Saturday, June 03, 2006

Highlights 3rd June 2006



1. Unlike Europe, China refuses to be intimidated by Washington, a primary reason for the growing fear of China on the part of US planners. Much of Iran's oil already goes to China, and China is providing Iran with weapons, presumably considered a deterrent to US threats. Still more uncomfortable for Washington is the fact that, according to the Financial Times, "the Sino-Saudi relationship has developed dramatically", including Chinese military aid to Saudi Arabia and gas exploration rights for China. By 2005, Saudi Arabia provided about 17 per cent of China's oil imports. Chinese and Saudi oil companies have signed deals for drilling and construction of a huge refinery (with Exxon Mobil as a partner). A January 2006 visit by Saudi king Abdullah to Beijing was expected to lead to a Sino-Saudi memorandum of understanding calling for "increased cooperation and investment between the two countries in oil, natural gas, and minerals"....
More by Noam Chomsky

2. Although terrorism is the manipulation of fear and using it on others, terrorism is more political, says that terrorism is, “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons” that means that bullying and threats aren’t exactly terrorism but they use the same idea. The word “Terrorism” got its name from the French “Reign of Terror” when thousands were executed during the French Revolution.....

3. VOICES: I don’t understand this world. Have we run out of characters in the millions of years of existance that we’re left only with religious figures of whom to reduce their entire life’s work into a Romantic Comedy? Will it be Tom Hanks playing Jesus and Meg Ryan as Mary? For heaven’s sake go make a situation comedy staring Ghenghis Khan, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini, where they sit at a coffee shop all day and talk about nothing. It writes itself! And for that matter, I’m really sick of living in a world where people profit off of Jesus bobble-head dolls made by 8 year-olds in some sweat shop in Bangladesh. The very idea must conflict with at least one of the commandments.....

4. UK's Clothing Imports in First Quarter 2006 (Statistical Report): 29 May 2006- The UK last year imported over 15 billion euros worth of woven and knitted clothing and that figure could get higher this year after shipments increased in the first quarter of 2006. China remains leading supplier while Bangladesh's low prices attracted UK buyers. India was strong in value while Spain has replaced Portugal as top supplier of knitted clothing....
Emerging Textiles


5. Prime Minister's son Tareq Rahman's friends are also increasingly becoming desperate in cashing millions of dollars through corruption. Hawa Bhaban is already an infamous name in Bangladesh, which although claims to be the political office of BNP's Chairperson, it openly interferes in every business deals.

Gias Uddin Al-Mamun, is one of the hated names in Bangladesh, who, just because of being Tareq Rahman's friend, became one of the richest men in the country from extreme poverty status. In recent years, it is alleged that Mamun has also established links with Indian intelligence agency and he now plays an important role in politically guiding Tareq in taking extremely pro-Indian stand. It was already reported in Bangladesh press that, Mamun maintains close relations with several Indian beauties, who are used by this man for gaining several favors for New Delhi from influential figures in Bangladesh. Tareq according to reports is
also a very potential prey for Mamun, which this young politician either fails to realize or simply ignores, because of some unknown fact.

Mamun was the main figure in smuggling a few million dollars to Malaysia accrued illegally as alleged, from number of projects, which brought extremely bad reputation for Begum Khaleda Zia and her government.....More

6. Check the cool geezers above. This is what the crazy kids are wearing these days. Adbur Rahman is clearly fond of his red and white checked gamcha/tea towel. I swear I saw him wear the same tea towel thing on the day he was on TV all day long not so long ago? Can he be forgiven for wearing the same outfit twice in public? Does it bring him luck? The court didn’t think so obviously…. And check the slightly tilted helmet. Now that is style. He was surrounded by the cool black bandana wearing posse last time too…must be some sort of private security firm he has ( or had?) or maybe a breakdance outfit? Banga bhai - I am disappointed with. The helmet is so straight on. So last year…..

