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Friday, July 31, 2009

Rhyme & Reason

Robert Fisk, John Hari and lot more

Almost 19 years to the day after Saddam Hussein's legions invaded Kuwait – and less than 18 years since the US coalition liberated it – the Croesus-rich emirate is still demanding reparations from Baghdad as if the dictator of Iraq was still alive. Only this week, the Kuwaitis were accusing the Iraqis of encroaching on their unmarked border while insisting at the United Nations that Iraq must continue to pay 5 per cent of its oil revenues to Kuwait as invasion reparations.
Hamid al-Bayati, Baghdad's UN ambassador, has pleaded at the UN for an immediate reduction now that Saddam's regime has been gone for more than six years. Up until April of 2009, Iraq had paid $27.1bn of the total compensation but still owes Kuwait alone another $24bn, "a heavy burden on Iraq," as Mr Bayati put it, "which needs the money for services, reconstruction and development." Robert Fisk: Gulf War legacy flares as 'stingy' Kuwait puts the squeeze on Iraq

British MP Galloway in Gaza - Interview

Entertaining Apartheid Israel Deserves No Amnesty!

Taking over Post-Arnold California

Latin America in Israel's Crosshairs

On Palestinian Center for Human Rights's 2008 Annual Report

Guilt By Association - Book Review

Interview: Writer Without Borders

MIDEAST: As U.S. Winds Down, Iraq Tilts Toward Iran

MOROCCO: New Law, But the Same Old Men

What does it say about Britain that today we merrily laud a historian who celebrates the most murderous acts of the British Empire – and even says women and children who died in our concentration camps were killed by their own stupidity? Andrew Roberts is routinely described in the British press as a talented historian with a penchant for partying. They affectionately describe how the 46-year-old millionaire-inheritee sucks up to the English aristocracy. He brags: "To [the] charge of snobbery I plead guilty, with pride," saying he has "an exaggerated sense of – and tak[es] an unapologetic delight in – class distinctions." But all this Evelyn Waugh tomfoolery masks the toxic values that infuse Roberts's works of "history". Roberts, who has a new book out this week, describes himself as "extremely right-wing". To understand him, you need to look at a small, sinister group of British-based South African and Zimbabwean exiles he has associated with. In 2001, Roberts spoke to a dinner of the Springbok Club, a group that regards itself as the shadow white government of South Africa. Its founder, a former member of the neo-fascist National Front, says: "In a nutshell our policy can be summed up in one sentence: we want our countries back, and believe this can now only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent." Johann Hari: The dark side of Andrew Roberts

Skull fragments from murdered Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy Gongadze found
Sting operations by media are fine if in public interest, says Supreme Court
South African President Jacob Zuma wins damages against Guardian newspaper
Associated Press to build news registry to protect content
BBC and CNN now free to report from inside Zimbabwe
More than 1,000 publishers join Fair Syndication Consortium in US
Ann Arbor News abandons print, goes online; city now without a newspaper
Russian Bill extends copyright protection to news
Website allows magazine readers to select their own content
Journalists barred from covering court case against colleagues in Pak-occupied Kashmir
Arrest of journalist in West Bank runs contrary to Supreme Court decision
Three bloggers held in Egypt without charge
Gag on Honduran media gets tighter in month since coup, critical media obstructed
Journalists repeatedly attacked at Honduran online daily
Bolivian cameraman, who covered anti-govt protests, brutally attacked in La Paz
Mexican radio reporter found dead near Acapulco
Iran claims arrested photographers have confessed to have cooperated with 'enemy'

What is Article 270-AAA? Haroon Siddiqui on Iran and more

What is Article 270-AAA?

It is clear that Iran is going through its worst internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Less obvious but more significant is this: Islam is no longer the dividing line between the proponents and opponents of the theocratic regime in Tehran. It's no longer Islam vs. non-Islam in Iran Haroon Siddiqui

US bails out India from Balochistan wrangle

Lawyers thrash TV crew for airing footage of cop’s beating: Rule of law or lawyers?

Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Dismantling the Empire

Tomgram: Juan Cole, Empire's Paranoia About the Pashtuns

Emraan Hashmi can't get a house in Pali Hill

Keep Baking Soda By the Sink

4 Emerging Green Collar Jobs in Wind Energy

3 New Computers That May Change Your Mind About Energy Efficiency

Unofficial blog tries to figure out Apple's iPhone rejection policy

Firefox gives glimpse of next gen browser for Windows

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef

Balochistan in - terror link out, Babar Sattar, Murtaza Razvi,

But in the words of a senior party leader, it was a 50% victory because wriggling out of the other contentious point in the document, the reference to Balochistan, was not so easy. It would have meant repudiating the entire joint statement, which could have created a diplomatic flashpoint with Pakistan. The PM merely glossed over this bungle by reiterating that India's policy on Balochistan is "an open book".After a 12-day standoff over the controversial India-Pakistan joint statement from Sharm el-Sheikh, the Congress got what it wanted. On Wednesday, prime minister Manmohan Singh put back the brackets that were removed in Sharm el-Sheikh to give his strongest assurance yet to Parliament that there would be no dialogue with Pakistan until it delivers on terror. Manmohan makes U-turn, relinks terror to Pak talks

The success of the peace process is contingent on understanding the sensitivities of Pakistan and India and questioning previously unquestioned assumptions. The reference to Balochistan in the Sharm el-Shiekh statement, for example, underscores two fundamental concerns of Pakistan. One, that the future of Afghanistan has direct consequences for Pakistan's security and strategic interests, and proposals for an enhanced Indian role and presence on Pakistan's western border within Afghanistan – even under the garb of continuing developmental activities – will continue to cultivate suspicion within Pakistan. And, two, the move to permanently shelve the jihadi project must be accompanied by a principled decision to end the proxy wars being waged by the intelligence agencies of both countries. And in this regard, India's insistence that RAW is under effective civilian control is a non-starter, because makes any accusations of Indian intelligence activities and interference within Pakistan outlandish. Civilian control alone doesn't make the incendiary nature of intelligence work kosher. There is thus the need for India to investigate the information being provided by Pakistan and decommission any intelligence projects presently operational. Babar Sattar

CNN: Multiple Bombings Slowly Destroy US Soldier's Brain - He Commits Suicide (VIDEO)

Thoughts worth pondering over ~t

Given our sudden zeal for retribution, and the sense of urgency that some are attaching to bringing the autocratic Gen Musharraf to justice, what an ailing polity like Pakistan really needs is a consensus-based truth and reconciliation commission if the demons of the past are to be exorcised. Such a commission must be representative of all political parties and opinions, including those of marginalised and consistently wronged sections of society. Among such groups, the poor, women, the religious minorities, the Baloch and the Ahmadi community readily come to mind. If the urge is so strong today to start with a clean slate, all old and new holy cows must be brought to the altar of justice which, when dispensed, must also be seen by all to have been done. Murtaza Razvi

Cairo -1880

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Testing times for Wikipedia after doctor posts secrets of the Rorschach inkblots

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has become embroiled in a bitter row with psychologists after a Canadian doctor posted answers to controversial tests on the site.
The row erupted when hospital doctor James Heilman from Saskatchewan posted all ten inkblot plates on Wikipedia alongside the most common responses given to each. Heilman uploaded the images after becoming frustrated by a debate on the website as to whether a single Rorschach inkblot plate should be taken down. "I just wanted to raise the bar," he said.
The move brought immediate condemnation from psychologists who signed on to complain that making the tests public renders them useless. "Making images available on the internet will make it obsolete and we will have lost a helpful tool," said one.

