Saturday, November 10

How Europe Looked in 1000AD!

Click on the map for a bigger version. Quite an interesting view of how Europe looked way back then!

Technorati Tags: ,

Mullah Radio Hates Buddha!

More on what Mullah Radio is up to!

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: In a re-run of the horrible vandalism that destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan, Pakistani Taliban rebels have carried out a second attack on a historic 40-metre tall Buddha statue in the Swat valley, destroying the head, shoulders and feet. The rebels have threatened a third and final attack on the statue to reduce it to rubble.
The world had shuddered with horror at the blasting of the Bamiyan statues. Yet another such act is happening in Pakistan and the Musharraf regime seems helpless to prevent it. Said president of Asia Society Vishakha N Desai: "Political and cultural leaders from around the world had condemned the destruction of the Bamiyan statues in 2001, yet in Pakistan the same disaster is being repeated."
The problem is that the writ of Pervez Musharraf no longer runs in Swat, a picturesque tourist centre 200 km northwest of Islamabad, that has now been overrun by Islamic fundamentalists led by Mullah Fazlullah, known as ‘Mullah Radio’ because of the FM propaganda radio station that he runs.
The radio station, apart from giving orders to people, justifies acts that fly against civilised norms as understood in the 21st century, like the destruction of the statues, closure of girls schools, destruction of Indian music shops and beating up of barbers who shave beards.
Swat, falling in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, has a priceless Buddhist heritage. The Harmarajika stupa in Taxila and Butkarha stupa in Swat were among the earliest stupas of Gandhara — an ancient kingdom consisting of modern-day Peshawar, Taxila, Swat and, according to some historians, parts of Kashmir.
These stupas had been erected on the orders of Emperor Ashoka and contained real relics of the Buddha. The Gandhara school is credited with the first representation of the Buddha in human form.
Adriana Propser of Asia Society in New York, said: "The art of the Gandhara area shows the impact of Hellenistic and Roman influence through the conquests of Alexander. Any destruction of archeological and artistic sites here are an enormous loss for mankind, especially for those who treasure historical records and rare works of art."


Technorati Tags: , , ,

Dr. Bari, do take an opportunity to keep quiet

While Dr. Bari should have taken the opportunity to shut up, some of his points are valid, specially the unrelenting suspicion placed on the overall British Muslim Population. This kind of demonisation is not good and I have already pointed this out. Governments should note this behaviour. Most of what he said was good, but certain things he should have avoided, specially these bits:

Dr Bari believes Britain would benefit from a little more morality: "Religion has principles that can help society … Sex before marriage is unacceptable in Islam … On adultery and living together we should try to go back to the religiously informed style of life that helps society"

Abortion should also be made more difficult. "By the time a foetus is 12 weeks old our religion says that the child has got a spirit." Homosexuality is "unacceptable from the religious point of view".

Is stoning ever justified? "It depends what sort of stoning and what circumstances," he replies. "When our prophet talked about stoning for adultery he said there should be four [witnesses] - in realistic terms that's impossible. It's a metaphor for disapproval."

There should be more modesty too. "You shouldn't be revealing your body so much that it can be tempting to other people. I hope my daughter wouldn't wear a bikini but I also hope she wouldn't wear a burka."

Technorati Tags: , , ,

What did ordinary German Soldiers think about the Holocaust?

An absolutely fascinating research paper came to hand. I am taking the liberty to quote it liberally.

This article details research about the knowledge of German soldiers concerning the mass executions of Jews in Eastern Europe during the Second World War, as it can be discerned from their letters.1 It examines the soldiers' perceptions and justifications of criminal missions committed by their own comrades or in which they were actually involved, and their interpretations of the facts and rumours they heard about the extermination of the Jewish population.


Up here you see many prison camps assigned to do construction work and other things. There are Jews coming here, that is to say, to Auschwitz, seven or eight thousand a week who die a "hero's death" before long. You see, it's quite good to get around a great deal.

There's not much new to tell from here; during the last couple of days the ghetto got smoked out. Unfortunately some of the Jews managed to skedaddle; and from time to time we have some minor shoot-outs

You know our mood isn't improved very much by all these actions, nor by the lack of work. Currently a new action against Jews is making some impression on us; I prefer to spare you the details of what I saw today while walking past the affected quarters

In the old citadel 1000 Jews will be shot dead on this day. This is a reprisal for the 2800 Ukrainians who were shot in Bolshevik times. In return, 5600 Russians will now give their lives. Two officers, whom I sent out searching for wire and iron, reported that the Jews died without making any sound. After this human tragedy, which is unfortunate but a necessary measure to discourage the uprising insurgents, we experienced over the following days how a large section of the looters simply left their stolen goods on the street.

Here the Jewish issue is solved somewhat differently. The Romanians drove all the Jews together and shot them dead regardless of whether they were men, women or children. At the beginning it was the other way round.

The many hundred kilometres we have covered showed us the roughness and the cruelty of this battle. It is impossible to describe all the details, but it is a matter of life and death. The deeper we got into Russia, the more we met Jews. These guys are just as cheeky as in the most peaceful times. One should put even more of these guys against the wall than has been done so far.

One just notices here how beautiful our home country is. The social deficiencies are impossible to describe. Dirt and mud. A great percentage of inhabitants are Jews.

And then the "solution" follows:

All the more urgent was the solution of the Jewish question. It is now pushed forward energetically by the Hungarian government according to the German model. A complete elimination is just necessary to give the miserable Russian people better living conditions.

The thing a physician needs to accomplish must be the complete elimination of the Cholera, what our people need to accomplish must be the complete elimination of the Jews

I am concerned about the nutrition of our Polish civilians whose work efficiency is decreasing rapidly. We only get so much food for them as to provide for a meagre soup five times a week with 60 hours of labour. The extra supply they get from the city's civil service is absolutely insufficient. It is even worse for the Jews, some of them just collapse of hunger during urgent street construction. No flogging or shooting will solve that.

The people here do not mean well to us Germans. The city of Dünaburg is half in ruins. 75% of the population used to be Jewish. They themselves - mostly before the Germans arrived - blew up or burned down their houses. Subsequently 30 000 Jews were shot not far from the city. In addition we executed other people over nothing. For these reasons, the population don't like to see the Germans anywhere. People are suspicious.

In Bereza - Katuska, where I stopped at noon, they had just shot 1300 Jews the day before. They were taken to a pit outside the city, then men, women and children had to take off all their clothes and were finished by shots to the neck. The clothes were disinfected and then reused. I am convinced, if the war lasts longer, it will become necessary to make sausages out of the Jews and feed them to the Russian prisoners of war or the trained Jewish workers

Remember these are ordinary Germans. And in an email exchange I had with some Canadian Muslims, I found the similar feelings, if you were a Jew, you were automatically thought to be anti-Muslim or anti-Iran. Evidence to the contrary like the Iranian Jews was ignored totally. But sadly familiar, the Jews have indeed seen this before and are seeing it again. The tragedy is that these Muslims will face the same behaviour very soon from the Christians in the West.

Ironical and sad.

JO - Journal of Genocide Research
PB - Routledge
AU - Kipp, Michaela
TI - The Holocaust in the letters of German soldiers on the Eastern front (1939–44)
SN - 1462-3528
PY - 2007
VL - 9
IS - 4
SP - 601
EP - 615

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

More on Bhutto's corruption

I talked about Bhutto's corruption here. But here's something that Sharmeen (thanks!) pointed out. So for people who think that she is the great white shining hope of Pakistan, read and weep! She might well be but don't think that she is going to be an angel, she isn't, she is a thief, just a bit better looking than the other thieves.



HOUSE OF GRAFT: Tracing the Bhutto Millions -- A special report.; Bhutto Clan Leaves Trail of Corruption


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A decade after she led this impoverished nation from military rule to democracy, Benazir Bhutto is at the heart of a widening corruption inquiry that Pakistani investigators say has traced more than $100 million to foreign bank accounts and properties controlled by Bhutto's family.

