India tops heroin consumption in South Asia: UN

ISLAMABAD: A report compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has ranked India on the top for consumption of heroin among the South Asian nations.

According to the report, India consumed 17 metric tons (mt) of heroin in 2008 while the current consumption is estimated in the range of 65-70 mt.The production of Opium, which forms the raw material for subsequent refinement to heroin, is totally indigenous.

The UN report has confirmed that no foreign sourced opium has been sized nor reported as trafficked into India “Consequently, such a consumption level (6% of the estimated global total) would require the illicit cultivation of some 1500 – 2000 hectares of opium poppy on Indian territory” the report said.

The heroin produced by India is also finding its way into the neighboring countries where its demand is rising.

According to official reports from the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh, almost all the heroin consumed in these countries originates in India. The UN has recommended in-depth heroin consumption and trafficking study to be carried out in India.

According to observers Indian sourced heroin is not the only worry of its neighbors; smuggling of chemicals necessary for heroin production has turned for them into a major threat.

India has become one of the largest producers of acetic anhydride, a chemical that is basic in production of heroin. Several cases of smuggling of significant quantities of this chemical have occurred in the recent past.

In fact India monopolizes the sourcing of these chemicals to Afghanistan where laboratories run by warlords, affiliated to India, are churning out 380 mt of heroin per year destined for the global market, say observers. –ARY

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Mossad working on project called A Clean Break

By Michael William

Israel a big supplier of weapons to India

The cooperation between Israel and India, with US blessing, is really destroying the peace and starting a new arms race in south Asia, due to such intensive Israel Cooperation with India, Pakistan and India came at the brink of war 3 times since 1998. These arms sales were part of a declared NDA policy to forge an alliance among India, the United States, and Israel. India is one of the 39 countries with whom Israel has signed “secret co-operative agreements” to prevent information leaks from joint security projects. India and Israel are two democratic countries who killed more than I million people on the name of insurgency from 1947 to 2008.

In the 2001-2006 India had purchased arms worth nearly $15 billion from Israel and has been its largest client for military hardware.2006 to 2009 $9 billion arms purchased by India from Israel. According to figures released in 2008 by the Israeli Defense Ministry India accounted for 50% of Israel’s military exports .The report of 1992 to 2001 is available. Brajesh Mishra, outlined a proposal in a speech to the American Jewish Committee in Washington in May 2003 that India, Israel, and the United States should unite to combat the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Israel is most probably behind the Kargill war, Indian parliament attack in 2002 and now in Mumbai terrors attacks in 2008 to Accelerating the arms sale to India and safe his arms industry and destabilized the integrity of Pakistan who is consider great threat to Israel security and stability? Israel does not have direct conflict with Pakistan. All three serving chiefs of India have now visited Israel in the last 2 years. From anti-missile systems to hi-tech radars, from sky drones to night-vision equipment, Indo-Israeli defense cooperation has known no bounds in recent times. Israel Mossad may infiltrated in Jihad Organization structure through Indian influence in Afghanistan and helping and training them to safe his defense industry to die down and start a Proxy war against Pakistan in Balouchistan and in FATA and plunge India and Pakistan to brink of war . There is already an on-going relationship between Israeli Intelligence agencies and their Indian counterparts. It is well known that Mossad routinely infiltrates even “friendly” intelligence agencies and uses them to plant information which helps Israel .Mossad working on project called A Clean Break. Reason behind defense ties between India and Israel. Pakistan’s missile and nuclear weapon technologies are main concern to Israel. Pakistani a supplier of intermediate-range missiles and may be transfer of technology to boost it’s arm industry really great threat to Israel such countries as Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE,and Syria.

India helped Israel during the 1967, Middle Eastern conflict, by covertly sending military equipment to Israel. Before that in 1963, General Shalfid, Israel Chief of Army staff, visited India for discussions with his Indian counterpart In the military field in India’s critical hour of need of the 1971 war with Pakistan, India sought Israel’s help to supply it with the devastating artillery weapon, 160 mm mortars and ammunition, exclusively manufactured in Israel.

