December 24, 2005

Harvard Don Denigrates Hindus

www.dailypioneer



Kanchan Gupta/ New Delhi

Boorish comments denigrating India, Hindus and Hinduism by a self-proclaimed 'Indologist' who is on the faculty of Harvard University has unleashed a fierce debate over the increasing political activism of 'scholars' who teach at this prestigious American university.

Prof Michael Witzel, Wales professor of Sanskrit at Harvard, is in the centre of the storm because he tried to prevent the removal of references to India, Hinduism and Sikhism in the curriculum followed by schools in California which parents of Indian origin found to be inadequate, inaccurate or just outright insensitive.

Known for aggressively pushing theories forged by Left historians of the Romila Thapar genre that have been long discredited through scientific means, including DNA studies, this 'linguist' is known for promoting himself as a 'historian' in academic circles. His proximity to Left historians in India is no secret.

Such is Prof Witzel's contempt for Indians who live and work in the US that he has not minced words running them down as an ethnic group. On one occasion, he declared: "Hindus in the US are lost or abandoned people."

Admonishing second generation Hindus in the US and their religious practices, he commented, "Second generation (Hindu) people just understand Hinduism as a 'boaring ritual', temple visits and Indian comic books... All such items add to the heady brew that we have seen emerging here."

Since 'boaring rituals' was placed within parenthesis, Hindus took it as a reference to Vishnu and felt offended. There was little they could do, however, to bring this Harvard scholar, variously described as "supremacist" and "ignorant", to heel.

They got that opportunity in November when Prof Witzel led, what later turned out to be an abortive campaign, putsch to prevent the cleansing of school texts of anti-Hindu and misleading material.

For years, Indian parents, who form a sizeable number in California, had been seeking the removal of such references in the State's textbooks. For instance, one textbook described Goddess Kali as "bloodthirsty". The section on Ramayana and Hanuman urged students to look around the classroom and see if there was a monkey among them. Another described Hinduism as a religion that teaches women are inferior.

The most offensive and inaccurate reference was to the 'Aryan invasion' theory that has now been junked by historians across the world. While talking of this theory, the texts spoke of tall, blue-eyed Aryans invading India and contrasted them with 'curly-haired, snub-nosed Dravidians'.

Not only were Indians riled by this reference, they also found it to be racial and insensitive to the entire community.

Early this year, the California School Board of Education, finally yielding to mounting pressure from concerned Indian parents, appointed a Commission to revise references to Hindus and their faith in prescribed school curriculum. In November, the Commission submitted its recommendations, including the scrapping of all references to the 'Aryan invasion' theory. Even before Indian parents could begin celebrating their victory, Prof Witzel wrote to the State Board of Education, using the Harvard letterhead, contesting the proposed changes and insisting that the 'Aryan invasion' theory was based on historical and scientific evidence.

He rallied the support of some other Left historians and scholars - they described themselves as 'a panel of international experts on India and Hinduism' - to launch a virulent campaign against parents pushing for change in curriculum by branding them as "Hindutva brigade" and encouraged others to hurl scurrilous allegations against California's Hindus.

Taken aback by Prof Witzel's aggressive tactics and misled by his credentials, the Commission decided to hear him out. Prof Witzel repeated his allegation that the recommended changes were motivated by Hindutva forces and would "lead without fail to an international educational scandal if they are accepted by the California's State Board of Education."

Prof Witzel, however, discovered that unlike India's Left historians, it was no easy job to browbeat or impress the Commission.

Soon, his campaign began to unravel, partly because members of the Commission were believed to have been put-off by his 'condescending attitude' and largely due to the absence of any material to support his outrageous stand.

The Commission saw the intervention and activism of Prof Witzel and his cohorts as 'little more than a gratuitous attempt to peddle their own prejudices in the guise of scholarly consensus.'

Dr Metzenberg, a California biologist, rejected Prof Witzel's insistence that the 'Aryan invasion' theory should be retained, by citing scientific evidence.

"I've read the DNA research and there was no Aryan migration," he retorted, adding, "I believe the hard evidence of DNA more than I believe historians."

He went on to describe Prof Witzel's portrayal of Hinduism as 'insensitive' and something that Hindus themselves would be unable to recognise.

With Prof Witzel's case collapsing, the California Board of Education threw out his counter-recommendations.

But that has not put a full stop to the odious Witzel story.

Upset with his ham-handed political activism and attempt to use the Harvard tag to block reform of school curriculum, Indian parents and students have launched an e-petition to corner and expose Prof Witzel for what he is - a charlatan posing as a historian.

The petition, addressed to "trustees, alumni and students of Harvard University," begins by saying: "We the undersigned insist that Harvard University end its association with Aryan Supremacist/Creationist hate-mongering activities... Prof Michael Witzel and his 'scholars clique' in the Harvard Sanskrit and Indian Studies Department have exhibited a pattern of hateful, ignorant statements and abysmally low standards of scholarship."

The petition then refers to the letter sent by Prof Witzel and his fellow-travellers to the California State Board of Education on Harvard stationery.

"Recently, Witzel and his "scholars clique" earned ridicule for Harvard by sending a shockingly incompetent letter to the California State Board of Education... The sweeping hate stereotypes, ad hominem attacks, and general lack of facts in their letter make for depressing reading by any Harvard well-wisher."

It transpires that "several of the signatories (to Prof Witzel's letter) later confessed to not even having seen the proposed changes that they were bitterly opposing.

Predictably, the California Board, after affording these losers undeserved courtesy based on Harvard's name, rejected their position as unscholarly, insensitive, biased and devoid of facts -- heaping ridicule on the Harvard brand. If this is the standard of tenured Professors, what does it imply for the worth of a Harvard education?" The petition has already been signed by more thousands of people.

A good question, that.

The witzel unprintables

The petition against Prof Michael Witzel of Harvard University refers to the Indo-Eurasian Research (IER) Internet hate group that he runs. Insisting that contents of the material posted on the Net "show his bias against the Indian-American community," signatories to the petition record their "abhorrence of these actions which have shredded Harvard's reputation as a civilised institution".

The following are summarised extracts from a recent article by Prof Witzel and have been quoted in the petition:

* Witzel writes that 'Indian Civilisation would be a good idea'

* Witzel writes that NRI (non-resident Indian) stands for Non-Returning Indians! A schoolyard bully's taunt against immigrant children, but coming from a tenured Harvard Professor?

* Witzel claims that Indians in the US do not invest in the higher education of their children (since they avoid the zoo that Witzel has made of his own department?)

* Witzel used the slur "HiNA" meaning in Sanskrit, inferior, lowly and defective, as an acronym for Hindus in America. Does this juvenile propensity to invent racial slurs, much as it may impress his Prominent Academic IER cronies, define Harvard's intellectual class in 2005?

* Witzel declared Hindu-Americans to be "lost" or "abandoned", parroting anti-Semite slurs against Jewish people. Coincidence or symptom?

* Witzel's fantasies are ominously reminiscent of WWII German genocide. He says that 'Since they won't be returning to India, [Hindus immigrants to the USA] have begun building crematoria as well.'

* Witzel sneers at the Hindu belief in evolution, enshrined in the Ten Incarnations, which include the Varaha, the wild boar. He writes that second generation [Hindu] people just understand [Hinduism] as 'boaring rituals' (puja, etc.), temple visits and Indian (mythological) comic books..."

* Witzel ridicules the most sacred of Hindu mantras: Inexcusable for a schoolyard bully, not to mention a historian and professor. He writes:

"Many short mantras (the later biija mantras) like oM have humble origins the Veda.... used in the Veda to call your goat .. and your wife."

* Witzel demeans the daughters of Indian-American parents, who take the trouble to learn their heritage through traditional art forms. In the worst of racist slander, Witzel claims that Indian classical music and dance reflect low moral standards.

India, Pakistan, Iran to Launch Negotiations on Natural Gas Pipeline

By Subhash Vohra


http://www.voanews.com/


A land-based pipeline from Iran to India would be four
times cheaper than any other option, even after taking
into account transit fee payments to Pakistan

India, Pakistan and Iran have launched joint
negotiations on a proposed multi-billion dollar
natural gas pipeline that will cross all three
countries.


The proposed pipeline will carry natural gas from
Iran’s South Pars fields in the Persian Gulf to
Pakistan's major cities of Karachi and Multan and then
farther onto New Delhi, India
The United States opposes the pipeline, in part
because it believes the pipeline will bolster Iran.
Washington has fundamental disagreements with Tehran
on several issues, particularly on its nuclear
policies.

To help persuade India to suspend pipeline
negotiations, the Bush administration has proposed
supplying India with new nuclear reactors. But the
proposal is running into opposition among key
legislators on Capitol Hill.


Each year Iran would ship approximately 5 million tons
of natural gas to India over the next 25 years
The proposed 2,600-kilometer gas pipeline estimated -
to cost $7.6 billion -- will carry natural gas from
fields in Iran, through Pakistan, to India. Energy
experts in the region proposed the pipeline a decade
ago, but strained relations between India and Pakistan
prevented negotiations. Now, with the current thaw in
India/Pakistan relations, the pipeline proposal has
gained new momentum.

One thing is clear. India could use Iranian gas. India
currently produces only half the natural gas it needs
and imports 70 percent of its crude oil. Indian
policymakers say their nation must tap new energy
sources to sustain growth. Pakistan is said to be in
favor of the project because it would earn an
estimated one billion dollars annually in transit fees
from the pipeline. Under one proposal, each year Iran
would ship approximately 5 million tons of natural gas
to India over the next 25 years. These shipments would
be worth approximately $22 billion dollars.


