May 09, 2009

India: Electoral Intelligence


Indian Express


Asha S Menon First Published : 03 May 2009 10:20:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 03 May 2009 08:15:41 AM IST

Few members of Parliament bother to return after winning, so how do they know what their constituents want? Simple, hire someone to get the inside information. This is where the trench coats come in. And it isn’t just a few of them. “We’ve got 15,000 private detectives working for the various candidates in this election,” says Kunwar Vikram Singh, chairperson of the Association of Private Security Industry.


And what do they do? Just about everything, according to Singh. “We profile constituencies for candidates, keep tab on the party cadre to see if they are slacking off and track dissidents. It’s a lot of work, so we usually start two to three months before the elections.” An assiduous task for sure.

Sometimes the detectives know far more about the constituency than the MP himself. “For instance, there’s this neta who was advised by an operative to drill a bore-well,” Singh recalls. “The next day he dropped in at a wedding, and while making small talk casually mentioned that his party would sink a bore-well in the village. The local headmaster was ecstatic, because only a few days ago, he had mentioned to a friend how badly they needed a well. It’s a little thing but often makes a big diff­erence.”

They’re versatile people, these detectives. They even do home stays in select villages to understand the people. “All this is about gaining a strategic advantage,” Singh says. Often, they end up as a familiar, trusted face, and that could be of incalculable value to the candidate. Sometimes, the standing of the operative is sufficient to ensure credibility. For example, many of them are ex-army officers, which carries a special aura in many states.

Sometimes they are more than mere

observers. “You have to get close to the more important people, for instance,” says Ganesan, an operative himself. “Every person has a weakness. If you indulge that, then that person will become friendly.” Sometimes a tongue is loosened by a bottle of whiskey. But trust is the real thing, more important than any bottle. “If people get suspicious, they may say anything to put you off their track.”

When a candidate spends money on his campaign, he wants to be sure the cadres are doing their bit. So detectives sometimes keep tabs on them.

But undoubtedly the toughest and most important work is checking dissidents. There is one ticket and many aspirants. When one is chosen, the others may decide to sabotage the candidate’s chances. The stakes are high, because “If the candidate wins, he may get the ticket in the next election too. He may get it even if he loses by a small margin.” So the motivation for the dissident is considerable, and the operative has his work cut out. The basic job here, of course, is to watch and report. Action is for the party or candidate to take.

The detectives are a pretty varied bunch, but they often have some connection with the security services. There are ex-intelligence bureau men, ex-CBI officials, ex-army men, some are retired teachers and even small newspaper owners. Why the last lot and not the big city journalists? “These newspapers are usually started in small towns by politically conscious people who are well-connected,” says Singh. “They know what is going on around them.” There are also those who were once with a party. “These are the ones who weren’t sycophants and did not play the games to rise in the party. They are intelligent and politically aware.”

How often does he strike gold in his search? “It is not easy finding an informant. In fact, I sift through thousands before hiring one. Then, we get down to building a relationship. You see, you have to be able to trust the information they give”.

No fresher is asked to gather electoral intelligence. The process of graduation is a long one. First, a source is asked to do insurance checks or background research on an applicant for an employer. Once the source does a credible job of it, he is nudged into the growing field of electoral intelligence.

In this business too, one of the oldest clich├ęs of the intelligence trade is borne out. Everyone watches everyone. The watchers themselves are watched by team two detectives who keep tabs on the detectives who keep tabs on the quarry.



ORIGIN

Electoral intelligence has probably always been around, though maybe it became systematic in the last decade or so, says Singh. But Ganesan traces the phenomenon to 1977 and Sanjay Gandhi. “It’s Sanjay who deserves credit for its beginnings. Till then the Intelligence Bureau would keep the ruling party informed about its candidates’ prospects in the elections.”

Young Sanjay had no faith in the reports of the ‘yes’ men and decided to hire a reputed private detective agency, Ganesan says. Today that initiative has blossomed into thousands of firms, big and little, all busier than bees in the honey season. Whether the beneficiaries of all this effort get as much joy out of their gleanings is another matter.


— ashamenon@epmltd.com

Beautiful song from Telugu Film : Yamuna Teeram

Beautiful song from Telugu Film ANAND - directed by Shekhar Kammula, featuring KAMALINI MUKHERJI, RAJA in lead roles.




May 08, 2009

DEFENDING AUSTRALIA in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030

Australian Government's Defence white Paper
READ COMLETE WHITE PAPER


Excerps about India

11.18 India is an important partner for Australia given our shared democratic values, our maritime interests, and our commitment to combating regional and global terrorism and maintaining a rules-based global security order. As India extends its reach and influence into areas of shared strategic interest, we will need to strengthen our defence relationship and our understanding of Indian strategic thinking. In the near term, we are looking for opportunities to expand high-level defence dialogue, building upon annual talks between the Chief of the Defence Force and his Indian counterpart. We should also increase education and training exchanges and practical cooperation in areas such as defence information sharing, counter-terrorism and peacekeeping.

11.19 Australia and India will have a strong mutual interest in enhancing maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean, where we both have key strategic interests to manage. Maritime trade through the eastern Indian Ocean is particularly important for both countries, and we will explore opportunities to work together with India to ensure that those waters are kept secure and open over the decades ahead. The Government has specifically directed Defence to examine opportunities for increased bilateral maritime cooperation.


READ COMLETE WHITE PAPER

A Dreadful Future

By Sergei Balashov
Russia Profile


Eurasia Group’s Apocalyptic View of Russia’s Future Is not Unfeasible

It appears that Russia might be in for some grave consequences of the raging financial crisis. It won’t be long until the country is hit by a new wave of protests forcing President Dmitry Medvedev to resign, and paving the way for Vladimir Putin back to power. The country will dispose of any liberalist sentiments after Putin carries out some political purges, and will turn more authoritarian in order to combat separatism and deep public discontent. Or at least this is the scenario that the experts at the Eurasia Group believe has a 20 percent chance of coming to pass.

The report, titled Fat Tails in an Uncertain World, released by the global political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, outlined some rather dreadful scenarios for ten countries, including Pakistan, UAE, Japan, Ukraine and Russia.

The report also incorporated some details of Russia’s political meltdown. Russia’s demise would originate in the small, one-company towns in the Urals and in Siberia, which have been the hardest hit by the crisis. Growing unemployment and a worsening economy would trigger social unrest, which would then “spread to some regional capitals with demonstrations in Moscow and in St. Petersburg.”

That might be good news for the so-called “hardline siloviki camp,” which would gain more influence and find support not just in the United Russia party, but amongst the “embattled regional elites” and even the communists. Putin would have to “acquiesce to public pressure” and oust the liberals, such as the First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, from the government, replacing them with figures favored by the siloviki. Foreign policy will likewise get tougher. A turn to an “arrogant and revisionist tack” is expected, along with a possible refusal to cooperate with the NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan if Moscow does not get substantial political and economic benefits from the United States. Another military conflict with Georgia and expanded influence over Ukraine are also possible.

With a one out of five chance, this Russian scenario was the second most probable of all, just trailing a military coup in Pakistan. But this is not the first time that Russia has dealt with gloomy forecasts coming from foreign think tanks. Back in late 2007, the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report called “Alternative Futures for Russia for 2017,” authored by the former director of the Moscow Carnegie Center Andrew Kuchins. He predicted that the country would plunge into chaos, resulting in a siloviki coup following Putin’s assassination, which would supposedly occur in January of 2008 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Though an entirely fictional scenario, this report received intense media coverage. The General Director of the Center for Political Information Alexei Mukhin suggested that this is exactly what the Eurasia Group was after. “Such scenarios are mostly based on the notion that Putin appointed Medvedev as temporary vicar, and he’ll be ready to reassume office in 2012 or even earlier. Consulting agencies often use it to promote themselves, and I’m afraid we’re dealing with this kind of case this time,” said Mukhin. But there is more to it than just publicity. “We believe Russia is indeed in for hard times economically, so this part of the forecast makes sense and adds credibility to the report. Such projections set up a certain media background directly influencing the government, which closely monitors the public opinion about itself in the West, and it has to adjust its behavior accordingly. It is repeatedly apologetic about its own actions at international forums, but we can also expect it to soften its take on some political and economic issues inside of the country,” Mukhin added.