India embarked on its nuclear tests with the support of the international community, namely the United States and Israel, because the US desired a nuclear force to balance China as a nuclear power in Asia and central Asia. Israel benefited from this cooperation—according to some sources—by being permitted to conduct two nuclear tests on Indian territory, the components transferred on board an Israeli C130 military aircraft that landed in India two weeks prior to the tests. India also makes use of its nuclear cooperation with Israel in maintaining qualitative superiority over its enemy, Pakistan. During India’s 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan, Israel rushed military support to India, cementing the nascent defense relationship. Israel sent its laser guided missiles to India during the Indo-Pak Kargil war of 1999, making it possible for the Indian Mirages to destroy Pakistani bunkers in the mountains. Jane’s Defense Weekly, which gave details on the supplies. Israel, the scoundrel nation & illegal child of America supplied missiles, portable radars & other weapons during Kargil War in 1999 as confirmed by Shri Rahul Bedi on BBC and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – 8 in 1999 for surveillance purposes (Army) – 20 in 2000 during the Kargil war UAVs for high altitude surveillance, laser – guided systems and many other items were supplied within 24 hours. After September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, and attack on Indian Parliament Israel has been selling defense supplies to India, just from 2002 to 2008 India buy more than $25 billion dollars worth weapon and transfer of technology from Israel. Read more of this post

Testing moments for the NSG!

Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie shakes hand with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani prior to their meeting in Islamabad.

By Air Cdre Khalid Iqbal (R)

In keeping with its discriminatory policy of selective application of Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States has decided to object to a Sino-Pak civilian nuclear arrangement for setting up two atomic power plants in Pakistan. America is expected to make certain obstructive observations during the meeting of ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’ (NSG). NSG is an international cartel of nuclear technology suppliers and was not created by an international treaty. Regulations of NSG are nonbinding. China joined the cartel voluntarily. It is interesting to recall that the NSG was created in 1975 to standardize nuclear trade rules as a reaction to India’s testing of a nuclear explosive device. The objective of creating the NSG was to prevent access of nuclear material and know-how to the countries which are non-signatories to the NPT.

Ironically the same NSG was pressurized by America, Russia and France to make country specific exemption to kick start US-India nuclear deal (Agreement 123) in 2008. IAEA also buckled under pressure to make country specific exception to enable India’s access to nuclear material and know how. India continues to be a non-signatory of NPT. Now the NSG is under the international focus because global nuclear trade regime is at its defining moments. Under duress the group exempted India from a long standing NSG requirement that non nuclear weapon states benefiting from nuclear trade must put all their nuclear activities under the safeguards and supervision of the IAEA, ensuring that they are for peaceful uses. In the aftermath of the US–India deal the NSG will have to perform a delicate balancing act to find the least unsatisfactory solution to China’s challenge. In the view of some NSG states, an agreement permitting China to regularise the exports under the 2004 nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan would be the least damaging outcome.

Nevertheless, in a typical twist of hypocrisy, an erratic perception is being generated that the Pak-China arrangement appears to be violating international guidelines forbidding nuclear exports to the countries that have not signed the NPT or do not have international safeguards on reactors. Contrasting it with Agreement 123 reveals that whereas Pak-China arrangement is purely for power generation under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, Agreement 123 exempts 8 nuclear reactors from IAEA safeguards allowing sufficient fissile material to make around 280 warheads per year. This is in addition to India’s ongoing programme of 13 fast breeder reactors. As such it is a misnomer to calls Agreement 123 as ‘US-India Civil Nuclear Deal’. It is indeed US-Indian collusion toward nuclear weapons proliferation programme.

As a follow on to Agreement 123, America and India have recently signed a nuclear fuel reprocessing agreement to further augment their dubious bilateral nuclear deal that would open the venues for India to recycle American spent nuclear fuel. This would facilitate participation by US firms in India’s rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector. As a part of ‘United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act of 2008’, India is required to establish a ‘Civil Nuclear Liability Regime’ to limit compensation by American nuclear companies operating in India, in case of nuclear accidents. ‘The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010’ has attracted resistance from labour rights and human rights activist individuals and organizations. Scars of Bhopal accident are too fresh in the memory of Indian public to support this controversial legislation.

