June 23, 2007

Uyghur popular pop : Three cuties

I'm not sure what these three call themselves, but they're one of Xinjiang's most popular acts. That is, they're popular with Uyghurs in Xinjiang despite the fact they are actually Uyghurs from Uzbekistan. This music video is a fine example of Uyghur pop --michaeldmanning

ENJOY : Poking fun at Persian girls

These girls ate poking fun at Persian girls who live in Iran; rather than the ones who live in America, says at their website .. enjoy this weekend

INDIAN SECULARISM : Church pays 5% but wants 100% say

http://www.dailypio neer.com/ indexn12. asp?main_ variable= front%5Fpage&file_name=story4% 2Etxt&counter_img= 4

Durgesh Nandan Jha | New Delhi

It contributes just five per cent to the annual budget of St Stephen's College, but the Church of North India (CNI) wants to impose its own set of rules on the institution.

The college's acting principal Rev Valson Thampu justified the violation of the law of the land and the Supreme Court directive on the grounds that as a minority institution, the college had all the rights to work for the uplift of its own community.

Thampu said that the 95 per cent contribution by the University Grants Commission (UGC) was nothing considering the fact that the land, infrastructure and maintenance charges were being met from the contribution by the Christian community.

Like all other trust colleges of Delhi University, St Stephen's College too gets grants amounting to 95 per cent of its annual budget from the UGC.

For instance, like the Shri Ram Foundation or the Ramjas Trust, the CNI contributes just five per cent of the annual budget. "This five per cent contribution too is collected through fees from students enrolled in these colleges," said a university official. "These trusts control the institutions by paying not a single penny," added the official.

"This college is run by the Christian community. The UGC's annual grant of Rs 4 crore to 4.5 crore does not fulfill our demands. Though I cannot remember the exact amount spent by the college each year and the funding by the Christian community, I can firmly say that the maximum inputs for the running of this college comes from the Christian community and not from the UGC," said Thampu.

When confronted with the fact that the UGC was meeting 95 per cent of the annual budgetary demand, Thampu said that the Christian community had bought the 33-acre plot on which the college was established. "The CNI bought this 33-acre land in 1937 without any concession applicable these days on purchasing land for educational institutions," he added.

The move by the CNI to provide reservation to constitutionally unrecognised Dalit Christians in the admissions to St Stephen's College has stirred a hornets' nest. Thampu, as the acting principal of the college, has been executing policies, which are in contravention of the Supreme Court directive, capping quota at 50 per cent. The new admission policy has taken the quota beyond the 50 per cent mark.

"Charity begins at home. First we have to work for our own community by whose money we are running this college," added Thampu completely ignoring the fact that the UGC grant was actually the taxpayers' money that has no religion. The teachers and senior officials of the university hold the view that the college was misusing its minority status to implement the agenda of the CNI.

"There are more than 10 colleges in the university that are run by different trusts like the Shri Ram Foundation and the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee. Also, there are Government-run institutions that are totally funded by the Delhi Government. Still, none of them have tried to bring their own rules," said a university official.

Turkey and Germany can be bridge between East and West

Turkey and Germany play an important role in establishing bridges between East and West

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Turkish Daily

Süleyman DEMİREL
9th President of Turkey

We are living at times of unprecedented change. The advances in science and technology are enormous. Our economies and social lives are becoming more knowledge-based. Good governance is a priority subject for all countries. The global international system shapes the domestic politics and foreign relations of every country on an increasing scale. Those who lag behind in globalization inadvertently create a certain pressure on global stability.

Poverty and the lack of education and equal opportunity obviously trigger illegal migration, human/arms/drug trafficking, organized crime and radical movements with religious and ethnic undertones.

This is also a world where there is real concern about the possibility of a 'clash of civilizations.' Radicalism is on the rise all over the world and the risk of polarization increases steadily. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is no less a cause of great concern.

From the Turkish perspective, as far as international and regional cooperation is concerned relations with Germany occupy a special place. Turkey and Germany have historically deep-rooted and close relations, which bear on political, economical, security and of course human dimensions. It is known that these relations, which are based on common values, started 800 years ago with the agreement signed by Seljuk Sultan Kılıçarslan II and the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa I.

Keeping in mind that two world wars and hundreds of other bloody conflicts took place in the European continent, it can be asserted that the peaceful relations between Turkish and German states which lasted for hundreds of years are exceptional in European history.

I would like to state that today, as in the past, Turkey and Germany play an important role in establishing bridges between East and West. A German investment consortium led by the Deutsche Bank started the construction of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway in 1894, which has similar significance with the historical Silk Road. Besides transporting commodities, agricultural and manufactured goods to and from Anatolia, the railway brought people of different cultures together and East and West closer.

In its time the railway contributed to the development of our country and German investments increased. Today Turkey, with its economy ranking as the 6th largest in Europe and 17th largest in the world, is fast becoming a success story in the economic field.

Transforming Turkey

Turkey is undergoing an impressive economic transformation. The GDP for 2006 amounted to approximately 300 billion euros. The total amount of FDI for 2006 was 16 billion euros. In this context, today investments in Turkey by more than 2,600 German companies or companies with German partners amount to more than 5.5 billion euros. At the end of 2006 our bilateral trade volume exceeded 19 billion euros. Today, with regard to Turkey's bilateral economic and trade relations, Germany is the most important trade partner in terms of volume, intensity and diversity.

In the context of our close relations, we can not pass by without touching upon the human factor. Almost three million Turkish citizens in Germany constitute an important dimension of the relations between these countries. They also play a significant role in strengthening intercultural dialogue. After they phased out of their 'gastarbeiter' status today Turkish 'entrepreneurs' own nearly 60,000 enterprises and have provided almost 300,000 jobs, which is another perspective to the subject.

The number of Turks who are influential not only in business but also in political and social fields is increasing day to day. Turks residing in Germany have adopted the idea of participation.

Similarly more than 70,000 German 'envoys', who decided to settle down in Turkey have brought both countries closer and have shown the world that different cultures are able to live together in friendship and harmony. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that yearly 4 million German tourists who visit Turkey contribute to the mutual understanding between the two peoples.

A common destiny

When we look at the recent past, since more than 50 years Turkey and Germany have shared the same destiny based on common values such as democracy and the rule of law. They created strong relations and dialogue mechanisms by cooperating in all essential international organizations, mainly the United Nations, NATO, Council of Europe and the European Union

Although the international environment which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union had already shown the importance of the cooperation between Turkey and Germany, developments in the aftermath of 9/11 have once again demonstrated that our cooperation is not only contributing to universal peace, but it is also a requirement for our countries interest.

Turkey and Germany share the same views and ideas regarding the protection of universal peace and stability. This policy implies that we should avoid any step which may justify the thesis of 'Clash of Civilizations' and every effort should be spent to bring about international peace and stability. To this end, as the only NATO member country with a significant Muslim population and a negotiating country for accession to the EU, Turkey plays a special role. Germany on the other hand is the precursor of the 'European Unification', which also enabled its own reunification. The support Germany lends to Turkey to join the EU, shows clearly that Germany is fully aware of Turkey's special role and is also evidence of Germany's 'Vision of a Great Europe.'

EU must maintain progressive thinking

Today's global conditions make it necessary for the European Union to continue on its course of progressive thinking about its future. The Union is capable of becoming a global actor and should not turn inwards. We should not forget that due to the 're-awakening' and the competitive environment brought about by globalization, new effective actors such as China, India and the Far East, in general, have emerged powerfully. The Silk Road is no longer a historical idea, but a reality that is bridging continents.

In order to have a powerful voice the EU needs to adopt a vision which differs from the traditional ways of thinking formed in the past. The Union should be one that tries to meet the challenges of globalization and the technological and cultural realities of the new century, while taking advantages of it.

Turkey's integration with the EU is a project that transcends the borders of the continent in its full political, economic, cultural and overall strategic implications. Enlargement including Turkey is a commitment made by all member states. Commitments are made to be honored. Europe has always been a place where diverse ideas and cultures have merged. In this respect, Turkey has much to offer to the EU. Turkey's multifaceted geography and its related external relations will provide a forum of enhanced security and foreign policy options. As I mentioned before, we have a deep cultural and historical background and special relations with the countries of a vast area from the Balkans across the Middle East over to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Turkey, an energy hub

Also with a growing East-West corridor for oil and gas and with the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, as well as a North-South corridor designed by the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Turkey already has a central place on the route through which these resources will be transferred to the western markets, making her a reliable partner for the energy security of Europe.

It is true that Turkey's EU membership may have a set of different political, economic and social implications. The potential of Turkey's vibrant economy, its entrepreneurial strength and the continued levels of growth are more promising than such fears fueled by domestic politics.

