March 31, 2012
Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has been sentenced to two years in prison for concealing his links to Pakistan's spy agency, operated his lobbying outfit as a "front for Pakistani intelligence" for 20 years.
Fai, 62, was sentenced to two years in jail followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy and tax violations while acting as an unregistered lobbyist for Pakistan by a US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC, Friday.
Fai, who pleaded guilty in December, headed the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which was described as a non-governmental organization financed by Americans with the goal of increasing knowledge about Kashmir.
According to court documents, the group actually got money from officials in the government of Pakistan, including members of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).
Prosecutors said the ISI not only gave Fai money but also directed the operations of his organization and he conspired to hide the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the Pakistani government to pay for lobbying in the United States about Kashmir.
"Fai spent 20 years operating the Kashmiri American Council as a front for Pakistani intelligence," US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a written statement.
"He lied to the Justice Department, the IRS and many political leaders throughout the United States as he pushed the ISI's propaganda on Kashmir."
Prosecutors say Fai admitted that from 1990 until July 2011, when he was arrested, he engaged in a conspiracy to get money from the government of Pakistan to fund the KAC and made false statements to the government.
Fai admitted that he knew a disclosure of his financial links to the ISI would harm his credibility as a supposed independent advocate for Kashmir.
Fai made personal contributions to a number of members of Congress between 1998 and 2008. Several members of Congress who had received contributions from Fai immediately made payments for the same amounts to various charities after Fai was arrested and his hidden connection to the government of Pakistan became known.
Federal Election Commission records show Fai gave $9,500 to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee between 2004 and 2008. He also gave $250 to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and the same amount to the 2000 presidential campaign of former Vice President Al Gore.
Dear Mr.Prime Minister,
The Government needs to be complimented for maintaining its cool and dignity in the face of some of the recent ill-advised actions and public comments of Gen.V.K.Singh, the outgoing Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who will be retiring on May 31,2012. Any hasty action against him or slanging match with him will lower the dignity of the office of the COAS.National interest demands that this dignity of this high office must be maintained in the eyes of the officers and jawans of the Army as well as the public. An Army marches and fights on its pride in itself, in its officers and in its chief and this pride should not be damaged.
2. Whatever be his ill-advised actions and comments, Gen.Singh enjoys a high reputation for his personal integrity and his professionalism.These positive qualities of his have to be recognised and respected. In the Government’s feelings of hurt over his ill-advised actions and public comments, his record as an officer in leading his men and serving the country should not be forgotten.
3. Certain worrisome issues have come to the fore during this controversy. These relate to the slowing down of the procurement process in the Armed Services as a whole which seems to have had an impact on the arms and ammunition and other equipment holdings of the Army and the casual and non-serious manner in which allegations of corruption are handled both in the Army Headquarters and the Defence Ministry. There have been serious sins of commission and omission in both and by both, which have at least partly contributed to the present controversy.
4.Not only members of the public, but also the soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces in their barracks and cantonments would be discussing and analysing the merits of some of the issues raised by the COAS, the validity of which cannot and should not be questioned. These issues have to be addressed seriously and the public and the Armed Forces convinced that the Government has not been and will not be indifferent to the serious and worrisome issues projected by the COAS----whatever might have been his motive in projecting them from the roof top instead of across the table within the confines of the offices of the South Block.
5.The Government should immediately initiate action to address the deficiencies in the state of our defence preparedness pointed out by the COAS. The action has to be two-fold--- immediate procurement on an emergency basis of the various items mentioned by the COAS in his letter of March 12 to you and short and medium term measures for removing the bottler-necks and speed-breakers that seem to have crept into our procurement process during the last 10 years.
6. I would strongly recommend the appointment of an Eminent Chiefs Group of the Armed Forces consisting of one past chief each of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy headed by the nominee of the Army to go into the contents of the COAS letter of March 12 and recommend a time-bound plan of action.
7. While it is important to establish how the contents of the letter leaked to the media and initiate disciplinary action against the person found responsible for the serious breach of security, the Government should not allow its anger and discomfiture over the leak to divert its attention from the need to address immediately the worrisome state of affairs pointed out by the COAS.
8. Another issue calling for action is to go into the procedure adopted by the Armed Forces Headquarters and the Defence Ministry for dealing with complaints of corruption so that the public and the three forces are reassured that there is no attempt to cover them up . This enquiry could be entrusted to an eminent retired Judge of the Supreme Court. He could go into various issues such as the role of the Central Vigilance Commissioner in checking corruption in the Armed Forces and the Defence Ministry, the existing vigilance mechanism in them and the trigger mechanism by which action is triggered when there is a complaint.While it is important to weed out corruption, it is equally important to ensure that motivated allegations and suspicions planted with an ulterior motive do not slow down the procurement process to the detriment of the Armed Forces.
9. During the course of the public debate on the sequel to L’Affaire COAS certain lingering issues from the past have also been raised---such as the non-implementation of the recommendations of the Arun Singh Task Force regarding the reorganisation and modernisation of defence management and an alleged disuse of the past practice of the Prime Minister personally interacting with the three chiefs on various issues relating to the three services and the state of our defence preparedness.
10. ShriArun Singh is a highly regarded expert on matters relating to the modernisation of defence management and enjoys tremendous respect in the Armed Forces as well as among the civilian bureaucracy. I would suggest that he should be requested to go into this aspect once again and suggest remedial measures. It is important for the Prime Minister to take the initiative for periodically interacting with the three service chiefs.
11. Many countries including Japan and China have the practice of periodically issuing a White Paper on Defence to create greater transparency about defence matters. This is a practice which is worthy of emulation by us. The Government should quickly come out with a White Paper on the various measures already taken or proposed to be taken for the modernisation of the Armed Forces and the defence management.
12. I know personally that some of the allegations being made projecting the civilian bureaucracy as the villain of the piece in the tardy implementation of the recommendations of the Arun Singh Task Force are due to misperceptions for want of transparency and accurate information. The well-informed among us know that the non-implementation of some of the recommendations was not due to any stonewalling by the civilian bureaucracy,but because of a lack of consensus on the follow-up action among the three services.
13. A White Paper and a debate on it in the Parliament and outside would go some way in removing these misperceptions.
With warm regards,
Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India.
March 30, 2012
Last week, the Iranian nuclear file continued to be in the spotlight and there appeared numerous stories in the Western press and media about the degree of the advancement of the nuclear program and the possibility of an attack by Israel against the Iranian nuclear installations.
By: Sadegh Kharrazi
Last week, the Iranian nuclear file continued to be in the spotlight and there appeared numerous stories in the Western press and media about the degree of the advancement of the nuclear program and the possibility of an attack by Israel against the Iranian nuclear installations. However, one story which attracted mostly the attention of those who are closely following Iran's nuclear developments was the revelation by Western officials that Iran has no nuclear bomb, has not decided to build one and is years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.
Reuters reported on this subject last Friday after interviewing a number of current and former U.S. and European officials familiar with intelligence on Iran. The report also touched upon a very sensitive issue of whether there are other nuclear enrichment facilities in Iran. It quoted a U.S. administration official as saying, "We are very confident that there is no secret site now." Furthermore, AP reported on March 18 that senior Israeli officials agree that Iran has not yet decided on the construction of a nuclear bomb.
These stories come at a time when for some months Israeli officials and neoconservatives in America have threatened to attack Iranian nuclear facilities which are under IAEA safeguards. It is no secret that Israel has mobilized an international campaign to portray Iran as an imminent nuclear threat which is determined to attack not only Israel, but targets in the region, Europe and even the United States. Moreover, it has been pressing the White House to initiate a war on Iran.
The main Israeli argument for such a hawkish position has been Iran's continued nuclear activities particularly in Fordow where the installations are well protected. Israel has maintained that sanctions and negotiations with Iran will go nowhere and since Iran is bent on developing nuclear weapons, the sooner its nuclear sites are crushed, the better. The news that there is no imminent nuclear threat coming from Tehran is in sharp contrast with the debate about Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Israel seeks to constantly frighten the international community from the "Iranian nuclear threat" because Israel without an enemy cannot get the financial and military support from the U.S. It also wants to distract the world public opinion from its daily attacks against Gaza Strip and its intransigence in the talks with the Palestinians. However, Israel and its supporters in Washington and Europe are now facing a dilemma. On one hand, they cannot continue with their saber-rattling and the talk of war on Iran because Iran's threat even in their words is not imminent and on the other, they cannot easily shift their propaganda machine against Iran to a milder gear.
The coming few weeks before next month's nuclear talks between Iran and 5+1 countries will show how the Israelis will handle their propaganda on this issue. However, it is interesting to note that the Director-General of the I.A.E.A has not reacted to this latest development in the Iranian nuclear file. Amano, in comparison with his predecessors, has been tougher on Iran and has proved to be less tolerant to pressures from anti-Iran forces. Mr. Amano will promote his personal stature as well as that of his organization if he decides to announce his agreement with the new assessment on Iranian nuclear activities.
