January 21, 2006

Pakistan: The Resurgence of Baluch Natonalism

By Frederic Grare
Publisher: Carnegie Endowment
Carnegie Paper # 65
Full Text (PDF)

A new conflict is emerging in Baluchistan, a vast yet sparsely populated Pakistani province, straddling three countries: Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. This instability has potential implications for the United States, as it is a launching pad for U.S. military operations against Islamic terrorism.

In a new Carnegie Paper, Pakistan: The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism, Visiting Scholar Frédéric Grare provides insight to the numerous factors that have led to the complex struggle between the Pakistani government and the Baluch population’s fight for independence. Were Baluchistan to become independent, Pakistan would lose a major part of its natural resources and Baluchistan would become a new zone of instability in the region

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Baloch unrest has no foreign support: study
WASHINGTON: “In the absence of foreign support, which does not appear imminent, the Baloch movement cannot prevail over a determined central government with obviously superior military strength” but still “can have a considerable nuisance value”, according to a new report.
The report – Pakistan: a resurgence of Baloch nationalism – has been written by Frederic Grare, a French diplomat who recently served in Pakistan and also spent four years in New Delhi. It was released on Friday by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Grare writes: “The risk of a prolonged guerrilla movement in Balochistan is quite real. Most observers concur that Baloch nationalists are raising the stakes to strengthen their negotiating position vis-à-vis the central government. Movement leaders have made it known that they would be satisfied with a generous version of autonomy. In the absence of their winning autonomy, however, the medium- and long-term consequences of the struggle for independence cannot be predicted today. The outbreak of another civil war in Balochistan between the nationalists and the Pakistan Army cannot be ruled out if the minimum demands of the Baloch are not met.”
According to the writer, almost six decades of intermittent conflict have given rise to a deep feeling of mistrust toward the central government. The Baloch, he maintains, will not forget General Pervez Musharraf’s recent promises and the “insults” hurled from time to time at certain nationalist leaders. The projects that were trumpeted as the means to Balochistan’s development and integration have so far led only to the advance of the Pakistani military in the province, accompanied by the removal of the local population from their lands and by an intense speculation that benefits only the army and its “henchmen”.
Baloch nationalism, he argues, is a reality that Islamabad cannot pretend to ignore forever or co-opt by making promises of development that are rarely kept. For the moment, with little certainty about the conclusion of an agreement between the central government and the nationalist leaders, the province is likely to enter a new phase of violence with long-term consequences that are difficult to predict. “This conflict could be used in Pakistan and elsewhere as a weapon against the government. Such a prospect would affect not only Pakistan but possibly all its neighbours. It is ultimately Islamabad that must decide whether Balochistan will become its Achilles’ heel,” he writes.
Grare maintains that three separate but linked issues bear on Balochistan today: the national question, the role of the army and the use of Islamism. The national question, he argues, is central. The four provinces of Pakistan, 58 years after independence, still reflect ethnic divisions that the central government neither fully accommodates nor can eliminate. “The elite, in particular the army elite, has never recognised ethnic identities. From Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf, the army elite has always tried to promote a united Pakistan,” he points out. Cognisant of their province’s strategic and economic importance, he argues, the Baloch have been all the more resentful of the military’s “arrogance and contempt”. Finally, he writes, the Pakistan Army exercises its power by “manipulating” Islam to weaken Baloch nationalism and, even more important, to conceal the real nature of the Baloch problem from the outside world. “The Baloch crisis is not just the unintended outcome of more or less appropriate decisions. The crisis epitomises the army’s mode of governance and its relation with Pakistan’s citizens and world public opinion,” he adds.
Grare writes that the present crisis in Balochistan was provoked, ironically, by the central government’s attempt to develop this backward area by undertaking a series of large projects. Instead of cheering these projects, the Baloch, faced with slowing population growth, responded with fear that they would be dispossessed of their land and resources and of their distinct identity. In addition, three fundamental issues are fuelling this crisis: expropriation, marginalisation, and dispossession. Balochistan has failed to benefit from its own natural gas deposits, he notes. He points out that the Baloch have had only a small role in the construction of Gwadar port, a project entirely under the control of the central government. The project will benefit the people of Balochistan only if a massive effort is undertaken to train and recruit local residents and if the port is linked with the rest of Balochistan, which is “certainly not the case at the present time”. khalid hasan

Hindu cultural content in school curriculum



All about inspiration and rejuvenation!

A small booklet with a few inspiring words of Swamy Vivekananda was what made an IITian change his perception on life. When jobs were flooding him from every nook and corner, vision sparked off from the words of the spiritualist, prompted M Pramod Kumar to search for the truth and hidden mystery of our past.

While graduating as Mechanical Engineer from IIT Madras in year 1997- 2000, Pramod was drawn to the words of Vivekananda. Aspiration and motivation made him form a Vivekananda Study Circle (VSC), a unique autonomous student body, which has made a significant impact in recent years on the cultural atmosphere at IIT Madras. He served as student coordinator of VSC for three years, and also helped in the formation of similar bodies at Anna University and IIT Kharagpur.

Meeting French man M Zhelibunin, who was knowledgeable about India, motivated Pramod further to explore the rich history, culture, heritage of India. Associated with International Forum for India's Heritage in many capacities, he designed and carried out a nationwide survey of school students on the cultural content in school curriculum in India, and it was approved by the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
Presently working with Amritha University, Coimbatore, as faculty for Cultural Education and Research Associate, Pramod has been developing a cultural educational programme for the undergraduate students of the university.

He was recently in Chennai for a lecture for students of various colleges on the National Youth Programmes commemorating Swami Vivekananda's 144 birth anniversary. Pramod was also presented with the Yuva Shakthi Youth Achiever Award.

News Today spoke to Pramod.

Excerpts:

Q. What inspired you to take up a survey on cultural content in school curriculum?

A. I was not satisfied internally, a vacuum always remained in my heart. But when I went through the inspiring words of Swami Vivekananda, the vacuum was filled with positive thoughts. At the sametime, I felt that no other job would give me self-satisfaction.

Q. During your lectures conducted by Yuva Shakti in various colleges in Chennai, you stressed on the need to educate students about our cultural past and heritage, including the Vedas and Upanishads.

M Pramod Kumar
A. Yes, it is true that we need to educate today's youth about the essence of our culture and heritage which are eroded due to western influence.

Q. Don't you feel that more emphasis on spiritualism and religion could bring disharmony in a country like ours.

A. No. Spiritualism and religion are two different concepts, but people have often used both as a tool to bring about disharmony. But if used as a weapon it can bring about a change for the good.

Q. Are you not trying to propagate a Hindu philosophy, while leaving out other religion.

A. It is not so. People in India know less about Hindu religion and spiritual thoughts. A few people misinterpret them and inculcate a different vision of the truth.

Unfortunately in India there are not many institutions and organisations to make people understand the truth at an early stage. Other faiths make people understand their religion and the spiritualism at quite an early age.

Q. What were your findings during the nationwide survey on cultural content in school curriculum?

A. Many of the schools do not have many cultural content in their curriculum and that prevents students from understanding culture and heritage though they have shown interest in those areas.

Also, it was interesting to know that India was one of the most scientifically advanced country. When considering the exports of India before British rule, the exports were more than today's US share in the market.

http://www.newstodaynet.com/
20jan/ss2.htm

Five arrested for forcing woman to convert

Bari: Five persons have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a Hindu woman and setting her house on fire in Matiapada village under Sahupada panchayat after she refused to change her religion, police said Wednesday.

The woman Kabita Mallik with two children was eking out a meagre living doing household work, ever since her husband disappeared five years ago in Punjab. Her husband Purnachandra Mallick had gone to work as a plumber, but did not return.

Three villagers Gunanidhi Mallick, brother-in-law of Kabita, Tikan Mallick, Kulmani Mallick and other recent converts to Christianity, were persuading her to adopt a similar step, which she was resisting, a senior district police official citing the complaint lodged by the woman said.

The trio allegedly assaulted her and set afire her thatched house as she refused to convert, the complaint said. The fire also engulfed five nearby houses.

The arrested persons were produced before the local sub-divisional judicial magistrate's court on Wednesday. The court rejected their bail applications and remanded them in judicial custody.

www.orissasambad.com/engl...sp?otn=389

PAKISTAN : Sins Of Sindh

Sins Of Sindh
'Appalled' is how Pak liberals, human rights NGOs react


ANJALI PURI

An investigative report by a respected Pakistani journalist on the abduction, conversion to Islam and forced marriage of Hindu women in Pakistan to Muslim men, carried as a cover story by a liberal Indian newsmagazine—i.e. not Organiser but Outlook! It was bound to create a stir and it did.

In a strong response to Mariana Baabar's searing report from interior Sindh (Sindh's Stolen Brides, Jan 23), Amnesty International said the story revealed "appalling abuses" suffered by Hindu girls and women in Sindh province.



"The Pakistan state failed to exercise due diligence in not preventing the appalling abuse of Hindu girls."


"It indicates that the Pakistani state has failed to exercise due diligence when it failed to prevent such abuses inflicted on Hindu girls and women in Sindh and when it did not ensure that these victims of abuses obtain legal redress," said Amnesty in a statement from its international

secretariat in London. It added that the Pakistani state "was under a domestic as well as an international obligation" to ensure that its citizens' rights to freedom of religion, and freedom of choice of a marriage partner, are not violated.