Membership to the EU is a rational choice of the Turkish people. And, nothing less can be an option for Turkey. Turkey's membership is driven as much by her own vision and definition of modernization as by the shared values and her common vision with Europe. This new vision will demonstrate that diversity and differences may well be accommodated on the basis of common values and interests.

Without Turkey, the EU will be a political midget

A Union that will close its doors to Turkey will not only be bound to remain as a political midget but will also deepen the fault lines that bear potential of grave instability and uncertainty. Therefore, Turkey-EU relations are a sum of mutual interests which I think cannot be separated. Neither side can forego the interests of the other without losing some of its own. Europe needs a wider vision in redefining itself and its role in the 21st century. It is therefıre of great importance that European decision makers see Turkey's EU membership as the ultimate objective. Turkey's EU membership will be beneficial for both Europe and Turkey.

At a time when we are witnessing efforts to divide the world along cultural and religious lines and when extremism is taking a destructing nature and when intolerance starts hurting more than ever, I hope you agree with me that Turkey's moderating role and identity can be an important value. Both Turkey and the EU have, thus, a chance to realize this historic mission in the age of globalization. I have no doubt that far sighted politicians in member states will positively contribute to the accomplishment of this mission. Political leadership means to stand up and fight for the European vision. Leadership is not based on opinion polls. It is based on clear views and strong convictions.

It should not be forgotten that, Turkey which will be a member of the EU upon the completion of the accession negotiations, would be very different than today's Turkey. This Turkey will be different both in terms of its socio-economic standards as well as its legislative structure. Actually, that is the essence of the accession negotiations. That is the fact lying behind the general acceptance that the accession negotiations will be a lengthy process.

Turkey has gone through a remarkable process of change in the past. We have greatly expanded the individual rights and freedoms enjoyed by our citizens. Our reforms in the economic field have brought stability and prosperity and have made Turkey one of the leading centers of attraction for foreign investment flows.

Immense prospects

The immense prospects that Turkey's membership in the EU offers do not end here. As for demographic trends, the Turkish population is expected to stabilize around 85 million by 2025. Given the ever-increasing foreign investments and the ongoing economic boom, domestic demand for labor is likely to soar, diminishing or even reversing the urge for migrating to Europe in search of jobs.

Turkey also holds the answer to the EU's problem of aging population. By 2020, Europe's active work force will be less than half of the population whereas Turkey's will be two-thirds.

On the other hand, the process of Turkey's membership to the EU has a profound meaning in terms of global and regional peace. Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries in the world that has succeeded in combining secularism and pluralism within a democratic experience of 84 years. Turkey, as a negotiating country for full membership to the EU, proves that Islam can co-exist with modern universal values.

The progress of Turkey towards EU accession sends a strong message to those thinking that there exists a deep, insurmountable fault-line between faiths and cultures; that there are actually two worlds which cannot be reconciled. Turkey's membership process underlines the importance of harmony, tolerance and peaceful co-existence among different cultures.

At a juncture in world politics when cross-cultural skills are increasingly becoming a necessity for states in their foreign relations, Turkey has evidently much to offer.

In the future Turkey will be well poised to contribute to the security, stability and prosperity of the world and will be among the major players of the globe with its strong economic indicators and truly multi-dimensional foreign policy. This reality has to be understood by Germany as well as by our other European partners. * This article by Turkey's 9th President Süleyman Demirel is composed of a speech he delivered at the Turkish-German Economic Congress organized by the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Istanbul on June 22.

TURKEY : What should be done or avoided to enter Iraq

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mehmet Ali Birand

The International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO) had first prepared a report on Iraq last year. It has updated the report and it recently distributed the updated version.

I have never encountered a more thorough and detailed report on Iraq before. The NGOs are full of unknowledgeable people that voice the opinions of an ideology.

The ISRO, lead by Professor Sedat Laçiner has done exactly the opposite.

It is a report prepared with two-and-a-half-years of work. They have interviewed more than 100 experts on security, law, international relations, and scholastic topics. It is quite an accomplishment to have this on a subject for which such little information exists.

I learned a lot from the report. And because of this, I summarized it for my curious readers. If you would like to read the whole report, and I think you should, you can visit www.usak.org.tr. You can also get more information on the organization and read its previous reports. Or you can call the Ankara number: 0 312 212 2886.

As I have written the summary you are about to read, I take all responsibility for any mistakes or misunderstandings.

The observations

- The PKK terrorizes Turkey. Though the events are not as grave as they were during the 1990s, there is considerable tension in the public. The PKK uses northern Iraq as a base and shelter to train, rest, and arm its teams.

- The public increasingly believes that a military intervention into northern Iraq will end the PKK terror and the public pressures on for an intervention.

- There are confused discussions. The aim of a trans-border operation are not defined and an impression exists that the operation may overflow from the PKK camps.

- There is lack of confidence, communication, and coordination as well as differences in opinion among the organizations that will carry out the duty, should a trans-border operation be necessary.

- Public dispute between leaders causes the public to become hopeless as well as revive the PKK teams.

- However successful it may be, a trans-border operation would not solve the PKK terror or the Kurdish issue. Because the cause of the problem is not northern Iraq.

- Neither the domestic not the international public is ready for a trans-border operation. On the other hand, the expectation of the public has been increasing. Furthermore, the front becomes wider instead of narrowing down.

- As Turkey has not received support from the international arena, even from its allies, its militaristic image grows stronger, benefiting the Armenians and the Greeks.

- Economic embargoes, such as closing the Habur border gate and cutting off electricity, can be applied only once and its effectiveness is limited.

- As long as the conditions above are kept as they are, getting involved in a trans-border operation carries risks, if it is not possible.

What are the risks?

- A trans-border operation may also fuel the PKK terror, merging northern Iraq and Southeastern Turkey into one region, and cause Kurdish-nationalism to become even more popular. It may create an impression that Turkey is acting against all Kurds and the Barzani-lead Kurdish-nationalism may become widespread. It may cause the Kurds, who have been observing from a distance, to become closer with the PKK.

- The operation may be seen as being against all of Iraq and may cause not only the Kurds, but also the Sunnis and Shiites to react against Turkey.

- An attempt against Iraq may be seen as occupation of an Arab country by the Arab world and cause reaction among them.

- Turkey's intervention may be regarded with doubt by Iran, enticing them to be involved in the operation, which may cause a war in the whole of the region.

- If an operation is conducted without first agreeing with the U.S., it may lead to a misunderstanding that Turkey is swallowing Iraq. This may increase the support for the PKK in the international arena, and cause Turkey to come up against the U.S. This is the scariest scenario.

- An operation without predetermined targets and support from our allies would deal a major blow to the Turkish economy and detach it from the European Union and the Western world in general. Turkey may become Middle Eastern and this is one of the biggest risks involved.

- It should be kept in mind that death toll might be high, both amongst the civilians and the Turkish military.

What should be done?

- The short, middle, and long-term goals of the operation should be well planned. Diplomacy should be employed to agree with our allies and countries in the region.

- Acting with Iran in an operation to the Kandil Mountain will increase the PKK's damage and send important messages to the Barzani-Talabani duo.

- Turkey should become a country that helps northern Iraq become richer. Turkey's long-term goal should be to form a structure that it is friendly with.

- Maximum attention should be applied to ensure the operation is not taken to other channels and cause intervention from international organizations.

Ottoman Women - betwixt and between reforms

Saturday, June 23, 2007


[HH] The year 1839 marked a significant turning point for the Ottoman Empire and those who were eager to implement reforms and it was called the Tanzimat (Reform) Period [HH] … following the War of Independence in 1922. The country was for all intents and purposes bankrupt …The economy had gradually to be built up again so men and women who were educated and capable were encouraged to work and take up responsible positions

ISTANBUL- Turkish Daily News

Communities do not change quickly. Just a century ago people did not have televisions and Internet. Communications were very slow that exposure to new cultures and ideas had a hard time taking root. While the majority of women in the Ottoman Empire continued to get on with their lives, changes were in the air for upper class women and women with enlightened males in their families.

According to some sources, prior to 1839, it was possible for women to go to school until they were nine or 10. These schools only taught the Qur'an and religious information. Some elderly women might have become teachers in their local neighborhoods using their own homes or possibly a mosque as a school. Those who were opposed to women fulfilling this role were usually against them without asking any questions. Upper class women could and would have been privately tutored.

Tanzimat – a turning point for Ottoman women

The year 1839 marked a significant turning point for the Ottoman Empire for those who were eager to implement reforms. It was called the Tanzimat (Reform) Period. Two reform-minded sultans, Mahmud ll and Abdulmecid, began to institute a series of measures aimed at reversing what was perceived as the decline in the Empire.