The Nuclear agreement between Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George Bush in
Washington last July was a major US policy shift
The United States says Iran will greatly benefit from
these huge gas sales. Washington fears the pipeline
will reduce economic leverage on Iran in other areas,
including an attempt on the part of Western nations to
persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. To
compensate India for suspending pipeline talks, the
Bush administration has proposed supplying India with
new nuclear reactors.


Khalid Hasan is Washington correspondent of the Daily
Times and the Friday Times, Lahore.
Washington - based Pakistani journalist Khalid Hasan
says the proposal will likely face opposition in the
U.S. Congress: “This is likely to run into a great
deal of resistance in Congress, not for any anti-India
reason but because of proliferation concerns.”

Some legislators say the proposal violates existing
domestic laws, not to mention international nuclear
non-proliferation guidelines.


George Perkovich is the author of India's Nuclear Bomb

George Perkovich, vice president for nuclear studies
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in
Washington, focuses on nuclear strategy and
non-proliferation issues in South Asia. He says
President Bush’s offer to supply India with nuclear
reactors is part of its ongoing effort to upgrade the
U.S.-Indian Strategic Partnership. In addition to
cooperation on nuclear power and nuclear safety, the
partnership has embraced the sale of American F-18
fighter jets to India. Even if the possibility of an
Iran-to-India pipeline had never existed, Mr. Perkovic
says India could have expected an offer of U.S.
nuclear reactors.

“I think the U.S., the Bush Administration, would
have proposed nuclear cooperation with India even if
there were no pipeline issue, says Mr. Perkovich.
“But I think because there is a pipeline issue, it
becomes natural to try to relate the two. In other
words we say, we want to supply you with nuclear
technology, and that(technology) should reduce your
need for or interest in the pipeline. But I think that
nuclear cooperation would have been thought of in any
case.”


India’s Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, left,
and his Pakistani counterpart, Amanullah Khan Jadoon.
Both leaders expressed confidence the
Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project will be "off
the ground by early next year"
However, Washington-based Pakistani journalist Khalid
Hasan doesn’t think the United States will let the
pipeline deal jeopardize its good relations with India
and Pakistan: “The fact is that this pipeline suits
Iran, it suits Pakistan, it suits India. It will also
be a major contributor to the goodwill of the peace
process now underway between India and Pakistan. So, I
think the national interests of all three countries
will override any objections the U.S. might have.”

George Perkovich says the United States might wish to
downplay the pipeline issue and let market forces and
regional security interests take precedence.

“I think the absolute best solution is to stand back
and let the market and let the private enterprise
(sector) decide whether the pipeline is a good idea or
not, says Mr. Perkovich. “There are so many economic
questions that this pipeline may never happen. Still,
it is ironic that a Republican administration would
try to stop a project if private investors and
relevant governments want to move forward.”


At the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting last
month in Vienna, India voted for Iran to be referred
to the U.N. Security Council because of its nuclear
program. Tehran conveyed its disappointment with New
Delhi, but said it had no plans to pull out of the gas
deal with India.

India, Pakistan, and Iran have set December 31, 2005
as the deadline for reaching a framework agreement on
the proposed project conceived a decade ago. And they
have said work on the gas pipeline could begin as
early as next year.

BLA will succeed in balkanizing Pakistan

SOURCE : MilSecReview

-- Anonymous Pakistani General

The Pakistani military junta are past masters in breaking the country.

East Pakistan crisis of 1971 had a direct connection with Ayub Khan's political blunders commmitted from 1954 till 1969.The same drama is being repeated now in Baluchistan and possibly in Sindh.

As an ex officer who knows some of the key decision makers i can offer some comments based on personal experience.

The head of the military junta General Musharraf is a tactician with a myopic strategic vision.This I state based on daily interaction with him in the squash court and in the lawn outside squash court during 1992-93 while he was a major general in Okara Cantonment.His main quality was driving the division hard and getting good chits from the seniors.The climax of his strategic incompetence was the Kargil Blunder of 1999.He did well with his superiors both military and political and excellent with his present boss Mr Bush.

The Ins[ector General Frontier Corps Major General Shujaat Zamir Dar I saw as a colonel and brigadier when i visited some infantry regiments and at the National Defence College whose librarian was my friend and who i used to visit after leaving the army in 1993 during the period 1995-97.He carried a reputation of being parochial in the non Punjabi ranks.Stiff necked arrogant and conscious of petty rank privileges , the man is most suitable to deal with a proud Baloch race that never sold itself and defied all occupying forces till to date.

The blunder started when General Shujaat comitted the fallacy of asking his helicopterpilot to violate safety procedures ordering change of course thus flying close to some ridges thus affording the valiant Marris a chance to snipe.The Marris as I know them do firing practice and the chopper of the general may have come in this cross fire injuring the rash general and his deputy.

The general deserves to be court martialled for this supreme tactical blunder.

Unfortunately General Musharraf took the incident as a tactician and petty social climber that he is and committed the fatal strategic blunder of ordering a genocide pumitive expedition against the Marris.

My idea is that this is the watershed.General Sherkoh a Baloch leader based in Afghanistan has stated that if the Baloch do not act within 10 years they will be like Red Indians in Balochistan.The same is true for Sindhis.

As an ex soldier I can assess that if the Baloch rebellion develops it can commit up to 10 Pakistani divisions.Food for thought for Musharraf.Food for thought for Indians.Possibly food for thought for Americans when Musharraf has lost his utility and Americans decide to Balkanise Pakistan.

What can i say but quote the verse , never set a squadron in the field , nor knew the divsion of battle , more than a spinster.

Pakistan needs men like Musharraf and Shujaat Zamir Dar ! They are a strategic asset for the Balochistan Liberation Army.Every Baloch prays that Musharraf stays in power so that liberation of Balochistan's process is accelerated.General Shujaat Dar is also an asset.A land mine for Pakistan and a gold mine for the Balochistan Liberation Army.Life goes on!

Jala kay mashal i Jaan Hum Junoon Sifaaat cahaly,jo ghar ko aag lagai , hamaray saath chalay

An advice for self-righteous patriots of Pakistan

http://www.thepost.com.pk


Nusrat Javeed

ISLAMABAD: As a struggling patriot with cowardly habits, one is grateful to that person from amongst the crowd of invisible pullers of puppets on our power scenes, who had discovered Madame Gulshan Saeed and propped her to upper house of our parliament with its restoration in late 2002.

With her sitting in the senate, no ‘traitor’ can get away with spinning of doomsday scenarios for the future of Pakistan and behaving ‘irreverent’ to ultimate defenders and protectors of this country.

Although watching and reporting on political happenings and actors of this country for more than twenty years, this correspondent had never heard of Gulshan Saeed, until her selection for a seat reserved for women in the senate. From the day one of her reaching there, however, she grabbed all the attention of the press gallery.

She appears exploding with ideas, some of which can instantly fix so many problems Pakistan has been accumulating for more than five decades. With utmost generosity, she wants to share these ideas with dimwitted of this world by eagerly participating in the senate proceedings. But the chair often disregards her anxious pressing for the mike. Denied of it, she feels virtually compelled to stand up and begin speaking up her mind, almost deliriously.

At the outset of the first sitting of another senate session Friday evening, three walkouts and incessant noise making by the opposition senators forced Mohammadmian Soomro to allow Sanaullah Baloch telling his side of the story regarding the ongoing operation against ‘miscreants’ in sparsely populated but vast territory of District Kohlu. Sanaullah is a ‘nationalist’ for sure; but despite being a relatively younger senator, he prefers to project his case in a sedate and rational manner.

Sanaullah was furious Friday. Fully straining his lungs, he kept banging his desk and employed all rhetorical tricks to make us feel as if the ‘law enforcers’ in Kohlu were behaving ‘far crueler than the American forces could ever dare for controlling things in Iraq or Afghanistan.’

In sheer anger, he also blamed Islamabad for obsessively trying to control the rest of Pakistan, ‘especially the oppressed people of Balochistan, with the mindset of a fascist and the racist.’ Pak Army remained the focus of his relentless ire as well.

Dispassionately speaking, Sanaullah was indeed provocative and somewhat irrational in utter rage. But people familiar with political history of Balochistan can at least understand, if not condone, his anger.

Dr Shezad Wasim, the state minister of interior, has been promised the mike after Sanaullah Baloch and he has all the capacity for vigorously defending the policies of this government. Gulshan Saeed could very well wait for the minister to speak.

Right in the middle of furious point making by Sanaullah, however, she stood up and with a threatening finger asked the Baloch nationalist to shut up and ‘stop speaking against Pakistan. Get out of this country, if you feel so unhappy here.’

Sanaullah preferred not to react rudely to a lady and tried to move on with his arguments. Madame Saeed was not willing to sit back, however. Standing akimbo, she announced that the time has come that people like ‘Sanaullah, who constantly malign this country while speaking in the senate, should be checked firmly.’

Sanaullah-types, she went on, were just the ‘paid lackeys’ of ‘tyrannical Sardars of Balochistan’, resisting development projects in their province. They fear these projects; for, they would empower the poor mass of the Baloch people, ‘whimsically controlled and suppressed by their Sardars.’

She also told Sanaullah, pointblank, ‘After firing rockets at the person of President General Musharraf, who is firmly committed to the development of Balochistan, you people should not expect flowers in return. You have to explain it to us from where huge supplies of lethal weapons keep reaching to miscreants all the way to Kohlu. Enough is enough.’

Sanaullah was still not provoked. He rather turned ironical for finishing his piece but ended with an assertive message: ‘Only an incurably insane person can fancy that in 21st century you can keep a group of people, the history acknowledges as fiercely independent, as hapless slaves, even with the use of poison gas and carpet bombing.’