28 Wednesday March 2012 22:11
March 29, 2012
Click the above heading to listen to part 1 and part 2 of my interviews with a prominent leadership consultant in the US.
These interviews were for his weekly radio show meant for leaders in various walks of life who have an interest in spirituality in leadership.
I found him to be very open, sincere and keen to understand the dharma traditions and how they relate, compare and contrast with those of the West. He wants to understand Indian thought's relevance to the modern world.
After the first interview (of about an hour) he received strong positive feedback from his listeners, and approached me for a second one.
There is a definite trend in the US to integrate spiritual principles into leadership training, and his interest in the interview was to introduce dharma traditions for that purpose.
Click to listen
ROVER’S DIARY: Balochistan independence movement — II —Babar Ayaz
Not every government in Islamabad in the past believed that natural resources were provincial assets and not that of the federation. It was this unresolved provincial autonomy issue that haunted Pakistan from its inception
To understand this issue it is time to refresh our memory about the history of mismanaging Balochistan by Pakistan’s ruling elite.
Many years back I had called on Nawab Akbar Bugti at his Quetta residence. He was a bitter man, although his son Salim was a senior minister in the Balochistan government. During the discussion on harnessing Balochistan’s oil and gas resources, he said that no fresh exploration should be allowed in the province. Knowing the reasons for his reaction, I suggested that the Balochistan government or the people living on each concession should establish their respective holding companies, which should partner with the prospective exploration companies. “For instance,” I explained, “you can have say 15 percent to 20 percent equity in the company so that when oil and gas is discovered you can share the profit.” Nawab Bugti laughed at my suggestion cynically and said, “Babar, you are naïve. The government (federal) is not willing to give us control over our resources so how can we negotiate with others?” He was right then because the constitution of Pakistan did not give the native people any right over their oil and gas reserves.
Bugti was not the only one in Balochistan who felt that the natural resources should not be developed till the province gets control over them. “Let them be under the ground as this is the asset of our people, we don’t want to lose them like the Sui gas reserves.” This has been the common stand of a majority of the Baloch and that of other nationalists in Sindh and NWFP.
However, the 18th Amendment and the 7th NFC Award have now given equal control to the federation and the respective provinces over their oil and gas resources. Minerals and coal were already in provincial control. But this only happened in 2010 when the federation and the provinces made a leap forward to granting provincial political and financial autonomy. Not every government in Islamabad in the past believed that natural resources were provincial assets and not that of the federation.
It was this unresolved provincial autonomy issue that haunted Pakistan from its inception. Provinces were denied their right to control their economic resources even though half the country was lost because of this stupidity of the establishment.
Balochistan is going through its fifth low intensity insurgency after the killing of Nawab Bugti by the army in 2006. Since then the resistance led by mainly four Baloch militant groups is keeping the independence demand alive. Every day, reports about either the killing of some Baloch nationalist allegedly by the intelligence agencies or the killing of security forces by one of the four major Baloch liberation militant groups are published or telecast as a matter of routine. It is one of the worst examples of the Centre-province relationship in what remains as Pakistan.
Let us scan the Balochistan and Pakistani establishment relations briefly. “Baluch political unity,” according to Selig Harrison, “came in the 18th century when several successive rulers of the Baluch principality of Kalat succeeded in expanding their domain to bring the Baluch areas under one political umbrella. Mir Nasir Khan, who ruled Kalat for 44 years beginning in 1749, set a loose bureaucratic structure embracing most of Balochistan for the first time and got principal Baluch tribes to adopt an agreed system of organisation and recruitment” (“Ethnicity and the Political Stalemate in Pakistan” by Selig Harrison, published in Regional Imbalances and the National Question, Edited by S. Akbar Zaidi (P 231).
But Adeel Khan’s contention is that “Baloch Nationalism emerged in a tribal set-up well before partition of India, and was opposed to Balochistan’s accession to Pakistan. After partition, however, the Pakistani state’s treatment of the region turned Baloch nationalism into a potent force, which attracted international attention...” Politics of Identity — Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan by Adeel Khan, published by Sage Publications, 2005 (P 109).
First the understanding was reached with the Khan of Kalat and the British Empire representatives on August 4, 1947 that Kalat would be independent on August 15, 1947, enjoying the same status as it originally held in 1863, having friendly relations with its neighbours. Another agreement was signed with Pakistan on the same date which said that: “The government of Pakistan agrees that Kalat is an independent state, being quite different in status from other states of India, and commits to its relations with the British Government as manifested in several agreements.”
It was agreed that in the meantime a standstill agreement would be made between Pakistan and Kalat by which Pakistan shall stand committed to all responsibilities and agreements signed by Kalat and the British government from 1839 to 1947 and by this Pakistan shall be the legal, constitutional and political successor of the British (the British had control only over Quetta and some other areas). A few weeks later, Kharan, Lasbela state and the Marri, Bugti tribal areas were returned to the Kalat fold. The Kalat government made a formal independence declaration on August 11, 1947 and a delegation came down to Karachi to discuss the future relationship with Pakistan.
While the Khan of Kalat seemed inclined to merge his state with Pakistan, the Baloch Sardars of his jirga were not interested to do anything in haste without settling the provincial autonomy issues. The Khan was under considerable influence of Quaid-e-Azam and had promised to work out the merger details in three months, but as the Quaid was unwell, this issue was handed over to his cabinet. They mishandled the whole issue and used the British tactics to pitch the Baloch against each other by carving out three states of Kalat — Kharan, Lasbela and Makran.
This resulted in the first uprising against Pakistan in 1948. The unilateral decision to break the Kalat State by Pakistan was contrary to the earlier understanding that in case the relations of Kalat with any government got strained, Kalat will exercise its right of self-determination (some historians believe that this also led the Maharaja of Kashmir to merge with India).
That was the beginning of the Baloch revolt against the Centre. They have been to the mountains many times since then, the last (before the present armed revolt) being the one against the dissolution of their elected government by Mr. Bhutto in 1973. Khair Baksh Marri and young Dr. Abdul Hayee Baloch refused to sign the 1973 Constitution as it did not recognize the rights of the provinces over their economic resources.
Although gas was found in Sui in 1952, the province was not given any share from its profits. The provinces’ right over 12.5 percent royalty on oil and gas was accepted as late as in 1995. And what Balochistan used to get on the gas produced by it, which meets almost 21 percent energy needs of the country, was a mere pittance. This royalty goes into the provincial kitty but not much trickles down to the people of the area who actually own this precious natural resource. Provincial governments in Pakistan have also been denying the local governments and people their due economic rights.
(To be continued)
The writer can be reached at email@example.com
March 28, 2012
Baloch welcome US intervention at 19th Session of Human Rights Council of the United Nation’s in Geneva, to support Baloch concerns over deteriorating human rights situation in Balochistan.
On 14th of March 2012 at the 19th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva Mr Mehran Baluch and Ms Nina Petek of World Environment and Resource Council made and read their interventions on appalling human rights situation in Balochistan.
Shortly after Ms Nina Petek’s intervention, exposing the systematic discrimination of Baloch people and unjust exploitation of resources by Pakistan, the representative of Pakistan as usual was on point of order to stop the intervention on the grounds of two principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The US representative at the 19th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva immediately stood on point of order to support Baloch people’s concern on appalling violation of human rights in Balochistan. He intervened by asking the President of the Session that the representative of the NGO, Ms Nina Petek should be permitted to proceed with the intervention. The US representative affirmed that despite Pakistan’s objection, “the intervention was addressed to the subject matter”.
The intervention by the US representative confirms that contrary to the view and policies of Pakistan, the issue of human rights is a universal subject in which perpetrators, for this matter Pakistan can not and must not be allowed to shield behind the “cited principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
On the same day, 14th of March 2012 at a press conference at the White House, the President of the US and the Prime Minister of the UK reaffirmed that human rights is universal and the violators will be brought to justice no matter how long it takes.
Baloch people and Baloch leaders welcome whole-heartedly the intervention of the US representative at the Session in Geneva, and consider the stated approach of the US President and the Prime Minister of the UK as long-awaited, necessary, encouraging and in the right direction to address the human rights issue. Since violation of human rights is a criminal and deplorable act, the gravity of the violation of human rights of people, necessitates intervention by the international community to protect life and property, whether it is in Bosnia, Congo or for this matter in Balochistan. Baloch people also greatly appreciate the supports and the effort of the NGO’s which are assisting Baloch people to raise awareness at international forums and institutions.