They were supported by four of the leading intellectuals of the time: Ali Pasha, Fuad Pasha, Ahmet Cevdet Pasha and Midhat Pasha. All these men had been educated in Europe and brought back ideas and proposals based on European situations. It was the association with such origins that made the new ideas and proposals so troublesome to many Ottomans.

The Ottoman Empire reached its apogee in the 16th century and for the next two hundred years or so, it was able to maintain its dominant position around the Mediterranean. Even though the Ottomans were occasionally losing battles and land, it was able to continue staffing off its enemies until the beginning of the 19th century. Something had to be done.

The first step was taken in 1839 with the Proclamation of Gülhane, the place where the decree was promulgated. Sultan Abdulmecid announced on November 3 of that year a series of reforms aimed at guaranteeing the rights of all members of the Ottoman Empire such as restructuring the tax system.

Women were not specifically mentioned in these “reforms,” although they affected their lives. Efforts were made to reform the army through universal conscription to new uniforms while changes were made in education, law and institutions.

A second imperial edict was issued in 1856 and this reaffirmed the one of 1839, including true equality among all the groups in Turkey and again trying to weed out tax-collecting frauds.

The establishment of secular education alongside the previous religious schooling system offered women more opportunities than before. They could now study to be teachers or nurses. However, it was the introduction of universal conscription and the loss of men's lives in the continuing wars of the 19th and early 20th century that opened doors for women to become civil servants, lawyers and doctors and even enter the business world. In all of this, women's advancement was owed to the encouragement and understanding of the wheelers and dealers among the influential men of the time.

This progressive freeing of Turkish women from their previous roles continued on in the Young Turk period, including releasing them from the necessity of having to wear garments that would cover their entire body and most of their face when they left home, as long as they dressed conservatively of course.

By the beginning of the 20th century, women and girls formed a sizeable number of workers in various types of factories such as cigarettes, matches and in factories manufacturing uniforms for the armed forces.

In terms of writers, only one actually stands out during the 19th century and that is the poetess Nigar Hanım. We know of two earlier Ottoman poetesses and some of their work has been preserved. There must have been many more, although it is likely their work was not distributed publicly. Unfortunately, there was the custom of getting rid of personal belongings after a person died and that included letters and writing. The autobiography was not yet considered a literary form worth pursuing.

Ironically in a quite substantial article written by a Turkish professor and published in 2002, we can find photos of two women writers and mentions of three in a list of other writers, which included males.

Public appearances

The first opportunity that Turkish women had to speak publicly, outside the schoolroom, was with the Turkish Hearth movement. These were “clubs,” founded in 1912 that aimed at promoting education and raising the economic level of Turks. Later women were involved in organizing public protest meetings against the occupation of Istanbul by Allied troops at the end of World War One. Prominent women including Halide Edip Adıvar, Nakiye Elgün and Münevver Saime spoke at these meetings to wake up people's feelings of patriotism.

What we see at the beginning of this period, which starts from the declaration of the Tanzimat Decree (1839), is that women's status did not at first change significantly, but it had noticeably by the time the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923.

If allowing women to perform on stage in plays is anything to go by, then women belonging to minorities were the first to be accepted. The first woman known to have been on a public stage in Turkey was a member of one of the minorities.

Halide Edip Adıvar (1884-1964) is one of the best examples of what a modern woman could achieve from translating to serving with the army; from writing books and going into exile; and from being head of the English philology department at Istanbul University to becoming a member of Parliament.

In the aftermath of the War of Independence

The Turkish Civil Code, adopted in 1926, did much to improve women's social status by abolishing polygamy and recognizing the right to divorce on both sides and equal rights of inheritance.

In 1930, women were allowed to vote in municipal elections and hold office on that level. They were given the right to vote in parliamentary elections and be elected to Parliament only in 1934. Seventeen women were elected the following year. Some speculate as to Atatürk's thinking in this two-phase suffrage. It is more than likely he felt he could not attempt to get legislation through Parliament on both counts at the same time and would have an easier time in passing legislation for the higher body once the country had swallowed women in politics at the local level.

What seems to be the case is that Atatürk saw women as forming one half of a democracy and only their full equality would do. He was known for his “adopting” young girls and seeing to their education and future. One of these was the first Turkish woman to fly an airplane – Sabiha Gökçen.

However, where the veil was concerned, legislation might be and in fact was passed against men wearing a fez as headgear but no laws were ever promulgated forbidding the veil.

Turkish women were now free in a legislative sense, freer than most of their western counterparts, but they were still restricted by society's expectations of them and its rules. Families were much more likely to encourage daughters to get a good education and become professionals if they had no sons.

Another factor that worked in favor of women's education and joining the workforce was the economic situation following the War of Independence in 1922. The country was for all intents and purposes bankrupt with virtually no capital available to do anything. The economy had to be built up again, so both men and women who were educated and capable were encouraged to work and take up responsible positions. That would later change with a growing population and a shrinking job market – as one might expect, the women was the first to go.

Sadhvi Ritambharaji at Hollywood, FL today evening

Another J. Edgar Hoover?

The Red scare spawned the tyrannical FBI chief; will a similar homegrown villain emerge from the war on terror?

By Kenneth D. Ackerman, KENNETH D. ACKERMAN is author of "Young J. Edgar: Hoover, the Red Scare, and the Assault on Civil Liberties."
June 14, 2007

WHAT created J. Edgar Hoover? He reigned with an iron fist as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 48 years, until the day he died in 1972. By then, Hoover had evolved into an untouchable autocrat, a man who kept secret files on millions of Americans over the years and used them to blackmail presidents, senators and movie stars. He ordered burglaries, secret wiretaps or sabotage against anyone he personally considered subversive. His target list included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, even Eleanor Roosevelt.

Yet when Hoover showed up for his first day of work at the Department of Justice in June 1917, he was a bright 22-year-old, just out of law school. He still had boyish good looks and was cocky and driven. The country had just entered World War I, and Hoover had avoided the wartime draft. Instead, he was ready to help win the war at home, to save the country from spies and subversives.

What changed this young eager beaver into the crass, cynical tyrant of later years?

The fact is, Hoover learned his attitudes and worldview from teachers at the Justice Department during his early years there, when the country was going through a period much like today's war on terror.

In March 1919, Hoover landed a dream assignment on the staff of new Atty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer just in time to participate in the first Red scare, in 1919-1920, and its signature outrage, the notorious Red Raids, also known as the Palmer Raids. For Hoover, it would shape his outlook for life.

On the night of June 2, 1919, bombs exploded in nine cities across the United States, leaving two people dead, including one of the bombers. One of these bombs destroyed Palmer's Washington home, almost killing him, his wife and his teenage daughter.

These bombs capped months of escalating upheaval during which the country convinced itself that we sat on the verge of a Russian-style socialist revolution. The first Red scare came on the heels of multiple traumas: World War I, the Russian Revolution and subsequent Bolshevik uprisings in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Argentina. In the United States, the economy had collapsed, prompting waves of strikes, riots and political violence.

Americans vowed vengeance after the June 2 bombings, and the targeted Palmer pledged to crush the reign of terror. He ordered a massive preemptive strike, a nationwide roundup of radicals. To manage the operation, Palmer chose his talented new staff counsel, young J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover seized the opportunity. With Palmer's blessing, he laid plans for a series of brutal raids across the country. Backed by local police and volunteer vigilantes, federal agents hit in dozens of cities and arrested more than 10,000 suspected communists and fellow travelers. They burst into homes, classrooms and meeting halls, seizing everyone in sight, breaking doors and heads with abandon. The agents ignored legal niceties such as search warrants or arrest warrants. They questioned suspects in secret, imposed prohibitive bail and kept them locked up for months in foul, overcrowded, makeshift prisons.

It turned out that virtually none of these prisoners had anything to do with violent radicalism. Nearly all were released without being charged with a crime. Palmer's grand crackdown was one big exercise in guilt by association, based primarily on bogus fears of immigrants being connected to vilified radical groups such as the recently formed American Communist Party.

Still, Hoover relished his moment on the national stage. He appeared twice at Palmer's side during congressional hearings, and he faced off against future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter in a Boston courtroom in raid-related cases. Behind the scenes, Hoover demanded more arrests, higher bail and fewer rights for prisoners.

Ultimately, the public recoiled in disgust at the excesses and illegality of the raids, and Palmer saw his political career destroyed. But his young assistant fared much better.

Hoover never lost his anticommunist religion, nor his disdain for and distrust of "liberals" who defended "subversives" on grounds of free speech and civil liberties. He also never lost his sense of entitlement to bend the rules, either to protect the country or to protect himself.