Human Rights Watch, in its reaction to the article, said in a statement from New York that "abductions, forced marriage and forced conversions are clear human rights abuses...(this is) one illustration of a larger epidemic of abuse and violence against women in Pakistan".

In India and Pakistan, right-wingers on both sides reacted predictably, with responses that were mirror images of each other. Far more interesting were the differences between liberal responses on either side of the border.

Pakistani liberals came out strongly, and emotionally, against the failure of the Constitution and the state to protect the rights of the country's minorities. "It makes the blood boil," said Jugnu Mohsin, managing editor and publisher of The Friday Times, reacting to the article. Commented Saba Khattak, executive director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, "I found the article extremely moving (it brought tears to my eyes) and agree with Mariana's conclusion that this is a sad reflection on current as well as previous governments in Pakistan." After reading the piece, journalist and consultant Uzma T. Haroon urged Mariana to have it published in Pakistan, to make "the custodians of the Constitution and protectors of our rights aware of such practices".

Indian liberals, on the other hand, while strongly condemning what was happening to Hindu women in interior Sindh, were careful to distance themselves from the hawks, of saffron and other hues, who routinely bash Pakistan. As Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar of the People's Union for Civil Liberties put it: "As an NGO, we strongly feel the government of Pakistan should take steps to prevent the forcible abduction and conversion of Hindu women and to take strong legal action against those responsible for such actions. That is to be expected of any proper government. But the issue should not be blown out of proportion or used to score points." Should the Indian government raise the issue with the Pakistani side? "No harm in doing it, but in a friendly and sympathetic way," said Sachar.

Unlike Sachar, G. Parthasarathy, a retired diplomat who has served as High Commissioner to Pakistan, felt India would be ill-advised to raise the issue officially with Pakistan, as "this is a case of state inaction, rather than massive action by the state. It's a very different situation from Balochistan, where helicopter gunships are mowing down civilians. What is happening in Sindh is terrible, but it is for NGOs to raise these issues".

Writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia, who has extensively researched abductions and forced marriages at the time of Partition, observed: "On both sides—the Hindu and the Muslim—there is a patriarchal set-up, and the woman has no say on either side.Whatever choice she makes is 'wrong'—whether to stay with her abductor, or to go back to her family, which will never really accept her because she has had sex with a Muslim."

While the official Indian response was a circumspect silence, on the Pakistani side, foreign secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan claimed he had not read the story when Outlook asked him his opinion at a press conference in Delhi. Without confirming—or denying—that the abductions, conversions or forced marriages were taking place, Khan said, "Of course, we don't acquiesce in any kind of coercion for any purpose." He added that the government does take action "where it is necessary", and that people could seek redress through the courts for human rights infringements. He also lauded the role of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission and its "robust and active and independent" civil society. "Where they see the government is slack, they do not hesitate to draw attention to it."

Khan is absolutely right: civil society groups like the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan are a fearless lot and have consistently drawn the government's attention to the oppression of religious minorities in Pakistan. To no avail.

Jaswant Singh to visit Hindu shrine in Balochistan

No politics in Pakistan pilgrimage: Jaswant Singh
New Delhi | January 21, 2006 8:15:06 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/
showdetails.asp?id=226909&n_date
=20060121&cat=India

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh said Saturday that his pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine in Balochistan that begins Jan 30 was "purely a personal and religious visit" and appealed to the media not to read any politics into it.

Singh, a former external affairs minister, was optimistic that this historic visit will "widen the constituency of peace" on both sides of the border and backed the ongoing peace process with Pakistan.

"This is a religious visit, and a personal visit. It has nothing to do with politics," Singh, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters here.

"I am not going for politics. And I do not wish to comment on internal politics of my host country," he said.

Singh leads a multi-faith group of nearly 100 pilgrims that also includes 20 Muslims and people from all strata of society on a nine-day visit that begins from Munabao in Rajasthan Jan 30.

The pilgrims travel via Khokrapar, Chor, Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad (Sindh), Karachi enroute to Balochistan, and from there to the Hinglaj mata shrine that was visited by both Hindu and Muslim pilgrims before the subcontinent's partition in 1947. A visit to the shrine, known in Pakistan as Bibi Nani Ma, is one of the most difficult journeys that involves traversing three deserts of Rajasthan, Sindh and Balochistan.

Singh hoped that more devotees will be able to cross the border for a grand fair held at the shrine during Navratras in March-April.

The group also comprises three MPs - Manvendra Singh, Jaswant Singh's son and MP from Barmer in Rajasthan, P.S. Gadhvi, MP from Kutch in Gujarat and Narain Singh Manacklao, Rajya Sabha MP.

"I am thankful to both (Pakistani President) Pervez Musharraf and (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh for contributing to creating history," Singh said.

"A pilgrimage of this nature by the land route is taking place after a gap of 60 years. I am also grateful to the government of Sindh for allowing this to happen," he said.

Singh stressed that he had been trying to go on this pilgrimage for the last one-and-a-half years, but it was only now due to the personal intervention of Musharraf that it will take place.

He will also visit some of his relatives who live in Umerkot and Jagir in Sindh - home to a substantial population of Hindus - and visit the dargah of Shabaaz Kalander - a sufi saint - to place a chadar at the shrine.

Aware of the political ramifications of such a trip, especially after BJP leader L.K. Advani's visit to Pakistan last year ended in a controversy, Singh clarified that he would visit the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah - the founder of Pakistan - in Karachi, but only in the sense that foreign visitors who come here visit the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.

"It's not a secret visit. My party knows about it. My visit is not connected to any controversy," he said. He refused to be drawn into a controversy regarding Advani's praise for secular credentials of Jinnah that led to his resignation as the party chief last year.

"We should keep the doors of our mind open," said Singh who is working on a political biography of Jinnah.

He also made a strong pitch for more and more Indians and Pakistanis taking the Rajasthan-Sindh route, besides the Amritsar-Wagah route - and said the more frequent use of this route will enhance people-to-people contact.

(IANS)

January 20, 2006

Jill’s father appeals for her release on Aljazeera


Jill
Source: http://www.natashatynes.com/

By Natasha

The deadline the kidnappers initially gave will expire later today but efforts to save my very dear friend's life are still ongoing, non-stop. The latest major effort was an appeal by her dad who appeared on the Arab world's two most watched satellite TV channels: Aljazeera and Al Arabiya. This is what he said:

I want to speak directly to the men holding my daughter Jill because they may also be fathers like me. My daughter does not have the ability to free anyone. She is a reporter and an innocent person. Do not sacrifice an innocent soul ... as a father, I appeal to you to release my daughter for the betterment of all of us. And I ask the men holding my daughter to work with Jill to find a way to initiate a dialog with me.

Source: [CNN]

Also Friday, Arab satellite channels aired a news conference held by Adnan Dulaimi, head of the Conference for People of Iraq:

I urge the men who kidnapped this journalist, Jill Carroll, to release her for the sake of God and our country and our religion and our honor. We, in the Conference for People of Iraq, will demand those conditions of releasing the detainees in the Iraqi and American prisons. We will demand this by word, negotiations, and talks with Iraqi and American officials. This act tore me apart and pained me if it wasn't embarrassing, I would cry. In the name of God, in the name of religion, in the name of any word of sympathy that exists in Iraq, I urge you to release this female journalist.

Source: [Washington Post]

UPDATE: Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting that securing Jill's release is a "top priority," according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan:

AFP: Securing abducted US journalist Jill Carroll's release from Iraq is a priority for the United States, the White House said Friday, as the deadline loomed on her captors' threat to execute her. "The safe return of any American hostage is always a top priority, wherever they are," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. But he would not say what steps, if any, Washington was taking to secure her release.

UPDATE 2: A demonstration of support for Jill is being held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters sans frontières:

With the ultimatum given by the kidnappers of US journalist Jill Carroll due to expire this evening, a demonstration in support of Carroll was held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters Without Borders, mosque rector Dalil Boubakeur and former French hostages Florence Aubenas, Roger Auque, Jean-Jacques Le Garrec, Roland Madura and Ivan Cerieix.

Calling for Carroll’s release, the participants pointed that today’s demonstration was being held exactly one year after a similar show of support for Aubenas, who was finally freed and was able to take part today, and they said they hoped that today’s appeal would also be heard by those holding Carroll in Iraq.

