SACW - 14 July 2011 | Kashmir 'Normalisation' ? / Balochistan Crisis / Control the Secret Services /Big Business targeting activists / What about Salwa Judam’s of Kashmir, Northeast, Bihar and Orissa?
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Wed Jul 13 20:16:09 EDT 2011
South Asia Citizens Wire - 15 July 2011 - No. 2722
1. Change in Kashmir (A.G. Noorani)
2. Despair lies under the facade of normalcy in Kashmir (Najeeb Mubarki)
3. Studies in oppression (A.G. Noorani)
4. Macabre horrors of SPOs unveiled (Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal)
5. India - Intelligence agencies: A PIL questions the very legitimacy of the IB (Srinivasaraju)
6. Pervez Hoodhboy and Zia Mian: Pakistan, the Army and the Conflict Within
7. Big business going after whistleblowers in India: Activists paying the price of speaking up - An sacw compilation
8. UN Should Investigate Abuse of Prison Labor in Burma
9. India: What about Salwa Judam’s of Kashmir, Northeast, Bihar and Orissa? - Windup all illegal militias used by the state
10. Findings of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on the Crisis in Balochistan
11. Pakistan: The Power of Intelligence Agencies (Hassan N. Gardezi)
12. U.N. Seeks Controls on Private Armies (Sunaina Perera)
13. Second Thoughts on the Chinese Model? Capital is a Fickle Lover (Walden Bello)
14. Press Conference on Apex Court Historic Judgement on terming Salwa Judum as unconstitutional (New Delhi, 14 July 2011)
15. Staging of Jang Ab Nahin Hogi, a play and dance programmes from Pakistan (New Delhi, 15 July 2011)
1. CHANGE IN KASHMIR
By A.G. Noorani
Dawn, 9 July 2011
IN mid-2011, the political situation in Kashmir has undergone a change as fundamental as the one which overtook it in 1989, when militancy erupted.
Now militancy is on a steep decline and the leaders of the factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference are devising a new strategy in this new situation. Set up in 1993, the APHC, even before it split in 2003, was clueless about an appropriate strategy and tactics.
Hartals and shutdowns only harmed the people. Appeals for triangular parleys were worse than futile. Who was to represent Kashmiris? The APHC? Its leaders were hopelessly divided on important issues like independence or accession to Pakistan and on negotiations with India.
It is the people’s alienation from India, which propelled them. They did not galvanise the people. Nor, to be fair, were they allowed to do so by the state and central governments. Crucially, the politicians had no control over the militants and no
power to establish peace and revive the real political process.
This impasse has been broken by two factors. One is the sharp decline in the militancy which was attested by two of the most senior officials concerned. On May 23, the general officer commanding 15 Corps, Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain told the Srinagar daily Greater Kashmir, “There was no incident of infiltration and neither was there any gunfight on the Line of Control. These reports are concocted and baseless. This kind of baseless stuff appears in the media in May and June every year”.
This did not suit Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who immediately said that 40 militants had crossed over this year. Peace foils his repressive policies. He was rebutted the very next day by the army spokesman Lt Col J.S. Brar: “Our stand on the issue of infiltration is clear. Two days back our corps commander Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain had made a statement on infiltration. We
stand by our commander’s comments on the issue.”
Nor was this all. The daily also reported that on May 24, the inspector general of the Border Security Force Siddharth Chattopadhyay told the press that “there can be a few elements in the Pakistani army who are supporting militants; but for that matter the entire force can’t be accused of having links with militant organisations”, adding “for 300 odd-militants we can’t blame the entire Pakistan or its army”. He had received full cooperation from officials of the security forces on the other side of the Line of Control, he said.
Militancy is in decline but not popular alienation, which is why Omar Abdullah has followed a policy of repression of the separatist leaders ever since he was given power two and a half years ago. House arrests, undeclared curfews, arbitrary arrests, breaking up of rallies and curbs on the media are the order of the day. Local TV channels are barred from telecasting news. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was prevented from holding a rally at the Eidgah on May 21 to commemorate the assassination of his father Maulana Mohammad Farooq on that day in 1990. There are still 124 young alleged stone-pelters in prison.
Repression is, of course, not a new feature. Decline in the militancy is and it is coupled with another change of a fundamental nature. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, whom many in New Delhi love to hate, has been issuing one exhortation to peaceful conduct after another.
He said on April 22, 2011 that “our struggle, particularly after 2008, will be peaceful. There will be no use of gun, grenade, tear gas or any other weapon in it”. On April 29, he asked the youth to refrain from pelting stones. “It is turning out to be a huge loss for my people, like in 2010.” He did not stop there. He urged them not to shout “provocative slogans like ‘Indian dogs go back’”. While critical of the army’s role he said “they are our brothers on a humanitarian basis. Calling them dogs doesn’t suit us at all — it is against our religion and morals”.
Kashmiri leaders should go further. Keeping their political and personal differences aside, they should unite on a single platform to demand their fundamental right guaranteed by India’s constitution which has been systematically denied to them — the right “to assemble peaceably and without arms” (Article 19 [b]). This right is guaranteed also by the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which India ratified in 1979.