The report also warned of another collapse of the stock market, along with a severe decrease of investment. The government will partially nationalize troubled companies, causing businesses to fight over state support. The government has already drawn considerable criticism for giving too much money away to banks, failing to diversify the economy and continuing to rely on commodities, hoping for a price rebound in the oil and gas market. Russia has already seen a wave of protests in winter, when people openly expressed discontent with the handling of the financial crisis, forcing United Russia to retaliate by holding pro-government rallies.

The protests have since calmed down, but members of the political opposition make their own predictions as to what will happen in the fall, consistent with those of the Eurasia Group. But while a deteriorating economy is something not so hard to believe, the group’s predictions of the political aftermath seem to miss the mark. “It is too early to call, but mass protests are in the works for the fall. Anything could happen, but if this scenario comes to pass it will most likely be the opposite, with Putin being forced to resign. The government and the prime minister are directly responsible for the economy,” said Oleg Kozlovsky, the coordinator of the Oborona movement and a leader of the Other Russia coalition.

It is not unlikely that the country will slide into authoritarianism, since neither Putin nor Medvedev could harness the wave of discontent in a democratic manner while being blamed for the economic hardship. “The opposition cannot follow anybody from the ruling elite, as it is directly responsible for the crisis. As of today, I can’t see any real difference between Putin and Medvedev,” said Kozlovsky.

The Eurasia Group failed to define what exactly it meant by the “siloviki camp.” This term has been commonly used to refer to influential members of the political elite coming from military and security backgrounds, particularly the FSB. Some of the key figures associated with the group have seen their influence weaken as a result of a series of personnel decisions made by both Putin and Medvedev. For example, Nikolai Patrushev no longer heads the FSB, now serving as secretary of the Security Council instead. The former Head of Putin’s administration and his advisor Viktor Ivanov was appointed as the head of Federal Narcotics Control Service. The former head of that body Viktor Cherkesov also got a new job last year—he now leads the Weaponry Procurement Agency. “That leaves only [Deputy Prime Minister] Igor Sechin, but he has been loaded with work to the point where he has no time for any political projects. Neither Putin nor Medvedev wanted to keep a force that has been getting out of control. When somebody in the West talks about siloviki, they’re simply talking about something that doesn’t exist,” said Mukhin.

Treaty with Obama: will Moscow want to seal strategic imbalance?

20:48 | 06/ 05/ 2009



MOSCOW. (Yevgeny Kozhokhin for RIA Novosti) - On May 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss strategic offensive arms.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that in the second and third week of May, the two sides will hold the first round of full-scale talks on signing a new treaty on strategic offensive arms. At their forthcoming summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama will focus on the same subject.

The intensity of the negotiating process will grow as December 5 approaches, the date when the 1991 Soviet-U.S. treaty on strategic offensive arms expires. There is very little time left for the drafting of a new document, which is designed to become a cornerstone of the international security system.

Who needs this treaty and why? What it should be all about?

Even in the late 1980s-early 1990s, when the Soviet Union was hit by a severe crisis and conducted a policy very favorable for the United States, Washington was upgrading its nuclear missile potential, and quickly increasing a tentative gap in the military potentialities of the two countries. In 1991, U.S. national security strategy was built on the premise that modernization of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers, and nuclear submarines would be vital for deterrence in the 21st century.

Later on, despite statements about U.S.-Russian strategic partnership, and the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of May 1997, the need to keep U.S. nuclear forces in Europe was continuously justified by the argument that Russia would remain a strategically "unknown quantity" even if it further reduced its nuclear potential. In real policy, the Russian nuclear capacity was viewed as a potential threat, although in principle it could never be materialized.

R&D in the United States, and military operations in Yugoslavia and Iraq produced a fundamental change in its defense policy. Throughout the 1990s, the United States was consistently modernizing its nuclear triad, while deploying theater missile defense systems (TMD). In effect, it was the Bill Clinton administration that embarked on the formation of a limited missile defense system in violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty. However, reluctant to antagonize Russia and China, Washington suggested differentiation between the national missile defense system and TMD. At that time, the 1972 ABM Treaty was still being viewed as a major instrument for maintaining strategic stability.

The team, which came to power under George W. Bush, openly proceeded from the premise that arms control agreements were good as long as they defended U.S. national interests. Neoconservatives were ready to waste no time in creating absolute security for the United States without thinking about the reaction of other key international players.

Withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty signified a switch to the testing and deployment of a global missile defense system, with a view to fully removing the deterrent potential of China, and partially that of Russia. In the aggregate military potential, the United States had already exceeded all other countries, but Washington was still trying to eliminate international legal restrictions on the formation of a system, which would theoretically make it invulnerable towards an act of retaliation, and even a launch-under-attack strike.

Washington's stubborn refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty testified to its intention to continue developing fundamentally new nuclear warheads without international legal restrictions. Today, it continues to upgrade them through simulations of nuclear explosions on a computer. For this purpose, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is going to place an order for a supercomputer, which can carry out 20,000 trillion operations per second. This, the world's fastest computer, is designed for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The United States is trying to integrate into its missile defense system interceptor missiles and radars, which have or are being deployed on the ground and on ships all over the world - from Alaska and California to Japan, Britain, Norway, and Poland. Since 2005, it has conducted a series of tests of its missile interceptors - out of 27 launches, only one was a failure.

Full-scale deployment of a missile defense system in Alaska and California will cover about 90% of U.S. territory. If such a system is stationed in five or six regions, the ratio between the Russian and American nuclear potentials will be one to 10, or even one to 15 in favor of U.S., depending on its configuration.

When a draft budget was endorsed for the new fiscal year last fall, the Pentagon and the White House seemed to have proceeded from the premise that the United States can afford to further increase its military appropriations. This was done with the support of the Democrats who already had a majority in the Senate and the House.

In reality, under the circumstances these military appropriations should be reduced, and during the next fiscal year President Barack Obama may even encroach on the expenses designed for the further development of the missile defense system. Disarmament initiatives addressed to Russia may be accompanied by the revision of the missile defense deployment strategy. Probably, Washington will again lay more emphasis on R&D and improvement of ballistic missile interceptors.

The impression that Washington is giving up its missile defense project will be no more than an illusion. This is clear from statements made by Obama himself, not to mention members of his team. At the international conference in Munich last February, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said that the United States would continue developing its missile defense system to counteract Iran's growing potentialities. On April 5, Obama repeated this point, saying that America will continue implementing its missile defense program, which has proved its effectiveness, as long as the threat from Iran exists.

Now Washington is revising the prospects, costs, and possibly some technical parameters of its missile defense system. It wants to use this time for pause for conducting talks and legally sealing the established strategic imbalance of forces, and for suggesting a system of verifications, which would help its clandestine intelligence. It also wants to carry out space and airborne reconnaissance to identify as precisely as possible the potential of Russian nuclear forces and opportunities of their development.

A considerable part of the Russian ruling class is oriented towards cooperation with the United States - and the Russian leaders cannot ignore this factor. At the same time, there is an obvious link between offensive and defensive armaments; this fact was introduced at Russia's initiative into the Joint Statement by President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of the United States of America. The two sides are in for complicated, and, most likely, lengthy talks.

It is not only Russia which is interested in the signing of documents to promote long-term stability rather than in sealing a prospect of weakening one of the sides. This will benefit the whole world, or at least all those countries, which are devoted to freedom in international relations.

Yevgeny Kozhokhin, Ph.D (History), is a professor at Moscow State University.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

HUMANITARIAN DIMENSIONS OF COUNTER-TALIBAN OPERATIONS

B.RAMAN

The on-again and off-again military operations by the Pakistani security forces against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP) and its Pashtun allies such as the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in the South Waziristan and Bajaur Agencies of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and in the Swat and other districts of the Malakand Division in the North-West FrontierProvince (NWFP) are causing an immense humanitarian disaster affecting the Pashtuns. This disaster is similar to the disaster faced by the Sri Lankan Tamils due to the Sri Lankan Army's counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

2. In an interview to "Der Spiegel" of Germany published by it in its issue of May 6,2009, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan has stated that as a result of the military operations launched in the Bajaur Agency last year, about 500,000 out of the Agency's 800,000 population have been forced to leave their villages and move to areas outside the Agency.