Almost 90 years later, today's war on terror exists in an echo chamber of the 1919 Red scare. The federal government demands more powers at the expense of individual rights: secret CIA prisons, enhanced interrogation techniques, suspension of habeas corpus. Even the president openly claims powers that are beyond the reach of laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The same kinds of teachers who transformed the straight-laced, young Hoover in 1919 seem to be on the loose again in Washington. And that raises a troubling question: Are we today creating a whole new generation of young J. Edgar Hoovers, dedicated government agents learning the wrong lessons from the war on terror, who will stick around to haunt us for decades to come?

How Indian Intelligence officers fund their daughters education ?

"Equally shocking is the case of an officer who funded his daughter’s education from the secret funds given to RAW(Research and Analysis Wing). He had listed his daughter as an informant and paid her for ‘services’ rendered."

Major General V.K. Singh, who served in RAW in its technical wing between 2000 and 2004, forthcoming book India’s External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing

Indian Intelligence: Another sneak peek at RAW

Source: www.outlookindia.com

On the night of June 3, 1999, a Pakistan International Airlines winged its way across to Islamabad from Delhi bearing vital evidence that would create a flutter during the Kargil war. Vivek Katju, an old MEA hand, along with the influential R.K. Mishra of the Reliance-funded Observer Research Foundation, were carrying a secret package for prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the Indian government. Their mission was approved at a meeting of the cabinet committee on security chaired by then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and attended by his senior cabinet colleagues—home minister L.K. Advani, defence minister George Fernandes and national security advisor, Brajesh Mishra.

In the package Katju and Mishra carried was the biggest intelligence coup that India’s external intelligence agency, RAW, had ever managed to gather courtesy its technical wing—a telephone conversation between then Pakistan army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, and his chief of staff Lieutenant General Mohammed Aziz. The conversation proved beyond doubt that the Pakistani army too was actively involved in the Kargil incursions. Till then, it was being described by Islamabad as an operation being conducted independently by militants.

But was the decision to dispatch the tapes to Nawaz Sharif a wise move? Now, for the first time an insider from RAW says that it was not. Major General V.K. Singh, who served in RAW in its technical wing between 2000 and 2004, told Outlook: "You never ever reveal your source in the intelligence game. Once that was done when the tapes were handed over, the source dried up and we did not get any intelligence from this sector for the next two years. So were the brownie points that we earned from sharing the tapes with the world really worth it? In my opinion, this was a violation of the basic principles of intelligence gathering."

After the tapes were publicised, the Pakistanis came to know the technology being employed by Indians to tap into their internal communication and helped them get a fair idea of India’s secret listening posts and their capabilities. Says Singh: "The leakage was quickly plugged by the Pakistanis, leading to a virtual drought of quality intelligence for RAW."

This clever-by-half move by the NDA and other revelations are contained in Singh’s forthcoming book India’s External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing. Singh is the first insider to throw light on the agency’s inner working. The book addresses three issues that has plagued the agency for years—lack of leadership, no accountability and political mishandling.

He reveals that even when it came to installing a secret communication network for the prime minister, RAW’s top bosses didn’t do the necessary homework. In May 2001, the Special Protection Group (SPG), which looks after the prime minister’s security, decided to procure a sophisticated communication system at an estimated cost of Rs 26.2 crore. RAW was asked to evaluate and identify the best system available. While the American firm Motorola emerged as the frontrunner, no mandatory tests were carried out for its "crack resistivity" (ability to withstand hacking) by the DRDO’s systems analysis group (SAG). "All communication systems with encryption systems must be tested by the SAG to ensure that people cannot hack into the system easily," Singh told Outlook.

Also, as a rule, security and intelligence agencies always use indigenous crypto systems. "But in this case," writes Singh, "it was developed by an American firm" and "it was quite likely that foreign intelligence agencies would have access to the algorithm." Any foreign intelligence agency "such as the CIA or maybe even the ISI would be able to eavesdrop on the network and know the exact details of the movements of the prime minister and the measures being taken to protect him," he says.

While Singh’s comments were accepted and the order postponed, it was given to Motorola without the mandatory SAG tests soon after his retirement from RAW.

The defection of Rabinder Singh, a joint secretary with RAW looking after the Southeast Asia desk, shocked the agency. Maj Gen Singh now writes, "...lack of leadership at the top was responsible for the major fiasco." The activities of Rabinder Singh, a suspected CIA mole who later defected to the US, had already been brought to the notice of his superiors.

The Rabinder Singh defection episode was a bad bungle. Officers with no knowledge of intelligence facilitated his escape to the US.

A middle-ranking officer, S. Chandrashekhar, alerted special secretary Amar Bhushan. Rabinder was put under surveillance.

So how did Rabinder defect with such ease? The answers perhaps lie in the lax manner in which Bhushan handled the sensitive case. Bhushan, alleges Singh, was too busy appropriating positions for himself to attend to the Rabinder matter. "He (Bhushan) changed his designation from additional secretary (personnel) to special secretary without the approval of the department of personnel and training." Soon Bhushan was also appointed as the head of Aviation Research Centre (ARC), an autonomous outfit under RAW.

Singh feels that the then RAW chief, C.D. Sahay, "did not have the gumption to tell Amar Bhushan to stay out of RAW" and concentrate on his work in the ARC. Instead, Bhushan was allowed to induct N.K Sharma from the central paramilitary forces who had no training in counter- intelligence into RAW to keep a watch on Rabinder. As Sharma blundered along, Rabinder flew out to the US via Kathmandu. He left with top-secret RAW documents, including assessments on Southeast Asia countries as well as information that he had accessed from the reports of other officers. Ironically, Sharma was "rewarded" with a plum foreign posting.

While the Rabinder Singh episode is a stark example of the rot that had set in, Singh goes on to record other examples of professional misconduct. He refers to an additional secretary, who when overlooked for promotion to the rank of special secretary, did not attend office for months. But no disciplinary action was taken against him. "This is unheard of. In the army, anyone away without leave for more than 30 days is declared a deserter," says Singh. This revelation is likely to embarrass a senior serving RAW official. Then again, Singh writes about how a senior officer spent lakhs having a logo designed for the agency. It could never be used for security reasons. Equally shocking is the case of an officer who funded his daughter’s education from the secret funds given to RAW. He had listed his daughter as an informant and paid her for ‘services’ rendered.

Singh feels the lack of accountability and financial auditing is detrimental to RAW’s efficiency. "Coming under the ministry of home affairs, the Intelligence Bureau has a modicum of ministerial control," he writes. But "RAW does not even have this fig leaf of restraint to curb its activities." He says it is strange that our intelligence agencies are exempt from accountability which even the armed forces are subservient to. "If war is too serious a business to be left to generals, should not intelligence be considered too serious a business to be left to spies?" asks Singh

Intelligence agencies need public oversight

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Intelligence analysts have agreed that without an explicit legal basis for the work of intelligence agencies, the state could be brought into conflict with constitutional and human rights norms.

This would especially be the case, they said, if the activities of intelligence bodies -- such as surveillance -- began affecting the daily lives of innocent members of the public.

"Intelligence agencies were created to protect national security, but because of their secretive nature, every country is facing the similar problem of striking a balance between democracy and secrecy," said Edy Prasetyono from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies at a launching of two books on intelligence on Thursday.

"Oversight is needed to find a balance between security and public freedoms, to hold intelligence agencies accountable, to strengthen democratic consolidation, to prevent self-tasking and to gain more reliable resources for (intelligence agencies') operations.

"Until now, many intelligence agencies have mainly focused on counter-intelligence. In order to prevent suspicion, the public need to know many things related to intelligence agencies such as their structure, tasks, funding, etcetera. It is also important to diminish public distrust caused by past human rights abuses."

The two books launched are translations of "Intelligence Practice and Democratic Oversight - A Practitioner's View" and "Making Intelligence Accountable - Legal Standards and Best Practice for Oversight of Intelligence Agencies".

The books were published cooperatively by the German Foreign Office, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Indonesian Office and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Earlier Wednesday during a separate discussion on intelligence agencies, experts recommended multiple oversight mechanisms for intelligence-gathering bodies.

Ikrar Nusa Bhakti from the Indonesian Institute of Science said self-tasking and past human rights abuses had justified the need for public oversight over the agencies.

"The most crucial oversight required is to monitor the agencies' special rights and authority, including covert operations and counter-intelligence, which potentially conflict with democracy and human rights," Ikrar said.

Earlier Wednesday during a separate discussion on intelligence agencies, experts recommended multiple oversight mechanisms for intelligence-gathering bodies. (02)

June 22, 2007

Commentary on Indian Presidential Race : National shame

By Ms.Radha Rajan

It is a national shame, a monumental disgrace - of unimaginable proportions - that a foreigner woman whose only claim to aspiring for a high constitutional position in India is that she was clever and calculated enough to marry the prime minister's heir apparent should now get to decide the most privileged and prestigious, the most revered, the most looked-up to constitutional position - the Head of State of the Republic of India.