In 1990, Kashmiris unrealistically pinned their hopes on accomplishing what the people of Romania and other countries in the region accomplished. In 2011, they can learn from Egypt and from the teachings of the mentor of the agitators in Tahrir Square.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported from Boston in the New York Times of Feb 17, 2011: “Halfway around the world from Tahrir Square in Cairo, an aging American intellectual shuffles about his cluttered brick row house in a working-class neighbourhood here. His name is Gene Sharp. Stoop-shouldered and white-haired at 83, he grows orchids, has yet to master the Internet and hardly seems like a dangerous man. But for the world’s despots, his ideas can be fatal. Few Americans have heard Mr Sharp.
But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably From Dictatorship to Democracy, a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt.”
This was published by the Albert Einstein Institution in Boston which seeks “to advance the worldwide study and strategic use of non-violent action in conflict”. Like Sharp, it advocates peaceful means exclusively. The use of brains to chalk out a strategy is as important in non-violent campaigns as it is in battles of arms. Massive and peaceful rallies can have a telling effect. Omar Abdullah dreads them.
The writer is an author and a lawyer.
2. DESPAIR LIES UNDER THE FACADE OF NORMALCY IN KASHMIR
by Najeeb Mubarki, ET Bureau
(The Economic Times, 8 July, 2011)
Get them by their balls, hearts and minds will follow." That lucidly sinister thought, emblazoned on the outer wall of a police station in the Valley, was read by many after a photo was published some months ago in a local English newsmagazine in Kashmir. But it didn't really surprise anyone. The denizens of that blighted land are all too aware of how that piece of police-graffiti isn't a case of the local SHO displaying his familiarity with Yes Minister, but a rather graphically symbolic expression of what the actual situation is, what state policy itself seems to be. Of course, that actual situation is at variance with talk of 'normalcy' and 'peace' having 'returned' .
And even liberal India - aware of what exactly is wrong in Kashmir - is mostly content in pointing to lines during panchayat elections or the tourists currently thronging the Valley as 'proof' of that normalcy returning. The sleight of hand here isn't just pretending voters' lines or tourists mean peace and democracy are in order in the state. It is the deliberate denial of a deeper political reality. As if all the troubled history from 1947 has been wiped clean because there are (so far) no widespread protests this year, as if all the bloodshed and suppression of the last 22 years has been forgotten. As if the basic , underlying desire for justice , rights and the resolution of afestering issue has vanished.
The official position continues to be that a political resolution is needed, that a dialogue must be envisaged. But on the ground, in Kashmir, what exists is an attempt at the suppression , nay, criminalisation of that political reality. An enforcement of the absurd formulation that no problem exists anymore, and that those who speak of one are either marginal , misguided, or just instigators of some sort. An enforcement of silence is labelled peace. A suppression of dissent is called democracy.
The absence of manifest violence is called normalcy. As if the many vagaries of living under a police state don't govern the daily lives of ordinary Kashmiris. "Kashmir is like a cotton-bale fire - you can pour water over it, but it keeps smouldering inside ," said a young government employee in Shopian, the town which witnessed a massive agitation over the alleged rape and murder of two young girls in 2009. (' Proceedings' on the case have resulted, incredible as it may sound, in cases against members of the local committee formed to protest the incident - the official position maintains the girls drowned in waters probably 6-12 inches deep).
When this writer toured the town, among other places, a few months ago, it became clear what was happening , and what continues to happen: protestors, dissenters against official narratives, or just voices against the status quo, have been driven underground . People can't speak their minds openly, freely. Such is the level of surveillance and control, the perception (often not wrong) of 'informers' everywhere , that even street corner discussions often occur only between 'trusted' people.
After last year's intense protests , which clearly shook the state, the latter was clearly jittery about a repeat performance . By any means necessary, it wanted to stymie even the thought of that happening again - the Arab uprisings, as senior officials admitted, adding to the jitteriness. Thus, it was a winter of a brutal clampdown - which still continues. The police's own figures say 5,000 plus youngsters were arrested , with thousands more 'under watch' , while a few hundred were slapped with the draconian PSA. FIRs continue to exist against a great many to be invoked at the first sign of protests. Nocturnal raids, arrests , warnings, for even people using Facebook politically, pressure on families of youngsters who went underground - these were the tactics.
Not that even youngsters part of last year's stonethrowing protests actually wanted a repeat. "Why would we want to die?" said some of them, meeting whom in Srinagar felt something like acloak-and-dagger process. But everywhere there is the refrain that while nothing is planned, one spark, one incident, can ignite things again. Under the surface, Kashmir continues to seethe. And it is such an intense anger that can again rupture the apparent normality on the surface. Yet, factually, no one actually wants an agitation again, at least this year. Now, the larger attempt by the state is to create a class of people whose interests will dovetail with its own - through patronage , various inducements and sometimes plain coercion.
Yet, that only posits the abnormal state of affairs. To counter things, for example, the police has initiated 'outreach projects' , recruitment drives and the like. On many fronts, it seems as if the police have taken over functions of the government - an outreach meeting, for instance, may well include civilians bringing forth a municipal problem, say, a blocked drain, with a police official promising 'action' ! On another front, apart from the habitual invoking of 'a communal agenda is at work' , an attempt is on to fracture the narrative on Kashmir , a post-modernism style 'problematising' of the narrative and the core issue - simply put, it consists of the 'many people want many different things' line.
