Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Real Face of Indian Democracy

Gazans Celebrate Eid With Sorrow

A Palestinian woman mourns next to the grave of her son on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr at a cemetery in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 30, 2011.
By Saleh Jadallah | Bernama | Aug 31, 2011
GAZA STRIP, Aug 31 (Bernama) — As Muslims worldwide joyfully celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip regard it as a reminder of sorrow despite their adamant steadfastness.
Mohammed Bashala would usually buy clothes and sweets for his children before the Eid, but since 2007, when Israel imposed its blockade in the Gaza Strip, he can barely make a living to satisfy his family’s needs.
The impoverished fisherman used to catch fish in wider permitted fishing zones to secure a little of the requirements of his family which compromises four sons and three daughters.
As a result of the Israeli embargo, the 43-year-old had to work in a tight zone and his economic situation deteriorated.
“I have no money to give to my children (for Eid). We are relying on alms from benevolent people,” Mohammed told Bernama in a recent interview.
“I usually get 25 NIS (USD7) per day when I fish. That amount is insufficient to buy basic food.”
Ahmed, a government employee in the agriculture ministry, has yet to receive his salary which has been delayed for two months — as a result of the salary crises in the two divided Palestinian governments of Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank.
Stricken by the hard-hitting financial crisis, employees in the Palestinian territories complain about the salary crises which sometimes make them receive only half their monthly payments.
Besides the deteriorating economy, the social life in Gaza Strip is overwhelmed by grief.
Families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails wish to share the joy of Eid with their jailed sons and relatives.
Leen, whose father was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2002, is very eager to see him free to join them during the Eid celebrations.
“To me, Eid would be nothing without my father. The real Eid is when my father is freed from his cell. We always pray for him,” the girl said in a sad tone.
Jihan Abu Khalaf has been married to a Gazan since 1998.
She has not met her family in Hebron City in the West Bank — geographically separated from Gaza by Israel — for nine years due to the Israeli restriction on the movement between the remaining parts of the Palestinian territory.
Jihan, whose father died while she was stranded in the Gaza Strip, is greatly disappointed that she cannot meet her mother during the Eid Al-Fitr.
“The first thing Muslims do during the Eid is kiss the hands of their mothers. I have been deprived of meeting my mother for nine years. I yearn very much to joining in the Eid with her and my brothers,” she said.
In a usual scene after performing Eid Prayers, Palestinians head for cemeteries to visit the graves of their relatives killed in a continuous conflict with Israel.
Showing remarkable solidarity, people console each other by visiting families of the dead and prisoners in an attempt to mitigate their affliction.
Mohammed Nabeel Abu Selmeya, who lost nine of his family members, including his parents, in an Israeli air strike that destroyed their house in 2006, tried hard to rejoice in the Islamic feast with his friends.
Yet, the painful memories are still etched in his mind.
Mohammed and his brother, Awad, are the only survivors in their family after they were evacuated from under the rubble of their house.
“I try my best to get rid of that misery, but it is hard to celebrate Eid while all your brothers, sisters and parents are martyred,” he said.
via BERNAMA – Gazans Celebrate Eid With Sorrow.

Source : Occupied Palestine 

Asia Times Online :: THE ROVING EYE: Why Gaddafi got a red card

Asia Times Online :: THE ROVING EYE: Why Gaddafi got a red card

By Pepe Escobar

Surveying the Libyan wasteland out of a cozy room crammed with wafer-thin LCDs in a Pyongyang palace, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, must have been stunned as he contemplated Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's predicament.

"What a fool," the Dear Leader predictably murmurs. No wonder. He knows how The Big G virtually signed his death sentence that day in 2003 when he accepted the suggestion of his irrepressibly nasty offspring - all infatuated with Europe - to dump his weapons of mass destruction program and place the future of the regime in the hands of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)...

click on the post title or here to read the rest of article...

Kashmiri Abused By Indians

Why no one protests extra-judicial killings here? Is media only working to defame Pakistan? More deaths at the hands of UK police

By Robert Stevens
31 August 2011
In the space of just seven days, three more people have been killed in police operations in the UK involving the use of lethal Taser guns and pepper spray.
On August 16 eight police officers came to arrest Dale Burns in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, a 27-year-old father of two young children. (See “British police kill unarmed man with Taser”).
During the arrest an officer discharged a Taser device three times, and another used pepper spray. Following the arrest, Burns, a body-builder, complained of feeling unwell and was taken to Furness General Hospital where his condition deteriorated. At around 9 PM he was pronounced dead.
On August 22, Jacob Michael, a 25-year-old man from Widnes, Merseyside was at his home when police arrived at around 5.15 PM. Officers used pepper spray on Michael and then subdued him with massive force, inflicted by up to 11 police officers. Following this attack he was taken into custody and rapidly became unwell. Later that evening he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The following night Great Manchester Police officers used a Taser on Philip Hulmes, a 53-year-old truck driver from Bolton. The police claim that Hulmes had begun stabbing himself in the stomach when they broke into his house. After using a Taser on Hulmes, he was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where he died about half an hour later.
Taser guns are deadly weapons and deliver a 50,000-volt electric charge through two dart-like electrodes that remain attached to the gun by 21-foot-long insulated wires, enabling the handler to administer repeated shocks. The victim experiences an excruciatingly painful five-second cycle that causes neuromuscular incapacitation—the disruption of brain control over the muscles of the body.
Tasers were introduced into Britain in 2004 and were used by 10 police forces in trials. Since 2008 they have been available for use by all police forces in England and Wales. Tasers have been in widespread use in the United States since 2001. Since then, more than 460 people have died in the US after being hit by a Taser, according to Amnesty International.
Until the death of Dale Burns, no deaths had been officially attributed to Taser use in the UK. In 2006, however, 47-year-old Brian Loan died several days after being shot with a Taser in County Durham. His death was recorded as attributable to heart disease and not the Taser attack.
Another death not recorded as caused by a police Taser attack was that of Raul Moat in July last year. Moat had been hunted down by police in a week-long manhunt and, following a six hour standoff, he supposedly killed himself. But immediately prior to this police are believed to have fired two Taser shots at Moat. These possibly resulted in a muscle spasm, causing him to involuntarily pull the trigger of the shotgun pointing at his head.
One eyewitness account strongly suggests that overwhelming and potentially lethal force was used by the police immediately prior to Jacob Michael’s death. There are also unanswered questions as to what the police were doing in his house. An article in the Liverpool Echo on August 27 states that, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who are investigating the death, the police received an emergency 999 call that cut off without anyone saying anything. Police then traced the call to Michael’s address.
This is flatly contradicted by a neighbour of Michael, Ann Blease, who told the Daily Mail, “His mum told me Jake [Jacob Michael] was the one who rang the police himself, saying that someone was threatening him with a gun.”
According to her eyewitness account, Michael was attacked by up to 11 police officers who punched and kicked him while he was on the ground. She said, “What the police did was outrageous. He was handcuffed, on the floor with his legs restrained and they didn’t even have the decency to pull up his pants.
“They seemed to be kneeing him in the back of the head. I counted 11 cops. They were all sat on him, giving him a kicking and giving him side digs. There was one woman officer, the rest were men, and she was getting her kicks in as well.”
The Mail report claims that the “police said they were arresting him on suspicion of affray but there was a struggle and Michael was blasted in the face with the spray.
“Despite him being temporarily blinded by the effects, Michael managed to run out of the house and got to a grass verge before being tackled and brought to the ground by other police officers who were waiting nearby.”
Ann Blease described how Michael was then brutally set upon:
“They were chasing him in the street. I saw it because they chased him in front of my house.
“They started chasing him and hitting him in the back of the legs with batons. They said, ‘Why don’t you stand up and give yourself some dignity’, to him. But he couldn’t even stand up after they’d hit him with the batons.”
She continued, “They had banged his head on the floor and they were giving him punches. He was already handcuffed and he was restrained when I saw him. I don’t know what happened in the house, I just saw when they were on the street.
“He was shouting, ‘Help me, help me’. He wasn’t coherent. I don’t know why they were bringing him in for affray. It doesn’t matter, he didn’t deserve that.”
Following his harrowing ordeal, Michael was bundled into a police van and taken into custody at Runcorn police station in Cheshire. According to reports, he was so ill that paramedics had to be called. Michael was then taken to Warrington General Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
An initial post-mortem carried out on August 23 failed to establish the cause of Michael’s death. Michael was a fit, amateur rugby player.
In the case of Hulmes’ death, the Guardian reports, “It is thought a concerned relative called police to the house at 8.30pm. Police were told that Hulmes, who was armed with a knife, had locked himself in, was making threats and had begun to stab himself.
“Officers arrived and smashed a hole in the door. When they spotted his injuries they called for Taser-trained back up. After further failed attempts to talk him out of the building they broke in and used the stun gun.”
If this is true, then why did the police use a Taser, imposing unbearable pain on a man already apparently seriously injured and in severe distress?
The IPCC, despite its name, is in no way independent of the police. Ignoring the many unanswered questions surrounding Hulmes’ demise, the IPCC released a one paragraph statement on August 25, just two days after the latter’s death. Saying it had “now assessed information available following his death”, it added, “We have decided there is no requirement for an IPCC investigation into the police action.”
It said that a post mortem found, “that the man died from stab wounds sustained prior to the police arriving” at his address.
This is not the first time IPCC has exonerated the police following a death where a Taser was used. Last year, the IPCC exonerated Nottinghamshire police for an incident in June 2009 in which several of its officers subdued a man in the city centre while one used a Taser on him three times and another officer appeared to repeatedly punch the victim in the neck and head area.
The use of Tasers by England and Wales’ 43 constabularies has increased exponentially over the recent period, and they are increasingly the weapon of choice. Home Office statistics reveal that Tasers were deployed 1,279 times over a three-month period between January and March 2010, compared to 594 times between April and June 2009.
Following the three deaths, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) representing police chiefs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has refused to hold a review into their use. Acpo in Scotland also said it had no plans to review the use of Tasers or pepper spray by police.
Commenting on the deaths, campaign group Inquest noted that there had already been five deaths in circumstances that involved police use of force excluding firearms this year, compared with four throughout 2010.
Inquest found that between 1997 and 2007 there were over 530 deaths in police custody in England and Wales. Not a single police officer has been convicted in connection with these deaths. Many of these were the result of police gunfire.
From 1990 to 2011, police shot dead 53 people; 21 of the killings having been committed by London’s Metropolitan Police. The latest fatality at the hands of the Met was Mark Duggan, the 29-year-old father of four who was executed by police officers on August 4 in Tottenham, an event that triggered the recent widespread disturbances in London and other cities and towns nationwide.