The state minister replied to him in the usual diction people speaking for a government use for defending the ‘targeted use of force against lethally armed miscreants, refusing to submit before the writ of a state.’ He categorically denied that Pak Army was involved in any operation launched against miscreants in Kohlu. ‘The civil armed forces, controlled by the federal ministry of interior through the governor of Balochistan, were exclusively conduct these operations,’ he stressed. Turning rhetorical, he also confessed that indeed a ‘war’ was on in Kholu and some other parts of Balochistan these days, ‘and this war is between forces that are for or against the modernisation of that province and alleviating the misery of its poor people.’

Professor Khurshid Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami was the next senator getting the mike. This professional economist is a veteran parliamentarian. Participating in debates on the floor, he seldom raises his voice. You may disagree with his position, but he would never provoke you with threatening or ironical tone or tenor. But the moment he stood Friday, another woman senator, Pari Gul, deliriously began wondering as to ‘what right this old man has to speak for Balochistan.’

Diligent recruiters of ‘patriots from the smaller provinces’ had discovered Ms Agha, way back in 1981 when General Zia propped a nominated ‘Majlis-e-Shura’ to make the world believe that he was not an absolute dictator after all. He ‘consulted people’s representatives’ as well. Perhaps Gulshan Saeed’s aggressive checking of Sanaullah forced Pari Agha to recall that she was more experienced than Ms. Saeed, when it comes to defending the patriotic causes.

But most senators sitting on the treasury benches did not approve of shouting at Professor Khurshid just like that. Raza Rabbani, the student activist turned the opposition leader in the senate, had taken the mike anyway. He forewarned the senate Chairman, ‘you will be forced to prorogue the house, if the treasury benches keep shouting at our senators.’ Soomro was just helpless. Still, he tried best to make Gulshan Saeed and Pari Gul Agha realise that provoking the opposition with blaming taunts would not serve the government’s interest in the end.

He requested Khurshid to continue with his speech; but the veteran parliamentarian was just not willing ‘in this atmosphere.’ Eventually, another very senior parliamentarian from the treasury benches, Anwar Bhinder, stood to tell Professor Khurshid in all sincerity that he should continue with his speech and the JI senator obliged with a heavy heart.

It is time that parliamentary managers of Musharraf-Aziz government enforced some discipline upon the crowd of senators supporting them. To understand why I say this, just listen to another senator.

Kamran Qazi is a youthful legislator sitting on the MMA benches; he is not even an ethnic Baloch and rarely takes the mike in this house. But after Professor Khurshid, he stood to plead with a bleeding heart that Gulshan Saeeds of this world must not suggest that people ‘complaining of things in this country should better leave Pakistan.’

‘My dear sister,’ he passionately told her, ‘Sanaullah Baloch is an elected representative. Through his speech, he has been reflecting sentiments prevailing amongst the majority of Baloch people these days. You must hear him with a big heart. People, he has been speaking for, were bound to think as if you have not told him only to shut up and leave the country, but the message was for all the restless Balochis. I beg you in the name of Islam and Pakistan to listen patiently to grumbling voices and try to provide some solace to them.’

One seriously wonders, however, if the self-righteous patriots of ours would even care listening to so polite and rational suggestions that Kamran Murtaza had made in the senate Friday evening.

Intelligence Technologies: Full Steam Ahead for Mass Data Processing Market

With a market estimated at $1 billion this year and forecasts of annual growth of 20%, the market for tools to analyze huge amounts of data - Intelligence and Security Informatics / Analytics (ISI) - is truly booming.
A report on the ISI sector has just been issued in the United States by the Chesapeake Innovation Center, the leading breeding ground for Homeland Security technologies, in conjunction with the New York investment bank C.E. Unterberg, Towbin (CEUT). Entitled "The Business of Connecting the Dots," the survey identified the leading suppliers of solutions (see graph below) and the sector's growth areas. An increase in telephone taps (20% per year) calls for major resources to process the calls that are made and, to boot, increasingly on digital networks (voice over IP). Additionally, governments and companies are beginning to deploy intelligent video surveillance systems on a huge scale. The switch to digital video created new capacity to treat and put data on line (tracking, automatic alerts). And new legal constraints (stemming in particular from the USA Patriot Act) require that companies equip themselves with broader capacity to analyze information on their customers and partners, as part of the fight against the funding of terrorism and money-laundering. Computer giants have made their debut in the ISI market very recently. In August, IBM launched its open source platform to process unstructured data, named Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA). At the same time the leading world specialist in storing data, EMC Corporation, unveiled its Surveillance Analysis and Management Solution (SAMS) designed for the security of physical infrastructure. Just last month Microsoft and Motorola announced they were joining forces to define architecture to integrate and distribute information for security and law enforcement agencies. Even Google has jumped on the ISI bandwagon in a sector dominated up to now by SAIC, which has already landed contracts worth $350 million for NSA's Trailblazer mass data processing program.

intellibriefs.com/images/inttech.gif

US deploys Ground-Based Midcourse Defense against ICBMs

From the Ground Up
The US deploys Ground-Based Midcourse Defense against ICBMs


by Michael Puttré and Ted McKenna
Nov. 21, 2005




In a briefing conducted for invited members of the press and defense industry analysts in mid-October, Raytheon officials said they were "highly confident" that the US National Missile Defense (NMD) system, as currently deployed, would be able to defeat an intercontinental-ballistic-missile (ICBM) attack from North Korea. This is a historic development with far-reaching implications for US national-security policy.




The fifth of 16 missile interceptors planned for emplacement at Ft. Greely, AK, as part of the early deployment of the GMD system is lowered into its silo in September 2004. Although the hit-to-kill payload and the operational booster rocket have not yet been tested together, officials say they are "highly confident" that an ICBM attack from North Korea against the US could be intercepted today.

Boeing

Let's be clear: even if the system works as advertised, this is a very rudimentary capability that would be effective against a very specific threat under a limited set of circumstances. However, given that North Korea is a high-profile potential enemy with only a very limited ICBM attack capability, the development is important in the near term as it counters a means of leverage that nation may have in its relations with the US. It eliminates the certainty in the minds of Korean and US leaders that a North Korean ICBM attack would be successful.

First of all, what is the US anti-ICBM capability as it exists today? In short, it is the so-called Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system (prime contractor: Boeing), based on missile interceptors deployed at Ft. Greely, AK, and Vandenberg AFB, CA, and their associated sensors and battle-management systems. As of this writing, there are nine Ground-Based Interceptor rockets deployed at Ft. Greely and two at Vandenberg. The interceptors rely on a chain of early-warning radars and space sensors. The first line of detection is made up of infrared launch-detection sensors on satellites developed during the Cold War under the Defense Support Program (DSP). These satellites in geosynchronous orbit are cable of detecting ballistic-missile launch plumes. The second line of detection is composed of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with the AN/SPY-1 series radars of the Aegis combat system that would track enemy ballistic missiles during their boost-phase ascents. There are currently up to two Aegis cruisers and 10 Aegis destroyers acting as radar pickets in waters near North Korea. The third and main line of detection is made up of existing ground-based warning early-radars, modified for missile-defense purposes, that would track warheads and decoys during their suborbital midcourse flights. Currently, the key installation is the AN/FPS-108 Cobra Dane L-band phased-array radar at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island, AK, that has been upgraded to provide a midcourse-tracking capability. The ballistic-missile-tracking function of the Cobra Dane radar was demonstrated this past fall in a test where a missile target was dropped from a C-17 transport. Battle management of a ballistic-missile intercept would be handled by the GMD Fire Control Node at Ft. Greely.




The first line of detection is made up of infrared launch-detection sensors on satellites developed during the Cold War under the Defense Support Program (DSP) (1). The second line of detection is composed of Aegis cruisers and destroyers that would track enemy ballistic missiles during their boost-phase ascents (2). The third and main line of detection is made up of existing ground-based early-warning radars, modified for missile-defense purposes, that would track warheads and decoys during their suborbital midcourse flights. Currently, the key installation is the AN/FPS-108 Cobra Dane L-band phased-array radar at Eareckson Air Station, AK, that has been upgraded to provide a midcourse-tracking capability. Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles based at Vandenberg AFB, CA (3), or Ft. Greely, AK (4), would be launched and guided toward an interception point. The GBI releases an Exoatomsopheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) (5) that uses its electro-optical sensor to help discriminate the target warhead from debris and decoys. If all goes well, the EKV maneuvers to destroy the warhead in a hit-to-kill interception (6). New sensors are being added to the system, notably the Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) that will take over for Cobra Dane as the primary midcourse sensor.

US Missile Defense Agency

The payload of the Ground-Based Interceptor is the Raytheon Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), which is essentially a maneuvering spacecraft with an electro-optical (EO) sensor and a command link to the ground. The Ground Based Interceptor is launched into the path of the incoming ICBM, as determined from tracking data from the various ground- and space-based sensors. Upon separation, the EKV receives updated course correction from the GMD Fire Control Node. During the midcourse phase of its flight, an ICBM will release its reentry vehicles and perhaps a number of decoys. The latter are typically radar decoys that mimic the radar signature of a warhead or infrared (IR) decoys that mimic the IR signature of a warhead. By combining data from ground-based radars and the EKV's onboard EO sensor, the wheat will be separated from the chaff, so to speak, and the EKV will be instructed to engage a warhead target. The interception is a "hit-to-kill" event, wherein the EKV impacts the warhead, destroying it utterly through kinetic energy. Battle-management doctrine would determine how many Ground Based Interceptors would be launched at a given inbound ICBM to ensure the destruction of its warhead(s). Such battle doctrine is highly classified, but it might be assumed that at least two interceptors would likely be launched at a missile suspected of having a single reentry vehicle warhead, perhaps as many as four.

