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Monday, August 31, 2009

Minus 1,2,3 and counting, A belief in educating all, India’s 1998 nuke ‘fizzle’, PTI demands treason case against Nawaz

Salman Masood writes: Several boggling questions filled the minds: Why would President Zardari resign? Why did there seem to be an effort to force him to resign? Was another military coup in the offing? Or was the military manoeuvring to put new faces in place? Or was the powerful Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, exerting indirect pressure to ensure an extension of his term? But all answers to such questions remained in the realm of speculation. Why were the ruling party officials crying wolf?

There are three plausible ways Zardari would go. [You'd do well to recall that he is the most powerful president - 58-2B etc etc.]

1: If his conscience tells him to go
2: Kayani 'tells' him to go
3: a bullet tells him to go

Since this is the holy month of Ramadan, I need not remind you of Allah. I did not mention Him specifically because His Will counts above all and is also common to all deeds.

I don't have high hopes on his conscience. It has been dead or dormant for a couple of decades now: so strike out #1

Kayani faces tougher tests, and listens more to Obamamaites than Zaradarites: strike one for # 2.

#3 is tricky and this fate can befell anyone, anytime. A bullet is non gender, non religious, non power equaliser.

Yes, like you am equally befuddled. Istikhara anyone? ~~t

Every morning, Dr Shams Abbasi, 84, arrives in a wheelchair at Aquil's Kids Academy in Qasimabad, a suburb of Hyderabad. She is at hand to personally receive each boy and girl that attends this schoolBy Jan KhaskheliThe daughter of Qazi Abdul Qayuum, 'Apa Abbasi' was born on January 10, 1924. Formerly Director of the Bureau of Curriculum, Dr Abbasi has a long list of degrees in the field of education. She started her career as a secondary school teacher and went on to become the Principal of a government high school - the Zubaida Government College for Women in Hyderabad. This was the only college for women in Sindh at the time. Dr Abbasi eventually went on to become the Director of Education.A belief in educating all

more stories in Kolachi section

Just as Jaswant Singh, a senior Vajpayee aide, risked his expulsion recently from the party by writing to set right the Hindu fundamentalist propaganda against Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Santhanam too risks being disowned for his confessions about the nuclear fizzle. Why did he have to do it? He has provided a clue by supplementing his disclosure with the assertion that “we should not get railroaded into signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We can’t get into a stampede to sign and should conduct more nuclear tests, which are necessary from the point of view of security.” Obviously, the anti-reforms lobby, with entrenched interests that thrive in the DAE, has made Santhanam its front to maintain the status quo. It is the last-ditch attempt of big-time contractors supplying make-believe imitations for the nuclear facilities after doing deals with unscrupulous officials to sabotage opening up the sector. Civil nuclear cooperation and falling in with responsible nations of the world will end the isolation and expose the real worth of fakes, projected as “brilliant scientists” with numerous breakthroughs to their credit. India’s 1998 nuke ‘fizzle’

Is this a trial baloon by PTI?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Sindh (PTI) has demanded that a treason case be registered against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for killing 15,000 people in Karachi in a military operation launched in 1992 in Sindh, especially in Karachi.The demand was made by the provincial PTI leader Ashraf Qureshi, who stated that the disclosure of Brig Imtiaz, ex-Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief, regarding the military operation in Sindh in Nawaz Sharif’s government exposed the actual plan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, which he started in 1990 when he was chief minister Punjab. PTI demands treason case against Nawaz

We Never Learn from History #11

There are two of them - indefatigable warriors - and we are lucky they are still with us - Asghar Khan and Ardeshir Cowasjee.

The indefatigable warrior, Asghar Khan, did his bit prior to the 2008 elections. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, after being declared non-functional in March 2007 was fully restored on July 20, 2007 by a Supreme Court order. On Aug 8, 2007 Asghar addressed a letter to him on the subject of HRC 19/96: ‘Sir, I seek your indulgence. My petition No.19 filed in 1996 is pending in the Supreme Court. I should be greatly obliged if you would kindly order that it be urgently heard and adjudged. I may mention that I am now 86 years of age. Thanking you in anticipation.’

Nov 3, 2007 intervened. But now, CJP Chaudhry is back and firing broadsides. Will he please resume the hearing of the battling octogenarian’s petition — a matter of concern and much importance? Let justice awaken

We never learn from history–10 (September 2, 2007)
We never learn from history-8 (August 19, 2007)
We never learn from history-7 (August 12, 2007)
We never learn from history-6 (August 5, 2007)
We never learn from history-6 (Oct 31, 2004)
We never learn from history-5 (Aug 25, 2002)
We never learn from history-4 (Aug 18, 2002)
We never learn from history-3 (Aug 11, 2002)
We never learn from history-2 (Aug 04, 2002)
We never learn from history (July 21, 2002)

Japan's ruling party concedes crushing defeat, Cuba, Narendra "Nero" Modi, Obama's Afghan trade-off

Obama’s unspoken trade-off MARC W. HEROLD

Japan's ruling party conceded a crushing defeat Sunday after 54 years of nearly unbroken rule as voters were poised to hand the opposition a landslide victory in nationwide elections, driven by economic anxiety and a powerful desire for change. Japan's ruling party concedes crushing defeat

HAVANA, Aug 31 (IPS) - With a good job as a professional in Cuba’s public sector, Mariela Sánchez takes advantage of the flexible hours to take on another, part-time job and collaborate with a specialised publication. CUBA: Will Legalising Multiple Jobs Bring Real Change for Women? By Dalia Acosta

NARENDRA MODI, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, is likely to be examined by the Special Investigation Team headed by R.K. Raghavan, the former head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswamy only exposed himself to ridicule when, in the midst of an election campaign, he issued a show-cause notice to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on December 22, 2008, for calling Modi a merchant of death (“maut ka sau dagar”). He was ignorant of the fact that Modi had earned that certificate from the Supreme Court itself.Justices Doraiswamy Raju and Arijit Pasayat of the Supreme Court advisedly mentioned Nero in their judgment in the Best Bakery case, delivered by Justice Pasayat, on April 12, 2004: “Those who are responsible for protecting life and properties and ensuring that investigation is fair and proper seem to have shown no real anxiety. Large number of people had lost their lives. Whether the accused persons were really assailants or not could have been established by a fair and impartial investigation. The modern-day ‘Neros’ were looking elsewhere when Best Bakery and innocent children and helpless women were burning and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected.” The Nero here is the one at the apex of power, like the emperor himself. (Zahira Habibullah Sheikh vs State of Gujarat (2004) 4 SCC 158; page 1,987). A G Noorani

Dick Cheney left little on the table during a taped interview Fox News Sunday, accusing the Obama White House pursuing an "intensely partisan" investigation into the use of torture under the Bush administration. Calling the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on terrorist suspects "absolutely essential," the former vice president deemed any decision to launch an probe into the possible illegal use of these EITs an "outrageous political act" and a "direct slap at the CIA." ..."Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions -- threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations." Saying the move to launch an investigation "offends the hell out of me," Cheney accused Obama of succumbing to the political pressure of his progressive base. Cheney Accuses Obama Of Launching "Intensely Partisan" Torture Investigation By The Huffington Post News Editors.