‘China National Nuclear Corporation’ is contemplating to set up two new power plants at Chashma, the sale is a leftover of an agreement that China had entered into, before its joining of the NSG in 2004. At that time China was completing work on two reactors for Pakistan. That agreement carried a provision of commissioning of two additional reactors. As Pak-China nuclear agreement is expected to come up before the NSG, the US has communicated to China that it expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese nonproliferation obligations. Western and Indian media has gone into top gear to create a perception that this bilateral cooperation would breach international protocol about the trade of nuclear equipment and material. Read more of this post

US Misfortunes in Afghanistan Will Not End

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

With so many wise heads cobbled together in Kabul devising strategy how to finish the endgame in Afghanistan on a winning note, none has been able to come out with a workable and viable plan. George Bush led team intoxicated with power relied entirely on force and itched to crush any opposition coming their way. By the time they were unseated from power, they had inflicted incalculable harm to US prestige, image and credibility. The new team led by Obama promising a big change made no change in the overall war strategy. The only change Obama made was to shift centre of gravity from Iraq to Afghanistan and to crush Taliban-Al-Qaeda nexus through troop surge led by new military commanders Gen David Petraeus and Gen Stanley McChrystal who had supposedly done well on Iraq front. They were chosen to reverse the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Policy makers did not learn any lesson when the troop surge failed to deliver in 2009. Rather, Helmand operation turned into a disaster resulting in large scale casualties of coalition troops.

Instead of making amends they are reinforcing failure through another troop surge of 30000 getting completed in August. Kandahar operation is being undertaken in September despite failure in Marjah. Vice President Joe Biden and many among Democrats were not in favor of sending additional forces as asked by Gen McChrystal. They suggested reducing number of troops and focusing on Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. They preferred greater use of missile strikes and Special Forces operations in Pakistan, seen as the main base of al-Qaeda.

Having flipped-flopped between self-defeating mix of surge and exit, US leaders are again treading simultaneously on the twin path of use of force and reconciliation. It speaks of utter confusion and uncertainty prevailing in Washington how to convert defeat into victory. They want to sail in two boats and hope to cross the stream by bleeding the Afghans with stick and trying to recon ciliate with them through carrot. After nine years of constant use of force the American leadership has now grudgingly agreed to Karzai’s proposal of reconciliation with Taliban, but arrogance comes their way. They want to first sufficiently hemorrhage the Taliban and then negotiate with them from position of strength. Karzai has been mandated to win over second and third tier leadership of Taliban including some members of Taliban Shura and ordinary fighters to be able to isolate hardliners led by Mullah Omar, Haqqani and Hikmatyar.

The success of new plan hinges on successful Kandahar operation, winning over sizeable number of Taliban leaders, killing irreconcilable Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders based in Afghanistan and FATA, expanding and training ANA and police, and making them operationally worthy to be able to assume charge by mid 2011. This plan has run into snags at the very outset due to several reasons. Kandahar operation has been postponed for the third time since Marjah operation was a fiasco and Helmand province as a whole is still restive. Civil administration has been unable to take over the administrative control of the province because of apathetic condition of ANA, Afghan police and other departments. Police serving in Helmand are addicted to opium and cannabis. The police being thoroughly corrupt are most hated by Afghans. As per Pentagon’s assessment prepared in April 2010, of 121 districts in Afghanistan, regarded as critical in struggle against Taliban, none support the government, 29 were sympathetic, and 48 districts either empathized with insurgency or backed it. Karzai regime has shown no improvement in curbing corruption or improving governance.

Worst of all for USA is the rebellious streaks emerging in Karzai who has started doubting the ability of coalition forces to defeat Taliban movement. NATO countries are keen to pull out because of rising casualty rate and economic constraints. In 2010, up to 23 June 75 fatalities of NATO have taken place which makes it the worst month since 2001. In August 2009, 77 foreign soldiers lost their lives which had forced McChrystal to abandon forward posts and concentrate in main cities. So far 295 casualties have occurred this year. Dutch and Canada have already announced their decision to withdraw. Strains have appeared between US senior military leadership and US Administration because of disagreements on conduct of war.