If North Korea launched a ballistic missile at the US right now, this is the defense system that would mobilize against it. Over time, various elements of the GMD system are being modernized. Most notably, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) is on its way to Alaska from Corpus Christi, TX, via the Straits of Magellan to assume the function as the primary midcourse-tracking, target-discrimination, and battle-assessment sensor. The SBX is an impressive ocean-going structure derived from a deep-ocean oil-drilling platform that any James Bond villain would be proud to call home. On Nov. 14, the SBX began loading aboard the Motor Vessel Blue Marlin, which is owned and operated by Dockwise Shipping B.V. (Breda, The Netherlands). The Blue Marlin is the same vessel that carried the Aegis destroyer USS Cole back to the US after it was crippled in a terrorist attack in Yemen in October 2000.




Integrated Flight Test (IFT) -13B took place on Jan. 26, 2004. The developmental, three-stage booster vehicle was launched from Meck Island in the Kwajalein Island Atoll. The launch was part of the flight-test program for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program. No intercept took place, as the target missile was simulated for this test. The urgent need seen for early GMD deployment had led to a high-risk, hardware-poor development track, under which elements are deployed without full system tests under realistic conditions. To an unprecedented extent, simulation and analyses will provide much of the necessary design and decision information for the program.

Boeing

The PAVE PAWS radar at Vandenberg and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) radar at RAF Fylingdales, UK, are being modified to serve as GMD early-warning sensors. The US is preparing to launch new satellites and deploy new air-transportable ground-based radars to improve coverage of enemy launch sites. But for now, the system described above is what the US has in hand to defeat an ICBM attack.

And what of the threat? As it stands, North Korea does not have an ICBM that could reach the mainland United States. It does have classes of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) – the Taepo Dong series – upon which an ICMB could be developed. The GMD system is not intended for nor would it be effective in engaging IRBMs or shorter-range theater and tactical ballistic missiles, with which North Korea is well supplied. This is a different threat, and different means of countering it are being developed.

Starting in 2003, there were reports about the so-called Taepo Dong-X ICBM that North Korea was on the verge of deploying. This missile was regarded as being either a further development of the Taepo Dong-2 or based on the Russian SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), or perhaps even the product of an integration of these two missile types. Estimates of its effective range varied wildly, with some unidentified Bush administration officials reported as saying the missile could strike virtually anywhere in the continental US. There is no way of knowing, because a Taepo Dong-X has not been unveiled, much less tested. In fact, the Taepo Dong-2 itself is untested. When North Korea tested a prototype of the Taepo Dong-1 in 1998 with an alarming launch over Japan, the unexpected third stage of the rocket failed to separate. While it would be imprudent to dismiss the threat posed by such a missile for the present, it also must be considered unlikely that the North Koreans would risk such a monumental act as striking at the US with an unproven system. On the other hand, it is a defense against just such an irrational act that is most often cited by GMD supporters as justification for the program.




The Sea-Based X-band Radar (SBX), a key component of the US Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, completed at-sea testing in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2005. The SBX is on its way to Alaska via the Straits of Magellan to assume the function as the primary midcourse-tracking, target-discrimination, and battle-assessment sensor. The SBX is an impressive ocean-going structure derived from a deep-ocean oil-drilling platform that any James Bond villain would be proud to call home. Fluffy white lap cat, optional.

Boeing

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union's arsenal of thousands of land-based ICBMs and submarine-based SLMBs – not to mention nuclear weapons deliverable by strategic bombers and shorter-range systems – was countered by the equally impressive collective arsenals of the US, the UK, and France. It is easy to forget – even easier to lampoon – the state of affairs that dominated superpower politics in the last three decades of the 20th century, with its missile gaps, fail-safe points, duck-and-cover drills, and backyard fallout shelters. Yet it is clear today that decision-makers on both sides of the Iron Curtain understood that any general war would quickly go nuclear and, hence, to oblivion. The only question, really, was how to go about it. Do you launch on warning or ride out the attack? Do you employ massive retaliation or flexible response? Those missile-defense systems allowed at the time under the terms of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty were skeletal at best. Bombs would have bounced the rubble on both sides. This understanding, exemplified in the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), is widely regarded as having kept the peace.

There is a fear today that a rogue state possessing both nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them might be undeterrable. This is an amazing concept, really. Imagine a power so careless of its own survival that it would commit suicide by launching an ICBM at the greatest power on Earth, one that could and quite possibly would destroy the offending regime, if not the nation. Yet preventing an enemy from taking such action against the US at some point in the near future is the key mission of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). In fact, the US government considers the threat of North Korea lashing out in its death throes with a nuclear strike to be so real that the "urgent need" for a GMD system required the high-risk, high-cost development tempo of the program.

Of course, the GMD program doesn't speak to the threats posed by nuclear weapons delivered by shorter-range ballistic missiles launched from sea-based platforms such as Q-ships or submarines, or by long-range cruise missiles, or by those smuggled in by container ship or other means. Moreover, there are many critics of GMD who question the effectiveness of such a system on technical grounds. Others oppose the system on geopolitical grounds. Still others question the cost-effectiveness of GMD in light of other options, such as pre-emptive strike. Nevertheless, the evolving threat to the US homeland from an ICBM attack by a rogue state is such that tremendous amounts of resources are being used to develop a means to intercept them.




The sharp end of the GMD system is the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV). The EKV is essentially a miniature spacecraft that, once separated from its booster, uses attitude thrusters to maneuver into the path on an incoming warhead. The EKV has its own electro-optical sensor for target discrimination and terminal guidance. It also has a command link to the fire-control node. The EKV has been successfully tested in space, although several tests have failed due to "technical glitches." The underlying technologies employed on the EKV can also be found in the kit-to-kill payloads of the SM-3 missile used for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program, now under development.

MDA

Since 1985, about $90 billion has been spent on missile defense by the US under various programs, beginning with the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) through the Clinton administration's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and into today's Missile Defense Agency. But funding since fiscal year 2001, at $4.8 billion, has been stepped up quite a bit, with $7.8 billion in FY02, $7.4 billion in FY03, $7.7 billion in FY04, and $9 billion in FY05. Missile defense accounts for about 2% of the Defense Department budget, more than any other program. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense is only one facet of the expenditure. Other important activities include the Boeing Airborne Laser (ABL), Lockheed Martin Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, and the Northrop Grumman Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) programs. Each of these programs and attending technologies address different aspects of the ballistic-missile threat. The MDA views the entire package, including GMD, as an integrated, multi-phase effort to develop and deploy a defense network capable of covering the US and allied nations from the full range of ballistic-missile threats.

Urgent Need, High Risk

For all intents and purposes, the GBD system, as it is currently configured, is designed to handle one contingency: an "end-game" launch of an ICBM from North Korea, possibly during the dust-up of a regime collapse. This problem has been weighing on the minds of defense planners for more than a decade, since the latter years of President Kim Il Sung's rule. The instigation of this concern was an assessment that North Korea was determined to develop and deploy nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them, apparently confirmed when North Korea declared its intent to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993. Extended brinksmanship ensued. During this time, North Korean bellicosity was generally viewed as coercive in nature, that playing the "nuclear card" would enable the regime to achieve leverage in its dealings with the US and its allies, especially South Korea and Japan.




The Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a test involving a planned intercept of an intercontinental-ballistic-missile target on Dec. 3, 2001. The test took place over the central Pacific Ocean with a modified Minuteman ICBM target vehicle launched from Vandenberg AFB, CA, and a prototype interceptor launched from Kwajalein Atoll. All of the key technologies required for GMD, including the crucial hit-to-kill capability, have been tested successfully. The question is whether all of the technologies and components – exotic and mundane – involved in the extended complex interception sequence will perform flawlessly under battle conditions, as they must for an interception to be achieved.

MDA

The resurgence of National Missile Defense (NMD) as we know it took shape after the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced the so-called "three-plus-three" plan in 1997, under which a decision would be made in 2000 about whether the threat warranted a fast-track deployment of a GMD system in 2003 or if deployment could be deferred. Extended domestic politics ensued. Ultimately, the DoD decided that the threat posed by North Korea did indeed justify a rushed deployment of a rudimentary NMD capability. This decision did not come without attending costs and risks. In fact, a NMD review committee chaired by General Larry Welch, USAF (ret.), a former Air Force chief of staff, concluded that the risks were such that an initial operational capability (IOC) in 2003 was unattainable. Scheduled IOC was put off until 2005.

The phased deployment of the GMD segment of the NMD system envisioned a series of threat levels that could be matched over time with ever-increasing capability. The so-called C1 threat level of a strike from North Korea using up to five single-warhead ICBMs that dispense few if any countermeasures would be countered by a system very much like the one now in place. The C2 threat level projected a reasonably orchestrated strike from East Asia or the Middle East involving a dozen or more sophisticated ICBMs equipped with countermeasures. This threat would require 100 or so Ground-Based Interceptor missiles, an expanded early-warning radar network, and a new-generation satellite-based Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS). Original estimates for this capability achieving operational status were 2010, but this has been pushed back to 2012 at the earliest. Projections of more advanced threat levels exist, but since these involve ICBM strike capabilities possessed by Russia and those under development by China, there is not much detail available on what the NMD architecture to counter them would look like or when it might be deployed.