3. A similar exodus of the civilian Pashtun population has been taking place since the end of 2007 when Pervez Musharraf,the then President, ordered the first phase of the military operations against the TNSM in the Swat Valley. After a cease-fire lasting some months, this operation has now been resumed following the collapse of the agreement on the introduction of religious (sharia) courts reached by the NWFP Government with the TNSM in February last.To counter the attempts of the TNSM to extend its territorial control to other Pashtun districts of the Malakand Division, the military operations have been extended to other districts too. The well-trained, well-motivated and well-entrenched jihadis of the TNSM have been giving a tough fight to the Pakistani security forces. The estimated total strength of all the trained pro-Taliban elements in the Bajaur Agency and in the Malakand Division is much less than 10,000. In his interview to "Der Spiegel", Zardari has estimated the total number of the Pakistani security forces (the Army plus the para-militarey forces) fighting against them as about 100,000. While it will be too early to assess the sincerity and likely success of the latest phase of the military operations, it is already evident that the fighting in the area has affected hundreds of thousands of innocent Pashtuns, who have had nothing to do with either the TNSM or the TTP.

4.In a report on the humanitarian situation in the Malakand Division carried by it on May 9,2009, the British Broadcasting Corporatiion (BBC) stated as follows: " The Pakistani offensive against militants has already displaced some 200,000 people, while a further 300,000 are estimated to be on the move or about to flee, the UN says. Sitara Imran, Minister for Social Welfare in North-West Frontier Province, called the exodus "one of the huge displacements, internal displacements in the world". "We are preparing ourselves with the help of the federal government, we asked international donors," she told the BBC's Newshour programme. She said all her department's doctors and social welfare staff had been mobilised and that holidays had been suspended as they worked to prepare for the influx. "The whole Swat is coming out from [the Swat Valley] so, naturally, it is a very difficult and complex situation," she said. Some 550,000 people had already been displaced by fighting since August, before the current crisis, the UN refugee agency said."

5. Thus, at least over a million Pashtuns, who have had nothing to do with the TNSM or the TTP, have been affected by the on-going military operations. Whereas the humanitarian plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils has received world-wide attention, that of the Pashtuns has not received the attention it deserved. The Pakistani Taliban does not allow international humanitarian organisations to operate in the territory under itrs control. It views them as organisations of the Crusaders or infidels. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of Geneva, which has a presence in the Pashtun belt on the Afghan side of the border, does not seem to have a presence in the Pakistani Pashtun belt. The Pakistani Red Crescent Society, which is their Red Cross, has not been active in the areas affected by the operations of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

6. Pakistani human rights organisations such as the one headed by Asma Jehangir, which have been active in exposing the atrocities committed by the Taliban, have not been equally active in drawing attention to the worrisome humanitarian situation in the Pashtun belt. The result: Hundreds of thousands of poor Pashtun families have been forced to fend for themselves without much assistance either from their own Government and non-governmental organisations or from the international community.

7.The Neo Taliban of Afghanistan headed by Mulla Mohammad Omar and the TTP and the TNSM have been drawing their cadres mainly from three segments of the Pashtun population---- first, the Pashtun refugees of the 1980s from Afghanistan still living in camps in Baloshistan without any rehabilitation. The Pakistani authorities estimate their number at about one million. Second, the one million internally-displaced Pashtuns of the FATA and the Malakand Division. Third, the Pashtun families alienated by the Pakistan Army's commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007.

8.There ought to be four components to any counter-terrorism strategy in the Af-Pak region---- first, the counter-sanctuary component, that is to deny them space in Pakistani and Afghan territories from where they could operate against Pakistan, Afghanistan and the rest of the world. President Obama stressed this point after his meeting with Zardari and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in the White House earlier this week. Second, the counter-capability component, which focusses on nudging the Pakistani and Afghan Armies to mount a campaign of attrition against them. This has also received some attention. The third is the counter-ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) component to prevent the ISI from exploiting the Taliban and other terrorist groups to serve Pakistan's strategic agenda in Afghanistan and against India. The attention paid to this component by the US is half-hearted. The fourth is the denial of fresh recruits component. This component demands attention to the anger and the humanitarian problems of the Pashtuns. This component has hardly figured so far either in the various policy pronouncements of the Obama Administration or in the statements made during the visit of Zardari and Karzai.

9.The officials of the Obama Administration and some Congressmen have been talking of funding various development projects in the Pashtun belt. These are long-gestation projects, which will take years to fructify if at all they do. What is urgently required are projects which will show quick results and make the Pashtuns feel that the international community cares for them. (9-5-2009)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

May 06, 2009

Pakistan’s Future Continues to Hang in the Balance

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

There is no consensus about the future of Pakistan among Pakistan experts (scholars and previous diplomats), Pakistani government spokesmen, or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Optimists believe that despite the encroachment of the Taliban, lopping off town after town, the Pakistani military can take those areas back. Pessimists note that while it is true that the army could smash the fanatics, they see no evidence that it will. Although the modern secular population of Pakistan is alarmed by the prospect of a Taliban Pakistan, they don’t seem to have the will to fight, but the Taliban does.

The imminent collapse of Pakistan did not drop out of the clouds; it has a long history, starting with the country’s beginnings. When the British were negotiating a peaceful turnover of colonial rule to the handful of India’s revolutionary leadership (led by Jawaharlal Nehru, a secular Indian nationalist), another member of the leadership, Mohammad Ali Jinna, a secular Indian of Muslim background, insisted on partition so that a new Muslim state could be created. His motivation for this was ostensibly fear that with the British gone, Hindus would persecute Muslims. The real reason, I suspect, was that he wanted power – and what more delicious power can there be than to be father of a new country?
The partition was a horror of violence with populations fleeing from Muslim to Hindu regions and vice versa.

It is interesting to note that India, Pakistan (divided into East and West Pakistan) and Israel were all born the same year. Of the three, Israel is the only one that succeeded in producing a modern state with a modern economy and an entirely literate population. India has had a much more difficult time, being a much larger, much more populous, and much more backward, but it now making up for lost time. Their government is still secular, and its large, clumsy democracy still functions – and is showing signs of improvement. The biggest remaining problem for them is the feudal nature of rural India – with a population desperately poor and appallingly ignorant.

But Pakistan, from its very inception, could not have worked. The fact that the population was Muslim was not enough to make a country. Its provinces are feudal, tribal, and have little in common with the relatively small secular elite governing the country. First, East Pakistan fought a war to get out from under the nasty governance of West Pakistan – and became Bangladesh. Now the western tribal areas, feudal and anarchistic, are in the process of removing themselves from Pakistan (or threatening to take over the whole country themselves). One fanatical leader warned: “today Swat, tomorrow Pakistan, and then the rest of the world.” Of course this is silly, but chilling to secular Pakistanis.

Another province is on the verge of rebellion – Baluchistan in the south, is developing an important port on the Indian Ocean (with Chinese money). The Baluchis are a tribe that spills over into Iran and Afghanistan, and were until now one of the most backward and feudal of the region’s tribes. They are about to get some wealth from that port – and they want to keep it. They hate Pakistan and will probably agitate to create their own state.
The Pakistan government has wasted a half-century in paranoid fear of India; they have spent their money on repression, no public education system at all, and a judiciary that functions like that of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. The result is that they have little to show for their independence, except for a small, English-speaking, secular elite. Their modern army has a secular elite officer corps, but increasingly, the recruits are coming from the uneducated sector that is being radicalized by militant Islam. This happened in Iran, and the Shah’s army was not able to maintain control over its recruits.

If I were part of that secular elite, I would petition India to let me (and my nukes) back in. India should never have been partitioned in the first place.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is an historian, lecturer, and author who also writes for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or http://www.globalthink.net/.

A Baluch Dissent



DOWNLOAD COMPLETE REPORT : PAKISTAN STATE OF THE UNION
Wahid Baloch

Contrary to this report, the Baluch people are not fighting Pakistan for a greater share of resources,provincial autonomy or restoration of the 1973 Constitution. It is a great injustice, distortion of fact and misleading to say that Baluch are fighting for such things. Baluch demands are simple and clear. “End the illegal occupation of Baluchistan.”

The only solution that is acceptable to the Baluch people is the end of the Pakistani illegal occupation, the withdrawal of all Pakistani forces from occupied Baluchistan, the unification of all three parts of Baluchistan (i.e., the Iranian Occupied Baluchistan, the Pakistani Occupied Baluchistan and the Afghan portion of Baluchistan) into one United Baluchistan, with the restoration of Baluch sovereignty over Baluch lands, coasts and resources. Nothing less than that will be acceptable to the Baluch people.

Baluch do not consider themselves as Pakistani. We are a secular nation. We should not be forced to live in with terrorists and extremists in Pakistan. We have nothing in common with Islamic Pakistan. Our culture, language and traditions are completely different from that of Pakistan. We are not separatists or terrorists as the Pakistan media projects us to be. We are fighting for our freedom that Pakistan has taken away from us. Baluchistan was never a part of Pakistan. Baluch people were not a part of Indian Muslim League’s movement to create Pakistan.