Testing the quantity of Grains

Balochistan - Hamid Mir: Kargil - Ejaz Haider

The situation in Balochistan came under detailed discussion during the first meeting of the foreign secretaries in the evening of July 14 in Sharm el-Sheikh which took place two days before the meeting of Manmohan and Yousaf Raza Gilani. Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir told Shiv Shankar Menon that India must delink the talks from terrorism otherwise Pakistan will be forced to produce at least “three Indian Ajmal Kasab’s” in front of international media who were directly or indirectly part of the terrorist activities in Balochistan and Pakistan will easily establish that Indian consulate in Afghan city of Kandhar is actually a control room of all the terrorist activities organised by the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army.

Salman Bashir told Indian foreign secretary that both Pakistan and India cannot afford a blame game right now. If Pakistan will come out with evidence that Indians are responsible for attacking Chinese engineers in the Gwadar port city it may damage Indian credibility on one side but it will also spread more anti-India feelings in Pakistan and extremist forces will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

Pakistan is making noise against the Indian involvement in Balochistan insurgency in a very careful, well-calculated and “limited manner.” Recently a prominent US magazine Foreign Affairs (March 2009) published the report of a roundtable discussion on the causes of instability in Pakistan. Christine Fair of RAND Corporation clearly said in that discussion that “having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan.”

Balochistan and India

[thanks FK]

Former CIA official Bruce Riedel, who was President Clinton’s aide, has written that “more information developed about the escalating military situation in the area — disturbing evidence that the Pakistanis were preparing their nuclear arsenals for possible deployment” (American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House; Policy Paper Series, Centre for Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania).

This appears on page 8 of Mr Riedel’s paper before the Blair House meeting. Again, on page 9, he says: “Strobe [Talbott] noted the importance of being very clear with Nawaz and not letting the Prime Minister be alone with the President so that he could later claim commitments not made.

A record of who said what was critical. Rick and I briefed the President on the latest information we had.“There was more disturbing information about Pakistan preparing its nuclear arsenal for possible use. I recommended that he use this only when Sharif was without his aides...”Later in the paper, Riedel writes: “Clinton asked Sharif if he knew how advanced the threat of nuclear war really was? Did Sharif know his military was preparing their nuclear tipped missiles? Sharif seemed taken aback and said only that India was probably doing the same.” This part of the paper shows Clinton as someone who was commanding Sharif who, to quote Riedel, “seemed a man possessed with fear of war” and didn’t seem to know much. Clinton seems to be applying the pressure in a psychological game, ensuring that Sharif would succumb — “The President was getting angry. He told Sharif that he had asked repeatedly for Pakistani help to bring Usama bin Ladin to justice from Afghanistan. Sharif had promised often to do so but had done nothing.”

More or less the same story has been put out by then-Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in his book Engaging India. This is a story that Lt-Gen Khalid Kidwai (retd), DG-SPD, has rubbished on many occasions including, according to a senior officer at the Strategic Plans Division, in a meeting with US visitors.

It is difficult to see how Pakistan could have moved or prepared its arsenal if these missiles were not ready for induction or operational use. The only other possibility was the use of air force. But while the Indian Air Force was partly involved in the area of operations, the Pakistan Air Force was not. (Two probes that were sent by the IAF were both shot down by Pakistani Army air defence.) Similarly, naval forces were not engaged and neither side made any movement. Secondly, there was no military logic for Pakistan to make any nuclear moves given that not even 5 percent of the forces on the two sides were involved in the conflict (one Pakistani division, Force Command Northern Areas, and one Indian Corps were engaged in battle). In fact, the strike formations on both sides remained in peace locations.

Ejaz Haider

M J Akbar, Goldman Sachs, Syed Saleem Shahzad

If war between two nuclear powers is unthinkable, what is thinkable? States who sponsor terrorism have done their thinking: surrogate war, not easily traceable to its masters. This leaves India with a problem. Since we are a status-quoist power, without territorial ambitions upon any neighbour, our defence forces are what they say they are. Their purpose is to defend India's space and peace. Their mechanisms for offense are designed for counterattack, not attack. When we did attack in the special circumstances of Bangladesh, we left within four months of completing our mission. We had no territorial aims. Pakistan's armed forces, in contrast, still play war games whose end-point is Srinagar. Indo-Pak peace: Play to win, Mr Prime Minister

Michael Lewis inimically wrote about Goldman Sachs that needed to be said ~t

America stands at a crossroads, and Goldman Sachs now owns both of them. In choosing which road to take, ordinary Americans must not be distracted by unproductive resentment toward the toll-takers. To that end we at Goldman Sachs would like to dispel several false and insidious rumors.
Rumor No. 1: “Goldman Sachs controls the U.S. government.”
Every time we hear the phrase “the United States of Goldman Sachs” we shake our heads in wonder. Every ninth-grader knows that the U.S. government consists of three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent, and the third we have no interest in at all. (Note there isn’t a single former Goldman employee on the Supreme Court.) Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools: Michael Lewis [thanks NF]

In front of a mass media presence, yesterday's hero of the Pakistani military establishment, former Pakistani member of parliament Shah Abdul Aziz, appeared with a shaven head like any ordinary criminal and was ordered on judicial remand to be detained in Adyala Jail Rawalpindi in connection with the abduction and murder by the Taliban of a Polish engineer, Piotr Stanczak, in September 2008. He was beheaded by militants in February after talks with the government for the release of captured Taliban members failed. Although Aziz was ordered to be jailed, Asia Times Online contacts say that he was bundled off to an intelligence safe house for further interrogation. "This is the same Shah Abdul Aziz who delivered [Pakistan Taliban leader] Baitullah Mehsud's letter written to the chief of army staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiani a few months ago as part of his job to get peace between the army and the militants," retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja told Asia Times Online. Khawaja is a former ISI official and now a human-rights activist for "disappeared" victims of the "war on terror". Pakistan turns on its jihadi assets By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Johann Hari - The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan, Character Is Our Bailout

"I am not sure how many more days I will be alive," Malalai Joya says quietly. The warlords who make up the new "democratic" government in Afghanistan have been sending bullets and bombs to kill this tiny 30-year-old from the refugee camps for years - and they seem to be getting closer with every attempt. Her enemies call her a "dead woman walking". "But I don't fear death, I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice," she says plainly. "I am young and I want to live. But I say to those who would eliminate my voice: 'I am ready, wherever and whenever you might strike. You can cut down the flower, but nothing can stop the coming of the spring.'" The story of Malalai Joya turns everything we have been told about Afghanistan inside out. In the official rhetoric, she is what we have been fighting for. Here is a young Afghan woman who set up a secret underground school for girls under the Taliban and -- when they were toppled -- cast off the burka, ran for parliament, and took on the religious fundamentalists. The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan: An Exclusive Interview with Malalai Joya

There are three decisions that will reshape your life forever and create the potential for health, wealth and happiness. These are decisions, not work projects:
1. Live an authentic life. Be honest all the time, not just when it's easy.
2. Look in the mirror and like what you see. Try it. You will be amazed what happens over time.
3. Forgive yourself and others, always. It's a gift for you because you deserve it.

And, check in with yourself by taking the "24-Hour Truth Challenge." Commit to being honest and authentic for 24 straight hours, to yourself and everyone else. You will become very aware of your personal behavior, especially if you are struggling after two hours of your truth challenge. You will also notice an internal feeling of freedom and inner strength based on being authentic.

There is nothing more important than your character. Character is truly our Bailout. Character Is Our Bailout

For more information on Gary and his work, please visit his site.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Oration delivered before the Literary Societies of Dartmouth College, July 24, 1838

Emerson's full address is eloquent, thought provoking and inspiring,. Here is an excerpt ~~t

You will hear every day the maxims of a low prudence. You will hear, that the first duty is to get land and money, place and name. 'What is this Truth you seek? what is this Beauty?' men will ask, with derision. If, nevertheless, God have called any of you to explore truth and beauty, be bold, be firm, be true. When you shall say, 'As others do, so will I: I renounce, I am sorry for it, my early visions; I must eat the good of the land, and let learning and romantic expectations go, until a more convenient season;' — then dies the man in you; then once more perish the buds of art, and poetry, and science, as they have died already in a thousand thousand men. The hour of that choice is the crisis of your history; and see that you hold yourself fast by the intellect. It is this domineering temper of the sensual world, that creates the extreme need of the priests of science; and it is the office and right of the intellect to make and not take its estimate. Bend to the persuasion which is flowing to you from every object in nature, to be its tongue to the heart of man, and to show the besotted world how passing fair is wisdom. Forewarned that the vice of the times and the country is an excessive pretension, let us seek the shade, and find wisdom in neglect. Be content with a little light, so it be your own. Explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatize, nor accept another's dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board. Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not takeaway your property in all men's possessions, in all men's affections, in art, in nature, and in hope.