But vast sections of Kashmiris remain aware of what is going on, though part of the pervasive sense of powerlessness afflicting the population. The 'bad guys' have eternally been recast in Kashmir. Now it is the protestors, and, it seems, all dissenters. That is part of the wider problem. A dialogue, serious and meaningful, is promised, yet never materialises . "A dialogue," said FW de Klerk, former South African President and partner-in-peace of the ANC, on a trip to India sometime ago, "means you don't decide who sits across the table." Unless that becomes the operating principle, the abnormal will be called peace in Kashmir. And the situation is such that the Valley will rage again, if not now, then later.
3. STUDIES IN OPPRESSION
by A.G. Noorani
July 16-29, 2011
Harrowing accounts of the wrongs inflicted on Kashmiris.
ANJUM ZAMARUD HABIB spent five long years of rigorous imprisonment in the Tihar jail on conviction under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, a law that ensured miscarriage of justice. Prisoners called her a traitor, though they did not know her. Unlike them she was forbidden from receiving religious books or visits by a teacher in Islam. Her friend Sahba Husain met her in Srinagar soon after her release and has rendered a service by translating her book into English. She recalled Anjum being “paraded in front of the media, her hands held tight by policewomen on either side of her, a ring of policemen surrounding them. I remember her trying to utter a few words to assert her innocence but she was not allowed to say anything; in fact she was slapped in front of the media and her mouth was shut and gagged by a woman police sub-inspector.”
Anjum headed the Muslim Khawateen Markaz and did research in the lot of widows and orphans in Kashmir. In this capacity, she was a founding member of the Hurriyat. It elected Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat as its chairman in 2003 ensuring a split in the body. He reneged on his promise to engage a lawyer for her defence. “Even though his own name had appeared in the case, he did not visit the court even once.” He told the police that he did not know Anjum and that she was not a member of the Hurriyat. The statement was splashed in the press.
The Intelligence Bureau alleged that she was a “courier” who had Rs.3 lakh or so on her person, which she received from Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Jaleel Abbas Jilani, who was declared persona non grata by, most unjustly, a former Foreign Secretary. He was very popular in New Delhi. He rose to be Director-General for South Asia in which capacity he parleyed with Indian diplomats and became High Commissioner to Australia. One hopes he will head Pakistan's Mission in New Delhi before long. No Foreign Service man resorts to the kind of behaviour alleged against him and Anjum. This was in the aftermath of Operation Parakram.
Sahba Husain writes that when Anjum returned home she “could not sleep on a mattress anymore and for weeks she preferred to sleep on the bare floor. She found it difficult to bathe and change into a fresh set of clothes; she did not sit out under the open sky but wished to stay inside the room. She found it difficult to eat what was cooked at home including her favourite dishes. She had got accustomed to her life in jail that the family had to constantly remind her that she was a free person now. As if on cue, Anjum told me ‘my family wants me to be happy, to smile and laugh now that I am free but I don't feel anything. I don't feel either happy or sad. I don't feel hungry, I feel numb. I feel confused. My body hurts; my back is sore and my knees are stiff.' I was terrified when she pulled her kurta down and showed me the deep scar on her chest. We fell silent for a long time as words seemed to have suddenly lost their meaning. I was at a loss, thinking of the brutalisation she had suffered and endured.” Anjum had been tortured.
Writing the book brought her relief. This brave woman's harrowing account must be read widely to realise the enormity of the wrongs inflicted on Kashmiris, within and outside the State. She has founded the Association for the Families of Kashmiri Prisoners and is conducting a survey on Kashmiris in jails and their families.
Afsana Rashid, a Srinagar-based journalist, who has won many awards, writes a well-documented case study of extrajudicial arrests and consequent “disappearances”, leaving behind “half-widows”, and killings by security forces and their agents, the surrendered militants.
Neither the courts nor the Human Rights Commissions, in Srinagar and in New Delhi, have been of much help, as she demonstrates. The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) performed nobly. It split into two factions, in good Indian style.
Imagine the furore in India if a Supreme Court advocate is abducted and killed by an Army officer. The abduction and murder of Jaleel Andrabi in Srinagar in 1996 was noticed by few in our media. Major Avtar Singh, the prime suspect, was allowed to flee to California. He acquired note when last February his wife accused him of domestic violence. The ex-Major told Open (July 4, Hartosh Singh Bal) that if his extradition is initiated he will never be allowed to return alive. For he knows too much and will not keep quiet. He need not worry. The Ministry of External Affairs will not act.
4. MACABRE HORRORS OF SPOS UNVEILED
by Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal
(Kashmir Times, 9 July 2011)
The crux of the argument and observations of the Supreme Court in declaring Special Police Officers (SPOs) operating in Chattisgarh as illegal and unconstitutional gives no apparent reason to believe that Jammu and Kashmir, with its much longer history of SPOs and VDCs and their notorious acts of criminality, ought to be treated any differently. One does not know how the Supreme Court, after this marvelous piece of judgement, would react to a very similar scene in Jammu and Kashmir, but certainly the authorities in New Delhi and the state government would love to as usual beat about the bush. Chief minister Omar Abdullah has already maintained that the genesis of the SPOs in Chattisgarh is different unlike the J&K case, where he deems SPOs to be "part of the police force." If New Delhi were to respond, perhaps it would quote the special status of the state and not the favourite chant of 'Kashmir is an integral part of India' in justification of the same force in this vexed state. Both need to move beyond news reports and get more knowledgeable by reading the actual judgement, which only runs into 58 pages but is a very forcefully and articulately argued account of how State and its machinery abuses power to subvert and alter the very meaning and essence of the constitution.