Baluchistan was an independent sovereign state even before Pakistan was created out of India in 1947. Baluchistan was forcefully annexed into Pakistan against the wishes of Baluch people, in March 27, 1948, at gunpoint by the Pakistani Terrorist Islamic army. Since then Baluch are fighting against the Pakistani illegal occupation of their land and exploitation of their resources. Pakistan is in violation of international law for its continuous illegal occupation of Baluchistan and exploitation of Baluch resources. Pakistani army has committed war crimes against the Baluch people in Baluchistan. These war crimes include indiscriminate bombing women and children, use of chemical weapons, rape, torture, murder, disappearances and displacement of thousands of Baluch people, testing its nuclear weapons in Baluchistan, rendering hundreds of miles of Baluch lands into waste and leading to thousands of nomadic lives to perish, causing abnormal birth defects and spread of other diseases as a result of radio active materials. These and many other crimes are well documented by independent human rights organizations. They all constitute crimes against humanity and call for international intervention and action that is long overdue.

Pakistan owes the Baluch people trillions of dollars for illegally occupying Baluch land, exploiting Baluch resources for the last 60 years and for testing its nuclear weapons on Baluch soil without the Baluch consent. Pakistani army must leave Baluchistan peacefully without further bloodshed and Pakistan must pay restitution to thousand Baluch families whose loved ones were killed, tortured, murdered, jailed or made disappeared by Pakistani army and ISI. We are not an enemy of the United States. An independent free democratic secular united Baluchistan is not against the U.S. interests. We support NATO forces and the democratic Government of President Hamid Karzai against Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists.

Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of
Baloch Society Of North America (BSO-NA),
1629 K Street NW, Suit 300
Washington D.C 20036 USA
Tel: (202) 349-1682
Fax: (202) 331-3759
E-Mail: Contact@bso-na.org
Website: http://www.bso-na.org/



A Baluch Dissent
Wahid Baloch
Contrary to this report, the Baluch people are not fighting Pakistan for a greater share of resources,
provincial autonomy or restoration of the 1973 Constitution. It is a great injustice, distortion of fact
and misleading to say that Baluch are fighting for such things.
Baluch demands are simple and clear. “End the illegal occupation of Baluchistan.”
The only solution that is acceptable to the Baluch people is the end of the Pakistani illegal
occupation, the withdrawal of all Pakistani forces from occupied Baluchistan, the unification of all
three parts of Baluchistan (i.e., the Iranian Occupied Baluchistan, the Pakistani Occupied Baluchistan
and the Afghan portion of Baluchistan) into one United Baluchistan, with the restoration of Baluch
sovereignty over Baluch lands, coasts and resources. Nothing less than that will be acceptable to the
Baluch people.
Baluch do not consider themselves as Pakistani. We are a secular nation. We should not be
forced to live in with terrorists and extremists in Pakistan. We have nothing in common with Islamic
Pakistan. Our culture, language and traditions are completely different from that of Pakistan. We are
not separatists or terrorists as the Pakistan media projects us to be. We are fighting for our freedom
that Pakistan has taken away from us. Baluchistan was never a part of Pakistan. Baluch people were
not a part of Indian Muslim League’s movement to create Pakistan.
Baluchistan was an independent sovereign state even before Pakistan was created out of
India in 1947. Baluchistan was forcefully annexed into Pakistan against the wishes of Baluch people,
in March 27, 1948, at gunpoint by the Pakistani Terrorist Islamic army. Since then Baluch are fighting
against the Pakistani illegal occupation of their land and exploitation of their resources.
Pakistan is in violation of international law for its continuous illegal occupation of
Baluchistan and exploitation of Baluch resources. Pakistani army has committed war crimes against
the Baluch people in Baluchistan. These war crimes include indiscriminate bombing women and
children, use of chemical weapons, rape, torture, murder, disappearances and displacement of
thousands of Baluch people, testing its nuclear weapons in Baluchistan, rendering hundreds of miles
of Baluch lands into waste and leading to thousands of nomadic lives to perish, causing abnormal
birth defects and spread of other diseases as a result of radio active materials. These and many other
crimes are well documented by independent human rights organizations. They all constitute crimes
against humanity and call for international intervention and action that is long overdue.
Pakistan owes the Baluch people trillions of dollars for illegally occupying Baluch land,
exploiting Baluch resources for the last 60 years and for testing its nuclear weapons on Baluch soil
Pakistan The State of the Union
74
Working Papers
Pakistan The State of the Union 75
without the Baluch consent. Pakistani army must leave Baluchistan peacefully without further
bloodshed and Pakistan must pay restitution to thousand Baluch families whose loved ones
were killed, tortured, murdered, jailed or made disappeared by Pakistani army and ISI.
We are not an enemy of the United States. An independent free democratic secular
united Baluchistan is not against the U.S. interests. We support NATO forces and the democratic
Government of President Hamid Karzai against Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists.
I would like to emphasize that the Baluchistan was never a part of Pakistan but was a
sovereign state which was forcefully occupied by Pakistani army and annexed into Pakistan at gun
point on March 27, 1948 against the wishes of the Baluch people. Ever since, Baluchistan has been
under the Pakistani military’s illegal occupation and siege and its people are being subjected to the
worse Nazi-style brutalities to silence their genuine voice against the illegal, immoral and unjust
occupation of their land and exploitations of their resources. Pakistan is in violation of International
laws for its continuous illegal occupation of Baluchistan for the last 61 years.
Baluchistan, rich in oil, gas, gold, copper and other minerals with 900 miles of strategically
located coast line, extending from the Strait of Hormuz to Karachi, is very important for Pakistan’s
survival. Without Baluchistan Pakistan cannot survive and will collapse within days. Baluchistan is
extremely rich but its natives are extremely poor and in the Stone Age. Baluchistan has the highest
infant mortality rate in the world.
Over the last six decades Pakistan army has carried out five military operations in
Baluchistan and the fifth one is still going on. Among the victims include the top Baluch Nationalist
leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who was assassinated by Pakistani army on August 26, 2006 in a
massive military operation at his hide-out using military gun ship helicopter and napalm bombs
in Dera Bugti, Baluchistan. He was the former chief minister and governor of Baluchistan.
Since March 2005, thousands of Baluch, including women and children, have been killed by
Pakistani army’s indiscriminate bombing and more than 250,000 Baluch have been dislocated from
their homes and are living in harsh conditions. Robert van Dijk, the top UNICEF officer for Pakistan,
who visited the Baluch refugee camp, described the situation as grave and called it a “crime against
humanity.” He condemned the Pakistani military for not allowing UN Aid workers to distribute aid
packages including food, tents, and medicine to Baluch refugees who are dying of hunger and water
born diseases.
The premier Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Asian Human Rights Commission
and Amnesty International have deplored Pakistan’s atrocities on the people of Baluchistan, who have
been subjected to helicopter gunship attacks and use of poison phosphorus gas in recent months.
The confirmed and published reports about Baluchistan should give you a clear picture about the
prevailing terrifying human rights situation in Baluchistan.
Soon after Nawab Bugti’s assassination, the most significant event was the Grand Baluch
Jirga, Baluchistan’s representative assembly, called upon by De Jure ruler of Baluchistan the Khan
of Kalat, Suleiman Daud Ahmedzai, which was attended by almost all Baluch tribal leaders, political
leaders, activists and students. The historic Grand Baluch Jirga denounced the Pakistani military
operation in Baluchistan and extra-judicial killing of Nawab Bugti and made a unanimous declaration
to challenge the illegal occupation of Baluchistan at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
76
Pakistan The State of the Union
Khan of Kalat is currently in London seeking political asymlum.
Pakistan’s military is committing gross atrocities and serious war crimes against the
Baluch people in Baluchistan. The fifth military operation that started in March, 2005, is still going on
in Baluchistan, which has resulted in the loss of life for thousands of the Baluch people, including
children, women and elderly, and has resulted in displacement of hundreds and thousands of civilian
Baluch population. The national leaders of Baluchistan have been in prison without trial, humiliated
and target killed by Pakistani civil and military authorities. Thousands of political activists have been
kidnapped, tortured and killed. We genuinely believe that it is the moral duty of the United States and
world community to assist the Baluch people in ending the illegal occupation of their country.
We expect and ask the Obama administration the champion of freedom and justice and the leader of
the free world, to recognize the historic fact that Baluchistan is an occupied land and that Baluchistan
was never a part of Pakistan. Trying to Pakistanize Baluchistan at the gunpoint wand through the
slogan of Allah-o-Akbar by Pakistan has not worked for the last six decades and will not work in the
future. Simply because the majority of Baluch are born Muslim, does not give the Jihadi armies of
Paksitan and Iran a license to continue to occupy our lands, conduct genocide of our people, loot and
plunder our resources and test their nuclear weapons in Baluchistan. The U.S. Government and the
world community must not close their eyes over the crimes against the secular Baluch people.
Baluch people, just like the Kurds, are secular and a great ally in the war on terror.
We support and defend the International Security Assistance Force and the democratic government
of Afghanistan’s right to pursue the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists right into the sanctuaries
provided to them by the Pakistan army and the Inter Services Intelligence. A Baluchistan ruled by
secular forces is in the interest of the peoples of the world, including the United States

May 05, 2009

RUSSIA: Main Intelligence Directorate gets new chief

17:00 | 28/ 04/ 2009



MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - On April 24, President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed Army General Valentin Korabelnikov from the position of chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), Russia's military intelligence agency, and deputy chief of the General Staff and appointed Korabelnikov's deputy, Lieutenant General Alexander Shlyakhturov, in his place.