Two LeT men, 5 others convicted

http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/
web1/06jan18/news.htm#8

NEW DELHI, Jan 17: Two Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were among seven men convicted by a Delhi Court today in connection with bomb blasts which rocked various north Indian cities in 1997 killing 17 persons and injuring nearly 300 others.
The Pakistanis — Azad Mohammed and Mohd Hussain — were held guilty of conspiring with Amir Khan, Mohd Shakil and Abdul Bagi for waging war against the country. They were also convicted under the Foreigners Act.
The other two accused Mohd Umar Ali and Mohd Abdul Qasim were also held guilty for conspiring with them to trigger as many as 37 blasts in Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi on different occasions in 1997.
All the accused except Bagi have been found guilty under various provisions of the Explosives Act.
"The identical nature of all the blasts confirmed that they were planned by the same group who had acted in pursuance of a common intention", Additional Sessions Judge Rajiv Mehra observed.
Besides, the fact that same chemicals and explosive substances were used proves beyond doubt the complicity of the convicts, the judge added. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence tomorrow.
Police had arrested all the accused from a hide-out in Sadar Bazar area in North Delhi on February 27, 1998 and seized 50 kg chemicals used for making bombs, 2,200 US dollars, Rs 70,000 and some incriminating documents.
The court had in 1993 convicted eight other accused after they pleaded guilty while five others were discharged for "want of sufficient evidence" against them.
The trial of the case was held under tight security at the Tihar Jail.
The kingpin of the blasts Abdul Karim, alias Tunda and a key agent of the ISI in Delhi, Haryana and UP, is still absconding. He is also wanted in connection with 1993 Bombay serial blasts.
The role of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Pakistani-Inter Service Intelligence was revealed following the interrogation of five ISI activists in December 1997.
Investigations revealed that the accused had formed a nexus with Punjab militants in Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra and Sirsa districts of Haryana for executing their plan.
Most of the bombs were planted in busy and congested places, in trains and buses to create panic among the people.
Those convicted in the case after they pleaded guilty are Mohd Mati ur Rehman, Akbar, Abdul Rehman, Masood Ahmed, Safidul Islam, Mohd Ishtiaq, Mehmood and Ahmed Hussain.
Himan Sheikh, Shemim Akhtar, Sheikh Hussain, Tasleem and Naimuddin are the accused who were discharged for want of evidence.(PTI)

THE DYNAMICS OF CHINA’S SOCIAL CRISIS

By Wenran Jiang

China continues to impress the world with its high GDP growth, staggering trading volumes and surging consumption appetite. Most figures out of Beijing look remarkable, indicating a momentum that the Middle Kingdom is reclaiming its great power status at a speed faster than most forecasts. Yet evidence is mounting that the high-GDP-centered development paradigm is too costly to sustain: rural, urban and environment-related protest movements are moving from localized and isolated events to a widespread and serious social crisis.

What do statistics, or the lack of them, indicate?

Some may point to Beijing’s newly-revised GDP figures as proof of China’s successful modernization: its national strength is now 17 percent more than previously thought, leaping over Italy, France and Britain to become the fourth largest economy in the world; its economic structure seems to be more balanced with a much bigger service industry than previously reported; and China’s foreign trade grew by nearly a quarter in 2005 and its foreign reserves tripled. Yet other recently released numbers, which have received less coverage, indicate a troublesome trend.

As revealed by the China Human Development Report 2005, regional disparity is threatening the country’s growth potential, and the widening urban-rural distribution gap has reached a dangerous level. Compiled by a group of Chinese researchers for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the report demonstrates that in all major categories of the human development index (HDI)—from per capita income to life expectancy to literacy rate—regional imbalances are severe and growing. It concludes that China’s Gini coefficient, a measurement of a country’s income inequality, has increased by more than 50 percent in the past 20 years, with urban dwellers earning nearly four times that of rural residents. At 0.46, “China’s Gini coefficient is lower than in some Latin American and African countries, but its urban-rural income inequality is perhaps the highest in the world.”

The new GDP number only makes inequality worse, and when systemic factors biased against the rural population are included, China’s city-countryside income ratio is as high as 6:1. The result is that a person in richer cities enjoys a life expectancy of close to 80 years—the level of a middle-income country and 10–15 years longer than a farmer’s life span in Tibet or other remote provinces. The UNDP report also shows that the inland regions lag behind in education, especially among the female population [1].

Only two decades ago, China was one of the most equal societies on earth. Today, it ranks 90th in the UNDP’s 131-nation HDI. It is ironic that while 250 million people have been lifted out of poverty in record time—a proud achievement that no one denies—China is also leading the world in creating one of the most unequal societies in history.

How to measure social stability, or the lack of it?

The Chinese government has repeatedly told the world that it needs social stability to develop its economy, and Beijing claims to value economic and social rights more than political rights. The question is whether China’s traditional political control plus the new economic and social exclusion of the majority of its population can be accepted as a model of development by those who are now excluded from China’s growing prosperity.

Newly released reports from the Chinese government cite 87,000 incidents of “public order disturbances” last year, up 6.6 percent from the 74,000 figure in 2004; the number of events that “interfered with government functions” jumped 19 percent while protests seen as “disturbing social order” grew by 13 percent in 2005. Some say this is an alarming acknowledgement of the looming crisis in Chinese society that may soon tear China apart with unthinkable consequences. Others contend that the figure is not surprising and that it may not even be a new development: it reflects only that Beijing now allows more reporting of these protests that have existed for a long time. The Chinese government even puts on spin on reports of social disorder, claiming that China is now more democratic by allowing the protests to occur and then informing the public about them.

Despite the differences in assessment, the emerging consensus is that various grassroots protests are increasing in numbers, are better organized, and often turn violent when local officials are no longer seen as working to solve ordinary people’s legitimate grievances. Such protest movements are gaining wider social acceptance. Again, the UNDP report’s survey of Chinese public perception of income distribution gaps reveals popular demands for social justice and potential support for radical actions: more than 80 percent of those surveyed believe that China’s current income distribution is either “not so equitable” or “very inequitable.”

Meanwhile, a recent global study by the Pew Global Attitude Project seems to contradict such pessimism. It shows that the Chinese are the happiest that they have been in recent years in terms of improved living standards and the most optimistic about their future. Seventy-two percent of Chinese, the highest among 16 countries polled, expressed satisfaction with national conditions. Although the survey acknowledges that the “sample is disproportionately urban and is not representative of the entire country,” it does convey one important message that the pollsters failed to recognize: Chinese people have extremely high expectations about benefiting from the country’s ongoing economic expansion; if such high expectations are not met in the near future, their frustrations may turn to demands for equity and social justice.

From the 1950s–1970s, most Chinese were very poor but relatively equal, thus social protests were rare and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) asserted control with little concern regarding large-scale grassroots unrest. Today’s China, after more than two decades of reform, is much more prosperous but at the same time a very unequal society. Historical experiences show that when a country is embarking on rapid economic growth, social mobility accelerates and people’s expectations for their own share of the prosperity increase. Yet at the same time, income distribution gaps widen and with few exceptions, only a small portion of the population enjoys the benefits of the country’s modernization drive. Such a paradoxical process often results in rising resentment among the populous and leads to large-scale protests for a more equitable distribution of wealth. China today is at such a crossroad of unprecedented prosperity, high, unmet expectations, and growing frustrations with perceived social injustice.

When will the “tipping point” come, if ever?

The current Chinese leadership headed by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao is keenly aware of the growing disparity and its serious consequences. After years of promoting Deng Xiaoping’s famous call, “to get rich is glorious,” the “harmonious society” seems to have become a central pillar of the Hu-Wen approach to easing China’s social tensions. Despite a number of measures—ranging from investment in remote regions to elimination of agricultural taxes to “hard strikes” against corruption—social unrest is on the rise. With some of the recent bloody confrontations between peasants and local authorities, many wonder if some kind of a “tipping point” for a social crisis will arrive soon—a potentially explosive situation where large scale upheavals shake the entire Chinese political, economic, and social establishment.

Revolutionary change, most evident in the Russian revolution of 1917, is precipitated by three conditions: first, the masses can no longer be governed; second, the ruling elite can no longer govern; and third, the social forces are fully mobilized under the leadership of a revolutionary party to overthrow the existing regime. By these standards, China is nowhere close to the “tipping point.”

Yet it would be a profound mistake to take comfort from such abstract conclusions. The first two conditions are progressively deteriorating in recent years: widespread social protests are increasing; the corruption of government and CCP party officials and the plight of ordinary citizens by local authorities have weakened the governance structure. A deadly combination of these two elements could lead to a widespread belief that the majority of the population is not left behind because of its own weakness in competing with others for a better life; rather, it is the corrupt officials and the privileged few who have enriched themselves through exploitation and at the expense of the masses. This perception may foster pressures that fundamentally reconfigure the existing social, economic, and political order.

This process may well be accelerated if the inevitable economic slowdown in the coming years and natural, environmental and other human-made disasters occur simultaneously. An externally-imposed, alternative political mechanism is unlikely, if possible at all, given China’s tightly controlled conditions. Yet a governance crisis of such magnitude is likely to trigger an internal split within the CCP ruling elite, with reform-oriented forces openly confronting hardliners who advocate total control by force. If history tells us anything about large scale social turmoil, a total breakdown of Chinese society may not necessarily solve China’s pressing problems. Thus the most challenging task for China and the world today is how to avoid such dangerous showdowns with reforms that effectively address the issue of income inequality, social injustice and lack of democratization.

Professor Wenran Jiang is the director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada

Notes

1. For more statistics and analysis on the social and economic cost of China’s modernization drive, see “The Cost of China’s Modernization,” China Brief, December 6, 2005

SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN URBAN CHINA

By David Kelly

For an authoritarian state to recognize in its own councils that social confrontation and protest is on the rise is not something to quibble over, even when the statistical basis of the assertion is cloudy. This is the case in the PRC, where the figure of 87,000 incidents was just announced by the Chinese government on January 19. The figure is no doubt a conservative estimate. Nevertheless, little doubt is left that “social harmony,” an increasingly prominent policy objective of the Hu-Wen administration since its installation in 2003, is no “motherhood” ideal: rather, it signals a regime in crisis management mode. Much of the protest is confined to the countryside, where issues connected with land confiscation, the environment and local exactions have recently produced a series of violent incidents. As these are dealt with in the next article, the present essay confines itself to urban side of these conflicts.