Let him have his say...before the war crimes tribuanl ~ t

As the palette of artificial sweeteners has grown and manufacturers have honed the skill with which they blend them to mimic sugar taste, debate has swirled around whether these sensory stand-ins really help people consume fewer calories and avoid weight gain. The Brain May Not Be Fooled By Sugar Substitutes

Fox News has once again shifted into blatant, anti-Democratic advocacy mode with its promotion of the "Tea Party Express." Despite their "we report, you decide" motto, I couldn't find any instance where the network told its viewers that the organizer of the Express is an anti-Obama, anti "Democrat-Congress" PAC, founded by Republicans, with a history of smearing Democrats. Regular readers probably remember how Fox News did its best to promote the Tax Day Tea Parties. Fox Nation's current top headline announces, "All Aboard The Tea Party Express!" More about the unfairness and imbalance after the jump.... Fox News Blatantly Urges Audience "All Aboard The Tea Party Express!" By Ellen

Dolphin bloodbath Japan tries to hide, Robert Fisk, Resolving the Displaced Persons Problem

On Tuesday, in the Japanese town of Taiji, the killing will resume. Several dozen dolphins will be herded into a secluded cove, where a few will be selected for marine amusement parks. The rest will be speared with knives and harpoons. By the end of the day, the water in the picturesque cove will be crimson. On Wednesday, the same gruesome sequence of events will unfold. And so it will continue for six months, until the dolphin hunting season concludes. Around Japan, about 20,000 of the gentle, intelligent mammals are killed every year, more than 2,000 of them in Taiji, which – according to a new film, The Cove – is the site of the world's largest dolphin slaughter. Captured on film: dolphin bloodbath Japan tries to hide
[thanks FK]

But back to our Egyptian colonel. By 2005, he was supposedly authoring an article, alleging that Switzerland was "the most contemptible among the enemies of Islam" since it supported the American occupation of Iraq, stood behind Mubarak's "renegade regime" and was putting pressure on Turkey because its government had become "half-Islamic". Switzerland was part of an "international pact of the cross" and was trying – and here comes the interesting bit – "to penetrate Muslim society to collect intelligence". ...Then last year, el-Ghanem's brother Ali rang me up in Beirut from his home in Washington DC to tell me that Mohamed el-Ghanem had disappeared. He was being held, he claimed, in a Swiss prison, without any contact with his family or friends. Ali said he was told Mohamed did not want to talk to him. The UN became involved and demanded to know from the Swiss authorities where he was. I can reveal that he is in the Champ-Dollon prison in Geneva, that he was placed there by the Chambre d'accusation of the canton of Geneva on 12 March 2007, and that he is still there to this day. No charges, it seems. Robert Fisk’s World: The curious case of the missing Egyptian and the Swiss police

By Dan LiebermanNegotiators have continually debated the Middle East crisis without regarding the elephant in the room - the Palestinian displaced persons. Rather than being portrayed as victims, these dispossessed persons are often perceived as perpetrators, as if they caused their own ordeal and should shoulder the responsibility for their fate. It's time to pay attention. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with those who have suffered the most, continue to suffer and should be relieved of their suffering. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with the Palestinian displaced persons. No matter how far 'negotiations' go, the displaced person solution will be the show stopper. Overcoming the problem at the beginning permits the show to continue. Saving it to the euphoric 'end' predicts neglect or a severe compromise that will endanger all previous agreements.

According to BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights, the displaced Palestinian and their descendents are estimated to number about 7.1 million plus 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) in Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories (OPT). The latter IDP's were forced from their villages but still live in Israel and the OPT. Figures are debatable but the information below from Badil categorizes the refugees in an approximate and accepted manner.

Lebanon - 460,490 in refugee camps.
Syria - 488, 656 listed refugees.
Jordan - 2,478,424 listed refugee of whom 2,200,000 are Jordanian citizens.
West Bank - 754,000 in refugee camps
Gaza - 1,059,584 in refugee camps
Egypt - 75,706 displaced persons
Saudi Arabia - 341,770 displaced persons
Kuwait - 43,718 displaced persons
Europe - 200,000 displaced persons
Other - 1,200,000 displaced persons

Note: Not all displaced persons are in refugee camps. Resolving the Displaced Persons Problem

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nadeem F. Paracha, Wajahat Ali, James Zogby, Margaret Attwood, What is a snark?

The final decision must be left with voters. Let them decide when the time comes who or what was good or bad. The public’s right to effect change must not be handed over to a loud group of journalists, intelligence agencies, politicians with little following, mullahs and businessmen. Nadeem F. Paracha

Because of the backlash against Muslims after 9/11, many Muslims renounced the traditional career path and opted for more challenging roles in the arts and media. Wajahat Ali: The Redefining of Muslim Art by The Obama Generation

The first obligation of any government is to defend the rights of its citizens. Israel appears to have defined its own categories of US citizenship. Arab Americans are not fully recognized. James Zogby: Enough is Enough

Margaret Atwood doesn't think she writes science fiction. Ursula K Le Guin would like to disagree To my mind, The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake and now The Year of the Flood all exemplify one of the things science fiction does, which is to extrapolate imaginatively from current trends and events to a near-future that's half prediction, half satire. But Margaret Atwood doesn't want any of her books to be called science fiction. In her recent, brilliant essay collection, Moving Targets, she says that everything that happens in her novels is possible and may even have already happened, so they can't be science fiction, which is "fiction in which things happen that are not possible today". This arbitrarily restrictive definition seems designed to protect her novels from being relegated to a genre still shunned by hidebound readers, reviewers and prize-awarders. She doesn't want the literary bigots to shove her into the literary ghetto. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

What is snark? Abuse in a public forum of a particular kind - personal, low, teasing, rug-pulling, finger-pointing, snide, obvious, and knowing. How does snark work? Snark is hazing on the page. It prides itself on wit, but it's closer to a leg stuck out in a school corridor that sends some kid flying. It pretends to be all in fun, and anyone who's annoyed by it will be greeted with the retort, "How can you take this seriously? What's wrong with you?" - which has the doubly aggressive effect of putting the victim on the defensive. No one wants to argue with a joke, so this is shrewd as far as it goes. But some of these funsters are mean little toughs. Snark seizes on any vulnerability or weakness it can find - a slip of the tongue, a sentence not quite up to date, a bit of flab, an exposed boob, a blotch, a blemish, a wrinkle, an open fly, an open mouth, a closed mouth. It exploits - slyly, teasingly - race and gender prejudice. When there are no vulnerabilities, it makes them up. Snark razzes pomp, but it razzes certain kinds of strength, too - people who are unaffectedly serious. Snarky writers can't bear being outclassed by anyone, and snark becomes the vehicle of their resentment and contempt. It's not big and it's not clever

The Metastasis of Moral Hazard and its Effect on Gold, Fox Nation: A Website Of Division, Not Debate, PAKISTAN: Female Journalist Pursues Sexual Haras

CONTRADICTION #3: After becoming the nation’s top auditor in 1998 as Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office, David Walker repeatedly warned Congress over a period of several years that government spending was unsustainable, and that unless fiscal policies were reformed, a monetary and economic disaster would ensue. Walker presented irrefutable evidence to Congress to support his warning, evidence so powerful it was never contested because it could not have been. Walker focused Congress’s attention on spiraling, deca-trillion dollar Medicare, Social Security, prescription drug, military and government pension, welfare, trade and general obligation deficits and liabilities, in addition to the crippling impact of ever-increasing interest payments on the rapidly increasing debt.