Korabelnikov's possible resignation, which was long surrounded by rumors, is now a reality. The Russian media says Korabelnikov opposed the Kremlin's sweeping reforms for the country's Armed Forces.

In the past few months, top GRU officials and the Defense Ministry were divided on the military reform, primarily its aspects concerning the military intelligence agency.

The sides disagreed on the proposed reduction of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) GRU brigades and their re-subordination to military district headquarters. This process became the focus of contradictory media reports, some of which implied that the Armed Forces would be deprived of their SWAT units.

A respected publication claimed that the GRU's technical reconnaissance systems, namely, space satellites and radio intercept units, would be re-subordinated to the Foreign Intelligence Service, an off-shoot of the Soviet State Security Committee (KGB).

The very same publication discussed the possible re-subordination of all GRU divisions to the Foreign Intelligence Service. Although this rumor was not confirmed, it, along with other reports concerning a resignation allegedly handed in by Korabelnikov, caused many questions about the future of the GRU and the entire military reform.

Despite groundless rumors concerning the GRU's possible liquidation, many analysts knew that a conflict was brewing between top GRU and Defense Ministry officials, and that either the GRU chief or the Defense Minister would have to step down. General Korabelnikov had to resign because Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his concept of the military reform are supported by the Kremlin.

General Korabelnikov received an honorable discharge, plus the Order of Service to the Fatherland, 3rd class, and was reportedly allowed to choose his successor, General Shlyakhturov.

The public knows nothing about General Shlyakhturov's biography and service record. Such tight secrecy implies that he is a career intelligence operative.

It is unclear how the GRU of the General Staff will change under General Shlyakhturov. One thing is obvious: The agency will have to be overhauled together with the entire army, whose administrative and troop control divisions, which had evolved over the decades, are currently being revamped. Personnel cuts and other negative consequences seem inevitable.

However, most Russians will never be able to assess the effectiveness of the GRU reform.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Costs of War: The Fear Virus


A swine flu 'protective' kit


A virulent disease sweeps the US, but it isn't swine flu. The fear virus, spawned by the war on terrorism, causes an over-reaction to the H1N1 flu that could be more dangerous and costly than the actual disease, Shaun Waterman writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Shaun Waterman in Washington, DC for ISN Security Watch


One of the key challenges for government in any public health emergency is the calibration of its messages to the population. Panicked residents can easily overwhelm the health services of any town or city if enough of them only think they are sick; so officials are supposed to stick carefully to the script government scientists and doctors prepare for them to ensure the delivery of a consistent and credible message to the public.

Since the 26 April declaration of a federal public health emergency in relation to the emergence of a new strain of influenza virus - Novel A H1N1, initially popularly called swine flu - US officials have been carefully following the expert playbook. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and other cabinet members have been briefing the press daily alongside top government scientists and medical officials. The administration’s advice on limiting the virus’ spread - regular hand washing and the use and disposal of tissues - has even become fodder for late-night TV comedians - a sign of cultural ubiquity, if not necessarily success.

So Vice President Joseph Biden’s comments on NBC Television last Thursday morning must have had a few people choking on their coffee.

“I would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. It's not that it's just going to Mexico, it's that you're in a confined aircraft,” Biden replied when asked what advice he would give to a relative who planned to fly to Mexico, where the outbreak began. “If you're out in the middle of a field when someone sneezes, that's one thing. If you're in a closed aircraft or a closed container or closed car or closed classroom, it's another thing.”

To be fair to the vice president, the interview was conducted over the subtitle “Swine flu outbreak: Is the US doing enough to stop the spread?” and he was asked why the administration had no plans to close the border.

At this point, the number of confirmed deaths from H1N1 in Mexico was about a dozen, from 100 or so confirmed infections - although “estimates” in the news media ran as high as 160 fatalities. But with dozens of confirmed cases - and only a single death - in the US, the question was already being posed: Why the different death rates? Why did the disease seem to be so much more deadly there than at home?

But the figures from Mexico were - and still are - far from comprehensive, and greatly over-state the occurrence of serious illness and death, because the initial tests were all done on hospitalized patients, “the sickest of the sick,” Acting Director of the US Centers for Disease Control Richard Besser acknowledged during the weekend.

The disease had been much more widespread than those numbers would suggest, Besser said. “Initial reports really were looking at flu that was all presenting as hospitalization, high rates of mortality,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press. “As we're looking more, we're seeing that that may have actually been the tip of the iceberg, with a large number of cases that were less severe [...] it appears that they have had widespread flu across their country.”

“As we learn more about how widespread this is,” he continued, “it may be that the rates of severe disease in Mexico will end up being not different than what we see here.”

In other words: Why was H1N1 so much more deadly in Mexico? Answer: It wasn’t.

In retrospect, Biden’s comments, unfortunate as they were, are starting to look like the rhetorical turning point of a week marked by the kind of endless hyperventilation and breathless speculation about crucial unknowns that only wall-to-wall cable news coverage can provide.

“The administration’s plan for any terrorist attack should prioritize moving [Biden] to an undisclosed location,” jokes Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. “Not for his security or for continuity of government, [but] so he won’t appear in the media!”

On Friday, President Barack Obama himself took care to stress the precautionary character of all the administration’s actions - including $2 billion in emergency spending in the war supplemental for this year; advice to close schools where the disease is detected for up to 14 days; and the release of 11 million courses of anti-viral treatment from federal drug stockpiles to state and local authorities.

In Mexico, he said, “relatively young, healthy people” had died. “So that's why we're taking it seriously. We have not yet seen those same kinds of fatalities here in the United States among young, healthy people … but we want to make sure that we're preparing appropriately.”

Calling it a “cause for concern, but not alarm,” Obama concluded, “We are essentially ensuring that in the worst-case scenario we can manage this [...].

“Obviously,” he said later in the day making a similar point, “we hope the precautions we’re taking prove unnecessary, but better safe than sorry.”

The problem with governing in accordance with the precautionary principle lies in what it might cost to be “safe,” and to deal with the inevitable, occasional miss-calibrations of the message.

“Even the precautions that you take against this kind of global flu pandemic could knock about 1.9 [or] 2 percent off global [economic production]. That’s about a trillion dollars,” according to journalist Martin Walker, who cited World Bank figures from a study last year.

The Economist reported last week that the crisis in Mexico was costing Mexico City’s service and retail industries $55m a day - not because of the handful of deaths but because of people’s reactions. And that was even before the national suspension of non-essential public activities called for this week by the authorities there, which was expected to double that cost.

In the US, the Washington Post reported Monday that businesses in the capital and its suburbs were bracing themselves for the effects of spreading school closures, which “appeared likely to create a ripple effect for employers across the region as parents drew up plans to take off work if they cannot make other arrangements.”

Following Biden’s comments, there were reports of US carriers cutting schedules to Mexico and other travel being canceled or postponed.

The Air Transport Association, which represents the big US airlines, says it won’t have figures on the industry-wide impact for three weeks or so, since the numbers are generally only available a month in arrears.

“It’s too soon to tell,” Elizabeth Merida, the association’s spokeswoman told ISN Security Watch. And she said it would be hard to isolate the impact of any particular event or remarks from the cost of the public reaction.

