps' spokeswoman in Washington.

The nation's stability and direction are in question. An authoritarian
state with a population deeply resentful of its central government's
repression and corruption, it has been buffeted by terror attacks and
wider public unrest and has suffered three waves of violence since
early last year.

In April 2004, several attacks, including ones by suicide bombers,
were staged in Tashkent and Bukhara, an ancient Silk Road city in the
country's west. Nearly 50 people were killed, according to official
Uzbek reports.

Three more suicide bombers struck nearly simultaneously last July, one
each at the Israeli Embassy, the American Embassy and the Uzbek
general prosecutor's office in Tashkent. In addition to the bombers,
at least two more people died.

The country, an ally of the United States in efforts against
terrorists, has been enveloped by uncertainty since May 13, when Uzbek
security forces used gunfire to put down a revolt, prison break and
large antigovernment demonstration in Andijon, a city in the
northeastern Fergana Valley.

Witnesses say hundreds of unarmed people were killed when the
authorities resorted to indiscriminate force.

The Uzbek government says 36 soldiers and 137 others, mostly armed
men, died.

By either account, it was the worst violence of its sort in a
post-Soviet region since the Soviet Union collapsed.

With violence apparently fueled both by social disaffection and
militant Islamists, it is not entirely clear who has been responsible
for each outbreak - a subject of debate among diplomats, analysts,
scholars and intelligence officials.

The government of President Islam Karimov, who routinely blames
Uzbekistan's ills on Islamic terrorists, has said the Andijon uprising
was planned by international terror groups and a faction of Hizb
ut-Tahrir, or Party of Liberation, a mostly underground organization
that seeks to create governments ruled by its view of Islamic
tradition.

The party, which says it is peaceful, has denied any involvement.

Demonstrators who survived the crackdown contend the uprising was
organized by local men made desperate by the economic underdevelopment
and repression that have become synonymous with Karimov's regime.

Will US nuke North Korea to send a message to China

According to Executive Intelligence Review , Bush Administration is determined to nuke North Korea to send a message to china . "One well-placed Washington source recounted a discussion several years back, with a leading neoconservative insider. The neocon boasted that, following the invasion of Iraq, the Bush-Cheney Administration would move against Syria and Iran. But before leaving office, the neocon insider boasted, Team Bush would take direct action against North Korea. "We will use nuclear weapons against Pyongyang," he promised. "And this will be intended first and foremost as a message to China." -- EIR

As EIR reported in a cover story two weeks ago, the Pentagon has finalized a new "global strike" doctrine, CONPLAN-8022, which, for the first, time, integrates mini-nuclear weapons into the conventional arsenal. Despite a decade-old Congressional ban on the development and deployment of mini-nukes, the Bush Administration has produced an unspecified number of B-61 "mod 11" small-scale "bunker buster" nuclear warheads, that can be delivered by Stealth bombers, and even by F-16 fighter jets. Stealth bombers have been recently pre-positioned in South Korea by the U.S. Air Force .

On official persecution of academicians

- Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi

The present Union Human Resource Development Ministry has broken all norms of decency and flouted rules in its campaign to denigrate and persecute academicians like Prof. J.S. Rajput, the former Director of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Dr. Pradeep Joshi, director of National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, and Vice Chancellors of some universities. It is obvious that the Hon'ble Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Arjun Singh, is acting as a tool of Communist vendetta. As an able administrator and visionary educationist, Prof. Rajput had brought wide international repute to NCERT during his term (1999-2004) and for his stellar role in lifting the Indian school education system from mediocrity and despondency, he had been named for the prestigious Jan Comenious Medal by the World body, UNESCO.



But the HRD Minister Shri Arjun Singh, showing shocking disregard for ethics, recommended to UNESCO the suspension of the award to Prof. Rajput. This is a matter of great national shame. The Government owes an explanation to the people of India on why a rare honour was deprived to the entire country.



This, however, did not stop UNESCO from utilizing Prof. Rajput's talents as an educational administrator. In spite of the disgusting intervention of the Government (which the world body has regretted in a personal letter to him) UNESCO has continued to give him prestigious international assignments.



Obviously embarrassed, the HRD Minister has now leaked the contents of the Sathyam Committee which was set up with the specific objective of humiliating Prof. Rajput.



It is clear after a perusal of the "executive summary" of the Sathyam Committee Report that the charges against Prof. Rajput are frivolous, baseless, contemptible and politically motivated. A retired IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, Shri S. Sathyam, has truly given a command performance for his political bosses. For this he has been rewarded with continuous sinecure. He has been allotted government accommodation, vehicles and all facilities to continue with all kinds of vague assignments given by the HRD Ministry.



Smt. Kumud Bansal, a Secretary in the HRD Ministry, was originally given charge of looking into the allegations against Prof. Rajput. It appears that her findings were not up to the satisfaction of the political bosses, therefore the HRD Minister, who was being forced by the Communist lobby to humiliate Prof. Rajput as he had clearly exposed their corruption and intellectual vacuity over the History textbooks issue, brought Shri Sathyam out of retirement and ordered him to conduct a sham inquiry and produce a doctored report to provide some excuse for maligning Dr. Rajput.



It is indeed shocking that though Shri Sathyam was given three months to complete the inquiry, he issued a circular to NCERT employees and asked them to come forward with fresh complaints against Prof. Rajput. Pressure was exerted by various means on employees to come up with some allegations. What is significant is that there was no last date set for receiving the "complaints". This sort of disgusting political witch-hunt against a retired officer had never been witnessed in the history of India. The Congress-Communist combine, which has set many unfortunate precedents before the nation, has served one more. The message going out is that henceforth no officer holding high office can be sure if a step taken by him, howsoever justified and significant for the country's interest, will be free of the fear of political vendetta by a party or parties who he has failed to satisfy or whose vested interests he has upset. This will weaken the morale of our civil services and sap professionals of their honesty and regard for duty.



The manner in which the HRD Minister is using the media to spread salacious lies and calumny against Prof. Rajput is another indicator of the scant respect harboured by him for the institution of free speech. Prof. Rajput was not given the opportunity to represent his case before the Sathyam Committee. Nor was the report or any show cause notice served on him. Choice tit bits were leaked to the Press on plain paper (without the seals of either the Ministry or NCERT) to spread the impression that he was guilty of grievous crimes.



Shockingly, the same Government and NCERT hastily closed down a legitimate inquiry into Prof. Arjun Dev's activities. This former head of NCERT's Social Sciences Department had usurped the authorship of a textbook for Class XII students, 'Contemporary India', in the name of himself and that of his wife, Prof. Indira Arjun Dev. The real authors' names used to appear in earlier editions of the same book, with Prof. Arjun Dev being named as only its "Editor". However, after Prof. Arjun Dev became Head of the Social Sciences Department of NCERT he and his wife began to call themselves the "authors" of the book while the real authors' names were dropped in all future editions. This called for an investigation and a committee was set up to examine the allegations to this effect. However, one of the first acts of the present regime was to scrap that committee.



The Sathyam Committee "Report" is yet to be put in the public domain. But from the leaked "executive summary", it appears to be nothing more than a regurgitation of old allegations. In July 2002, much the same was fabricated against him when he was NCERT Director defending the National Curriculum Framework for School Education-2000 before the Supreme Court. The authors of the leak had thought they could influence the Hon'ble apex court, but failed. The Supreme Court rejected the case.



As HRD Minister of the time, I had asked for an examination of the allegations of nepotism, favouritism and high-handedness brought against Prof. Rajput. These were found to be baseless. Now the inconsistencies in those allegations have been glossed over while the political angle has been upheld.



1. Consider the blatant misrepresentation behind the statement that Smt. Sarla Rajput, who is Prof. Rajput's wife, was "favoured" for appointment as Professor. She had been with NCERT since 1972, is a first-class-first from Benaras Hindu University and a Karan Singh gold medalist. Her eligibility to be called for an interview had been cleared by a committee headed buy Prof. Arjun Dev before Prof. Rajput had become Director in July 1999. The Selection Committee was headed by Prof. A.D. Pant, a highly reputed academician known for his erudition and integrity.