The causes of social unrest are likely to be more varied in the context of large concentrations of population; the fact that China’s population of urban residents has doubled in the past 25 years, reaching 40 percent of the total population, only adds to this innate complexity. It is, however, possible to generalize: urban movements largely cluster around the core issues of employment, social welfare and real estate. Before looking at these areas, a few general features of the urban context may be sketched. The stakes are higher in any form of urban social action. State control can be effectively mobilized and concentrated in urban areas, and fractious elements, for their part, can concentrate and coordinate more readily, with better access to sources of support (media, law, and the state itself). That said, the Chinese government stands a better chance of incorporating and, in a sense, taming urban conflict. Properly handled, the seething discontent evident among city dwellers today could very well be channelled to stabilize the regime, allowing it to concentrate on the more intractable problems of the countryside.

Employment

Labor shedding and layoffs have been a feature of China’s reforms since the mid 1990s. The processes have been well documented: it is clear that new disadvantaged strata have appeared in society because of them. The state sector was formerly the Great Provider of employment and the fairly comprehensive range of social welfare benefits which was packaged with it. Economic growth is of course expected to absorb workers made redundant by the transformation of technological and ownership modes in the state sector, and it is a fact that private enterprise has emerged as the main source of new jobs. On the other hand, a laid off older worker and a new em¬ployee in the non-state sector are not necessarily the same person. When the projected adjust¬ment fails to materialize, organized protest resistance may and does erupt. Despite being fertile soil for protest, however, observers point out that the political goals of movements among the legions of laid-off workers and related groups (such as the elderly demanding their rightful pension benefits) are often relatively modest. They seek reaffirmation of their “masters of society” status, a popular myth promoted by the authorities in the 1950s-1970s that the urban working class was the leading force in the newly established People’s Republic. It is the peasants—who were never given any such status—who have more readily made the transition to citizen politics and recognize themselves as citizens endowed with legal rights in a quasi-contractual relationship with the state. It often appears that the urban worker, in fact, will struggle more readily for dependency on the state.

Social Security

Old age support, health care, affordable housing and education were part of the overall package available to urban dwellers through their membership in work-units. Yet a fundamental task of economic reform is to deal with these government-sponsored social security packages that are responsible for the ruinous economic circumstances of much of the productive enterprise in the country. Enterprise-funded schemes have to be savagely slashed; even those workers who keep their jobs or find new ones are under pressure to provide more for their own social secur¬ity. Outbreaks of unrest related to these issues are directed less toward this concept of social security than at the manifold failures of its implementation. Embezzlement of funds, arbitrary and unsatisfactory levels of provision, and brutal disregard for the subsequent fate of those affected have been frequent triggering factors. The “neo-traditional” bias noted with regard to movements of the unemployed also apply here: people often pose their plea in terms of restitution of dependent benefits, rather than as citizens owed a duty of care by the state.

Real Estate

Property rights in housing are generally the most significant assets of urban families in China. Faced with an unmanageable burden of welfare housing allocated through the danwei, the govern¬m¬ent commercial¬ized housing in the 1980s. Urban residents assumed title to their hous¬ing, which was sold off cheaply. With population grow¬th and urban expansion, the market for housing has become a major driving force in the market economy, accounting for up to a quarter of China’s GDP growth.

Regulation of this market is imperfect. The government issued instructions to curb speculation taking effect in June 2005, but concerns linger that prices will not be held in check for long. In fact, few urban dwellers can financially afford to purchase their own housing without their work-unit support. A study by a Peking University scholar indicates that it would require 13 years’ salaries for a typical household with three persons to purchase a 70 square-meter apartment. In cities such as Shanghai, the corresponding numbers were much higher [1].

A newly released survey from the prestigious Tsinghua University shows that more than 80 percent of consumers wish to have stronger macro-level policies in controlling the rise of housing prices [2]. Local governments are frequently charged with rent-seeking behaviour in the housing market. Various agencies such as local bureaus of construction and real estate administration are able to collude with developers and real estate agents to facilitate speculators by such practices as allowing forward purchase on credit. This helps keep the prices on an upward spiral. It sometimes also results in the transfer of housing ownership to agents or speculators without the prior knowledge of the current owners, when their usage rights are used as collateral for the loans. The deeper issue here is the lack of clarity in property rights regarding housing.

This is the source of a nationwide surge in activities that defend citizen rights. So-called “homeowners rights protection movements” are common in every city, generally arising in high-rise housing development projects, where homeowner committees are flourishing and moving to replace the residents’ committees that formed the lowest level of urban community governance in the past.

Citizen movements in defense of urban housing have a different format to corresponding movements in the country, reflecting the very different nature of the property rights that are at stake. The peasantry strive to protect their stake in collectively owned arable land. They face severe limitations in that the constitution gives little room for their ownership claims and allows for legitimate requisitioning of land by transferring it from agricultural to other usage under the constitutionally valid grounds of the “interests of state.” In only seven years, China has lost 5 percent of its arable land to urban and industrial development. Yet the tension between the land grab and resentment from peasants is so high that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is now spelling out his concerns. In a speech given a few weeks ago, the remarks of which only recently made public, Wen offered the acknowledgement: “Some locales are unlawfully occupying farmers’ land and not offering reasonable economic compensation and arrangements for livelihoods, and this is sparking mass incidents in the countryside.” He warned that such “reckless occupation” of farmland will severely affect social stability (Xinhua, January 19; Reuters, January 20).

Urban homeowners hold their housing as private owners, and their titles, while by no means ironclad or completely unambiguous, are more difficult for predatory organizations to put aside or willfully misinterpret. Conflicts frequently break out concerning transfers of the usage of public amenities, access to which is included in the sales contract for an apartment, such as car parks, community buildings and facilities (club houses, local shopping centres, access roads, etc). As well as the loss of access to these amenities, the home¬owners are motivated by the very likely loss of value of their assets.

With urban-dwellers living in close proximity to each other—many of whom may have access to influential arms of the government and media and comprise a high-proportion of those with middle-income and professional backgrounds—the homeowners are in general better resourced to engage in rights protection than the rural disadvantaged or the laid-off. The interests at stake are quite distinct. Yet it should not be thought that campaigns waged by home¬owners are sedate affairs; they can be as bloody and protracted as those waged by peasants warding off enclosure in the countryside.

Prospects

Given the harshness of the CCP’s techniques of social control, virtually all social protests seek to formulate strategies that avoid confronting the state head on. The new property-focused movements are more likely to invoke the legal rights of citizens and have tended to evolve a more visible type of leader who takes the role of spokesman for legality and citizenship and draws support from written law and central government policies. Other forms of housing-based citizen movements reflect the varying nature of property rights. For example, citizens “allocated” housing by their work-units have property rights different than owners and tenants of “rented-out housing” (jingzufang), who only retain their property titles when usage of their
properties was requisitioned by the CCP prior to the Cultural Revolution. As well as having more access to resources, including intellectual resources, activists in urban movements are attempting to influence policy-making legislation. Thus a number of them have been attempting to channel the common interests of homeowners to strengthen the Real Property Law, an amended draft of which was circulated for public comment in mid-2005.

These tendencies are in flux, and the outcome is uncertain. The state tends to respond coercively and vindictively to challenges on any level, which has the paradoxical effect of making the responses from below more uniform than they may otherwise have been. Countering this tendency is the government’s research and policymaking circles, which often seek more differentiated policies that allow the state to incorporate rather than alienate the varying interests. It would seem that the citizen movements exemplified in protests over real estate issues are both more adapted to present realities and offer more opportunities for the state to establish different game plans. To some extent they offer the state a lifeline and a road to greater stability.

Notes

1. China Center for Economic Research, August 29, 2005. http://www.ccer.edu.cn/en/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=5156

2. Sou Foun, January 20. http://news.soufun.com/2006-01-20/623989.htm

UNREST IN CHINA’S COUNTRYSIDE

By Li Fan

Unrest, instability, and state-sanctioned repression is on the upsurge in rural China. On January 19, the government announced revised figures that China had 87,000 incidents of internal unrest during the last year. This instability is rising against the background of efforts by the Hu-Wen administration to build a “harmonious society.” Although the causes of instability vary, most arise from conflicts between the interests of local governments and ordinary citizens. Central to those tensions is the uneven distribution of benefits derived from China’s bourgeoning economic development.

Reports emerging in recent months provide a snapshot of unrest and instability in rural China. In June 2005, villagers in the town of Shenyou in Hebei Province were beaten with sticks and knives by locally hired thugs after a power company acquired the rights to local farmers’ land. Six farmers were killed and 48 injured in an event that later led to the removal of local leaders by provincial authorities. Earlier in March, Zhou Changquing, the elected village chief of Yinjialin, a Jinan suburb, was severly beaten, along with his colleagues, by a party secretary backed by the local government (Xinjingbao, June 13, 2005).

In November of last year, farmers in Taishi village in Guangzhou City, tried to recall the village chief, who was also a local party secretary. The local government had supported the chief in August, and the seven members of the recall election committee were forced to resign by political pressure. Some of farmers were arrested, with foreign reporters and other Chinese nationals allegedly beaten by the “village guard” [1]. Later in November, renowned rural leader Yao Lifa was beaten in a village while providing a training and information session for farmers about the process of village elections.