Perfect calibration will always be beyond the grasp of policymakers, even the best-intentioned and well-disciplined of them, because of the lopsided impact of the different kinds of messages.

“Fear is much more virulent than statistics,” Cato’s Harper told ISN Security Watch. In the early stages of the crisis that the emergence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - better known as mad cow disease - provoked in Britain in the mid-1990s, Agriculture Secretary John Selwyn Gummer staged a photo-op where he fed his two young children beef-burgers to drive home the point that the meat was safe.

He was excoriated by the press and public opinion, but his fate illustrates the problem policymakers face. “It’s very hard to calm people with numbers,” pointed out Harper.



Shaun Waterman is a senior writer and analyst for ISN Security Watch. He is a UK journalist based in Washington, DC, covering homeland and national security.

NEPAL: WHAT NEXT?

B.RAMAN



In a televised address to the nation on the afternoon of May 4,2009, the Maoist Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, dramatically announced his resignation in the wake of opposition to his decision the previous day to sack the 61-year-old Army Chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal following the General’s opposition to the demand of Prachanda for the integration of the members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) raised by the Maoists during their days in the insurgency into the Army. Gen. Kul Bahadur Khadka, the No.2 in the Army, was asked by Prachanda to act as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) until further orders.


2. Before announcing his decision, Prachanda met with Katawal and Khadka separately first, then jointly, before seeking the approval of the Cabinet for sacking the COAS. His decision was opposed by the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) with 108 members in the Constituent Assembly, which decided to quit the ruling coalition Government. “We decided to withdraw our support to protest the Prime Minister’s unilateral decision,” CPN-UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokhrel said.


3.While the Nepali Congress and the Madhesi Peoples Party joined 17 other parties in opposing the sacking of the General , the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) with 51 members in the Assembly and some other smaller parties maintained an ambivalent attitude. The MPRF reportedly submitted a note of dissent disagreeing with Prachanda’s decision, but did not leave the coalition. The CPN-Maoist with 229 seats in the Constituent Assembly needed the crucial support from MPRF and other small parties to continue to enjoy a majority in the 601-member Assembly tasked to frame a new constitution for the country after it abolished its unpopular 240-year-old monarchy last year.


4. Prachanda’s action in unilaterally sacking the Army Chief despite strong opposition in the coalition Cabinet was nullified by the President Ram Baran Yadav, who faxed a special instruction to the Chief of the Army Staff "asking him to continue in his office in the capacity of CoAS as per the Interim Constitution, 2007, and the existing law".


5. The spokesman of the Maoists, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who is the Minister for Information and Communication, told the media that the President’s order to the COAS to continue in office was tantamount to a "constitutional coup" and said that the Maoists would fight back with street protests. He said: "The President is... violating constitutional norms. The President's move has put the peace process in peril. Our party has taken the President's step as a constitutional coup and we will fight against it. The executive power to sack and appoint an acting army chief lies with the Government and not the President. We will stick to our decision. We don't have any plans to quit the Government."


6. Prachanda called the Attorney General Raghav Lal Baidya and senior Cabinet colleagues early on May 4 to discuss the constitutionality and consequences of the President's intervention. There was speculation that the Maoists might move for the impeachment of the President. After finding that they would not have the required support for such a move in the Constituent Assembly, he decided to resign.


7. It remains to be seen whether his resignation is a purely tactical move to confront the other members of the ruling coalition with the danger of serious political instability if they did not support his sacking of the Army chief or was forced by his realizing that there was no way he could have his way against the Army chief. Both the Army chief and Prajwal, the Commander of the seventh division of the PLA, were reported to have ordered the two forces under their respective command to remain in a state of alert to prevent any disturbance of law and order.


8. The peace accord reached by the various political parties before last year’s election to the Constituent Assembly had provided for the rehabilitation and integration of the members of the PLA and other Maoist cadres, including members of the people’s courts set up by the Maoists during their days in the insurgency. After Prachanda assumed office in August last year as the Prime Minister, differences surfaced over the interpretation of this principle. The Maoists treated rehabilitation and integration as synonymous and insisted that the only of rehabilitating the 19,000 members of the PLA was by integrating them into the Army, barring those physically unfit or unwilling to serve in the Army.


9. The Army and other political parties were strongly opposed to this. They held that rehabilitation and integration were two different processes. According to them, rehabilitation meant enabling the Maoist cadres to be gainfully employed, but not necessarily in the Army. While they were prepared to consider the integration of small numbers of the PLA into the Army if they were found to be professionally suitable, they were not prepared to agree to the wholesale merger of the PLA into the Army. Such an action would have resulted in about one-fourth of the Army consisting of indoctrinated Maoists, with their number steadily increasing with fresh recruitment.


10. Prachanda also wanted that the Maoists, who held officer-equivalent ranks in the PLA, should be given appropriate ranks in the Army. Thus, he reportedly wanted PLA commander Nanda Kishor

Pun “Pasang” to be made a Major General and many others to get the rank of Brigadiers. He also reportedly wanted that there should be no new recruitment to the Army for some years.


11. Neil Horning, an American expert on the Maoist movement of Nepal, who is himself believed to be sympathetic to the Maoists, wrote as follows is his blogspot on the controversy between rehabilitation and integration: “The mainstream parties, as well as the elite in the army, view army integration in an apocalyptic light. While integrating the PLA into the NA was agreed upon time and again in the course of peace negotiations, the Non-Maoist parties made their

agreements under the assumption that the Maoists could not possibly win electoral victory, and would not be in charge of implementing the integration. They counted on returning to the long standing Nepali political habit of agreeing to a demand in negotiation and then reneging

on it later when the opponent is not in a position to make a challenge. They are trying to do the same now by continually insisting that Maoists combatants be “rehabilitated” rather than integrated, but it is they who have lost their bargaining position. Yet, why can’t they let it

happen in the first place? The Maoists don’t have more than 20,000 troops to integrate into the more than 90,000 currently in the Army. This would hardly make the army into a force at the Maoists’ beck and call. It’s not that the army would become the private force of the Maoists, but that it would cease to be a check on them. With at least 25 per cent of troops and officers being former Maoist partisans, the possibility of a reactionary coup becomes impossible. The troops needed to suppress the public would simply turn their weapons on the command. Therefore, the army would cease to be a check and social change would continue unabated.”


12. According to Kanak Mani Dixit, the Nepali political analyst, “at their large National Council conclave in the Kharipati outskirts of Kathmandu in late November 2008, the Maoists came to the conclusion that they were in government but did not control the state, for which the Nepal Army and the independent judiciary were found to be prime obstacles. It decided that the (Maoist) cantonments should not be disbanded until the new constitution is written.”


13. When the Maoists found that whenever they had a dispute with the Army over issues such as the ban on new recruitment which was disregarded by the COAS the judiciary was taking up a position, which was unfavourable to the Maoists, they also started talking of integrating the members of the former Maoists’ people’s courts into the judiciary.


14. The COAS went ahead with the new recruitment recruiting nearly 2800 persons to fill up existing vacancies in the Army and the PLA retaliated by making fresh recruitment to the PLA in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Thus, Nepal under Prachanda as the Prime Minister saw the spectre of two parallel armies---- the state Army and the non-State PLA--- strengthening and preparing themselves for a future confrontation should the Maoists’ demand for total integration be turned down.


15. While the Chinese closely monitored the situation by interacting intensely with various political formations, India and the US reportedly cautioned Prachanda against a confrontation on this issue. Prachanda increasingly became unresponsive to the advice for moderation from India and the US and insisted on having his way.


16. It is not clear why Prachanda decided to force a confrontation with the COAS at this stage instead of waiting till September, when Gen.Katawal is due to superannuate. One possible reason for his hasty action is that Gen.Khadka, who is believed to be not opposed to the integration of the PLA into the Army, is due to superannuate in June. It is suspected that Prachanda wanted to make him the chief before his superannuation and give him a two-year tenure so that the integration of the PLA into the Army could be brought about without any further opposition from the Army. His plans were thwarted by the President.


17. What could happen now? The following are the possible scenarios:


SCENARIO 1: A serious political crisis with violent demonstrations by the Maoists which results in one more compromise. The Chinese will try their best to see that the Maoist-led Government, which has effectively put down Tibetan activity in Nepali territory, remains in power.
SCENARIO 2: A violent confrontation between the PLA and the Army leading to an army coup.
SCENARIO 3: A new coalition without the Maoists, which will be unstable.