2. Smt. Diksha, the daughter of Prof. Rajput, is a competent editor of journals and publications. She was selected for a position with NCERT by a committee headed by the Joint Director. At any rate, she never joined NCERT even for a day. She got a position with UGC which had nothing to do with Prof. Rajput.

3. Similarly, the charge that Dr. S.C. Chowhan, a brother-in-law of Prof. Rajput, secured a lecturer's post in NCERT, using unfair means is downright falsehood. His candidature was evaluated by a selection committee headed by the Joint Director, and Prof. Rajput had nothing to do with it.

4. Equally ridiculous is the charge that during Prof. Rajput's term more people had sought voluntary retirement than ever before. This is cited as proof of his "dictatorial" tendencies, and his "arrogance", etc. The seeking of voluntary retirement is necessitated by several factors, not least being the social reality of the time. Thanks to Prof. Rajput NCERT heightened its image. Many employees found lucrative job offers elsewhere and availed the excellent packages offered by the government of the time. Moreover, how can it be that Prof. Rajput, who himself took voluntary retirement in April 2004, was a victim of his own policies? This shows how imaginative the HRD Minister can be in his misrepresentation.

5. I wish to state on record that in the matter of appointments of consultants and other specialized professionals, the Director of NCERT is vested with full authority. As the then HRD Minister, I found Dr. Rajput working according to established norms and practices and upholding the rules and regulations.



I demand that Shri Arjun Singh immediately call off this unsavoury victimisation of a good man. The honesty and integrity of Prof. Rajput are not in doubt, but the intentions of the Minister are. It must be pointed out that Shri Singh, in his previous stint as HRD Minister, had used Prof. Rajput's services in the Ministry and had found him to be so competent that he had rewarded him with the post of Chairman of National Council for Teachers Education. How is it that a "dictatorial" and "high handed" man like Prof. Rajput was found suitable by him in 1994?



The Government should immediately restore Prof. Rajput's honour and scrap further proceedings planned by him. UNESCO should be informed that the charges against him were found grossly untrue. This is the least Arjun Singh can do to redeem himself in the public eye.



Apart from Prof. Rajput there were at least five more distinguished senior academicians who have been mal-treated by HRD minister Shri Arjun Singh. Four Vice chancellors, who were nominated by me as members of executive committee of the NCERT, were dislodged by him without assigning any reason. The most condemnable, and pitiable, is the act of removal of the director of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Sheri Pradeep Joshi. On 5th of October 2004 the director NIEPA received three office-notes along with nine bills from the HRM's (Human Resource Minister's) office, asking the director to pay the said nine bills (NPS 11130, 11131, 11132 dtd. 16 September 2004, for Rs. 18552.05; NPS 10956, 10957, 10958 dtd. 26 Aug 2004 for Rs. 15692.44, and bill Nos. 10885, 10886, 10887, dtd 31 July 2004, for Rs. 15712.87) totaling to Rs. 49957.36 (Rs. Forty nine thousand nine hundred fifty seven and paise thirty six only). These bills were raised by M/s Aelpe Services, providers of taxi cars in respect of taxi car used for "Minister's Guests" during the period July 1 to Sept. 15, 2004. These bills were required to be paid by director NIEPA to M/s Aelpe Services, C-27, DDA Complex, Defence Colony, Opp. Moolchand Flyover, New Delhi-110024 at the earliest.



Director NIEPA, Dr. Pradeep Joshi, refused to bear the said expenses incurred as taxi charges for the taxis used by the Ministers guests. Vide his letter No. F 13-1/2000/GA dtd 11 Oct. 2004 the director returned all the nine bills to HRM, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi stating that the NIEPA was unable to pay the bills (raised for the taxis used by minister's guests) as NIEPA had no budget to meet such expenses. NIEPA, however, added one more line in the said letter, "If this (payment of the nine bills) is to be met out of the institutes' budget, a separate sanction to this effect may kindly be sent.



On 15 Oct. 2004 the director NIEPA received all the said, SAME nine bills, under three separate office notes from the HRM's office "for payment at the earliest." This time the office notes did not mention the words "Minister's Guests". The office notes instead mentioned "in respect of taxi car used for "official use of the Hon'ble HRM" during the period 1 July 2004 to 15 Sept. 2004. It was a blatant fraud played by the HRM. The director NIEPA did not pay the bills raised for even "the taxi used for official use of the Hon'ble HRM", and result was Pradeep Joshi's abrupt dismissal.



The HRD Minister must explain to the public on why the said office notes were amended so ludicrously and fraudulently. How can one expect the bureaucracy to remain upright and render service to the public which bear all the government expenses. Social morality and dutifulness will have to suffer unless thorough probe is carried out on what were the circumstances under which the HRM had to amend the letters so fraudulently. Public has right to know the circumstances under which the Honble Minister of HRD could not get official vehicles for performing his government duties during the period 1st July 2004 to 15 Sept. 2004, when he had to hire private taxi car for "official use" and pay the tax payers' about Rs. 50 thousand as taxi fare to a private firm.



Dtd. 3-6.2005 (Writer is former HRD Minister)

India has 2.5 cr bogus voters

timesofindia.indiatimes.

SHANKAR RAGHURAMAN

NEW DELHI: India, we are proud of boasting, is the world's largest
democracy. It turns out it is so large that the total number of
voters exceeds the number of those aged over 18 by some 25 million.

That's what a comparison of the age break-up of census data and size
of the electorate reveals. According to 2001 census, there were just
under 665 million people over the age of 15 in February 2001.

Three years later, it could only be these people who were entitled
to vote. In fact, given the fact that about 8 in every thousand
Indians dies each year and three-fourths of these deaths are of
people of 15 years or above, roughly 19 million of the relevant age
group should have died between the census and finalisation of
electoral rolls in February 2004.

This means there could not have been more than 646 million people
eligible to vote that year. Yet, the size of the electorate for the
2004 Lok Sabha elections...

... was 671 million. So what's happening? Are we looking at the
mother of all poll frauds?

To put the magnitude of bogus voters in perspective, consider the
fact that only 10 of India's 28 states have an electorate that is
larger than 25 million.

States like Punjab, Haryana, Orissa, Kerala, Assam, Jharkhand or
Chhattisgarh, not to mention the smaller ones, all have fewer voters
than 25 million.

A state-wise break-up of bogus voters throws up interesting results.
Uttar Pradesh leads with as many as 15.4 million of them, which is a
15.6% addition to what the number should have been.

In absolute terms, Bihar is next with 3.7 million and Karnataka
third with 3.5 million. However, in percentage terms, Karnataka is
actually worse than Bihar with 9.6 per cent additional voters to
Bihar's 7.6 per cent.

Orissa too has a high percentage of these 'spook' voters at 7.4 per
cent, while Madhya Pradesh has 6.4 per cent extra voters.

US intercepted Nuclear materials destined for North Korea and Iran

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and its allies intercepted 11 shipments of nuclear materials destined for North Korea and Iran in the past nine months, under a program aimed at stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

``I have cited two cases involving North Korea. I have cited several cases involving countries of proliferation concern, including Iran,'' Boucher said in a press briefing in Washington yesterday. ``We worked to impede the progress of North Korean weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.''

North Korea claims it possesses nuclear weapons and the U.S. has said the Stalinist nation is preparing to test its arsenal, as the regime of Kim Jong Il defies efforts by President George W. Bush to halt proliferation. The interceptions were made under a two-year program started by Bush that has the support of 60 nations, according to the State Department.

``Bilateral cooperation with several governments prevented North Korea from receiving materials used in making chemical weapons and cooperation with another country blocked the transfer to North Korea of a material useful in its nuclear programs,'' Boucher said.

David Gordon, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, told a congressional committee in Washington on May 3 that North Korea may be seeking to sell its nuclear weapons overseas.