  Starting from a cache of Bhutto family documents bought for $1 million from a shadowy intermediary, the investigators have detailed a pattern of secret payments by foreign companies that sought business favors during Bhutto's two terms as Pakistan's prime minister.
The documents leave uncertain the degree of involvement by Bhutto, a Harvard graduate whose rise to power in 1988 made her the first woman to lead a Muslim country. But they trace the pervasive role of her husband, Asif Zardari, who turned his marriage to Bhutto into a source of virtually unchallengeable power.
In 1995, a leading French military contractor, Dassault Aviation, agreed to pay Zardari and a Pakistani partner a $200 million commission for a $4 billion jet fighter deal that fell apart only when Bhutto's government was dismissed. In another deal, a leading Swiss company hired to curb customs fraud in Pakistan paid millions of dollars between 1994 and 1996 to offshore companies controlled by Zardari and Bhutto's widowed mother, Nusrat Bhutto.
In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewelry industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirates sheikdom of Dubai, one of several Citibank accounts used by Zardari.
Together, the documents provided an extraordinarily detailed look at high-level corruption in Pakistan, a nation so poor that perhaps 70 percent of its 130 million people are illiterate, and millions have no proper shelter, no schools, no hospitals, not even safe drinking water. During Bhutto's five years in power, the country became so enfeebled that she spent much of her time negotiating loans to stave off default on more than $62 billion in public debt.
A worldwide search for properties secretly bought by the Bhutto family is still in its early stages. But the inquiry has so far found that Zardari went on a shopping spree in the mid-1990s, purchasing among other things a $4 million, 355-acre estate south of London. Over eight months in 1994 and 1995, he used a Swiss bank account and an American Express card to buy jewelry worth $660,000 -- including $246,000 at Cartier Inc. and Bulgari Corp. in Beverly Hills, Calif., in barely a month.
In separate interviews in Karachi, Bhutto, 44, and Zardari, 42, declined to address specific questions about the Pakistani inquiry, which they dismissed as a political vendetta by Bhutto's successor as prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. In Karachi Central Prison, where he has been held for 14 months on charges of murdering Bhutto's brother, Zardari described the corruption allegations as part of a "meaningless game." But he offered no challenge to the authenticity of the documents tracing some of his most lucrative deals.
Bhutto originally kindled wild enthusiasms in Pakistan with her populist brand of politics, then suffered a heavy loss of support as the corruption allegations against her and her husband gained credence. In an interview at her fortresslike home set back from Karachi's Arabian Sea beachfront, she was by turns tearful and defiant.
"Most of those documents are fabricated," she said, "and the stories that have been spun around them are absolutely wrong."
But she refused to discuss any of the specific deals outlined in the documents, and did not explain how her husband had paid for his property and jewelry. Lamenting what she described as "the irreparable damage done to my standing in the world" by the corruption inquiry, she said her family had inherited wealth, although not on the scale implied by tales of huge bank deposits and luxury properties overseas.
"I mean, what is poor and what is rich?" Bhutto asked. "If you mean, am I rich by European standards, do I have a billion dollars, or even a hundred million dollars, even half that, no, I do not. But if you mean that I'm ordinary rich, yes, my father had three children studying at Harvard as undergraduates at the same time. But this wealth never meant anything to my brothers or me."

The Student: Privileged Learning, Populist Platitudes

Bhutto, a student at Harvard and Oxford for six years in the 1970s, has been a vocal critic of "avaricious politicians." In a Harvard commencement speech in 1989, she said that such people had looted developing countries and left them without the means to tackle their social problems. Since she was ousted as prime minister during her second term, on Nov. 5, 1996, on charges that included gross corruption, she has been the leader of Pakistan's main opposition group, the Pakistan People's Party.
Some details of the allegations against Bhutto and Zardari appeared in European and American newspapers last fall, after Pakistani investigators began releasing some of the Bhutto family documents. But a much fuller picture emerged when several thick binders full of documents were made available to The New York Times over a period of several days in October. The Times' own investigation, lasting three months, extended from Pakistan to the Middle East, Europe and the United States, and included interviews with many of the central figures named by the Pakistani investigators.
Officials leading the inquiry in Pakistan say that the $100 million they have identified so far is only a small part of a much larger windfall from corrupt activities. They maintain that an inquiry begun in Islamabad immediately after Bhutto's dismissal in 1996 found evidence that her family and associates generated more than $1.5 billion in illicit profits through kickbacks in virtually every sphere of government activity -- from rice deals, to the sell-off of government land, even rake-offs from government welfare schemes.
The Pakistani officials say their key break came last summer, when an informer offered to sell documents that appeared to have been taken from the Geneva office of Jens Schlegelmilch, whom Bhutto described as the family's attorney in Europe for more than 20 years, and as a close personal friend. Pakistani investigators have confirmed that the original asking price for the documents was $10 million. Eventually the seller traveled to London and concluded the deal for $1 million in cash.
The identity of the seller remains a mystery. Schlegelmilch, 55, developed his relationship with the Bhutto family through links between his Iranian-born wife and Bhutto's mother, who was also born in Iran. In a series of telephone interviews, he declined to say anything about Zardari and Bhutto, other than that he had not sold the documents. "It wouldn't be worth selling out for $1 million," he said.
The documents included: statements for several accounts in Switzerland, including the Citibank accounts in Dubai and Geneva; letters from executives promising payoffs, with details of the percentage payments to be made; memorandums detailing meetings at which these "commissions" and "remunerations" were agreed on, and certificates incorporating the offshore companies used as fronts in the deals, many registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The documents also revealed the crucial role played by Western institutions. Apart from the companies that made payoffs, and the network of banks that handled the money -- which included Barclay's Bank and Union Bank of Switzerland as well as Citibank -- the arrangements made by the Bhutto family for their wealth relied on Western property companies, Western lawyers and a network of Western friends.
As striking as some of the payoff deals was the clinical way in which top Western executives concluded them. The documents showed painstaking negotiations over the payoffs, followed by secret contracts. In one case, involving Dassault, the contract specified elaborate arrangements intended to hide the proposed payoff for the fighter plane deal, and to prevent it from triggering French corruption laws.
Because Pakistan's efforts to uncover the deals have been handled in recent months by close aides of Prime Minister Sharif, who has alternated with Bhutto at the head of four civilian governments in Pakistan since the end of military rule 10 years ago, the investigation has been deeply politicized. Last week, the Sharif aides forwarded 12 corruption cases cases against Bhutto, Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto to the country's "accountability commission," headed by a retired judge, who has the power to approve formal indictments.
Apart from bolstering Sharif's power by exposing Bhutto and her family, Sharif's aides hope to protect him against the possibility that she will one day return to office and turn the tables on him. Sharif, who is 48, battled for years during Bhutto's tenure to stay out of jail on a range of corruption charges, including allegations that he took millions of dollars in unsecured loans from state-owned banks for his family's steel empire, then defaulted.

The Heritage: Landowning Class Accustomed to Rule

The Bhuttos are among a few hundred so-called feudal families, mostly large landowners, that have dominated politics and business in Pakistan since its creation in 1947.
Bhutto's father was an Oxford-educated landowner who became Pakistan's prime minister in the 1970s, only to be ousted and jailed in 1977 when his military chief, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, mounted a coup. Bhutto was hanged two years later, after he refused Zia's offer of clemency for a murder conviction that many Pakistanis regarded as politically tainted.
Benazir Bhutto, the eldest of four children, spent the next decade under house arrest, in jail or in self-imposed exile, campaigning against Zia's military regime.
In 1987 she married Zardari, little known then for anything but a passion for polo. It was an arranged union, with Bhutto's mother picking the groom. Many Pakistanis were startled by the social and financial differences. By the Bhuttos' standards, Zardari's family was of modest means, with limited holdings and a rundown movie theater in Karachi. Zardari's only experience of higher education was a stint at a commercial college in London.
In part the match was intended to protect Bhutto's political career by countering conservative Muslims' complaints about her unmarried status. Barely eight months later, in 1988, Zia was killed in a mysterious plane crash, which opened the way for Bhutto to win a narrow election victory.
Years later, many Pakistanis still speak of the mesmeric effect she had at that moment, as the daughter who had avenged her father and the politician who had restored democracy. But euphoria faded fast. Within months, newspapers were headlining allegations of dubious deals. In the bazaars, traders soon dubbed Zardari "Mr. 10 Percent."
Twenty months after she took office, Bhutto was dismissed by Pakistan's president on grounds of corruption and misrule. But the Sharif government that succeeded Bhutto was unable to secure any convictions against her or her husband before Sharif, in turn, was ousted from office, also for corruption and misrule.
Mostly, Pakistanis gave Bhutto the benefit of the doubt after her first term, saying she might not have known what Zardari was doing. She was further aided by public suspicion of Sharif's motives. A taciturn man who got his start in politics as a protege of Zia, Sharif has left little doubt of his chagrin at having been overshadowed by Bhutto.
Part of his discomfort stemmed from her success in fostering a favorable image for herself in the United States, as a staunch foe of Muslim fundamentalism, a relentless campaigner for the rights of the poor and -- a point she stressed in her Harvard speech in 1989 -- an opponent of leaders who use their power for personal gain, then "leave the cupboard bare."