18. In my article dated April 28,2008, titled “Prachanda: From A Radical Maoist to A Lovable Mascot” available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers27/paper2684.html I wrote as follows: “Taking advantage of the popular uprising of 2006 against the widely-detested King, the Maoists entered the coalition Government, which replaced a Government of royalist stooges, and started dictating terms as to how the integration should take place. They themselves became one of the policy-makers to decide on the process of integration. The integration is taking

place not on the basis of negotiations between the Government and the insurgents, but in response to diktats issued from time to time by the Maoists in return for their continued participation in the Government. They are all the time giving out discreet threats that if their

diktats are rejected, they might quit the Government and revert to insurgency. The holding of the elections to the Constituent Assembly before the ground rules for integration were agreed upon and the victory of the Maoists in the elections----significant, but not spectacular as projected by sections of the media--- have led to a situation where the Maoists will be at the head of a Government which will take crucial decisions on the post-facto legitimisation of the terrorist infrastructure raised by the Maoists and on the ground rules for the integration of their ideologically motivated and well-trained cadres. The moment the Maoists assume leadership in the seats of power and decision-making, will it be possible to resist their demands? If the integration of over 3000 ideologically indoctrinated cadres of the insurgent army into the Nepal Army comes about, we will have to the west of us an army ideologically motivated by jihadi doctrines and to the east of us an army ideologically motivated by Marxism,

Leninism and Mao's Thoughts. There are two possible scenarios--- these fears turn out to be baseless and Prachanda turns out to be a genuine democrat and a genuine friend of India or Prachanda after the elections turns out to be different from Prachanda before the elections and takes Nepal on a road, which would be detrimental to our national interests. While hoping for the first scenario, we must be prepared for the second. “


19. In a subsequent article dated August 9, 2008, titled “RISE OF MAOISTS IN NEPAL: IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA” available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers29/paper2802.html I wrote as follows: “Addressing the Nepal Council of World Affairs at Kathmandu on August 5, 2008, the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Zheng Xianglin said: "Nepal is situated in a favorable geographical position in South Asia, and is a passage linking China and South Asia." That is the reason for the Chinese interest in Nepal----as a passage to South Asia and as an instrument for strengthening the Chinese presence in South Asia. China has a Look South policy to counter our Look East policy. As we try to move Eastwards to cultivate the countries of South-East Asia, it is trying to move southwards to outflank us. China is not a South Asian power, but it already has a growing South Asian strategic

presence----- in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is hoping to acquire a similar presence in Nepal with the co-operation of a Maoist-dominated Government.”


20. China would try its best to see that the Maoists stay in power. Their continuance in power in Kathmandu is important for stability in Tibet. In the past, we had supported the Maoists thinking that Prachanda would take a neutral line between India and China. These hopes are elusive. Should we facilitate the Chinese designs in Nepal by bringing about a political compromise which would enable the Maoists to continue in power or has the time come to work for a non-Maoist alternative? This requires serious examination in our policy-making circles. (4-5-2009)


(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

May 04, 2009

Being A Spy; Europe, Iran And The Bomb; How Organized Crime Got Hooked On Drugs -- And Other Interesting Stuff (Fora.tv)

Source : SourcesAndMethods.Blogspot.com

Being A Spy; Europe, Iran And The Bomb; How Organized Crime Got Hooked On Drugs -- And Other Interesting Stuff (Fora.tv)


Fora.tv is a streaming video service that hosts speeches and presentations by world class experts in a variety of areas. A number of their recent offerings should be particularly interesting to intelligence professionals (Note: The descriptions below come directly from Fora but have been lightly edited for length, etc.):Stella Remington on Being A SpyStella Remington says she's had 4 careers. First as a librarian/archivist, then a diplomat's wife, in MI5, and now as an author. She has written four books, her first a memoir titled Open Secret: the Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5. She has published three spy-thriller novels Secret Asset, Illegal Action and Dead Line. She's currently working on a fourth novel.Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009Location: Sydney, Australia, Dymocks Literary LunchProgram and discussion: http://fora.tv/2009/03/27/Stella_Rimington_on_Being_A_SpyUnder a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran, and the BombSince Iran's illicit nuclear program was exposed to a stunned world in 2002, Tehran has defied the international community and continued to pursue its nuclear goals. What drives this seemingly apocalyptic quest? Are Iran's aims rational or not? Under a Mushroom Cloud analyzes this catastrophic and murky situation, and examines Iran's dual-track approach of accelerating its nuclear activities while weaving itself ever more tightly into the fabric of the European economy.Date: Wed, 01 Apr 2009Location: Transatlantic Institute, Brussels, BelgiumProgram and discussion: http://fora.tv/2009/04/01/Under_a_Mushroom_Cloud_Europe_Iran_and_the_BombSmack Express: How Organised Crime Got Hooked on DrugsOne of Australia's most successful detectives, Clive Small's book, Smack Express: How Organised Crime got Hooked on Drugs is an insight into drug trafficking and organised crime on Australia's east coast. Written with journalist Tom Gilling, it features an extraordinary range of colourful characters and situations such as one bloke who thought that throwing someone into the boot of a car and driving it to South Australia wasn't kidnapping, because "he never asked to get out of the boot".Date: Thu, 09 Apr 2009Location: Gleebooks, Sydney, AustraliaProgram and discussion: http://fora.tv/2009/04/09/Smack_Express_How_Organised_Crime_Got_Hooked_on_DrugsBorder Patrol: Pakistan and AfghanistanEight years after 9/11, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is as lawless as ever and Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Should the U.S. move to secure this region, home to ranks of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders?Date: Sun, 01 Feb 2009Location: Foreign Policy Association, New York, NYProgram and discussion: http://fora.tv/2009/02/01/Border_Patrol_Pakistan_and_Afghanistan

May 03, 2009

Baloch and Sindhi groups to hold public meeting in front of White House

Press release

On May 06, 2009 Baloch International League (for peace & freedom) and Baloch and Sindhi human rights organizations in the United States will hold a public meeting in front of the White House and a protest march from White House to State Department to record their protest and handover a memorandum to the officials at the two places against the genocide of Baloch people in Balochistan, disappearances of Baloch youth, women, intellectuals, political activists by notorious ISI and cold blooded killings of Baloch leaders, and gross violation of human rights in general. The demonstrators will also condemn and protest the plundering of natural resources of Sindh and human rights violation by Pakistani civil and military bureaucracy and secret services.

The protest will coincide with President Barack Obama's meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

This press release will supersede the earlier press release which was issued under the name of the so-called Sindhi Baloch Diaspora.

Program

When: Wednesday, May o6, 2009
Time: 8:00 AM
Where: White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Contact: Baloch International League leaders Dr Tara Chand 954-235-2338 or Razzaq Baloch 305-761-2171

Or leaders of Baloch organizations supporting the event:

Wahid Baloch, Baloch Society of North America: 904-928-0260
Ahmar Mustikhan, American Friends of Baluchistan: 301-957-0008

Allied Sindhi organizations supporting the event:

World Sindhi Institute, former director Munawwar Leghari 202-378-0333
World Sindhi Congress, leader Dr. Safdar Sarki 530-933-6526

SUSPECTED INDIAN MONEY IN FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNTS

B.RAMAN


During the current election campaign, there has been a debate initiated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the action taken or not taken to identify the secret overseas bank accounts of Indian nationals and to bring the money back for use in our development projects. The BJP and the Congress (I) have been accusing each other of inaction in this regard.


2. The banking secrecy laws of countries such as Switzerland protect the secrecy of only the accounts of individual account-holders. Nations do not enjoy the protection of secrecy. Thus, while the Swiss Federal Government in Berne protects the secrecy of individual accounts, it has been publishing every year since the 1980s the total value of the deposits held in Swiss banks by residents of different countries.


3. The Government of India became aware of this in the 1980s when a Sindhi nationalist organization of Pakistan got hold of this annual statement, made an analysis of the deposits held by residents in Pakistan and came out with serious allegations against some Pakistani political leaders and military officers. Since then at least till I was in service in 1994, the Government of India was getting a copy of this annual statement giving the total value of the deposits held in Swiss banks by residents in India. The figure, however, did not include the value of the deposits held in Swiss banks by Indians residing abroad. It is my recollection that the total value of the deposits from India used to be much less than that from Pakistan. More money from Pakistan was flowing to secret Swiss bank accounts than from India.


4. The information that the equivalent of billions of rupees was held by residents in India in secret accounts abroad is, therefore, not a secret. What needed to be found out was the identities of the account holders and the modus operandi by which they were sending the money to the secret accounts. Since the Swiss laws protected individuals unless there was strong evidence that the deposits came from criminal proceeds, successive Governments in New Delhi could not make much progress in identifying these individuals.