North Korea's nuclear activities ``are an indication that Kim might be willing to make good on his threat to market nuclear weapons or fissile material in the future,'' Gordon said.

Halting Shipments

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier yesterday disclosed the halting of shipments to Iran in a speech celebrating the second anniversary of the Prolife

U.S., Russian, Chinese interests may clash in Kyrgyzstan

MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - China's Huaxia Shibao newspaper published a sensational report yesterday, saying China intended to send troops to Kyrgyzstan, prompting experts to say U.S., Russian, and Chinese interests may clash in the Central Asian region, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a daily, reported.

Chinese authorities are looking into the possibility of meeting the request from Kyrgyzstan's acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to send Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Armenia) troops to be led by Russia and contingents of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to the republic,

the Chinese newspaper quoted Liu Jiancha, an official foreign ministry spokesman, as saying. Jiancha said China had no experience in deploying military bases abroad and therefore had to look into the request.

Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted reports that China was considering sending troops to the Central Asian republic. However, experts said the reports had not accidentally appeared. They predict the Central Asian states within the CIS that group former Soviet republics could become a conflict zone between the super powers given Russia and the United States each already have a base in Kyrgyzstan, while the Chinese army is located close to the republic's borders and could be quickly redeployed there.

Andrew Kuchins, the Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Kyrgyzstan is unlikely to ask China for troops. The Kyrgyz authorities will most likely ask Russia to boost its military presence in the republic to be able to counter a possible security threat. Russia has developed much closer relations with Kyrgyzstan than China or the United States have.

Kuchins said China might start to compete with the U.S. and Russia for influence in Central Asia. The three countries, however, share concerns about possible instability in Central Asia and radical Islamic groups merging with terrorists, something that is likely to persist in the future. This will ease, although not end, their rivalry in the region.

Russia, India, China: trilateral meeting achieves unexpected success

VLADIVOSTOK (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev).

The June 2 meeting of the Russian, Chinese, and Indian foreign ministers that took place in the Russian Far East, was seen as an international-level event by analysts following the intricate relationships within the triangle.

However, the meeting appeared to be more than that, it was a tremendous success.

Foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov, Natwar Singh, and Li Zhaoxing, whose meeting took place at the assembly hall on the Pacific coast 19 kilometers away from Vladivostok, agreed to draft an agenda for cooperation in the energy, transport, high-tech, and agricultural spheres.

The ministers said businessmen from the three countries would convene in India early next year. The chambers of commerce will most likely organize the meeting. They also discussed the reform of the United Nations and developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, the places where issues related to oil and natural gas production, terrorism, and social tensions merge into one difficult knot. Once again the meeting showed the three governments shared approaches to those problems.

Significantly, the Indian minister said the three men got on very well. Those were more than polite words. Indeed, Russia has maintained friendly relations with both India and China, whereas relations between the latter two have not been very simple.

Recent rapprochement between China and India, above all, in trade, which has already reached $7.6 billion, explains the Vladivostok meeting's success. The two countries have stepped up cooperation although their dispute over a 2,000-kilometer-long section of the border and territories with an overall area of 125,000 square kilometers has not been settled. Territorial disputes between Russia and Japan or between Japan and China look insignificant compared with the lands claimed by India and China.

It is not so far clear when and how the conflict over Aksai Chin, China's disputed part of Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh, an area administered by India and claimed by China, will be resolved. Therefore, the two countries' political elites have decided not to let the territorial disputes hinder economic and other bilateral ties, which can be seen as an achievement. However, China and India, the former foes that waged a military conflict in the early 1960s, will not enjoy absolute trust for a long time.

New Delhi, however, believes that it has to maintain friendly relations with China to ensure that it does not become a rival in the future world order. Analysts have long discussed the two world powers' roles in a new world. Some suggest they will meet like two boxers in the ring, and only one country will emerge victorious, whereas others argue China's industrial capabilities will blend in perfectly with India's successes in the high-tech sphere.

Besides, India is not afraid of common interests in one and the same sphere with China or Russia, as it does not tie its hands in other areas. And China and Russia share the view.

The 280,000,000 people living in China's backward western provinces pose a major problem for Beijing. Trade routes to Central Asia are crucial for China as it seeks to develop those provinces. Therefore, cooperation with New Delhi and Moscow interests China greatly.

Moscow believes it can benefit from its role as a mediator promoting rapprochement between its two allies. This role can prove to be a boon, particularly since both China and India need Russian oil and natural gas. Even Russia has not quite understood that China and India are evolving into main investors in the oil and natural gas sector, which is crucial for the Russian economy. Anyway, the trio should learn to talk all difficult things over rather than push each other around.

Today, all trilateral talks seem to focus above all on Central Asia, which is crucial for Russia. The country has improved its positions there in the wake of recent unrests in Kyrgyzstan, which makes talks more specific.

Determining a range of issues to be discussed in the trilateral format was a difficult process. It took the three countries three meetings they held on the sidelines of international forums to finish it. The Vladivostok meeting showed the process had been completed successfully. We are actually witnessing the emergence of a new mechanism in Central Asia similar to permanent dialogue between Russia, France, and Germany (Spain has only recently joined it). Neither of them are anti-American alliances, but those set up to ensure the common interests of Europe and Asia, something they can only do themselves.

Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi are yet to draw up a timetable for regular meetings. The foreign ministers have already stated that they will definitely hold another meeting. All they have to do is find the right place and time.

June 03, 2005

THE WORLD'S FIRST TERRORIST AIR FORCE

by B.Raman

Speaking at a meeting of the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Sri Lanka at Colombo on May 26,2005, Hagrup Haukland, the chief of the Norwegian-led military mission, which monitors the three-year-old ceasefire between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), confirmed the allegation of the Sri Lankan Government that the LTTE had constructed an airstrip near Iranamadu in the Wanni area under its control in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka,

2. He said: "We have seen the airstrip while flying in a Sri Lankan military helicopter." However, he did not comment on the other allegation of the Government that the LTTE has acquired at least two aircraft which looked like the Czech-built Zlin Z-143.He said that his mission had been denied access by the LTTE to verify the Government charges that the LTTE possessed at least two light aircraft. From his statement, it would appear that while his mission was able to see the airstrip from the Sri Lankan helicopter, it could not notice the presence of any aircraft on the ground on or in the vicinity of the airstrip. He did not give any other details as to whether the mission noticed any hangar or any other construction in which the LTTE might have kept the aircraft concealed..

3. He warned that any move by the Government forces to bomb the airstrip could lead to a resumption of the war. Haukland said an air capability would "mean a hell of a lot" to the LTTE. "Those two aircraft, if they have any, represent a very serious threat," he said, and added that India had also expressed concern over the matter.

4. Asked what would happen if the Sri Lankan military were to bomb the airstrip, he said: "If the air force bombs the air strip, then it will be war. If bombs fall, we pull out... it is not a ceasefire anymore. If the Tigers fly, it will be a violation of Sri Lankan airspace and also of international law because the air space is a matter only for the Sri Lankan government."

5. The Sri Lankan authorities, who have been seriously concerned over the implications of the LTTE's success in clandestinely acquiring an air capability for terrorist operations, have for the present confined their reaction to bringing the matter to the notice of foreign governments, including reportedly those of India and Pakistan. President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to discuss this development with Indian leaders during her expected visit to New Delhi this week.

6. The LTTE's plans to acquire an air-mounted capability for suicide missions against Government personalities and ground infrastructure were known for nearly 15 years. The Western and Indian intelligence agencies had detected its instructions to its followers in countries such as the UK and Switzerland to join the local flying clubs and learn flying. They had also noticed that its cadres in West Europe and Canada were buying a large number of expensive technical books relating to flying and that they had been making enquiries in Europe about the availability of microlite aircraft and the price. They were closely monitoring its efforts in order to prevent it from acquiring any aircraft.