Indus Seals and the Indus Civilization Script

The Indus Civilization—also called the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappan, Indus-Sarasvati or Hakra Civilization—was based in an area of some 1.6 million square kilometers in what is today eastern Pakistan and northeastern India between about 2500-1900 BC. There are 2,600 known Indus sites, from enormous urban cities like Mohenjo Daro and Mehrgarh to small villages like Nausharo.

Sources and Further Information
Rao, Rajesh P. N., et al. 2009 Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script. Science Express 23 April 2009
Guide to the Indus Civilization
Bibliography of the Indus Civilization
Study of the Indus Script at includes an article by Asko Parpola, essential reading to understanding this issue.

More on the Indus Civilization
Indus CivilizationMehluha: the Indus Valley CivilizationsIndus Civilization Bibliography - A Bibliography of the Indus Civilization -
Indus Civilization Sites
Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan)Harappa (Pakistan) Nausharo
More on Ancient Languages
Deciphering Linear B Sanskrit
Related Articles
Pakistan - Early Civilization in Pakistan
Harappa (Pakistan) - Capital of the Indus Civilization
Indus Civilization Timeline and Description - Harappan Civilization
Mehluha: the Indus Valley Civilizations

Wodehouse, Flaubert, War Poetry, Uri Avnery, Fisk and more

Earliest Wodehouse satires discovered

Letters reveal Flaubert's English 'amitié amoureuse'

Andrew Motion on war poetry

Bernanke: "I Had To Hold My Nose" Over Bailouts

OPINION: Yes, you can! —Uri Avnery

Book review: "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide"

Israel's "open" Jerusalem closed to Palestinians

Israel's plan to wipe Arabic names off the map

10 Foods To Die For

But I also think that, militarily, we have got to abandon the Middle East. By all means, send the Arabs our teachers, our economists, our agronomists. But bring our soldiers home. They do not defend us. They spread the same chaos that breeds the injustice upon which the al-Qa'idas of this world feed. No, the Arabs – or, outside the Arab world, the Iranians or the Afghans – will not produce the eco-loving, gender-equal, happy-clappy democracies that we would like to see. But freed from "our" tutelage, they might develop their societies to the advantage of the people who live in them. Maybe the Arabs would even come to believe that they owned their own countries. Robert Fisk: Why does life in the Middle East remain rooted in the Middle Ages?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Farrukh Saleem: Pakistan Govt. Has not declared Al Qaeda a Terrorist Org.,

Dr Farrukh Saleem has documented that Load-shedding is political.

This can only happen in Confusistan as Amir Mir the more diligent journalist and reporter than his more famous brother has written here on the man India wants Pakistan to hand over:

Interestingly, however, the LHC judges wanted to see a copy of the government notification under which the al-Qaeda had been declared a terrorist organisation. Two days later, on June 1, 2009 the Attorney General went back to the court and told the judges that the Pakistan government had not yet declared al-Qaeda a terrorist organisation. The court subsequently told the Attorney General if that was the case, Hafiz Saeed's having links with al-Qaeda was no offence under the law of the land. The LHC released its detailed verdict on June 6, 2009, making public the grounds on which it had ordered the release of the JuD chief. One of the grounds said: "It would be relevant to mention here at this juncture that the security laws and anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan are so far silent about the fact that al-Qaeda was a terrorist organisation".

František Kupka

Fix Your Passwords, Jiang Weiping

It's tempting to blame the victim. In May, a twentysomething French hacker broke into several Twitter employees' e-mail accounts and stole a trove of meeting notes, strategy documents, and other confidential scribbles. The hacker eventually gave the stash to TechCrunch, which has since published notes from meetings in which Twitter execs discussed their very lofty goals. (The company wants to be the first Web service to reach 1 billion users.) How'd the hacker get all this stuff? Like a lot of tech startups, Twitter runs without paper—much of the company's discussions take place in e-mail and over shared Google documents. All of these corporate secrets are kept secure with a very thin wall of protection: the employees' passwords, which the intruder managed to guess because some people at Twitter used the same passwords for many different sites. In other words, Twitter had it coming. The trouble is, so do the rest of us. Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five MinutesA foolproof technique to secure your computer, e-mail, and bank account.By Farhad Manjoo

He spent five years and a month in jail in China, deprived of drinking water for days and of heat in his cell in minus-30 winter weather. When his case became an international cause célèbre, his wife was detained for 28 days and prohibited from travelling for a year. She eventually escaped to Toronto with their daughter in 2004. Upon his release in 2006, he was kept under surveillance and banned from travel for three years. He came to Toronto early this year. Jiang Weiping, 54, sat down Monday and summarized the 500,000-word account he has just finished in Mandarin. His wife Stella Lee, 52, with whom I've had several dealings in the last five years through PEN Canada, the writers' group, completed telling hers Thursday. She speaks English. He hopes to. So his long interviews had to be translated. Chinese dissident saved by Canada details horror - Haroon Siddiqui

Jinnah would ask, ‘when did you people stop asking questions?’ - Courage to question By Moazzam Husain

Moazzam Husain has written pertinently in this column. Two quotes shall suffice ~t

So if Dr (Justice) Javid Iqbal’s lament is that Pakistan is in the hands of a failed generation Aitzaz Ahsan, in his book, The Indus Saga, explains why. ‘Pakistanis have spent almost half a century of their existence without asking any questions.’ Indeed bold, courageous and informed questions are anathema in Pakistan. Some time back prominent educator Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy had explained: ‘Most students have not learnt how to think; they cannot speak or write any language well, rarely read newspapers and cannot formulate a coherent argument or manage any significant creative expression. This generation of Pakistanis is intellectually handicapped.’

According to Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch, ‘Pakistan is indeed a failed state. A state that does not have enough self-confidence to take criticism…. A state that feels constrained to legalise bigotry and exclusion, extremism and prejudice, coercion and oppression in order to survive … [Pakistan] is certainly not presiding over a vibrant, successful and self assured society.’ If Ali was to travel to the past and meet Jinnah, with this message from the future, what would Jinnah’s response be to him? Perhaps more importantly, what would Jinnah’s questions be to him? Might one of the questions be ‘when did you people stop asking questions?’

[thanks FK}

Katherine Rusell Rich, Ardeshir Cowasjee

This is part one of a dialogue between Christine Kenneally, author of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, and Katherine Russell Rich, author of Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language.

Part 2 response from Katherine Russell Rich.
Part 3 response from Christine Kenneally
Part 4 response from Katherine Russell Rich

PANI (People & Nature Initiative) proposes to develop 118 acres of mangrove area along the Mai Kolachi Causeway as the Kolachi Wetland Reserve, within which Chandni Park, on 12 acres, would be an eco-friendly wetland park, accessible to the public. Using low-tech, low-cost technology essentially based on large septic-tanks and aeration channels/lakes, it is estimated that in the first phase 30 mgd of sewage of the inflow from nullahs and katchi abadis into Clifton Boat Basin/Chinna Creek will be treated at a capital cost of around Rs0.8bn (about 10 per cent of the cost of a conventional sewage-treatment plant). Additional features visualised include eco-tourism, bird sanctuaries, community playgrounds,17.5 million kg/month of organic fertiliser, 30 mgd of treated water for agriculture/ horticulture, mangrove honey-farming, recreational fishing/boating and so forth. This initiative of sound environmental practice and sustainable development, seeking to provide equally for the varied and conflicting factors of conservation, tourism, education and recreation is a model to be replicated at the national level. Ardeshir Cowasjee

Haqqani, Ejaz Haider's BS, Khaled Ahmed's distortion,

Said the neocon Pakistan Ambassador to the Court of Obamama, ‘US now understands Pakistan’s situation’

Oh, well! Thanks Mr. Ambassador.