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Source ; World Socialist Website 

In pictures: International Disappearance Day in Kashmir

It was one of those ironic moments that you come across every now and then in a conflict zone like Kashmir. As fleets of Eid shoppers swarmed to the city centre, in a desolate park, just opposite the busy Residency Road, a group of people under the banner of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) sat in a lonely corner to register their protest on the International Disappearance Day. With lens-men Umar Qadir, Zahoor Zargar and Faisal Khan, Junaid Rather reports.
The protests began with the launch of a signature campaign inside Pratap Park. In this picture above you see Parveen Ahangar- the president of APDP putting her signature.Ahangar, nominated for Nobel Peace Award, has been a victim herself. As you can see a woman tries to console her as she breaks down during the protest. At the outbreak of insurgency, her son, who was in his teens, was picked from relative’s house in uptown Batamaloo. Since then, Ahangar has moved courts and travelled to every jail in the state, even to many outside. The fate of her son, however, remains unknown.With the disclosure by the State’s premier human rights body- State Human Rights Commission about the presence of unmarked graves in three north Kashmir’s district the ominous fear of the relatives of disappeared has resurfaced. “The issue of unmarked graves and enforced disappearances is interlinked,” says Ahangar. However, she adds both issues should be investigated and dealt separately.She feels, “The families of the victims of enforced disappearances have always had a hope of the return of their sons and fathers. The complete overlap of these two issues has led to even denial of this hope."The families are of the view that first already identified "perpetrators" should be made accountable and prosecuted and if required DNA profiling should be done.Shabir Ahmed Khan, 31, a resident of Kawari Ladrewan, in Kupwara district went missing on November 2, 2006. He was working in the with Army's Jaklin regiment and it was while he was returning for his posting in Jammu, he went missing. He is survived by his wife Saleema, 2 sons, Faisal, 10, and Momin, 4, and daughter Rimshah, who is 8-year-old. “Contrary to the expectations of the family, the army refused to set up any investigation committee to enquire about his sudden disappearance and it was on 5th February 2008 that the army regiment declared him a deserter,” says Ahangar.
Although being a Muslim majority state, there are many from the minority community who remain missing. In 1999, a Sikh boy, Ichpal Singh, 13, went missing on April 8, from Handwara region in North Kashmir. Singh’s family moved the SHRC alleging that he was picked up by the government force. The state police responded saying, “He (Singh) was vagabond, flamboyant and had gone missing earlier also so he might have again moved out of the house.” Twelve years later, Singh has not returned. 
These days, funded by the United Nations, the APDP is undertaking a survey of disappeared persons in every district of the State. According to APDP records there is a disturbing figure of around 8,000 to 10,000 missing persons in Kashmir since 1990. Approximately 4,000 are missing alone from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

For more reports of war crimes in Indian Held Kashmir please visit The Kashmir Now