7. The fact that it had hoodwinked them and succeeded in acquiring some aircraft and having it smuggled to the areas under its control---possibly in a dismantled condition---became evident on November 27,1998, when its Voice of Tigers clandestine radio station, in a broadcast on a function held in the Wanni area in memory of its cadres killed in terrorist operations, claimed that aircraft of the "Air Tigers" had sprinkled flowers from the air on the memorial. It did not specify the number and whether they were fixed-wing planes or helicopters.

8. Since then, there were periodic reports that the LTTE had managed to acquire abroad and smuggle to the Wanni area at least one light aircraft, but the Sri Lankan authorities kept denying these reports. What is new now is not that the LTTE has acquired aircraft for its air wing, which is at least seven years old, but that the Sri Lankan Government has, for the first time, officially admitted it and taken up the matter with the international community.

9. While the LTTE's acquisition of an air-mounted capability for suicide terrorism is thus old news, it needs to be added that it has not so far used the aircraft, in a conventional or unconventional manner, either for suicide missions or in its operations against the Sri Lankan security forces before the ceasefire came into force in 2002.

10. During its various rounds of fighting against the Sri Lankan security forces before 2002, it was totally relying on conventional anti-aircraft weapons and surface-to-air missiles for bringing down aircraft of the Sri Lankan Air Force. It had acquired some of them on its own in Thailand and other places and smuggled them into the areas under its control and received some others from the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM---then known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) of Pakistan in 1995 as a quid pro quo for clandestinely transporting in one of its shipe a consignment of arms and ammunition to the jihadi terrorist groups of southern Philippines, who were being assisted by the HUM.

11. By 2001, the LTTE had exhausted its holding of anti-aircraft ammunition and missiles and started facing difficulties in procuring replenishments. These difficulties increased after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, when the US intelligence started closely monitoring the movements of LTTE ships in order to prevent their being used for the clandestine transport of arms and ammunition or for the movement of men by the Al Qaeda and its associates in the International Islamic Front (IIF).

12. Despite these difficulties, the LTTE continued to clandestinely procure arms and ammunition from different sources and transport them in its ships to northern Sri Lanka, without anything being done to stop this either by the Norwegian-led monitoring mission or by the other members of the international community. Only the Indian agencies and Coast Guard continued to monitor the LTTE activities and share with the Government of Sri Lanka any information coming to their notice. There had been occasions before the ceasefire when Indian naval ships had by themselves intercepted LTTE ships and foiled their gun-running missions.

13. It needs to be mentioned here that ever since the LTTE acquired a shipping capability for clandestine gun-running, there had been innumerable occasions when its gun-running missions were foiled on the high seas or near Sri Lankan coastal waters. In all these instances, action was initiated by the Navies of India and/or Sri Lanka.

14. To my knowledge, there has not been a single instance in which other powers---either in Asia or Europe, including East Europe or the US---had thwarted a single gun-running mission of the LTTE---either by preventing it from clandestinely procuring arms and ammunition or smuggling them by sea to northern Sri Lanka.

15. From this, it would not be wrong to conclude that the silence and inaction of many external powers have contributed to the LTTE's emerging as the most ruthless non-jihadi terrorist organisation of the world with a capability for sea and air mounted suicide missions. While the US and other Western powers have not hesitated to act promptly and decisively against jihadi terrorist organisations posing a threat to the lives of their citizens and their interests, they have shown a worrisome reluctance to act against non-jihadi terrorist organisations.

16. One does not know clearly whether the LTTE procured the planes in its holding before or after 9/11. It is a serious development whenever they were procured. It would be even more serious if the procurement had been made after 9/11 when the international community, acting under UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 against terrorism, set in place an international anti-terrorist infrastructure and networking in order to prevent the flow of funds and equipment to terrorist organisations.

17. If the LTTE had hoodwinked the intelligence agencies of the world after 9/11, it should be equally easy for other terrorist organisations such as the Al Qaeda and the other members of the IIF to similarly hoodwink them for procuring and transporting weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material to areas of intended use.

18. The reluctance and the failure of the international community to act against the LTTE have serious implications for the so-called war against terrorism. The Sri Lankan Government cannot escape a major share of responsibility for this state of affairs. Its failure to take up the matter with the monitoring mechanism set up by the Security Council after the passage of Resolution 1373 and complain not only against the LTTE, but also against the countries which have been turning a blind eyes to the LTTE's gun-running and the supine attitude of the Norwegian-led monitoring mission towards the LTTE have contributed to the emergence of the world's first terrorist Air Force.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai Chapter. E-mail: itschen36@gmail.com )

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium intends to enlarge

It has by now coordinated a majority of related issues with Russian authorities, said Ian McDonald, consortium Director General.

The CPC has made spectacular progress on the project to build up its assets. It has coped with six out of the seven provisos Russia's government advanced in that connection-some have been implemented, and versions of implementation have been offered on others, said the CEO. He was addressing an international conference on capital investment in the oil-and-gas complex, underway in Paris. Organizing the conference was the UK-based Energy Exchange Co.

Among the issues by now coordinated, the Director General highlighted an understanding on petroleum pumping tariffs to rise by $2.5 a ton, the use of the pump-or-pay principle, and a resolution on consortium asset enlargement to be funded from without.

As for the corporate management structure, the sides agreed on the involved countries' governments to hold a half of managerial posts, with the other half for the founding companies, McDonald added.

The Russian government will have everything it needs to guarantee its interests in the CPC as soon as the arrangements are settled for seconding shareholders to the consortium managerial staff, he said.

Now, it is the Russian government's turn to demonstrate flexibility, remarked the CEO.

The prospective consortium enlargement promises Russia multibillion revenues. Meanwhile, settlement procrastination costs the CPC $25 million a month as missed profit, and the sums are expected to double in two years or so, he warned.

A draft final decision is expected to come up by next September or October, and respective works can start early in 2007 if the decision is passed.

Some people doubt that Russia is actually welcoming the appearance of overseas investors in its petroleum-and-gas complex. There is no better way to dispel those doubts than coordinate the Caspian Pipeline Consortium enlargement project, McDonald said by way of conclusion.

The consortium is proprietor of a petroleum mainline, 1,580 kilometers long, from Tengiz to Novorossiisk. It links oilfields in Kazakhstan's west with the Russian Black Sea coast. The CPC intends to enhance the pipeline's throughput capacity to 32 million tons even within the year, while the planned enlargement promises to make it an annual 67 million tons through construction of an additional ten pumping stations, several more reservoirs, and a seaport moorage extension to add to the two now available.

Russia accounts for a 24% consortium block, Kazakhstan 19%, and Oman 7%. Prominent among private petroleum companies on the CPC are Chevron Caspian Pipeline Consortium Co., with 15%, LUKARCO B.V., 12.5%, Rosneft-Shell Caspian Ventures Ltd., 7.5%, Mobil Caspian Pipeline Co., 7.5%, Agip International (N.A.) N.V., 2%, BG Overseas Holding Ltd., 2%, Kazakhstan Pipeline Ventures LLC, 1.75%, and Oryx Caspian Pipeline LLC, 1.75%.

US Intelligence Sees Terrorists in Iran

AP:

By KATHERINE SHRADER and JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writers
38 minutes ago

U.S. intelligence and foreign allies have growing evidence that wanted terrorists have been residing in Iran despite repeated American warnings to Tehran not to harbor them.

The evidence, which stretches over several years, includes communications by a fugitive mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing and the capture of a Saudi militant who appeared in a video in which Osama bin Laden confirmed he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because much of the evidence remains classified.

Saudi intelligence officers tracked and apprehended Khaled bin Ouda bin Mohammed al-Harbi last year in eastern Iran, officials said. The arrest came nearly three years after the cleric appeared with bin Laden and discussed details of the Sept. 11 planning during a dinner that was videotaped and aired across the world.

The capture was a coup for Saudi Arabia, which spent months tracking him and setting up the intelligence operation that led to his being taken into custody in exchange for eventual amnesty.