5.In India, the collection of financial intelligence and the use of such intelligence to deal with organised crime groups, money-launderers and holders of secret overseas accounts were essentially handled by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Narcotics Control Bureau. There was no mechanism for a co-ordinated assessment of their intelligence, identification of gaps in their coverage and initiation of steps to fill such gaps.


6.This lacuna was sought to be filled up by P.Chidambaram, when he was the Finance Minister under Deva Gowda and Inder Gujral between 1996 and 1998 and his Revenue Secretary, M.R.Sivaraman, through the setting-up of a re-constituted Economic Intelligence Council chaired by the Finance Minister. During its first meeting on July 22,1997, it was reported to have set up a core group to monitor trends in financial crime and keep the Council informed. The Economic Intelligence Council, which used to act as a Joint Intelligence Committee to analyse and assess economic and financial intelligence and initiate follow-up action on it, used to meet regularly under the chairmanship of Chidambaram and Sivaraman was initiating the required follow-up action.


7. The Special Task Force for the revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus, under Shri G.C.Saxena, former head of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW),which was set up by the Government of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2000, found to its surprise that after Chidambaram and Sivaraman left office in 1998 the EIC and its core group had not met regularly and that many of the senior functionaries of the Government were not even aware of their being set up by Chidambaram. In its report, the Task Force included a separate chapter on economic and financial intelligence and made recommendations for revamping the machinery for the collection, analysis and assessment of the required intelligence.


8. Since the report of the Task Force has not been declassified and made available to the public, the public is not aware of the state of our financial intelligence set-up in 2000, the recommendations made by the Task Force to improve it and the action taken on them.


9. The attached annexure gives my observations on the state of financial intelligence in India as extracted from my book titled “Intelligence: Past, Present & Future” published by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi in 2001. There have been some changes and improvements since then such as India becoming a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) etc. (3-5-2009)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



ANNEXURE


(Extracts from my book titled “Intelligence: Past, Present & Future” published in 2001 by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi (www.lancerpublishers.com )


In the World Money-Laundering Chart prepared by the Clinton Administration, India was graded as a medium-high priority country, in a sliding scale of six grades ---high, medium high, medium, low medium, low and no priority. Amongst countries graded high were the USA itself, the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.


In a report to the Congress on money-laundering in India during 1994, it said: "The Government of India continues to be effective in its effort to reduce currency flows through the underground hawala system, but drug-traffickers, arms smugglers and other criminals continue to use this traditional remittance system to return illicit proceeds to India from all parts of the world, including the US. A new policy on imports has not eliminated the flow of gold into India, a

long-time venue for money-laundering."


It added: " Invoice manipulation is also used to conceal money movements, usually through front companies based in Hong Kong, Singapore or the Middle East. Indian criminals evade their Government's currency restrictions by opening accounts in Nepalese banks and transferring the money into accounts in India or transporting monetary instruments back to India. Some Indian traffickers are also known to have channeled money to Nepal and transferred it to Hong

Kong, Singapore and Switzerland. India has criminalised money-laundering and adopted other controls, but, as the foregoing indicates, enforcement is largely ineffective."


However, the final report on the subject for 2000 prepared by the Clinton Administration and released after Mr.Bush Jr assumed office on January 20,2001, said as follows: "The hawala (or hundi) alternative (or parallel) remittance system continues to be a key factor in money laundering and other financial crimes committed in and associated with South Asia. It is closely related to the "black" or "off the books" economies in the region. The size of the underground economies in South Asia are estimated to be 50 to 100 percent the size of the "white" or "documented" economies.


"Hawala operates on trust and connections ("trust" is one of several meanings associated with the word "hawala"). Customers trust hawala "bankers" or "operators" (known as hawaladars) who use their connections to facilitate money movement worldwide. Hawala transfers take place with little, if any, paper trail; and, when records are kept, they are usually kept in code. Contrary to various media reports, hawala is an ancient system; it was the primary money transfer mechanism used in South Asia prior to the introduction of Western banking. Today, hawala continues to be used for many legitimate transfers for cultural and financial reasons; and it also often operates in conjunction with Western banking operations.


"Dubai, India and Pakistan form a "hawala triangle" responsible for significant international money laundering activities that go far beyond South Asia. While interdiction of non-bank money laundering systems, such as hawala, is difficult enough in itself, this difficulty is sometimes compounded by ineffective money laundering countermeasures in Dubai and the other Emirates."


It further added: "Money laundering is a growing concern in India because of its large population and emergence as a regional financial center. The hawala (or hundi) alternative remittance system reportedly is used by criminals to launder money generated from drug trafficking, alien smuggling, corruption, and financial fraud.


"The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) of 1985,amended in 1988, calls for the tracing and forfeiture of assets that have been acquired through narcotics trafficking, and prohibits attempts to transfer and conceal those assets. This legislation seems to have the effect of criminalizing drug money laundering. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Chapter XXXIV (sections 451-459) establishes India's basic framework for confiscating the proceeds of crime. The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance (CLAO) of 1944 allows for the attachment and forfeiture of money or property obtained through bribery, corruption, criminal breach of trust, or theft, and of assets that are disproportionate to an individual's known sources of income.


"The Indian Parliament continues to consider draft legislation that would explicitly criminalize money laundering, impose reporting requirements on financial institutions and intermediaries, and provide for seizure and confiscation of assets related to the proceeds of crime. The Bill was referred to a select committee of the upper House of India's Parliament, which has made certain recommendations. These are currently under review by the executive branch.


"The GOI does not have a financial intelligence unit (FIU); and legislation currently before the Parliament does not call for the establishment of an FIU. The Central Economic Intelligence Unit (CEIB) is the Government of India's (GOI) lead organization for fighting financial crime. Other organizations such as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Customs and Excise, and the Reserve Bank of India also play a role in the enforcement of India's anti-money laundering laws.


"India is a party to the UN 1988 Drug Convention, and is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The GOI should adopt comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation, and create an FIU that would analyze suspicious transactions reports and cooperate with FIUs from other countries."


While India is not a member of the FATF, it is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which has its own Secretariat. Its objective is to ensure the

adoption, implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted anti-money laundering standards as set out in the recommendations of the FATF. The other members are: Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Fiji Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA and Vanuatu.The following attend its meetings as observers: Brunei, Canada, Cook Islands, Macau, China, Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, the ASEAN Secretariat, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Egmont Group of Financial

Intelligence Units of the World, the FATF Secretariat, the International Development Law Institute, the IMF, the Interpol, the Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors, the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization.


In March, 2000, the APG started a project for establishing a regional Financial Intelligence Unit, which would initially cover Fiji, Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa. The Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa have already set up their own FIUs. Fiji was in the process of doing so.


In India, the collection of financial intelligence and the use of such intelligence to deal with organised crime groups are essentially handled by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Narcotics Control Bureau. There was no mechanism for a co-ordinated assessment of their intelligence, identification of gaps in their coverage and initiation of steps to fill such gaps.


This lacuna was to be filled through the setting-up of a re-constituted Economic Intelligence Council chaired by the Finance Minister. During its first meeting on July

22,1997, it was reported to have set up a core group to monitor trends in financial crime and keep the Council informed.


The fight against money-laundering in India is complicated by the following factors:


The politician-criminal nexus.
The lack of effective control over contributions to political parties and election expenses. This enables criminal elements to use their contributions to the political process as a safe channel for money-laundering and for gaining political influence to incapacitate the intelligence and investigating agencies so that they cannot effectively act against them.
The flourishing Hawala Triangle constituted by India, Pakistan and Dubai. While the search for an entente cordiale between the States of India and Pakistan has proved elusive since 1947, there is an entente cordiale between the criminal worlds of the two countries, interacting with each other either directly or through the intermediary of their counterparts in Dubai. No study in depth has been made of this entente cordiale or, if it has been, the public has not been told of its conclusions.


There is thus a lack of the required political will to deal with this problem in an effective manner by strengthening the capabilities of the intelligence and investigating agencies and letting them function without any political interference. There has also been a lack of interest on the part of our legislators in this subject, which has a vital bearing on our national security, economic well-being and fight against terrorism and Pakistan's proxy war.


Since the NSC Secretariat is designed to function as the nerve-centre overseeing all aspects relating to our national security, it should have an oversight role in respect of the collection, assessment and utilisation of financial intelligence and evaluation of the performance of the agencies responsible for these tasks too.