As if these woes were not enough for Obama, an interview of Gen McChrystal and his aides using derisive language against top US civil leadership published by Rolling Stone Magazine created a storm in Washington. US top officials including Obama, Joe Biden, Ambassador Eikenberry, Holbrooke and James Jones were contemptuously criticized. McChrystal’s main crib was that Obama was uninterested and rather uncomfortable in discussing Afghan war during a meeting at Oval Office. James Jones was called a clown and Holbrooke a wounded animal. Fuming Obama summoned McChrystal in Washington. Ignoring his apology he gave him his piece of mind and told to resign. His resignation from his current post of commander US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has been accepted and CENTCOM Commander Gen Petraeus asked to takeover his duties as well. Robert Gates has now ruled out major pullout in July 2011. Read more of this post

The Three Amigos: India, America, Israel

By Badri Raina

That both under the erstwhile NDA regime, led by Atal Bihari Vajpai of the right-wing Hindu BJP (1998-2004) and the UPA regime (s) led by Manmohan Singh of the Congress Party (2004-2009, and since) a central feature of India’s foreign policy has been to draw closer to both the United States and Israel is not such a hidden feature of India’s post-reforms history anymore.

The more than considerate attentiveness to the interests of American corporates of course has been a long-term constant.

What I seek to do here is not so much to detail these histories as to draw a skein related to diverse episodes, one that seems intricately revelatory of a coherent macro policy intent, always latent among the Indian ruling classes but now more than ever in full bloom.

The Bhopal Mass Murder & Indian Collaboration with Carbide::

The details of this are by now too well-known to require iteration. Suffice it to say that on the night of December 3, 1984, lethal quantities of Methyl Isocyanate escaped from the Union Carbide factory, as water entered tank no.610.

Within hours, some 2500 citizens, most of them poor Muslims, lost their lives.

Since then, a total of 20,000 are estimated to have perished, and hundreds of thousands either maimed, or rendered permanenly disabled.

The only known antidote to the lethal gas, Sodium Thiosulphate, could not be reached the victims for one disingenuous reason or another. Forensic experts, fudged their reports, causing distortions in investigations over a long period.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did, however, manage to file a chargesheet against Company officials in 1987. The charges included one under section 304 II of the Penal Code, “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” punishable by upto ten years in jail, a charge based on prior knowledge of the Company management that lacunae in the safety regulations at the plant, which did not correspond to safety features of a similar Carbide plant in West Virginia, could lead to disaster, and on their refusal to rectify the same despite admonitions and demands made that they do so. Ostensibly, to keep the costs of running the plant in check!

Whatever the other details, all in the public eye now several times over, the point of interest here is how Warren Anderson, the then CEO of UCIL was dealt with, and, secondly, how the highest court in India chose to view the matter.

That Anderson managed to escape the country is common knowledge; but only now do we know how that ignoble escape was facilitated.

And this we know from no less than the then Collector of the city of Bhopal, Moti Singh., from the officer who manned the airport at Bhopal, and the pilot who flew the plane that brought Anderson to Delhi, literally the very day the disaster happened.

Without mincing matters, the honourable Moti Singh has gone on record to say that on the evening of December 4, while Anderson was in local custody, Shri Singh received a call from the Chief Secretary, the highest ranking bureaucrat within the Indian system of government, to the effect that he wished to confer with Singh and the then Superintendent of Police.

At that meeting, Singh and the S.P were directed to release Anderson and to take him to the airport where a plane was waiting to fly him to Delhi.

It turns out that the state-owned plane was made available by the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Arjun Singh. Arjun Singh, it may be said, has always foregrounded himself in politics as a staunch secularist, and a diehard opponent of Hindutva communalism. Most of the those killed in Bhopal were Muslims.

Just today, an Arjun Singh acolyte and erstwhile chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh, has told the media that Arjun Singh was not to blame for Anderson’s great escape. He has pointed a finger at the then central government, led by the late Rajiv Gandhi, and at American “pressure.” Even as other Congress leaders, such as Satyavrat Chaudhary who was a Legislator in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly have said that it is for Arjun Singh, the then Congress chief minister, to break his silence to the nation.