The officials said interrogations of al-Harbi, who is now in Saudi Arabia, have yielded confirmation of many al-Qaida tactics, including how members crossed into Iran after the U.S. began military operations to rout al-Qaida and the Taliban from Afghanistan.

Al-Harbi is believed to have been paralyzed from the waist down while fighting in the 1990s alongside Muslim extremists in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and he surprised intelligence officials when he appeared in the December 2001 video with bin Laden.

"Everybody praises what you did," al-Harbi said on the tape.

U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies also have evidence stretching back to the late 1990s that indicates Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil remains hiding in Iran. He is wanted as one of the masterminds of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans.

Al-Mughassil, who also goes by the alias Abu Omran, has been charged as a fugitive by the United States with conspiracy to commit murder in the attacks and has a $5 million bounty on his head.

U.S. authorities have long alleged the 1996 bombing was carried out by a Saudi wing of the militant group Hezbollah, which receives support from Iran and Syria.

Intelligence agencies gathered evidence, including a specific phone number, as early as 1997 indicating al-Mughassil was living in Iran, and have other information indicating his whereabouts.

U.S. officials have not publicly discussed the Saudi capture of al-Harbi or their evidence on al-Mughassil's whereabouts, but have increasingly raised questions about Iran's efforts to turn over other suspected terrorists believed to be under some form of loose house arrest.

Nicholas Burns, State Department undersecretary for political affairs, told Congress last month that Iran has refused to identify al-Qaida members it has in custody.

"Iran continues to hold senior al-Qaida leaders who are wanted for murdering Americans and others in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings and for plotting to kill countless others," Burns said.

Top administration officials have repeatedly warned Iran against harboring or assisting suspected terrorists.

U.S. intelligence this week has been checking some reports, still uncorroborated as of Friday, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader of the Iraqi insurgency, may have dipped into Iran, officials said.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned countries in the Middle East not to help al-Zarqawi.

"Were a neighboring country to take him in and provide medical assistance or haven for him, they, obviously, would be associating themselves with a major linkage in the al-Qaida network and a person who has a great deal of blood on his hands," Rumsfeld said.

The U.S. and foreign officials said evidence gathered by intelligence agencies indicates the following figures are somewhere in Iran:

• Saad bin Laden, the son of the al-Qaida leader whom U.S. authorities have aggressively hunted since the Sept. 11 attacks.

• Saif al-Adel, an al-Qaida security chief wanted in connection with the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.

• Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the chief of information for al-Qaida and a frequently quoted spokesman for bin Laden.

U.S. and foreign intelligence officials say they believe those three are under some form of house arrest or surveillance by Iranian authorities.

Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East analyst at the Congressional Research Service, said the conditions that some of suspected terrorists are living under are unclear. Katzman said it's possible they are being held in guarded villas and he doubts any detention is uncomfortable.

"I think that Iran sees these guys as something of an insurance policy," he said. "It's leverage."

Rasool Nafisi, a Middle East analyst who studies conservative groups in Iran and travels there frequently for research, said Iran has returned some lower-rank operatives to their home countries but probably is keeping higher-ranking operatives as a bartering chip.

"Remember, Islamic tradition is very much based on haggling," Nafisi said. "Everything is negotiable, and you haggle for everything. If I were the Iranian government, I'd be very happy to have them and to use them in future negotiations with the United States."

IIPF Chief: Settlement of disputes with US possible

Netiran, Jun. 2nd, 2005,
Word Count : 491


The head of Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) said here on Wednesday, June 1, that there are many problems with Iran-US relations but they are solvable.
"One of the major challenges facing Iran's foreign policy is relations between Iran and the US; the relations are presently critical with a record of complicated problems; the possibility exists for their settlement, though the problems are enormous," said Mohammad-Reza Khatami, the head of Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) and the representative of Iranian 9th presidential election candidate Mostafa Moin, in a press conference here on Wednesday.



The first point in this direction is cessation of hostilities and the next step is making use of the opportunities and transition from the current critical stage, said Khatami.

He said they were thinking on peaceful settlement of differences while maintaining the basic principles.

He added that growing cooperation and dialogue and further cultural and social contacts between Iranian and American people, especially between their academics, elite and journalists, would prepare the ground for settlement of disputes.

A comprehensive diplomacy is needed to settle the crisis and even -- if possible -- the problem should be solved through a third party, said Khatami, adding, "We have pinned hopes on settlement of the standoff and positive change in bilateral relations."
He said that if he becomes Iran's president, Moin will recruit national-religious forces and Nehzat Azadi (freedom movement) sympathizers in his cabinet and there will be no limitation in this respect.

Referring to the nuclear energy as the main challenge of Iran's foreign policy, Khatami said as highest Iranian authorities have said, Iran is not for development of nuclear weapons.

"We too believe that with the establishment of a new world order after the cold war, nuclear weapons are no longer effective," he added.

Iran attempts to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and 'we do know that the world, especially the big powers, are sensitive to the issue; so before anything, one should win global trust', he said.

"According to the international conventions, we are fully entitled to using nuclear energy; to attain the goal we should prove that our community has a democratic structure and the political, economic, cultural and social issues are transparent," he added.

"Furthermore, we should prove that we have necessary political, social and economic stability and our relations with the world, especially with the permanent UN Security Council member states, are not hostile and we are cooperating and have coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," said Khatami.

He said that in that case, Iranians would be able to benefit from their legal right and turn the world's pessimistic outlook into a non-hostile approach.

Khatami said maintenance of political independence, guaranteeing national security and sustainable developments will be the highlights of Moin's future government.

He said government of Moin will support the legal and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people within the framework of the internationally recognized charters.

Former Head of MI6 ,Richard Dearlove appointed as Senior advisor of Monitor Group

From sending James Bond against SMERSH to the corporate boardroom; Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence agency, has been appointed as a "senior adviser" to the Monitor Group, an international consultancy and finance firm. Not that the company is admitting the man once known only as "C" is actually employed by them; callers to its London office are haughtily informed it is a "no name" company. The Committee on Business Appointments, the government watchdog that vets private-sector jobs taken by former civil servants, lists Dearlove's appointment. While the Monitor Group declined to discuss the services that Dearlove provides, it was recently chosen by Libya to help to oversee economic reform, a follow-on from 2003, when Colonel Moammar Gadhafi chose British intelligence as the go-between when he decided to abandon Libya's nuclear program. Dearlove is not the first former British spymaster to accept a well-paid business job after leaving British intelligence: Former MI5 boss Stella Rimington and ex-Joint Intelligence Committee head Pauline Neville-Jones both joined big British companies following their retirements.

DNI has made several substantive mistakes , former spy Robert David Steele Vivas

OSS CEO Robert David Steele Vivas, former spy and author-speaker on intelligence reform, has posted a web commentary on DNI John Negroponte's six major mistakes to date. This release contains highlights only. Details, and a full-page Op-Ed,
are available at http://www.oss.net.

Here is the complete information available from OSS

The DNI has made several substantive mistakes in the early days. While some recovery is possible, the general trend line is not positive. We support the DNI, we want to see the DNI succeed, but he is surrounded by people who are unwilling to change their ways or confront the harsh realities. If one accepts DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic) as the foundation for strategic success, then the DNI can be said to be the dot of the I, completely berefit of the foundational pillar that is the I itself. This is an emperor wearing no clothes--all he has on is his crown.

Mistake #1: Obsessing on doing the daily briefing to the President. The DNI should be the strategic leader, the DDNI should be the operational leader, and the ADDNIs should be doing the heavy lifting. This is not happening (see M#3).

Mistake #2: Locating at Bolling AFB. Unless the DNI immediately announces that this is a temporary measure, and that he is seeking $100M from Congress for a complete refurbishment of the three building campus at the South-Central location between USIP, State, and the Kennedy Center, the DNI is destined for oblivion.

Mistake #3: Pedestrian deputies. Sorry, but these are button down bureaucrats without an original idea among them. This is a business as usual crew.