7. In the rejoinder, the authorities of TIU-USA even admitted that they were not aware of anything until the news story broke in “Asian Tribune.” This very clearly shows that, TIU-USA is taking some very quick steps to ultimately save their skins from legal actions. It may be also mentioned here that, Dr. Gazi procliams to be a close friend of Bangladeshi Prime Minister's son. A Bangladeshi intelligence service is already investigating into the case of TIu-Dhaka campus, involvement of minister's wife and Dr. Gazi Alam. On condition of anonymity, a highly placed source in Bangladesh government said that they will lodge criminal cases against the promoters of Dhaka Campus of TIU as well will notify Interpol and other US intelligence agencies about the dubious activities of Dr. Gazi Mahabubul Alam and TIU-USA....More

8. Many conspiracy theories emerged after the Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) bombings that rocked Bangladesh last year. Some JMB members turned out to be former Jamaat-e-Islami members. But it was obvious that being in the government Jamaat had no reason to play with fire. One of the theories was that this whole JMB plot was a brainchild of BNP to tarnish the image of their ruling coalition partner Jamaat so that they can get the leverage in the coming election.Now that JMB kingpins are behind the bar and facing death penalty and the BNP has got the praise,
a TIME cover article; where is Jamaat in the picture now?...More


8. Despite claims of strategic partnership with Beijing and growing economic relations across the Great Wall, the government has put on hold Chinese giant ZTE Telecom’s plan to enter wholesale trading in telecom equipment, following objections from intelligence agencies. This comes on the back of several other big Chinese investments being objected to by intelligence agencies. The home ministry is now conducting a detailed probe into the Chinese company’s activities and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has been told that ZTE can’t be granted permission for wholesale trading before the investigation report is considered. Already in the Indian market with a subsidiary, the Chinese company had sought permission to enhance its equity capital and enter after-sales service and wholesale trading of telecom equipment.....

9. The Intelligence report in effect admits as much.

‘‘The multiple terrorist attacks in the US and the subsequent war on terror have
focussed world attention on the role of madarsas in fostering and sustaining terrorism. The large scale use of the madarsa network in Pakistan for motivating, recruiting, and launching trained terrorists, creation of Taliban, etc. have brought madarsas under international spotlight in an extremely adverse light and clearly established their complicity in fomenting terrorist activities in the region.’’

‘In the Indian context,’’ says the report, ‘‘where the role of Madarsas is already the subject of intense scrutiny, the recent attack on the American Information Centre, Kolkata, on January 22, 2002, and the subsequent developments have heightened the controversy.’’ It is now an undisputed fact that many, may be most, madarsas foster, sustain, motivate, recruit and launch terrorists. Islam is a global faith. It places faith above nations. There is nothing like a national Islam, different from the global. Madarsa is about Islam. It stands for Islam. It cannot teach one Islam in India and another in Pakistan. So the role of the madarsas elsewhere and in India cannot be different. There is the common thread of Islam running through the madarsas cutting across national limitations.....More

10. In India, the poor are the terrorists, and even states like Andhra Pradesh, we have thousands of people being held as political prisoners, called Maoists, held as political prisoners in unknown places without charges or with false charges. We have the highest number of custodial deaths in the world. And we have Thomas Friedman going on and on about how this is an idealistic –– ideal society, a tolerant society. Hundreds –– I mean, tens of thousands of people killed in Kashmir. All over the northeast, you have the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, where a junior non-commissioned officer can shoot at sight. And that is the democracy in which we live....
Arundhati Roy

11. The Ulfa-constituted People’s Consultative Group has convened a meeting tomorrow to discuss the “impact” of the recent arrests in North Bengal on the peace process, implying that the next round of talks with Delhi will be anything but a smooth exercise. Doubts over the peace process cropped up a day after chief minister Tarun Gogoi declared that his government would be “proactive” in the campaign to end 25 years of insurgency in Assam. The PCG is expected to brief writer Mamoni Raisom Goswami, the chief facilitator of the peace process, about its stand after a review of the situation. Lachit Bordoloi, one of those handpicked by Ulfa to hold preliminary discussions with Delhi, said the peace process would surely go off-track if militant leaders were arrested during this crucial period. As many as six Ulfa leaders, including the outfit’s 28 Battalion “commandant” Mrinal Hazarika, were arrested in Siliguri recently. An unconfirmed report said the outfit’s finance secretary, Chitraban Hazarika, was also in Bengal police’s custody. “Such arrests are detrimental to the process of building a congenial atmosphere for peace,” Bordoloi said....