Instead of heeding Walker’s flawlessly-reasoned warnings, Congress did the exact opposite and went on a spending binge never before seen in American or world history. Just one program, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan was bankrupt on Day 1, with an unfunded liability of $7,100,000,000,000.00 that was heaped on top of taxpayers’ existing, crushing debt burden. That turned out to be just the warm-up act. It was followed by an unprecedented fiscal year 2009 federal deficit of $1,600,000,000,000.00+, which will then segue into 70 years’ worth of multi-hundred billion to trillion dollar plus deficits. Furthermore, the government approved $13,000,000,000,000.00+ in bailouts for favored insiders. Every penny spent on these programs represents newly created debt, on which interest will accrue in perpetuity since the principal can never be paid. The Metastasis of Moral Hazard and its Effect on Gold By Stewart Dougherty

[thanks SR]

When is a telephone call considered sexual harassment? For Pakistani journalist Maheen Usmani, it is when her superior calls her late at night and launches into "suggestive talk" and lots of "innuendoes". At around 10 pm on May 11, Usmani received a call from her boss at the time —the managing director of the private television channel Dunya News, Yusuf Baig Mirza. According to Usmani, Mirza talked to her about her looks and about giving her special favours such as reimbursements for a pay cut, fuel and cell phone bills, and told her to give him a call any time of the day or night. The conversation was not only "detestable" but was a case of sexual harassment, maintains the former bureau reporter at Dunya News. "He counted the expected benefits that a less important bureau reporter can get in return for a direct contact with him," Usmani wrote in her resignation letter dated Jun. 15. PAKISTAN: Female Journalist Pursues Sexual Harassment Case By Zofeen Ebrahim

Fox Nation boasts that it's a community "committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate civil discourse --and fair and balanced coverage of the news," yet we have repeatedly documented their deliberate efforts otherwise. Today's front page is another good example. One of the top stories "asks" "Why is Obama changing the 9/11 anniversary?" Clicking through to the story brings a paragraph of diatribe of inflammatory invective with no balance, not even a word about what Obama is trying to do or why. Add a sentence accusing Obama of being a racist and it could have been written by... Fox Nation: A Website Of Division, Not Debate

Using solar panels and biogas reactors, the nonprofit Solar CITIES project is bringing rural energy solutions to the urban poor in Egypt's largest city. Cairo Slums Get Energy Makeover

Sugar and sugar daddies, Hamid Gul,

Once again Farrukh lets the numbers do the talking. Barvo! The only thing wrong is the descriptive phrase sugar daddy. Sugar Daddies are rich men past their prime with token eye-candy young women (as wives or girl freinds). ~t

On November 7, 2008, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the 'Pakistan Sugar Semi Annual 2008'. According to the report, Pakistan's sugar production for the 2008/09 forecast "decreased slightly to 3.56 million metric tonnes." On April 13, 2009, the USDA published 'Pakistan Sugar Annual 2009'. According to the report: "Pakistan's MY 2009/10 sugar production is forecasted at 3.65 million metric tonsConsumption is forecast at 4.35 million metric tonnes and imports at 730,000 tonnes." When the whole world knew that Pakistan was short on sugar, why did the government fail to import the commodity? ...For the record, the average price of sugar during the fiscal year 2007-2008 was Rs27.67 a kilo. As of yesterday, sugar is being sold for Rs56 a kilo -- more than a 100 per cent jump in the price. Obviously, the cancellation of sugar import tenders by the TCP was a step in the wrong direction. Roughly, a dozen of Pakistan's sugar daddies – one-third in the ruling party, one-third in the friendly opposition and one-third in the like minded -- own some six dozen sugar mills. It's all about greed -- public money, private greed. It's all about enriching private pockets with public money.

Now that he has confessed again, [Hameed Gul admits he formed IJI] why should he not be also tried? And he should be aware that the plea of following orders has been put to rest at the Nuremberg Trials. ~t

Vincent van Gogh -

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pervasive Secularism - Muzaffar Iqbal

My comments in italics ~ t

Under the impact of this pervasive new "religion," a new category of "Muslims" has now come into existence: "secular Muslims." Some of them openly claim to be so, others would not like this label but they do not think that the Quran and the Sunnah--the two sources of Islam--are to be taken literally, or as they were understood fourteen hundred years ago. [does not Qur'an intone us to ponder, think and reflect time and again? And if we stopped doing that some hundred years back and are slowly beginning to do now, what is wrong with it?]

They would like to reinterpret the Quran and either discard the Sunnah all together or take from it what they consider to be applicable to the modern world. [Discard Sunnah? well, first whose "version" of Sunnah? And I mean this reverentially. If Al Qur'an is a complete code of living, then why should everything handed down to us should not be judged according to it?]

One of the most important tenants of secularism is the belief in progress. Humanity has progressed on all accounts, it is maintained, and hence old revealed texts need to be reinterpreted in the light of the contemporary. [This premise can be applied equally to Islam. Let me repeat here Muzaffar's words with ONE change - One of the most important tenants of secularism Islam is the belief in progress...Is Islam anti-progress? Did it not give guidance to the early Muslims to bring them out of Daur e Jahiliya? Did it not give show them the path to achieve greater humanity?]

Thus those injections of the Quran which do not conform to the modern concepts of personal freedom, liberty, equality, and progress should be reinterpreted. [One of the core beliefs of Islam is that the word of God is for all times. It cannot be changed. If there is a 'code' or 'constitution' for all times, then there must be a inbuilt system to interpret and reinterpret it according to changing times. This who are more knowledgeable tell me that this system in Islam is called variously as Ijtihaad, Ijma, Qiyas, etc....And this system was used and should be used by Muslims]

This especially applies to the Quranic formulations centred around the main concept of Boundaries of Allah (Hudud Allah). Thus, secular Muslims have great issues with all injunctions related to those who transgress the boundaries set by Allah for human behaviour. These range from corrective measures and punishments for theft, fornication, drinking, gambling, stealing, to the concept of hijab for both men and women. [This oversimplification is a leap of logic by Muzaffar. The issue is transgressing those hudoods. Pork is haraam and no amount of pondering would make it halaal. But this cannot be equated with cutting off hands for theft. Consensus over punishment has been the policy adopted by early Caliphs. He ought to know better.]

  • I could write more in the same vein. The rest of his article is full of similar conjectures and reflect his tinted view, just as the italics reflect mine. Allah knows best!

Allah is Merciful and All Knowing

ladies of calcutta

[for MMS and FS]

Prada to Pravda, Pakistan, Japan on elec. eve., Joint Chiefs Chairman Questions U.S. Message to Muslims

This is an interesting way of interpreting things ~t

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the decline of the Soviet Union is being mirrored by a parallel decline of the United States. What passes as reality on the pages and screens of the financial media today is so far removed from ground realities as to suggest a renewed version of the Pravda economy that the Soviet Union tried to build and failed. A "then and now" comparison isn't just stark but also quite scary for anyone with common sense (that excludes today's stock market investors right away). [read on] Prada to PravdaBy Chan Akya [thanks FK]

Investors’ aversion is not without justification. A stock exchange prone to stoppages and feeble public finances – the state has been on a seemingly permanent drip from the International Monetary Fund during the past two decades – are an automatic turn-off. But the markdown still seems severe. Moody’s, with a B3 rating, raised its outlook last week from negative to stable. It recognised better liquidity – the IMF’s second line of credit was increased by 40 per cent to $11.2bn this month – and a tripling of foreign exchange reserves to almost $13bn since October. Inflation has more than halved since last August, to 11 per cent in July. Furthermore, as Moody’s noted, almost a year into the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari, a sociopolitical consensus seems to be firming against religious extremism. Pakistan

Japan's election this weekend pits Prime Minister Taro Aso against Yukio Hatoyama, a battle of blue-bloods replicating a struggle between their grandfathers. Hatoyama's anticipated thumping victory will end the one-party domination of the Liberal Democratic Party. Hatoyama, described as "stubborn, decisive and bold", will need these traits and more to deliver on his promises of change through his mantra of fraternity. - Kosuke Takahashi Japan on the brink of a new era

If Ben Bernanke were really wise - a trait notably absent until discovered this week by a desperate White House - he wouldn't be willing to head up the Federal Reserve for the next four years. He would be out there buying gold while letting some other fool do the job. THE MOGAMBO GURU : Ben 'the wise'