Mistake #4: Failing to invite the several OSINT pioneers to a seance. With the possible exception of one person, the DNI is not getting the best available advice on creating an Open Source Agency outside the IC, using State as the lead (State foolishly resists greatness) and following the civil affairs model. Absent truly informed and objective advice, which excludes all CIA-related personnel, he is going to fail twice: first in not having an independent base that can keep the classified IC honest; and second, in not having the outreach to the millions of minds that could otherwise make up for the lack of imagination among those with clearances.

Mistake #5: Failing to invite public commentary. A really innovative DNI would have posted a Request for Comments to FedBiz, and established an honest independent working group to evaluate and integrate "wild card" ideas from the outreach crowd. The DNI is getting advice largely from the insiders--this tends to produce, as incest usually does--albino mutants and deviants, not healthy diversity.

Mistake #6: Failing to focus on bottom up dots. It is our view that 50% of the dots needed to detect and prevent the next 9-11 will be bottom-up dots coming from county-level observations by local law enforcement and concerned citizens including loyal immigrants who do not share the radical disdain for our great Republic. Absent Community Intelligence Centers (a generic form of Joint Inter-Agency Information Sharing and Collaboration Centers) in each of the 50 states, and nodes or at least dedicated focal points in each county across America, all that we do with classified and open sources from a top-down perspective will be insufficient.

Bottom line: no joy. The next 9-11 will take 7,000 to 10,000 lives, will probably be maritime in nature, and will be neither detected in advance nor prevented. Meanwhile, we will continue to fail at grand strategy, with all the trillion dollar mistakes that entails. We can do better.



Intelligence Affairs: Evolution, Revolution, or Reactionary Collapse?

A recent RAND document purporting to discuss the revolution in intelligence affairs has been making the rounds, but most who have praised it clearly did not read it first. Upon close examination, we have found that the document is reactionary rather than revolutionary. Indeed, the footnotes are completely focused on what has been said by those who failed to protect America from 9-11, and completely ignorant of any—literally any—of the many sources on intelligence reform available to those who are open to ideas from the outside.

We decided to look at this situation more closely, and we have identified three competing approaches to the eradication of intelligence incompetence such as the Americans have displayed so profoundly since the end of the Cold War. The reactionary approach, reflected in both the RAND study and the recent selections of deputies to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered anything other than “business as usual” choices, is one we will dismiss right now. The DNI will fail. He will fail because he was not willing to consider external solutions or external deputies. Drawing on a very weak and shallow bench, he has fielded a group of second and third stringers who will not prevent another 9-11, and will soon embarrass the White House in multiple ways.

An intelligent examination of the potential for evolution or revolution within intelligence affairs must begin with an understanding of these two terms. Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. We emphasize here both “different” and “more complex” or “better.” An evolutionary approach to intelligence reform would, at a minimum, expand the concept of national intelligence to embrace what the Swedes are calling M4 IS: multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information sharing at all level of classification, and to embrace what we call the “seven tribes” of intelligence—not only national and military, but law enforcement, business, academic, ground truth (nongovernmental organizations and media), and citizen (including labor unions and religions). Such an approach would retain the capability to collect and exploit secrets, but it would establish a new national Open Source Agency as the 9-11 Commission has recommended, and it would emphasize sharing over secrecy, with open source intelligence (OSINT) as the baseline for sharing, rather than a cosmetic after-thought, as is now the case.

A revolution in intelligence affairs (RIA), in contrast to an intelligent evolution, is a drastic (that is to say, sudden, and far-reaching) change in ways of thinking and behaving. Such a revolution would be characterized by a true sense of national crisis, such as occurred after Pearl Harbor, or Sputnik. The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is a political affectation today in America, not a true national endeavor, our earnest defense endeavors not-with-standing. Indeed, while the Americans play at GWOT, the Chinese, Indians, Iranians, and Russians are eating our lunch in South America and taking over Africa, at the same time that Latin America is being invited to invest in Africa and trade with Asia. Behind the scenes, the common agenda among these players, with Europe sitting foolishly on the sidelines, is the displacement of America as a super-power—the relegation of America to co-equal status with that lonely island called England. A true revolution in intelligence affairs would radicalize and internationalize American education overnight, shifting billions from guns to brains; it would democratize US politics (electoral reform, so that every American’s vote counts, which is not the case today); it would eliminate US support for the 44 dictators that pretend to support GWOT while raping and pillaging the commonwealth of billions whose poverty threatens America vastly more than any terrorist gang; and it would strive for nothing less than a cultural revolution, a revolution of the American mind, a restoration of American ideals of informed democracy and collective intelligence at home first, then globally. Now that is a revolution. St.

Is there a God - Country link?

Pioneer 31 May 2005

Sandhya Jain



As conservative Christian groups in America protest against the Air Force Academy's decision to investigate complaints of institutionalized proselytisation at its Colorado Springs campus, questions arise about the status of religious freedom in that country. Samuel Huntington, in his expansive Who Are We, admits America has employed highly coercive techniques in the past to ensure cultural conformity by immigrants of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and fears the nation may be undone by multi-culturalism.



Despite a formal commitment to multi-culturalism, powerful sections of the American Government and people feel uncomfortable with non-Christians. Hence the deep political commitment to evangelization oversees, of which domestic proselytisation is a corollary. Logically, America will hardly pump millions of dollars for conversion activities abroad and allow its own citizenry to languish in or convert to non-Christian faiths.



Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation once said that most Indians simply fail to realize that power in American society resides in its institutions rather than in an inchoate public opinion. This is a powerful insight. The institutions are deeply imbued with the core values of the original White Settlers and extremely focused about White American interests. This is why the polity is actually an Imperial Democracy; it can tolerate (read ignore) slogan shouting by emotional mobs, but there is no space for dissent against an unstated national consensus by the power elite. Anyone doubting the veracity of this assessment has only to observe how soon Pepsico honcho Indra Nooyi looses her corporate status, even though her non-conformism was purely unintentional.



The growing numbers of non-integrating groups is unsettling to White Americans, particularly after Nine Eleven. As India also faces the problem of secularism run riot, this may be an appropriate occasion to ponder if there is a symbiotic link between nationalism and homogeneity of religious belief among the citizenry. Alternatively, we may ask how much religious diversity (in terms of percentage of population) nations can absorb without upsetting the dominant majority.



This article has been triggered off by the information that the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, where some of the largest evangelical churches are based, is headed by Commanders who frequently double up as church leaders. A conservative group called Focus on the Family is opposing the official probe into charges of institutionalized proselytisation. The problem reportedly came to light through the Academy's routine internal surveys, following which officials asked staff and cadets to report cases of religious discrimination. Over fifty complaints were lodged, including forced prayers (a routine practice in missionary-run institutions in India) and derogatory religious remarks or jokes. One Protestant chaplain would curse non-proselytizing officers to "burn in the fires of hell." A football coach put up a locker room banner: "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."



Independent investigations by a Washington-based advocacy group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, discovered that prayers (only Christian) were routinely organized before Academy sanctioned events; and students, faculty and staff would pressurize cadets to attend chapel and receive religious instruction. Academy officers and staff members inserted advertisements in the Academy newspaper asking cadets to contact them to "discuss Jesus." On one occasion, the film, "The Passion of the Christ" was screened at the Academy; fliers advertising the event were placed on every seat in the dining hall with the message: "This is an officially sponsored USAFA event." As I understand it, this would have made attendance compulsory, which violates religious freedom and is certainly an abuse of authority.


The controversy has attracted media attention. It is said the Academy's second-in-command is a born-again Christian who uses his official position to push his evangelical beliefs. Americans United for Separation of Church and State laments that American society permits evangelical Christians to wield excessive power, a trend difficult to reverse. The Academy organized religious tolerance classes with compulsory attendance as part of a damage-control exercise after the complaints became public. But a programme, Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People (RSVP), prepared by Chaplain Capt. Melinda Morton, became controversial after she told New York Times that the contents were heavily diluted by officers. The Academy was forced to admit that changes were made.