And our friend Ejaz Haider obviously did not have anything better to write about so his BS goes like: Nomani’s Big Fat Bullshit Article! —Ejaz Haider

Would you like to read a book that:

Professor Netton of the University of Leeds has accomplished a difficult job with great caution, allowing into the volume an enormous amount of information without being controversial, which is another way of saying that he has presented the work without offending an increasingly narrow-minded, bigoted and divided Muslim community. (in simpler English this means censoring and distorting facts ~~t) Khaled Ahmed

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let the living rise

Target Musharraf

When General Pervez Musharraf stepped down as Pakistan's president last year, he looked forward to a quiet life of golf, lucrative speaking engagements, and evenings clinking glasses and tugging on cigars with friends over a game of bridge. He certainly wasn't expecting the summons issued on Wednesday by Pakistan's Supreme Court to appear later this month and defend his November 2007 imposition of a state of emergency — when he sacked the very judges, led by the recently reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who are now demanding answers from him.

After Hosni? Dubai Woes, Saudi Mess

THE question of Hosni Mubarak’s succession is once again cropping up with increasing regularity as whispers of the president’s ill-health spread. It was widely rumoured that, shocked by the death of his favourite grandson from illness in May, Mr Mubarak had a mild stroke. He was not seen in public for a week. When he reappeared, he looked frailer. When Barack Obama came to Cairo a fortnight later to deliver his momentous speech to the Muslim world, Egypt’s 81-year-old president failed to turn up. More recently, however, he has made an effort to appear at carefully orchestrated public outings. This week he was hobnobbing with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. Egypt after Hosni Mubarak

The two buzz words in Dubai’s business and media circles are “denial” and “bail-out”. A persistent complaint is that the authorities—in particular, the ruling family of Dubai and its acolytes, led by Sheikh Muhammad—took far too long to recognise the gravity of the crisis when it broke in September. “They were splashing about in the water when they should have been swimming across the channel,” says another Western banker. In October Nakheel was still parading grandiose development schemes. It was not until January that Sheikh Muhammad summoned Dubai’s top businessmen and ministers to take stock and plan a recovery. For months the Maktoums seemed to be in denial. Trouble in the United Arab Emirates - The perils of autocracy [thanks AC]

SINCE the attacks on New York’s twin towers in 2001, “the Saudi authorities have imposed a range of counter-terrorism measures that have worsened what was already a dire human-rights situation.” So says Amnesty International, a London-based human-rights lobby. Its latest report follows an official Saudi announcement earlier this month that 330 people had been convicted on charges of terrorism, with sentences ranging from fines to (in one case) death by beheading, with just seven defendants acquitted; of those convicted, 42 would never be freed without “repenting” before a judge. Some 660 people are still in the dock, undergoing a trial that began in March. Another 2,000-plus are reckoned to be behind bars; when or whether they will be tried is not yet clear. Detainees in Saudi Arabia - An awful lot

M J Akbar: Dulcet smiles in public, straight talk in private

To get an Obama-Hillary promotion from “dormant superpower” to "active superpower” India needs to sign the NPT, which will force Pakistan to sign as well. [There is very little talk in Washington, incidentally, of getting Israel to sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.]

Mrs Hillary Clinton’s seamless public-posture-private-face skills, surely honed during the many domestic and national crises during Bill Clinton’s term as President, were put to admirable use during her visit to India. Her first visit to India, as Mrs President, was arguably her most important. It established the goodwill that her husband put to such excellent diplomatic use during his state visit. The ice that Bill Clinton broke became a tide during George Bush’s eight years. The jury is still out on whether the tide will recede, stagnate or become a flood. A politician without public relations has to be terribly lucky to be popular. Mrs Clinton has outdistanced luck. She crafted her language with enough nuance to fool an advertising agency. Focused on the Indian need for appearances she de-hyphenated her visit from Pakistan and bracketed it with ASEAN. Delhi squirms at any equivalence with Islamabad, as an India-Pakistan itinerary would imply; its self-image, backed up by international recognition of its growing economic muscle, places India on a much higher status platform than Pakistan.

Robert Fisk, US Trillions, Mid East

But to Avi. He recalls arguing with the late Edward Said – and there is a titanic voice to be ever missed, irreplaceable is the only word – over the Oslo agreement. Here is what Avi writes: "In the years since 1993, I have often asked myself: who was right and who was wrong? When things were going well, when progress was being made, when Oslo II was signed, for example, I thought that I was right and that Edward was wrong. "When the political process (between Israel and the Palestinians) stalled with the inevitable return to violence, I thought that Edward Said was right and I was wrong. From today's vantage point, 16 years on, it is indisputable that I was wrong and Edward Said was right in his analysis of the nature and limitations of the Oslo accord." Robert Fisk’s World: Lessons in justice and fairness from a no-nonsense historian

The U.S. Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury have doled out trillions in taxpayer dollars to banks and corporations and now the boom may be falling on what lawmakers say is a shroud of secrecy that surrounds their actions. In separate hearings on Capitol Hill this week, lawmakers expressed support for a bill to make the Fed's decisions more transparent, and for the findings of a special inspector general report that calls for greater transparency in the Treasury's bailout of banks, called the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP). ECONOMY-US: Trillions to Banks as Taxpayers Left in the Dark By Adrianne Appel

Israel's newly installed ambassador in Washington says the "disagreement" with the U.S. over Israel's settlement policy will be resolved "soon". Speaking on Israel Radio, Michael Oren was giving his first interview since taking up his post. A low-key U.S. demand for Israel to scrap a plan for a new Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem is the latest tussle since U.S. President Barack Obama shifted the diplomatic ground dramatically when he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at their May meeting that all settlement construction had to stop because otherwise his plan to resuscitate peace moves between Israel and the Arab world would be blocked. MIDEAST: Defiant Netanyahu Plays his Jerusalem Card Analysis by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Muslims and the Qur'an

Muzaffar Iqbal says 'classical texts' such as Al Qur'an are not intended to be used need guidance. This is the same line that is repeated by the vested clergy in all Muslim nations.

Let us hope I do not tread in blasphemy here, but Al Qur'an is the final message for all Muslims. And it was revealed to Bedouins and average Arabs (not nuclear scientists or doctoral students). How difficult do you think its message could have been to understand?

Be good, be just, look after your parents, neighbours, spouses, other words, be a good corporate citizen.

Why, then are we told that to grasp a simple egalitarian message of the Book, we need "guidance" from vested clergy? Does He not tell us to read, understand and follow? I don't recall reading in the book "Go to your local maulvi to understand this." ~t

Since the Qur'an
remains a fundamental part of the life of Muslims at so many levels of existence, millions of Muslims look for different translations, exegeses, dictionaries, and translations of classical texts on the Qur'an in order to engage with it at a deeper level. These sources are useful to some extent, but since classical texts were not intended to be used without guidance, those readers who lack training in reading these texts are more likely to be confused than enlightened. Muslims and the Quran (Quantum note) Part I Dr Muzaffar Iqbal

Tales From Rural Pakistan, Lived and Shared

IN the steamy heat of central Pakistan, a novelist is writing. He describes a hidden world of servants and their feudal masters, the powerlessness of poverty and the corruption that glues it all together.

These lives, tucked away in the mango groves, grand estates and mud-walled villages of rural Pakistan, are rarely seen by outsiders. But the writer, Daniyal Mueenuddin, a Pakistani-American who lives here, has brought them into focus in a collection of short stories, “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders,” published this year.