Though the Chattisgarh situation is far different from Jammu and Kashmir, the latter being essentially a political dispute as compared to the issue of socio-economic and political dispossession of the tribals in Chattisgarh through a systemic nexus between greedy corporates backed by the establishment. Nonetheless, in both the states, the people face severe deprivation and dispossession of rights. In both the states, the authorities have responded by further curbing the powers of the people, subjecting them excessive repressive measures and human rights abuse. In both the states, the authorities have used not just the government agencies against its people but also armed local civilian groups to wage a war against the people. And this what makes the Jammu and Kashmir case applicable in light of the recent judgement and the observations, therein. The core of the recent judgement, while banning SPOs, is emphasis on human dignity as a constitutional right. Commenting on the unconvincing justification for formation of SPOs by the respondent state of Chattisgarh, the apex court observes, "the respondents were envisioning modes of state action that would seriously undermine constitutional values. This may cause grievous harm to national interests, particularly its goals of assuring human dignity.." It goes on to add, "We were aghast at the blindness to constitutional limitations of the State of Chattisgarh, and some of its advocates, in claiming that any one who questions the conditions of inhumanity that are rampant in many parts of that state ought to necessarily be treated as Maoists, or their sympathisers, and yet in the
same breath also claim that it needs the constitutional sanction, under our Constitution, to perpetrate its policies of ruthless violence against the people of Chattisgarh to establish a Constitutional order."
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is equally dismal where extra-constitutional powers and methods have been used to silence people into subjugation and use of repressive measures. Unconstitutional laws have been invoked from time to time to make the security agencies unaccountable for their brutal and criminal acts against the people. Like Chattisgarh, civilians have been armed in the name of fighting insurgency and instead unleashing a reign of terror against the people. First it was Ikhwanis, surrendered militants, and the village defence committees and finally the process was made more systemic by giving them a more official nomenclature. Surrendered militants and many with a criminal background and no training in policing have been liberally recruited in Territorial Army or as SPOs, a system which has become a den of corruption in the police force and is further fuelling more malpractices and violence.
When chief minister Omar Abdullah maintains that the case of J&K SPOs is different and that they are part and parcel of the police force, he is guided by his deliberate ignorance. The edifice of SPOs has been founded on the murky touch stone of lawless individuals patronized by the state. If the chief minister would like to wave any piece of legislation in defence of his stand, he should also peruse the entire judgement, which deems the similar process of so-called integration of SPOs into police force through legislations as a mere eyewash. The entire basis and spirit of the judgement needs to be grasped before placing J&K above the board.
The Supreme Court verdict is very clear about opposing lawless violence of any kind, exercised by agencies of the State or armed groups patronised by it, in pursuit of countering Maoist (in case of J&K, it should be militancy) related violence, and maintains that this "will not solve the problem, but will only perpetuate the cycles of more violent, both intensive and extensive insurgency and counter insurgency." It particularly cautions against the excessive arming of civilians, as uncondonable policies, which will "turn them against other citizens" and the State itself, further questioning whether the policy is guided by constitutional vision, values and limitations that charge the State with the positive obligation of ensuring the dignity of all citizens. In all aspects, the J&K case is similar to the Chattisgarh, barring the excessive economic exploitation, and in light of the arguments put forth by the apex court there is every reason to follow suit and do away with the practice of arming civilians, in whatever form. It does not serve national interest, as the court points out; rather it hampers it since human dignity lies at the core of the constitution, the very core the macabre State of the mind and repressive policies seek to destroy.
5. [India] law: intelligence
UNWATCHED WATCHDOG: A PIL QUESTIONS THE VERY LEGITIMACY OF THE IB
A PIL filed in and admitted by the Karnataka High Court asks if the IB is “extra-constitutional”
The IB hasn’t been constituted under an Act of Parliament, does not have a charter of duties
The British set it up in 1887
The court has served notices on the home ministry and the IB
Is the Intelligence Bureau (IB) really “extra-constitutional” and “illegitimate”? After all, it’s described as a major constituent of our internal security apparatus. R.N. Kulkarni, who served in the IB for over three decades and retired as joint assistant director, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court questioning the agency’s legitimacy. The court has admitted the petition and served notice on the Union home ministry and the IB. It comes up for hearing on July 11.
Kulkarni’s main contention is that the IB exists in a constitutional vacuum—that it hasn’t been set up under an Act of Parliament, has no charter of duties, no framework of policies, no rules and regulations relating to personnel, recruitment, training, promotion and transfers. If the IB can at all be said to draw legitimacy, it is from an executive order of the British government, dated December 1887, issued primarily to check dacoity in central India. Kulkarni’s PIL says: “Even under the Government of India Act, 1935, the IB was not recognised as an intelligence agency in the Federal List.... The IB continued to function under the rickety auspices of an administrative order. Intriguingly, even upon commencement of the Constitution of India on October 26, 1950, the IB continued to be sui generis and sans any constitutional or statutory identity.”