When she took office as prime minister again, after a victory in 1993, Bhutto struck many of her friends as a changed person, obsessed with her dismissal in 1990, high-handed to the point of arrogance, and contemptuous of the liberal principles she had placed at the center of her politics in the 1980s. "She no longer made the distinction between the Bhuttos and Pakistan," said Hussain Haqqani, Bhutto's former press secretary. "In her mind, she was Pakistan, so she could do as she pleased."
Bhutto's twin posts, as prime minister and finance minister, gave her virtually free rein. Zardari became her alter ego, riding roughshod over the bureaucracy although he had no formal economic powers until Bhutto appointed him Investment Minister, reporting only to herself, in July 1996. They maintained an imperial lifestyle in the new prime minister's residence in Islamabad, a $50 million mansion set on 110 acres on an Islamabad hilltop.
Within days of moving in, Zardari ordered 11.5 acres of protected woodland on an adjoining hilltop to be bulldozed for a polo field, an exercise track, stabling for 40 polo ponies, quarters for grooms and a parking lot for spectators. When a senior government official, Mohammed Mehdi, objected to paying for the project with $1.3 million diverted from a budget for parks and other public amenities, Zardari "categorically told me that he does not appreciate his orders to be examined and questioned by any authority," according to an affidavit filed with the Pakistani investigators by Mehdi. A few months later, with the work in progress, Zardari had Mehdi dismissed.
The investigators say that Zardari and associates he brought into the government, some of them old school friends, began reviewing state programs for opportunities to make money. It was these broader activities, the investigators assert, more than the relatively small number of foreign deals revealed in the documents taken from the Swiss lawyer, that netted the largest sums for the Bhutto family.
Among the transactions Zardari exploited, according to these officials: defense contracts; power plant projects; the privatization of state-owned industries; the awarding of broadcast licenses; the granting of an export monopoly for the country's huge rice harvest; the purchase of planes for Pakistan International Airlines; the assignment of textile export quotas; the granting of oil and gas permits; authorizations to build sugar mills, and the sale of government lands.

The officials have said that Bhutto and Zardari took pains to avoid creating a documentary record of their role in hundreds of deals. How this was done was explained by Najam Sethi, a former Bhutto loyalist who became the editor of Pakistan's most popular political weekly, Friday Times, then was drafted to help oversee a corruption inquiry undertaken by the caretaker government that ruled for three months after Bhutto's dismissal in 1996.
Sethi said Bhutto and Zardari adopted a system under which they assigned favors by writing orders on yellow Post-It notes and attaching them to official files. After the deals were completed, Sethi said, the notes were removed, destroying all trace of involvement.
When Sharif won a landslide election victory earlier this year, the corruption inquiry appeared, again, to fizzle. But a few days before the election, the caretakers hired Jules Kroll Associates, a New York investigative agency, to look for evidence of corruption abroad. The Kroll investigators put out feelers in Europe; Sharif's aides said it was one of these that produced the offer to sell the Bhutto family documents, and that they took over from Kroll Associates and completed the deal.

The Negotiations: Flight and Crash of a Dassault Deal

Potentially the most lucrative deal uncovered by the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, the French military contractor, to sell Pakistan 32 Mirage 2000-5 fighter planes. These were to replace two squadrons of American-made F-16s whose purchase was blocked when the Bush administration determined in 1990 that Pakistan was covertly developing nuclear weapons.
In April 1995, Dassault found itself in arm's-length negotiations with Zardari and Amer Lodhi, a Paris-based lawyer and banker who had lived for years in the United States, working among other things as an executive of the now-defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International. Lodhi's sister, Maleeha, a former Pakistan newspaper editor, became Bhutto's ambassador to the United States in 1994.
Schlegelmilch, the Geneva lawyer, wrote a memo for his files describing his talks at Dassault's headquarters on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. According to the memo, the company's executives offered a "remuneration" of 5 percent to Marleton Business SA, an offshore company controlled by Zardari. The memo indicated that in addition to Dassault, the payoff would be made by two companies involved in the manufacture of the Mirages: Snecma, an engine manufacturer, and Thomson-CSF, a maker of aviation electronics.
The documents offered intriguing insights into the anxieties that the deal aroused. In a letter faxed to Geneva, the Dassault executives -- Jean-Claude Carrayrou, Dassault's director of legal affairs, and Pierre Chouzenoux, the international sales manager -- wrote that "for reasons of confidentiality," there would be only one copy of the contract guaranteeing the payoff. It would be kept at Dassault's Paris office, available to Schlegelmilch only during working hours.
The deal reached with Schlegelmilch reflected concerns about French corruption laws, which forbid bribery of French officials but permit payoffs to foreign officials, and even make the payoffs tax-deductible in France. The Swiss and the French have resisted American pressures to sign a worldwide treaty that would hold all businesses to the ethical standards of American law, which sets criminal penalties for bribing foreign officials.
"It is agreed that no part of the above-mentioned remuneration will be transferred to a French citizen, or to any company directly or indirectly controlled by French individuals or companies, or to any beneficiary of a resident or nonresident bank account in France," one of the Dassault documents reads.
Negotiations on the Mirage contract were within weeks of completion when Bhutto was dismissed by another Pakistani president in 1996. They have bogged down since, partly because Pakistan has run out of money to buy the planes, and partly because the Pakistan Army, still politically powerful a decade after the end of military rule, waited until Bhutto was removed to weigh in against the purchase.
A Dassault spokesman, Jean-Pierre Robillard, said Carrayrou, the legal affairs director, had retired. Two weeks after he was sent a summary of the documents, Robillard said that the company had decided to make no comment.

The Profits: Scams at Both Ends of Customs System

One deal that appears to have made a handsome profit for Zardari involved Pakistan's effort to increase its customs revenues. Since fewer than one in every 100 Pakistanis pays income tax, customs revenues represent the state's largest revenue source. But for decades the system has been corrupted, with businesses underinvoicing imports, or paying bribes, to escape duties.
In the 1980s Pakistan came under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to increase government revenues and to cut a runaway budget deficit. During Bhutto's first term, Pakistan entrusted preshipment "verification" of all major imports to two Swiss companies with blue-ribbon reputations, Societe Generale de Surveillance SA and a subsidiary, Cotecna Inspection SA. But the documents suggest that this stab at improving Pakistan's fiscal soundness was quickly turned to generating profits for the Bhutto family's accounts.
In 1994, executives of the two Swiss companies wrote promising to pay "commissions" totaling 9 percent to three offshore companies controlled by Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto. A Cotecna letter in June 1994 was direct: "Should we receive, within six months of today, a contract for inspection and price verification of goods imported into Pakistan," it read, "we will pay you 6 percent of the total amount invoiced and paid to the government of Pakistan for such a contract and during the whole duration of that contract and its renewal."
Similar letters, dated March and June 1994, were sent by Societe Generale de Surveillance promising "consultancy fees" of 6 percent and 3 percent to two other offshore companies controlled by the Bhutto family. According to Pakistani investigators, the two Swiss companies inspected more than $15.4 billion in imports into Pakistan from January 1995 to March 1997, making more than $131 million. The investigators estimated that the Bhutto family companies made $11.8 million from the deals, at least a third of which showed up in banking documents taken from the Swiss lawyer.
For Societe Generale de Surveillance, with 35,000 employees and more than $2 billion a year in earnings, the relationship with the Bhutto family has been painful. In addition to doing customs inspections, the company awards certificates of technical quality. In effect, its business is integrity.
In an interview in Geneva, Elisabeth Salina Amorini, president of Societe Generale, said the Pakistan contracts had been the subject of an internal company inquiry. But Ms. Salina Amorini, a 42-year-old lawyer, said the company had reorganized its government contracts division under a new executive and had sold Cotecna, acquired in 1994, back to the family that had previously owned it. The internal inquiry, she told reporters in Geneva last month, had shown "a number of inadequacies which enabled certain irregularities to take place."

Ms. Salina Amorini said in the interview that a study of Societe Generale's dealings with Pakistan had uncovered a $650 million shortfall in customs revenues that the Bhutto government was supposed to have collected over a 21-month period in 1995 and 1996. She said the company had reported the shortfall to Washington-based officials of the monetary fund and the World Bank, which monitor customs revenues to check Pakistan's compliance with conditions set for emergency loans. The conditions are meant to help the country avoid default on its foreign debt.
Officials at the two financial institutions are investigating the Swiss company's report to determine whether the customs system was corrupted at both ends -- from commissions paid to Bhutto family companies on the preshipment inspection contracts and, later, in illicit payments by Pakistani importers seeking to avoid customs duties.

The Gold Connection: Granting a License, Reaping a Profit

Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers' haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto's second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.
Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: In return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade.
In January 1994, weeks after Bhutto began her second term, Schlegelmilch established a British Virgin Island company known as Capricorn Trading, SA, with Zardari as its principal owner. Nine months later, on Oct. 5, 1994, an account was opened at the Dubai offices of Citibank in the name of Capricorn Trading. The same day, a Citibank deposit slip for the account shows a deposit of $5 million by Razzak's company, ARY Traders. Two weeks later, another Citibank deposit slip showed that ARY had paid a further $5 million.
In Nov. 1994, Pakistan's Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan's sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had traveled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any secret deal. "I have not paid a single cent to Zardari," he said.
Razzak offered an unusual explanation for the Citibank documents that showed his company paying the $10 million to Zardari, suggesting that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. "Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents," he said.