According to reports, the Air Force's chief chaplain saw the RSVP programme and its dramatization of interactions between cadets of different faiths, and protested: "Why is it that the Christians never win?" He seemed oblivious of the fact that the purpose of the presentation was to help cadets and officers understand the whole range of human religious experience. The chief chaplain admitted making the remark, but claimed he was only objecting to the disproportionate portrayal of Christians at fault for evangelization efforts. But those who made the programme said it mostly avoided religious identification.



Indians brainwashed by the propaganda that America permits non-Christians total religious freedom without prejudice need to appreciate that while there may be no overt discrimination at the level of ordinary citizens, the larger picture is somewhat different. The chief chaplain was forced to admit asking the Air Force to delete segments of the RSVP programme depicting non-Christian faiths such as Buddhism, Judaism and Native American spirituality, as well as a clip from the film, "Schindler's List," portraying the Jewish Holocaust. The programme was thus reduced from 90 minutes to 50, with the result that instead of educating cadets about other spiritual traditions, it merely conveyed a neutral message that they should respect one another's differences. This defeated the very purpose of the programme, given the pervasive pro-evangelization atmosphere at the campus, and in fact reinforced the rabid Christian White Settler image defended by Huntington in Who Are We.



The American officers and chaplains at this Air Force campus clearly used their office to violate the religious space and sentiments of non-Christian cadets, breaching the constitutional boundary between church and state. Stung by the adverse publicity, the Academy is gearing up to inculcate "sensitivity" among cadets, by educating them about all world religions. Yet it remains to be seen what actually comes out of the official enquiry, as almost all students and faculty approached by the media privately confessed that they feared speaking up could harm their careers. Chaplain Capt. Morton, who took the risk of going public because she objected to officers using their positions to advance their personal religious agenda, admitted that her Air Force career was over.



Readers of this column are aware that I view evangelical activities in India as akin to denationalization. As a social scientist, therefore, it may be fair to question if White Americans perceive non-Christians, especially those joining critical institutions such as the military, as citizens who do not share the soul of America. Perhaps the time has come to question ideological conventions born in an historical context that no longer prevails. Separation of church and state was born in a European Christian environment wherein the state actively persecuted other denominations; it was felt nationalism would prosper under a non-denominational state.



Today, the most serious threat to the world order comes from groups organized on religious lines, transcending national boundaries, yet claiming cultural and territorial space in other nation-states. The non-dharmic, non-religious state is at a distinct disadvantage in taking on these elements. A future nationalism may depend upon revalidating the old link between god and country.

The Darfur Question at a Time of Increasing U.S.-China Competition

Soure : Power and Interest News Report (PINR)

In the last two months, Sudan has once again graced the pages of international news due to intense political and academic debate over the Darfur question. Darfur is the south-western Sudanese region where Khartoum's troops are still in conflict with "rebels," causing a "humanitarian crisis" frequently described as genocide. On April 27, the African Union (A.U.) officially asked N.A.T.O. for logistic help in Darfur, although on December 31, 2004, Sudan's central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army (S.P.L.M./A.) signed a permanent cease-fire agreement. [See: "Sudan's Changing Map"]

Two days later, on April 29, Los Angeles Times reporter Ken Silverstein published a controversial article in which he reported that the Bush administration and the C.I.A. are forging closer ties with Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, the head of Sudan's government, who is accused of being responsible for genocide. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Sudan"] The Darfur question is thoroughly comprehensible only from a power and interest perspective, taking into consideration the broader context of China's rise and U.S. goals in the "Greater Middle East."

U.S. Relationship with Sudan and Recent Allegations of New Intelligence Ties

Khartoum has often been considered part of an informal anti-American "axis," extending from Tripoli to Tehran, and passing through Khartoum, Sana'a and, until 2003, Baghdad. Washington has explicitly accused Sudan of harboring international terrorists and members of the al-Qaeda network. After the August 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, former U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered a retaliatory strike against Sudan's El Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries factory -- which U.S. officials said was housing chemical weapons.

On October 21, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 5531, the "Sudan Peace Act," which should "facilitate a comprehensive solution to the war in Sudan" by calling for "multilateralization of economic and diplomatic tools to compel Sudan to enter into a good faith peace process," while supporting "democratic development" of regions out of the central government's control and condemning human rights violations.

In the background of post-9/11 "war on terrorism" policies, Washington's choice in coping with Sudan's geopolitical stakes has in fact been geared toward "multilateralism" from the start, opening the way for the planned N.A.T.O. engagement in Darfur. What is important for the Sudanese question is that one of the Iraq intervention's consequences has been the reshaping of the geopolitical landscape in the area extending from Sudan to Central Asia -- with a geographical pivot in Iraq, and whose label is the "Greater Middle East." This is a strategic and energetic key area for all powers involved in the struggle for influence in the Eurasian continent: the U.S., the main powers of the E.U., Russia, and China.

For instance, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has stepped toward a less hostile, more cooperative stance with Washington and its allies, while other important political developments are taking place in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Not all of them are favorable to U.S. geopolitical goals, though. Hezbollah's political role in Beirut is growing stronger, and the anti-U.S. guerrilla campaign by Iraqi insurgents has not weakened.

However, in a changing regional political environment, Khartoum's turn toward more friendly ties with Washington, caused by augmented U.S. pressure, should not be ignored. The problem for the Bush administration is that increased intelligence cooperation with one of the world's more detested regimes would inevitably clash (when known by the public) with neoconservative claims of a U.S. crusade against evil and against all dictatorships on the globe. It would also make matters worse for the public opinion's support of a N.A.T.O. mission in Darfur.

Why Darfur and Sudan Matter

The Sudanese territory (the widest of all African countries) connects four different geopolitical sub-systems: those of the Red Sea, the Maghreb, the Central African region and the African Horn. It also is, from Egypt's perspective, the natural continuation of Cairo's push towards the Nile's southern sources. Its arabization began in the 16th century at the expense of some Christian kingdoms. An almost permanent geopolitical struggle has existed for the past 30 years between the northern regions and the south -- as the latter maintains some pre-Islamic characteristics.

The south, however, has always served as a tool for foreign powers aiming at destabilizing Sudan: in the 1970s and 80s, for example, Ethiopian pro-Soviet leaders exploited the conflict to weaken Khartoum's pro-Western stance. Since 1989, the new Ethiopian post-communist elites acted similarly, by supporting southern rebels to weaken Sudan's Islamic turn. This fact is of outmost importance for a genuinely realist interpretation based on power and interest.

Today's American and Western attention for the Darfur question has much to do with Khartoum's new commercial and political ties with Iran and -- especially -- China. Beijing's attempt to gain influence in Africa is in fact one of our age's geopolitical novelties. Its main goal is to acquire African oil and gas at favorable conditions, in regions where Western oil majors must still compete for total control. Beijing's new African policy has been focused on Gabon, Nigeria and Sudan. It must be said, for the sake of accuracy, that Sino-Sudanese relations are not entirely new, for the arms trade between the two countries has been in place since the late sixties.

Control over oil reserves is at the top of China's wishes -- and Sudanese diffidence for the U.S. seems to be a good set up for Chinese penetration as a powerbroker. In 2003, China's National Petroleum Corp. planned to invest one billion dollars to create Sudan's largest oil refinery. Moreover, as recent declarations from Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining Awad Ahmed Al-Jazz confirmed, a newly-discovered oil field expected to produce 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil is located in the Darfur region. This latter is also the way to Chad, a country well-known for its natural gas reserves.

At a time of growing strategic partnership between U.S. geopolitical adversaries such as Iran and China, Sudan's importance is understandable in light of its energy assets and strategic position to securitize the "Greater Middle East."