In fact, one of the challenges to NMD had been the diplomatic one. First of all, there was the ABM Treaty to be withdrawn from, since many of the technologies required for strategic ballistic-missile defense were banned under it. But this was accomplished with surprisingly little shoe-banging from Russia in 2002, despite apocalyptic predictions from critics. Subsequently, the US has taken pains to assure Russia and even China – which was not a party to the ABM Treaty – that NMD is not intended to counter their strike capabilities. The assumption, strategically, is that the time-proven concept of deterrence will continue to keep the peace with both nations, at least with regard to nuclear war. From a practical standpoint, Russia appears confident that it will remain able to overwhelm or evade any NMD system the US deploys, and the latest generation of Russian ICBMs, the Topol-M, bears this out (see sidebar). China, which is understood to have only a limited number of true ICBMs capable of striking the continental US, has reasons to be more suspicious of US intentions with regard to NMD. Certainly, a bubbling disagreement over the status of Taiwan (see "Flashpoint Taiwan Straits") runs the risk of open conflict between the US and China. A 1999 Rand report entitled "Planning a Ballistic Missile Defense System of Systems: An Adaptive Strategy" pointed out that managing the objections of China would be an important component to deploying NMD.




A view to a kill. The Missile Defense Agency and the US Navy conducted a successful flight test in the continuing development of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System on Nov. 21, 2002. Although intended for defense against theater and tactical ballistic missiles, the Aegis system employs many of the same technologies as the GMD system, including a hit-to-kill kinetic warhead with an onboard electro-optical (EO) sensor. Here is a view of a Scud-type target missile taken from the EO sensor just prior to impact.

MDA

Leaving aside diplomatic issues, there are real technical challenges to deploying a robust NMD capability. The Rand report put it this way:

"Even under ideal circumstances and with the latest technologies, ballistic-missile defense is exceedingly difficult. Destroying an RV [reentry vehicle] in flight requires an end-to-end sequence of successful tasks: detecting and classifying the threat missile, predicting the threat trajectory, cueing sensors down the line, tracking the target, discriminating the target from clutter and countermeasures, acquiring the target for intercept, intercept, kill assessment, and repeating the sequence as required. A failure anywhere in this chain precludes successful intercept."

Physics, Not Political Science

ICBMs go through a number of phases from launch to when payload warheads detonate over the target. The launch proceeds from the boost phase of approximately 90 to 300 seconds, during which the missile's series of booster stages ignite, burn, and fall away. All the while, the missile accelerates into the midcourse phase, lasting up to 20 minutes, in which the payload complex arcs out of the atmosphere on a suborbital trajectory. During the midcourse portion of the flight, the payload complex may release decoys and could possibly maneuver using attitude-control thrusters. The warhead or warheads are released during this phase. In the terminal phase, lasting perhaps 30 seconds, the warheads reenter the atmosphere and fall toward their targets. Shorter-range ballistic missiles go through the same stages, but of shorter duration.

Each phase has its own program to develop "interceptors" that would intercept and eliminate the enemy missile. Addressing the boost phase, the Airborne Laser system would consist of aircraft that fly about in shifts, all day and every day, ready to shoot down ballistic missiles using a chemical-oxygen-iodine laser, the heat of which would cause the ballistic missile to explode or at least leak so that resultant change in pressure causes the missile to go off course. There is also the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) under development that would be able to engage ballistic missiles in their boost phase with very fast interceptor missiles from either land- or ship-based launchers deployed in theater. For the mid-course phase, the GMD system, as outlined above, would swing into action.

In addition, apart from the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles, still other programs are being developed to intercept short- or medium-range ballistic missiles, including Scud missiles, which Iraq was known to lob on Israel and US forces during Operation Desert Storm. These interception systems include the Patriot Advanced Capability-3/Medium Extended Air Defense System (PAC-3/MEADS), the Arrow 2 missile-defense system deployed by Israel, and the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system using the SM-3 missile. All of these missile-based interceptor technologies employ "hit-to-kill" kinetic warheads.

These various forms of interception will need a lot of help to hit their targets, particularly the long-range ballistic missiles. A number of supporting systems are in development to sense these incoming missiles and guide the interceptors to them. The Forward-Based X-band Radar Transportable program, for instance, would use solid-state, phased-array antennas to watch out for and track intercontinental ballistic missiles and medium-range threats. The Space Surveillance and Tracking System, along with the Space-Based Infrared System-High (SBIRS-H) program, would also be able to detect and track missiles from their launch to midcourse flight but, instead of using X-band radar, would use visible and infrared sensors. The Aegis system, in addition to having its own SM-3 interceptors, would also provide long-range surveillance and tracking of threats. These various means of tracking threats would be overseen and controlled by the Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications element of the program. Information from the various surveillance systems could be correlated and passed along to the different types of interceptors, with the battle-management system used to make decisions about how to respond to threats.

Proponents of GMD technology, and particularly the contractors, focus on the capability and reliability of the key technologies. The sensor systems on the DSP satellites have a long track record of reliability. Similarly, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system has successfully detected, tracked, and engaged missile targets in numerous tests. Likewise, the various phased-array radar systems that will be used for early warning and tracking of ballistic missiles have been shown to be effective and reliable. Perhaps most importantly, though, the hit-to-kill concept employed by the various kinetic kill vehicles under development for the NMD program has been demonstrated in suborbital- and terminal-engagement live-fire tests. Moreover, target-discrimination technology that fuses data from radar and EO sensors has been shown to be successful in picking warheads out from attending decoys and debris. It is their ability to demonstrate these key capabilities that is the source of much of the confidence expressed in the NMD system by officials at the MDA and its top contractors.

In all of these tests, the testers knew ahead of time where the target missiles were coming from and when they would be launched. Knowing ahead of time where and when a target is going to be makes tracking that target much easier than having no advanced notice, as might expected to be the case in an actual missile attack. Apart from criticizing the nature of the testing so far – at least to the extent that the unrealistic conditions surrounding the tests mean that statements about the system's effectiveness at this point can only be conjecture – critics also point to the use of certain types of countermeasures by enemy missile designers that could stymie the missile-defense system. These include the use of radar-absorbent materials (RAM) on the surfaces of the enemy missiles that would make them hard to detect by the interceptor sensors, as well as the use of advanced decoys to throw the interceptor off its scent.

Frankly, defeating advanced decoys and countermeasures is not in the cards for the C1 implementation of GMD. The North Koreans do not yet have a demonstrated ICBM capability, let alone the expertise to incorporate advanced countermeasures technologies into their systems. Many of the criticisms leveled at NMD – and the GMD segment in particular – about its inability to handle multiple decoys and advanced countermeasures or launches from unexpected quarters of the globe are unfair, in that such threats are not expected as imminent. The C1 implementation of GMD is a point defense against a very specific potential enemy at a particular moment in time. Everything points at North Korea. As the threat evolves, NMD will be upgraded accordingly. Charles LaDue, director of advanced missile-defense directed-energy weapons at Raytheon Missile Systems (Tucson, AZ), called this a capabilities-based approach. "The goal is to build up capabilities and deploy them to stay ahead of what the enemy can do," he said.

However, mundane problems can sometimes overshadow the greatest technological achievements. Even though the tests done to date have been quite controlled, based on advanced knowledge of the locations of objects to be tracked and targeted, not all of the tests done so far have been successful. Of the 10 times the GMD has been tested, for instance, it has successfully intercepted an incoming missile five times, with the most recent successful test in 2002, noted Victoria Samson, a research analyst with the Washington, DC-based Center for Defense Information (CDI) research group. It is important to note that all of these interception tests were done with kinetic-kill vehicles launched from modified Minuteman missiles as opposed to the GMI rocket, which is undergoing a separate test series.

Cooling problems in the EKV's EO sensor, faulty signals between the booster rocket and the payload, and faulty components in the EKV's separation mechanism have all caused test failures. The possibility of such low-tech failures compromising a missile-defense test, let alone a live interception under wartime pressures, is a real worry. The highly complex GMD system, which requires an extended chain of events to occur flawlessly in order to achieve an intercept, has had a comparatively spare testing regimen. One potentially encouraging aspect of the testing program has been periodic failures in getting decoys to inflate. Perhaps the North Koreans will have this problem, too.

The 1998 Welch Report pointed out that one of the vulnerabilities in the high-risk development track of the GMD program was that it would be "hardware poor," meaning that there would be little, if any, prototyping and that articles would fly as built. The report concluded: "Due to the inability to perform end-to-end tests in a realistic environment, simulation and analyses will provide much of the necessary design and decision information."

The CDI's Samson said that if little things like that go wrong during testing that prevent the interceptor from launching or the EKV from separating, there might be many other little problems that can't be known until much more testing is done. "You can do simulations, but they can only go so far. They can't show you how the system might really work," said Samson, who has worked as a subcontractor on war-gaming scenarios for the MDA's Directorate of Intelligence. "That's only possible with real tests."

Despite not having completed testing of the various components, the MDA in 2004 began deploying ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska, at the behest of the Bush administration, which wanted to achieve its promised goal of having some type of missile-defense capability ready by the end of 2004, even if limited (see "Early Deployment of Missile Defense"). Thus, the first ground-based missile interceptor was planted at Ft. Greely, AK, on July 22, 2004. The SBX was originally scheduled to be in place by October 2005. It did perform a 58-day shakedown cruise in the Gulf of Mexico that ended that month (the 282-foot-high, 50,000-tons ocean-going structure was obliged to dodge Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), but it will be several more months until the SBX reaches its homeport of Adak Island, AK.

Testing of other NMD elements are proceeding apace. The Forward-Based Transportable X-Band Radar and an Aegis ship were tested in September to track a US Air Force missile originating from Vandenberg AFB, with their tracking information passed along to the command-and-control system. The Sea-Based X-Band radar transmitted a radar beam for the first time last Sept. 11. Also, a series of tests of the Airborne Laser's battle-management system and fire-control radar were completed this summer (see "Testing Continues on USAF Airborne Laser").