Italian, Roman Catholic Sonia Gandhi who did not want Indin citizenship until the family was pushed into a corner over her non-citizen status today gets to decide who will be the next President of India. And the lady has chosen - a woman who is alleged to have used her political influence to protect her criminal brother accused of murder.

This Italian lady chose Prathibha Patil, deliberately, intentionally. All other names were intended red-herrings intended to be rejected.

Pratibha Patil who is now being made out as Lady Exemplar, has only thing to her credit which found overwhelminf favour with Lady Macbeth - she stymmied the anti-conversion bill in Rajasthan - a fact of which this foot-in-the- mouth-President hopeful boasted when she declared smugly - I will not be rubber stamp President, i was not a rubber stamp Governor.

The Vatican's papa pope commended her commitment to freedom of religion and this alone catapulted her to the doorsteps of the rashtrapati bhavan.

I hope she is stopped in her tracks just as Lady Macbeth was stopped in hers when she came within sneezing distance of the throne of delhi.

I am sure IB would have informed the PM of the fact that pratibha's brother was accused by Rajni Patil of murdering her husband. Rajni Patil went to the Supreme Court after knocking on the doors of Lady Macbeth's home in vain. the Supreme Court ordered the Maharashtra High court to look into the issue and news is the CBI also looked into it.

Do you all mean to say the IB didnt tell the PM all this when Lady Macbeth laughed contemptuously on the face of this nation-civilisation and gave us Pratibha Patil? Of course they did.

A self-respecting government would do a routine intelligence background check on hopeful aspirants fopr high positions.

Did the IB fail to do so? If not, why did the PM ignore the intelligence report on PP wannabe P?

My feeling is the old guard Hindus within the Congres who have all been humiliated and sidelined and marginalised or bumped off must be laughing (in their graves too) at Lady Macbeth's well-laid plans to plant a vatican-approved stooge on this nation.

We are a nation of wimps. Isnt there one self-respecting Hindu, a nationalist Indian who can subvert this anti-national move

Baloch & Sindhi group's protest Rally pictures

The World Sindhi Institute's Peaceful Protest Rally for Democracy and Human Rights in Pakistan

Join The World Sindhi Institute for a Protest in front of the:

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington DC

Monday, June 18, 2007

1:00 to 3:00 pm

Balochistan: Kidnapped by ISI , grandson of late Prince Abdul Karim Khan Baloch

Another Baloch has been kidnapped


Sherdil Khan, the grandson of late Prince Abdul Karim Khan Baloch, has been kidnapped by Pakistani secret agencies from Khuzdar in early June 2007 (exact date is not confirmed). Sherdil Khan traveled to Khuzdar from Kalat for a family matter and while there, in Khuzdar, he was kidnapped from a restaurant. He is an innocent man and runs a Cattle Farm in Kalat. His location is unknown to everybody, including his family, and there are reports circulating in Kalat that he has been severely tortured by secret agencies to extract false information from him.

No one knows why he has been kidnapped. He is a close relative of Khan Suleman Daoud Khan, the Khan of Kalat. Is that why he has been arrested? Or simply because he is Baloch? His relatives fear that he might be killed in custody because many Balochs who have been arrested previously by Pakistani secret agencies have not returned to their homes.

An appeal has been made to all human rights organizations to save the lives of all missing Baloch people--presently there are up to six thousand Balochs who are being detained by Pakistani agencies in eastern Balochistan.

Date 18-June-2007.

Missing Baloch’s family looks for justice

Daily Times Pakistan, June 15, 2007

KARACHI: The family of Luqman alias Usman, a young Baloch man who has been missing since June 14, 2006, appealed Thursday to the acting chief justice of Pakistan and the higher authorities of the federal government to help locate him.

Luqman disappeared on June 14, 2006, from the Karachi airport after arriving from Dubai where, according to his family, he worked as a motor mechanic. After a few months, he informed his family that he was returning to Pakistan but when the family reached the Karachi airport to welcome him, he never came out of immigration.

Luqman’s younger sister Amina, addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, said that the family was apolitical and had no rivalry, and neither did her missing brother belong to any political party or religious or sectarian group.

Reading from a written text, she said that the disappearance of a family member in such a manner in an Islamic country was a big question mark over civil liberties. “The family is very anxious to see him. Also, we are now under debt and our normal life and education is disturbed.”

Referring to the laws and guarantees under the Constitution of Pakistan, she said that it was mandatory upon law-enforcing agencies to produce an arrested person before a court of law within 24 hours of arrest. “Last month, some people visited us and told us that my brother was in their custody. We have informed the Defense of Human Rights Organisation, who included his name in their composite list of missing persons whose cases are being heard before the apex court.” staff report

The New Rules of Imperialism: Economic Warfare, Consumer Products and Disease Exports Mike Adams

History tells us that imperialist nations quite predictably invade weaker nations on a regular basis... especially when those weaker nations happen to be standing on valuable natural resources like oil or uranium. Thanks to this desire for strategic control over territories, the twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history, with more people being lost to war, greed and conquest than during any single century in recorded history (including the centuries spanning Greek and Roman civilizations).

War remains as supported as ever today, and in fact, many nations actually thirst for war. Just look at the pro-war coverage on Fox News and the unending war games being played on computers and game consoles by young men who find entertainment in war. (In fact, the U.S. Army is actually recruiting young men now through a free, downloadable video game that teaches young boys how to pick up a rifle and kill people with it.)

Why some nations create war

The people of some nations actually create war (or support it) in their quest to express a sense of nationalistic heroism. Failing nations need heroes, and when those heroes are no longer found in the realms of science, art, politics or global achievement, they will be fabricated from the false victories of war.

The tearful American mom whose son dies in Iraq is, indeed, suffering a tremendous personal loss, but her loss is a necessary part of feeding the population's desire to proclaim there are heroes among them. Through the sacrificing of young men who are killed in Iraq, the people of America can find common connection, righteousness, and purpose where none existed before. War gives meaning to empty lives, and it delivers a masochistic form of entertainment to those who are too young, too old or too wealthy to participate. This is precisely why, throughout human history, the leaders of failing nations have habitually turned to military imperialism as a method to distract the people from far more serious problems at home. When the sons of a nation are returning home in body bags, nobody pays much attention to failures in education or the economy.

This is not to say that there are not some instances in which going to war has genuine justification. When a nation is threatened by an invading force, for example, going to war to defend your own land against invading aggressors is not only necessary, it is also truly heroic. Defending your own land is courageous; invading your neighbor's land is cowardly. (Some people claim, by the way, that the only way to protect America's land is to invade other countries first. This concept, called "preemptive war" is based on mass distortions used to falsely justify actions of war.)

In America today, the thirst for war remains as strong as ever. But the real war being waged on the world right now by America is not merely found in the limited military action in the Middle East. That's only the blunt instrument of this war. The real American invasion is happening through foods, medicines, personal care products, international banking and intellectual property law. Through the proliferation of fast food restaurants, pharmaceutical companies, chemically-contaminated consumer products and similar items invented in America, the world is being bombarded by systems of food, medicine and distorted intellectual property claims that are producing far more casualties than any bombs-and-bullets war.

How to control a nation

In World War II, the Germans attempted to steal natural resources from neighboring nations by forcefully occupying and controlling the targeted territories. Today, war is far more sophisticated: America steals national resources by patenting seeds, genes, medicines and ideas, then applying economic and political pressure against targeted nations to forcefully take a cut of their productivity through the application of intellectual property law. Only Thailand has offered any sort of resistance in an attempt to protect its people from the predatory, monopolistic drug pricing of Big Pharma, for example, but most countries just go right along and pay tribute to the western world through outrageous patent royalties on medicines that should belong to the people.

If that's not enough to dominate the targeted nation's economy, America sends in the World Bank. The World Bank makes predatory loans to desperate nations, knowing full well they cannot pay them back. It then uses the leverage of debt to invade those nations with western financial institutions. Those banks and lending institutions subsequently turn around and engage in predatory financial practices that soak the people of the target nation, skimming off productivity and exporting it back to the West where rich white men cash in billions without a single honest day's work.

The World Trade Organization, for its part, makes sure that targeted nations comply with imperialistic western trade practices. The huge push of Big Tobacco into Asia, for example, is the result of support by "world trade" proponents who threatened to impose trade sanctions against Asian nations if they tried to ban cigarette advertising. Today, more than a third of Chinese men are addicted to cigarettes, generating billions in annual profits for Big Tobacco companies who are right now producing more Chinese casualties than any war in China's long history.