N.A.T.O.'s Role in Sudan and Alleged French Hesitations

This framework is made even more complex by the European countries' different perceptions of U.S. Middle East policies and China's rise as a great power. As N.A.T.O. is a transatlantic organization, a lack of a common geopolitical concept, shared by its major components, would be immediately reflected in political terms. After the 2003 dramatic rift in transatlantic and intra-European relations concerning the Iraq war, many have continuously called for a new U.S.-E.U. common security policy. The Darfur crisis and the African Union official request for help seemed to be an opportunity to extend the tight security cooperation between Washington and the E.U.'s main powers via N.A.T.O.

However, some analysts correctly remarked how the E.U. and N.A.T.O. seemed to have both become involved in the Sudanese theater of operations without a clear definition of their mutual relations in the mission. The dilemma is that either the E.U. relies on N.A.T.O.'s assets to project its power out of the European region, thus accepting the Atlantic political lead, or the two organizations enter into competition -- which is to be read as another chapter of the Franco-American conflict for influence over the European Security and Defence Policy (E.S.D.P.).

The French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported on April 27 that N.A.T.O.'s intervention in Darfur was a "historical event" in that for the first time the transatlantic organization was planning a humanitarian mission in Africa. However, sources of French diplomacy, quoted by the press in February, said that Paris was opposed to N.A.T.O.'s mission in Sudan because it would reduce the E.S.D.P.'s role and visibility in a geopolitical area considered vital for European interests.

Another constant in the transatlantic relationship appears here: it is Paris that more vigorously insists for a greater European weight in security policy, for France's goal is to transform the transatlantic relationship in such a way that it becomes a partnership much more than American control over Europe. [See: "An Assessment of the Franco-German Axis and the United States"] At present, this evolution appears unlikely for two reasons. The first reason is that U.S. foreign policy -- perceived not only by Paris as unilateral and hegemonic -- is more often than not considered a threat to great and medium powers' geopolitical goals, although not directly in military terms. The second reason is that Germany seems to pursue a more independent agenda than it has in the past.

Conclusion

The geopolitical framework of N.A.T.O.'s and the E.U.'s interventions in Sudan is a fairly complex one. However, events seem to be running in the direction of these organizations' actual involvement. Washington's enthusiasm toward a direct intervention in the Darfur crisis appears to have been cooled down by Khartoum's new role in intelligence sharing with the U.S. This fact could clear the way for a stronger E.U., rather than N.A.T.O., political role in supporting the A.U.'s peacekeeping mission. At the same time, in the light of rising Chinese ambitions in the African political and economic landscape, it will also make things more puzzling for the future stabilization of an increasingly delicate region.

Report Drafted By:
Federico Bordonaro

Communal truth, secular lies

June 02, 2005

A few days before Parliament's budget session came to an end, PTI circulated a story based on Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal's reply to a Rajya Sabha MP's question on the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

The details provided by Mr Jaiswal in his reply were in total variance to the outrageous claims of the Congress and its leftist allies, especially the CPI-M) to which we have been subjected for the last three years. Perhaps that is the reason why India's 'secular' media, given to aggressively arguing in favour of citizens' right to information, did not pick up the PTI story.

Since the minister's reply provides some interesting facts that deserve to be placed in the public domain, it would be in order to reproduce the salient portions of the PTI report:

# The Central government informed the Rajya Sabha that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

# Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal said a total of 223 people were reported missing and 2,548 sustained injuries during the riots in 2002.

# He said the government paid Rs 1.5 lakh to the next of kin of each person killed and Rs 5,000, Rs 15,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 for the injured. The amount for the injured was based on the extent of injury, the minister added.

The minister of state for home affairs in the Congress-led UPA government has pegged the death toll at 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. Yet, these figures are not reflected in the propagandist pronouncements of those who claim to champion the cause of India's Muslims.

More often than not we come across claims of 'thousands of Muslims butchered by Hindu fanatics in Narendra Modi's Gujarat.' This is a lie that has been repeated ad nauseam since that terrible day when Hindus travelling by the Sabarmati Express were roasted alive after their coach was set ablaze by Muslim fanatics.

It has been repeated the most by India's Marxists who subscribe to the Goebbelsian tactic of repeating a lie till in the popular perception it comes to be identified as the truth.

And, it is on the strength of such contrived truth that the Marxists make preposterous claims. For instance, the claim made in a recent editorial in the CPI-M propaganda journal People's Democracy that the communal violence in Gujarat was 'the worst in modern Indian history.'

In one grand sweep, the CPI-M has brushed aside the far more horrendous riots that have resulted in far more gruesome blood-letting. We do not have to go too far back in 'modern Indian history' to locate some of these riots.

The massacre in Malliana has been conveniently forgotten; brutal memories of the riots in Meerut have been obliterated. The nightlong slaughter of Muslims at Nellie in Assam, which witnessed suckling infants being snatched from their mothers' arms and being speared to death, has been erased from the secularists' record of 'modern Indian history.'

Stomach-churning details of the Bhagalpur riots -- Muslims were killed, buried in fields and cauliflower and other winter vegetables planted over the rotting cadavers -- no longer feature in the secularists' collective conscience. The anti-Sikh pogrom that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination is not even talked about any more: More than 4,000 Sikhs were murdered, many of them by placing burning tyres around their necks.

Each of these massacres of innocent men, women and children took place when the Congress was in power and did nothing more than twiddle its thumbs as marauders went about their pillaging secure in the belief that they would not be punished.

Yet, the Marxists have the gumption of claiming that the riots in Gujarat were 'the worst in modern Indian history.' Perhaps they are referring to history after it has been purged of uncomfortable facts by the detox army led by Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.

Crass pandering to fundamentalism comes easily to the Congress and its cheer leaders in the CPI-M. That is the reason why propaganda disguised as campaign to promote secularism is deployed with such ease, regardless of the truth. And appeasement of the worst variety is projected as secular policy.

Two recent instances can be cited to exemplify this point. Ulema who had gathered for a rally of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind over the weekend, passed a resolution demanding proportionate reservation for Muslims in state legislatures and Parliament. Jamiat president Maulana Syed Asad Madani articulated this demand without mincing words.

UPA Chairperson and Congress president Sownia (sick) Gandhi, who was present at the rally and spoke after Mr Madani was through with his fire-and-brimstone speech, showered praise on the gathered ulema and promised to fulfil every demand of theirs. She then went on to shower abuse on the BJP and the NDA government.

The other example is the cunning manner in which the UPA government tried to manipulate ownership of the Jama Masjid. This 17th century mosque is waqf property, but has been appropriated, for all practical purposes, by the Shahi Imam.

In the past, every time an effort has been made by Muslims to free this place of worship from the clutches of the imam and his henchmen, the Congress has come to his rescue, claiming that it was doing so to 'maintain communal harmony.' This time, too, a similar attempt was made, but the Delhi high court has stymied that effort.

Meanwhile, with elections looming large in Assam, the Congress is pinning its hope on that state's significant Muslim vote bank comprising illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The remarkable growth in the Muslim population of Assam's districts adjacent to Bangladesh may pose a serious threat to the region's demographic balance, but for the Congress, it is manna from heaven.

The Assamese are feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the continuous flow of immigrants and have launched a campaign to throw out the Bangladeshis from Assam. Their efforts have begun to yield results but the Congress is in a rage over the exodus of Bangladeshi Muslims from Assam.

The chief minister of Assam has turned on the governor who is believed to have sent a report to the Union government, placing on record his assessment of the immigration problem, pegging the inflow of Bangladeshis to a startling figure of 6,000 a day.

According to the chief minister, who is also the local Congress satrap, there may be a few Bangladeshis here and there, but 'there is no problem of illegal immigration.' He knows that this is untrue. The Union government knows this is untrue. The Congress and the CPI-M know that this is untrue.

But none of them has the courage to stand up and tell the truth lest the party is forced to forfeit its deposit in the Muslim vote bank. Instead, the BJP and the RSS are being blamed for 'terrorising Muslims' with an eye to the coming assembly election.

This is as logical as describing the 2002 riots in Gujarat as 'the worst in modern Indian history.'

http://us.rediff.com/news/2005/jun/02kanch.htm