DirecTV Group Inc. is in talks with the TBS and TNT cable networks to offer their shows online, according to two people familiar with the discussions. If a deal is reached, DirecTV subscribers would be able to watch shows from those cable networks on the Internet, the people said on condition of anonymity because the talks still are ongoing. DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite TV operator, previously said it was considering such deals but did not specify the networks.
DirecTV joins a growing list of cable, satellite and phone companies that are offering consumers a "multiscreen" experience: the ability to watch shows on TV, computers and mobile devices like cell phones. DirecTV, TBS, TNT To Put Shows Online

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written a searing critique of government efforts at "strategic communication" with the Muslim world, saying that no amount of public relations will establish credibility if American behavior overseas is perceived as arrogant, uncaring or insulting. Joint Chiefs Chairman Questions U.S. Message to Muslims

Taj M Khattak, Babar Sattar,German Court Disciplines Google, 42.90 Euros Per Arm: Inside a Creepy Global Body Parts Business

Those reading this excerpt should consider pondering over these words every day ~t

Invest in the people of Pakistan. Give them good governance, give them their hopes in the future of their land for which their forefathers sacrificed so much and they too will stop the two trucks and the jeep dead in their tracks the next time they venture out of 111 Brigade headquarters. If not, and with utmost deference to their Lordships, the landmark and historic judgments and Musharraf's trial proceedings, if any, will, sooner than later, form part of the archives in bar rooms for the well heeled lawyers for hair splitting arguments in the future. Taj M Khattak

If we set ourselves out to be purists, we would need to drag Gen Ayub Khan and Justice Munir out of their graves. Instead of trying to resolve lingering moral dilemmas, we need to move ahead by applying the law and the Constitution as it stands today. Amnesty for the unconstitutional acts of Gen Musharraf and his aids perpetrated in 1999 stands inscribed into the Constitution. But fortunately there is no legal cover protecting his plunder of the Constitution in 2007. Let us start here. Babar Sattar [Without being a purist, I'd disagree with Babar. If the doctrine is to be given the final funeral rites, we should dig up Justice Munir and the Field Marshal, and deal with the travesty, once and for all]

A district court in Hamburg has ruled that Google must remove ten clauses from its terms of service for German users. The decision comes after a German consumer organization accused the Internet giant of luring users into giving up their rights. Information Overload: German Court Disciplines Google

How China ended its dependence on food aid, almost overnight, and become the world's third largest food aid donor. Rethinking Food Production For a World of Eight Billion By Lester R. Brown, TreeHugger

The German company Tutogen's business in body parts is as secretive as it is lucrative. It extracts bones from corpses in Ukraine to manufacture medical products, as part of a global market worth billions that is centered in the United States. 42.90 Euros Per Arm: Inside a Creepy Global Body Parts Business

PILDAT, Beena Sarwar, Running on empty, Sufis in Egypt

The troubling question Amir Mir is why SC Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is NOT taking notice of this? Ardeshir Cowasjee has raised this issue over ten times in his have others. ~~t

Chief justice (retd) Siddiqui told a private TV channel that the ISI was an intelligence agency and it should not interfere in national politics, or be used against politicians. Seasoned politician Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan had gone one step ahead in asking Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to reopen the case he had filed with the apex court almost 13 years ago with a view to take the culprits to task. Amir Mir

The introspection, debate and outrage generated a month ago by the attacks on two villages in Gojra on July 31 and Aug 1 may be out of public sight, as happened all too often in the past, but the nine people murdered and the homes and churches gutted are not out of mind. Neither is Najeeb Zafar, the young factory owner in Sheikhupura, Punjab, killed on August 4 for allegedly desecrating Quranic verses when he removed a calendar from a wall. The following day, police in Sanghar, Sindh, saved a similarly accused 60-year old woman, Akhtari Malkani by taking her in protective custody. Those inciting violence and murder from mosque loudspeakers and public accusations, true or false, must be held culpable, charged, tried and punished according to law. This also goes for those who desecrate a holy book or symbol of any religion. There must be accountability for those who allow these murders to take place. The political leadership is responsible for providing police with the training, means and the orders to prevent such violence. Finally, religion cannot be used or allowed to justify murder. Beena Sarwar

The advent of Ramadan prompts Gamal Nkrumah to probe Egypt's fasting traditions Running on empty

To better appreciate the precision and sophistication of the organisation of the Sufi movement in Egypt, one has to go into the details of every society and its affairs. There is hardly a village or town in Egypt that does not have followers of Sufi societies. They hold nights of zikr (religious chanting) and hadras (religious parades) on given days. The sheikh tariqah (society chief or grandmaster) is superior to the sheikh seggadah (carpet chief or local chief), who tells the naqeeb noqaba seggadah (chief of deputies) what to do. And the latter supervise the khalif al-kholafa (chief of sub-deputies) and the khalifs (sub-deputies), who in turn keep an eye on the noqaba (acting deputies), the munshids (singers), and the murids (beginners or seekers). An indepth account of the Sufis, their movement and organsiation in Egypt by Ammar Ali Hassan

Referring to the main highlights of the bill, the Pildat said besides limiting the accountability regime to holders of political office, the bill redefines corruption to exclude owning unaccounted for property disproportionate to one’s means, misuse of authority and the granting of concessions for one’s own benefit; introduction of a limitation period of three years for prosecutions; limitation on the powers of the accountability commission to seek information during an investigation both within Pakistan and abroad; removal of powers to freeze and seize assets during investigations; removal of the plea bargaining and pardon process; removal of powers of arrest and the introduction of the availability of bail; transfer of jurisdiction to try offences from a specialist accountability court to sessions courts; and shortening of the disqualification period, barring the holding of limited range of public office for those convicted from 21 to five years. The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) has expressed its dissatisfaction over the government’s draft accountability law and seeks its serious review and re-drafting.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Asghar Khan, the Supreme Court and Ardeshir Cowasjee

You have read the talking heads and news reports talk about NOT receiving funds from the government of the day. Air Marshal Asghar Khan's letter to the Supreme Court was converted into a suo moto notice way back. Curmudgeon Ardeshir Cowasjee has written many columns on this issue but the Supreme Court in its wisdom has ignored it.

Ask yourself why. Notice the dates, and again ask yourself why?

We never learn from history–10 (September 2, 2007)
We never learn from history-8 (August 19, 2007)
We never learn from history-7 (August 12, 2007)
We never learn from history-6 (August 5, 2007)
We never learn from history-6 (Oct 31, 2004)
We never learn from history-5 (Aug 25, 2002)
We never learn from history-4 (Aug 18, 2002)

Last week, I was reminded by General Naseerullah Babar that I had ommitted certain names from the list of those 'anti-PPP politicians' who received payments from the ISI during the run-up to the 1990 elections rigged in favour of the IJI and Nawaz Sharif. These were: Jamaat-i-Islami Rs 5 million; Altaf Hussain Qureshi and Mustafa Sadiq Rs 0.5 million; Arbab Ghulam Aftab Rs 0.3 million; Pir Noor Mohammad Shah Rs 0.3 million; Arbab Faiz Mohammad Rs 0.3 million; Arbab Ghulam Habib Rs 0.2 million; Ismail Rahu Rs 0.2 million; Liaquat Baloch Rs 1.5 million; Jam Yusuf Rs 0.75 million; Nadir Magsi Rs 1 million; Ghulam Ali Nizamani Rs 0.3 million; Ali Akbar Nizamani Rs 0.3 million. Yet more payments: During the Mehrangate investigations of 1993 which led up to the Supreme Court case, Younas Habib of HBL/MBL, as per his statement filed in court (recorded in Karachi under section 161 Cr.P.C), disclosed that the following political and other pay-offs were made between 1991 and 1994: "General Mirza Aslam Beg Rs 140 million; Jam Sadiq Ali (the then chief minister of Sindh) Rs 70 million; Altaf Hussain (MQM) Rs 20 million, Advocate Yousaf Memon ( for disbursement to Javed Hashmi, MNA, and others) Rs.50 million; 1992 - Jam Sadiq Ali Rs 150 million; 1993 - Liaquat Jatoi Rs .01 million; 1993 - chief minister of Sindh, through Imtiaz Sheikh Rs 12 million; Afaq of the MQM Rs 0.5 million; 1993 chief minister of Sindh, through Imtiaz Sheikh, Rs. 01. million; 1993 - Ajmal Khan, a former federal minister, Rs 1.4 million; 1993 - Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister, Rs 3.5 million; 27/9/93 Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister, Rs 2.5 million; 26/9/93 Jam Mashooq Rs 0.5 million; 26/9/93 Dost Mohammad Faizi Rs 1 million; Jam Haider Rs 2 million; Jam Mashooq Rs 3 million; Adnan, son of Sartaj Aziz, Rs 1 million; Nawaz Sharif and Ittefaq Group of Companies Rs 200 million (photocopies of cheques and deposit slips, etc, already attached with affidavit at page nos. 42 to 73); Sardar Farooq Leghari 12/12/93 (payment set/off) Rs 30 million - 6/1/94 Rs 2.0856 million - 19/3/94 Rs 1.92 million." We never learn from history-3 (Aug 11, 2002)