The Documentation: Erasing the Proofs of Secret Power

The Pakistani investigation of Bhutto's two terms in office has tied a range of overseas properties to her husband and other family members. Among these are Rockwood, a 355-acre estate south of London, and a $2.5 million country manor in Normandy. The listed owners of the manor, which is known as the House of the White Queen, are Hakim and Zarrin Zardari, Bhutto's parents-in-law, who had only modest assets when she married Zardari.
Other properties that Pakistani investigators have linked to members of the Bhutto family include a string of luxury apartments in London. Pakistan has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate still more bank accounts and properties, including a country club and a polo ranch in Palm Beach County, Fla., said to be worth about $4 million, that were bought by associates of Zardari in the mid-1990s.
The Pakistani request to Washington, made in December, also sought American help in checking allegations that some of Zardari's wealth may have come from Pakistani drug traffickers paying for protection. In the past decade, Pakistan and its neighbor Afghanistan have become the world's largest source of heroin, shipping 250 tons of it every year to Europe and the United States.
The purchase of overseas properties by well-connected members of the elite in a developing country is hardly a new phenomenon. But the disclosures about Bhutto's family have underscored a trend that international financial officials have long found troubling: the willingness of the monetary fund and the World Bank, which are substantially financed by the United States, to prop up economies like Pakistan's that have been bled dry by corruption.
A former high-ranking official of the World Bank in Islamabad who requested anonymity acknowledged that both institutions were all too willing to make additional loans on the vague promise that corruption would be reined in. "We made a mantra out of the phrase 'good governance,"' the official said, "as though we intended to try and stamp the corruption out. But the truth is that we turned a blind eye, telling ourselves this is the way things are done in Pakistan, and it's not our business to stop it."
In the years Bhutto was in office, Pakistan received billions of dollars in new loans, much of it to enable the country to pay interest on its debt. By 1996, interest on the accumulated public debt, including $32 billion in foreign loans, was absorbing nearly 70 percent of state revenues. With Pakistan's defense costs absorbing the remaining 30 percent, scarcely anything was left for the social programs that Bhutto had promised.

While The Times inquiry confirmed some of the allegations made by the Pakistani investigators, other matters remained unresolved. For example, none of the documents for the foreign bank accounts or offshore companies uncovered thus far bear Bhutto's name, nor do any of the letters promising payoffs make any mention of her.
The only document that refers to Bhutto is a handwritten ledger for an account at the Union Bank of Switzerland in Geneva. In Schlegelmilch's handwriting, the ledger contains the notation "50 percent AAZ 50 percent BB." This account showed deposits of $1.8 million for one 90-day period in 1994 and received at least $860,000 in payments by the two Swiss customs-inspection companies.
Some of Bhutto's friends say she cannot fairly be held accountable for her husband's questionable deals, since she was too busy as prime minister to know of them. Others say Bhutto, having lost her father and both of her brothers in tragic circumstances, became so dependent emotionally on Zardari, with whom she has three children, that she told friends she found it impossible to rein him in.
Her younger brother, Shahnawaz, died of poisoning in Cannes, France, in 1985 after a dispute that Murtaza Bhutto, her older brother, linked to arguments over family assets stashed in Switzerland. Murtaza Bhutto was killed by a police hit squad in Karachi in September 1986, after a long-running power struggle with his sister and her husband. Zardari has been charged with masterminding the second murder, but he and Bhutto say he was framed by their political enemies.
Officials in Bhutto's two governments tell another story, of Zardari's holding meetings on some of his deals in the prime minister's residence, and of his invoking his wife's authority when ordering officials to override regulations meant to prevent graft in the assignment of contracts.
Furthermore, several senior officials in Bhutto's governments said they had met with repeated rebuffs when they tried to warn her about Zardari. One senior minister said that when he had raised the issue, "She said, 'How dare you talk to me like that?' and stalked out."
Nor has Bhutto made any effort to distance herself from Zardari's activities. In the Karachi interview, she said her husband's deals had been made only for Pakistan's benefit. "He's a very generous person," she said. "His weakness, and his strength, is that he's always trying to help people."
The tax returns filed by Bhutto and her husband in her years in office give no hint of the wealth uncovered by the Pakistani inquiry. Bhutto, Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto declared assets totaling $1.2 million in 1996 and never told Pakistani authorities of any foreign bank accounts or properties, as required by law in Pakistan. Zardari declared no net assets at all in 1990, the year Bhutto's first term ended, and only $402,000 in 1996.
The family's income tax declarations were similarly modest. The highest income Bhutto declared was $42,200 in 1996, with $5,110 in tax. In two of her years as prime minister, 1993 and 1994, she paid no income tax at all. Zardari's highest declared income was $13,100, also in 1996, when interest on bank deposits he controlled in Switzerland exceeded that much every week.
Pakistan's inquiry is in its early phases, but it has already prompted international action. Swiss officials have frozen 17 bank accounts belonging to the Bhutto family, and authorities in Britain and France are searching for other accounts and properties. In recent weeks, Bhutto has maintained a heavy travel schedule, flying between Pakistan, Dubai and Geneva, as well as between London and New York, a route that she flew on a supersonic Concorde in October.
Bhutto described the investigation as a persecution. At one point she attacked the Clinton administration, saying it had ignored her plight while deploring the treatment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate who has suffered various forms of persecution by the Burmese military.
"This is the most horrendous human rights record, what is happening to me, the former prime minister of Pakistan," Bhutto said. "It is shocking to see that the Clinton administration talks so much about Burma, when this is happening to a woman who leads the opposition here." Tears welling in her eyes, she added, "The Bhuttos have suffered so much for Pakistan."
Jeff Gerth in Washington and Elizabeth G. Olson in Geneva contributed reporting for these articles.

Technorati Tags: ,

Friday, November 9

If there wasn't Christian Terror in Nagaland, why on earth would the Church try to unite Naga Rebels?

Thanks to Yashwantji, this article was quite interesting. As mentioned, why on earth would the Christian Church try to unify the Naga terrorist groups? And why do they think they will listen to them? And why foreign groups? And then people are surprised to hear that Christian Terrorism exists in India. Also see this reference, very good overview of religion and the North-East of India.


Kohima, Nov. 7: The Church today pulled no punches in slamming the militant leadership for pushing Naga society to "chaos and destruction".

The general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council, Rev. Zhabu Terhuja, said on the eve of yet another Church-initiated unity campaign that the least the militant leaders could do was act responsibly.

"Naga society is plunging evermore deeply into destructive divisions," Terhuja said.

A group of Church leaders from the UK, who arrived here yesterday, is scheduled to hold parleys with the NSCN (Khaplang) in Mon tomorrow. They will try to convince the militant group to bury the hatchet with its rival, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah).

A delegation from the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) recently held discussions with the Khaplang group to prepare the ground for this meeting.

A team from the North American Baptist Church, which had organised a peace meeting in Atlanta for the two NSCN factions in 1997, will also visit the state soon to try and reconcile the two groups and end the bloody factional feud they are engaged in.

Expressing concern over the "denunciation and derogatory remarks" made by militant groups against some public leaders and over the spate of fratricidal killings, Terhuja said such action had caused "bitter frustration and vengeful hatred" among the people who were "caught in between".

The Church leader said "arbitrary elimination of lives" had made Naga society weaker. Under no circumstances, he added, should human life be arbitrary snapped.

Terhuja said the people expected "those conducting the Naga struggle" to be more responsible as their actions had often led to the loss of lives.

The Church has long been engaged in a campaign to unite the warring Naga factions and is known for its bold and non-partisan stand.

But Terhuja admitted that the Church had failed to meet the challenges and needs of Naga society.

"The Church must keep renewing its commitment to our society's aspiration to be a just and fair one," he said.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Internet Security

Surprising how similar internet security is for terrorists as well as normal citizens transacting business. If you remove the religious phraseology, its so common. Also, I do not have a direct link to this post, only got it from here and its associated yahoogroup.

Security Advice to Forum Attendees

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

It is well-known that the discussion forums on the Internet have become of an eminent importance and influence in the media, and through which renowned newspapers and satellite channels extract and follow the news of the mujahideen. The mujahideen have positively profited from the Internet as well and from the forums specifically because they helped eliminate the blackout and the Zionist-Christian media restrictions that contained the jihadist movement for many years.