Rural discontent is on the rise, with last year’s figures indicating that nearly 240 of such incidents occur every day. A variety of factors account for this development. In the rural areas, local government at the county and township levels frequently circumvent the public interest for private and personal gain. Since the taxation reforms of Zhu Rhongji in 1993, the central government collected the primary portion of tax income and doled out only small portions to local governments. Over the years, this process has resulted in the transfer of fewer funds than originally envisioned from the center to the local governments, starving many local governments for resources. This condition has been exacerbated as more people assume official local duties and create pressures for more resource collection at the local level.

The problem of resource deficiency at the local level has been solved by taxing farmers through a variety of schemes and fees. With such a heavy tax burden, however, farmers have begun organizing independent associations to protect their rights. Farmers resist payment of fees, appeal to Beijing to intercede against the local government, or protest and take violent action. In some impoverished rural areas, resistance and fighting is almost commonplace.

China’s central government sought to ameliorate the heavy tax burden on farmers by forbidding local governments from collecting any money beyond standard government taxes. In 2004, the central government established a new policy that began to reduce government agricultural taxes and eventually passed legislation in late 2005 that abolished all agricultural taxes (Xinhua, December 29). Absent these revenues, however, local governments once again are facing shortages. As such, local governments continue to collect fees from farmers—contrary to the central government’s dictates –either by establishing new justifications or by creating new extractive mechanisms. The former is common in poor and underdeveloped areas; the latter in suburban and more developed regions.

In urban and suburban areas, local governments have begun selling the lands of farmers to commercial developers and construction companies. Many farmers, at least initially, were unaware that the village property they work had been sold. As more farmers become aware of the practice, they are appealing to higher authorities to combat the land sales, taking legal action against local officials, and engaging in public protests.

Local governments, in turn, are moving to assume stricter political control of villages. They often run candidates sympathetic to local government interests and rig elections in favor of government allies. In some rural areas, an emerging “elite alliance” that includes township government officials, business companies, village leaders, government officials in the county or higher level, and hired thugs—which are called by farmers as the “black force.” This alliance controls the rural areas by violence. These trends not only subvert local democracy, but also generates conflicts and internal dissent.

Dangxi, a suburb of Jinan city, is a case in point. The local government and village leaders together sold the village land. They were then forced to confront the outrage of the farmers, who recalled the village chief in Yinjialin and Diangxi. In elections in 2005, however, village leaders were supported by the local government. Through allegations of vote-buying, leaders were returned to power in Dangxi. A newspaper belonging to the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported and condemned the elections as corrupt, and farmers attempted to sue the government at the town and district levels. The suit, of course, was dismissed by the local government, which had ultimately teamed up with a company to buy the land, and local thugs to control farmer resistance (author observation).

Many of the instruments used to express dissent among rural populations are legal, such as the elections, lawsuits, or appealing for intervention by higher authorities. In some cases, legal and political instruments are effect. In most instances, however, they achieve little. Local governments often interfere with due process. As with official interference in local elections, this zero-sum dynamic engenders conflict. If the rights of farmers cannot be maintained vis-à-vis the corrupt interests of local government bureaucrats, those farmers will be more inclined to seek extralegal means for protecting their interests.

Rural unrest is problematic for the central government for a variety of reasons. Many farmers are resentful of the overbearing local governments and regard them as willing saboteurs of effective policies from the central government. Beijing, in turn, cannot be blamed if the local levels refuse to implement worthy policies. Yet the perception of corrupt government at the local level presents a legitimacy problem for central government officials and the CCP in general. The dilemma is exacerbated by the fact that Beijing relies heavily on the local and provincial cadres to consolidate state authority and protect the party’s interests.

The confluence of conflicting pressures requires the central government to balance several important but competing interests. In some cases, central authorities side with villagers, like in Dingzhou, to expel corrupt officials. In others, the central government sides with the local party elites, turning a blind eye to the abuse of government power. The question remains whether farmers will continue distinguishing between the practices of state authority at the local and central levels. With little political reform at the town and country level, and general reluctance at the center for such political change, Beijing’s prospects for maintaining this tenuous balance seem increasingly remote.

Notes

1. Interview with Lu Banglie, Beijing, Nov. 14, 2005

US Air Force takes delivery of first production Global Hawk UAV's

Air Force takes delivery of first production Global Hawks



by Capt. Bob Everdeen
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs Office

1/19/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The first of two production Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles began flying missions in support of the global war on terrorism within hours of arriving in theater earlier this month.

The aircraft -- managed by the Aeronautical Systems Center's Global Hawk Systems Group here -- are part of the 12th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at a forward-base overseas. The two UAVs are named AF-4 and AF-5.

Just 36 hours after arriving on station, AF-5 flew its first combat sortie, which lasted nearly 24 hours. During this initial aerial reconnaissance flight, the Global Hawk's new production integrated sensor suite performed flawlessly, booting up in half the time of the advanced concept technology demonstration sensor, officials said.

AF-4's arrival at its new "home" was delayed a day due to bad weather along its flight route. But it landed safely on Jan. 12.

"We are extremely excited to have these two aircraft in the hands of our warfighters," said Randy Brown, Global Hawk Systems Group director. "This is a major milestone in the program and one that is historical for the future of Air Force reconnaissance. There have been a number of improvements to the program, and I'm very proud of the work that everyone here has done to make this a reality."

While still in the advanced concept technology demonstration stage, Global Hawk delivered more than 15,000 images to Air Force and joint warfighting commanders and flew more than 5,000 combat hours in the global war on terrorism. Even with these successes, there have been recent challenges with the aircraft.

In October, AF-4 diverted to an alternate location because it lost satellite communication during a sortie. Once the problem was identified, fixed and tested, the aircraft was sent back up and has since performed flawlessly, officials said.

"Even with the Satcom problem, the Global Hawk's software flew exactly like it was supposed to on the diversion," Mr. Brown said. "It recognized the problem, changed course and landed fine at its alternate location. There are many redundancies on these aircraft that enable them to be programmed for missions, and then sent on their way."

Global Hawks were deployed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, prototype aircraft have flown nearly continuous combat missions in support of global war on terrorism, logging more than 233 missions and a combined 8,000 flight hours.
(Courtesy of Air Force Material Command News Service)

Musharraf like Saddam, say Baluch leaders

SOURCE : DNA

Amir Mir
Friday, January 20, 2006 22:31 IST


''Who is Pervez Musharraf? He is not a constitutionally elected President. He took over the reins in a military coup and has no business to speak about the Balochis who are suffering at the hands of the Pakistan armed forces and the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI),'' Mr Sanaullah told a local daily here in an interview.



ISLAMABAD: Accusing the Pakistan army of using poisonous gas to kill innocent civilians in the trouble-stricken Baluchistan province, Baluch nationalist leaders have sought the intervention of the United Nations in the matter.

A letter addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and signed by 13 members of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) brackets President Pervez Musharraf with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, saying Musharraf’s “ruthless army is using poisonous gas to kill innocent civilians in Baluchistan in the ongoing military operation against those who have dared to raise their voice for their due rights”.

According to Sanaullah Baloch, information secretary of the Baluchistan National Party and a member of the upper house of parliament, the members of the Baluchistan Assembly have sought the UN intervention to put an end to the ongoing genocide of the Baluch population in the resource-rich but poverty-stricken province of Pakistan. The letter says: “There are 60,000 troops stationed in Baluchistan and more are on their way. The Pakistan army has launched a bloody offensive against Baluch rebels, who are struggling against the forces of oppression while demanding a greater share of the income being generated from the resources of Baluchistan, especially natural gas.

“Fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force, Gunship Helicopters of the army and heavy artillery are being used against unarmed nomads of Baluchistan. The construction of army cantonments and large-scale deployment of security forces all over Baluchistan gives a picture of siege and has created a sense of insecurity among the local tribes ... More than 600 military checkpoints had been established throughout the province to control their movement. The province has literally been seized and converted into a cage,” the letter adds.

Sanaullah said Baluchistan was extremely rich in natural resources, gas and minerals and Pakistan was benefiting from it since 1952. “Unfortunately, the people of Baluchistan are still living in the Stone Age and those living close to the gas-rich Sui area are still using wood to make fire in winter.”

According to Sanaullah, kidnapping and torture of the Baluchi youths by the Pakistani army has become routine. Hundreds of innocent youths have been abducted by the army and the Frontier Constabulary from different areas of Baluchistan in the last three months and their whereabouts are still unknown.

Sanaullah, a senior politician, has already resigned in protest from the parliamentary committee on Baluchistan. He said that in order to expose the continuous human rights violations in Baluchistan, the elected members of their party were left with no other option but to approach the UN Secretary General.

Musharraf had no right to condemn the alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir while his own Army was killing innocent civilians in Baluchistan, he said. Referring to a recent Indian statement expressing concern over the developments in Baluchistan, he said the West Asian countries should come forward and at least condemn the atrocities in Baluchistan.

He slammed the statement of Gen Musharraf that Baloch Nationalist leaders are fugitives. He said instead of curbing crimes in Balochistan through better policing, a military operation had been launched. The Federal government was making attempts to occupy natural resources of eastern Balochistan, he alleged.