It is a matter of interest that never in the last quarter century has such a demand been made by anyone,whether in the Congress or the BJP, a clear pointer to the fact that collaboration with American corporate interests cuts across party lines (leaving out the Left) and speaks for the ruling class per se.

One Indian media house claims now to have accessed a CIA file on the issue that records that Anderson’s exit was authorised by the then central government inorder not to jeopordise American corporate investments in India at a time when such investments were direly needed.

Were one to think of a parallel to the obscene escape of the Carbide CEO from the country and from liability, what comes to mind is the great escape of the whole Bin Laden clan from Texas, hours after the twin towers were hit, all in a plane made available by the Bush family. Indeed, it was the only plane allowed to leave the United States

in the wake of 9/11.

Thus, if the Indian rulers obliged the American corporate, the Americans obliged the Saudi oil bigwigs with whom the Bush family had intimate business relations.. Cute, cosy, and consistent with how global Capitalism works.

In Delhi, Anderson reportedly had a meeting with the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh. Next anybody knew, Anderson was off to safety in the United States where he has been spotted living a rich and comfy life in a mansion in New York.

Thus, although he remains an absconder-accused, prime one at that, and although an extradition treaty exists between India and the United States, the world has not exactly been turned upside down by any subsequent government in India to seek his return to face trial, nor is the US government likely to send him over. Indeed, recent statements of US spokesmen suggest in no unclear terms that such is farthest from their minds. Even as they also argue that Union Carbide, America, has no liability in the matter, nor Dow Chemicals which cannily took over Union Carbide India Ltd., inorder that further culpability of the UCIL could be snuffed in legalese.

In that endeavour, it now turns out, they also had support from within the government of India, Kamal Nath and Chidambaram, two influential ministers thought to be close to the United States and votaries of market fundamentalism, having forcefully argued against others that Dow should not be hauled up if investments from American corporates are to be encouraged.

Dow chemicals operations continue in the state of Maharashtra, ruled by the Congress, and in Gujarat, ruled by the BJP, and a ban on the corporate has never been on the table.

Tail Piece

The sordid conspiracy to favour the corporate found its final expression in a ruling of the Supreme Court which held that the principle of vicarious responsibility did not apply in the case, and proceeded to water down the Chargesheet to “ criminal negligence”(Section 304 A) as it quashed the charge of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.” This in 1996.

The then Chief Justice subsequently took over as lifetime chairman of the Carbide –funded Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, set up under the aegis of the Supreme Court of India. He is not embarrassed.

Thus, after a quarter century of the event, some seven or eight of the management of the then UCIL have been found guilty of “negligence” and convicted to a maximum of 2 years in prison!

But, not to fret, they are also promptly out on bail.

One other thing: the medical data from the disaster was consistently sought to be suppressed by the Indian Council of Medical Research

In the meanwhile, thousands of victims in Bhopal still have no redress to sustained medication, some 325 tons of toxic waste remains at and around the site (statement by the current Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh) as the water pipes continue to receive that lethal contamination.

Not to mention the other perfidy; an out of court settlement with the corporate to the measly tune of some 470 million dollars, amounting at last count to some 300 dollars or less per affected victim! A half of the declared victims yet to receive any.

When the Exxon Valdex spilled oil off the coast of Alaska (1989—five years after the Bhopal disaster), the damages were fixed at one billion dollars. Clearly, bird life in America was of greater value than the 20,000 human beings who died in Bhopal and the many thousands who have been maimed across generations.

And now, when after the BP spill in the gulf of Mexico, Obama seeks to “kick some ass” and reverse legislation that caps liability in the US at $75 million after the Alaska event under the oil lobby pressure, and to introduce criminal liability provisions, the Indian government is sought to be pressurized to cap Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages through parliamentary legislation at Rs.500 crores.

In other words, were a Chernobyl or a Three Mile Island to happen at a US corporate nuclear plant in India, the damages would be civil only, and about a half of that which was settled for the Bhopal disaster out of court! And, only the “operator” would be thus liable. Read, the Indian component of the management and not representatives or managers of the supplier company. Not the nuclear Andersons.