A wide variety of intelligence agencies understand the danger of the use of the Internet by the mujahideen. They also understand the considerable opportunity offered by the discussion forums which allows them to capture as many 'terrorists' as they can, and those who oppose one regime or another.
So they anxiously set out to infiltrate those forums by:

*    inserting their members into the forums so they can catch whoever
they can catch; and

*    pressuring the owners of the forum so they work with them.

CNN has reported that an American intelligence agency has announced that it has plans to open an Arabic discussion forum to capture terrorists.

Based on what we mentioned above, it is the duty of every person who visits the forums, either the mujahideen who are responsible for posting the statements, communiques, and publications, their supporters, or even the people who follow the mujahideen's news through the forums to be very cautious because the mere fact of entering or visiting such forums is a criminal act to be punished by the apostate regimes in our Islamic world.

We say it has become necessary to observe a few preventive procedures and take precautions when dealing with the forums. Dear reader, here are a few things to which you pay attention to when you participate in forums, whether they are forums that follow a jihadist point of view or just forums you visit to share your opinion on specific topics.

First, remember that the people with whom you discuss issues in the forums are not always what they seem to be. You might meet a young man who is yearning for jihad, asking other forum users about the ways that would lead him to the lands of jihad, but really he may be a secret agent writing from an intelligence agency' s building!

As for that writer who is always writing those radical articles that defend the mujahideen and their honor, he might be the same, an agent trying to lure forum users until they trust him and then he would ask them to get acquainted in order to help each other spread the 'call for jihad' and finally get them arrested.

What is important is to always remember that it is easy to pass for somebody else while on the Internet, so you should not trust anyone in the forums.
Yes some people are true and thank God there are many of them, but unfortunately it is hard to distinguish the good from the bad, so it suffices to only take what might benefit you from the forums and remember that 'everything that shines is not gold.'

Second, it is a fact that just registering or visiting a forum would allow the forum's owner to trace your 'IP' address and in many cases locate with a great accuracy the computer you are using when visiting the forum. Thus it has become very easy to establish your location after they find out your Internet address. In fact, there are many sites on the Internet that offer this service free of charge.

Yes the forum's owner can disable the Internet registration feature, therefore when joining a forum and posting materials, the IP address won't be registered, and that is what we advise our brothers who run and own forums to do. But it is possible to obtain an IP address through the email address that is being used when joining a forum. Of course the servers won't object to supplying security agencies with your IP address since it is part of the 'fight against terror.' The same applies when using the proxy.

The best thing to do when dealing with this problem if you are responsible for posting news and statements or if you are wanted by the apostate intelligence agencies is to use 'internet cafes.' There are other safer ways but we cannot mention them or we will attract the enemy's attention to them.
'Necessity is the mother of invention'!

We have to mention that many Internet cafes are being used to spy on their customers, especially those customers with an Islamic appearance, so attention needs to be given to this particular point.

Advice and Warnings

The Internet address is registered every time you put up a post and not only when you become a member. This means that even if you register in an Internet cafe and then you put up a post from your home computer, your IP address is registered.

Finding out your personal IP address is not necessarily done through the forum's administration; it is easily done through the server that hosts the forum, and the server also acquires all the information regarding the participants.

Most Internet sites are equipped with statistics programs that register every move made by a visitor along with his personal IP address.

Third, when becoming a member in any forum, you are requested to provide personal and general information like your name, your country, and your date of birth. Do not enter any accurate personal information; instead give false information. If a forum moderator or somebody else emails you to get personal information from you to confirm the validity of an account, do not supply them with your personal information.

Fourth, if you are a participant in a forum and join discussions from an Internet cafe, you should use different Internet cafes and preferably the ones that are the furthest from your house.

The person responsible for publishing news should not spend more time than needed to finish his work, for the Internet cafes are the easiest to get to since the apostate security systems know the personal IP address of each one of them.

After each session, erase all temporary Internet files the dates and history and the 'cookies' and then close the browser to end all sessions. If you do not do this the the next person who uses the same computer will be able to enter the forum through your account. Do not forget to restart the computer before you leave.

Remark: in many instances, after erasing all the information, it will all come back when you open the browser; in this case you have to manually erase all entries.

Fifth, be careful of the files in the forums because some might contain spying files that would enable the person who is disseminating them to spy on your computer and know all the contents of your hard disk.

Sixth, if you are asked to install any program while browsing the forum, do not accept whatever the reason might be. There are programs that would enable the other side (intelligence agencies) to spy on your computer like certain Java mini-applications or 'Java applets.' As a matter of a fact, one of the intelligence agencies has set up an alleged jihadist forum, and after people started visiting the forum, they were requested to install little programs and other applications on their computer with the pretext that it would allow them to browse the forum. After a short while, personal pictures of people with their complete names and addresses were released after they were stolen from their personal computers.

It is important to point to a very important idea when dealing with
computers: never enter or keep correct personal information in the computer like names, countries, etc. whether during an installation or otherwise.

Seventh, if you are asked to give your email address in order to receive mail, refrain from doing so. Instead ask to be sent mail to your forum's email account if provided.

Eighth, when registering in more than one forum, do not use the same password. If one forum is infiltrated, your membership in other forums will still be kept secret. We strongly advise that you avoid using the same name in registering in more than one forum so your movements are not tagged along on the Internet. If you would like to publish the same material in more than one forum, tail it with words like 'copied from such and such forum' or other words that do not implicate you as being an originator of a publication but only a forwarder.

Ninth, do not give any specific information about yourself that would disclose your identity, not even the town in which you live. Do not give specific names of places or say you were at a certain place at a certain time or that you attended a sermon of such and such shaykh or things like that.

Tenth, if you like to get acquainted with people and make friends, consider that the jihadist forums are not the right place for you.

These are a few things that we wanted to bring to the attention of the people that visit the discussion forums on the Internet. 'But Allah is the best to take care (of him), and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy' (Yusuf 12:64).

Technorati Tags: , ,

USA extremely upset with Pakistan's Military Rule! (NOT!!!!)

So USA is very upset with how an autocrat is doing a military coup, ruining the legal system, putting democratic civil leaders in house arrest, cutting off media links, shooting people and arresting people. So it is threatening sanctions, grievous bodily harm, international efforts to pound on the generals, and so on and so forth. That's Burma. What do they suggest for Pakistan? Look at what the US State Department is recommending, and it is amazing and breathtakingly hypocritical.

While the President has the authority to immediately halt all or some U.S.
assistance to Pakistan, there are no signs that he intends to do so. In “reviewing” U.S. aid programs, Administration officials could place holds on certain items, such
as F-16 combat aircraft being purchased by Pakistan as a Foreign Military Sale.
Acute and historic Pakistani sensitivities to such U.S. policy choices — combined
with repeatedly voiced concerns that Pakistan’s full cooperation in counterterrorism
efforts continue — have most analysts doubting that the United States would halt
delivery of defense supplies to Pakistan. Congress already has legislated conditions
on U.S. aid to Pakistan and pending legislation would provide for further
conditionality.23 However, many analysts, including those making policy for the
Bush Administration, assert that conditioning U.S. aid to Pakistan has a past record
of failure and likely would be counterproductive by reinforcing Pakistani perceptions
of the United States as a fickle and unreliable partner.
Numerous commentators on U.S. assistance programs for Pakistan have
recommended making adjustments to the proportion of funds devoted to military
versus economic aid and/or to the objectives of such programs. For most of the post-
2001 period, funds have been split roughly evenly between economic and securityrelated
aid programs, with the great bulk of the former going to a general economic
(budget) support fund and most of the latter financing “big ticket” defense articles
such as airborne early warning aircraft, and anti-ship and anti-armor missiles. Only
about 10% of the more than $10 billion provided to Pakistan since 2001 (including
coalition support) has been specifically devoted to development and humanitarian
programs. The Bush Administration and/or Congress may find it useful to better
target U.S. assistance programs in such a way that they more effectively benefit the
country’s citizens. Some analysts call for improving America’s image in Pakistan
by making U.S. aid more visible to ordinary Pakistanis.

In effect, NOTHING!

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Islamists spreading their poison in Bosnia

Quite worrying, this report. This is what happens when you do not lance the boil of fundamentalism and patriotism, give secular education primacy and push for liberal educational standards. Russia's obduracy, the strange incompetence of Europe, the military angles that USA take all means that the social and educational aspects of Bosnia are ignored. With predictably sad results. Also, again see the root of the trouble, Saudi Arabia, funding this kind of fundamentalist thought. The Al Saud family has made a Faustian bargain with the wahhabi's and while they are enjoying their corrupt and ill gotten gains, their fundamentalist backers are creating havoc all over the world. I quote:

Before the war, women in full-body coverings and men with long beards
were a rare sight. Today, though, they hardly turn a head.
Wahhabism is quickly gaining ground in the country, with polls showing that 13 percent of Bosnian Muslims support the conservative Sunni Islam reform movement. The movement is financed primarily by Saudi Arabian backers, who have invested well over a half-billion euros in Bosnia's development -- especially in the construction of over 150 mosques. The 8,187 square meter (88,124 square foot) King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo alone cost €20 million euros ($29 million), and it's also where radicals go to pray.