They are intimate portraits that raise some of the biggest questions in Pakistan today. Why does a small elite still control vast swaths of land more than 60 years after Pakistan became a nation? How long will landlords continue to control the law and the lives of the peasants on their land in the same way British rulers did before them?

Mr. Mueenuddin, 46, offers a richly observed landscape that is written with the tenderness and familiarity of an old friend. The estate Mr. Mueenuddin lives on in southern Punjab, Pakistan’s biggest province, belonged to his father, a prominent Pakistani civil servant, and he used to come here as a boy.

Ayaz Amir, Pepe Escobar, Amartya Sen, Harris Khalique

The greatest responsibility for moving on lies with the National Assembly, a task it has somehow shirked up till now. If PM Gilani is now in a mood to become more active and take his responsibilities more seriously it is high time he did so. The cabinet is oversized and needs to be cut. Only such a step will send the nation a signal that the government is at last getting serious. Reconciliation is a good concept but if it means trying to please everyone all the time it is little better than a watchword for doing nothing. Why do people look up to Justice Chaudhry and the Supreme Court? Because parliament and cabinet are yet to prove their effectiveness. Ayaz Amir

HONG KONG - Does it make sense to talk about a Beijing-Tehran axis? Apparently no, when one learns that Iran's application to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was flatly denied at the 2008 summit in Tajikistan. Apparently yes, when one sees how the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat in Tehran and the collective leadership in Beijing have dealt with their recent turmoil - the "green revolution" in Tehran and the Uighur riots in Urumqi - reawakening in the West the ghostly mythology of "Asian despotism". NEW GREAT GAME REVISITED, Part 2Iran, China and the New Silk Road By Pepe Escobar

Part 1: Iran and Russia, scorpions in a bottle

The Idea of Justice is billed as Amartya Sen's most ambitious book yet. This is quite a claim for a man whose publications on famine are acknowledged as having changed global perceptions on poverty and food production, and whose work on welfare economics significantly contributed to the United Nations' Human Development Index. He has been garlanded with honours, including the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998. So celebrated is he as a thinker and academic that, asked what Sen does at weekends, his publisher replied, "he collects honorary degrees". The thinker: Inside the mind of prized intellectual Amartya Sen

The textile industry contributes most significantly to the country's GDP, from eight to nine per cent, and significantly to our export as well as generating employment for millions of people. Pakistan being an agrarian economy, the only agro-based industry where value addition makes us proud as a nation to some extent is textile. It is undoubtedly the backbone of our exports. While we continue to export raw cotton, the country has an accumulated spinning capacity of 1,550 million kilos of yarn, weaving capacity of approximately 4,500 million square-metres of fabric and finishing capacity of 4,000 million square-metres. We produce 670 million units of garments, 400 million units of knitwear and more than 50 million kilos of towel. In 2007, we had more than 1,200 units of ginning, about 450 units for spinning, 124 large weaving units and 425 small units. With more than 20,600 power looms, there are 10 large finishing units and 625 small units. Garment manufacturing units are 50 large and 2,500 small. Knitwear-producing units are 600 and towel is produced in 400 units. I am quoting figures just to emphasise the point that it is a huge industry and contributes to 60 per cent of the country's total exports bringing us more than five billion dollars every year. Harris Khalique

Friday, July 24, 2009

Salvador Dali - Sewing Machine

Eco Etiquette, Invoking Godwin's Law, Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock

Want to find out how to (politely) convince your boyfriend to give up that gas guzzler? Not sure how to recycle that broken hair dryer? Don't know the difference between Cap and Trade and Cap'n Crunch? HuffPost Green Eco Etiquette advisor Jennifer Grayson is here to answer all your pressing environmental questions, solve your eco dilemmas, and ease you into a green lifestyle you can live with. Eco Etiquette: HuffPost Green's New Advice Column

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered diplomats to use an old photograph of a former Palestinian religious leader meeting Adolf Hitler to counter world criticism of a Jewish building plan for East Jerusalem. Israeli officials said on Wednesday that Lieberman told Israeli ambassadors to circulate the 1941 shot in Berlin of the Nazi leader seated next to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the late mufti or top Muslim religious leader in Jerusalem. Israel circulates photo of Hitler greeting late Palestinian mufti

This week, a principle adopted by world leaders four years ago to prevent mass atrocity will face a crucial test. The Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, stipulates that states, individually and collectively, have an obligation to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes or crimes against humanity. It expressly provides that the international community, acting through the Security Council, can have a direct role in providing protection to vulnerable populations. Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock

Nicholas Kristof, Stephen Lendman, Habb Siddiqui

The mayor of Karachi, Syed Mustafa Kamal, confirms that Pashtun tribesmen have barred outsiders from entering some neighborhoods. “I’m the mayor, and I have three vehicles with police traveling with me. And even I cannot enter these areas or they will blow me up,” Mr. Kamal said, adding, “Pakistan is in very critical condition.” Lala Hassan of the Aurat Foundation, which works on social issues, said: “There’s no doubt militancy is increasing day by day, not only in Karachi but all over Pakistan.” On this trip, I also traveled in South Punjab and found it far more troubled than in my previous trips to the area. Some music shops and girls’ schools have been threatened by fundamentalists, local residents said. In the city of Bahawalpur, home to a notorious militant, my interpreter asked me not even to step out of the vehicle. The Daily Times of Pakistan described the situation as “terror’s free run in South Punjab.” Terror Creeps Into the Heartland. By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

On July 6, co-founders Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Allyson Rowen Taylor announced: "Z Street is launched, Will end J Street Treason." More on that below. Continuing they said: "welcome to Z street! No more appeasement, no more negotiating with terrorists, no more enabling cowards who fear offending more than they fear another Holocaust. Z STREET is for those who are willing not only to support - but to defend - Israel, the Jewish State." Never mind that no nation threatens Israel nor has for decades. It's a regional superpower - nuclearized and defended by the world's fourth most powerful military, armed with the latest state-of-the-art weapons and technology, and not reluctant to use them. Its only adversaries are self-made and are needed to justify oppression, a culture of violence, an ethnocracy, exclusivity, privilege, and Jewish exceptionalism over others deemed inferior, legitimate enemies, and terrorists. Zionism is corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful. Z Street: The New Zionist Extremist Group By Stephen Lendman

These days Khaled Abu Toameh (KAT), an Israeli Arab journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post, is often touted as a ‘real' journalist with a ‘unique' voice of ‘straightforward' reporting from the West Bank and Gaza . Soon after publication of my article “ Israel – the Apartheid State ”, a reader who has been following KAT's version of reporting from the Occupied Territories wrote to me stating that before criticizing Israel for apartheid policies, I should urge Palestinians to stop murdering fellow Palestinians. He continued, “Abu Toameh thinks Israel should simply wait until the Palestinians stop killing each other and create a credible political entity that can make a deal. If the Palestinians cannot live in peace with each other, it will be futile to think that a Palestinian state and a Jewish state can live peacefully side by side.” I am sorry to say that such are jaundiced views of the reality within the Occupied Territories of Palestine . Embedded Journalism Cannot Sanctify The Apartheid State By Habib Siddiqui

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art Institute of Chicago Launches Landmark Virtual Museum Gallery Tour

Ikram Sehgal, Syed Saleem Shahzad, Babar Sattar

While Ikram Sehgal is perhaps right, he could also be (perhaps) wrong about Nawaz Sharif`s motives and options. To me the bigger and more disruptive perception Nawaz and his PML (Zia) has inadvertently created since the election is that of a rubber stamp Opposition. His (lip service aside) spinelessness is becoming apparent by the day. --t

Nawaz Sharif's Catch 22 was that if he had refused to accept Zardari's visit to Raiwind he would have confirmed himself as an "extremist"; in being received and the signing of a meaningless document there, Zardari seems to have taken Mian Nawaz Sharif politically to the cleaners again. Mian Sahib is taking a calculated risk in believing he can contain this perception without falling prey to Zardari's machinations again. Given the total support from the US and the single-handed efforts of Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Zardari is presently sitting pretty in the President's House. The Raiwind visit calls for exchanging "high fives" with his close circle for effectively filibustering (temporarily at least) the erosion of such presidential powers that would put an absolute monarch to shame. Zardari probably cares two hoots about being the most unpopular man in Pakistan. It is most surprising that the Obama administration does too. Ikram Sehgal.