In the proposed new Liability Bill, significantly, section 17(b) which asks for “right to recourse” if a “nuclear incident has resulted from wilful or gross negligence on the part of the supplier or his employee” is sought now to be dropped under pressure from the American nuclear lobby and government.

The Israeli-Indian State-Hindutva Connect:

The total trade between India and Israel in 2001 was $200 million. By now that has grown to $4.1 billion. India is today the world’s biggest buyer of Israeli military hardware, to a tune of $9 billion. India is also currently weighing a most-favoured Free Trade Agreement with a country that was during the Nehru era the pariah of the Indian foregn policy establishment. It is thought that close cooperation now exists between Indian spy agencies and the Israeli Mossad, who have been in and out of the country recently.

The most recent evidence of the closeness has come in the form of the statement issued by the Indian foreign office on the Gaza-aid flotilla event. The statement, while deploring violent means to settle the dispute, does not name Israel.

But an even more sinister link has thus far been invisible to the pubic eye—one that concerns a connect between Hindu terrorist organizations and counterparts in Israel.

Between 2002 (the year of the Gujarat carnage) and 2009, a series of bomb blasts took place in
India, curiously all in areas dominated by Muslims:

  • 2002: IED found at Bhopal railway station, aimed in all likelihood at Muslims gathering for a Tablighi conclave;
  • 2003: bomb blast at Mohammadiya mosque in Parbhani, Maharashtra; and a bomb again found at Bhopal on the last day of a Tablighi meet;
  • 2004: blasts at mosques and a Madarasa in Purna, and Jalna in Maharashtra;
  • 2006: two Bajrang Dal activists killed in Nanded, Maharashtra, as the bomb they were making exploded;

—- blasts at three places in Malegaon, targeting a mosque and graveyard   on the occasion of Shab-e-Baraat; 38 killed; Maharashtra;

  • 2007: Feb.,18, 68 killed in a double suitcase bomb blast on the Samjhauta Express, a friendship train between India and Pakistan; of those 42 Pakistani nationals;

—in May (16th) blast at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad city; two Bajrang Dal activists again killed in Kanpur while assembling a bomb;

—October, 11: blast at the eight hundred year old Chishti Dargah in Ajmer, Rajasthan;

  • 2008: a blast again at Malegaon in Maharashtra, and another at Modasa in Gujarat;
  • 2009: two die while carrying a bomb on the eve of the festival of Diwali in Margao, Goa.

In all these cases, the investigating agencies promptly named one Muslim organization or the other as the culprit., hauled up hundreds of young Muslims, and used torture to draw “confessions.”

Until, that is, thanks to the exemplary and fair-minded efforts of the late Hemant Karkare, investigations revealed the hand of Hindu organizations in the Malegaon blast of 2008, leading to the arrest of Lt.Col. Srikanth Purohit, Dayanand Pandey, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. Read more of this post

US nonsense on Pak nuclear issue

By Dr. Shireen M Mazari

Nothing can be as demeaning as Prime Minister Gilani’s declaration that Pakistan would abide by “US sanctions on Iran.” While UN sanctions under Chapter VII are obligatory for all member states, why should Gilani lay the country prostrate before the US? And this at a time when we are being cornered on all fronts, especially the nuclear, by this “ally”!

China and Pakistan have been cooperating in the field of civilian nuclear technology for many years now and since China became a member of the IAEA all the civilian reactors given by China have been subject to IAEA safeguards. Unlike in the case of India, after the Indo-US nuclear deal, Pakistan continues to go by the normal safeguards agreement for Non-NPT states. In India’s case it may be recalled, the US managed to get an India-specific safeguards agreement from the IAEA for those reactors that the US will either be providing fuel for or helping construct. Moreover, it is India that will decide which reactors will come under these loose safeguards and according to a unique provision – not present in any other IAEA safeguard model – India can opt out of the safeguards when it sees fit! The US also got country-specific export exceptions for India from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), which goes contrary to not only the NPT but also the NSG’s own guidelines. Ironically, the NSG first came into being in 1975 as a reaction to the 1974 Indian nuclear test where the explosive device used plutonium from a Canadian-supplied reactor. Even at that time, Canada irrationally chose to penalise Pakistan by immediately withdrawing aid to the KANUPP reactor despite it being under IAEA safeguards.