In trying to transform the country into a theocracy, the new preachers
of fundamental Islam aren't just fighting with the Koran. In Kalesija, militant
Wahhabis drove out the local imam after a fight (between local Muslims and the
Wahhabis). In the village of Dedici, residents took up their shotguns to defend
their mosque against the attacking fanatics. Recently, the Careva Mosque
(Emperor's Mosque) in Sarajevo locked its doors during prayer for the first time
in its 441-year history when a group of Wahhabis tried to enter and perform
their own prayer rites.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Warning to China and the world, the pork's getting expensive

The inexorable rise in the price of pork in domestic chinese markets is worrying me. Not only from the world financial markets perspective but also from the perspective of the stability of the country. Rural China is a tinderbox with seething riots, poverty and inequality. So if domestic pork prices rise at the rate of 5.4% per month (almost doubling this year), it will cause severe angst, feed through to inflation, further cause clamp downs on investment and spending, cause dislocations in the foreign exchange and fixed income markets, force crackdowns on protests and corruption, or cause the chinese government to open taps, god, the mind boggles.

Very worrisome.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Imprison the Lyrical Terrorist for bad poetry anyway

I do not like poetry, it goes against the teachings of my jesuit english teacher when I was young and callow. The idea that i break the laws of english grammar and ruin it by breaking sentences makes me break out in a cold sweat. So the idea of a terrorist sprouting poetry fills me with deeep angst and worry. Some examples of her work :

  • “The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom, the need to go increases second by second.”
  • Malik wrote poems entitled How To Behead and The Living Martyrs
  • "Kafirs (non-believers) your time will come soon, and no one will save you from your doom!"

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Suicide Bomber kills 59 children

Well, what do you know? this brain dead, mentally leperous, moron, pond life, disgusting animal of an excuse of a human being actually managed to kill 59 children. Applause. What wonderful ideology. What great thoughts. What wonderful direction. What a brave thing you did, my dear martyr. You will not get 72 houries in heaven. You will be in hell for killing innocent children. You will suffer the pangs of all the devils in hell, 59 lifetimes in each day, for snuffing out these children's lifes, you unspeakable miserable excuse for a human being. Everywhere else people are crying and dying and wishing to improve the lives of children. And you are snuffing them out. May the fleas of million camels use you for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Read and weep!

A suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week killed 59
schoolchildren and wounded 96 others, the education ministry said today.
schoolchildren were lined up to greet a group of lawmakers visiting a sugar
factory in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday when a suicide bomber
detonated explosives.
In total, at least 75 people were killed, including several parliamentarians.
The 59 schoolchildren, aged eight to 18, and five teachers were among those killed in the attack, said Zahoor Afghan, a ministry spokesman.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Value of the US Dollar - the Supermodel viewpoint

I had a quiet chuckle when I read this quote from the Euromoney

"I have absolutely no idea how low the dollar can go. But I can’t help thinking that when supermodels start predicting it will fall further, we must be near the base"

this relates to this story.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has proved she's got a head for figures - the
financial kind. The Brazilian beauty has insisted that she is paid in Euros
rather than US dollars.
With the dollar hitting an all time low against the Euro and British pound, the 27 year old catwalk queen has demanded the currency change.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Justice After Genocide:

Justice After Genocide: Ways To Deal With The Past
(First published at News From Bangladesh, October 27, 1997)
Dr. Zia Uddin Ahmed

Ms. Farida Banu, younger sister of Dhaka University teacher Mr. Giasuddin Ahmed filed a case with Ramna Police station on 24 September 1997, about kidnapping and killing of his brother. This case could very well be one of the routine FIR that Ramna police receives daily but in reality, it was not. A sister demanding justice for his slain brother filed it after long twenty-six years of the incident. Her brother was a victim of 1971 genocide. All over the country, still there are, like her, relatives of other three million or so similar victims of genocide, who are still waiting for acknowledgment and accounts.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which swung into action immediately, believes he was killed "under the same blueprint" as all other intellectuals, at the fag end of the liberation war. The Investigators, according to press reports, have assumed Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, Ashrafuzzaman and others behind this killing. Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, whose picture was printed in the newspaper as the principal Al-Badar killer over Bangladesh after independence, was also investigated by the British television, Channel Four, in a program `War Crimes File' in 1995.

The German writer Jurgen Fuchs once said to Adam Michnik, a leader of the Polish opposition to communist rule about crimes committed during the communist regime in East Germany that "if we do not solve this problem in a definite way, it will haunt us."

The past has a curious habit of coming back, again and again, if a proper strategy is not followed by the successor governments. In Bangladesh, past has never left even after its twenty-six years as the burden of the past could not be shaken off if no justice is done.

Tormented societies cannot forgive and forget and go on to the order of a new day unless ways are found to bring the society to come to terms. Filing of Ms. Banu's case and the police investigation exemplifies that in Bangladesh, past has, as yet, remained to be solved.

The purpose of this article is to find out the strategies, in general, for a nation to cope with its past. It then intents to examine the process adopted in Bangladesh to deal with the past, in this case, 1971 genocide. Finally, some conclusions to devise appropriate ways to live with the past will be made, which batters the society daily.

Criminal Prosecution:
By bringing action against perpetrators, their superiors and collaborators, a new regime can signal to victims and to the whole community that the state no longer considers the victims to be outcasts. The judicial process itself can also permit individual survivors and relatives and friends of victims to tell their stories, to document the torment and the suffering and to ventilate the feelings and emotions that have remained pent-up inside.

Another important reason for prosecuting those who commit and those who order genocide is that those who have been the direct victims will then see that justice has been done. For victims, seeing their tormentors brought to justice can have a strong therapeutic effect. Punishing the perpetrators of the old regime advances the cause of building or reconstructing a morally just society. Justice be done to put back in place the moral order that has broken down. Justice be done as a moral obligation to the victims of the repression. Post- genocide justice serves to heal the wounds and repair the private and public damage done. It also acts, as a sort of ritual cleansing process. A country in which such cleansing remains unfinished are plagued by continuous brooding and pondering.

Criminal prosecutions also strengthens fragile democracies. Survival of the successor regime depends on swift and firm action against the perpetrators and their following. If the prosecution issue remains untouched, other forms of social and political disturbance may be triggered, with perhaps a risk of vigilante justice with summery executions. It may also give birth to conspiracy theories in which the leaders of the successor regime are labeled as the hidden agents of the old order that they are treating in a too soft and ambiguous way.

Failure to prosecute may generate in the populace cynicism and distrust toward the political system. Unless the crimes of the defeated are investigated and punished, there can be no real growth of trust, no implanting of democratic norms in the society at large, and therefore no genuine consolidation of democracy. Prosecutions are seen as the most potent deterrent against future abuses of human rights. A civilized society must recognize the worth and dignity of those victimized by abuses of the past. This has been the official policy toward collaborators in all West European countries which, during World War II, were occupied by Germans.

After Hitler's occupation and genocide, the slogan in occupying countries were; "no place left for those who had betrayed their country." The number of unpatriotic citizens who suffered punishment in one or another form was about 100.000 in Belgium, 110.000 in The Netherlands, and 130.000 in France. The figure was remarkably high in Belgium and The Netherlands, which had in 1945, population of 8.3 and 8.8 million respectively. The number of death penalties was 6.763 in France, 2.940 in Belgium, and 152 in The Netherlands. Various prison sentences were awarded to 53.000 in Belgium, 49.000 in The Netherlands, and 40.000 in France. Imprisonment was almost always accompanied by other sanctions: a fine, confiscation of personal goods, police supervision after the end of the prison term, the obligation to reside in a specific town. In Belgium, damages had to be paid to the state, out of marital goods or from their heirs if necessary. Tens of thousands of Dutchmen suffered the loss of nationality. In Germany, international community put the principal perpetrators of holocaust on trial, and others were tried too.

Disqualification of the perpetrators, of their agents or of other willing participants, is a second way to address the question. The idea being, those who have acted against the people or have collaborated, forfeited some of their rights, including political and civil rights, sometimes disqualification accompanies a criminal conviction, as occurred in post-war Belgium, France, and The Netherlands. These countries also introduced some form of `national indignity', which implied a series of civic disqualifications and a prohibition of some kinds of professional activity. In other instances, as in most of the post-communist countries of East and Central Europe, disqualification has been preferred as a way to sidestep criminal prosecution.