He said Balochistan was extremely rich in natural resources, gas and minerals and Pakistan was benefiting from it since 1952.

Unfortunately, the people of Balochistan are still living in the stone-age and people living close to the gas rich Sui in Balochistan were still using wood to make fire in winter.

Besides the Senate, Mr Sanaullah is also a member of Standing Committee on Local Government and Problems of Less Developed areas.

In addition, he serves as a member of Senate Function Committee on Government Assurances. He is also Central Secretary Information of Balochistan National Party, and editor of ''Jood'' (Movement), an organ of Balochistan National party.

''Kidnapping and torturing of Baloch youths by Pakistani army and security forces have become routine. Hundreds of innocent Baloch youths have been abducted by Army and F.C (frontier cops) from different areas of Balochistan and their fate or whereabouts are still unknown,'' he charged, adding that the decision makers in Islamabad kept Balochistan backward.

The senior politician, who resigned from the parliamentary committee on Balochistan, said in order to escape the continuous human rights violations by Pakistan, the Baloch people are demanding their political, economic and social rights, guaranteed by the Pakistan constitution.

He said Gen Musharraf had no right to speak on the Kashmir issue when he has not tried to clean up his own backyard by stopping military aggression in Balochistan.

Explosions continue in Balochistan

Source: Dawn

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, Jan 17: A Frontier Corps man was killed in a mine blast near Kahan on Tuesday. In the same area, security forces arrested a man and found six bombs, six Kalashnikovs and two light machine-guns in his possession.

The provincial capital was rocked when a home-made device exploded near the boundary wall of a house in a government employees’ colony on the White Road on Tuesday night. The wall was damaged and windowpanes of adjoining houses smashed.

Unknown people also blew up a tower of 32kV transmission line in Rakhni area of Barkhan district on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan home secretary denied allegations that people were leaving Kohlu or Kahan because of a blockade. In a statement, he said the government was willing to provide facilities to people interested in visiting the areas.

Remembering Maniappan Kutty

Remembering Maniappan Kutty
R Rajendrababu

The photograph of a weeping seven-year old boy lighting the funeral pyre of his murdered father is heart-breaking indeed. His father, Maniappan R Kutty, who was on an assignment with the Indian Army in Afghanistan, was brutally killed by Taliban terrorists. The child may not understand the cruelties and horror of Taliban. But he will surely understand the apathy and ineptitude of our officials in saving his father's life.

Soon he will understand how the nation came to a halt to release Rubaiya Syed, the daughter of former home minister Mufti Mohammed. He and his younger brother will also learn about the Kandahar hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC814 and the threatening street processions of Indian communists like Brinda Karat to release the Taliban terrorists. Both the children of Maniappan, Ajay and Akshay, when they grow up will wonder why none of these street leaders, who support the central govt., utter a single word to help their father. One can understand the silence of the malayali external affairs minister, E Ahamed, a known fundamentalist. He represents a communal party and Maniappan did not belong to his community. So why bother to save the infidel?

Both these innocent children might ask their mother one day, "Amma, the union government of the day had the entire support of Kerala MPs and 'secularists'. But why did they keep quiet when Achan was kidnaped and murdered?" Maniappan's widow has a lot of explaining to do to her kids.

But what if the Taliban had kidnapped Rahul Gandhi, when he visited Afganistan recently? Can E Ahamed afford to relax and have long telephonic chats with his well-wishers in Arab countries? Instead the Government would have utilized its entire resources to negotiate for the safe release of Rahul, even if it meant the release of all Taliban and ISI terrorists. Even Brinda Karat and Arundati Roy would abuse and accuse our security personnel for keeping so many 'innocent' terrorists!

Maniappan was financially supporting his old parents, his in-laws and his own family. Moreover the Army needed his valuable service and he had a dream of starting a small business once he retired. Maniappan was a commoner toiling for his family and country but he was truly unfortunate. His relatives were stunned by the total apathy of the Kerala Government towards Maniappan's life. They recalled the case of Sam Kutty, hailing from nearby Mavelikkara, who was kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq some years ago. The government had then acted quickly to establish contact with the Iraqi government. The central government also sent a Minorities Commission member to Iraq for his rescue!

Now the Kerala ministers, MPs and MLAs are again pro-active in pressurizing the Saudi Govt. to pardon Naoushad, who attacked and injured a Saudi national. Naushad's life is not at all under threat but one of his eyes! The notorious E Ahamed, is now working overtime negotiating with the Taliban's financiers - the Saudi government. The eye of Noushad is indeed more valuable than the life of our army personnel, for the communal minister.

Sadly, it is yet another case of apartheid towards the majority community in Kerala. There are numerous state commissions to look after the welfare and safety of the already rich minorities. But is there a single state commission to look into the welfare of the poor majorities? Even the temple hundi is 'managed' by communal politicians like Oomen Chandy and KM Mani (who plans to take control of 200,000 acres of forest land by manipulating land laws!). These minority politicians have successfully converted Kerala into a suicide capital by pushing the majority into suicide (or convert) using land loot laws and blade mafia. But who cares for the un-organized majority?

Keralites lack nationalism and patriotism thanks again to the minority-controlled media, which tries to defame our national culture and heritage. Mostly it's the elders who understand the value of our Defense personnel. Maniappan was an army personnel and he and his family deserved more respect from our state Government. Instead the governments even humiliated his family by delaying the financial settlements. The usual promises were made but we all know how it works.

None of the Non-resident Keralite associations condemned the murder of Maniappan, though he was residing abroad when he was kidnapped. Not surprisingly, some of them have time to coordinate with E Ahamed to get pardon for Naoushad.

The usually salivating conversion predators were absent to make 'charity announcements', since Maniappan's family was educated and would not be an easy prey to their 'charity business'.

The silence of our self-acclaimed social leaders like Sukumar Azhikode, Zacharia, Shabana Azmi and Arundati Roy was appalling! One wonders whether they sympathize with the terrorists and jehadis or they really care for the common citizens of India.

Maniappan never deserved to die like this. Our central and state governments provide red-carpet welcome to the rich Gulf and US returnees. Maniappans of this country who toil hard for our nation deserve more respect than the over-the-night rich NRIs, some of whom shamelessly support terrorist organizations like NDF, NLFT, communists etc

The present government with the support of communist and communal parties (Oomen Congress and Muslim league) will further emasculate our defense personnel and try to appease terrorists like Mahdanis, Ishrat Jahans in compromising our national security. Muslim League leaders involved in numerous sex harassment cases need not worry of any legal action since their petro-dollars could easily buy our 'secular' journalists and FIRs.

Terrorism has reached the corridors of our scientific establishments but still our leaders are not bothered. Of course, they have time to amend the constitution favoring the greedy donation-oriented minority educational institutions!

There may not be any global organizations or commissions or national human rights activists to voice on behalf of Maniappan's family. Nonetheless, let us not forget the moral support of Maniappan's friends, relatives and the Infosys foundation which donated ten lakhs for the family. Hindu organizations led by Shri Kummanam Rajashekaran are petitioning the President of India for the immediate fulfillment of all government promises to Maniappan's family.

Let us hope the family gets justice soon. With discriminatory and minority appeasing governments at the center and state, Maniappans among us may have to sacrifice their lives to save the eyes of other NRIs.

At least, let us start thinking of the dedicated services of our defense personnel and learn to respect those courageous men and women. The minority appeasing governments may not appreciate the valuable work of Maniappans since they have time only to look after the welfare and funding of the already rich organized minorities! But it's high time our younger generation stands for the truly oppressed and the persecuted among us. Those who 'bark' that they are always persecuted and attacked (a minority tactic for getting international funds for conversion terrorism) are truly enjoying the state loot with media & govt. support, while those who are working hard for our security and safety, suffer silently. Public cannot be indifferent and lethargic to realities anymore.

January 18, 2006

Two-way communications with a weapon after it's released

Flight showcases future Weapon Data Link Network


by Staff Sgt. Ryan Hansen
Air Armament Center Public Affairs

1/17/2006 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- Two-way communications with a weapon after it's released from an aircraft is at the forefront of all new weapons technology, and standards for it has become a priority. Such standards were successfully implemented and demonstrated during a recent series of flight demonstrations here for the Weapon Data Link Network Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration.

The Weapon Data Link Network defines a standard way for aircrew, ground controllers or combined air operations centers to have two-way communications with network-enabled weapons after they're already in flight.

"This Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration came about because Air Combat Command and the Navy were both looking for a capability to exchange information with in-flight weapons," said Ron Taylor, lead engineer for the demonstration. "What we've done in this effort is develop the common messages and transactions that will govern that information exchange."

According to Air Force officials, new technology like this is crucial in today's climate as the military continues to face a diverse and ever-changing threat in the global war on terror. As targets continue to move and change location, the ability to move along with them is vital.

"With the Weapon Data Link Network implementation, you can continue to provide new information to the weapon such as target updates, retargets or abort," said Kevin Sura, flight demonstration integrated product team leader. "Additionally, this allows the weapon to report its status to a controller as well as bomb hit indications by text or video."

The Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration was sponsored by the Joint Forces Command and was led by the Air Force and Navy along with participation by the Army.

"The more eyes you've got looking at it the better, and we had a great deal of innovation because of the diverse group we had," Mr. Taylor said. "They helped keep us on the right vector."

The combined team used a variety of weapons for simulated releases and used the new datalink message standards for each test.

