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

What Ankara Knows

By Ramzy Baroud

“Even despots, gangsters and pirates have specific sensitiveness, (and) follow some specific morals.”

The claim was made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent speech, following the deadly commando raid on the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza on May 31. According to Erdogan, Israel doesn’t adhere to the code of conduct embraced even by the vilest of criminals.

The statement alone indicates the momentous political shift that’s currently underway in the Middle East. While the shift isn’t entirely new, one dares to claim it might now be a lasting one. To borrow from Erdogan’s own assessment of the political fallout that followed Israel’s raid, the damage is “irreparable.”

Countless analyses have emerged in the wake of the long-planned and calculated Israeli attack on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, which claimed the lives of nine, mostly Turkish peace activists.

In “Turkey’s Strategic U-Turn, Israel’s Tactical Mistakes,” published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Ofra Bengio suggested Turkey’s position was purely strategic. But he also chastised Israel for driving Turkey further and faster “toward the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

In this week’s Zaman, a Turkish publication, Bulent Kenes wrote: “As a result of the Davos (where the Turkish prime minister stormed out of a televised discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres, after accusing him and Israel of murder), the myth that Israel is untouchable was destroyed by Erdogan, and because of that Israel nurses a hatred for Turkey.”

In fact, the Davos incident is significant not because it demonstrates that Israel can be criticized, but rather because it was Turkey — and not any other easily dismissible party — that dared to voice such criticism.

Writing in the Financial Times under the title, “Erdogan turns to face East in a delicate balancing act,” David Gardner places Turkey’s political turn within a European context. He sums up that thought in a quote uttered by no other than Robert Gates, US defense secretary: “If there is anything to the notion that Turkey is moving Eastward, it is in no small part because it was pushed, and pushed by some in Europe refusing to give Turkey the kind of organic link to the West that Turkey sought.” But what many analysts missed was the larger political and historical context, not only as pertaining to Israel and Turkey, but to the whole region and all its players, including the US itself. Only this context can help us understand the logic behind Israel’s seemingly erratic behavior.

In 1996, Israeli leaders appeared very confident. A group of neoconservative American politicians had laid out a road map for Israel to ensure complete dominance over the Middle East. In the document entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” Turkey was mentioned four times. Each reference envisaged the country as a tool to “contain, destabilize, and roll back some of .. (the) most dangerous threats” to Israel. That very “vision” in fact served as the backbone of the larger strategy used by the US, as it carried out its heedless military adventures in the Middle East.

Frustrated by the American failure to reshape the region and unquestioningly eliminate anything and everything that Israel might perceive as a threat, Israel took matters into its own hands. However, in 2006 and between 2008 and 2009, it was up for major surprises. Superior firepower doesn’t guarantee military victory. More, while Israel had once more demonstrated its capacity to inflict untold damage on people and infrastructure, the Israeli weapon was no longer strategically effective. In other words, Israel’s military advantage could no longer translate into political gains, and this was a game-changer.

There are many issues the Israeli leadership has had to wrangle with in recent years. The US, Israel’s most faithful benefactor, is now on a crisis management mode in Iraq and Afghanistan, struggling on all fronts, whether political, military or economic. That recoil has further emboldened Israel’s enemies, who are no longer intimidated by the American bogyman. Israel’s desperate attempt at using its own military to achieve its grand objectives has also failed, and miserably so.
Read more of this post

Terrorists to train Indians to fight local terrorists

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death,” Rothschild Adolf Hitler.

“CIA’s report on Israeli terrorism and blackmailing of US officials – is similar to the 19th century anti-Semitic work the Protocols of Zion, ” Mossad chief

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI) – Seven Indian states (Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, Orrisa, Andhra Pradesh, Chatisgarth and Jharkhand) have selected 30 senior officers for a special task force to deal with current Moist groups fighting against New Delhi. These police officers will go through a 30-day training at Ghatsila (Jharkhand). The instructors include Israeli experts (Massad, Sayeret Matkal, Shin Bet, Yamam, etc.)on so-called ’counter-terrorism’. Knowing the past record of these Israeli terrorist agencies in the assassinations of the US, European and Muslim leaders – one would not be wrong to guess that ‘task’ of the 30 Indian officers would also include the target assassination of Moist leadership. Israeli sources have confirmed that the current Israeli ‘assassination list’ includes Iranian president Ahmadinejad, Turkish prime minister Erdogan, Venezuela president Hugo Chavez, Hizb’Allah leaders Sheikh Nasrallah and Hamas’ leader Mishaal. Israel’s has just assassinated one of the founder of Hamas’ miltary wing, IZZ al-Din Qassam Brigades, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Israel did not evenspared its fellow Jewish US ambassador to Lebanon, John Gunther Dean, during 1978-81 (both parents Jewish), because he was against Israeli attack on Lebanon.

Israel is also pioneered the ’sky terrorism’ – the drone in 1982. Last year when Tehran unveiled its home-made drone – the media claimed that Iranians have stolen their technology. Israel Occupation force (IOF) has used hundred of its drones in Gaza and Lebanon. The US and NATO forces have used Israel-made drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia has become the second largest customer after the US of Israeli drones. Turkey is also expected to receive long-delayed four Israeli drones. Israel’s drone manufacturers are in the process of developing more effective drone to be used against Islamic Iran.

Israeli terrorist and their agents in the US, in the past, have been involved in flase-flag operations in Zambia, US Information Library in Cairo, US embassy in Amman, attack on El Al at Orly Airport, Chadian guerrilla operation against Libya’s Gaddafi with the help of Saudi Arabia, Bali bombing, Madrid train bombing, 9/11, London terminal bombing, Meshaal’s poisoning, Sheikh Ysin’s assassination, Mumbai terrorist attacks, Syrian and Iranian threats, etc. etc.

Only if the American can find what Dubya Bush meant when he said: “Your enemies are not surrounding your country. Your enemies are ruling your country”. More history of Israeli terrorism here.

Chennai-based journalist, Trevor Selvam, on January 31, 2010, under the heading India For Selective assassination Of it\’s Own Citizens?, wrote:

“India takes up more than 50% of Israel’s arms exports. It has also been known that India manufactures under license the Russian gas-fired, super sniper semi automatic Dragunov SVD59. Now comes the report of a special training session involving at least 30 top ranking officers who have just completed special training under “foreign” instructors. Nothing works in Indian media lingo than “foreign hand.” But of course, in this case it does not matter, because the foreign hand is only for a good cause! These trainers are not bearded Jihadists or Asiatic desperadoes in the north east with Chinese made grenades.

Selective assassination, use of UAVs, missile attacks on selected homes and sniper fire has been a hallmark of the Israeli Mossad and Defence forces, not only in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in different parts of the world including South America, Iran and Europe. For the past several years it is now well-known that India has entered into very close collaboration with the IDF and over 32 non-disclosure arms and security agreements have been signed with them. The Mossad has titillated gun-and ammo freaks and underhanded counter-insurgency nutjobs with their secretive killing techniques. Assassination and murder that goes undocumented, un-prosecuted and never brought to light, when the Mossad is involved. The CIA fumbles, trips and gets blown up. Not the Mossad. That is why India has chosen them to deploy dirty tricks on India’s citizens….” -( Rehmat’s World)

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