Baloch people seek and urge for firm international intervention to protect them from slow motion genocide and from the crimes against humanity in Balochistan, orchestrated and committed by Pakistan and Iran; and to bring an end to the ongoing, countless and frequent enforced disappearances, torture, killings and dumping of the mutilated and executed bodies of innocent Baloch people. Therefore Pakistan and Iran must be stopped by unambiguous international interventions.
Signed by Baloch leaders and political parties:
· Akhtar Meingal
· Bramdagh Bugti
· Hayrbiar Marri
· Khan Suleiman D Ahmadzai
· Baloch Liberation Movement
· Baloch Republican Party
· Baloch Republican Student Organisation
· Balochistan Human Rights Council
· Balochistan Liberation Organisation
· Balochistan National Movement (Zrombesh)
· Balochistan National Party
· Balochistan People Party
· Balochistan United Front-IF
· International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons
· U.S. State Department
· Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human RIghts Council (UNHRC)
March 27, 2012
Poor old Ben Bernanke has a deflation phobia. He sees it everywhere the way the kid in The Sixth Sense saw dead people. And Bernanke is equally terrified of falling stock prices (and their effect on consumer confidence).
Falling stock prices are what some people call deflation, or asset price deflation. Bernanke, the governor of the US Federal Reserve, believes the Fed made the Depression a Great Depression by raising interest rates too soon during the US recovery. He won’t make that mistake again! He will simply not allow stocks to fall.
The Fed chairman’s recent speech to the National Association for Business Economics lit a fire under US stock prices. All the US indexes charged ahead. And even gold got off the mat to close higher. Stocks are addicted to lower interest rates and yesterday they got a nice satisfying hit.
Bernanke is on the record for saying he’ll keep US rates low until 2014. Yesterday he repeated his willingness to keep rates low, saying, “Further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies.”
It’s a bizarre world. The Fed chairman thinks lower rates are needed to produce more economic growth. Growth will produce jobs. Jobs will lead to spending. Only then can interest rates — the price of Fed money — be raised.
It’s a shame he can’t understand that the US rate policy is unsound. And since the rest of the world more or less keys off from US interest rates, an unsound US monetary policy leads to an unsound global monetary policy. By “unsound” we mean a policy that keeps interest rates too low, leads to asset price inflation, and a giant boom in debt.
This is all well-worn territory to long-time Daily Reckoning readers. If there’s anything comforting about the tenacity of Bernanke’s stupidity it’s that you have time to narrow down your stock holdings in a rising market. It’s much better to exit the market when stocks are floating along on a sea of liquidity than when they are crashing down.
But then that’s the issue now, isn’t it? As scared as Bernanke is of the 1930s, he and his central banking colleagues around the world are even more scared of another Lehman Brothers. This was a point we made at our Sydney conference. The lesson of Lehman is that central bankers will simply not allow another major financial institution to fail. They can’t afford to.
The financial system is still so leveraged and interconnected (mostly through the derivatives market) that regular infusions of credit and the monetization of government debt are required to keep it at a steady level. In some ways, the deflation you’d normally expect at the end of a credit bubble is actually happening right now — it’s just disguised by the huge growth in central bank balance sheets.
In other words, stock markets have become a giant charade. The indexes don’t communicate useful or accurate information. Prices have become more influenced by the supply of credit in the system than the underlying earnings of the businesses on listed exchanges. The whole thing looks suspiciously like a racket designed only to benefit the banks, the brokers, and the bureaucrats who nominally regulate them.
It’s kind of refreshing to say that, although we concede we could be wrong. It’s refreshing because once you acknowledge that the game you’re being asked to play is rigged, you can choose not to play the game. This makes your asset allocation decisions a lot easier. For instance, we bought more gold bullion this morning.
Not everyone agrees with our view that these periodic rallies are great times to liquidate portions of your portfolio. For example, Goldman Sachs released a report last week making the case for stocks. The report had a lot of big words and complicated arguments. But the basic argument was that stocks will do better than bonds, especially if the Fed keeps rates low.
People seem to forget that businesses exist to provide cash flow to their owners by providing services to their customers. Instead of an investment strategy that depends on the Fed’s monetary policy, why not invest in businesses that grow their earnings without using leverage? That seems like a better long-term bet.
In any event, the Fed’s willingness to keep pumping credit into the financial system gives you time, or at least the illusion of time. Time is a valuable commodity. It’s so valuable you can’t even buy it or sell it. You can only maximize it by using it to your best advantage. These rallies should be sold.
This brings us back to the code breakers of Bletchley Park. These men were brilliant. But they would never have become important if it hadn’t been for the hubris and paranoia of Nazi Germany. Allow us to quickly explain.
You may be familiar with the story of Alan Turing. He was one of the heroes of Bletchley Park. He’s credited with breaking the code used on Germany’s Enigma machines. Those machines were found especially in German U-boats, but were used throughout the German war machine.
Turing, by the way, later became famous for being a sort of God- father of information theory. His work led to the development of the first real computers (Turing machines). The video we linked to yesterday was so interesting because it showed that the Colossus machine built by Tommy Flowers, and based on the mathematics of Bill Tutte, was actually the world’s first electronic and digital computer.
But the Enigma machines were not used by Hitler or the German High Command for their most private and secret communications. Those conversations were conducted via encrypted messages sent by a Lorenz machine, or Hitler’s Blackberry, as one historian has called it. The German word for this machine is Geheimschreiber, or secret writer.
The British called the code generated by the Lorenz machines “Tunny”. Bill Tutte cracked Tunny in 1941. It was an amazing achievement, but it wouldn’t have been possible without a mistake. On August 30th, 1941, the German high command sent the same message twice from Athens to Vienna.
It was a 4,000-character message that wasn’t received correctly the first time. When it was sent a second time, the operator in Athens didn’t change the key in which the message was encrypted. The result was two messages sent with the same encryption. This provided cryptographers with what they call “depth”. Depth allows for pattern detection, but obviously requires multiple messages with the same encryption.
There are many fascinating aspects of the story. For example, you’d think that if the Allies could read the messages between Hitler and his commanders as early as 1941, the whole war would have been shortened. And in fact, it probably was. But the Allies had to be careful about how they used the intelligence they gathered from Tunny.
If, for example, the Allies avoided every German ambush, were prepared for every German attack, and shot down every airplane carrying a German officer or general, it would have been obvious to the Germans that their communications weren’t secure and their code had been broken. The Allies had to use the intelligence gathered from Tunny in a way that looked random and improbable, not in a way that looked like they knew exactly what was coming.
Another interesting aspect is the use of pattern detection in code breaking. It would be nice if you could do the same with stock prices. You can’t, of course. But it is some consolation to know that there are patterns in economic and financial history you can study. They aren’t predictive. But they can give you a picture of what has happened in the past. Maybe this improves your probability of correctly preparing for the booms and busts ahead. Or maybe not.
By far the most interesting aspect of the whole affair is how trusting the Germans were in technology. This trust was born of a mistrust of people. The Nazis required machine-generated secrecy because the regime was paranoid. It never occurred to Hitler that his unbreakable machine had been broken. His penchant for secrecy became the proverbial Achilles heel.
We would attribute this failing not just to Hitler or to human psychology but to the entire idea of National Socialism, or top-down central planning. People who believe in their own ability (and moral right) to organize society (and economy) according to their ideals and prejudices are naturally arrogant and possibly psychopathic. That’s why you should never vote for anyone who believes themselves deserving of public office.
The Nazis’ paranoid self-belief cut them off from real thinking people capable of making sound judgments and put them at the mercy of, in this case, machines. It’s no coincidence that the people who support regimes like this are little more than Turing machines that follow orders as if they had no free will. The non-thinking and non- questioning people of the world are generally more compliant of tyranny. In fact, tyranny wouldn’t be possible with them.
By contrast, the British and American code-breaking effort was full of people that would have been excluded from the Nazi hierarchy, or exterminated in the death camps. Jews, gays, loners, and eccentrics all flourished in the Allied war effort, although Turing, who was gay, was later treated shamefully by the British government. These societies were not afraid of using every asset they had in order to defeat their enemies.
Systems that allow human ingenuity to flourish are far more likely to adapt and survive in a hostile environment and produce prosperity (or prolong life, in simpler terms). It’s probably a bit of a stretch to call Bletchley Park (or the Manhattan Project, for that matter) open systems. They were ultra-secret projects, of course. But they did draw on all the talents and strengths produced by American, British, and European society at the time. And those societies were all stronger because of their commitment to political and economic liberty.
We’re referring to the bedrock strengths of liberal democratic societies: the belief in open and honest scientific inquiry, basic political and religious liberty, and the rule of law committed to the protection of private rights and low taxes. Liberal systems must sometimes defend themselves from predatory ideologies and nation states. In this instance, the strengths of liberal society were put in the service of defending the system against the Axis powers.