Asia Times Online has learnt that Pakistan has gradually moved its forces into Bannu, the principal city of Bannu district in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and Dera Ismail Khan, another city in NWFP. It has also stationed troops in the Waziristans. Tension is rising there, with the Taliban having disrupted the supply lines of troops based in North Waziristan. The deadline for the beginning of an all-out operation is not known. It will be the first time that all Taliban groups are targeted - the Sirajuddin network has traditionally been pro-establishment. "In principle, Pakistan has agreed on a stable government, cordial ties with India and support of the war on terror. But for the first time, Admiral Mike Mullen and Ashfaq Parvez Kiani have made a joint initiative to implement this principle under a set mechanism so that there can be no deviations," a senior Pakistani diplomat told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity. Pakistan-US plan falls into place By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Morocco: Less jail sentences, but more libel cases during King Mohammed's reign
Resurgence of violence against journalists in Iraq after US troops withdrawal
Moroccan reporter turned back on arrival in Algeria
Moldovan journalists report increasing incidents of harassment
Newspaper confiscated in Turkey town for reporting allegations of police rape
Six bloggers arrested in Chinese province for reporting gangrape death
Chinese propaganda department censors stories linked to President Hu Jintao's son
Associated Press correspondent forced to leave Sri Lanka for coverage of real war toll

Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor in chief, tonight threw his support behind a plan to give public funding to Britain's national press agency to allow it to provide news from public authorities and courts as local newspapers withdraw because they can no longer afford it.
Rusbridger, speaking at a seminar on the future of journalism at the Media Standards Trust in London, also outlined his vision for a new digital world in which the public grows much closer to journalists. Speaking in front of guests including film director Lord Puttnam, BBC business editor Robert Peston and Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, Rusbridger said local news needed to be supported, or "corruption and inefficiency" would grow as scrutiny lessened. Decline of local news may allow corruption in public institutions to grow, Guardian editor warns

So let the court rule on the culpability of Musharraf under Article 6, and the Parliament can then debate the merit or desirability of actually punishing him if he is found guilty. Judicial matters are to be decided on legal principle, which leaves no room for expediency and political considerations in judicial discourse. However, the Parliament can draft law and make exception on the basis of policy compromises, and should it choose not to punish Musharraf in some "larger good" of the country, so be it. Further, even if the Parliament wishes to punish Musharraf, President Zardari can always pardon him in exercise of his discretionary powers under Article 45 of the Constitution. If the constitutional jurisprudence of Pakistan is to be resurrected and another khaki saviour is to be deterred from conquering his nation yet again, there is need to breath life into Article 6. The actual fact of Musharraf serving a sentence is not as relevant. But his getting convicted for molesting the Constitution certainly is. Babar Sattar

Richard Burton on Dick Cavett, Pico Iyer on Dalai Lama, Gaza Artist

Richard Burton on Diuck Cavett is worth a look for those who are not familiar with either of them~ t

Who’s Afraid of Richard Burton? - Dick Cavett

Yet in 35 years of talking to the Dalai Lama, and covering him everywhere from Zurich to Hiroshima, as a non-Buddhist, skeptical journalist, I’ve found him to be as deeply confident, and therefore sunny, as anyone I’ve met. And I’ve begun to think that his almost visible glow does not come from any mysterious or unique source. Indeed, mysteries and rumors of his own uniqueness are two of the things that cause him most instantly to erupt into warm laughter. The Dalai Lama I’ve seen is a realist (which is what makes his optimism the more impressive and persuasive). And he’s as practical as the man he calls his “boss.” The Buddha generally presented himself as more physician than metaphysician: if an arrow is sticking out of your side, he famously said, don’t argue about where it came from or who made it; just pull it out. You make your way to happiness not by fretting about it or trafficking in New Age affirmations, but simply by finding the cause of your suffering, and then attending to it, as any doctor (of mind or body) might do. Dalai Lama By Pico Iyer

From the entrance of the house, one can observe the whole tragedy. On 6 January 2009, an Israeli artillery shell landed in the front yard of the Deeb family home in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza strip. A large, wide hole in the ground and two missing walls are all that remain. Sitting in his wheelchair in the corner, Ziad, 22, is the last survivor of the Deeb family. He lost both legs during the attack, and 10 relatives were killed including his father, grandmother, brothers, nieces and nephews.Ziad choose a different and unlikely way to mourn. He was a graduate of Gaza's College of Fine Arts when Israel's winter invasion began. When it was over, he started drawing -- on wood, on the walls of the city streets, in front of destroyed government buildings, and public squares.Gaza artist, survivor finds power in paint

Ruling Divides Area in Sudan, Why Al Jazeera Not Allowed in India, Whirling Dervishes on the Road

An international court redefined the borders of a disputed oil-rich region between north and south Sudan on Wednesday, seeking to defuse one of the thorniest issues in the 2005 peace agreement that ended Africa’s longest running civil war by splitting the contested zone between the two sides. In its ruling, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague overruled an earlier decision by an international commission that Sudan’s government rejected four years ago. The new ruling included important concessions for both sides, giving the government in the north control of the region’s richest oil fields, but consolidating control of the remaining region under the Ngok Dinka, an ethnic group loyal to southern Sudan and likely to vote to join it in a coming referendum. Ruling Divides Area in Sudan

In India, part of the problem is the self-absorbed approach of news vendors, which naturally gives them the worldview of a frog in the well. This could partly explain the fact that among the hundreds of TV channels now available to Indian audiences, a serious news channel like Al Jazeera is missing. The absence of Al Jazeera works to the advantage of the Indian state and its friends in the media in two ways. It denies the audiences the opportunity of looking at the world in a different way to the one projected by, say, the BBC and the CNN. This helps keep the audiences in the dark about burning issues of the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, all of which would link India to the dialectics of geopolitics in a way that the western world would not want us to see. Asking (inaudible) questions Jawed Naqvi

BTW, any one knows if any Pakistani news channels are allowed in India? ~~t

The agency buried its head in the sand, keeping the research to itself for years and ignoring the fact that soon nearly all Americans would own cellphones and that the phones are always getting smarter and more demanding, putting a multimedia empire at your fingertips while you’re piloting a potentially lethal piece of artillery. Americans are so addicted to techno-surfing that they’ve gotten hubristic about how many machines they can juggle simultaneously. Left, literally, to our own devices, we spiral out of control. States should outlaw drivers from talking on phones — except in an emergency — and using digital devices that cause you to drift and swerve; or at least mandate a $10,000 fine for getting in an accident while phoning or Twittering. Whirling Dervish Drivers - Maureen Dowd

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proud Pakistani

[with thanks to the anonymous sender]

Asia Society Museum to present Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan

New York, NY - Hanging Fire is the first U.S. museum exhibition to focus on contemporary art from Pakistan. Representing the current energy, vitality, and range of expression in Pakistan’s little-known yet thriving arts scene, the exhibition comprises nearly 50 works by 15 artists, and includes installation art, video, photography, painting, and sculpture. Curated by Salima Hashmi—one of the most influential and well-respected writers and curators in Pakistan—the exhibition presents a comprehensive look at recent and current trends in Pakistani art. The exhibition begins with one of the last major works by the late artist Zahoor ul Akhlaq, considered the founder of modernism in Pakistan, who was tragically murdered in 1999 and whose work continues to influence younger artists. The recently established and distinctly Pakistani genre of contemporary miniature painting is examined through works by artists such as the celebrated Imran Qureshi, who skillfully manipulates the technical discipline and meaning of the hallowed illuminated Mughal manuscript tradition. Qureshi will create a site-specific painting at Asia Society for the exhibition. The exhibition’s title, Hanging Fire, refers to an idiom that means “to delay decision.” In the context of the exhibition, the title evokes the idea of delaying judgment, particularly based on assumptions or preconceived notions about contemporary society and artistic expression in Pakistan. It also alludes to the contemporary economic, political, and social tensions––both local and global––from which these artists find their creative inspiration.