Kulkarni also points out a fundamental confusion: is the IB a civilian or a police set-up? In 1980, an affidavit from the Union home ministry to the Supreme Court said that IB staffers were civilians. A similar affidavit was submitted in 1981. But the Fifth Pay Commission equated the IB with the CBI and other central police organisations. Adding to the confusion is the fact that IB top brass are often drawn from the IPS. The present director, Nehchal Sandhu, is also from the IPS. “It’s absurd to contend that an organisation made up substantially of IPS officers could be governed by civil service rules,” says Kulkarni.
The legally amorphous existence of the IB, Kulkarni contends, has major implications for national security and the rights of citizens, for the IB enjoys sweeping powers without accountability and transparency. Its secret fund of over Rs 100 crore is quite often utilised in the most bizarre fashion. “A lot of untold crimes take place in the name of secrecy,” says Kulkarni.
As a spy agency, he says, the IB is entitled to operational secrecy, but it should have a charter. Some of the world’s finest intelligence agencies that operate in democratic countries have stringent frameworks, so why shouldn’t the IB have one, Kulkarni asks, and blames the absence of a clear-cut charter for professional lapses. Perhaps intelligence failures like Kargil and the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai could have been averted. Aditya Sondhi, Kulkarni’s lawyer, who studied the case for six months before approaching the court, told Outlook: “We’ve sought a positive direction from the court. We haven’t said the IB should be declared unconstitutional. All we want is clarity on its legal status. And we also want it to be regulated. We hope this PIL will lead to reforms in our intelligence agencies.”
The questions raised in the PIL will also perhaps have implications for the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, which is also not accountable to Parliament. As things stand, many of those who served with RAW, besides independent intelligence experts, have been strongly recommending that this agency too be made accountable.
[CONTENT UPDATES FROM SACW.NET]
6. PERVEZ HOODHBOY AND ZIA MIAN: PAKISTAN, THE ARMY AND THE CONFLICT WITHIN
The army in Pakistan must stop seeing everything through the prism of competition and war with India. Six decades of this policy has left Pakistan exhausted and indifferent to its own suffering. To prosper, Pakistan needs to go further. It must overcome its hatred for India; and leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by Kashmiris. Pakistan needs to put all its energies into improving governance and dealing with its myriad internal issues, most particularly ending the Islamist violence and rolling back the fundamentalist political and cultural currents that are overwhelming its society. The military’s role in this effort must be limited to defending the people of Pakistan from violence and to ensuring that their constitutional and civil rights are protected.
7. BIG BUSINESS GOING AFTER WHISTLEBLOWERS IN INDIA: ACTIVISTS PAYING THE PRICE OF SPEAKING UP - A COMPILATION
Ramesh Agrawal and Dr. Harihar Patel arrested after Jindal Steel and Power co., the biggest corporation in Raigarh district, charged them with defamation during an environmental clearance hearing. The case, two months after the actual hearing, suggested vendetta. Similarly Rohit Prajapati in Gujarat is now facing a defamation case worth millions of rupees for exposing environmental pollution in Gujarat.
8. UN Should Investigate Abuse of Prison Labor in Burma
A report by Human Rights Watch and the Karen Human Rights Group
9. India: What about Salwa Judam’s of Kashmir, Northeast, Bihar and Orissa? - Windup all illegal militias used by the state
Selected commentary in the media and statements by rights groups compiled on sacw.net
10 Findings of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on the Crisis in Balochistan
Agents of the state, as well as the insurgents and extremists operating in the province share a common disregard for rights of the citizens.
11. Pakistan: The Power of Intelligence Agencies
by Hassan N. Gardezi
The history of Pakistan’s modern intelligence agencies goes back to the colonial times. In those days the intelligence services, particularly the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the colonial police, were primarily concerned with protecting the British Raj from any threat to its existence and continuity, and the greatest of that threat was perceived to come from the political left.
12. U.N. SEEKS CONTROLS ON PRIVATE ARMIES
By Sunaina Perera
(Inter Press Service)
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 12, 2011 (IPS) - With U.S. and Western military forces planning to gradually withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be an increasing demand for private military contractors to provide security in both politically-troubled countries.
As a result, the number of military contractors is set to reach 5,500 in Iraq alone, according to a U.N. Working Group on Mercenaries, prompting demands for a specific international instrument to regulate their activities.
The members of the Working Group have stressed the importance of establishing international guidelines and legislation when dealing with Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs).
Three of the five members of the Working Group on Mercenaries held a press conference Friday to discuss new legislation and the need for an international instrument to regulate PMSCs.
The Working Group has already submitted legislation on the subject, to the General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council. The issue is settling on a set of regulations that countries will agree on in a timely manner.
Established in July 2005, the Working Group keeps track of mercenaries and mercenary-related activities. Its mandate is to make suggestions to protect human rights in the face of such activities.
José Luis Gómez del Prado, chair of the Working Group, spoke of necessary change, and participation of member states.
Currently, there is an International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries which came into force in 2001. This convention, however, was only ratified by 32 member states, few of which were Western.
Asked why, Gómez del Prado told IPS, "They don't find it a priority. They could ratify quite easily."
But he added that discussions were in place so that such nations might "declare it a priority" even if the government has limited involvement with mercenaries.
The difference between the new legislation and the convention against mercenaries is that mercenaries - individuals hired to fight for pay - are criminals while PMSCs are legal organisations hired by governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to perform myriad services.