When not mobilized for war, these strengths, at least for most of the last 300 years, have created innovation and prosperity for individuals in the free market. That should be encouraging. The intuitional DNA of the Western world is strong. If Aristotle is right that all men by nature desire what is good, then we will survive this current experiment in centralized government funded by unsound money and get back to a better, more resilient system.
Today’s system of the world can hardly be described as liberal or democratic or open or resilient. Institutions have been corrupted by unsound money, an intrusive State, and the myriad bad private decisions made by people and corporations under the influence of too much credit. Innovation and adaptation are stifled by a commitment to the debts incurred by corrupt politicians and lazy voters.
Our system, in other words, has become inflexible. This inflexibility makes it brittle and fragile, even as the stewards of the system remain supremely confident in both it and themselves. Hitler’s Blackberry and Bernanke’s printing press are both creations of hubris and vulnerable in the same way. Their overconfidence is their weakness.
But in a way, we’re thankful we’ve got Ben Bernanke on the job. Bernanke is like some misguided Spartan guarding the pass at Thermopylae (for his paymasters in the financial world). He’s giving them time to exit the system at a profit, passing the losses on to tax payers. But his commitment to the dollar-standard and low interest rates gives you time to prepare your portfolio for the world ahead...once the money printers are overrun by their own creation.
for The Daily Reckoning
The government of Pakistan has been providing weapons and resources to radical Muslim elements, who use them against Americans, says US Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who declares he was once Pakistan's best friend. Aziz Haniffa reports
US Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, acknowledged that he was once Pakistan's best friend in Congress and an acerbic critic of India [ Images ], but in a cathartic confession at the National Press Club on Tuesday accused the government of Pakistan as being the fountainhead of radical Islam.
Rohrabacher, who was meeting with journalists to explain the bill he introduced in Congress calling for the independence of Baluchistan from Pakistan, said, "I was Pakistan's best friend in Congress when I was elected back in 1988."
"I have been involved with Pakistan and with the Inter-Services Intelligence and with the government of Pakistan during the Reagan years, and I was also, of course, deeply involved with the mujahideen during their struggle against the Soviet occupation," he recalled.
But Rohrabacher confessed, "During that time, I was operating under false pretences," and then correcting himself, said, "I was not operating -- they were. But I had no idea that the Pakistanis were so much personally involved in promoting radical Islam and did not support the democratic principles that I thought were binding us during the Cold War."
"In fact," he said, "at that time, when we should have known, when the United States provided assistance to the mujahhedin, a lion's share of it were channeled by the ISI into Hekmatyar Gulbuddin and to the worst, most radical, tyrannical form of Islam. And there was no excuse for that."
Rohrabacher said, "So people like myself, spent a lot of time lying to ourselves while just ignoring this that was clearly contrary to the interests of freedom and liberty and in the interests of the people of the United States. And, it wasn't until I started to question whether or not we should be lying to ourselves, people were saying, you can't do anything to correct the situation with the Pakistani government -- with that regime -- because it might help radical Islam."
He said it was analogous to those who argued before World War II that it would be counterproductive to take on Adolf Hitler [ Images ], because it would lead to the Germans becoming more radicalised.
"Well, we know now -- anybody who's been honest with themselves now -- should have known that the government of Pakistan is radical Islam," he said.
Rohrabacher, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, asserted that "the government of Pakistan has been providing weapons and resources to radical Muslim elements, who again use them against Americans. Here we are now, Pakistan has been our friend all these years we thought, now we find out that they were really our enemy."
Thus, he argued that "now is the time for a reassessment because of this -- what's America's position is going to be in South Asia, and that's when we started paying attention to the Baluchis because the Baluchi people are an oppressed population, just as the Kurds have been an oppressed population and they have a right to their own country and the United States should be on their side."
He reiterated that "Pakistan has now proven itself to be an enemy of the United States and an enemy of freedom, rather than a friend and so, we are moving forward to try to restructure and not only recognise that the people of Baluchistan have a right, but to restructure America's positioning in South Asia."
Continuing his invective against Islamabad [ Images ], Rohrabacher said, "The government of Pakistan and their murderous policies toward any Baluchi that sticks his or head up and asks for their right, coupled with their support for terrorism, which has resulted in the death of many Americans and many other people who are victims of radical Islam, it is time for a change. It is time for us to make sure that we side with the right people and oppose those people like the government of Pakistan who are committing these evil deeds."Rohrabacher, then in a mea culpa vis-à-vis India, acknowledged that "during that time period, when I was the best friend to Pakistan, I was probably not too friendly with the Indians."
He said it now "behooves the United States today to understand that the Cold War is over and we can no longer lie to ourselves about the horrible crimes that are being committed by Pakistan in their support for terrorism as well as their oppression of other peoples like the Baluchis."
Rohrabacher thus reiterated that "we should position ourselves so that we have a much closer relationship with India, considering that India is not being engaged in these types of activities and the Cold War is over -- there is no longer a Soviet Union."Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC
Who is Lt-Gen Tejinder Singh?
MADHAV NALAPAT NEW DELHI |
6 March 2012
Those involved in the making of purchases for security agencies under the Home Ministry or the PMO say that retired Lt-General Tejinder Singh,who has been explicitly accused by the Army of having floated reports that Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh spied on Defense Minister A K Antony, is not an unknown figure within the world of suppliers of equipment. One source said that Tejinder Singh "operates in tandem with a Major Hooda (retd) and his son, both of whom are well known to Karthik Chidambaram,the influential son of Home Minister P Chidambaram". The younger Hooda, a presumed relative of the Haryana Chief Minister, is alleged to be "active in promoting the products of certain agencies, including foreign entities". These sources claim that Tejinder Singh was very close to a former Chief of Army Staff and that he "knows the incoming Chief of Army Staff,Lt-General Bikramjit Singh, very well". None of these claims could be verified,especially suggestions that a such link "could influence procurement decisions by the Army in the future". General V K Singh is known to have had a series of battles with established cartels involved in military procurement,unlike some of his predecessors,who "played along with such elements". That the incoming Chief of Army Staff has very powerful support within the UPA was made clear by the government's decision to announce that he would succeed General V K Singh,even if the latter were to quit prematurely. It needs to be said that Lt-General Bikramjit Singh is widely regarded as a capable officer,with an excellent record in counter-insurgency operations.
Surprisingly,the CBI has thus far not shown any interest in investigating the many allegations that Lt-General Tejinder Singh,Major Hooda and others are involved in efforts to influence procurement decisions in the Home and Defens Ministries,besides those in NTRO,RAW and the Aviation Research Service. Reports of suspicious transactions in these agencies have been buried under a carpet of official indifference. By avoiding an enquiry, what has happened is that the miasma of suspicion that is hovering over the head of Karthik Chidambaram is continuing. Numerous sources allege "undue attention and interest" by the young politician in matters relating to equipment suggested as being needed for national security. There is every likelihood that such charges against Karthik are false, and motivated by jealously at his swift rise in business and politics. However, given the clout of the Home Minister in matters relating to promotions of IPS officers,the inaction of the CBI has given rise to speculation about the agency's motivation in rejecting an enquiry. Interestingly,a source claims that "one of the national security agencies of the Government of India recently asked for an enquiry into Hooda and Singh by both CBI and IB",but to no avail, "as high-level circles shield the two" . The Army has finally come out in the open about the mysterious retired armyman,who moves in very influential circles in Delhi,and directly tied him to the ongoing - and vicious - campaign against General Singh. It needs to be added that Defense Minister A K Antony has thus far kept himself scrupulously away from this campaign,although he has endorsed the view that Lt-General Bikramjit Singh is the fittest officer to be the new COAS.
Sources tracking procurement within the services are,in the words of a senior officer, afraid that "once the new Chief of Army Staff takes office,enquiries initiated by General Singh may get discontinued",thereby enabling officers guilty of graft and worse to escape. Hopefully,such a suspicion will be shown to be unfounded,come June 1,2012,and that the new Chief of Army Staff will continue the house-cleaning initiated by his predecessor. General Bikramjit Singh needs to show that he is in the tradition of those fighting graft,rather than in that of certain predecessors who are known to have done the opposite.
The final text of Russia’s Strategy-2020, published last week, contains a small but surprising sentence that has not been given the attention it deserves. From the foreign trade and foreign policy section: “The main risks for Russia, linked with the emergence of new centers of power, are rooted in the growth of China’s economic potential and international status.”
The authors believe that the impending conversion of the yuan into a “world currency for settlements, and later into an investment and reserve currency…may undermine the stability of the international currency system, and limit opportunities for the use of the Russian ruble in international transactions.”