"We looked at using existing messages because that would be a cheaper solution and easier to implement," Mr. Taylor said. "But because we were looking to define this common standard not just for current weapons capabilities, but also for projected weapon capabilities and for future sensors, that drove us to new message implementations."

After more than 140 runs across 12 official demonstration missions, the weapons confirmed their current information, reported their status and provided bomb hit indication information just as testers planned.

"We're pleased with the progress we've made," Mr. Taylor said. "We've done some good work. The standards were implemented and demonstrated by multiple joint service parties, so we don't have a unique solution that only vendor 'A' will be able to use."
(Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)



Flight demonstrations set stage for future Weapon Data Link Network

Blackanthem Military News, EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., January 14, 2006 11:35





The ability to communicate with a weapon after it's released from an aircraft is at the forefront of all new weapons technology. But while this idea is still in its infancy, the need to develop standards for it has become a priority.

Such standards were successfully implemented and demonstrated during a recent series of flight demonstrations here for the Weapon Data Link Network Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration.

The Weapon Data Link Network products define a standard way for aircrew, ground controllers or even combined air operations centers to have two-way communications with network-enabled weapons after they're already in flight.

"This Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration came about because Air Combat Command and the Navy were both looking for a capability to exchange information with in-flight weapons," said Ron Taylor, lead engineer for the WDLN ACTD. "What we've done in this effort is develop the common messages and transactions that will govern that information exchange."

New technology like this is crucial in today's climate as the military continues to face a diverse and ever changing threat in the global war on terror. As targets continue to move and change location by the minute, the ability to move along with them is vital.

"With the Weapon Data Link Network implementation, you can continue to provide new information to the weapon such as target updates, retargets or abort," said Kevin Sura, Integrated Product Team lead for the flight demonstration. "Additionally, this allows the weapon to report its status to a controller as well as bomb hit indications by text or video."

The Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration was sponsored by the Joint Forces Command and was led by the Air Force and Navy along with participation by the Army. It included members of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range, Small Diameter Bomb II and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser - Extended Range from the Air-to-Ground Munitions Systems Wing and personnel from the 46th Test Squadron.

"The more eyes you've got looking at it the better, and we had a great deal of innovation because of the diverse group we had," Mr. Taylor said. "They helped keep us on the right vector."

For flight demonstrations the combined team used a variety of weapons for simulated releases and used the new datalink message standards for each test.

"We looked at using existing messages because that would be a cheaper solution and easier to implement," Mr. Taylor said. "But because we were looking to define this common standard not just for current weapons capabilities, but also for projected weapon capabilities and for future sensors - that drove us to new message implementations."

After more than 140 runs across 12 official demonstration missions, the weapons confirmed their current information, reported their status and provided bomb hit indication information just as the testers had planned.

"We're pleased with the progress we've made," Mr. Taylor said. "We've done some good work. The standards were implemented and demonstrated by multiple joint service parties, so we don't have a unique solution that only vendor 'A' will be able to use."



By Staff Sgt. Ryan Hansen
Air Armament Center Public Affairs

Shiite Muslim custom, temporary marriages ( Mutta ) on raise in Iraq

From the Los Angeles Times
THE WORLD
Vows of Matrimony Spoken in Passing
A Shiite Muslim custom that allows temporary marriages is regaining popularity in Iraq.
By Solomon Moore
Times Staff Writer

January 15, 2006

NAJAF, Iraq — She is a 49-year-old divorced mother of seven children. He is a well-off farmer, with his own wife and children.

Theirs is a secret betrothal, with perfunctory vows exchanged alone in a bedroom for an ephemeral union.

Mutaa, a 1,400-year-old tradition alternately known as pleasure marriage and temporary marriage, is regaining popularity among Iraq's majority Shiite Muslim population after decades of being outlawed by the Sunni regime of Saddam Hussein.

According to Shiite religious law, unmarried women may enter into pleasure marriages with men (married or not) for periods as brief as a few minutes or as long as a lifetime. Dowries, too, range from virtually nothing to millions of Iraqi dinars.

Shiite clerics, including Iraq's highest religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, have sanctioned mutaa despite the social stigma attached to the marriages.

Women's activists in Iraq last year fought an effort by constitution drafters to endorse some form of Sharia, or Islamic law, in matters of marriage and family. The new national charter includes an article that allows Iraqis to choose their marital status according to their beliefs even as it reinforces the primacy of civil authority in family law.

Whatever the religious legalities involved, people who participate in mutaa — especially women — risk their reputations and prospects for permanent marriage.

The divorcee, a resident of this Shiite-dominated southern city who asked that her name not be used for fear of being stigmatized, said she had few options after her husband left her in 1991 without financial support. She found her mutaa spouse shortly after the divorce, she said, and they have been together since.

"He lives with his own family, so he would come to me for visits only. And he takes care of my children's expenses without his family's knowledge," she said. "This mutaa marriage is something between me and him. Only God knows of it."

Shiite and Sunni sects disagree on the lawfulness of mutaa. Shiite clerics generally consider it to be in accordance with Islamic law, whereas many Sunni authorities regard it as a sexual relationship outside religious behavior.

Some Shiite scholars say the prophet Muhammad sanctioned mutaa marriages for his companions during their wars and campaigns to spread Islam in present-day Saudi Arabia. Other historians argue that the practice existed in pre-Islamic societies and was later permitted by Muhammad.

Even though the practice quietly persisted during the Hussein regime, temporary marriages have experienced a resurgence in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, say women's advocates, social workers and mutaa spouses. They see that as a sign of rising Shiite influence in political and religious affairs and of the explosion of cross-border traffic between Iraq and the Shiite theocratic state of Iran, where mutaa is even more popular.

Critics of the practice also blame Iraq's dire economic straits and the lack of opportunities for unmarried women.

Many of the poorest people in Iraq are widows and divorced women with children. On any given day, women in black abayas, often with children in tow, can be seen threading their way through traffic jams, begging for money.

Women's rights activists call mutaa an exploitative arrangement. Aida Nasser Hussein Mosawi, who runs a Najaf-based women's rights center, said many women entered into the marriages not for pleasure but for financial reasons. She said many mutaa brides had no other means of support.

Mosawi criticized the Iraqi government for failing to fund women's aid programs and for ceding too much authority over marriage and family law to Shiite religious authorities under the newly ratified charter.

"The clerics issue fatwas condoning this practice that allows men to treat women like prostitutes. They take her for a short time and then he leaves her — it's all up to him," she said. "If men want to marry women, they should come through the door, not the window, and if women really felt like they were half of our society, they would not sell themselves so cheap."

Sheik Adel Amir Tureihi, a Shiite cleric in Najaf, said mutaa marriages were consensual and preceded by a mutually agreed-upon dowry and duration — although men can end the relationship anytime they like. Witnesses are required, but Iraqis say some couples dispense with that rule.

Tureihi said the practice was designed to provide Muslims with a lawful outlet for natural sexual desires.

"People need sex just like they need food," he said. "Islam is a natural, organic religion."

But Azhar Tureihi, a Najaf-based gynecologist not directly related to the sheik, said pleasure marriages carried serious societal consequences, regardless of how readily religious authorities accepted the practice.

She said she knew of a woman who became pregnant during a temporary marriage and was the victim of an "honor killing" by her brother.

"This kind of killing is called 'shame washing' — the brother went to the police and confessed," the physician said. "The sentence for this type of killing is normally only 10 months."

Near the shrine of Imam Ali in downtown Najaf, a 35-year-old shopkeeper who gave his name only as Hussein said he hoped his temporary wife would agree to be his second permanent wife.

"I saw her at my shop. She was buying things with her mother, and I started talking to them," he said. "I knew that her husband died in the [1991 Persian Gulf War] in Umm al Qasr — she's 30 years old."

Hussein said he received permission from the woman's mother to start a pleasure marriage, and they agreed on a five-year term. Polygamy is permitted in Iraq, but he is uncertain what his first wife will say about him marrying another woman.

"There are a lot of cases like that — sometimes the marriage could start with a few hours, but then it is extended for years," he said. "Or other times it starts with five years and then it can end before. It's the man who has the right to end it."

Nearby, another shopkeeper took a more casual view. He chuckled to himself as he recounted his many temporary brides.

"This is better than committing adultery because it is permitted," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "And sometimes my wife is sick or traveling or outside the house. This kind of marriage can be for one year, one month, one day, one hour — whatever you decide."

He said his wife was unaware of his mutaa brides, and he raked his finger across his neck to indicate what would happen if she found out.

He is 39 and gaining weight, he said, so he is not as successful with the women as he was a year or two ago. But he has other wiles, he said. "I ask them here," he said, waving his hands around his storefront.

The walls are lined with porcelain and glass figurines, clocks made out of china, cloth flowers and other home decor. "The roses, the vases — it's all a trap. I'll give them a bouquet or an antique, some small gift like that. If the women ask for too much money, I will refuse.

"Maybe she is a widower or a divorcee who comes to me because of her admiration or her own sexual need."

At least once, however, the shopkeeper temporarily married a virgin — a 15-year-old girl, he said.

Najaf social worker and marriage counselor Sadiq Rasood called temporary marriage a legitimate institution that was sometimes abused.

"Some people use the needs of women to persuade them to go into temporary marriage," he said. "But if it is practiced according to its pure religious laws, it will be useful to society."