Greg Mortenson's Jihad

Indeed, Mortenson’s [Greg Mortenson, the famed author of “Three Cups of Tea,”] efforts remind us what the essence of the “war on terrorism” is about. It’s about the war of ideas within Islam — a war between religious zealots who glorify martyrdom and want to keep Islam untouched by modernity and isolated from other faiths, with its women disempowered, and those who want to embrace modernity, open Islam to new ideas and empower Muslim women as much as men. America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were, in part, an effort to create the space for the Muslim progressives to fight and win so that the real engine of change, something that takes nine months and 21 years to produce — a new generation — can be educated and raised differently.Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No. [ thanks NF]

Supports Girl's Scholarship program

Greg Mortenson's Blog

View Central Asia Institute Videos

Words of God - Jimmy Carter, Rhyme & Treason, Prof. Lal,

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God. This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. The Words Of God Do Not Justify Cruelty To Women By Jimmy Carter

The sad truth is that the reputation of Indian poetry in English has always greatly exceeded both its actual readership and availability. It is a condition that appears to have suffocated and ruined the lives of many Indian poets. For some years after Independence, many of those who wrote in English were reviled as traitors, accused of being inauthentic or unjustly famous, cashing in. But even as this naive, accusatory moment passed, the situation did not improve much. As far as I know, there has never consistently been a dedicated poetry editor at any of our publishing houses. Poetry publishing has flared in brief spurts. And the execrable poetry of influential politicians has always been given wider purchase and distribution than that of senior poets whose work is held in great esteem. Rhyme and Treason BY Vivek Narayanan [Pakistan poetry suffers the same affliction ~t]

Prof. Lal said that Indians are pastoral, and are more straightforward than a typical Westerner: with faith in simpler ideals and idols. To say something in an understated way is English style, not Indian. Irony is not what an Indian poet must excel in, for irony falters in an Indian context, and reduces us writers to poor mimics of Western writers. To say what we feel, requires a greater effort in English; there has to be touch of reverence, there has to be pastoral simplicity. We need to go beyond the established norms of Western writing in English to do a proper justice to the thoughts, traditions, practices, and emotions of this subcontinent. Rendezvous with Prof. P. Lal, the Bhisham Pitamah of Publishing Indian Writing in English

munshi premchand was one of the founders...his stories written in urdu and hindi are are krishn chander's, ismat chughtai's, manto's...they eloquently depict their minor disagreement with prof lal is simply this...writing to an agenda impedes and inhibits the utter freedom of expression a writer must have in order to create ...this criticism was valid for the progressive movement then and is valid now ~~t

Judiciary Failed? Editorial - Gilani vs. Zardari, Twitterers Paid by Israel, Clinton in India, Amira Haas

Judges should accept responsibility for the failure of democracy in the country, and “the judiciary it will have to put its house in order”, said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday, and cited “wrong and lamentable decisions” that he blamed for “mishaps such as the November 2007 emergency”. Heading a 14-member larger bench, the chief justice observed that the Supreme Court (SC) decisions in the Moulvi Tameezuddin case down to the Tikka Iqbal case were wrong and lamentable. CJP underlines ‘faults’ in Pakistan’s judicial history : Judiciary failed democracy, regrets Chief Justice

Brave admission. What good does it do for us? A car moves on four good wheels. Even if the judiciary wheel is good the other three are tethering resulting in logjam ~t

Has one prong of the PPP’s “two-pronged policy” in Islamabad come unstuck and is challenging the other prong? At least that is the impression one gets from an interview Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has given to a national newspaper on Monday. The content of the interview looks like a revolt by Mr Gilani against the PPP party chief and an aggressive reclamation of executive authority from President Asif Ali Zardari. Editorial: Gilani versus Zardari?

The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict. “To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project. Twitterers Paid To Spread Israeli PropagandaBy Jonathan Cook

The irony is that New Delhi has done all it could in recent years to harmonize its regional policies with those of the US. Its response to the new cold war has been to keep a calibrated distance from its traditional ally, Russia. Its response to the US-Iran standoff over Tehran's nuclear program has been to atrophy India's close and friendly ties with Iran. Its response to the US's containment strategy toward China has been to identify with the strange idea of a quadripartite alliance with the US, Japan and Australia. In comparison, Pakistan zeroed in on the potentials of US intervention in Afghanistan and the implications of the great game in Central Asia for the US's geo-strategy - especially the role of Islamist elements. An extremely rewarding relationship has followed since 2001, as naturally as daybreak. For a while, Pakistan got worked up that George W Bush might be tilting toward India when he signed a nuclear deal for the civilian use of nuclear power. But as Clinton's visit shows, the nuclear deal has become controversial. Clinton delivers unwanted tidings to New DelhiBy M K Bhadrakumar

Something in the soldiers' testimonies published by the organization Breaking the Silence last week must be scaring the Israel Defense Forces. Otherwise, its battery of spokespeople - official and unofficial - would not be taking part in such a violent campaign to silence it... It suits the IDF that after their release, soldiers travel to Peru and Colombia to bury their agonized memories or belated insights - as adults. The IDF prefers that its demobilized soldiers travel to Goa to get stoned out of their minds before Breaking the Silence activists reach them. The IDF price tag By Amira Hass

Sehbai on Zardari's fate, Internal Republican Memo,

The consequences of the coming events are too grave and obvious. If NRO is reopened and judged by the Supreme Court as a bad law, all the relief given to PPP leaders, sympathisers and even criminals in Karachi, will come to zero and a massive political exodus will begin, leaving little chance for Mr Zardari and his group of personal supporters to continue for long in their present positions.The PPP in Sindh will have to reopen cases against the MQM, in thousands, and that will undoubtedly bring Karachi and most of Sindh to a standstill, as the MQM and the PPP would again be pitched against each other or against the forces which may come into power.If Musharraf’s actions of 2007 are declared as null and void, it would be the ultimate signal that the Army has stopped protecting the former president and that would mean all those who cut deals with Musharraf and derived huge political and other benefits will also be left on their own to find their own safe exits or safe havens.President Zardari has very few options, all not very appealing if his 18-month style of governance is any yardstick. One or two may still save him from the humiliation and suffering, similar to the one he had to face after the second dismissal of Benazir Bhutto’s government in 1996. Zardari's limited options

A private memo distributed by the Republican National Committee calls for like-minded advocates to help defeat President Barack Obama's health care proposals by delaying its consideration. The memo, which was obtained by the Huffington Post from a Democratic source, provides the clearest illustration to date of the political playbook being used to stop Democratic attempts at a health care overhaul. Much of the material mirrors the speeches and presentations made by conservatives both inside and out of elected office to date. Obama's plan for health care is deemed an "experiment" and a "risk" that could bankrupt the country and dangerously change the doctor-patient relationship. Internal RNC Memo: "Engage In Every Activity" To Slow Down Health Care Reform

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

laleh Khorramian

Should Pakistan Exist - Dr. Jack Wheeler

The following article is a forward from friend SR. link

(EDITORIAL NOTE: While President Asif Zardari has no time for anything other than begging for alms, enriching himself and his cronies and appeasing India and the US. Israel and India are planning operations to take out the nuclear capability of Iran and Pakistan. The way President Obama is denigrated as Mr. Zero (in the article below) it appears that Indo-Israeli operations would not depend on US approval; tacit approval or absence of public US opposition would do!