“The highly competitive Chinese processing industry… will continue to squeeze out Russian counterparts from the Russian market and prevent the trade and investment expansion of Russian companies abroad,” the authors conclude. They believe that “the consolidation of China’s positions in Central Asia may undermine the prospects of the latter’s further involvement in Russia’s integration projects.” Finally, the authors warn that China’s more active negotiating and interventionist conduct typical of a “newly rich member of the world leaders’ club, the consolidation of the G2 format (the United States and China) in running global economic processes and China’s growing influence in the IMF and the WTO” will come at the expense of other countries, Russia included.
It should be noted, however, that the authors later acknowledge that the task of modernizing Russia, especially Siberia and the Far East, is not possible “without using the Asia-Pacific Region as a resource of national economic development. China is Russia’s number one partner in this region.”
Strategy-2020 is the result of the work of various experts over a long period of time. During the final stage, which took a year and a half, a large team consisting of two dozen working groups was set up on instructions from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It was led by two prominent liberal economists – Rector of the Higher School of Economics Yaroslav Kuzminov and Rector of the National Economy Academy Vladimir Mau. While this document is not exactly a program for the future president and the government, it describes in detail the current situation and what needs to be done.
The authority of the customer who ordered this strategy makes this product even more important. In such cases, the balance between the actual ideas of the authors and the wishes of the customer is always unclear.
In any event, no high-profile policy document in Russia has plainly stated that China’s rise is a threat. In his recent foreign policy article published a week prior to the election, Putin mentioned in passing the existing problems with China, like immigration, but was very positive about China otherwise. The president-elect wrote that Russia should “catch the Chinese wind” in the sails of its economy. Does the tone of Strategy-2020 suggest a change in Russia’s approach?
It would be wise not to make any far-reaching conclusions on the basis of this document alone. Its status is quasi-official, and Russian officials can always distance themselves from it, which is bound to happen when our Chinese comrades begin asking for explanations. Beijing never lets such statements go without comment. You can write anything about NATO and the United States without eliciting a response, but China is a different story.
At the same time, Russia is clearly apprehensive about the rise of China. For the first time in recent history, Russia is weaker than its neighbor, and the gap will continue growing. This should compel Russian policymakers to take a fresh look at the country’s approach to China. How should Russia co-exist with China today and in the next five to 10 years if the current dynamics persist? The search for an answer to this question will be a major item on the agenda of Putin’s presidency. Judging by everything, Putin is more interested in Europe and the West, which he understands, than in China, which is still largely an enigma for the future president.
For all that, it is unclear why it was necessary to voice such concerns in a high-profile document, especially as the authors were discussing the side effects of China’s development rather than a hostile policy towards Moscow adopted by Beijing. Some of these apprehensions have not yet been confirmed – the issue of a G2 was dropped a couple of years ago when it became clear that nothing of the sort was in the offing.
Russia is unable to do anything about this, and counteractions would be simply inappropriate, whereas such an obvious display of lack of confidence will more likely aggravate than alleviate the asymmetrical nature of bilateral relations.
To be fair, the document contains a number of specific proposals on how to achieve balance in Russia’s opportunities in Asia. Its authors write about the need to diversify economic partners to prevent China from remaining Russia’s main and only partner in the Far East, but the general alarmist tone remains.
These apprehensions are understandable, but making them public will not help Russia. Rather, Russia needs an active and positive program of action towards China with numerous proposals for joint development. This program should originate in Moscow and be preventative in nature. If Russia stands on the sideline, the agenda in Russia’s Asian part will be determined by China just for lack of alternatives. Then Russia’s apprehensions will be confirmed, and China will become a real economic threat. But in that case, Russia will have only itself to blame.
| RIA Novosti
China's political model is superior to the western liberal democratic one, Chinese intellectuals have begun to argue openly. Eric X Li of Shanghai, for instance, wrote in The New York Times (February 16) that America's competition with China is between two giants that have fundamentally different political outlooks. America sees democratic governance as "an end in itself", while China sees its current model "as a means to achieving larger national ends".
To us Indians living next door to China, that difference has relevance.
Indians see yet another fundamental contest between giants - between two billion-strong nations, each striving for prosperity and the eradication of poverty - using two very different models of governance. China's model today, visibly the more impressive, resembles not socialism with Chinese characteristics, as the late Deng Xiaoping used to say, but an immense pyramid of state-corporate capitalism. The communist party is a holding corporation at the top, while the politburo acts as a board of directors managing the system through a vast network of subsidiaries.
Today's China is not yesterday's Soviet Union. Its economy is intricately meshed in the world's economy. Its exports flood world markets like the Soviet Union's never did. Its three trillion dollars-plus stockpile of foreign exchange reserves makes it way more influential in real terms than the Soviet Union's huge but effectively idle pile of nuclear weapons ever could. China's management model not only helps it acquire influence, it attracts a growing fan club in other developing countries.
India's democratic model of governance, on the other hand, is far less impressive at first sight. It is messy, it is corrupt, its coalitional politics (think Mamata) impels its political managers to be indecisive and its poverty is out there for the world to see.
Many from India's rapidly expanding and impatient middle class, frustrated with bureaucratic inefficiencies in the delivery of public goods and services, have begun to look admiringly over the fence at the Joneses in China. Yet, a close look at the Indian model reveals economic growth over the past decade at an average annual rate of around 7%. Could be better, but second only to China's among major economies. Democratic governance, however deficient, hasn't crippled that performance. Poverty remains agonisingly visible but the number of millions lifted above 'absolute poverty' in the past two decades is, again, second only to China's record. Democracy is a bit slow, but it works.
Citizens of India, irritated as they are with the pace of change, still have powers that the Chinese don't. They, and not any cabal of party bosses, form the national board of directors. They can, and do, throw out any ruling management through regular elections while freely airing frustrations through the media.
They did it once again in recent state elections. They might fret that all they can do is replace a bunch of thieves with a gang of thugs. But the very fact of their electoral power is extraordinary. It generates, on the whole, a decent degree of accountability in the system. And that's the case for democracy being made in a few recent books.
In Democracy Despite Itself, Danny Oppenheimer and Mike Edwards assert that free, fair and regular elections form the fundament of democracy, no matter what the quality of governance might be in a particular country from time to time. Nations that choose their rulers freely have more overall freedom and a higher quality of life than those that don't. In Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson caution that weak, dysfunctional institutions provide incentives to a parasitical elite in an "extractive state" to loot national wealth, which has been the dominant pattern in history. But where a truly inclusive government emerges, through electoral democracy, it can protect individual rights, encourage investment and reward effort to allow prosperity to follow.
So, while a contest continues between China's state-corporate model and the western liberal democratic one, the world should keep an eye on the quieter rivalry over governance models between the world's two largest nations. Ultimately, it is a contest over values and human rights: Must an individual have inalienable rights or should such rights be conditional upon social advancement as decreed by the few?
Many arguments can be made against our decision to vote against Sri Lanka in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a decision highly questionable from the foreign policy point of view. Domestic compulsions seem to have outweighed foreign policy considerations in this case.
India and the West have been at odds on how best to address the issue of human rights internationally. India shares the view that the West uses the issue to embarrass, destabilise or topple politically uncongenial governments.
During the Cold War the Soviet Union was succesfully destabilized through the human rights basket of the Helsinki Accords. Cuba has been a favourite target year after year.
After the Cold War ended many countries have come under the West’s scanner on human rights issues, ranging from Libya, Iraq and erstwhile Yugoslavia to Iran, China and Russia. Belarus is under pressure on this count and so is Syria. India, until recently, has been under stress too.
With improved India-US ties the US government now disregards periodic reports from international human rights organizations on our alleged human rights infringements in J&K in particular, but the issue has not disappeared.
Because the West uses the issue of human rights selectively, targetting adversaries and protecting allies, India has taken a principled position all these years at Geneva to oppose or abstain on human rights resolutions against individual countries in the Human Rights Commission and its re-incarnation under US pressure as the Human Rights Council.
India has not believed in this name and shame game played for cynical ends by powerful countries who claim the high moral ground on humanitarian issues, but whose own international actions, often hugely costly in human terms, are shielded from any formal censure because of their dominant position.
India also believes that the principle of sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs should be respected. While India shares the values of democracy, pluralism and human freedoms with the West, it differs with it on the degree of activism to spread these values world-wide.
In India’s thinking promotion of values should not be a cover for an aggressive promotion of self-interest. India does not want to be in the business of shaping the global order according to the values it espouses as a country, as that entails passing judgments on how countries run their internal affairs and assuming burdens on behalf of the citizens of a foreign country that rightly fall within the purview of national governments.