Western medicine is also invading the continents around the world, bringing its expensive, heartless and corporate-controlled system of medicine to nations who were actually far healthier, happier and more financially solvent before America showed up with all its patented chemicals. Chinese medicine, for example, is routinely discredited in China by arrogant Chinese doctors who went to med school in America then returned home to betray their own fellow citizens. Drug companies see China's one billion people as nothing more than revenue-generating patients, and convincing all those people to take more medicines will require a well-planned, well-funded economic and philosophical assault on Chinese medicine. Essentially, Big Pharma must find a way to disconnect the Chinese from their heritage, turning them all into depressed, diseased "white" consumers whose medical mythology worships the falsehoods of western reductionism.

Consequences of the great American invasion

All around the world, America is invading nations through its foods, medicines, consumer products, dangerous economic practices, synthetic chemicals and intellectual property. And everywhere that American products are adopted, widespread disease and death soon follows.

Small island nations in the South Pacific, for example, had never heard of diabetes, heart disease or depression just two generations ago. But then American-made processed food products invaded their islands, edging out traditional foods like raw coconut, fresh fish, seaweed and taro. Today, South Pacific populations are suffering from widespread diabetes, depression, heart disease, learning disabilities, asthma and much more -- all thanks to the "invasion" of American foods, medicines and products.

America is the world's largest exporter of disease. Through our popular soda products, cigarettes, fast food chains and manufactured foods, we have caused more death and disease around the world than any nation in human history (including Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot). And it all remains perfectly legal. Our chemical companies even manufacture and export pesticide chemicals that have been banned in the United States. Poor agricultural nations openly use those deadly pesticides on their crops, then ship the produce back to the U.S. where consumers buy it at grocery stores. It's all perfectly legal and, in fact, encouraged by U.S. political leaders.

Resistance is futile

It's actually more than legal: It's required! Any nation that says "no" to western products and intellectual property is immediately branded an enemy of world trade and is targeted for legal action by the WTO. Even creating pro-consumer safety standards such as banning aspartame, sodium nitrite or hydrogenated oils can be deemed a violation of international trade agreements. Product sales, you see, are the No. 1 priority, even when nations are being decimated by the products manufactured and exported by American companies.

Poor nations with undereducated populations suffer enormously under western economic imperialism. It's easy to sell Pepsi, cigarettes and lotto tickets to people in a country like Panama, for example, where the education level remains low and people are easily tricked into thinking that western products will make them happier. Pepsi, in fact, is the dominant consumer product throughout most of Central and South America. You can hardly travel anywhere south of the U.S. / Mexico border without being inundated with Pepsi propaganda. The Pepsi logo is more prominent than images of the Virgin Mary or the Pope, even though many South and Central American populations are Catholic. (It's quite clear what they actually worship!)

These international product invasions are important to the bottom line of U.S. corporations, of course, who are expanding their propaganda campaigns to non-U.S. countries following the wising up of American consumers. Only uneducated, ignorant consumers drink soft drink products in America these days. It's the same crowd that buys lotto tickets, smokes cigarettes, watches TV infomercials and lives on frozen dinners. Smart consumers in America switched to healthier drinks long ago. That's why soda sales continue to fall each year, and that's why U.S. soda corporations have to increasingly crank up their marketing machines in countries that haven't yet caught on to the toxicity of aspartame or the links between diabetes and high-fructose corn syrup.

The west is conquering the world

There's no more need to drop tanks, soldiers and bombs on nations in order to conquer them. Countries can be controlled through economics, intellectual property law, banking and finance systems. Consumers can be controlled through advertising, publicity and corporate-fabricated fake news.

The corporations, as always, rake in the profits while the consumers pay the price all over the world. They eat their American hamburgers, drink their American sodas, take their American medicines and think they're cool, sophisticated consumers even while their internal organs are beginning to fail from all the toxic chemicals. Soon, they will suffer from American diseases: Cancer, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity and violent, psychotic behavior. In fact, we're already seeing it: Countries like Thailand and Japan are witnessing unprecedented obesity for the first time in history, and diseases like diabetes and depression are only a few years away from becoming pandemic throughout Asia. This is almost entirely from their adoption of western diets and medical practices.

Those nations that continue to worship western culture are engaged in a dangerous game of paying homage to precisely the wrong group. Worshipping American foods, products and medicines will only destroy the health and happiness of any nation, and mimicking American financial markets will only spell economic suicide in the long run. There is nothing good that can come of debt spending, intentional disease proliferation (through ignoring disease prevention programs), widespread chemical contamination and corporate dominance over the people and the government. These are the things that will come to destroy the world's nations, probably starting with America.

The last days of America as we know it

The era of American dominance in the world is nearly over. It will likely be replaced by an era of Chinese dominance, in which western medicine, western science, western debt spending and western culture will ultimately be rejected by most world nations.

It's time for Americans to face up to the reality of the country they're living in. Take the issue of health care as a rather important example. Did you know that you can get better health care in Cuba than America? Did you know that the life expectancy of a Cuban citizen is the same as an American citizen, and yet Americans spend hundreds of times more money per capita on disease care and sickness care than Cubans? American medicine is an utter failure, and it's destroying the economic viability of the entire country. Businesses are going bankrupt or moving offshore because of health care costs, and even those that can afford to operate on U.S. soil are faced with the reality that it's almost impossible to hire employees who can actually think these days thanks to the widespread use of brain-damaging prescription drugs. Success stories like Google are increasingly rare.

I remember living in Taiwan in the 1990's, and I paid something like $4 / month for health insurance coverage. A visit to the doctor cost me $2 out of pocket. Every person in Taiwan who has a job gets automatic health insurance coverage, and the nation has prospered economically over the last four decades in a way that the U.S. simply cannot match. The Taiwan people are innovative, resourceful and hard working. Of course, they're also hopelessly corrupt when it comes to politics, but that seems to be a universal law: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

America's reputation is in shambles

If you travel the world these days and ask about America, you might be surprised at the negative answers you'll hear. This is not obvious to people living in America because, of course, they only have access to the controlled, pro-America news sources that dominate mainstream thinking. But the world opinion of America has already suffered a severe setback under the leaderhip of President Bush, and in time, the world will reject American intellectual property, the American medicine scam and the harmful effects of American foods and beverages.

History will reveal America to be a nation that burned itself out on drugs, debt spending and junk foods, destroying the health its own people until its population could hardly even reproduce without medical intervention. Lacking any useful ideas, steeped in the defense of the status quo and abandoning the true needs of its own people, American political leaders have set our nation on a destructive course that may prove impossible to reverse. And they seem to want to destroy as many other nations as possible along the way -- as long as it generates more profits for U.S. corporations in the short term. "Poison the world and reap the profits!"

The future belongs to smart nations

Any nation that wishes to protect itself from the same fate America is headed towards would be wise to reject American foods, medicines, beverages, consumer products, intellectual property laws and financial practices.

The nations that survive and prosper over the next hundred years will be:

• Those nations that save money and invest in their future (rather then spending it on war or underfunded entitlement program).

• Those nations that reject western foods and pass laws to protect their populations from dangerous chemicals in foods, beverages and consumer products.

• Those nations that reject American intellectual property guidelines and ban corporations or private individuals from "owning" patents on medicines, seeds and genes.

• Those nations that invest in education, energy efficiency and environmental cleanup in order to create a better future for their children.

• Those nations that invest now in energy independence, teaching their people to use less energy while switching to vehicles that can run on electricity (which can be produced domestically in any country).

• Those nations that reject elite-controlled banking and money systems and restore the power of the currency to the people, where open trade can happen with zero inflation, creating enormous abundance for the people.

No nation will likely fully embrace all these points, but those that manage to fulfill at least some of them will do far better than those who don't. What's certain is that those nations attempting to mimic the culture of America will suffer the same fate as America -- a fate that will soon be obvious to even the most insistent deniers who claim that environmental pollution, endless debt spending and the mass contamination of food and medicines with deadly synthetic chemicals are somehow sustainable practices. The end result of all this is not in question by any serious thinker: Widespread bankruptcy, disease pandemics, environmental collapse and a bursting of the food production bubble.

Papua New Guinea may ultimately emerge as one of the few successful, sustainable nations in the world. If you're not sure why, I urge you to read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and then study the history of human civilization from a geographic viewpoint. You will see that the only nations with any sort of future are those that protect and nurture the health of their people and their environment, taking a long-term perspective rather than short-term economic gain. America has no long-term vision other than controlling world oil resources. America has no investment whatsoever in the health of its people and virtually no effort to protect its environment. America is fixated on short-term thinking and stop-gap measures, ignoring the greater concerns of education, renewable energy, individual health and individual liberty. And finally, America is a bankrupt nation by any honest accounting method, and it is only by the grace of debt holders of Asia that America can continue to sell debt at all.