There are factual errors in the article below and besides Pakistan is quite ready for an invasion by India. However, it is such misperceptions that led to catastrophe for the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, so India and Israel could also blunder into something similar. The US appears hesitant to endorse Indo-Israeli plans. But appearance can be misleading. Human history is full of examples where gross miscalculation has led to huge calamities. We surely live in interesting times.

PS: Dr. Jack Wheeler is a very controversial figuer. There are those who hate him: link

and then there are those who love him: link)


Let’s cut to the chase. The answer is no. Pakistan should never have existed in the first place. There is no reason for it to continue to exist now.

The place to start here is with The Lunacy of a British Legacy from July 2006, which gives you the background on Pakistan’s creation, and that of the Taliban.

You could follow that up with Moslem Terrorist Drug Lords With Nukes from November 2007, which explains the Afghan heroin production as a joint operation between the Taliban and the ISI – the Pakistan military’s InterServices Intelligence Agency – and how Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his family are in on the heroin take.

Mr. Karzai met with Mr. Zero in the White House yesterday (5/06), along with the leader of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. All three men privately despise each other, and publicly professed mutual admiration and support.

Ostensibly, they were meeting because the Taliban are now destabilizing Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. You can be sure Zero did not insist on solving the heart of the Taliban problem, any more than did his predecessor. Mr. Bush refused to order Afghanistan’s poppy fields be wiped out via high-altitude spraying of a micro-herbicide developed by DARPA. And so has Zero.

The poppy-killing fungus will cause the entire Afghan poppy crop (which supplies 90% of the world’s heroin) to disappear for decades – with no other crop being affected. Doing so would wipe out the Taliban and the ISI financially. But as it would also wipe out lots of powerful folks on the take in the Afghan and Pak governments, it will not be used, and the Taliban will expand its power until it takes over both governments.

So let’s talk about India instead. There are indications India is about to take matters into its own hands, with or without Washington’s approval. This is particularly true since, as noted by former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill in a speech in New Delhi this week (5/05), Zero is abandoning the efforts of George Bush to build a strong US-India relationship in favor of currying favor with China.

Pakistan is a make-believe country. Take a look at this official map which the Pak government delineates its borders:

First look at the area in the upper right labeled “Jammu & Kashmir.” See that faint dotted line starting at the China border, goes across the area underneath Skardu and wraps around Srinigar? That’s the real border: below it (Srinigar) is India, above it (Skardu) is Pak. The Skardu-Gilgit area is composed of ancient tribal peoples such as Baltits and Hunzukuts who just want to be left alone by the rest of the world, including Islamabad.

The NWFP, or North West Frontier Province is Pushtun, the same tribe that populates 42% of Afghanistan, forming that country’s largest ethnic group. That nice dark line between Afghanistan and the NWFP, which Islamabad pretends is its border, is an illusion. There is no border, the entire region on both sides of it are Pushtun, and Islamabad has never exercised any control over it.

The pretend line continues, claiming to divide Afghanistan and Iran from the Pak province of Baluchistan, a huge region that takes up almost 45% of Pakistan yet contains only 10% of the country’s population, mostly split between Pushtuns in the north and wild Baluchi nomads in the southern desert wastelands.

The Pak government has never controlled the Baluchis any more than the Pushtuns. It’s all Apache country over which it has little real sovereignty.

So we come to the core of the country, Punjab and Sindh, and the unending hatred between Punjabis and Sindhis.

First a famous story that I can’t resist relating. India, including what is now Pakistan, was created by the imperial British, and when the region of Sindh was conquered by British General Sir Charles Napier in 1842, he sent a one-word message back to Delhi headquarters announcing his victory: peccavi.

In those days, all British officers were classically educated, so they knew instantly what Napier was saying. Peccavi is Latin for “I have sinned.” Napier had Sindh.
Sindh is a feudal region dominated by wealthy land-owning families (of which the Bhutto and Zardari families are among) who control the lives of 40 million poverty-stricken illiterate farmers.

It also contains Pakistan’s largest city (12m) and business center, Karachi, where the Mohajirs are concentrated, the Indian Moslems who fled to Pakistan during 1947 Partition and their descendents. The hatred is mutual between them and native Sindhis.

While Sindhis are farmers ruled by a land-owning aristocracy and Mohajirs are business folk, Punjabis consider themselves warriors. Half the Pak population is Punjabi, some 80m. 90% of the Pak Army officer corps in Punjabi.

Not only is the Punjabi Pak military so politically powerful that, as Alex Alexiev observes this week in The Real Problem in Pakistan, “Pakistan is not a sovereign state with a military, but a sovereign military with a state at its disposal to use as it sees fit.” It is that the Punjabi Pak military is so economically powerful that it controls most business activity like a mafia.

There is no way to untie this Gordian Knot of ethnic hatreds, fanatical stone-age Islamism, a heroin-smuggling mafia military, corruption at every level of society, feudal poverty, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The solution is to let India cut the Gordian Knot of Pakistan asunder.

This is tricky. India has no desire to conquer and absorb Pakistan, which would double the number of Moslems within it (there are 160 million Moslems in each). It needs to rather break the place apart into pieces.

The first object should be a quick in-and-out military operation to seize Pakistan’s nukes. They are dispersed so it’s complicated – and more so because there will be no help from the US military under Zero. So India will be smart about it and take advantage of the Pak military’s greatest vulnerability: it’s officers and key personnel are for sale, they can be bought.

The Punjabis have always looked upon Afghanistan as theirs, and the Pushtuns as barbarian inferiors. (The disgust is returned. The greatest insult a Pushtun parent can give a misbehaving child is: “Stop that – you’re behaving as a Punjabi.”)

Simultaneously, they are in constant fear of Pushtuns on either side of the border joining together to form an independent “Pushtunistan.”

Yet Pushtuns don’t want their own political entity apart from Afghanistan. The solution is to move the border east, so that Afghanistan encompasses the NWFP and the Pushtun region of northern Baluchistan.

This is not difficult to broker. The Pushtuns would jump at the chance to be unified, and it would deny the Taliban of the fig leaf of a Pak sanctuary. After India seizes the Pak nukes and engenders a period of chaotic destabilization, India has Kabul claim all of Pushtunistan and the Pushtuns declare for it. The US military, commanded by David Petraeus, is then free to nail the Taliban with no concern over violating “Pakistan sovereignty.”

During the same chaotic time, the Baluchis can get the independence from Islamabad they’ve fought decades for. The capital would be Quetta, and the Baluchis could make a go of it, as one of the world’s largest gold and copper deposits is at Reko Diq in the west near Iran (it’s being developed by the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton). Further, the Chinese have spent $2 billion developing the Baluchi port of Gwadar (spelled Gawadar on the map) with state-of-the-art import/export facilities.

What would be left is a rump state of Sindh-Punjab plus the Gilgit-Skardu northern territory. If the Sindhis and Punjabis and Mohajirs can get along sufficiently, they could still have a single country however reduced in size and power – for the chaos should be used to shrink concomitantly the size and power of the Punjabi Pak military.

Such a plan is being worked on right now at the South Block headquarters of the Indian Defense Ministry in New Delhi. The generals all realize now they have to act alone without America. It is the same situation that Israel is in regarding Iran. There is even some talk – for there is a great deal of communication between the Indian and Israeli militaries – of coordinating attacks, Israel upon Iran’s nukes, Indian upon Pakistan’s nukes, simultaneously.

“Your president would be like a deer in the headlights if this occurred,” says one US-educated Defense Ministry fellow I know. “He’d be paralyzed.”

Pakistan has become the world’s most dangerous failed state. It needs to be disarmed and dismantled. Just like Iran. Working together and ignoring Zero, India and Israel may kill two nuclear birds with one cooperative stone.


I found another speculative post by Jack Wheeler" Six Jewish Companies Own 96% of the World’s Media