In the case of the vote on Sri Lanka, irrespective of the reality of the human rights situation there, we have departed from our principled position on these matters. The irony is that in the past we have stood on the side, explicitly or implicitly, of China, Sudan, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, North Korea, Iran, Syria and so on by voting against or abstaining on resolutions.
Are these countries closer to us than Sri Lanka? If we had to move from principle to pragmatism on human rights issues, should we have begun with Sri Lanka, where bilateral sensitivities are far more acute than in any other case?
Once we drift from our moorings of principle at Geneva, we will not be able to escape taking up positions on human rights issues involving specific countries.
Tomorrow how will we justify not voting against Iran, or for that matter China? And, if for delicate political reasons we do not want to rock our relations with these countries by joining others in indicting them, how will we justify in retrospect our vote against Sri Lanka?
In voting against Sri Lanka on a western sponsored resolution, have we now concluded that the West’s treatment of human rights issues has become universally acceptable and even-handed in its treatment of friends and adversaries?
Our vote against Sri Lanka in a multilateral forum should have followed a public hardening of posture bilaterally with our neighbour. We should have appeared to have exhausted bilateral diplomacy before joining the West at Geneva to summon Sri Lanka to assume its human rights responsibilities towards its own population. We have, however, maintained an intensive dialogue with Sri Lanka on the Tamilian question and are undertaking rehabilitation and reconstruction operations in the North.
We have not given any impression of a diplomatic impasse with Sri Lanka even as we have continued to press it to discard triumphalist thinking and move forward on reconciliation and devolution.
That we amended the US/EU sponsored resolution to make it less intrusive, more balanced and more respectful of Sri Lankan sovereignty is not sufficient justification for joining with distant powers to pick on Sri Lanka at Geneva.
We should be in control of our relationship with Sri Lanka instead of following the lead of others or seeking to achieve our own political ends through them. Those in India advocating that we should have taken the lead at Geneva to move against Sri Lanka are implicitly endorsing the manipulative dimension of western human rights policies, while forgetting that this instrument has been used against us in the past and can be in the future. Those who argue that in censuring Sri Lanka India has shown its readiness to act as a responsible power subscribe to demeaning criticism of India in western circles as well as the fiction that western policies are inherently responsible.
While democracies have to be sensitive to public opinion, should our foreign policy be held hostage to coalition politics? Should individual states be allowed to dictate to the centre foreign policy decisions whose implications go beyond immediate domestic political equations? Our foreign policy risks becoming erratic and capricious if domestic pulls become overly influential in shaping its direction.
The writer is a former Foreign Secretary
The second Nuclear Security Summit currently being held in Seoul, South Korea, would make a fresh evaluation , inter alia, of the security of nuclear materials in the possession of many countries.
2. Threats to nuclear security arise from two factors--- accidents in nuclear establishments arising from natural or man-made causes and illegal acquisitions of nuclear materials and technology by State as well as non-State actors.
3. While there is a laid down and frequently tested drill for coping with nuclear accidents, preventive and protective measures to prevent the illegal acquisition of nuclear materials and know-how by State and non-State actors have not been satisfactory.
4.While Pakistan and North Korea are two instances of State actors illegally acquiring nuclear capability, Iran is threatening to join their ranks as a result of past complicity of Pakistan and North Korea.
5. Fears of non-State actors clandestinely acquiring nuclear materials and technology acquired a new dimension in the late 1990s after the famous interviews given by Osama bin Laden to US journalists from Kandahar, where he was then based, justifying the right of Muslims to acquire a nuclear weapon and to use it, if necessary, to protect Islam.
6. Since then fears of Pakistan‘s Islamic bomb, as it is referred to by Pakistani Islamic fundamentalist organisations, being transformed into a jihadi bomb in the hands of Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been preoccupying the minds of nuclear security experts. These fears were aggravated after the US troops which defeated the Taliban after 9/11 unearthed evidence to show that Sultan Bashiruddin and Abdul Majid, two retired nuclear scientists of Pakistan, were in touch with OBL and had visited him in Kandahar. The two were arrested by the Pakistanis and interrogated by the Americans.
7. The interrogation did not unearth any incriminating evidence against them. Despite this, the fact that two Pakistani nuclear scientists, who had occupied important positions in its nuclear establishments, were in contact with OBL, showed that jihadi and other terrorist organisations might be able acquire a nuclear capability not only through theft or other illegal means, but also by the complicity of the personnel of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments. This fear would now extend to the personnel of Iran’s nuclear establishments.In the case of North Korea, the dangers of non-State actors getting hold of its capability are not rated high.
8.The death of OBL on May 2 last year has not removed or diluted the threat of jihadi terrorist organisations acquiring a nuclear capability. True, there has been no statement from Al Qaeda or its associates or their leaders after the initial statements of OBL in the 1990s, about the right of the Muslims to acquire a nuclear capability.
9. The absence of statements on this subject by jihadi leaders and their organisations cannot and should not be interpreted as indicating that these organisations and their present leaders did not attach the same priority to this jihadi task as OBL did.
10. Al Qaeda has definitely suffered a set-back as a result of the death of OBL and other leaders in the Af-Pak region and Yemen due to special operations undertaken by the US. Despite the decimation of its leadership, its GenNext continues to show a high level of motivation as was seen by the recent terrorist incidents in France. There has been a geographic spread of its activities.
11. The threat from Al Qaeda and its affiliates and the dangers of their acquiring a nuclear capability have to be factored into in any security planning for nuclear establishments and personnel. The discussions in conferences such as the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and the present one in Seoul focus on physical security measures to prevent acquisitions through thefts and other illegal means.
12. With countries such as Pakistan participating in their deliberations, it would not be possible for them to have any meaningful discussions to prevent acquisition of nuclear capability by terrorist organisations through the complicity of personnel in nuclear establishments. This is a matter that has to be discussed in more restricted meetings of experts of intelligence agencies from India, the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Russia and the EU countries. This would require a high level of HUMINT and TECHINT capability, joint operations to collect intelligence and arrangements for sharing and analysing the collected intelligence. India should take the leadership in working for such a mechanism if it has not already done so. (27-3-12)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )
March 26, 2012
The disclosure made by Gen.V.K.Singh, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), in an interview to “The Hindu” ( March 26,2012) that he had refused an offer of a bribe of Rs.14 crores in connection with a commercial transaction relating to the purchase of vehicles for the Army some months ago and that he had reported it to ShriA.K.Antony, the Defence Minister,if correct, raises serious questions regarding the way corruption allegations are handled in the Government of India. Subsequent reports have alleged that the bribe was offered by a senior retired officer of the Army.
2. As per the normal procedures, the COAS should have immediately taken the following action:
( a ). Report the matter to the Minister.
( b ). Address a formal Demi-official letter to the Minister in confirmation of what he had reported orally and requesting for an enquiry.
( c ).Call from his office the file relating to this transaction and record a note that he (the COAS) was offered a bribe by a retired Army officer which he refused and that he had reported it to the Defence Minister orally and in writing and asked for an enquiry.
( d ). Address a note to his office that the retired Army officer who offered the bribe should not be issued a security pass in future to visit Army offices and that action should be initiated for suspending his pension payments till the final outcome of the enquiry.
3. Apart from orally reporting to the Defence Minister, the COAS does not appear to have taken any other action as expected under the normal office procedures when there is an attempted bribery. His disclosing the incident now in a media interview would naturally give rise to a strong suspicion that his belated disclosure two months before the end of the controversial final months of his career because of his differences with the MOD regarding his date of birth must have been motivated with a personal agenda.
4. When the COAS orally reported the matter to him, the Defence Minister should have immediately taken the following action:
( a ). Record a formal note in the relevant file of his office regarding the disclosure of the COAS and stating that he was ordering the Defence Secretary to refer the matter to the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for a Preliminary Enquiry ( PE) to be followed by a formal investigation if found correct.
( b ) Address a formal DO letter to the Defence Secretary with copies to the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister to refer the matter to the CBI for a PE.
5. The Defence Minister does not appear to have taken any of these actions. This related to a case of attempted bribery in an office of the Government of India. It did not require the concurrence of any State Government or any other authority for ordering a PE by the CBI. The Minister was competent to do so and should have done so.
6. There have been serious acts of omission by the COAS as well as by the Defence Minister and these amount to a serious case of dereliction of duty. Before the controversy gets dirtier due to allegations and counter-allegations and suspicions and counter-suspicions, the Prime Minister should ask the Cabinet Secretary to take over the responsibility for further enquiries to establish the truth. (27-3-12)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )
West loses geopolitical battles in Ukraine and central Asia In the current era ,after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumphant US led capitalist West went about dismantling the Union of Socialist Republics and ‘induced’ Moscow’s erstwhile allies in Europe to join NATO and EU in spite of the promises to the contrary made to Gorbachev . US & NATO forces dismembered the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual Slav and orthodox Yugoslavia, which with religious and ethnic affinities was strategically closer to Russia.