The "host of other political figures who received funds" from an ISI account were revealed in the Supreme Court when Air Marshal Asghar Khan's petition was being heard. Inter alia, Nawaz Sharif received (in rupees) 3.5 million, Lt General Rafaqat [GIK's election cell] 5.6 million, Mir Afzal 10 million, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi 5 million, Jam Sadiq Ali 5 million, Mohammed Khan Junejo 2.5 million, Pir Pagaro 2 million, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada 3 million, Yusuf Haroon 5 million [he confirms having received this for Altaf Hussain of the MQM], Muzaffar Hussain Shah 0.3 million, Abida Hussain 1 million, Humayun Marri 5.4 million. During the hearing of the case, Aslam Beg, under oath, revealed the existence of a political cell within the ISI, whilst clarifying that though he was aware of the distribution of funds he was never personally involved. We never learn from history-2 (Aug 04, 2002)
We never learn from history (July 21, 2002)

Read yhe rest here Judiciary

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Thursday categorically denied allegations of accepting money from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for the 1990 election campaign of Islami Jamhuri Ittehad (IJI) terming it as part of conspiracy to malign political parties and saving former President Pervez Musharraf from trial under Article 6 of the Constitution. Liar liar pants on fire.

Jaswant, Jinnah Jam

On Aug 14, commenting on Nehru, Patel 'conceded' Pakistan to Jinnah: Jaswant Singh I quoted from the article:
Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not win Pakistan as Congress leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel "conceded" Pakistan to the Quaid-e-Azam with the British acting as an ever helpful midwife, says senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. According to Singh both Jinnah and Nehru wanted special status for Muslims. "It is ironical that among the great constitutionalists of those times, Jinnah and Nehru became the principal promoters of 'special status for Muslims'; Jinnah directly and Nehru indirectly. "...The irony of it is galling when sadly, we observe that both of them, these two great5 Indians of their times were either actually or in effect competing to become the 'spokesman of Muslims' in India."
and made the following observation:

The argument that Jaswant Singh puts forward is a rehash of the one many scholars have already written about including Dr Ayesha Jalal in The Sole Spokesperson.

March 23rd is celebrated as Republic Day in Pakistan. On this day in 1940, the Qarardad e Pakistan (or the Pakistan Resolution) was passed at the General Meeting of the All India Muslim League at Lahore. The resolution was moved by A K Fazlul Haq on March 23 and unanimously adopted the next day.

This resolution mentions the words states.

No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.

Later there was an attempt made at Delhi on Apr 7, 1946 at the Convention of the members of the Central and Provincial Legislatures belonging to the Muslim League [link] to drop the 's'.

Jinnah at first took the plural 's' of the Lahore Resolution as an 'obvious printing mistake'. But when, on Abul Hashim's insistence, the original minute book was checked, Jinnah found under his own signature the plural 's'. Abul Hashim claimed that he had suggested for erasing the word 'one' and replace it with 'a'. Jinnah is said to have accepted Abul Hashim's suggestion. According to Hashim, Suhrawardy placed in the open session of the Convention a modified form of the resolution on Jinnah's advice. It may, therefore, appear that even after the Delhi Convention of the Muslim Legislators Jinnah was not thinking in terms of amending the Lahore Resolution. [link]

It can be argued that Jinnah the tactician and constitutionalist, demanding Pakistan, wanted to extricate maximum possible guarantees and rights for the Muslims in an independent Indian federation or confederation. And from his papers left behind it can also be argued that a meticulous and well organised Jinnah had no working plans for an 'independent' Pakistan as late as early 1947.

In this high stake poker game, what gave? What broke the agreement between the Muslim League and the Congress to the Cabinet Mission? Was it Jinnah's obstinacy? Was it his single minded pursuit? Was it his gamble? Was it his bluff called by Mountbatten? Was it Patel's conviction that a truncated Pakistan could not survive and would come crawling back?


There was a British documentary some time ago. (I do not have the links and am recalling from memory.)

Lord Mountbatten had arrived in India to extricate Britain out of India. The deadline Attlee gave him was 1948. Attlee also dangled before Battenberg nee Mountbatten the First Lord of the Admiralty. The then First Lord was due to retire in 1948. [Mountbatten's father was a First Lord during WWI.]

Mountbatten in his hurry moved the date forward. Some say this single act caused the partition holocaust. With no defined and delineated borders people thought they would be part of India/Pakistan and when the Cripps Report came out they found themselves on the wrong side of the border. (Khulna was a Hindu Majority district, Gurdaspur was a Muslim Majority one.)

Saradar Vallabhai Patel was the first one to give in to Jinnah's demands, followed by the new Congress President Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi remained adamant but they convinced him of the 'futility' of arguing with Jinnah and Gandhi finally relented.

Jinnah who had only argued the case for Pakistan to ensure the maximum possible rights for the Muslims in an Indian political federation or confederation was aghast when informed he can have his 'truncated' Pakistan.

In that documentary I referred to earlier, Mountbatten was informed by Nehru that Congress had accepted Jinnah's demand for an independent Pakistan. He met with Jinnah alone and informed him of the Congress decision. An ashen faced Jinnah had no words to utter. Mountbatten recognised Jinnah's dilemma and told him that he would call a meeting of all the leaders the next day and then he would announce that Mr. Jinnah had accepted the offer. And coming to Jinnah's rescue, he told him that he expects Jinnah to endorse his announcement with a nod. In that documentary, the next day after Mountbatten spoke, a sober Jinnah is shown with a nod.


From all the quotes I have read so far Jaswanth Singh has not said anything that was not known already. It is a pity that only people who have nothing to lose can speak up the truth. Jaswant Singh is a brave man for sharing his convictions. He must be aware of the knee jerk reaction to his words. After the election defeat BJP appears to be reeling and rudderless. Jaswant Singh "gets expelled for writing a book, and Varun stays put, for spewing venom!"

History is a cruel task master. It is also written by people wearing prisms of different hues. And it is also mostly written by victors. Look at 1947. Partition, the great divide, azadi, independence, division - different words to describe the same event.

Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Patel, Azad were all great leaders. If they had toned down the rhetoric a tad, took a bite of the humble pie, sub continental history would have taken a different course.

There would be less hostility, less intolerance, and less enmity. Of this am sure.

Thomas Bush Hardy

Exclusive Interview of Jaswant Singh by Jawed Naqvi, Brajesh Mishra Concurs in Barkha Dutt Interview

[thanks NN]


After Jaswant Singh's statement to NDTV that L K Advani had lied on the Kandahar issue, now Brajesh Mishra, who was the National Security Advisor (NSA) at that time, has come out in support of the expelled BJP leader.