Kashmiri Heart Touching Video-Reality in Kashmir

Daily NATO War Crimes in Libya

by Stephen Lendman

Among them is waging war on truth, Western managed news calling lawless imperial wars liberating ones. No wonder John Pilger says journalism is the first casualty of war, adding:
“Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship (and deception) that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries….”
In their book, “Guardians of Power,” David Edwards and David Cromwell explained why today’s media are in crisis and a free and open society at risk. It’s because press prostitutes substitute fiction for fact. News is carefully filtered, dissent marginalized, and supporting wealth and power substitutes for full and accurate reporting.
It’s a cancer, corrupting everything from corporate-run print and broadcast sources, as well as operations like BBC and what passes for America’s hopelessly compromised public radio and TV. They put out daily managed and junk food news plus infotainment, treating consumers like mushrooms – well-watered and in the dark.
During wars, in fact, they cheerlead them, reporting agitprop and misinformation no respectable journalist would touch.
On the Progressive Radio News Hour, Middle East/Central Asia analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya, in Tripoli, said some journalists also perform fifth column duties, collecting intelligence and locating targets to supply NATO bombing coordinates, notably civilian targets called military ones.
In a July 28 email, he said tell listeners that “NATO is trying to negotiate with the government in Tripoli.” More on that below. He added that they’re also “planning a new stage of the war against the Libyan people through (predatory) NGOs and fake humanitarian missions.” A likely UN Blue Helmet occupying force also, paramilitaries masquerading as peacekeepers Gaddafi controlled areas won’t tolerate.
NATO, in fact, calls civilian targets legitimate ones, including one or more hospitals, a clinic, factories, warehouses, agricultural sites, schools, a university, one or more mosques, non-military related infrastructure, a food storage facility, and others.
Notably on July 23, a Brega water pipe factory was struck, killing six guards. It produces pipes for Libya’s Great Man-Made River system (GMMR), an ocean-sized aquifer beneath its sands, making the desert bloom for productive agriculture, and supplying water to Libya’s people.
The previous day, a water supply pipeline was destroyed. It will take months to restore. The factory produced vital pipes to do it, a clear war crime like daily others. Moreover, the entire GMMR is threatened by a shortage of spare parts and chemicals. As a result, it’s struggling to keep reservoirs at a level able to provide a sustainable supply. Without it, a humanitarian disaster looms, very likely what NATO plans as in past wars.
On July 27, AFP said that:
“NATO warned that its warplanes will bomb civilian facilities if (Gaddafi’s) forces use them to launch attacks.” At the same time, a spokesman said great care is taken to minimize civilian casualties.
NATO lied. Daily, it’s attacking non-military related sites to destroy Libya’s ability to function in areas loyal to Gaddafi. Earlier, in fact, a spokesman claimed there was “no evidence” civilian targets were hit or noncombatants killed, except one time a major incident was too obvious to hide. Reluctantly it admitted a “mistake,” covering up a willful planned attack, knowing civilians were affected.
Libya (satellite) TV calls itself “a voice for free Libya….struggling to liberate Libya from the grip of the Gaddafi regime….” In fact, it’s a pro-NATO propaganda service, reporting misinformation on air and online.
On July 25, it headlined, “No evidence to support Gaddafi’s allegations that civilian targets were hit,” when, it fact, they’re struck daily.
Nonetheless, it claimed only military sites are bombed, saying Tripoli-based journalists aren’t taken to affected areas, “suggesting NATO’s gunners are hitting military targets, at least in the capital.”
In fact, corporate and independent journalists are regularly taken to many sites struck. Independent accounts confirm civilian casualties and non-military facilities bombed. Pro-NATO scoundrels report managed news, complicit in daily war crimes.
On July 28, Libya TV claimed “captured Gaddafi soldiers say army morale is low,” when, in fact, most Libyans support Gaddafi. Millions are armed. Gaddafi gave them weapons. They could easily oust him if they wish. Instead, they rally supportively, what Western media and Libya TV won’t report.
Moreover, captured soldiers say what they’re told, likely threatened with death or torture if they refuse, especially in rebel paramilitary hands, under NATO orders to terrorize areas they control.
As a result, civilian casualties mount, up to 1,200 or more killed and thousands wounded in pro-Gaddafi areas, many seriously as war rages. In addition, unknown numbers of combatant casualties on both sides aren’t known, nor is the civilian toll in rebel held areas.
Nonetheless, daily sorties and strikes continue. Since mid-July alone through July 27, they include:
  • July 14: 132 sorties and 48 strikes
  • July 15: 115 sorties and 46 strikes
  • July 16: 110 sorties and 45 strikes
  • July 17: 122 sorties and 46 strikes
  • July 18: 129 sorties and 44 strikes
  • July 19: 113 sorties and 40 strikes
  • July 20: 122 sorties and 53 strikes
  • July 21: 124 sorties and 45 strikes
  • July 22: 128 sorties and 46 strikes
  • July 23: 125 sorties and 56 strikes
  • July 24: 163 sorties and 43 strikes
  • July 25: 111 sorties and 54 strikes
  • July 26: 134 sorties and 46 strikes
  • July 27: 133 sorties and 54 strikes
Daily patterns are consistent. However, information on numbers and types of bombs, as well as other munitions aren’t given. Instead, misinformation claims a humanitarian mission protects civilians – by terrorizing, killing, and injuring them, solely for imperial aims. It’s why all US-led wars are fought, never for liberating reasons.
The entire campaign is based on lies. It’s standard war time procedure, to enlist popular support for campaigns people otherwise would reject.
In fact, no humanitarian crisis existed until NATO arrived. Moreover, in paramilitary controlled areas, Amnesty International confirmed only 110 pro and anti-Gaddafi supporter deaths combined, most likely more of the former than latter as rebel cutthroats rampaged through areas they occupy. Currently, the numbers of dead and injured civilians are many times that amount, largely from NATO attacks.
NATO, in fact, is code language for the Pentagon, paying the largest share of its operating and military budgets. Except for Germany and Britain, other members pay small shares, most, in fact, miniscule amounts.
Since NATO began bombing on March 19, daily attacks inflicted lawless collective punishment against millions in Gaddafi supported areas. Affected is their ability to obtain food, medicines, fuel and other basic supplies, exposing another lie about humanitarian intervention.
On July 25, OCHA’s fact-finding team said Tripoli contained “pockets of vulnerability where people need urgent humanitarian assistance.” Medical supplies are running low. The last major delivery was in January, and concerns are increasing about the “unsustainable food supply chain for the public distribution systems, especially as Ramadan approaches (on or around August 1 to about August 29) and the conflict persists.”
Moreover, “Libyan oil experts warned that fuel stocks could run out in two weeks.” Public transportation costs have tripled. Food prices have also soared. Tripoli residents experience electricity cuts, and clean water supplies are endangered.
Before conflict erupted, Libyans had the region’s highest standard of living and highest life expectancy in Africa because Gaddafi’s oil wealth provided healthcare, education, housing assistance and other social benefits. Imperial war, of course, changed things. Libyans now hang on to survive.
Seeking an End Game
On July 26, UPI headlined, “NATO seeks urgent exit strategy in Libya,” knowing this phase of the war is lost. Nonetheless, future strategies and campaigns will follow.
For now, however, “NATO is seeking an urgent exit strategy (to end) fighting and decide the future of (Gaddifi), even if that means letting him stay in the country though out of power, it emerged Tuesday after British and French foreign ministers met in London.”
In tribal Libya, Gaddafi’s power, in fact, is far less than reported, social anthropologist Ranier Fsadni saying:
“Gaddafi’s feeling for tribal Libya is certainly one factor that explains how he has managed to rule the country for so many years. (However), (t)here is no tribal office giving a single man a monopoly of institutional power at the apex….Several factors account for his longevity in power,” including sharing Libya’s oil wealth.
UPI said diplomacy is driven by a failed military campaign. As a result, “(i)ntense mediation efforts are underway at different levels at the United Nations and Europe, in African, European and Middle Eastern capitals and Russia.”
Neither side is commenting, but some observers think operations may wind down in weeks, based on an unannounced face-saving solution, despite continued destabilization and future conflict planned. It’s similar to Balkan and Iraq war strategies, a combination of tactics until Washington prevailed.
Libya faces the same end game, though years could pass before it arrives. As a result, Libyans can expect continued hardships. When imperial America shows up, that strategy persists until it prevails, no matter the pain and suffering inflicted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America