Using as pretext the 119 attacks on US symbols of economic and military might in New York and Washington, which more and more people are now coming round to believe was an inside job, Washington, instead of attacking Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from where most of the hijackers originated, first bombed Afghanistan, coercing ally Pakistan into joining it or get bombed to stone age and installed a former UNOCOL consultant Hamid Karzai as the new ruler in Kabul after the Taliban leadership disappeared into Pakistan and northern Alliance marched into Kabul. Then on flimsy grounds Washington illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 for its oil. Almost a million and half Iraqis have died since then; the country divided, devastated, destroyed and poisoned with depleted Uranium waste. Taking advantage of the unraveling of USSR into many states now in utter disarray, under the pretext of US led 'War on terror' in Afghanistan, Washington acquired bases in the heart of central Asia; in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the last next door to China’s turbulent Turkic speaking Uighur province of Xinjiang.
Washington then organized US franchised (like McDonalds, KFC outlets) street revolutions financed by US non-governmental fronts and organizations, CIA and Washington’s envoys in former Russian allies in Europe and in Moscow’s near abroad. It succeeded in Serbia (from which Montenegro was detached making it landlocked), Georgia and Ukraine, but failed in Belarus. In Uzbekistan, where the regime change was attempted a few weeks after Kyrgyzstan regime change in March 2005, feisty Islam Karimov expelled the US forces from its air force base.
The February 2010 results of Ukraine’s bitterly fought presidential elections giving victory to Victor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian former prime minister, against maverick ‘Orange Revolution’ heroine prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, Washington favourite, confirmed the US roll back from Kiev.http://tarafits.blogspot.in/2010/02/ukraine-elections-confirm-rollback-of.html Pro-Moscow April 2010 ‘Revolution’ in Kyrgyzstan
Then the Geopolitical Battle in Kyrgyzstan over US Military Lily pond in central Asia was lost after Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital Bishkek on 7 April, 2010 in the wake of wide spread violence in which 75 people were killed and 400 wounded. Ms. Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, took over .The new regime, dependent on a resurgent Russia is pro Moscow .US still remains an unwelcome ‘guest’ at the Kyrgyz Manas airbase.
Assad’s Stand at Baba Amr, Homs; a Turning point in Middle East! In 1982 when the Sunni Moslem Brotherhood rose and assassinated over 100 Alawite officers and Baath party officials in the Syrian town Hama ,Bassar Assad’s uncle ,Rifaat was sent by late president Hafez Assad to pacify the town .He had allegedly butchered between 20,000 to 40000 inhabitants ,creating a new phrase .”Rule or die” .Any further continuation of Western intervention would resulted in ‘you haven’t yet seen anything ‘violence. In this continuing struggle, with the West losing ground, the battle at Baba Amr. Homs could become a historic turn around. I am copying below a very well researched and cogently written account of the current situation in Syria based on reliable sources, giving military and diplomatic moves and countermoves in Syria, the region and around the world. K.Gajendra Singh 22 March 2010.Mayur Vihar, Delhi. http://tarafits.blogspot.com/2011/08/amb-rtd-k-gajendra-singh-cv-post.html New Phase in Syria Crisis: Dealmaking toward an ExitBy Sharmine Narwani Published 21 March 2012 in English.al-akhbar http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/new-phase-syria-crisis-dealmaking-toward-exit In recent weeks, there has been a notable shuffle in the positions of key external players in the Syrian crisis. Momentum has quite suddenly shifted from an all-out onslaught against the Assad government to a quiet investigation of exit strategies. The clashes between government forces and opposition militias in Baba Amr were a clear tipping point for these players – much hinged on the outcome of that battle. Today, the retreat of armed groups from the Homs neighborhood means one thing: the strategy of militarizing the conflict from within is no longer a plausible option on which to hang this geopolitical battle. Especially not in an American or French election year, when anything less than regime change in Syria will look like abject failure. And so the external players are shifting gears – the more outspoken ones, quietly seeking alternative options. There are two de facto groups that have formed. Group A is looking for a face-saving exit from the promised escalation in Syria. It consists of the United States, European Union and Turkey. Group B, on the other hand, is heavily invested in regime-change at any cost, and includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some elements of the French, US, British, and Libyan establishments. Before Baba Amr, these two groups were unified in maximizing their every resource to force regime change in Syria. When the UN Security Council option was blocked by Russia and China, they coalesced around the General Assembly and ad-hoc “Friends of Syria” to build coalitions, tried unsuccessfully to bring a disparate opposition fighting force (Free Syrian Army) under central leadership, pushed to recognize the disunited Syrian National Council (SNC), and eked out weekly “events” like embassy closures and political condemnations to maintain a “perception momentum.”But those efforts have largely come to a standstill after Baba Amr. A reliable source close to the Syrian regime said to me recently: “The regime eliminated the biggest and most difficult obstacle – Baba Amr. Elsewhere, it [eliminating armed militias] is easier and less costly at all levels. Now both political and military steps can continue.” Dealmaking Begins in EarnestThe first clear-cut public sign of this new phase was the appointment of Kofi Annan as UN envoy to Syria. Annan is an American “concession” that will draw out this dealmaking phase between the Syrian government, opposition figures and foreign governments potentially until the May 2012 parliamentary elections. This phase is what the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and other BRIC countries have sought from the start: the creation of a protective bubble around Syria so that it has the time and space necessary to implement domestic reforms that will not harm its geopolitical priorities. Syria threatens to blast open a Pandora’s Box of newly-motivated “soldiers of God.” And while sectarian anger may be the fuse, the conflagration will take place on a major geopolitical fault line in the Mideast, at a delicate time, on one of Israel’s borders. Dealmaking and dialogue can be seen everywhere suddenly. Annan is only a figurehead masking these multilateral efforts. Reports are coming in that the US has kept a steady dialogue with the Syrian regime throughout. Opposition religious figures – mostly Muslim Brotherhood in their day-job guises – have met with the regime in recent weeks. And prominent Syrian reformists who reject military action and are open to dialogue with the regime, are now being sought out by various European governments. The European Union (EU) kicked things off in March in a joint foreign ministerial communiqué rejecting military intervention in Syria. This was swiftly followed by Kofi Annan’s strong warning against external efforts to arm the Syrian opposition, with various Americans making similar soundings in his wake. One very prominent Syrian reformist who has remained engaged with both sides of this conflict, confided that the externally-based Syrian opposition are now “looking over each other’s shoulders – none yet dares to speak out.” The fact is, says the source, “They are getting military assistance, but nowhere near enough. They need much, much more that what they are getting, and now the countries backing this opposition are developing conflicting agendas.” Three high-level defections from the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) were announced within days of that conversation, hinting further at the fundamental policy shifts occurring in all circles, behind the scenes. The game has changed along Syria’s borders too. Turkey, a ferocious critic of the Assad government this past year, is reconsidering its priorities. A participant in a recent closed meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reveals the emptiness of Turkish threats to form a “humanitarian corridor” or security zone on their Syrian border. Davutoglu says my source, insisted in private that “Turkey will not do anything to harm Syria’s territorial integrity and unity because that will transfer the conflict into Turkish territory.” Recent deliberations with Iran also seem to have resonated with the Turks. During Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi’s January visit to Ankara, a source tells me that an understanding was reached. The Iranian FM is said to have warned Turkish leaders that they were leveraging a lot of goodwill – painstakingly built up in the Muslim/Arab world – in return for “no clear benefit” in Syria. According to my source, the Turks were encouraged to strike a bargain to regain their regional standing – the key concession being that Assad would stay through the reform period. A Hard Dose of RealpolitikAlthough Turkey has backtracked from its belligerent public posture, there are still elements in the country that remain rigid on Syria. The same is true for the US and France. The fact that 2012 is an important election year in both countries plays a part in the strategy shuffle, but there are other pressing concerns too. One major worry is that there aren’t a lot of arrows left in the quiver to fire at Syria. Without the UN Security Council granting legal authority to launch an offensive against Syria, there are only piecemeal efforts – and these have all been tried, if not yet exhausted: sanctions, demonstrations, arming militias, cyberwarfare, propaganda, diplomatic arm-twisting, and bribing defectors. But a whole year has passed with no major cracks in support from the regime’s key constituencies and that has caused some debate about whether this kind of tactical pressure may ultimately backfire.In Washington in particular, alarm bells have been ringing since militant Islamists infiltrated the Syrian opposition militias, some pouring in from Iraq where they were only recently targeting American interests. The US has spent the better part of a decade focusing its national security apparatus on the threat from Al Qaeda and militant Islam. The execution of Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda-related figures was meant to put a seal on this problem – at least in the sense that the organization has shriveled in size and influence. But Syria threatens to blast open a Pandora’s Box of newly-motivated “soldiers of God.” And while sectarian anger may be the fuse, the conflagration will take place on a major geopolitical fault line in the Mideast, at a delicate time, on one of Israel’s borders – and changing winds could fan those flames right back in the direction of the United States and its allies. That is a red line for the US military and a sizeable chunk of the Washington political establishment. There are other Americans, however, who are unable to view the Syrian crisis outside the prism of Iran and its growing regional influence. US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, who has spent years now orchestrating the defeat of the Iran-led “Resistance Axis,” is one such player in the capital. Feltman is part of Group B, alongside Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The battle in Syria has become an existential one for Group B. They have played too hard and revealed too much, to be able to re-assert themselves into any impartial regional role in the future – unless there is a changing of the guard in Syria. As Group a moves toward a face-saving exit from the crisis, we are going to witness a re-telling of events in Syria. The Western “mainstream media” and major international NGOs, which have served as little more than propaganda tools for various governments seeking to escalate the Syrian crisis and vilify the Assad government, are suddenly “discovering” dangerous elements in the Syrian opposition. This scene-setting is just as deliberate as the false narratives we have witnessed from Group A since the start of the crisis. Group B, on the other hand, remains unable to take its eye off the Syrian brass ring and may continue to employ increasingly brazen and foolhardy tactics to stimulate chaos inside the country. Syria may be Group B’s graveyard unless they are brought into these deals and promised some protection. I suspect, however, that they will instead be utilized as a valuable negotiating tool for Group A – brought into play if dealmaking is not working to their advantage. While negotiations plod on over Syria, we can be assured that most external players have little or no consideration for actual Syrians. The regime will be focused on the long haul, which includes ridding the country of armed groups, ensuring that major roadways are free of IEDs and snipers, implementing a watered-down reform program with token opposition members to give lip service to progress, and becoming even more entrenched in the face of regional and foreign threats. Meanwhile, the West and its regional allies will happily draw out a low-boil War of Attrition in Syria to keep the Syrian regime busy, weakened and defensive, while further seeking to cement their hold on the direction of the “Arab Spring.” They will pull levers to create flare-ups when distractions or punishments are warranted, with nary a care to the lives and livelihoods of the most disenfranchised Syrians whose blood is this conflict’s main currency. It will never be certain if there was a revolution in Syria in 2011. The country became a geopolitical battleground less than a month after the first small protests broke out in various pockets inside Syria. And it is not over by a long stretch. Syria will continue to be the scene of conflict between two regional blocs until one side wins. This may be a new phase in Syria today where players are converging to “cut some losses,” but be assured that they are merely replenishing and repositioning their reserves for a broader regional fight. Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. She is a Senior Associate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University and has a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in both journalism and Mideast studies. You can follow Sharmine on twitter@snarwani. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.
Balochistan, once an independent state, was annexed by Pakistan on March 27, 1948 after the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, signed the so-called document of accession imposed upon him by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. However, this move violated the will and wishes of the Baloch people given the fact the Baloch upper and lower houses unanimously voted to remain independent.
Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of BSO-NA issued the following statement:
“The Baloch Nation rejects the fraudulent merger and illegal occupation of Balochistan and demands the restoration of Baloch sovereignty over Baloch land, coasts and resources. The Baloch people are suffering enormously under this illegal occupation. It is time for the international community to step up to the plate and rescue the Balochs from Pakistan's tyranny and oppression."
Dr. Baloch has been working tirelessly to highlight the plight of the Baloch and has met several U.S. lawmakers and Vice President Joe Biden to bring the ongoing human right violations in Balochistan to their attention.
“It is due to our relentless work and effort that Balochistan’s voice is being heard today in the U.S. Congress,” said Dr. Baloch. “We thank and appreciate Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives, for introducing the historic bill and recognizing the Baloch people's right to self-determination. We also would like to thank Congressmen Loui Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) for co-sponsoring the bill, and we ask other congressmen to follow their lead."
The Baloch Society is in the process of seeking suggestions from Baloch stakeholders to organize an international conference in Washington D.C. in the near future to highlight the systemic atrocities being committed by Pakistan and Iran.
Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA)
1629 K Street NW, Suit 300
Washington D.C., 20036
Tel: (202) 349-1682
Fax: (202) 331-3759
in favour of ‘Sindhu Desh’
By Asghar Azad
KARACHI: Hundreds of thousands of leaders, activists and supporters of
the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) brought out the ‘Freedom March’ from
Numaish Chowrangi to Tibet Centre here on Friday, denouncing the
Pakistan Resolution of 1940 and chanting slogans in favour of ‘Sindhu
Dozens of processions arrived late Friday night outsidethe residence
of JSQM Chairman Bashir Khan Qureshi in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Karachi.
Welcome camps were set up in various areas of the city to guide
processions and participants coming from other parts of Sindh. The
camps were set up at Tool Plaza, Supper Highway, Kathore Bridge, Sasui
Tool Palza, Razaq Abad, Bhens Colony, Malir Halt, Natha Khan, Drigh
Road, Karsaaz, Hassan Square, Nipa Chowrangi, Sohrab Goth, Safoora
Chowrangi, Johar Chowarngi and Nursery.
The main rally was taken out from Gulshan-e-Hadeed, which was led by
party leaders Qureshi, Asif Baladi, Sagar Hanif Burrdi and Dr Niaz
Kalani. It arrived at Numaish Chowrangi and joined the ‘Freedom
The people were spread from Peoples’ Secretariat Chowrangi to Tibet
Centre on both sides of MA Jinnah Road peacefully. It was second
consecutive year that the party organised the ‘Freedom March’.
Hundreds of processions were taken out from different cities and towns
of Sindh including Larkana, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad,
Mirpurkhas, Thatta, Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar,
Tharparker, Mithi, Jhudo, Sanghar, Khairpur, KN Shah, Dadu, Faizganj,
Kumb, Naushehro Feroze, Moro, Kandiaro, Gambat, Ranipur, Shahdadkot,
Thari Mirwah, Qamber, Shaheed Benazirabad, Daour, Umerkot, Qazi Ahmad,
Hala, Saeed Abad, Mehar, Pir Jo Goth, Karoondi, Padedan, Bhirya Road,
Moro and Sakrand.
Strict security arrangements were made for the march as all the
entrances and exist points were closed with buses, water tankers and
other barriers from Guro Mander toTibet Centre on MA Jinnah Road.
Hundreds of policemen, including Rangers and other law enforcement
personnel performed security duty.
Addressing the participants, Qureshi said that Sindh had voluntarily
merged itself into the country under 1940’s Pakistan Resolution but
now its people were disowning it as the resolution had failed to
protect rights and autonomy of the province during last 65 years. “We
Sindhis now disown the Pakistan Resolution, say it good bye and demand
independence of Sindh according to historical status”, he said.
The Sindhi nationalist leader announced that his party accepted Urdu
speaking population in Sindh during the partition and considered them
part of Sindh, adding, the Urdu speaking population would have to take
steps for Sindh and its people sincerely and would prove their
attachment with Sindh.
“We Sindhis made remarkable progress for establishing harmonized
socioeconomic system linked with agriculture and overcome numerous
obstacles in their way to prosperity with the passage of time”,
The JSQM chief further said that the Pakistan Resolution was tabled in
Sindh Assembly on March 23, 1940 that stated that a separate state
would be establish in Muslim majority areas. He said their leader GM
Syed had demanded Pakistan while tabling that resolution in the Sindh
Qureshi said, “The establishment and rulers, especially Punjab who
ruled the country from the day first have never complied with the
resolution.” He said a pocket of Muslim League leaders had devised a
conspiracy at a meeting of All India Muslim League’s working session
just before one year of establishment of Pakistan and entitled it
‘Pakistan will be a religious nation state that was totally against
the Pakistan Resolution of 1940’. By this act the resolution broke
before its completion.”
Qureshi said that Jeay Sindh Movement founder GM Syed had warned the
international community at the Vienna convocation in 1952 about
threats of religious extremism in this region, as saying that creating
a state on the basis of religion would promote religious extremism and
harm global peace.
Qureshi pointed out that Sindh was once the land of religious harmony,
where Hindus and Muslims lived like brothers. He said that Sindh’s
land was fertile owing to the Indus River and it was a junction of
international trade, that was why foreign invaders attacked it several
times, adding that Sindhis never had the psyche of invading anyone
because of their rich social and cultural status, however, the Sindhis
had boldly resisted the invaders.
Qureshi asked the Urdu speaking community to come forward and demand
the rights of Sindh. We want to make clear to Urdu speaking people
that we Sindhis are considering them as brethren and part of Sindhi