Rasood said mutaa marriages were good for men who wanted to marry but didn't have enough money to support a family or provide a full dowry. He also favors temporary marriages for women who have "lost the support of men."

But he acknowledged that there were disadvantages for women who hoped to later wed permanently, and he suggested that the government allow only widows and divorcees to engage in pleasure marriages.

Rasood acknowledged that the double standard applied to women who participate in temporary marriages.

"A man might think of this kind of marriage as a good thing for himself," he said.

"But if some mutaa suitor came and asked for his sister or daughter, this same man would not accept this."

Panama Canal Authority Announces Fiscal Year 2006 First Quarter Metrics


16 percent Drop in Transit Time; Decrease in Number of Accidents;
Increase in Usage of Reservation System, Transits by
Vessels 900' or More in Length Overall


PANAMA CITY, Panama, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Panama Canal Authority
(ACP) announced today first quarter (Q1) operational metrics for fiscal year
2006. Transit time for booked and non-booked vessels dropped. Additionally,
net tonnage and usage of the reservation system increased and official
accidents decreased. Transits of vessels 900 feet or more in length overall
rose, while total Canal transits remained relatively flat. These metrics are
based on operations from October through December of 2005, the first quarter
of the ACP's 2006 fiscal year.
Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the
Canal including waiting time for passage, decreased 16.1 percent -- to 20.57
hours from 24.51 hours. Compared to first quarter metrics for fiscal year
2004, CWT has decreased by nearly a third. Moreover, CWT for booked vessels
(those ships holding reservations) decreased as well by nearly seven percent -
- to 15.51 hours from 16.66 hours.
Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 1.3
percent -- to 71.5 million PC/UMS tons from 70.2 million PC/UMS tons.
Utilization of the booking system increased 3.1 percent -- to 88.8 percent
of available slots being booked from 85.7 percent. Booked vessels (those ships
holding reservations) account for 56.7 percent of oceangoing transits. An
increasing trend at the Canal, utilization of the booking system rose nearly
five percent this past fiscal year (FY 05). The ACP has made efforts to meet
growing demand by adding two booking slots, available to "supers" (vessels 91
feet or more in beam). The additional slots became available for use on
January 1, 2006.
"These numbers are a great start to 2006. The reduction in transit time
exemplifies the ACP's commitment to fast and efficient service, without
compromising quality," said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta.
"Moreover, we're also investing in projects that augment throughput, which
allows us to offer additional booking slots to our customers, thus enhancing
the Canal's reliability."
The official accident rate decreased to 0.33 accidents per 1,100 transits
from 0.65 accidents per 1,100 transits in FY 05. An official accident is one
in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.
This quarter, overall Canal transits decreased 1.9 percent -- to 3,299
transits from 3,363, though PC/UMS tonnage increased on account of larger
vessels choosing the Panama Canal. Transits by vessels 900 feet or more in
length overall, however, increased 11.4 percent -- to 643 from 577.

About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of
Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The
operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the
regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please
refer to the Panama Canal Authority's Web site: http://www.pancanal.com.
This material is distributed by DJE, Inc. on behalf of the Panama Canal
Authority. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice,
Washington, D.C.



SOURCE Panama Canal Authority
Web Site: http://www.pancanal.com

Smith & Wesson Enters Long-Gun Market with M&P15 Rifles

Company Expands Military & Police Series With Rifles Designed for Law
Enforcement, Military, and Sporting Shooters

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 18 -- Smith & Wesson
Holding Corporation (Amex: SWB), parent company of Smith & Wesson Corp., the
legendary, 154-year old, global provider of products and services for safety,
security, protection and sport, announced its initial entry into the market
for tactical rifles and will begin shipments in early February of the Smith &
Wesson M&P15 Rifle and the Smith & Wesson M&P15T Rifle. These tactical rifles
are additions to the Company's Military & Police (M&P) series of firearms
specifically engineered to meet the needs of global military and police
personnel, as well as sporting shooters.
Michael F. Golden, Smith & Wesson's President and CEO, said, "We are
entering the $1 billion market for long guns with products that provide the
exceptional functionality and reliability that Smith & Wesson customers have
come to expect. We believe the features of these tactical rifles make them
strong contenders in the military and law enforcement markets. We also
believe that our M&P rifle series fills a tremendous gap in the marketplace by
delivering high-quality, feature-rich tactical rifles that will be readily
available in commercial channels. As a company that stands for safety,
security, protection and sport, the Smith & Wesson brand and reputation have
earned a position for us in that market. The M&P15 rifle series is produced
entirely in the United States under manufacturing alliances with several
American companies."
The M&P rifle series is based upon a combat-proven design and incorporates
a full set of standard features currently unmatched in other AR-15-type
tactical rifles. Both the M&P15 and the M&P15T (with its high-end accessory
package) are rugged, lightweight, semi-automatic rifles. Both are chambered
in 5.56mm NATO ammunition and are built to perform under a diverse range of
conditions. Reliability features of the gas-operated rifles include a
chrome-lined gas key, bolt carrier and barrel. Both the M&P15 and the M&P15T
are designed to accommodate a variety of shooters and shooting positions
through the use of a six-position adjustable stock.
The M&P15 incorporates a traditional AR-15 design featuring a removable
carry-handle and adjustable rear and front post sights, allowing for quick
target acquisition and convenient handling. The black anodized rifle measures
35 inches in length when fully extended and has an unloaded weight of 6.74
pounds.
The M&P15T, with its high-end accessory package, features folding front
and rear battle sights and a four-sided equipment rail system that allows the
addition of accessories, such as lights, laser-aiming devices, and vertical
grips. The rifle measures 35 inches in length when fully extended and has an
unloaded weight of 6.85 pounds.
The M&P15 and M&P15T join a comprehensive family of Smith & Wesson
products designed and manufactured to meet the needs of law enforcement
professionals. Other products include a full-line of Smith & Wesson's
world-renowned revolvers used for primary duty and backup side arms, the
recently announced M&P series of polymer pistols designed specifically for law
enforcement and military use, and a wide range of handcuffs, restraint
products and tactical vision devices.
Both the M&P15 and the M&P15T will be unveiled at SHOT Show 2006, February
9-12 at the Las Vegas, Nevada Convention Center. The Company expects that
editorial coverage in multiple industry publications will occur beginning with
that event. Initial shipments of both rifles are expected to begin concurrent
with SHOT Show and will be distributed initially to law enforcement agencies
for test and evaluation and to the sporting goods distribution channel. The
M&P15 will carry a suggested retail price of $1,200, while the M&P15T will
retail for $1,700.

Winners of the 2006 Network Centric Warfare (NCW) Awards

ISELIN, N.J., Jan. 18 -- The Institute for Defense and
Government Advancement announced the winners of the 2006 Network Centric
Warfare (NCW) Awards. Honors were handed out at the NCW Awards Dinner and
Ceremony on January 17, which took place during the Network Centric Warfare
Conference in Washington D.C., an annual event that also featured General
Richard Myers (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and John Ashcroft
(former Attorney General) as keynote speakers.
According to IDGA Executive Director Megan Knapp, IDGA's Network Centric
Warfare (NCW) Awards were established to "honor, recognize and promote
initiatives in the US Department of Defense, Coalition Governments, and
Defense Industry that exemplify the principles of network-centric warfare and
support information age transformation". A panel of respected defense sector
leaders to evaluate the nominees and determine the winners.
This year's program also featured the introduction of the 1st annual
Arthur K. Cebrowski Award, which was named for Arthur K. Cebrowski, retired
Vice Admiral from the US Navy who recently passed away. The Arthur K.
Cebrowski Award was established to honor individual excellence in the
development of network centric warfare. Vice Admiral Cebrowski was a pioneer
in the field and widely considered the father of this groundbreaking concept.

The 2006 NCW Award winners were as follows:

Best Contributions to the Development of NCW Theory

First Place:
Product Manager
Joint Network Node

Second Place:
Test & Validation Laboratory
Net-Centric Programs Office
SPAWAR Systems Center Charleston

Third Place:
Simon Reay Atkinson & James Moffatt
The Agile Organization

Most Innovative US Government Program

First Place:
FusionNet
CC Intelligence Solutions Inc

Second Place:
Command & Control on the Move
Joint Systems Integration Command (ASP)

Third Place:
F-35 Network Centric Interoperability
Joint Strike Fighter Program Office

Outstanding Achievement from the Defense Industry

First Place:
Integrated Strategic Planning & Analysis Network (ISPAN)
Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems & Solutions

Second Place:
Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT)
Rockwell Collins, Inc - Government Systems

Third Place:
Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System
Raytheon

Best NCW Program from a Coalition Partner

First Place:
German Air Force NCW SW
COMMON ARRANGEMENT 04

First Annual Arthur K. Cebrowski Award Recipients

John Garstka
Assistant Director for Concepts & Operations, Office of Force
Transformation

Fred Stein
Senior Principal Engineer, MITRE Corporation

For more information on IDGA and the annual NCW Awards and Conference,
visit http://www.idga.org or http://www.ncwawards.com.

The Institute for Defense & Government Advancement (IDGA)'s mission is to
create various forums that promote education, networking and collaboration and
the exchange of ideas for the benefit of national security and US interests
abroad. For more information about IDGA visit http://www.idga.org.