Source : veterans today

The Killing of Kashmir... 49 minute documentary

Indian Army Brutal Killing: 2000 Graves Found in Kashmir

NEW DEHLI: More than 2,000 corpses have been found buried in several unmarked graves in Indian-administered Kashmir, believed to be victims of the disputed region’s separatist movement, a government human rights commission said in a report.
The graves were found in dozens of villages near the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between Pakistan and India in the Himalayan region.
“At 38 places visited in north Kashmir, there were 2,156 unidentified dead bodies buried in unmarked graves,” the inquiry report by the Indian government’s Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (J&KSHRC) said. The commission was established by the government in 1997 to investigate human rights violations.
The report — prepared by an 11-member team headed by a senior police superintendent — said that DNA profiling should be used to match unidentified bodies with relatives to resolve the controversy. “The scope for DNA extraction from remains of these unidentified bodies buried in unmarked graves of north Kashmir is still very bright. As the time will go on… chances will be more and more reduced,” the report said.
An independent group based in Srinagar, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPT), had in 2009 documented unidentified bodies buried in the region’s northern villages.
Indian and international rights groups called for a probe into whether the unmarked graves held bodies of civilians who have ‘disappeared’ as Indian security forces struggled to contain insurgency in the region.
The IPT says 8,000 people have gone missing there during 20 years of insurgency against rule from New Delhi, most of those after they were arrested by Indian security personnel.
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which estimates around 10,000 people went missing during nearly two decades of separatist revolt, says many missing people may have ended up in these unmarked graves.
“We appeal to international human rights groups and Indian authorities to identify the people buried,” said Parveena Ahanger, founder and chairperson of the APDP.
International human rights groups have also repeatedly asked the Indian authorities to investigate the unmarked graves.
Indian officials have repeatedly claimed that those buried in unmarked graves were militants — most of those Pakistanis — who were killed in clashes with security forces. They also argue that many of the missing locals had meanwhile crossed to Pakistan to join militant groups. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed in mainly Muslim Kashmir since an insurgency against New Delhi’s rule began in 1989.
On Saturday, Indian soldier shot dead 12 “militants trying to cross from Pakistan into the disputed region.”
Indian security forces in Kashmir have been accused of murdering innocent civilians in staged gun battles and passing them off as militants to earn rewards and promotions.

Source ;

India’s Kashmir admission: too little, too late

-Photo by Dilnaz Boga/
The news that the Jammu & Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has officially acknowledged mass graves holding more than 2,000 bodies – 574 of them now identified as local residents, i.e. not foreign terrorists – is welcome but leaves a bitter taste. It’s good that the Indian establishment can allow such an admission, but so what? That’s surely little consolation to the many “half-widows” of Kashmiris “disappeared” by Indian forces.
We could argue forever – and have been – about what Kashmir’s political status should be, or who is most to blame for the massive death and destruction wrought there over the past two decades. But morally honest Indians can’t avoid India’s culpability.
Indian-held Kashmir was the scene of an important early chapter in my political education. I first went there in 1994, initially lured by the romance of seeing the landscape, and meeting the people, that V.S. Naipaul had memorably written about in the brilliant middle section of his 1964 book An Area of Darkness. I spent many weeks in the Valley on several visits that year and the next. I put much of what I learned in Kashmir into the early chapters of my book Alive and Well in Pakistan because, while Kashmir is no more clearly part of Pakistan than of India, I wanted to show that, borders and Lines of Control notwithstanding, in truth the subcontinent is a seamless whole. I also wanted to do justice to the way my interest in Kashmir had led to my longstanding interest in Pakistan.
I spent a lot of time on the ground in Kashmir with Kashmiris in 1994 and ‘95, and I listened not only to Kashmiris’ stories but also to their opinions and to what they said they wanted. Maybe because of my own provincial background, I’ve never appreciated the presumption that the na├»ve or wishful perspectives of people from small, neglected places should be considered somehow less valid than the views of people who hold power – unless it’s true that might makes right, which it isn’t.
“We are hungry for peace,” a young Kashmiri told me. “But at the same time, we want to live with honor.” The Kashmir problem was “not a law and order problem,” another insisted. “It is the deserved rights that we want. No Kashmiri will believe any Indian, ever again.” Said the human rights activist Jalil Andrabi: “We thought that if people of Romania can go out on the streets and get rid of a dictator, why can’t we go out on the streets in Kashmir?”
“We have to think about the future of our country, the future of our children,” a businessman told me. “We don’t want to become another Afghanistan. My son, he was three when militancy started. Now he is almost in his eighth year. So good years are passing by, they are not coming back.” That was more than 15 years ago, so that man’s son – if he’s still alive – is now in his early twenties.
Jalil Andrabi made a strong impression on me. He was a likeable and impressive young lawyer who, with colleagues in the Kashmir Bar Association, traveled to remote villages; painstakingly documented atrocities committed by Indian forces, and filed usually fruitless writs in the High Court. It broke one’s heart to think of the effort they put into raw documentation, the naming of persons and putting on record of events that otherwise would have been forgotten by all but the obscure sufferers themselves.
“What we believe is that human rights are guaranteed to every human being who is born on earth,” Andrabi told me. “India recognizes this right, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
The last time I saw him was in his office, on the dingy upper floor of a dusty building in Srinagar. I had come because he wanted to give me some documents. He gave me a Pepsi and prevailed on me to stay for a few minutes. I asked him why he did what he did. He felt compelled to do it, he said; it had to be done; truth and justice had to be served, however ineffectually. Otherwise, he said, he could not have lived with himself.
I felt too tired to take notes – I was leaving the next morning and had many things on my mind – and among my many regrets is that I felt too distracted and rushed to stay longer with Jalil Andrabi that day. His words brought to mind something the American writer Wendell Berry once wrote: “Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.”
Jalil Andrabi was kidnapped in murky circumstances on March 8, 1996. Later that month his body was found floating in the River Jhelum, its eyes gouged out. I was in Bangkok, where I was living at the time, when I heard the report of his death on CNN.

Ethan Casey is the author of Alive and Well in Pakistan and Overtaken By Events: A Pakistan Road Trip. He can be reached at and