Post-genocide traumatized society often has to make a dichotomous choice between two perilous options, should the perpetrators be prosecuted or should they be amnestied in the interests of national reconciliation? For purely politically motivated crimes, granting of unconditional amnesty could be an option. In some instances, the outgoing government unilaterally award themselves self-amnesty. In other instances impunity, is the outcome of negotiations between old and new leaders.

Amnesty endangers the inculcation of codes of conduct based on rule of law. It is discriminatory application of criminal law, privileging certain defendants, which bread cynicism toward the rule of law. Moreover, States have the duty to prosecute violations of international law like genocide. Such crimes cannot be unilaterally forgiven; even a victim society cannot forgive crimes against humanity.

Truth Commission:
Amnesty, but not amnesia, is the substance of the fourth strategy. The first goal of such a commission is to investigate the fates, under the occupying regime, of individuals and of the nation as a whole. A truth telling operation, including full disclosure of human rights abuses, ensure that "the facts" are not forgotten but remain alive in the memory.

The perpetrators come out openly, reveal all the facts and face the victims publicly and see the results of their actions. Recent examples are the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (1990), the United Nations sponsored Truth Commission in El Salvador and ongoing Truth Commission in South Africa. However, for some, general knowledge of the truth is not enough. An official recognition of the injustices that have been suffered is necessary.

For the families of victims and survivors, compensation serves as immediate public recognition of their pain and trauma. The most concrete form of reparation is monetary compensation. Financial constraints may not permit large-scale payments, but it is still important to provide financial compensation to the victim family either individually or the whole community. Examples are abound, Germany's reparation to Jews and Israel, Japan's to Korea.

Permanent Reminders:
Establishment of permanent reminders of the past, such as monuments, museums, public holidays, and ceremonies together with support group, provide a channel of non-violent __expression of pain, frustration and anger.

Public Airing Of Grievances:
The public airing of grievances in a non-criminal context could possibly promote an atmosphere in which some kind of national reconciliation would be feasible. Publicly acknowledging the torment and suffering of victims and survivors can help in the recovery of their social and political well being as it helps them psychologically and contributes to defusing potential cycles of revenge and victimization.

It is very important to establish a permanent historical record that would inform and educate future generations to prevent similar atrocities. Future generations must be taught about the dangers of repeating the past.

Thus, documentation of genocide and identification of the violators in some kind of public record at the national or at the international should be done. Oral histories of survivors and other witnesses can be collected. Testimonies of perpetrators and their superiors can be recorded. Findings of the Commissions, trial transcripts, or the perpetrators own documentations should be published.

Voices Of The Victims:
Another avenue of redress could be forums with opportunities for survivors in communicating their stories. First hand testimonies of survivors could be incorporated into programs in military and police courses, medical and law schools. Similarly, they could be invited to lecture in primary and secondary schools, in history and social studies classes, and in university in various relevant courses. In press and broadcasting, victims perspectives are particularly pertinent.

Bangladesh: Botched Strategies
Bangladesh had to deal with the aftermath of genocide soon after the perpetrator's defeat. It became an inescapable task for the new democracy. The incidents of private revenges began to be noticed, and the state quite rightly made choices to prosecute the perpetrators and the collaborators.

It was expected that by applying the law firmly and fairly, the state will avoid vigilantism. But the new government, it transpires, did not have a well thought out strategy to deal with the post-genocide society. In Bangladesh, the genocide was carried out by the Pakistani government and its army, alongside the war of occupation. In Pakistan, the leadership and the elites, mostly migrated from India, were essentially racist, held "superior race" view vis-à-vis Bangladeshis. This was epitomized by General Ayub Khan, when, as early as 1954, he jotted down his thoughts that Bangalees "have all the inhibitions of down-trodden races and have not yet found it possible to adjust psychologically to the requirements of the new-born freedom." (Mohammad Ayub Khan, Friends No Masters: A Political Biography, 1967, page 187).

Pakistani leadership mixed racial chauvinism with religion, and the resultant cocktail was the basis of genocide. The politics just triggered off the genocide mechanism. Pakistanis were led to believe both by their political and religious leaders, about the "imported" nature of Islam in their part of Pakistan and as such "purer" than "converted" Bangladesh Muslims from lower caste Hindus.

In 1970, when the people of Bangladesh overwhelmingly voted for virtual autonomy to run their own affair and not to remain a market for overpriced Pakistani products and source of capital for Pakistan's development, Pakistani military and political elites jointly drew-up two plans, firstly, to unleash unimaginable terror, killings and destructions, to cow the people and then to "cleanse East Pakistan once and for all of the threat of secession" and planned to "kill off two million people and ruling the province as a colony for 30 years." The combination of racial hate, religion and politico-economic interests converged and formed classic background for a genocide.
Hitler too believed Jews to be `unclean' plague and threat to German Aryan race. He was weary of Jews growing hold over economy who conspire against Germany. Pakistanis too never trusted Bangalees where it mattered most, in power. Bangalees fought back, first, in defense and then to get the country free from Pakistani occupation. The war started and the Pakistanis began a loosing battle. Pakistanis too, on one front, faced the valiant Freedom Fighters, guerrillas and regular sorts and on the other hand, meticulously carried out genocidal plan. The result: total destruction of infrastructure and economy of Bangladesh, ten million people driven out of the country, twenty million people internally displaced, fifteen million houses set ablaze, three hundred thousand women raped and three million killed. The new government, within six weeks of victory, introduced laws, the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972 (P.O.No.8 of 1972), to deal with the collaborators who had "participated with or aided or abetted the occupation army in maintaining, sustaining, strengthening, supporting or furthering the illegal occupation of Bangladesh by such army." The Collaborators Order did not contain punishment for planning or organizing genocide, which took over a year and half to produce.

In July,1973, the parliament passed the International Crimes Act (Tribunals) Act,1973
(Act No. XIX of 1973) to provide for detention, prosecution and punishment for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law. The Act was to set-up a Tribunal with power "to try and punish any person irrespective of his nationality who, being a member of any armed, defense and auxiliary forces commits or has committed, in the territory of Bangladesh, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, genocide and war crimes, whether before or after the commencement of this Act." The law, at last, provided forums to prosecute the principal perpetrators and planners of genocide, the army and the members of
paramilitary organizations like, the Razakars, Al-Badars, Al-Shams etc.

Thus, the government chose to put the collaborators, mainly the local people, who participated or aided the occupation army in maintaining illegal occupation, on trial first, instead of the principal planners and perpetrators of genocide. A number of them were picked up and faced the Special Tribunals. However, in November, 1973 the government decided to release, under an amnesty order, all those held and convicted under the Collaborators Order for national reconciliation. The amnesty was massively misconstrued and widely abused. In the end, all the collaborators of genocide were freed.

As the later events showed, not a single individual was finally prosecuted and tried for genocide in Bangladesh. The new elites this botched strategy of criminal prosecution for genocide failed. It did not do any justice to the victims who died, did not satisfy people like Ms. Farida Banu, immediate families of the victims. Finally, it failed to generate any reconciliation between the perpetrators and the victims because the government acted alone in deciding the strategy and then granting amnesty.

The victim families and the nation at large was not consulted in any manner. The high principles of rule of law was sacrificed. Questions began cropping up, if one was not punished for crime like genocide of three million, then what crime merited punishment?

Secondly, Bangladesh also tried "disqualification" strategy again not in any cohesive manner. Disqualification was not to be a part of criminal prosecution as there were not much prosecution to start with. Even disqualification was not practiced independently of criminal prosecution.

As such, the collaborators did not forfeit any civil or political rights despite their collaboration. No one was disqualified from exercising civil and political rights in a new country whose birth they opposed in participating in genocide.

The government, instead, prohibited politics based on religion. Article 12 of the newly adopted Constitution declared: "The principle of secularism shall be realized by elimination of (a) communalism in all its forms; (b) the granting by the State of political status in favor of any religion; (c) the abuse of religion for political purposes; (d) any discrimination against, or persecution of, persons practicing a particular religion." However, Article 12 of the Constitution of Bangladesh containing fundamental state principles of secularism was removed by General Ziaur Rahman through Martial Law Proclamation Order No. I of 1977.

Thus, however commendable, this strategy to deal with genocide failed too. Government's compensation scheme for the victim families has not worked either nor other attempts of reconciliation, rather the fault-line has expanded to divide the society right in the middle.

Ways Ahead:
Finally, Bangladesh must now devise appropriate strategy to deal with the past from various alternatives. The worst solution would be to try to ignore the problem; the cost of cover-up are simply too big as the last twenty-six years have demonstrated. But the leaders should never forget that the lack of political pressure to put these issues on the agenda does not mean that they are not boiling underground, waiting to erupt. They will come back to haunt. There are some who believe economic development will be the panacea. They are wrong. Developed countries like Germany, France, Germany are still struggling to come to term with the past despite building affluent societies. Social harmony, peace and human rights are necessary ingredients for human and economic development and without justice, there cannot be harmony, piece and human rights.