12. Based on specific information, Darjeeling police last night arrested three hardcore KLO militants and one of their aides from different areas of the Siliguri subdivision.Two grenades, two active cellphones with Bangladesh numbers, a few SIM cards of local mobile service providers, some documents and two bicycles were seized from them, the police chief said.“During interrogation, we came to know that the KLO militants used the Kajigach border to infiltrate into north Bengal,” he said. Naresh and Saral had crossed the border on May 25, while Dilip came here a month ago. “They had a plan to attack a target in the region,” Meena said. He said Dilip and Saral were new cadres who had undergone arms training at Chittagong in Bangladesh. Naresh, on the other hand, is an old hand who had been trained in Bhutan long ago. He had been arrested five years ago, but was let out on bail only to join the rebel outfit again.In Bangladesh, the rebels had taken shelter in the hideout of the All Tripura Tiger Force, a banned organisation. “There the ATTF charged Rs 1,000 per KLO militants as monthly rent,” Meena said.....

13. India plans to build eight trade centres along its border with Bangladesh in northeastern Tripura state to boost commerce with its neighbour, officials Tuesday said. "We are now awaiting clearance from Bangladesh to set up the border trading centres. New Delhi has approved the Tripura government's proposal for the eight new centres," Pratap Datta, spokesperson for the Tripura Industry and Commerce Department, said. The proposed trade centres or inland ports are likely to be set up at Raghna and Hirachara in north Tripura district, Kamalpur in Dhalai district, Bamutia, Kamala, Sagar and Boxanagar in west Tripura district as well as Srinagar and Akinpur in the south district....

14. After the former External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, resigned following accusations in the Volcker case, the country has had "no independent Foreign Minister," BJP president Rajnath Singh said on Monday. He criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has since held the External Affairs portfolio. Addressing the party's national executive committee meeting, Mr. Singh held the Government responsible for the current political situation in Nepal, as it had failed "to take any meaningful and constructive initiative" in time. Indirectly, Mr. Singh made it clear that the BJP was unhappy that Maoists could have a major say in any future set-up in Nepal. There was a "dangerous collusion between the Nepal Maoists, terrorists in Bangladesh and Pakistan's ISI." The Left parties in India had something to do with this. The Congress was repeating in Nepal the "historical blunder" it had committed in Tibet. Mr. Singh accused the Left of "targeting Sri Lanka" and interfering in the Government's policies in that region....

15. My second question is regarding the theory that all this is a big "conspiracy". The article quotes the Hizbul as saying that "the attack was staged to downplay the successful strikes of militants in the past few days". I presume that the Hizbul feels that this heinous plot could only have been hatched by the Indian Government. In fact I believe that if you use the Right to Information Act and demand the transcripts of the last meeting between our Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Head of RAW you can expose this conspiracy. I'm quite sure that the transcripts will read something like this:

RAW-Head: Intelligence reports suggests that the militants are planning to conduct a number of terrorist attack during the PM's round-table conference.
PM: Hmmmm..This does not sound good guys. We need to do something.
DM: I concur. Terrorist attacks make us look bad.
PM: Yes I have to go through the entire routine again and again. Read the same old condolence message and then say that some vested interests are trying to sabotage the peace process. We need to discredit these militants.
RAW-Head: I got the perfect idea!!!! Since there are many terrorist attacks plans why don't we go along with the general theme. Lets shaft these guys by carrying out our own terrorist attacks. That will totally fox them. In fact lets lob a few grenades into a bus carrying tourists.

That'll make us look really good and will totally downplay the 10 other successful strikes.
In conclusion I have just one thing to say. Hizbul you're a bunch of IDIOTS!!!!...Only In India

16. After Mr. Bush's visit, Al Qaeda and the IIF have started alleging that the Hindus have joined the global Crusader-Jewish conspiracy against Islam. This is a message to their followers and sympathisers in India to step up their activities in Indian territory. The focus of the stepped-up jihadi efforts has been increasingly on targets of religious and economic importance. The two recent jihadi attacks on domestic tourists in J&K are a warning signal. If the terrorists had succeeded in their attempts at Aurangabad, its impact on Hindu-Muslim relations and tourist flow could have been serious. In the past, the command and control of pan-Islamic terrorism directed against India was in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and its foot-soldiers also came from those countries. Now, while the command and control continues to be in Pakistan and Bangladesh, there has been an increasing reliance on recruits from the Indian Muslim diaspora abroad--particularly in the Gulf--the Indian Muslim community in India itself and the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.....