Source ; Dawn Media Group

Tripoli faces humanitarian crisis

By Bill Van Auken
30 August 2011
More than a week after the NATO-led “rebels” invaded the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the city’s 2 million residents are facing a deepening humanitarian crisis, deprived of water, electricity, adequate food supplies and desperately needed medical care.
While the downfall of the 42-year-old regime of Col. Muammar Gaddafi has been universally proclaimed, the whereabouts of Gaddafi himself are still not known. The principal leaders of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC)—recognized by the major powers as the “legitimate” government of Libya—have yet to set foot in Tripoli.
Sporadic fighting continues to be reported in the capital, while NATO and the insurgent forces it has sponsored are preparing for a siege of Sirte, the coastal city of 100,000 that is Gaddafi’s home town and a center of his tribe, the Gaddafas.
NATO warplanes have conducted dozens of air strikes against Sirte, which straddles the highway leading from Tripoli in the west to Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, to the east.
The pretense that this air war is being carried out under the United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians has become increasingly ludicrous as US, British and French warplanes are used to pound civilian population centers to prepare the way for invading “rebel” armies.
The head of the self-appointed NTC, Mustafa Abel Jalil, told a meeting of NATO envoys in Qatar Monday that the bombings should continue because “Gaddafi is still capable of doing something awful in the last moments.” He added that the ousted Libyan leader’s “defiance of the coalition forces still poses a danger, not only for Libya but for the world.”
Meanwhile, a United Nations watchdog web site published a leaked document that contains draft plans for a UN “peacekeeping” deployment in Libya, which would involve dispatching several hundred foreign military observers and police. The thrust of the UN mission, according to the 10-page document, would be to “contribute to confidence building and to the implementation of agreed military tasks.” The “confidence building,” it adds, “might be necessary for the troops of the Gaddafi government which will find themselves under the control of hostile forces.”
In other words, the key question perceived by the major powers is resurrecting the repressive apparatus of the Gaddafi regime under new, and presumably more pliant, management. As for the “agreed military tasks,” primary among them would be disarming the population.
The document calls for 200 unarmed military observers and 190 UN police officers to be sent to Libya. The document adds, however, that if the stabilization of Tripoli required more “robust international assistance,” this would be beyond the UN’s capabilities. In that case, it states, “the only viable option to ensure a safe environment in Tripoli are the transitional authorities themselves, with the advice of those who are already assisting or advising them.”
It continues: “The Security Council’s ‘protection of civilians’ mandate implemented by NATO forces does not end with the fall of the Gaddafi government, and there, NATO would continue to have some responsibilities.”
The clear implication is that should NATO see the necessity of deploying ground troops in Libya for the purpose of “restoring order,” it could claim to be implementing the UN Security Council resolution for “protection of civilians,” even as it suppressed civilian opposition to a new Western-backed puppet regime.
Some have suggested that this dirty work be contracted out to Arab regimes, such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, likely bolstered by mercenaries hired through military contractors. The CNT’s Jalil has called for any foreign troops to be “Arab or Islamic.” Italy’s defense minister, Ignazio La Russa, recently expressed himself along similar lines, declaring, “We cannot rule out the presence of UN troops, so long as they come from Arab or African countries.”
The Times of London on Monday described the current situation in Tripoli as follows: “Seventy percent of the capital’s homes have no running water… Large parts of the city have little or no electricity. Fresh produce, milk and cooking gas are all but unattainable... At the zoo, keepers are cutting branches from trees to feed the hippopotamuses and monkeys and say they are short of water. ‘The animals are in danger,’ said one, Ali Abdullah Conti.
“Hospitals are running out of oxygen, fixators for treating fractures, and drugs for conditions such as diabetes… The city is filled with the stench of rubbish, and occasional corpses, rotting in the heat. Telephones work only intermittently. Most commercial life ceased months ago. Many people have no money left because the banks are shut and salaries have not been paid.”
The continuing discovery of victims of massacres and summary executions across Tripoli has created an atmosphere of fear and terror in the Libyan capital. Reuters’ Peter Graff described the killings as “a harrowing warning that more carnage may lie ahead.”
“[A]s bodies lay in fetid piles in the streets of the capital this week,” Graff reported, “Libyans faced the prospect that, as in Iraq in 2003, the fall of a dictator could mark the beginning, rather than the end, of the war’s most violent phase.”
Referring to last week’s grim discovery of dozens of bodies of massacred Gaddafi supporters at a traffic circle outside the Libyan ruler’s compound, Graff wrote: “Since then, Reuters and other news organizations have found scores of other bodies in the capital, especially in Abu Salim, home to many Gadhafi government officials and their families. Friday brought the discovery of the abandoned Abu Salim hospital building, full of corpses lying on cots.
“The exact circumstances of the killings are still not clear, but these were not fighters left where they were killed on the battlefield. Gadhafi’s supporters will doubtlessly blame the rebels for carrying out large-scale revenge killings.”
The discovery of dozens more bodies in government jail cells, apparently massacred by Gaddafi’s security forces, has fueled the drive for revenge.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Monday that the lack of drinking water, which extends well beyond Tripoli—from Misrata to the east and to the Tunisian border to the west—threatens to produce a serious public health crisis.
In addition to providing water, the ICRC has made it a priority to distribute body bags and train volunteers in “dead body management.”
The African Union Monday announced that it would withhold recognition of the National Transitional Council as Libya’s legitimate government because of the widespread killing and abuse of black African workers by the so-called “rebels.”
One of the facets of Tripoli’s crisis, the piling up of trash in the city’s streets, is directly attributable to these criminal pogroms. The overwhelming majority of the city’s sanitation workers are sub-Saharan African immigrants, who are now in hiding, in fear for their lives.
The African Union charged that the NATO-backed forces were indiscriminately rounding up and killing African migrants solely because of their skin color. It warned that the lives of tens of thousands of migrant workers were in danger, as “rebels” were branding people with black skins “mercenaries” and lynching them.
“We need clarification because the NTC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries… They are killing normal workers,” Jean Ping, the chairman of the Commission of the African Union told reporters in Ethiopia Monday. “[The rebels seem to think] all blacks are mercenaries. If you do that it means [that] one-third of the population of Libya which is black is also mercenaries. They are killing people, normal workers, mistreating them.”
The NTC responded with a bald denial that any such killings or cases of abuse have taken place, despite their being confirmed by many news reports from the country. “This never took place,” said an NTC spokesman. “If it happened, it will be the Gaddafi forces.”
As the carnage continued to unfold, major Western energy conglomerates pressed for advantage in what they anticipate will be a profit bonanza from the NATO-led “regime change” in Libya. The National Transitional Council signed an agreement Monday with the state-backed Italian energy firm ENI calling for a “rapid and complete” resumption of the company’s activities in Libya. The memorandum of understanding was procured by the oil firm’s CEO, Paolo Scaroni, who went to Benghazi for the signing.
ENI was the largest producer operating in Libya before the NATO war. The company’s shares rose 3.1 percent on the announcement.
Meanwhile, the French government, the first to recognize the CNT, announced that it has reopened its embassy in Tripoli and a foreign ministry spokesman stressed that “there’s no time to lose” in promoting reconstruction in Libya. The government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, which will host a Libyan contact group meeting in Paris Thursday, is widely seen as pressing for advantage, particularly for the French oil giant Total, based on France’s aggressive posture in the war.
A column published in the Italian daily La Stampa on Sunday warned that France was preparing to switch from its military onslaught against Libya to “fighting a cold war to prevent Italian companies from winning back their priority positions in the network of oil wells” set up by ENI.

Source : World Socialist Website

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kalaroos: Where dead have number

Martyrs Graveyard Kalroos, Kupwara.
The first one reads “Number 1, Martyred on August 24, 2009, Jawansaal (Young)”, the second one reads “Number 2 “Martyred on August 24, Safaid Dhadi Wala Bhodha (white bearded old man)”. Scattered between few graves that have traditional tombstones, there are many that have tin plates inserted on top. Numbers and scanty details of the appearance of dead is all that is known about the people who lay burried.

The caretakers of ‘Martyrs Graveyard’ here, situated in Lolab alongside Kupwara-Machil main road around 112 km from Srinagar, started to number the unknown dead after mass graves surfaced in Uri  region in neighbouring Baramulla district. The graveyard which spans over two thousand square yards of land is maintained by the local Auqaf Committee.

“On the directions of Auqaf we started to write down the numbers and identification marks of the deceased on tin plates to keep the count and little bit identification,” says Ghulam Ahmed Bhat, who is one of the caretakers, while pointing towards a portion where the grave fill is scattered. The bodies have been exhumed.

Three youth from Nadihal, who were dubbed as militants and killed in Machil Sector along the Line of Control (LoC), last April, were buried in these half-filled graves, he says. The youth were identified by their heirs after pictures of their bodies appeared in local dailies.

But their remains exist even after bodies have been excavated. A torn jacket and a blanket hang on the barbed fencing. Bhat informs they belonged to the Nadihal youth.

Locals say more than 85 unidentified suspected militants lay buried  along with some residents. But, most of the graves remain unmarked with some of them not even noticeable due to passage of time. Not many have turned up to claim the dead.