No wise nation will follow America into this quagmire (and why should they, when they have their own quagmires to explore?).

The good news in all this, by the way, is that you don't have to follow the fate of your nation. By protecting your own health, saving your own wealth and investing in the future of yourself and your children (through education, fertile land, etc.), you can avoid the worst of what's coming and actually thrive during difficult times. That's why taking charge of your own life right now is more important than ever. Be independent from the mainstream. Learn how to protect your own health and reject medical propaganda. Understand the basic laws of economics and how debt is manufactured and sold. (A good book on that is called the Concise Guide to Economics and it's available free at http://www.conciseguidetoeconomics.com ). Teach yourself the basic principles of sustainable living, green living and "hippie wisdom." These are the things that will get you through the tough times ahead.

In terms of financial news, be sure to read the Daily Reckoning (www.DailyReckoning.com) if you want to hear the truth about world financial news. Also check out the book Empire of Debt, which earns my top recommendation for the best book available on the coming financial collapse of America.

I haven't even mentioned peak oil yet, by the way. Ever wonder what happens when the oil runs out? Check out this page on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and technology pioneer with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of energy efficient LED lights that greatly reduce CO2 emissions. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called BetterLifeGoods.com that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NewsTarget subscription database. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org


Iraq's Vulnerable Christians

Source: Stratfor
June 22, 2007 17 31 GMT

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped five Iraqi Christian students and three of their teachers June 20 as they returned home by bus to the Christian enclave of Qaraqosh on the Nineveh Plains. The bus, carrying some 50 Christian and Muslim students and educators, was traveling to Qaraqosh after the students took entrance exams at Mosul University. The abduction reportedly occurred near an Iraqi police station, suggesting the bus driver was attempting to reach the station for help when gunmen in eight vehicles stopped the bus, demanded the passengers' identity cards and then took off with the eight Christians. Witnesses said Iraqi police watched the abduction but did not intervene. The kidnappers reportedly are demanding a ransom from the local church and the victims' families.

The kidnapping is just the latest incident of violence against northern Iraq's small Christian community. On June 19, gunmen killed two Christians in Mosul's Nour district. Earlier in the month, gunmen reportedly killed the Rev. Ragheed Ganni and three of his deacons in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit after Sunday Mass. Their bodies reportedly remained in the streets for hours afterward because local residents were afraid to move them.

For centuries, Iraqi Christians lived in relative peace with Iraq's Muslim population, and even occupied prominent positions in society. Tariq Aziz (whose real name is Mikhail Yohanna), a Chaldean Catholic, was deputy prime minister under former leader Saddam Hussein. Aziz is awaiting trial by the Iraqi government's tribunal.

Since the fall of Hussein in 2003, however, Iraq's Christian community has often been the target of attacks, usually perpetrated by foreign jihadists. Churches have been bombed and priests and laypeople have been killed in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country. As a result of the ongoing violence, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled the country, many of them trying to reach Iraqi Christian communities in the United States. In 2005, the U.S. Border Patrol intercepted 165 Iraqis, most of them Christian refugees, attempting to enter the United States illegally from Mexico.

In 2003, Iraqi and foreign diplomats, including U.S. envoys, attended a conference in Baghdad with thousands of Assyrian activists to discuss security options. The conference resulted in a proposal for a "Nineveh Plains Administrative Unit" to protect the rights of the ChaldoAssyrians and other minorities in the area. Some Iraqi Christians opposed the plan, however, saying it would further isolate them from the rest of Iraqi society, and that it would amount to little more than a ghetto.

Muslim-on-Christian violence is not exclusively a symptom of the war in Iraq, however. In Turkey, Protestant evangelicals have been attacked for proselytizing, while violence between Christians and Muslims is a feature of the ethnic conflict on Indonesia's Sulawesi island. Attacks against Christians also have occurred in Lebanon and Pakistan.

Violence against Iraq's Christians is unlikely to affect the ongoing negotiations to resolve the country's security crisis. The Iraqi Christian community is small -- less than 5 percent of the population -- and not as influential as the main Shiite and Sunni groups. Without proper protection, Iraq's Christian community will continue to be at risk

About Stratfor

Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.

The Potential Outcome of an Arab Confrontation with Hamas

Geopolitical Diary: The Potential Outcome of an Arab Confrontation with Hamas
June 22, 2007 02 00 GMT
Source: Stratfor

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will host a summit in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on June 25. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas all plan to attend. The rushed meeting has been called to discuss the political situation in the aftermath of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, which was followed by Abbas' dismissal of the Palestinian coalition government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The four are expected to agree on a strategy for dealing with Hamas.

The Israelis have always wanted to isolate Hamas, and now Fatah and the Arab states -- which had held accommodating attitudes toward the radical Islamist Palestinian movement -- also have adopted a stern stance against it. Each of these Arab actors has its own reasons for this shift. Fatah, whose power has severely declined during the last several years, cannot afford to allow Hamas to try to dominate the Palestinian political scene. The Egyptians, who have paradoxically been dealing with Hamas while trying to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood, their own Islamist movement, view the Hamas takeover of Gaza as a direct threat to their regime. And as far as Jordan is concerned, an unencumbered Hamas risks emboldening not only the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood but also the country's Palestinian majority.

But can these Arab actors weaken Hamas by taking a hard-line stance against it? That they were willing to work with Hamas when it was less powerful shows that direct confrontation was not a viable option in the past -- and it is certainly not viable now. Therefore, Fatah, Cairo and Amman clearly are engaged in posturing designed to isolate Hamas until the faction can be brought back to the negotiating table (one at which Fatah will have more bargaining power).

Complicating this task is these Arab actors' decision to align themselves with Israel and the United States in an effort to corner Hamas. Not only can Hamas exploit this, but such an alignment also creates a rift in the wider Arab world. Unlike Egypt and Jordan, many of the other Arab states -- especially Saudi Arabia -- do not want to jump on the anti-Hamas bandwagon. This, in turn, creates opportunities for Iran and Syria to exploit the rift for their own purposes.

This approach also could eventually create the very conditions the Egyptians and Jordanians are trying to avoid: the energizing of their own Islamist movements. In fact, the move to weaken Hamas has the potential to make matters worse, possibly allowing Gaza to descend into chaos, with multiple Islamist militant factions -- including transnational al Qaeda elements -- running amok there. In that case, the Egyptians and -- in the event the current turmoil engulfs the West Bank -- the Jordanians would have to worry not only about dealing with their respective Muslim Brotherhood groups, but also about containing the jihadists.

The Palestinian conflict has reached a point at which -- now more than ever -- it has the potential to undermine the security and stability of the two Arab states that border the Palestinian territories.

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China: Threats, Incentives and Hong Kong's Anniversary

China: Threats, Incentives and Hong Kong's Anniversary
Source: Stratfor
June 22, 2007 21 49 GMT


A deputy at China's National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top planning authority, said in an interview with a prominent English-language local newspaper published June 22 that Hong Kong should leave the container terminal business to nearby mainland Chinese cities. The statement is designed to pre-empt any action that democracy supporters might take ahead of the 10-year anniversary on July 1 of the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom.


Hong Kong should shift its focus on expanding its container-terminals business to a focus on the high-end logistics industry, Deputy Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang of the National Development and Reform Commission said in an interview with the South China Morning Post published June 22. (The commission is China's top planning authority.) The statement marks the first time a senior Chinese government official has offered unsolicited advice on how Hong Kong's economy should be run. It also follows a June 7 warning from National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, who said the Basic Law -- Hong Kong's constitutional framework -- grants Hong Kong no residual powers, meaning no power to maneuver outside of areas where Beijing has made overt grants of authority.

The statements come with less than a month to go before the 10-year anniversary on July 1 of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain. Both statements are also just rhetoric designed to make Hong Kong's businesses and people uneasy about the status of relative freedoms they currently enjoy over their mainland compatriots, thus giving them an incentive to ignore or challenge advocates of democracy in Hong Kong.

To Beijing, interference and the benefits of integration are the stick and carrots it uses to manage Hong Kong. The carrot is the mind-boggling business potential of mainland China's large initial public offerings and its 1 billion-plus consumers. The stick is the threat of increased interference in Hong Kong by Beijing, which could upset the delicate dynamics on which Hong Kong's reputation as a global financial center is based.