"It's more efficient for short-term projects. For one-month, two- month, three-month jobs, governments are not going to set up full agencies. The problem is the lack of control," Gómez del Prado told IPS, highlighting the allure of PMSC use.
Similarly, the need for PMSC involvement will increase significantly in Iraq by the end of this year, when U.S. troops are scheduled to exit the country. These private contractors, however, will not leave Iraq in the near future.
Otherwise, the Working Group assured, victims would not receive the justice they deserve. This is supported by a case still pending in United States courts, where contractors working for Blackwater allegedly killed 17 civilians and injured another 20 in Nissour Square, four years ago.
Many countries, however, are not supportive of an international instrument and instead seek a self-regulatory instrument. This would allow companies to control themselves, based on a voluntary code of conduct.
According to Alexander Nikitin, a member of the Working Group, "The issue is not to prohibit PMSCs" but to "draw a red line" between what is allowed and what is prohibited.
Countries may not agree with such legislation for purely economic reasons. Nikitin told IPS, "Contradictions are not always political, they are yet on the level of business - of private sector. Soon they may be political".
Amada Benavides de Perez, a member of the Working Group, stressed how PMSCs are draining projects of their funding, explaining that though 3.2 million dollars was given to fight drug trafficking two weeks ago, 57 percent of that money was put towards hiring PMSCs.
She urged governments and NGOs to ask, "What does the money actually go to?"
Many countries, Nikitin told IPS, "have a vested economic interest" in PMSCs and even mercenaries. Because of this, they may be unwilling to support legislature that confines the rights of PMSCs.
Hesitation may also rest on the issue of control.
"States want entry control," Nikitin added. As an example, he explained how an oil company may hire a guard, but that particular person may not be allowed in the country of operation. In such cases, Nikitin told IPS "countries want rights to expel the company, or the worker".
As an example of such control issues, Gómez del Prado cited an incident involving a general in the British Army who was discharged due to psychological issues, but wanted to go back to Iraq.
According to Gómez del Prado, the general applied to be a mercenary and was passed without a background check. Some 38 hours later, he had killed two civilians and injured another.
To avoid tragic incidents such as this, he said there is a pressing need for an international instrument spelling out self-regulation and codes of conduct.
The binding instrument would include means of licensing and monitoring activities as well as laws to regulate them. Regulation would occur on both national and international levels.
13. SECOND THOUGHTS ON THE CHINESE MODEL? CAPITAL IS A FICKLE LOVER
By Walden Bello
July 1 - 3, 2011
"China is today the ideal capitalist state: freedom for capital, with the state doing the 'dirty job' of controlling the workers," writes the prominent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. "China as the emerging power of the twenty first century …seems to embody a new kind of capitalism: disregard for ecological consequences, disdain for workers' rights, everything subordinated to the ruthless drive to develop and become the new world force."
Capital, however, is a fickle lover.
Recently, a growing number of corporate leaders are getting second thoughts about the "Chinese Model" that has been so central in the globalization of production and markets over the last three decades.
Labor Rises Up
The relief in corporate circles that greeted the East Asian recovery, powered by the massive $580 billion Chinese stimulus program in 2009, has been replaced by concern over the bursting of the real estate bubble, powerful inflationary pressures, and massive overcapacity owing to uncontrolled investment. There is also a sense that China's leadership is fighting a losing battle against entrenched interests and structures in its drive to move from a strategy of export-led growth to one that is domestic-market-led — a move that many consider urgent as China's traditional markets in the United States and Europe are in the vise of long-term stagnation.
But it is the worry that the key source of corporate profitability — Chinese labor — may no longer be docile and cheap for much longer that mainly nags at the country's corporate guests as well as its rising capitalist class. And many fear that the very ruthlessness that Zizek talks about — the iron fist that the Chinese state has deployed over the last three decades in order to achieve the unbeatable "China price" — has become a central part of the problem.
The worry first became palpable last year, when workers at several transnational corporations based in Southeastern China, like Honda and Toyota, went on strike and succeeded in winning substantial wage increases. To the surprise of foreign investors, the government did not oppose the workers' demands for higher wages, prompting some to speculate that the regime saw the strikes as complementary to its effort to reorient the economy from export-led growth to one based on rising domestic consumption.
The strike wave receded, but a second wave of protest since May of this year, this time taking a violent riot form, has both government and the capitalist elites worried. The mass base of the current protests is not the relatively educated, higher-paid workers at big Japanese subsidiaries, but the low-paid migrant workers that work for small and medium Chinese-owned enterprises that turn out goods for foreign buyers. Zengcheng, one of the centers of protest, is home to hundreds of subcontractors specializing in mass-producing brand blue jeans that end up, under different brand names, in retailers like Target and Walmart in the United States.
Guangdong Province, where most of the protests have occurred, accounts for about a third of China's exports, prompting the authorities to respond in force. But police repression will not buy stability, says a report of a government think tank, the State Council Development Research Center. "Rural migrant workers are marginalized in the cities," it says, "treated as mere cheap labor, not absorbed by the cities but even neglected, discriminated against and harmed. " The report warns: "If they are not absorbed into urban society, and do not enjoy the rights that are their due, many conflicts will accumulate…If mishandled, this will create a major destabilizing threat."
But the problem is fundamental, and there seems no easy way out. The seemingly inexhaustible reserves of rural labor from China's hinterland kept wages low and worker organization minimal over the last three decades. Now the supply of labor to the export-oriented coastal provinces may be drying up, resulting in steadily rising wages, greater worker militancy, and the end of the "China price."