“A family from Highgam and two families from Zainagair in Sopore visited. They cried in despair lamenting the fact that they were not present during the funeral rites of their dear ones who were militants,” he says, adding the families had somehow learnt that their dear ones lie buried here.

The families came and erected epitaphs on their graves. “Now the families of the trio occasionally visit the graveyard and distribute dates, Turmeric-rice (Teher), milk or fruits among the locals for the solace of their hearts,” he adds.

Fear is writ large on the faces of locals who seem reluctant to talk openly about the issue. To break the ice seems quite difficult and it is only after a disclosure of identity that they gradually open up.  “They died, it was their fate, but even after death, they have been stripped of their identity,” laments Abdul Samad, an elderly local.

“When the relatives of disappeared persons come to ascertain if their dear ones are buried here, we suggest them to visit local police station,” Samad says.
However, identity of just seven people is known and even the police have no written record about those interred.

“Our response might be annoying their sentiments, but what shall we do? The people we have buried here were unknown to us though seemingly Kashmiri locals,” he remarks.

A local police official not authorized to speak says they do not have any records in the police post regarding the names or whereabouts of the deceased.

“Most of the times I could not muster courage to see the dead as they had disfigured skulls caused due to heavy mortar shells or decaying,” says Abdul Aziz, another resident who joined Samad and Bhat after noticing movement in the graveyard.

Locals claim that Lolab valley has many such graves scattered in forests and villages including Sogam, Chandigam, Lalpora, Kuligam, Khurhama, Bagalsar, and Moori, Boinar, where unidentified suspected militants lie buried.

And, with the confirmation of unmarked graves by State Human Rights Commission, locals are questioning the claims made by the government that the unknown graves are those of militants and not of civilians. Villagers in this region these days discuss “cash for kill” although covertly.

The Palestine Pearl!: Severed From Life

The Palestine Pearl!: Severed From Life: This little boy's arm is severed from his body like Palestine is severed from the rest of the world. The news of his death will stay in Pale...

Justice buried for fake encounter victim

Mufti IslahMufti Islah, CNN-IBN
Updated May 25, 2008 at 12:53am IST
Srinagar: Near the Line of Control in Kashmir, security forces are everywhere, a check post is always around the corner, a barbed wire fence never too far away. In a state where people are always looking over their shoulders, it can be fatal to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In her 56 years, Jana Begum has seen tragedy over and over again. She says 10 years ago two of her sons were picked up near Kupwara by the State Task Force and the Border Security Force.
After a painful search, a policeman told Jana that her sons had been shot dead, and buried in a graveyard in Regipora.
The shock killed her husband. Another of Jana's sons went missing from Deoband in 2002. She says that he too may lie in an unmarked grave, and every visit to the Regipora cemetery stirs up old fears.
"Nobody gave me any answers. I went everywhere, but nobody would tell me anything," Jana Begum says.
A few maize orchards away from Jana's house in Lolab, Wali Mohammad still mourns the loss of his son Farooq, killed in August 2003.
Farooq was allegedly taken from a bakery in Srinagar by the Army, and then shot dead, and passed off as a militant. When Wali learnt that his son was buried in a grave in Srinagar, he went to court and won an order of exhumation. It's been five years, but the tears still come easily.
"Why was my innocent son killed? There are so many cases like this here," Wali Mohammad says.
Jana and Wali say their battle with the government isn't over yet. Once a month, they assemble at a park in Srinagar with some of the other families of those who've disappeared - to remember, to grieve, and to protest, against a government they say is not doing enough.
Like Wali, many relatives dig up bodies from unmarked graves themselves, looking for clues, hoping their loved ones are alive, or hoping for proof they're dead.
For Sudesh Kumari, though, closure came through an anonymous letter written by an Indian soldier.
When Kumari's husband Bhushan Lal was picked up with three other men by army men in Srinagar in April 2004, the family didn't know where to look. But a week later, they received a letter that confirmed their fears.
"My daughter keeps on saying when will daddy come. When I ask her what are you going to do to daddy she says everyone's daddy calls them and I too want to speak to him over phone and tell him to give me school fee and uniform," Sudesh Kumari says.
The family is pained and furious. Furious that their slain loved ones did not get decent last rites according to Hindu customs rather than cremating, they were buried somewhere in the foothills of Lolab valley.
Sudesh Kumari's neighbour Bali Ram has also seen tragedy firsthand. He says his brother Ram Lal was picked up by the Army as well, leaving him to care for his young nephews.
"I have been taking care of the children. The government should think of his children. We are starving," he says
Like Jana Begum, Wali Mohammed, Sudesh Kumari and Bali Ram, many of the families whose relatives have gone missing are desperately poor.
And the loss of a young working family member often pushes them further into poverty. But what they want more than anything else, they say, is the truth to be told - that their sons and husbands were not militants. And until then, justice for them will also lie buried.
(Follow on Facebook and on Twitter for updates that you can share with your friends.)


Evidence mounts of atrocities by Libyan “rebels”

Source=Evidence mounts of atrocities by Libyan “rebels”
29 August 2011

A series of reports from journalists on the ground in Tripoli have provided evidence of mass killings by the NATO-backed forces in the Libyan civil war. These reports, which appear in publications largely supportive of the US-NATO intervention to overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, further expose the fraudulent claim that the imperialist war against Libya is driven by humanitarian motives and the desire to protect civilian lives.

The Washington Post carried a prominent report Saturday, headlined, “Revenge Killings Mount in Libya, Extrajudicial Attacks by Rebels Cast Shadow Over New Freedom.” The headline refers to the contradiction between the claims by the National Transitional Council (NTC), the new NATO-backed regime in Libya, as well as the Obama administration that what is taking place is a new birth of freedom in Libya and the reality of politically directed and in some cases racially motivated slaughter.

Post reporter Simon Denyer asserts that Gaddafi’s troops “executed scores or even hundreds of political prisoners this week, even as victorious rebel fighters appear to have carried out their own abuses.” He cites the testimony of Diana Eltahawy, Libya researcher for Amnesty International, who “described a record of abuse, torture and the extrajudicial killing of captured pro-Gaddafi fighters that has followed the rebels from east to west as they have taken over the country.”

The reporter himself saw five Gaddafi soldiers wounded and dying in a field hospital now patrolled by the “rebels,” without receiving food, water or medical attention, and 15 bodies, mainly of black Africans presumed to be Gaddafi supporters, left to rot in the sun outside the Bab al-Aziziyah compound where much of Gaddafi’s family lived. According to Denyer, “not all of them looked like ordinary battlefield deaths. Two dead men lay face down on the grass, their hands bound behind their backs with plastic cuffs.”

McClatchy News Service reported the same gruesome scene: “The dead apparently had been pro-Gaddafi fighters, but they had not gone down fighting. Some had been shot inside their tents, possibly asleep, without shoes on. One had been shot inside an ambulance and another had been shot inside a field hospital, still hooked to an intravenous drip. Others had gunshot wounds in the back of their heads, fueling speculation of executions by rebel fighters.”

Patrick Cockburn of the British Independent described the same scene Sunday, under the headline, “Rebels Wreak Revenge on Dictator’s Men.” He wrote: “The rotting bodies of 30 men, almost all black and many handcuffed, slaughtered as they lay on stretchers and even in an ambulance in central Tripoli, are an ominous foretaste of what might be Libya’s future. The incoming regime makes pious statements about taking no revenge on pro-Gaddafi forces, but this stops short of protecting those who can be labeled mercenaries. Any Libyan with a black skin accused of fighting for the old regime may have a poor chance of survival.”