Complaining about critics who characterize the system as untested or unproven, and expressing the wish that "more people would give us the benefit of the doubt," MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering in an interview in the November issue of Arms Control Today declined to discuss in detail the likely current effectiveness of the system, saying that information is classified but calling it "much better than zero." The system cannot handle a "complex threat suite," he said, but it can handle what the MDA believes is the likely existing threat, adding that the recent unsuccessful tests of the GBI do not indicate the system's lack of functionality but were simply "technical glitches."

Wade Boese, research director of the Arms Control Association, said that calling the system's potential effectiveness, were it to be turned on for some emergency situation, "better than zero" is a little bit like saying a person who picked up a rock and threw it at a oncoming projectile of some type would have a "better than zero" chance of hitting it. It's theoretically possible, but the MDA or other proponents of the system just have no basis for determining if it would work at all, because it has not been tested realistically. "The fact is that the interceptor and the kill vehicle that make up the interceptor that's currently deployed in Alaska and California have not been flight-tested together," Boese said. "I think that should give everyone pause about how well this system has been tested."

One oft-criticized aspect of the missile-defense system is its alleged vulnerability to decoys – multiple objects launched by the enemy ballistic missile itself or simultaneously with the missile launch that distract the interceptor and its kill vehicle. One way to deal with the problem of decoys, the MDA says, is through the use of multiple kill vehicles. Thus, as an adjunct to the Ground-based Interceptor program, the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program, first unveiled in 2002, aims to create a missile able to intercept multiple enemy warheads by issuing a number of miniature missiles, each weighing 11 lbs. or so and traveling at several times the speed of sound. By striking at multiple targets, the MKVs would help guard against the use of decoys that might otherwise waylay an interceptor from the actual warheads.

But MKVs could themselves have limitations. The Center for Defense Information has estimated in research papers on the MKV program that the weight limitations of the ground-based interceptor would likely limit that number of the MKVs per launch to about a dozen, if only because the MKVs themselves cannot be so small as to lack the kinetic energy (defined as one half of the body's mass times the square of its speed) to take out an enemy warhead. In addition, the technological complexities of MKVs include their miniaturized hardware, based on the field of micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS), which has garnered wide interest in a number of industries, including telecommunications but is still fairly new and untested. Developers must make sure the MKVs are able to sufficiently dissipate heat on the MKV that would otherwise damage the onboard electronics. Another problem is that an enemy warhead whose surface was cooled or painted a certain way could fool the optical sensors used by the MKVs to home in on the target.

In addition, the space-based sensors have run into a lot of developmental delays. The Space Tracking and Surveillance System, which would consist of 24 to 30 low-Earth-orbit satellites, used to be called the Space-Based Infrared Radar System-Low (SBIRS-Low) but was renamed after various cost overruns and delays. Another system to be used for tracking enemy missiles, The SBIRS-High is also notorious for its cost overruns and developmental delays (see "US Congress Questions Skyrocketing Space Costs").

The Bush administration and the Missile Defense Agency, while noting that the missile-defense system is a work in progress, say that an initial capability for the system already exists. But at the same time, it has not been declared operational by the US military. This points to what some observers see as essentially inaccurate statements about the system's current capability. Though not tested as a system under realistic conditions – that is, without the system having any prior knowledge of the time of the enemy missile's launch, its location, or its trajectory – the MDA and members of the Bush administration nevertheless say the program provides a "limited capability." It would not be able to stop barrage of missiles that a country like China or Russia would be able to launch, but then again, it's not intended to. This harkens back to the "high confidence" expressed that the system could, right now, defeat a one-off, two-off attack from North Korea. This was the urgent need, and this is the capability as advertised.

The unofficial motto of the NMD program is "Engage early, engage often." Building on the initial GMD capability, the US plans to deploy a series of systems that will enable this motto to be put into practice. Ultimately, the purpose of NMD is to loosen constraints on US national-security policy by reducing or even eliminating the capacity of certain nations to threaten a nuclear attack. But in order to for NMD to achieve this, it will have to be widely perceived as effective. The US is only at the initial stage of demonstrating the effectiveness of such a system. But the security-policy implications of it are already being calculated around the world.

Topol-M: Missile Defense Penetrator

by Michal Fiszer

The most promising missile in the Russian inventory is the RT-2PM2 (also called RT-2PMU; 15Zh62 according to the GRAU designation system) Topol-M, known in NATO as the SS-27. The Topol-M has a weight of 47.1 tons, a length of 22.7 m, and a diameter of 1.86 m. The system also has very high accuracy: 180-m side error and 230-m error in distance. In 2006 there are to be 50 such missiles in service, and it was also recently announced that first regiment (10 missiles) will be issued the mobile version of the missile. It is planned that 220 Topol-M missiles will be deployed through 2012, while older types (SS-18 and SS-19) will be withdrawn.

Development of the Topol-M began in 1991 at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology and was officially confirmed by a decree from President Boris Yeltsin in February 1993. The design team was headed by Boris Lagutin and Yuri Solomonov. The first launch test took place on Dec. 20, 1994. The first test of the mobile launcher (and the 15th overall test) took place on April 20, 2004. Production at GPO "Votkinsky Zavod" in Votkinsk got underway in 1998. The first missile was declared ready on Dec. 27, 1998, and the system was officially accepted into service on April 28, 2000.

The Topol-M has three stages, with the first stage having three rocket motors developed by the Soyuz Federal Center for Dual-Use Technologies in Moscow. This gives the missile a much higher acceleration than other ICBM types. It enables the missile to accelerate to the speed of 7,320 m/sec. and to travel a flatter trajectory to distances of up to 10,000 km. The missile carries a single warhead but has a high throw weight: about 1,200 kg. This enables three warheads to be fitted, when necessary. Presently, the capability is used to carry realistic decoys that have the same weight and radar cross-section as the actual warhead. These decoys reenter the atmosphere at the same speed and with a similar thermal signature as the actual warhead. Unlike "balloon" and "reflector" decoys, the mock reentry vehicles are not stripped away by the atmosphere and remain effective through the terminal phase. Also, the decoys are probably able to maneuver, as the actual warhead can. The warhead and decoys are all covered with radar-absorbing materials (RAM) to reduce their signatures.

Reportedly, the warhead and decoys are also equipped with active-deception jamming systems, triggered as soon as the thermal cover is dropped after decelerating in the atmosphere. The missile was developed to overcome the eventual defense system under development by the US, but not all of the details have been unveiled. Nevertheless, if the Topol-M works as described, it will be able to overcome many of the discriminator and hit-to-kill technologies being developed for the US NMD. According to a statement by Sergei Ivanov, the Russian minister of defense, each Topol-M will have an 87% chance of penetrating the GMD system.

2006 Rosy for Aerospace, Trade Group Says

by Ted McKenna
Dec. 21, 2005




If 2005 had been a good year for the aerospace industry, the Aerospace Industries Association would probably serve steak at its Dec. 14 holiday luncheon in Arlington, VA, joked an attendee. If bad – chicken. The lunch was chicken and mashed potatoes, as it turned out, but John Douglass, president and CEO of the industry trade group, noted that total sales this year for both the defense and civil sectors were excellent.




Around 40% of US aerospace-defense products are exported overseas, including the very popular F-16 aircraft, bought by governments the world over. In the past 20 years, the US aerospace industry, both civil and military, has generated foreign trade of around $500 billion.

US Air Force

Growth this past year of approximately $14 billion, to a record $170 billion in 2005, is likely to be matched in 2006, according to Douglass, who provided a state-of-the-industry analysis to the 300 or so attendees at the luncheon. But while the defense sector of the US aerospace industry remains large, growth in sales for missiles, military aircraft, and the space industry is expected to be basically flat. Civil aircraft will account for the bulk of estimated 8.2% growth next year, Douglass said.

"With defense, we don't see that changing much," Douglass said. "We don't know how it might grow, but we don't expect any shrinking."

But the "industrial base" supporting the US defense market is fragile, according to Douglass, who said that modernization programs underway for various types of military assets are relying on just one or two suppliers, putting the Defense Department at risk of lacking the capability to rapidly produce equipment in times of need (see also "Support Your Local Armsmaker"). Types of military assets that are jeopardized by low-volume production lines include strategic and tactical aircraft, aircraft carriers, main battle tanks, rocket and missile fuel, and shuttle components.

"The challenge is that the industrial base is fragile," Douglass said. "When you're very redundant, you have many factories making the same thing. You have some inefficiencies but also some strengths. It means that if a weapon system gets into political trouble or otherwise goes out of production, then you lose the capability to make that system unless you replace it immediately with something else."

Douglass cited as an example of preserving industrial capability the decision by the US Navy when the Seawolf program was canceled to begin making Virginia-class submarines.

But while the US defense manufacturing base needs to be preserved, greater acceptance of international defense sales must also be fostered, said Douglass, alluding to long-running complaints by defense contractors from US-allied countries about access to the US market and restrictive export controls (see "UK Embassy Denounces US Tech-Sharing Policies" and "Defense Firms Cope With US Protectionism").

"We need to educate the [Bush] administration and the American people on selling products in a global economy," Douglass said. "We're not likely to see new export controls from this administration, so likely we'll have to wait until 2008 and a new administration. So what we want to do is make sure existing policies work as well as we can, and I think we're having some success at that."

Military aircraft sales totaled $50 billion, up 7% from 2004, while the missile sector generated about $600 million, up 4%, and the space sector accounted for $37 billion in sales, a 3.8% rise, with NASA and other non-Defense Department agencies accounting for almost all of the increase, according to an analysis of the US aerospace industry in 2005 by David Napier, director of the Aerospace Industries Association's Aerospace Research Center.