Now once again, the US is threatening to victimise Pakistan and try and sabotage the civilian nuclear deal with China – which is similar to and a continuation of past cooperation under IAEA scrutiny. The chosen forum for the present pressure on Pakistan is the upcoming NSG meeting in New Zealand. However, both China and Pakistan need to remember that the NSG is merely a ‘club’ of suppliers of nuclear technology where membership is by choice and there is nothing internationally and legally binding with regard to its decisions. So Pakistan and China are under no obligation to give in to unreasonable country-specific demands targeting Pakistan’s civilian nuclear programme – after all, China’s membership of the NSG is voluntary and while it can explain its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, it is under no compulsion to abandon it at the behest of the NSG. Another Muslim state, Iran, is also going to be targeted at the New Zealand NSG meeting. Read more of this post

Angst about Afghanistan

By I. M. Mohsin

Robert Reid in a recent article entitled Bad news bares reality of Afghan War has revealed that Admiral Mike Mullen conceded that “we all have angst” about the Afghan war. The latter’s reaction to the festering position is a realistic assessment if the objective conditions are given due importance. As against that, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates expressed his disappointment at the tendency to propagate negative versions of the situation in Afghanistan, which appears to have seized Washington DC. It is interesting to note that sitting close to the theatre of war our American friends keep on comparing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hope to draw some lessons which may hold good for both.

The two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been suffering since 9/11, differ vastly in terms of history, geography and cultural peculiarities, despite generally sharing the Islamic religion. A veteran intelligence boss, like Robert Gates, would have known all about Afghanistan. More so, as he, like Director Casey, travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, as per dictated by the mission assumed by the US, to ensure the defeat of the Soviet Union in the good old days. He is known to have been a dedicated expert on intelligence, thanks to long years in CIA till he took over its command. With such flattering credentials, it is difficult to understand his statement unless he is talking politics.

In this backdrop, Washington presents a confused set of ideas on the ongoing war. Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff of the White House, and someone who is considered very close to the President, insists that the withdrawal of troops will start as scheduled in mid-2011. He also appeared to agree recently with Joe Biden’s projection that minimal force should be committed to the Afghan war. Secretary Gates, being the head of Department of Defence, who oversees the execution of the national war strategy, feels peeved at reference to such a clear deadline. He considers giving such schedules in advance as unrealistic and impractical as it could help the Taliban plan their tactics accordingly to get their pound of flesh. While agreeing to a phased withdrawal, he insists that it has to be conditions-related.

General McChrystal has very intelligently avoided the issue lately, while General Patraeus appears to support the White House in his latest statements made to the media. It is no coincidence that Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorses the official position, while nurturing ‘angst’ about the policy.

History of the region lays down that whatever the experiences of the US since 2001, Afghanistan and Iraq are very different entities. The latter was created by the British after the Ottoman Empire lost World War I. Such tribalism and divisions were created only to make sure that the Muslims would never be able to unite again to threaten the status quo wherein UK was the kingpin till the Nazis ripped apart the colonial empires of the West European countries.

Iraq generally consists of flat land and deserts. Hence, the capacity of the people to fight against foreign invasion is limited despite the bravery with which they fought the last war. Quite naturally, the Iraqis have little hope of winning against the US in a straight fight, while being so badly outgunned. In any case no country, as yet, can fight the onslaught by the US in a straight fight. The best chance of damaging a very powerful enemy is by waging a clandestine war like it is being done in Afghanistan. In this great venture, the local resistance is being consistently helped by the topography, history and the hoary traditions of the Pashtun’s in south Afghanistan. Read more of this post

“Might is Right” – is it?

By Dr Haider Mehdi

In the Urdu language, the saying is “Jis ki lathi us ki bhains” (Might is Right). Some apologists even call it the use of “Smart Power”.