Amnesty International has confirmed that many of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from sub-Saharan Africa have been labeled “mercenaries” by the NTC forces, by virtue of their skin color, and subjected to imprisonment, torture and summary execution.

One account of rebel abuses comes from Alex Crawford of Sky News, a British broadcast network owned by Rupert Murdoch that has enthusiastically backed the “rebels.” The correspondent was embedded with the anti-Gaddafi forces and accompanied a unit that marched from Zawiya into Tripoli. “We report it as we see it,” she said. “We saw Gaddafi fighters who were tied up and executed. It’s war. This is what happens. Rebel retaliations here are really upsetting.”

The British news agency Reuters reported the finding of several mass graves in Tripoli, claiming they were evidence of “widespread summary killings during the battle for the Libyan capital.” While attributing the worst single killing, some 53 bodies found in a burned-out warehouse, to Gaddafi’s forces, the Reuters report continued, “Reports of cold-blooded killings by both sides have surfaced in the last few days, darkening the atmosphere in a city where many residents had greeted Gaddafi’s fall with joy.”

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday wrote of “the visceral violence of rebel forces hammering away at residential neighborhoods known to be strongholds of Kadafi supporters. Rebel fighters use artillery and antiaircraft guns in such districts, which include Abu Salim, Hadba and Salahadin. At one point this week, rebels were firing assault rifles into residential apartment blocks in Abu Salim, where they suspected a sniper was holed up.”

In other words, the NATO-backed forces are engaged in precisely the same indiscriminate firing of heavy weapons in residential neighborhoods that provided the original pretext for the NATO intervention, when Gaddafi ordered similar action by his own forces. The Times account ended by quoting a Tripoli taxi driver who told the newspaper, “I have a fear that one day we’ll be like Iraqis, wishing for the days of Muammar Gaddafi.”

The Independent, in its leading article Sunday, warned the National Transitional Council that the savagery in the streets of Tripoli would backfire politically. It was difficult enough for supporters of the intervention—like the newspaper’s own editorial page—when they could claim that Gaddafi was engaged in slaughtering civilians, but “it will become almost impossible if a shift in the balance of power unleashes mass executions.”

The British newspaper also identified Abdelhakim Belhadj, the newly appointed commander of the Tripoli Military Council, as a former mujaheddin who “had fought in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban and was an Islamist terror suspect interrogated by the CIA.” Belhadj was a founder of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group, which became the Libyan affiliate of Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.

A chilling picture emerges of the new regime being consolidated in Tripoli. It is being consolidated in blood, with massacres of civilians in pro-Gaddafi neighborhoods as well as pogroms of African migrant workers, under the direction of an Al Qaeda ally who now takes his orders from NATO headquarters and the White House.

The crimes being committed by the NATO-backed NTC forces demonstrate the hypocrisy of the propaganda campaign spearheaded by the Obama administration and its accomplices in Britain and France to justify the military onslaught against oil-rich Libya in the name of “human rights” and preventing a bloodbath.

Some of the journalists on the spot in Tripoli have been unable to close their eyes to the bloody settling of accounts that is taking place. That is to their credit, and it demonstrates as well the cynical and reactionary position taken by those “left” commentators in the United States and Europe who continue to justify the imperialist war against Libya and cover up its predatory character.

The events unfolding in Libya are an object lesson to the international working class. Those who held out the prospect of a “progressive” intervention by the imperialist powers to defend democracy and human rights are now politically implicated in unspeakable crimes. The only genuine and consistent opposition to imperialism is that conducted on the basis of the historic principles of the revolutionary socialist movement, as advanced by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party.

Patrick Martin

THE ROVING EYE How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli

By:  Pepe Escobar 

His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him.

Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter - once again - that wilderness of mirrors that is the "war on terror", as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) "humanitarian" intervention in Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi's fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj's men - who were at

the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels' most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war.
Already last Tuesday, Belhaj was gloating on how the battle was won, with Gaddafi forces escaping "like rats" (note that's the same metaphor used by Gaddafi himself to designate the rebels).

Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

He's the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir - with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul - run by Abu Yahya - was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis.

After 9/11, Belhaj moved to Pakistan and also to Iraq, where he befriended none other than ultra-nasty Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - all this before al-Qaeda in Iraq pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and turbo-charged its gruesome practices.

In Iraq, Libyans happened to be the largest foreign Sunni jihadi contingent, only losing to the Saudis. Moreover, Libyan jihadis have always been superstars in the top echelons of "historic" al-Qaeda - from Abu Faraj al-Libi (military commander until his arrest in 2005, now lingering as one of 16 high-value detainees in the US detention center at Guantanamo) to Abu al-Laith al-Libi (another military commander, killed in Pakistan in early 2008).

Time for an extraordinary rendition
The LIFG had been on the US Central Intelligence Agency's radars since 9/11. In 2003, Belhaj was finally arrested in Malaysia - and then transferred, extraordinary rendition-style, to a secret Bangkok prison, and duly tortured.

In 2004, the Americans decided to send him as a gift to Libyan intelligence - until he was freed by the Gaddafi regime in March 2010, along with other 211 "terrorists", in a public relations coup advertised with great fanfare.

The orchestrator was no less than Saif Islam al-Gaddafi - the modernizing/London School of Economics face of the regime. LIFG's leaders - Belhaj and his deputies Chrif and Saadi - issued a 417-page confession dubbed "corrective studies" in which they declared the jihad against Gaddafi over (and illegal), before they were finally set free.

A fascinating account of the whole process can be seen in a report called "Combating Terrorism in Libya through Dialogue and Reintegration". [1] Note that the authors, Singapore-based terrorism "experts" who were wined and dined by the regime, express the "deepest appreciation to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation for making this visit possible".

Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same - and Belhaj was/is its emir.

In 2007, LIFG was calling for a jihad against Gaddafi but also against the US and assorted Western "infidels".

Fast forward to last February when, a free man, Belhaj decided to go back into jihad mode and align his forces with the engineered uprising in Cyrenaica.

Every intelligence agency in the US, Europe and the Arab world knows where he's coming from. He's already made sure in Libya that himself and his militia will only settle for sharia law.

There's nothing "pro-democracy" about it - by any stretch of the imagination. And yet such an asset could not be dropped from NATO's war just because he was not very fond of "infidels".

The late July killing of rebel military commander General Abdel Fattah Younis - by the rebels themselves - seems to point to Belhaj or at least people very close to him.

It's essential to know that Younis - before he defected from the regime - had been in charge of Libya's special forces fiercely fighting the LIFG in Cyrenaica from 1990 to 1995.

The Transitional National Council (TNC), according to one of its members, Ali Tarhouni, has been spinning Younis was killed by a shady brigade known as Obaida ibn Jarrah (one of the Prophet Mohammed's companions). Yet the brigade now seems to have dissolved into thin air.

Shut up or I'll cut your head off
Hardly by accident, all the top military rebel commanders are LIFG, from Belhaj in Tripoli to one Ismael as-Salabi in Benghazi and one Abdelhakim al-Assadi in Derna, not to mention a key asset, Ali Salabi, sitting at the core of the TNC. It was Salabi who negotiated with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi the "end" of LIFG's jihad, thus assuring the bright future of these born-again "freedom fighters".

It doesn't require a crystal ball to picture the consequences of LIFG/AQIM - having conquered military power and being among the war "winners" - not remotely interested in relinquishing control just to please NATO's whims.