As an indication of the current civil aerospace boom, foreign sales for the civil sector rose $8.2 billion to $55 billion, while military aerospace exports totaled about $9.7 billion, an increase of only about $200,000 from the year before.

Aryan Tourist Theory (TM) : HARVARD image shattering

By: Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
December 24, 2005
Views expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

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The title of this article is borrowed from Rajeev Srinivasan’s trademark ATT (Aryan Tourist Theory) as a counter to the Aryan Influx (Invasion) Theory being promoted by indologist creationists who believe in the creation of the universe in 4004 BC, following the Biblical tradition.

Close on the heels of this report published on December 20, 2005, on IVarta.com Harvard's scandal & Hindu conspiracy the renowned newsmagazine, The Economist of London, has been recruited as of December 21, 2005, as a co-conspirator in this global Hindu conspiracy.

The title of the cover story is: The long march of everyman.

Since the information is premium content, only excerpts can be provided. Coded contents using DNA/Genetic code words and the cypher will be revealed only to privileged clients such as the Harvard University group led by Witzel.

The scoop is that Rajeev Srinivasan has trademarked a new version of AIT and calls it "Aryan Tourist Theory". Congratulations to Rajeev on this invention which could have far-reaching implications for bringing the Harvard international scandal to the desired outcome. Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel have to contend with discovery of tourist visas used by 'Aryans' as they influxed into Bharatam.

Since the prestige of Harvard University is at stake, new methods have to be evolved to perpetuate the possibility of Aryan tourist entry into India in 1500 BCE. One method being contemplated, informed sources report, is to say that this is another hindutva plot to humiliate the prestigious Harvard University which alone has the right to teach Hindu children a lesson. A larger task lies ahead of the Harvard group led by Witzel: to educate the international community of parents on what hindutva means. (Hindu conspirators claim that this means the essence of being hindu in dharma-dhamma-veda-bauddha-jaina continuum of bharatiya tradition; clearly a tough continuum to contend with in sixth grade classrooms). Yet the job has to be done; the prestige of Harvard University is on the line.

Fwd. with thanks, a precise note from Rajeev Srinivasan (Dec. 20, 2005).

[quote]
I'm afraid this link is premium content, but it clearly states that the evidence from genetics precludes an 'aryan' invasion of India in 1500 BCE. the first human migration to India is around 60,000 years ago, and europe was populated much later.

however, there are elements of 'conquest' still in the theories about India, see end of the excerpts below about female and male dna. this sounds like 'aryan tourist theory' (trademarked by me) warmed over, and I am sceptical about it. southerners ki jai :-)

TM 'aryan tourist theory': white guys go live in other countries on tourist visas, marry local women and settle down. thus their genes appear in the local population.

http://www.economist.com/surveys
/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_VNJJNDJ

excerpts only, to protect the economist's copyright. it has a great chart too.

Detail, however is not the same as consensus, and there are two schools of thought about how people left Africa in the first place. Appropriately, some of their main protagonists are at the rival English universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Oxford school, championed by Stephen Oppenheimer, believes that the descendants of a single emigration some 85,000 years ago, across the strait of Bab el Mandeb at the southern end of the Red Sea, are responsible for populating the rest of the world. The Cambridge school, championed by Robert Foley and Marta Mirazón Lahr, agrees that there was, indeed, a migration across this strait, though probably nearer to 60,000 years ago. However, it argues that many non-Africans are the descendants of at least one subsequent exodus.

Both schools agree that the Bab el Mandebites spread rapidly along the coast of southern Arabia and thence along the south coast of Asia to Australia, though Dr Oppenheimer has them turning inland, too, once they crossed the strait of Hormuz. But it is in describing what happened next that the two versions really part company, for it is here that the descendants of the Oxford migration run into the eruption of Toba.

That Toba devastated South and South-East Asia is not in doubt. Thick layers of ash from the eruption have been found as far afield as northern Pakistan. The question is whether there were people in Asia at the time. One of the most important pieces of evidence for Dr Oppenheimer's version of events is some stone tools in the ash layer in Malaysia, which he thinks were made by Homo sapiens. Molecular clocks have a regrettable margin of error, but radioactive dating is a lot more accurate. If he is right, modern humans must have left Africa before the eruption. The tools might, however, have been crafted by an earlier species of human that lived there before Homo sapiens. For Dr Oppenheimer, the eruption was a crucial event, dividing the nascent human population of Asia into two disconnected parts, which then recolonised the intermediate ground. In the Cambridge version, Homo sapiens was still confined to Africa 74,000 years ago, and would merely have suffered the equivalent of a nuclear winter, not an ash-fall of up to five metres—though Dr Ambrose and his colleagues think even that would have done the population no good. The Cambridge version is far more gentle. The descendants of its subsequent exodus expanded north-eastwards into central Asia, and thence scattered north, south, east and west—though in a spirit of open-mindedness, Sacha Jones, a research student in Dr Foley's department, is looking in the ash layer in India to see what she can find there.

Both also agree that Europe received two waves of migration. The ancestors of the bulk of modern Europeans came via central Asia about 35,000 years ago, though some people in the Balkans and other parts of southern Europe trace their lines back to an earlier migration from the Middle East. But the spread of agriculture from its Middle Eastern cradle into the farthest reaches of Europe does not, as some researchers once thought, seem to have been accompanied by a mass movement of Middle Eastern farmers.

The coming together of two groups of humans can be seen in modern India, too. In the south of the subcontinent, people have Y-chromosomes derived almost exclusively from what the Cambridge school would interpret as being northern folk (and the Oxford school as the western survivors of Toba). However, more than 20% of their mitochondria arrived in Asia with the first migration from Africa (or, according to taste, clung on along the south-eastern fringes of the ash plume).

That discovery speaks volumes about what happened when the two groups met. It suggests that many modern south Indians are descended from southern-fringe women, but few from southern-fringe men—implying a comprehensive conquest of the southerners by the northerners, who won extra southern wives.
[unquote]

Another co-conspirator has emerged surprisingly from down-under.

Now for the breath-taking ice age footsteps. This is the decisive blow to the creationist indologists who believe in AIT (Aryan Influx Theory) because the universe according to the Bible was created only in 4004 BC. Any evidence prior to this date is a scientific hoax if the indologists are to be believed. When will the indologists learn to respect science?

See the photo at http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/
j/ap/syd80112220055.hmedium.jpg

In this photo released by the Environment Ministry, a footprint believed to be that of a man is shown in the Willandra Lakes district in western New South Wales of Australia. Michael Amendolia / AP “The prints were made in moist clay near the Willandra Lakes 19,000 to 23,000 years ago, the newspaper reported ahead of archeologists' report on the find to be published in the Journal of Human Evolution.”

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10566347/

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

Pakistan army conquering Baluchistan , where is ICRC ?

"A spokesman of the Anjuman Ittehad Marri claimed that the situation was worsening in the Marri area as helicopter gunships and planes were bombing different areas and the entire district had been sealed off by paramilitary forces and regular army." (Dawn)



But it is a war crime to bomb civilian areas and seal off cities and towns.. the International Criminal Court needs to be asked to investigate (although Pakistan which has refused to sign the international treaty will claim the ICC does not have jurisdiction).

The International Red Cross needs to be immediately approached to ensure food and water supply to the towns, and medical help for the wounded. Pakistan has signed the relevant protocols and is PRC is a member of the ICRC so it must allow access to the ICRC.

December 23, 2005

Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami Distt Commdr among 6 militants, 2 soldiers killed

HUJI Distt Commdr among 6 militants, 2 soldiers killed
Sumo blown up at Old Airport camp

http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/
web1/05dec24/news.htm#1