Though local rumblings have arisen from time to time about the lack of democratic development in Hong Kong, the majority of its businesses and citizens remain content with the status quo. This is not because they see the status quo as the best-case scenario, but because they do not see a better alternative. Members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, the media and ambitious politicians can create a lot of noise, but they are not organized or sophisticated enough to offer a real alternative to the Hong Kong government, which keeps the city running like clockwork and its citizens materially comfortable. These disparate opposition groups form only a miniscule portion of society. And by causing the majority to start sensing that Hong Kong's privileges as a former colony might be curtailed as a result of -- or due to the threat of -- actions by this minority, Beijing can create critics of potential troublemakers.

Beijing's recent comments do not necessarily bode ill for Hong Kong's existing economic and legal infrastructure. Although the Chinese government has made it clear that it would intervene if Hong Kong ever were to jeopardize mainland economic development, Beijing's and Hong Kong's interests are so closely aligned at present that this is unlikely to happen in the near future.

The statements' timing shows how the Chinese government is getting increasingly adept at playing the fears of Hong Kong's business community against any calls for democracy. Thus, Beijing's control over Hong Kong is consolidating not via legislative discipline, but ironically via capitalist enthusiasm for mainland business opportunities.

About Stratfor
Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.

Russia: Gazprom, BP and the Short End of the Stick

Source: Stratfor
June 22, 2007 21 24 GMT


Gazprom purchased BP's 63 percent share in the Kovykta natural gas field on June 22. The agreement is a major blow to BP; the company gets only a fraction of the cost of the field and has lost out on a major investment in a country where it has invested millions. The deal with Gazprom gave BP one consolation prize: It is allowed to stay in Russia through its TNK-BP venture -- at least for now.


BP came to an agreement with Russian energy firm Gazprom on June 22 to sell TNK-BP's 63 percent stake in Rusia Petroleum, the company that holds the license for the Kovykta natural gas field. Gazprom will pay $700 million to $900 million, although the stake is worth between $2 billion and $3.6 billion. In exchange, TNK-BP has been given the option to purchase a 25 percent stake in the field. The deal is a major setback for BP -- but if it wants to stay in Russia, it will probably have to accept the minority role.

Rusia Petroleum's stakeholders are TNK-BP (with a 63 percent share), Interros (with 26 percent) and the Irkutsk regional government (with 11 percent). Rusia Petroleum has run into trouble with the Kremlin for "underproduction" at the Kovykta natural gas field. However, the biggest obstacle to production at the field is Gazprom's refusal to allow construction of an export pipeline. Essentially, Gazprom has ensured that Rusia Petroleum is incapable of fulfilling its development requirements.

Gazprom has been eyeing the Kovykta field as the solution to all of its production woes, as it faces a shortage of natural gas and declining production. The Kremlin, meanwhile, has been threatening to take the field for some time now and proved willing to throw its regulatory weight around, threatening to revoke TNK-BP's license to make sure Gazprom gained control of Kovykta. Now that Gazprom has its hands on the field, it has offered to allow BP to purchase a stake in the field instead of having the firm's license revoked.

BP has voiced its desire to remain in Russia in spite of the troubles it has faced. However, the company is well aware of the Kremlin's moves to consolidate Russia's energy industry and also knows it will be unable to operate in the country without the Kremlin's approval. BP likely viewed the Kovykta offer as the one way to stay in the country.

Despite the difficulties Gazprom is giving BP, the Russian firm (and the Russian government) actually needs BP to continue operations in the country. Gazprom would certainly like to develop the Kovykta natural gas field alone, but it lacks the technology required to fully exploit Kovykta or many of its other reserves -- a shortcoming that is leading Gazprom's natural gas supplies to decrease. Gazprom has never let its need for technological help stop its political ambitions; it has earned plenty of natural gas reserves, but not necessarily a means to exploit them. BP's interest in Kovykta, along with its technological know-how, will increase Gazprom's chances of actually exploiting the estimated 2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves at the field.

However, in order to bring BP in, Gazprom will have to boot Interros from Rusia Petroleum. Interros' share in the company is almost the exact amount BP is allowed to purchase. Gazprom probably will not want to give up 25 percent of its stake -- particularly if it would mean ending up with a minority share. Interros still has its share in the company, but Interros is backed by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, who has become increasingly chummy with Russian President Vladimir Putin and thus would likely sign off Interros' Rusia Petroleum stake at the Kremlin's behest.

BP's quarter-share will not give it much real control in Kovykta -- especially in Russia, where minority shareholders are barely background noise. However, it does indicate that BP will be allowed to stay in the country through its TNK-BP venture -- though it has still lost its giant natural gas jewel.

Regardless of the Kremlin's latest "consolation prize," BP knows the trend in Russia and the strong likelihood of eventually having further assets stripped. BP has demonstrated -- by the billions of dollars of investment in Russia -- that it wants to stay in the country. However, the Kremlin has made it extraordinarily difficult for further investment to be worthwhile for BP.

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U.S., Vietnam: Trade Ties and a China Buffer

June 22, 2007 20 51 GMT

Source: Stratfor


The United States and Vietnam signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) June 21 ahead of a June 22 meeting between Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and U.S. President George W. Bush. By warming up its trade relationship with Vietnam, the United States is facilitating an alternative for U.S. investors and businesses that want to set up production operations outside China. It also will allow the United States to apply further pressure on the Chinese regarding trade issues and currency reform, while lessening the potential negative impacts such pressure will have on U.S. businesses.


Vietnamese Vice Trade Minister Nguyen Cam Tu and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia signed a trade investment and framework agreement (TIFA) June 21 during a visit to the United States by Vietnamese President Ngyuen Minh Triet, the first trip by a Vietnamese head of state to the United States since the end of the Vietnam War.

Considered the prelude to a free trade agreement between the two countries, the TIFA represents a new landmark in the trade relationship between the former foes. It also highlights the active pursuit by the United States of trade relationships in Southeast Asia, which will diversify the U.S. presence in Asia and in time reduce U.S. reliance on Chinese manufacturing and production. Diversifying the U.S. trade presence in Asia will allow the United States to step up its pressure on China over trade and currency reform while reducing the impact such pressure will have on U.S. businesses.

The TIFA, which follows a bilateral trade agreement signed in 2000, stipulates that the two countries will create a bilateral cooperation council led by U.S. and Vietnamese officials. It also will create a monitoring system to track Vietnamese compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.

Vietnam has been trying to build its image as an attractive destination for foreign investment in Southeast Asia. Alternative destinations in the region all have considerable deterrents to potential foreign investment. Thailand's post-coup government is considered impulsive with regard to the economy. Cambodia's legal system is corrupt, and arbitration is lengthy. Singapore's workforce is too expensive. Indonesia provides few incentives for foreign investment and is plagued by natural disasters. And Malaysia is saddled with ethnic Malay ownership laws.

By contrast, Vietnam has been actively pushing through new trade regulations -- both before and after its accession to the WTO in December 2006 -- to keep incoming foreign investment flowing. For example, Vietnam is considering selling equity stakes in its export-import bank, Vietnam Eximbank, to foreign investors. And although issues between the United States and Vietnam, such as the legacy of the Vietnam War and Vietnam's human rights record, have hindered their trade relationship, the Vietnamese president's visit represents a positive step in the continuing evolution of the countries' bilateral relations.

While Vietnam does not have the capacity or the expertise to replace China, a manufacturing powerhouse of both raw materials and finished products, Vietnam does present an avenue for the diversification of U.S. manufacturing and production operations in the region. Currently, China's size and skill greatly surpass those of Vietnam as a center of production. Yet the incentives currently offered by the Vietnamese government to increase incoming foreign direct investment show an intense focus on the economy, not unlike China's actions in the 1980s. Asian countries, including Taiwan and Japan, also have actively increased their investment in Vietnam, in their case out of fears their respective political tensions with Beijing could harm their economic relationships with China.

As more sophisticated manufacturing operations begin to open in Vietnam from the likes of IBM, Intel Corp., Panasonic and Samsung, the country will only increase its manufacturing and production acumen and its competitiveness with China. During President Triet's visit to the United States, a number of new corporate deals are expected to be confirmed. These will include deals between Chevron Corp. and Vietnam Petrochemical, Microsoft Corp. and the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), and a possible order for Boeing Co. aircraft by Vietnam Airlines.

Increased trade ties with Vietnam also will give the United States additional bargaining power in its trade relationship with China, since as major businesses begin to diversify their production locations, they will slowly become less reliant on Chinese manufacturing. Washington thus can apply more pressure on Beijing regarding trade issues such as intellectual property rights and currency reform. At the same time, increased ties with Vietnam will help shield Washington from any backlash from U.S. businesses either based in or producing in China. While not replacing China, the existence of a supplemental avenue for foreign investment in Vietnam provides an added measure of security to investors should Chinese political or economic tensions -- either domestic or international -- get out of hand.

About Stratfor
Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.