Reconciliation is seen as a crucial prerequisite for the consolidation of a young democracy. To some analysts, reconciliation can only be produced if the successor elite refrain from prosecuting the previous regime. Others, however, argue that impunity precludes the coming of reconciliation. In Bangladesh, lack of prosecution has failed to bring reconciliation or the strengthening of democracy.

In post-genocide Bangladesh, the religious fanaticism, extremism and fundamentalism have made solid inroad into the society. Successive governments have, for political convenience, compromised and on occasions cajoled Islamic fanatics. The Collaborators, even after amnesty, continued activities to throttle down the spirits of liberation, which has given rise to demands for new laws to curb the activities of Islamic fundamentalist and communal elements. These Islamic parties propagate same brand of Islam which resulted in genocide in 1971, the communal, sexist, hate and violence.

Hence, for justice and reconciliation, some prosecutions must go ahead. No new laws, however, are required. The Collaborators Order, though has since been repealed, the International Crimes Act,1973 still remains a valid law. The Act is a complete law in itself. It provides setting-up a Tribunal to try four specific offenses, namely, crimes against humanity and peace, genocide and war crime; with provisions for prosecution, investigation, procedure of trial and appeal. Under Section 21, a person convicted and sentenced shall can appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

Under the Act, those who were members of the auxiliary forces in 1971, either structured or shadowy, should be investigated and then brought to justice. People like Mueen Uddin should be tried under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act,1973 for genocide and not under the conventional penal law. These people are not the usual criminals, but, planners and executioners of genocide and should, therefore, be punished for committing genocide. The investigators have reportedly said, they would try to deal with the killings of all the intellectuals as all of them were killed under the same blueprint by the same group. The blueprint was that of genocide and as such, the investigators should press charges under the International War Crimes Act.

Successive governments have also failed to obtain any reparation from Pakistan for genocide and destruction caused in 1971. No Pakistani leader has yet offered any apology to the people of Bangladesh. Even the Queen of The Netherlands has recently apologized to the people of Indonesia for the atrocities committed during the colonial period. So also the Japanese king and the President of Germany. Instead, the average Pakistanis are still being fed with concocted history. Few Pakistanis have any idea how their best army, composed of martial races, lost to ragtag irregular Freedom Fighters and to inferior Indian forces. The modern technology has offered us the opportunity to put our side of the story directly to Pakistani people via Internet, and create opinion based on true facts. Pakistani government is, under international law, obliged to try the war criminals and perpetrators of genocide, besides payments of compensation.

In 1971, the genocide, which was carried out while the war was on, also has international ramifications. The government of the United States of America was at the time helping the genocidal regime of Yahya Khan. It is, therefore, necessary to find out more of the official role of the United States government to determine how much US government was aware of genocidal plans and what, if any, was done to stop it. In this regard, a campaign for a US Congress hearing, in line with the Cambodian hearing, should be launched and the members of the Bangladesh community in United States could take lead in this matter.

As already observed, in Bangladesh, the liberation war and genocide have often been equated, though both occurred pari passu, liberation war and genocide were separate events. The fallen heroes of the liberation war are rightly honored when the nation ceremonially pays its respect on Independence and Victory days, but, three million victims of genocide are not remembered in the same fashion on a given day. A day, on the other hand, is observed as "Buddhijibi Hotta Dibosh" in December to mark the killings of the intellectuals, which could easily be expanded to include all the victims of genocide and the day could be observed instead as "Gonohotta Dibosh," as a remembrance day of all the genocide victims. In fact, killings of the intellectuals was the final chapter of Pakistani genocidal plan to deprive the nation of its finest brains and thus, it became a total genocide.

When a regime ends violently because of war against an occupying army or a civil war or genocide, anomia is inescapable. But the duty of the successor government is to strike a balance and draw up the strategy that delivers justice.
Barrister Zia U. Ahmed is a faculty member in the Dept. of Jurisprudence at Catholic University, Brussels, Belgium. He manages Bangladesh Centre for Genocide Studies in Brussels and could be reached at

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Father's then and now!

In my previous post, I talked about my father. He is quite reserved and very very security consious because of his refugee and poverty background. So he worked day and night to provide for his extended family and we rarely saw him.

When I became a father, he sent me a small newspaper cutting. It said, "the best gift a father can give his children are few moments of his time daily". Well, I learnt quite a lot and while I did not do as well as I could have with my son, I hope I improved a bit with my daughter. But it is funny and I loved this post in the NYT which I am quoting in full here. Go for it, be with your kids, spend time with them, sniff them, cuddle them, play in the garden with them, check out worms in the garden, see how the autumn leaves swish when you walk through them, complain about bad parking with them, talk about how wonderful stars are and how eclipses are formed, wrinkle up your nose at their potty habits......

Daddy Wars
One of the more pleasant outcomes of the slowly
growing trend toward highly involved fatherhood has been, I’ve found, the
ability to plainly see that total ninnyishness is not a uniquely female thing.
You can hear groups of fathers now having the same stultifyingly dull
conversations about their babies as moms have had for time immemorial. You can
see dads flushing red, up in arms, nearly tearful, about the same sort of
mind-numbing minutia that was once the exclusive domain of mothers on school
committees. You can see them co-playing on the playgrounds, co-watching TV,
co-dependently taking part in their little loves’ gymnastics classes, violin
lessons and friends’ ostensibly parent-free birthday parties.
They’ve got their blogs, their memoirs, their support groups and “
dad lit.” And now, thanks to Charlie LeDuff, they’ve got the makings of their very own Daddy Wars.
LeDuff was a globe-trotting correspondent for The New York Times who covered Iraq and Michael Jackson and won a Pulitzer as part of the reporting team that created The Times’s “How Race is Lived in America” series. He became famous for his quirky and lively portraits of Americans on the edge.
And then, a year ago, his daughter, Claudette, was born early, while he was away reporting a story. Hearing the news, he says, he cried. And since then has traded in the life of big billboard headlines for stay-at-home fatherhood. I think that’s really nice.
I think that his wife (who is now single-handedly paying the mortgage on a
middle school counselor’s salary) is otherwise a very lucky woman.
What isn’t nice, though, is that LeDuff’s transformation from star reporter to
stay-at-home dad, chronicled in
an essay in this month’s Men’s Vogue, has been
accompanied by the worst kind of moralizing, and the sort of other-bashing
ego-boosting that, penned by a mother, would be enough to get her expelled from
polite parent society forever.
“We go off to the park to see the Latina nannies who care for the Little Lord Fauntleroys of a neighborhood filled with two-career families,” writes LeDuff of his days with Claudette. “It’s only a 15-minute walk from my own neighborhood, but it’s another world altogether. My friend Angelica tells me, ‘The children love us more than they love their parents. The little one calls me Mommy.’ ”
“My child,” he chimes in, “will never call someone else Daddy.”
When Caitlin Flanagan said
similar things, she was (verbally) ripped limb from
limb. She was accused of setting women back a generation. She was called
arrogant, self-righteous, above all reactionary. Could such charges be lodged
against a stay-at-home dad like LeDuff? How could they? “Reactionary
stay-at-home-dad” is an oxymoron. The simple fact of LeDuff’s “dadditude” —
for more such rapture, see Philip Lerman’s book of earlier this year — neutralizes his verbal sting.
LeDuff misses his old life as a war correspondent terribly. But he hasn’t left its literary practices entirely behind. Toward the end of his piece, tooling around the neighborhood with his precious cargo, he encounters a man named Jose who is painting a house, and neatly makes him into the men’s magazine equivalent of the clever cabdriver so often called upon for pithy quotes in foreign postings.
“The whole world is in your brazos there, amigo,” says this sage. Sensing LeDuff’s longing for more virile endeavors, Jose asks, “Sometimes you see this duty as women’s work?” And: “This is preferable to the stranger who is not truly able to give the child love.”
“He said it just like that,” LeDuff then writes. “The nut graph, we
call it in journalism. The point of the story. Jose articulated the thing my
friends — the go-to-work dads — were not able, or not willing, to tell me: You
have to decide if the child is more important than the stature, the action, the
money. If she is, you must accept it and get on with the routine.”
If I were Charlie LeDuff’s wife, I’d start listening in on his conversations at barbecues and birthday parties. When he started expounding upon the virtues of
stay-at-home fatherhood, I’d slip over by his side. And then, if he started
spitting up more such hairballs, I’d come over gently, squeeze him by the
shoulders, and interrupt, “Always thinking. That’s my Charlie!”
Such are the vicissitudes of ninnydom.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!