17. Pakistan’s real gripe is with the Americans. In recent months, an angry Musharraf has quietly but deliberately defied them. Relations between the two countries have not been so poor since 9/11. In March, Bush spent just a few hours in Islamabad after spending several days in India, where he gave recognition to India’s nuclear weapons programme, but refused to do the same for Pakistan. So in recent weeks Islamabad has said the investigation into top nuclear scientist AQ Khan, the world’s worst proliferator of nuclear technology, is at an end ~ just when Washington again urges Pakistan to allow US investigators direct access to Khan, who is under house arrest in Islamabad and could prove that Iran is intent on making nuclear weapons. More than a decade ago Khan provided key nuclear equipment to Iran. However, Islamabad is in no mood to do Washington any favours or annoy Tehran. “Yes we are under a lot of pressure on the issue of Dr AQ Khan, but we will not surrender,” foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri told the upper house of Parliament on 19 May. “We are an ally of the USA in the global war on terror, but we will not take dictation from anybody on our national interests.” Pakistan also pushes ahead to build a gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India, at a cost of US $7.2 billion, despite repeated US warnings not to do so.....More

18. The defence budget in Pakistan has never been discussed. Its mention in the budget itself is a one-liner, a convention that was set during the Z.A. Bhutto era when the country was recovering from the shock of a military defeat at the hands of India and the emergence of Bangladesh.But the one-line mention doesn’t go with the concept of transparency being advocated by President Pervez Musharraf. The committee’s top agenda is to discuss how the Pakistan Army formulates the defence budget and who monitors its spending. While the ISI gets its funds under the defence ministry, the allocation for it may not be part of the scrutiny.....


19. It has been the contention of various experts that the core fighting strength of the PLA is not in excess of 8,000 people. Against this the national army has a fighting strength of about 80,000 people. Before Gyanendra’s rule was derailed, there were plans to expand the fighting strength of the then royal army to about 1,20,000 to help it win the war. A merger of the fighting forces of the two armies will be less than this figure. Moreover, since the two sides were waging war, the operational cost borne by society was much higher. When peace comes, the costs of maintaining an enlarged army will be much lower. Merger of the two armies under a new leadership will also deal with the problem of disarmament and rehabilitation simultaneously. Under a policy of disarmament, rehabilitation of PLA fighting forces will be a problem. A merger will solve the problem since they will follow the normal army regimen and be confined to the barracks and have the normal relationship that military personnel have with the rest of society. Over a period of time the army can be reduced in size and re-skilling of fighting forces can take place within the national army.....

20. Now that the peace process has started (the code of conduct is already out), people are talking about its successful completion. The possible role of the United Nations is being discussed at full length. The Nepal government and the Maoist party have agreed in principle to invite the UN for monitoring the peace process. Also there is the talk of the role of India in the process. The Indian role, unfortunately, comes along with the role of UN. It is a fact that India wants to oversee the whole peace process under the cover of UN and it seems the Maoists are fine with that. But isn’t it amazing that after agreeing on the second point, India is unwilling to give “green signal” for the third? Isn’t the second point supposed to be more sensitive than the third one?...More in
United We Blog! For A Democractic Nepal


21. An army intelligence officer from Maungdaw check point, which is opened for border trade in Maungdaw, collects 5000 kyat per passenger who travels to Bangladesh. The toll collection from passengers is not used as part of the state revenue nor to help fund the army; the money was collected from the officer to keep for himself. The army officer, Sergeant Aung Myo Lwin, collected 5000 kyats from a passenger at the check point because some officers from other departments, including customs and the police, do not want to collect a large toll from passengers, said a report from local businessmen. Before the intelligence officer was posted at this check point, the authority collected 1000 kyat per passenger if they had goods to transport to Bangladesh. If an individual did not have any goods then he or she would pay 300 or 500 kyat to officers at the check point.....


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