Talking exclusively to NDTV, Mishra said that Advani knew of the decision to send Jaswant Singh to Kandahar when India swapped three terrorists for passengers taken hostage on the hijacked plane IC-814.

Mishra said: "Advani knew all details of Kandahar swap. All Cabinet decisions were unanimous." Decision to send Jaswant to Kandahar was unanimous: Brajesh

[thanks BD]

Gutter Bagheecha, Amir Mir, Hakimullah On Drone Hit LIst, Liar Liar pants on fire,

A rightfully agitated Nisar Baloch is among those running the campaign for the restoration of the park and the amenity status for 480 acres of open land. He is equally critical of both the MQM and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), one for its coercion and the other for its tardiness. He said that when the people of settlements near the park staged a peaceful protest on August 26, they were attacked by members of the law-enforcing agencies. Six women and four young men were injured, one of them in a critical condition, while two protesters were arrested. Sadly, the media has, so far, not been unable to cover the story properly and for those who think that overlooking the matter will make it go away, here's some food for thought -- the politics of intimidation, profiteering, patronage and prejudice can hold us together only for so long. Harris Khalique

While demanding the withdrawal of security forces from the area and the release of his comrades in exchange for freeing the soldiers, Baitullah Mehsud had threatened to put the arrested soldiers on trial for violating the peace deal the Army had signed with him in February 2005, by launching a military operation in his area. As three abducted soldiers were beheaded in the next three days, General Musharraf had to order the release of 25 hardcore TTP militants to secure the release of the soldiers. The bizarre abduction added to Hakimullah’s stature and helped him get closer to Baitullah. Soon afterwards, Baitullah’s military might multiplied on 12 December, 2007, when a council of 40 senior Pakistani Taliban leaders commanding a pooled force of almost 50,000 gathered in Peshawar and decided to come together under a single banner of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Baitullah was appointed the TTP Ameer, Maulana Hafiz Gul Bahadur from North Waziristan the senior Naib Ameer (senior vice chief) and Maulana Faqeer Mohammad from the Bajaur Agency was appointed the third in command. Baitullah soon rewarded Hakeemullah Mehsud by elevating him from an ordinary commander to the chief operational commander for three important tribal regions -- Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai Agencies. Yet one key factor that led to his elevation was the fact that Hakeemullah commanded almost 8,000 fighters in the three tribal agencies located in the west of Peshawar. Since then, Hakeemullah Mehsud’s star is constantly on the rise. Hakimullah next on the Drone Hit List

Four neo-Nazis were arrested in recent days for a spate of horrific killings of Roma in Hungary, where economic woes and the rise of race-bating right-wing parties has exacerbated existing ethnic tensions. Now, the Roma minority is moving to organize its defense. 'We Can Either Set Up an Army or Flee': Roma Killings Expose Social Tensions in Hungary

The glitzy face of Eurabia, Kabul draped in a veil of uncertainty, Raw Indian nerves exposed, Opposition party adds to its disarray,

Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani enjoys his French connection - and the feeling is mutual. The emir has big plans for his tiny emirate and its huge oil and gas reserves, while France's president enjoys cozying up with a key Persian Gulf actor. Expect Qatar to buy more Paris real estate, as more French arms and passenger jets go in the opposite direction. - Pepe Escobar THE ROVING EYE The glitzy face of Eurabia

As results slowly roll in from last week's elections, Afghans enter a holy month gripped with equal parts of uncertainty, doubt and resignation. President Hamid Karzai has stayed relatively out of sight, even as his challenger, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, remains defiant and cries voter fraud. In this fluid situation, the talk in Kabul's dusty lanes is of a possible coalition government. - Derek Henry Flood Kabul draped in a veil of uncertainty

The expulsion of former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh from his Bharatiya Janata Party over his book on the events leading up to India's partition in 1947 cannot hide the fact that he has raised some pivotal issues. Not the least of these are his partial exoneration - in Indian eyes - of the architect of Pakistan's creation, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and the evolution of the Hindu-Muslim divide. - Santwana Bhattacharya Raw Indian nerves exposed

By kicking out Jaswant Singh, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has reinforced its image of being intellectually intolerant. It has also deepened the splits that led to its failure in national elections this year, and shown that its preoccupation with the past makes it completely out of tune with the present. - Sudha Ramachandran Opposition party adds to its disarray

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal don't agree on what happened yesterday with a new rule governing private-equity purchases of banks—or how to angle it anyway Here's the Times's headline: New Rules Restrict Bank Sales And the Journal's: Rules Eased on Bank Buyouts What gives? This is the second time in less than a week the... One Story, Two Angles from the WSJ and NYT

Ben Bernanke doesn't serve the public. He doesn't even see its existence. Re-Appointed Fed Chief Ben Bernanke Didn't Get Us Out of the Economic Crisis, He Helped Cause It By William Greider, The Nation

Step right up. You too can be ripped off by the New York Times' latest moneymaking gimmick: online courses from Nicholas Kristof, Gail Collins and Eric Asimov. New Journalism Clubs Are "Members Only" By Rory O'Connor,

The naked man, his hands bound behind his back, is pushed to the ground. Then a man in military uniform delivers a forceful kick to the back of the prisoner's head with the heel of his boot. As the prisoner slumps forward, another soldier points his automatic weapon and fires a single shot. The man's body jolts. "It's like he jumped," laughs one of the giggling soldiers. Video that reveals truth of Sri Lankan 'war crimes'.

Afghan Election Fraud, Times drop its 13,000 word story, Embedded reporters, News Watch, Chevron Film,

Cases of alleged fraud in Afghanistan's elections on August 20th are now so numerous and varied that they may take weeks or even months to deal with. Voter Intimidation, Ballot Box Stuffing, and "White-Ex": Fraud Accusations in Afghan Vote Too Many to Count By Institute for War and Peace Reporting

When New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati, in the course of pondering the future of long-form journalism in a Q&A with readers, mentioned this week that the magazine was about to publish a 13,000-word story that cost an estimated $400,000 to produce, it was impossible not to wonder what the article would be about. Readers more attuned... The Times Magazine Drops its 13,000-Word Story

At The Washington Independent, Spencer Ackerman flags a pair of stories from Stars and Stripes reporting that journalists who seek to embed with U.S. troops in Afghanistan are screened by a D.C.-based PR firm, which examines “whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light.” Military spokesmen insisted to Stars... Stars and Stripes: Military Profiling Reporters [so much for embedding ~t]

Some of America’s favorite chains have concocted some thoroughly repellent dishes that make the Double Quarter Pounder look like a celery stick. The Fast Food Industry's 7 Most Heinous Concoctions By Brad Reed, AlterNet

You might argue that Sony was visionary. In the fall of 2006, it introduced the first eBook with an E Ink screen—long before Amazon's Kindle rolled out with the same technology. The Sony Reader also connected users to an online store, solving a problem that had long bedeviled the e-book market—how do you get books onto your new device? How to Beat Amazon's Kindle.
By Farhad Manjoo on technology


Turkey bans 'Günlük' newspaper over alleged ‘terrorist propaganda’
Iraqi journalists prevented from covering bombings in Baghdad and Babil
West Bank radio station closed arbitrarily by Israeli soldiers
Mozambique newspaper editor Carlos Cardoso's convicted murderer nabbed in South Africa
Pentagon hired controversial PR firm to screen journalists covering conflict in Afghanistan
Georgian journalist released from prison after full four-year term for alleged ‘extortion’
IFJ opposes repressive amendments to media law in Serbia
"Extreme pressure" from government and military forces Pakistani daily to close down
Investigative journalist’s car bombed in Corsica
Mauritanian editor jailed for violating 'decent behaviour' after article on sex education
Third journalist murdered in Bukavu region of DR Congo since 2007
Somaliland cracks down on independent media
Attackers force two Honduran broadcasters off the air
Iran charges journalists with 'lying' as mass trial of dissidents gets under way
Four journalists from Uganda's Monitor newspaper face criminal charges
Ethiopia jails two editors on old charges under obsolete media law
Magazine editor in Kazakhstan sent to jail for collecting state secrets
Turkey bans 'Günlük' newspaper over alleged ‘terrorist propaganda’