Brazil Takes Off?
"South-South cooperation" was what was on the mind of many observers when, at the conclusion of her trip to China in April, Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff, announced that Foxconn International Holdings, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, was shifting some of its operations from China to Brazil, and was expected to spend $12 billion building factories in her country. But there was apparently more to the move than BRIC solidarity. Foxconn, the maker of iPhones and iPads for Apple, computers for Dell, and many other devices for well-known high-tech customers around the world, reported a loss for 2010 because of higher labor costs in China.
It is not only Foxconn that is voting with its feet and going to Brazil. The key reason investors are flocking to Brazil seems to be that the country under Lula not only became friendly to capital, having attractive foreign investment laws and following conservative macroeconomic policies, but also had social policies that promoted stability. One of Brazil's most enthusiastic boosters, The Economist, compared Brazil with China and other "emerging markets" for investment:
Unlike China, it is a democracy. Unlike India, it has no insurgents, no ethnic and religious conflicts nor hostile neighbors. Unlike Russia, it exports more than oil and arms, and treats foreign investors with respect. Under the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former trade-union leader born in poverty, its government has moved to reduce the searing inequalities that have long disfigured it. Indeed, when it comes to smart social policy and boosting consumption at home, the developing world has much more to learn from Brazil than from China.
Continuing its paean to Lula's Brazil, the magazine says, "Foreign investment is pouring in, attracted by a market boosted by falling poverty and a swelling lower-middle class. The country has established some strong political institutions. A free and vigorous press uncovers corruption—though there is plenty of it, and it mostly goes unpunished." It concludes: "Its take-off is all the more admirable because it has been achieved through reform and democratic consensus-building. If only China could say the same."
Lula seems to have squared the circle. Is this for real? The progressive analyst Perry Anderson believes it is. In a long, illuminating article in the London Review of Books, he says that Lula's innovation was to combine conservative macroeconomic policy and foreign-investment-friendly policies with an anti-poverty program, the Bolsa de Familia, that cost relatively little in terms of government outlays but produced socially and politically significant impacts. Bolsa, a program of cash transfers conditioned on parents keeping the family children in school and subjecting them to periodic health checkups, by some estimates, has contributed to the reduction in the number of poor people from 50 million to 30 million — and made Lula one of the few contemporary political leaders who is more popular at the end of his reign rather than at the beginning. As for organized labor, which accounts for 17 percent of the Brazilian work force, it has largely been content to follow the leadership of Lula, who rose from the ranks to become the country's top union leader before he launched his political career.
Much the same boosterism now marks the business press' commentaries on Indonesia. Brazil and Indonesia are roughly comparable population-wise and in terms of geographic spread. While Brazil is the world's eighth largest economy, Indonesia is the 18th largest. Both were barely touched by the global economic crisis, being primarily domestic-market-driven instead of export-driven, though they have strong export sectors. While the rest of its export-oriented neighbors in Southeast Asia suffered significant declines in economic growth at the height of the global economic crisis in 2009, Indonesia managed an impressive 4.6 percent.
In recent years, according to Mari Pangestu, the minister of trade, the country has been the recipient of "a lot of displacements" from China, brought about by "the [appreciating] yuan, the increase in salaries, the strict regulation of work and all the problems China had to face." With average wages now lower in Indonesia than in China in many sectors, such as information technology, the country is becoming a choice relocation site for firms worried about double-digit wage increases in China and Vietnam. Foreign investment was approximately $15 billion in 2008, fell to $10 billion in 2009, recovered to $12.5 billion in 2011, and is expected to hit $14.5 billion in 2011.
This year's site for the World Economic Forum for East Asia on June 12-13 was Jakarta, and with it came a glowing endorsement from global capital's chief promotions agency. In its report on Indonesia's "competitiveness," the WEF noted, "Among Indonesia's strengths, the macroeconomic environment stands out…Fast growth and sound fiscal management have put the country on a strong fiscal footing. The debt burden has been drastically reduced, and Indonesia's credit rating has been upgraded." It pointed out that "as one of the world's 20 largest economies, Indonesia boasts a large pool of potential consumers, as well as a rapidly growing middle class, of great interest to both local and foreign investors." Infrastructure is still insufficient, but providing it is also what makes foreign capital salivate, with the Wall Street Journal in an otherwise laudatory editorial warning the government to surrender infrastructure provision to the private sector and foreign capital.
But it is Indonesia's governance that makes it most attractive to foreign capital. Corruption is still a pervasive problem and some foreign capital investors complain that the revised labor code is more favorable to labor than to capital. But Indonesia is said to have traversed the fall of the Suharto dictatorship, the Asian financial crisis, and a chaotic period of democratic experimentation with flying colors. Thirteen years after the overthrow of Suharto, the country's unique advantage is said to be its offering global capital "rapid growth with democratic stability." While there is no one program like the Bolsa in Brazil, Indonesia's poverty reduction is trumpeted by the United Nations and the World Bank as being among the most impressive in the world, with the number of those living in poverty estimated at 13 percent of the population. Contributing to this has been what many regard as one of the Suharto regime's few enduring positive legacies: a successful population management program.