A school of thought in the West, mostly subscribed to by neocons, diehard reactionaries and racists, claim “Might is Right” and take a historical and moral stand on the issue. The fact of the matter is that in philosophical and operational terms, the US-Western foreign policy doctrine and political-diplomatic conduct towards Third World nations have always been based on the conceptual notion and consistent application of “Might is Right”. The question that needs to be asked in the context of international politics and a “rules-based” global system of interstate relations is: Is “Might is Right” right? History tells us that this is how the US-West have been behaving historically.

The overall Western perspective on Muslim culture is that if you don’t think and behave like us (meaning adopt Western values) then you are doomed, and we (the West) will use force (translated as “Might is Right”) to transform your cultures. That is precisely Huntington’s conceptual view on The Clash of the Civilisations thesis. This outlook, incidentally, has formed the basic fundamentals of the American-Western foreign policy doctrine and the ongoing attempts to transform indigenous cultures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and nearly in every Muslim country – purely subjecting them through “Might is Right” and unleashing military force under the pretext of the “war on terrorism”.
The question that needs to be asked is: If the West is not willing to accommodate or understand minor cultural differences, then how are they going to comprehend cultural imperatives that are rooted in history, cognitive development and implicit value systems? In the context of the Pak-Afghan “war on terror,” how is the West going to come to grips with the Pashtun heritage that the killing of anyone is a religiously forbidden act – but when the next of kin or an innocent human being is killed by an enemy, then revenge becomes a sacrosanct duty.

What I am doing here is seeking answers to fundamental human questions when a nation is under a brutal, merciless and destructive foreign occupation – both against human life and its cultural values.

No one in the print media and on television programmes except an odd one, here or there, in Pakistan seems to be asking the fundamental question: Why is the US-NATO in Afghanistan? Why is the Pakistan army being forced into a war against its own people and its neighbours, the Afghan people? In general, the Pakistani media is so busy in “owning” the “terrorism war” as its own that it has completely lost its bearings on the essential issue.

The new British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in his recent visit to Afghanistan, said the following to Britain’s armed forces at Camp Bastion: “This is not a war of choice, it is a war of necessity. This is not a war of occupation, it is a war of obligation.” The PM insinuated that most of the 9/11 hijackers had been trained in Afghanistan, and the British military mission was vital for Britain’s internal security (meaning the streets of London and elsewhere.) The fact of the matter is that there is not a shred of truth in Cameron’s statement. Simon Jenkins, in a recent piece in Guardian News & Media, wrote: “Yet Fox’s belief – like Gordon Brown’s – that British soldiers are fighting ‘to keep the streets of Britain safe’ is equally absurd. There has never been a shred of evidence that the Taliban wants to conquer Britain, any more than did Saddam Hussain.”

Also, there is no question of “nation building” in present day Afghanistan. Moreover, 77 percent of Britons now reject the Afghan war. Yet the irony is that George W. Bush’s era of lies continues to resonate in the New Britain of David Cameron and in the “we can change” America of Barack Obama. Read more of this post

Despite US Concerns China To Move Ahead On Pak Nuke Deal

China strongly defends Pakistan, likely to formally announce Pak-China Nuclear Deal in Nuclear Suppliers Group meet.

“We do not need an exemption from the NSG, as requested by the US, since the deal was reached before we (China) joined the group” Fan Jishe, a scholar of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said. Jishe further added that the nature of the Sino-Pakistani deal is different from that of the US-India deal (ToI).

Beijing, June 23 (ANI): Despite the US voicing serious concerns over China’s offer to help Pakistan set up two nuclear reactors, Beijing is likely go ahead and finance the nuclear project.

Beijing is likely to formally announce its plans to build two 650 megawatts nuclear reactors in Punjab’s Chasma region during the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in New Zealand on June 24 (Thursday) amidst heavy lobbying from India against the project.

According to Chinese experts, one of the main concerns for the international community is that Bejing, like New Delhi, has not inked the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and technically it is not restricted to transfer nuclear technology to any other country. Read more of this post

Pakistan and Turkey are arm in arm all along

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