The new film exposes an environmental tragedy experts call the "Amazon Chernobyl," and believe is the worst case of oil-related contamination ever. 'Crude': The Film Chevron Doesn't Want You to See By Han Shan, AlterNet

A proposal Saudis can't refuse, A United States-Iran opportunity arises, Muslim Terrorists Manufactured By The Media

Saudi Arabia's conservative society stands divided on the issue of misyar, a no-strings marriage of convenience that has become increasingly popular in the kingdom. Misyar is a form of marriage that allows couples to live separately but come together for sexual relations. For the women who accept it – spinsters, divorcees and widows – it's a something-is-better-than-nothing option, though they waive almost all the rights that a normal Muslim marriage entitles them to. For men it offers an opportunity for a bit of fun on the side, in secret, and at a huge discount. Misyar is popular in the kingdom because in a society where extramarital and premarital sex is a cardinal sin it legitimises sexual relations outside the framework of conventional marriage. It was legalised through a fatwa (religious edict) issued by late Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Baz, then the chief mufti of Saudi Arabia. 'Urfi (unofficial marriage) in Egypt and muta'h (temporary marriage) in Iran are variations on the same idea. A proposal Saudis can't refuse - Syed Neaz Ahmad
[thanks SR]

United States special representative for AfPak, Richard Holbrooke, and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki posed for the cameras in Turkey on Tuesday while attending a meeting on Pakistan. The next step is for the two to engage over the country that is much more on their minds - Afghanistan. Tehran has a simple proposal: if the Barack Obama administration gives up its interference in Iran's domestic affairs, Iran will talk with the US on Afghanistan. A United States-Iran opportunity arises

It is not just the loony vernacular media, as many are given to believe, but even the respectable, mainstream, national English-language press in India that have sedulously cultivated the notion of Islamic terrorism, so much so that the image of Muslims in general being either terrorists or their sympathizers enjoys wide currency today. Yoginder Sikand examines the trend in the light of a report released by a team of secular, leftist non-Muslim activists from Karnataka Muslim Terrorists Manufactured By The Media By Yoginder Sikand

The second annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) is coming to theaters in September. The festival will showcase 34 films, many of which are Canadian and North American premieres. TPFF is pleased to be opening and closing the festival with the critically acclaimed feature films Amreeka and Laila's Birthday. Palestine film festival returns to Toronto next month

Yoga give us the tools to ignite the spark where we've lost it, to look at things from a different perspective so that we can once again see the sparkle in the lackluster elements of our lives.
Alanna Kaivalya: When the Going gets Tough, the Yogi Knows Where to Go By Alanna Kaivalya

Vasily Kandinsky

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Josh George

H20 Woes: Measuring the Damage of our 'Water Footprint', Twitter struggles to plug security hole

A Dutch hydro engineer has come up with a "water footprint." At a conference in Sweden, he and other participants discussed water waste, supermarkets filled with fruits and vegetables produced in some of the world's most arid regions and ways we can stop wasting our most precious resource. H20 Woes: Measuring the Damage of our 'Water Footprint'

The appointment of a federal prosecutor to probe CIA abuses while interrogating terror suspects is exposing deep divisions in the US. While conservatives oppose the plans, liberals say it doesn't go far enough. German commentators think the Bush administration must be brought to account. The World from Berlin: 'Obama Should Make Sure Cheney Is Brought to Justice'

A British search specialist finds a security hole in micro-blogging service Twitter that could allow a malicious user to steal your account Yesterday, James Slater with SEO specialist firm Dave Naylor uncovered a security hole on popular micro-blogging service Twitter that could allow accounts and user details to be stolen and even allow for the installation of malware. Twitter claims to have closed it, but Slater says in an update today that a vulnerability still exists.
Slater explains why users should care: With a few minutes work, someone with a bit of technical expertise could make a Twitter 'application' and start sending tweets with it. Using the simple instructions below, it can be arranged so that if another Twitter user so much as sees one of these tweets - and they are logged in to Twitter - their account could be taken over.
The vulnerability uses a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which means that malicious code is inserted into a hyperlink. The attacker encodes the URL in such a way that it looks less suspicious to web users. Twitter struggles to plug security hole By Kevin Anderson on Media

Jaswant's Jinnah: Dividing India to save it, Goof up, Advani's acolytes, Israel and Game Theory, Fox Turns of comments, Boycott,

For most of his life, Jinnah was the epitome of European secularism, in contrast to Gandhi’s Indian secularism. Jinnah admired Kemal Ataturk, who separated religion from state. Gandhi believed that politics without religion was immoral; advocated equality of all religions, and even pandered to the Indian’s need for a religious identity. Jinnah was not an agnostic. He was born an Ismaili Khoja, and consciously decided to shift, under the influence of an early mentor, Badruddin Tyabji, from the “Sevener” sect, which required obedience to the Aga Khan, to the Twelvers, who recognized no leader. But his faith did not include ritual. He might have posed in a sherwani to demand Pakistan, but he would have considered ‘Maulana Jinnah’ an absurdity. In the end, Jinnah and Gandhi were not as far apart as the record might suggest. Jinnah wanted a secular nation with a Muslim majority; Gandhi desired a secular nation with a Hindu majority. The difference was the geographical arc. Gandhi had an inclusive dream, Jinnah an exclusive one. Jaswant's Jinnah: Dividing India to save itBy M J Akbar

ISLAMABAD: There is much excitement in India about the Interpol red corner notice for Hafiz Saeed, but the person for whom the international police organisation has put out the notice is virtually impossible to connect with the Jamat-ud-Dawa ... Goof-up in Interpol notice for Hafiz Saeed

Aug. 26: While expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh is deeply wounded by "Lalji’s" cold-blooded decision to axe him, he was taken aback when he heard that the person who proposed his expulsion was Bengaluru MP Ananth Kumar. Sources privy to the meeting said the five-time MP from Karnataka, who is seen as close to Mr Advani, was asked to suggest the sacking of the BJP’s founder member by the original votary of the "Jinnah is not to blame for Partition" theory — Mr Advani himself. Sources close to Mr Singh said that this was a tried and tested method employed by Mr Advani, who prefers to shoot from his junior colleagues’ shoulders rather than simply pull the trigger himself. Mr Kumar is part of the newly-emergent Advani clique which includes Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. Jaswant taken aback by Ananth’s action

In 2005, the Nobel Prize in Economic Science was awarded to Israeli mathematician and game theory specialist Robert J. Aumann, co-founder of the Center for Rationality at Hebrew University. This Jerusalem resident explains: “the entire school of thought that we have developed here in Israel” has turned “Israel into the leading authority in this field.”
Israeli strategists rely on game theory models to ensure the intended response to staged provocations and manipulated crises. With the use of game theory algorithms, those responses become predictable, even foreseeable—within an acceptable range of probabilities. The waging of war “by way of deception” is now a mathematical discipline. How Israel Wages Game Theory Warfare By Jeff Gates

Fox Nation, that website that boasts about being a haven "for those committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse--and fair and balanced coverage of the news," doesn't seem to have quite the same faith in its readers. It has removed its comments section for its leading story announcing the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. This despite the fact that comments on the site are moderated. Fox Nation Turned Off Its Comments For Kennedy Thread By Ellen on Fox Nation

The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel’s Negev desert. Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length.Coils of razor wire encircle much of the village, and children as young as eight have been arrested in a series of night-time raids. Israel Turns Up the Heat to Evict Bedouin from Desert Lands By Jonathan Cook in Amra

Benjamin Pogrund piece, arguing that "Boycotts only harden Israeli opinion, is a groundbreaking work of distortion of history, denial of facts, propaganda, disinformation and could have been written by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime minister of Israel.Benjamin Pogrund should know better. He is wrong on pretty much every single argument he makes. Apartheid entirely applies to the State of Israel policies towards the Palestinians. We are here talking about "The Crime of Apartheid" (as defined by the 2002 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court). "inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." It lists such crimes as murder, enslavement, deprivation of physical liberty, forced relocation, sexual violence, and collective persecution. Boycotting the Claims of Benjamin Pogrund By Frank Barat

The Pakistan report card, Shujaat Crawling from under the rock,

Fasi Zaka is NOT in the same league as Jugnu Mohsin yet. But the The Pakistan report card is hilarious in places ~~t

If you missed this: Aaoun Sahi interviews Brig. Imtiaz

Irfan Hussain writes ..."...I fear that it’s still a dog’s life for canines in Pakistan." - It is a dogs life and worse for the poor people in Pakistan, sir.