Lula's Indonesian counterpart is President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a former general under Suharto who is credited with stabilizing the economy while consolidating democratic governance during his first term in office from 2004 and 2009. Like Lula, Yudhoyono is popular not only with global capital, but with the people: In his run for a second term in 2009, he coasted to a commanding victory. And like Lula, who did not behave as labor's representative in power, Yudhoyono — "SBY" to most Indonesians — has not ruled in the top-down fashion expected from an ex-military man.
For many on the left in both countries, however, the social situation is far from ideal, and they see Lula and SBY's formula of friendship with capital cum poverty mitigation as the wrong formula to address their countries' massive problems. Their skepticism is not unjustified: According to the Institute for Applied Economic Research, social inequality has not changed in 25 years. Half the total income in Brazil is held by the richest 10 percent, and only 10 percent of the national wealth is shared by the poorest 50 percent. Owing to continuing plunder by powerful logging interests with friends in high places, Indonesia's rate of deforestation is among the 10 quickest on earth, the main reason it has become the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. For the moment, however, these dissenters are a subdued minority.
Does Global Capital Need More Liberal Regimes?
It will take some time before China is displaced from its premier position as global capital's preferred investment site, but the latter's fears are increasingly coming to the fore. Zizek is right, and wrong: it seems that while iron fisted authoritarian rule served global capital's interests well for the last two decades, it also — in the view of China's corporate guests — produced a polity with deep fissures that now regularly erupt. Their great worry about China is that it is becoming a pressure cooker with few safety valves, as the Communist Party comes down harder on labor and becomes even more resistant to democratic initiatives.
It seems that for the stable reproduction of capitalist relations during the current phase of the global economy, more open political systems that allow conflicts to be settled via elections and possess more liberal labor regimes are a better bet, from the perspective of capital.
The irony of the situation is that even Chinese corporations may eventually find the social regimes of Brazil and Indonesia more favorable for their profitability and stable growth than China itself.
Walden Bello is a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, and a senior analyst of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South. He is the author of The Food War.
This article was originally published by Foreign Policy In Focus.
14. PRESS CONFERENCE on Apex Court Historic Judgement on terming Salwa Judum as unconstitutional (New Delhi, 14 July 2011)
Venue: Bandhua Mukti Morcha office,
7, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi
Date 14th July, 2011 [Thursday]
Time: 3.00 pm
Subject - Press Conference on Apex Court Historic Judgement on terming Salwa Judum as unconstitutional and disallowing the use of Special Police Officers (SPO's) in ' Counter-Insurgency' Campaign
As we are already aware that on 5th July, 2011 the Hon’ble Supreme Court delivered a historic judgment by terming Salwa Judum unconstitutional and disallowing the use of Special Police Officers (SPO’s) in “Counter-Insurgency” Campaign. It further directed the State government to disarm the SPO’s and stop supporting vigilante groups like Salwa Judum by any name. Since its inception in June 2005, the Salwa Judum, with tactical support from Chhattisgarh Government and Union Home Ministry have been involved in heinous crimes in the name of fighting the Maoists which involved burning and emptying of more than 644 villages, murdering and raping hundreds of innocents and rendering more than three lakh people homeless especially in the Bastar region. In such a situation, the intervention of apex court is indeed welcome for the restoration of justice and peace in the region. However, the government is considering filing a review petition when their priority should be to install confidence and peace among the affected communities by filing FIRs and rehabilitating victims as directed by the court. We urge both sides to initiate peace talks on the basis of justice.
To elaborate further on the issue, we invite you to Press Conference scheduled on 14th July 2011 at 3.00 PM at 7, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi.
The conference will be addressed by Swami Agnivesh, Prof Nandini Sundar, Kavita Srivastava, Himanshu Kumar and Harish Dhawan.
Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh; People’s Union for Civil Liberties;
People’s Union for Democratic Rights; Delhi Solidarity Group;
National Alliance of People’s Movement
Abhay Xaxa (9811836249) DSG
Anil Tharayath Varghese (9971170738) DSG
15. STAGING OF JANG AB NAHIN HOGI, a play and dance programmes from Pakistan (New Delhi, 15 July 2011)
Greetings from Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti!
In its endeavour to promote people-to-people contacts between India and Pakistan, the Samiti is organizing a programme of dances from Pakistan and staging a play, Jang Ab Nahin Hogi on July 15, 2011 at Kirti Mandap, Gandhi Smriti, 5, Tees January Marg, New Delhi-11. The programme will be organized at 6.00 p.m.
The dance programme will be choreographed by well-known Pakistani dancer, Sheema Kermani. The dances to be performed include Leva, a folk dance from Sindh; Qual – aaj rung hae of Amir Khusrau; and Abhinaya based on poems of famous Urdu Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and famous Punjabi Sufi Poet Bulleh Shah.
The play, Jang Ab Nahin Hogi is a feminist anti-war play based on Aristophanes’ Greek classic Lysistrata. The story revolves around the conflict between two tribes, Khaebani and Phool Machhi. The women of the two tribes, fed up by the conflict, work together to bring peace; this underlines the central theme- the destructive nature of patriarchy. The play is directed by Sheema Kermani and Anwer Jafri.
You are cordially invited to this staging of the dance programme and the play by the Pakistani artists. Kindly send in a line of confirmation about your participation.
With warm regards,
Director, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi.
Contact: 23392710, 23392709 Mobile: 09868261159.
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