Meanwhile, amid the fog of war, it's unclear whether Gaddafi is planning to trap the Tripoli brigade in urban warfare; or to force the bulk of rebel militias to enter the huge Warfallah tribal areas.

Gaddafi's wife belongs to the Warfallah, Libya's largest tribe, with up to 1 million people and 54 sub-tribes. The inside word in Brussels is that NATO expects Gaddafi to fight for months if not years; thus the Texas George W Bush-style bounty on his head and the desperate return to NATO's plan A, which was always to take him out.

Libya may now be facing the specter of a twin-headed guerrilla Hydra; Gaddafi forces against a weak TNC central government and NATO boots on the ground; and the LIFG/AQIM nebula in a jihad against NATO (if they are sidelined from power).

Gaddafi may be a dictatorial relic of the past, but you don't monopolize power for four decades for nothing, and without your intelligence services learning a thing or two.

From the beginning, Gaddafi said this was a foreign-backed/al-Qaeda operation; he was right (although he forgot to say this was above all neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy's war, but that's another story).

He also said this was a prelude for a foreign occupation whose target was to privatize and take over Libya's natural resources. He may - again – turn out to be right.

The Singapore "experts" who praised the Gaddafi regime's decision to free the LIFG's jihadis qualified it as "a necessary strategy to mitigate the threat posed to Libya".

Now, LIFG/AQIM is finally poised to exercise its options as an "indigenous political force".

Ten years after 9/11, it's hard not to imagine a certain decomposed skull in the bottom of the Arabian Sea boldly grinning to kingdom come.

1. Click here

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Source: Asia Times Online

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Israeli War Crimes...

Kashmir war crimes.wmv

The West Wants to take Control of Libya's Oil Wealth


Global Research, August 27, 2011

Interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Centre for Research on Globalization.
While Libyan revolutionaries have not yet won the war in the oil-rich country, Western powers are already discussing the post-Gaddafi period on such issues as how the interim government there needs to honor its oil contracts.
In case of internal fighting in Libyan crisis, will the US and its coalition NATO allies deploy boots on the ground to protect their oil interests?
In a Press TV interview, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Center for Research on Globalization, shed more light into the development. The following is a rush transcription of the interview:
Press TV: Western powers have said the international  community will support the political transition to a free and democratic Libya: In what form will this "support" come? A "Western" democracy imposed on Libyans? What is that going to means for the Libyans? They used the same language when they attacked Afghanistan 10 years ago and Iraq 8 years ago. The US still insists it soldiers should have immunity in these countries. How will it be in Libya?
Chossudovsky: Well I think we have to understand both the nature of this military operation, the covert intelligence behind the rebels, as well as the extensive bombings of civilians infrastructure, residential areas, as well as schools, universities, hospitals which has taken place in the course of the last few months.
And particularly virtually continuous bombings, at night in Tripoli in the course of last few days. We are talking about 20,000 sorties, 8,000 strike sorties, In another words what has happened in the course of these last months, particularly in a last few weeks, is the destruction of an entire country, its infrastructure, institutions, very targeted, involving a lot of civilian casualties.
In other words, the Western "pro democracy" NATO supported rebels, as well as the NATO supported heads of states and heads of governments, they have blood on their hands, they have a lot  of blood on their hands, because they have killed a lot of women and children.
Our correspondent has been reporting form the Rixos Hotel, just a few hours ago, he and several other Journalists, were extracted from the hotel, they were liberated from the Hotel, which they were held for several days, and they are safe now.
Chossudovsky. But I can tell you, my understanding is, first of all this is not a revolution. These are NATO trained gunman, and they are Al Qaeda related paramilitaries, mercenaries.
They have very little support within civil society in Libya. Whether we like the Gaddafi regime or not, I do not think that this is the issue. The large majority of the population are against the rebellion, and the only thing that sustains the rebellion, are the NATO bombings. And these are criminal bombings; let's say what they are. They are in derogation of international law, actions that are criminal in terms of their consequences: the killings of children, the killing of people in their own homes, and this has been well documented.
And what is criminal in this process, is the fact that this war is presented to the media as a humanitarian operation,
Realities are turned upside down.  We are told, that war is peace, The lie becomes the truth, essentially that is what has happened.
Press TV: But the way this operation is going on Professor, many Western countries including France, they talked about the success of this operation and its knock off effect in the region. Doesn't that pose the threat of abuse of what is called RTP, the Right to Protect under humanitarian motives for their own gains, and in terms of RTP of other countries, such as Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia? If that is the way to go about it why don't they mention those countries? Why mentions only Syria, as French President Sarkozy said in his meeting with NTC?
Chossudovsky: Well you know, I have been studying dictatorship for more than 30 years, I've lived in Latin America.
The US has never been concerned with the actions of dictators. In fact it was the US which installed the dictators. As long as the dictators follow their orders, and establish a proxy state and serve US interests, they will continue their support..
That was the situation with the Pinochet regime in Chile, and that was the case in Argentina and Brazil, and in Central America.
Now we must understand the nature of this military operation in Libya.
The rebellion does not exist without NATO. Militarily and politically, it does not exist without NATO.
We must understand that NATO Special Forces are already operating within the rebellion, off course covertly, on the ground. They are experienced armed forces. There are also mercenaries and paramilitaries and gunman.
Were NATO to withdraw, the rebellion would not last very long. I think any military analyst would confirm that.
But now the more fundamental question which is being raised, and it has been raised in the US, and it is already on the drawing board of Pentagon and NATO is... are they going to have boots on the ground?
The boots on the ground are already there, the question is whether it is going to be official? The Apache helicopters are there, The Special Forces are there.
We have massive deployment of Naval Marines in the Mediterranean, particularly the USS George Bush Sr. aircraft carrier, which is sort of high tech, and it just been released, it has positioned itself in the Mediterranean.
And in case of ground war, then we would see allied forces landing on the beaches in Libya.
If you look at the scenarios, I don't think that the rebellions would last very long on its own.
It does not have military capabilities; it does not even have the institutional capabilities to create a real government.
So what is going to happen is... NATO Special Forces are going to remain, others are going to come in, perhaps not officially, boots on the ground, and eventually they are going to establish, as they did in Iraq in 2003, some kind of proxy Libyan government, with people whom they can trust, they might contemplate, modeling Libya, on the sheikhdoms, as in Saudi Arabia, or in the Persian Gulf states.
In any even, neo-colonial, re-conquest of not only Libya, but the whole continent of Africa is contemplated. This implies the militarization of the African Continent with AFRICOM [United States Africa Command]. This is an integral part of the agenda.
Press TV: Go ahead Professor.
Chossudovsky: Several years ago, I was asked the said... this was in regards to Iraq... they said Professor I was in public lecture, they said Professor we need that oil. Okay that is the Western positions, “We need that oil.”
My answer to them is trade, don't steal it. That is what the Western oil companies are there for, they have already position themselves.
The Libyan Oil Company was a very important state entity, which was there to serve the Libyan people. It was used to finance economic development. It is slated to be taken over and privatised, handed it over to Total, which is the French Oil company and other Western oil companies.
What I said, when I was asked that question: "if you need oil, well, you should buy it on the market. And accept the fact that the large share of oil resources [reserves] are in Muslim countries, it is more that 60 percent, and it belong the people of those countries.
They can buy it from them; they do not need to invade countries and then steal the oil from them. And that is what is happening, it happened in Iraq, and now it is happening in Libya.

[Minor editing by Global Research]

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