Excelsior Special Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Dec 23: Militants today managed to blow up a Tata Sumo vehicle at the main entrance of Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) headquarters near the Old Airport here but the explosion failed to cause any material damage to the targetted formation. Meanwhile, at least six militants—including a "district commander" of Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HUJI)—and two soldiers of Army have died in different militancy-related incidents in Kashmir valley since last evening.
Informed sources told the Excelsior that a powerful blast occurred in Tata-Sumo vehicle, bearing registration No: JK02A-1597, at the main entrance of JAKLI headquarters near Technical Area of Srinagar Airport at 1145 hours. The vehicle was blown into pieces. It was sheer good luck of the men around that none of them was killed or injured. Sources said that the driver of the blown up vehicle had got down and was busy in registering his entry at the guarded check-point when the explosion took place. He was immediately taken into custody and subjected to sustained interrogation. Authoritative sources said that the detained driver identified himself as Kishen Singh S/o Sabhu Ram R/o Nagrota, Jammu.
SP City (South), S P Pani said that the interrogation of the detained driver and verification of his revelations was underway late tonight. Quoting the driver, Pani said that somebody in Srinagar had called Kishen Singh and asked him to lift a waiting passenger at Rawalpora. The unidentified person told Kishen Singh that his friend would be waiting for his vehicle at Rawalpora and he was to be dropped at the office of "AD Sahib" at JAKLI. The stranger waiting at Rawalpora boarded Kishen Singh’s Sumo with two boxes apparently filled with apple. He alighted at Rangreth while asking the driver to proceed to "AD Sahib" and telling him that he would follow him with some walnuts for the army officer. While the driver went down, presented himself for identification with his driving licence and began registering his entry, the explosion took place.
Police officials maintained that the blast was caused by militants with a timer device fitted with an IED inside the apple box. They ruled out the possibility of the blast having been caused with a remote control device and claimed that remnants of the time device had been spotted and seized. SP South said that the detained driver’s statement—particularly his residential particulars and the driving licence— were being verified by Jammu Police. He sounded hopeful that the militants, who had engaged the driver for the deadly task, would be got identified and arrested.
A stranger caller, who claimed to be the spokesman of J&K Islamic Front (JKIF), told the local news agency CNS that the militants of his organisation had planned and executed the operation at the Old Airport.
Meanwhile, informed sources in north Kashmir said that troops of 23 Rajput Rifles, associated with Army’s 161 Brigade, foiled a major infiltration attempt of militants in Pathri Bahak, over Banali, close to LoC in Gulmarg-Uri belt today. Even as a number of the infiltrators are believed to have escaped backward, troops eliminated two of the militants in a fierce gunbattle. Sources said that two soldiers also got killed.
Sources said that the overnight operation of BSF 112 Bn concluded in Sopore with the death of one soldier and two militants. A middle-rung Police official said that the charred body of one militant had been spotted and it was being recovered. He said that the troops engaged in the operation were confident that another militant’s body was under the debris. As already reported, one soldier and one militant had died in the operation till late last evening. Three civilians had sustained injuries in the beginning of the militant strike at Sopore on Wednesday evening. Reports said that a number of Government structures suffered minor damage and the localities around DP Dhar Memorial Hospital and Horticulture Office remained closed for two days. The apple-town presented a deserted look today.
Sources in north Kashmir added that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 14 Bn launched a cordon-and-search operation on the basis of a specific information at Sumlar in Bandipore area. Two militants were found hiding at the residential houses of Ashraf Khan and Badroo Khan. During the operation, a fierce gunbattle took place in which both the target houses were destroyed, killing both the militants. Sources said that one of the slain militants was identified as Usman Bhai of Pakistan and another as Fayaz Ahmed Dar alias Qari Usama R/o Ayatmulla, Bandipore. Official claimed that the militants belonged to HUJI and Fayaz Ahmed Dar was the organisation’s "district commander" in Bandipore area. HUJI spokesman Maqsood Farooqi told the local news agencies that seven troopers were left dead and six more wounded in the gunbattle. Officials insisted that security forces did not suffer any damage.

American conspiracy against Hinduism!

V SUNDARAM

As an unknown heathen with my racial and cultural memories going back to the dawn of history, I am rather amused by the manner in which the California Education Department has recently permitted some known anti-Hindu baiters like Michael Witzel, professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University, and some of his chosen suspects to
intrude into (if not lurking house trespass!) the textbook selection, evaluation and reform process, in gross violation of established norms of decorum and decency.

Consequently, the Curriculum Commission in California has
agreed to incorporate the changes proposed by the representatives of the Christian, the Jewish and the Muslim groups. But very unfortunately, the changes proposed by Hindu groups, originally agreed for suitable incorporation in the textbooks, are now being posted for re-review by an organised coterie of Hindu-baiting
academics!

I understand that the California Curriculum Committee was
approached in September by concerned American citizens on the issue of social studies' textbooks being considered for Class VI to VIII. Practitioners of different religious traditions complained that several passages included in these textbooks needed extensive revision or editing, as they contained either negative or incorrect observations or comments about the religious beliefs and practices of the Jews, the Muslims, and the Hindus.

It was alleged that some of the contents were downright
racist and had the potential to create xenophobic or sensational images in the minds of adolescent students. It was feared that it would definitely have a deranging and negative impact on the self- respect and consequently the self-identity of the Jewish-American, the Hindu-American, and the Muslim-American children.

The Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) showed great
sensitivity towards the issues raised by the Jewish, Islamic and Christian groups. The institute submitted several corrections and suggestions to ensure that sections on Judaism reflected Jewish understanding of the faith and did not fan anti-Semitism.

The Council on Islamic Education (CIE) came up with a
proposal for alternative language for certain sections on Islam, and the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) and the Vedic Foundation (VF) gave their considered inputs on Hindu dharma for suitable incorporation. The Curriculum Commission and Content Review Panel (CRP) informed the California State Board of Education (SBE), and on 8 November 2005, the ad hoc committee had approved 499 out of 684 proposed changes.

Many textual changes approved by the ad hoc committee were really in the nature of the routine rectification of obvious factual errors, such as the claim that 'Hindi is written with the Arabic alphabet, which uses 18 letters that stand for sounds,' when everyone knows that Hindi is written in the Devanagari script and has 52 characters.

The Jewish and the Hindu groups objected to their scriptures being described as 'stories,' which suggested 'that the events described are fictitious.' Making out a case for more respectful terminology when describing Hindu dharma, the Hindu Education Foundation said that a textbook reference to 'Gods and Goddesses from popular Hindu stories,' should be changed to 'various forms of
God from Hindu scriptures'.

What is most shocking and scandalous is that several
passages in the textbooks trivialised and ridiculed Hindu beliefs.

For example, one passage said: 'The monkey king Hanuman loved Rama so much that it is said that he is present every time the Ramayana is told. So look around, see any monkeys?' Hindus sought subtle but pertinent corrections, such as replacing subject headings like 'Hindu Beliefs About Multiple Gods' with the more accurate phrasing 'Hindu Beliefs About Various Forms of God'.

Professor Witzel of Harvard University is a great champion of the Aryan Invasion Theory of India. He succeeded in persuading the authorities to incorporate this as an inviolable fact in the textbooks. It should not be forgotten that the Aryan Invasion Theory of India was manufactured, marketed and sold as a common colonial
product during the days of British Raj and which was later lapped up by all the European historians, the highly Anglicised Indian historians and the so-called 'secular' historians belonging to the moribund leftist groups in India. The Hindu Education Foundation
requested the Californian Authorities to take note of the
overwhelming evidence available today against the Aryan Invasion Theory so as to make the presentation in the textbooks more reasonable, balanced and in accord with different shades of expert academic opinion.

There is no doubt whatsoever that all the changes proposed by the Hindu groups and Hindu organisations were fair, reasonable and legitimate. The education policy in any civilised country should take due note of the time-honoured core teachings of the religion and culture of minority groups so as to be in full tune with the
established traditions of the respective faiths, instilling a just pride in every child regarding his or her own cultural and spiritual heritage.

While all these exercises to correct such obvious errors or distortions or anomalies were being undertaken by the Californian Educational Authorities, Prof Michael Witzel of Harvard's Sanskrit Department wrote to the California State Board of Education on 8 November 2005, objecting to the accommodation of the sensitivities and sensibilities of the Hindus.

Prof Witzel and his colleague Steve Farmer collected
signatures from over 50 scholars around the world, including worthies like Prof Romila Thapar (India) and Prof Stanley Wolpert, without caring to apply their minds to the proposed changes. I am totally convinced that Witzel exclusively targeted Hindu-Americans, and that he has only a political agenda of the most despicable kind.

Not withstanding all this politically engineered
controversies, it is a matter for great satisfaction that on 4 December 2005, the California School Board accepted many changes desired by the Hindu community in Grade VI textbooks on topics dealing with India and Hindu dharma. The corrections were vetted by an ad hoc committee including renowned Indologist Dr Shiva G Bajpai,
whose indological services were hired by the Commission. But very unfortunately, the Witzel intervention has led the Commission to appoint Witzel, Wolpert and others as experts for a post-review process (Content Review Panel). This is just like the accused being permitted to sit in judgement upon their own antecedents and conduct.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has lodged a strong
protest against the grossly discriminatory, unfair, illegal and unequal treatment accorded to the Hindus vis-à-vis other faith communities by the California State Board of Education, by permitting in the last minute, a mischievously planned post-process move by Witzel to undermine and circumvent the considered recommendations of the 'ad hoc committee' and the review process
established by the Commission itself for the resolution of errors in textbooks.

I have also come to understand that during the deliberations on the textbooks by the California State Board of Education, Commissioner Munger, who identified himself as an Episcopalian, was the only Board member who advocated accepting the views of the Witzel panel. Commissioner Metzenburg said the Hindus should be able
to recognise their own religion when they read these textbooks. Metzenberg objected to the 'insensitive' approach of the Witzel panel to the whole issue. When Witzel panel was asked to rectify the statement that 'the Ramayana was written later than the Mahabharata,
Witzel commented in a contemptuous way: 'Who in Sixth Grade cares which epic was 'written' first?' Metzenberg retorted that 'it mattered to Hindus'.

The Jews in California requested the authorities to remove the references that portrayed Christianity as an 'improvement' upon Judaism, or a 'replacement' for Judaism. Likewise, the Hindus have noticed that Buddhism and Jainism have been presented as 'improvements' over their dharma. The Hindu Organisations have taken up this matter with the concerned authorities, pointing out
that this amounts to violation of Education Code Section 600 44(a) and Subsection (b), which states that all students should 'become aware and accept the religious diversity while being allowed to remain secure in any religious beliefs they may already have.'

It is very clear from all this that while matters relating to Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been reviewed by experts within those faith traditions, the California Department of Education has followed a policy of positive discrimination against the Hindus in general and American Hindus in particular by requisitioning the services of non-Hindu academics who are neither experts in Indian History or Hindu dharma, nor practicing Hindus. I won't be surprised if the anti-Hindu UPA Government in New Delhi resorts to the political expedient of sending a specially chosen team of so-called 'secular' academicians headed by the likes of Romila Thapar and a few other Communists to California for completing the work started by professor Witzel & Co.

I would appeal to Hindus all over the world to unite against this American conspiracy against us, drawing inspiration from the fiery words of Swami Vivekananda: 'Let us have muscles of iron and nerves of steel. Arise! Awake! And Stop Not Till The Goal Is Reached!'

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

e-mail the writer at vsundaram@newstodaynet.com

http://newstodaynet.com/
23dec/ss1.htm