Thursday, August 27, 2009ISLAMABAD: PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has disclosed that at least 60 activists of the MQM were buried in the Margalla Hills of the Federal Capital in 1997.Talking to a TV channel on Wednesday, he said the said activists, apprehended from Karachi, were shifted to Islamabad, where they were tortured to death and later buried in the Margalla Hills. No investigations of any sort were held regarding the killing of the detainees.”Chaudhry Shujaat further disclosed: “I was Federal Interior Minister at that time, but Chairman Accountability Bureau Saif-ur-Rahman was more influential than me. The map, which the law-enforcement agencies exposed, has no reality. 60 MQM men buried in Margalla hills in 1997: Shujaat

Dixie Jewett

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932 - 2009)

The third longest serving Senator in history Sen. Edward M Kennedy died in the early hours of August 26, 2009 peacefully at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. He was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer in May 2008.

He was one of the nine children of Joseph P Kennedy Sr. The eldest son Joseph P Kennedy Jr. whom the patriarch raised as a future President died during the Second World War. The second son John Fitzgerald Kennedy went on to become the 35th President of the USA in 1961. The third son Robert Francis Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for primaries. Edward Moore Kennedy, who managed JFK's Presidential campaign, became a senator in 1962 and at the time of death was the second longest serving Senator in the senate after Sen Robert Byrd and third longest in history.

He never reached the White House, absorbing a stinging defeat in his 1980 challenge to incumbent Jimmy Carter. Critics said he lacked his brother John's intellect and his brother Bobby's passion. link.

Critics say his image and reputation never recovered from the car accident at Chappaquiddick, in July 1969, where his companion Mary Jo Kopechne lost her life, for which he received a suspended sentence. This was at the height of Cold War and the barbs aimed at his judgment ensured failure at the presidential run.

Kennedy was at the center of the most important issues facing the nation for decades, and he did much to help shape them. A defender of the poor and politically disadvantaged, he set the standard for his party on health care, education, civil rights, campaign-finance reform and labor law. He also came to oppose the war in Vietnam, and, from the beginning, he was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. link

Lately he missed three important events that led to speculation that he was in frail health. He missed sister Eunice Shriver's funeral, a White House Ceremony awarding him the nation;s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom and the confirmation vote for Sonia Sotomayor.

He was labelled The Lion of the Senate for his tireless work.

Kennedy was the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Due to his long history of public service he became known as "The Lion of the Senate". More than 300 bills that Kennedy wrote have been enacted into law, and he is known for his ability to work with Republicans and to find compromises among Senate members with disparate views. Kennedy played a major role in passing many pieces of legislation that have affected the lives of all Americans, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, the COBRA Act of 1985, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008, the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009. link

Senator Kennedy worked indefatigably for the causes he believed in. As the news of his death spreads, reactions from friends and political foes pour in praising him. Nancy Reagan released this statement, "Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him."

He will be missed but as he declared, “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.”

Jaan Weenix

Chinese troops offer an Afghan solution, Ahmed Quraishi,"highly trained professionals", Doubting Afghanistan, Towards the next peak

Thanks due FK for the folowing links ~ t

Ideally, Pakistan and India should find a solution to the Kashmir problem. This would start a circle of bilateral trust which would lead to the militants being stopped. But no solution has been found for Kashmir in over 60 years, so we can hardly hope for a resolution now. Less ideally but more practically, China could send troops to Afghanistan and open a comprehensive regional dialogue on Afghanistan, involving also the Russians and the Iranians - besides the Americans, Pakistanis and Afghans. The value of Chinese troops on the ground could be political. In the past 60 years, China has been an unflinching Pakistani ally, and its presence on the ground could be a pledge to keep Afghanistan in "Pakistani hands". On the other hand, India should agree to leave Afghanistan to Pakistan, in return for a Pakistani back-down over Kashmir. This latter agreement would be very difficult, but it could be helped by the Indians agreeing to Chinese troops in Afghanistan. Chinese troops offer an Afghan solutionBy Francesco Sisci

The first thing Pakistanis need to know is that Pakistan was destined to happen. Mr Jinnah made it happen through his sheer brilliance because he was there. But Pakistan was going to happen anyway, in some shape or form and at an opportune time, because of the force of history. Ahmed Quraishi FK's comments on this: this is unbelieable! the ...writer is a raving lunatic forthing at mouth .......sadly he represents the majority of the pakis who have a hard time now figuring out jinnah as their favorite jinnah myths for the last 62 years stand ruined by jaswant singh's book....jinnah will have a re-birth in india and he will be better understood in india than in pakistan

What does seem clear is that Mr Sharif would like to have the general's head on a plate in the centre of his dining table, but to get to that position he is going to have to carry parliament with him, and his chances of doing that seem remote in the extreme. Sri-Paayay anyone?

New details about the treatment of terror suspects in the wake of 9/11 contradict old assurances from former Vice President Dick Cheney that interrogators were "highly trained professionals" who well knew the boundaries of the law. Often, they had received barely two weeks' training and sometimes made up the rules as they went along. The haphazard nature of the CIA's handling of the detainees, especially in the early years of the "war on terror", becomes clear in the internal CIA report released by the US Justice Department. Its publication on Monday coincided with the appointment of a special prosecutor by the Attorney General, Eric Holder. "highly trained professionals"

Mr Netanyahu has said he is prepared to accept a Palestinian state as long as it is not militarised and does not control its airspace. Colonialism is not extinct

In the meantime, this diplomatic row between the two countries seems to be reminding everyone of the fight over the caricatures of Muhammad published four years ago in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Muslims interpreted these caricatures as being insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and as an affront to Muslims worldwide. Various Arab and Islamic governments officially distanced themselves from Copenhagen. And in their capital cities, tens of thousands took to the streets in violent demonstrations against Denmark, burning Danish flags and attacking the country's embassies. Israeli Politicians Attack Sweden over Tabloid Report

A compelling case for continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan can be made, but only by answering these 10 questions. Doubting Afghanistan

That is hard to pull off in practice, because it is very difficult to forecast inflation many years out and virtually impossible to predict whether a bubble will burst soon on its own (in which case the central bank should be lowering rates, not raising them). Still, in at least one respect it may be easier than before for central bankers to exploit whatever flexibility there is in their legal inflation targeting regimes. In the past, it was not easy to explain why people should endure the higher near-term unemployment involved in running policy tighter to curb a credit-fuelled boom. But in the aftermath of the crisis, the cost of not curtailing financial imbalances – even in a world of moderate inflation – is plain for all to see, even if how best to curb them remains rather more blurry a reality than the view of the stars through a high-powered telescope against the dark Wyoming sky. Towards the next peak By Krishna Guha in Washington