Friday, August 22, 2014

Skip Navigation Links
SUPPLEMENT

Visitor Login










External design stirring destabilization

M. Shahidul Islam

A mighty, devastating political storm is about to pounce the nation sooner. This is unavoidable. Denying the people the right to choose their leaders is an autocratic credo that evaporates either with the onset of a revolution or foreign intervention. The scheme is thematically flawed and politically suicidal.

Full Story

M. Shahidul Islam

A mighty, devastating political storm is about to pounce the nation sooner. This is unavoidable. Denying the people the right to choose their leaders is an autocratic credo that evaporates either with the onset of a revolution or foreign intervention. The scheme is thematically flawed and politically suicidal.

Little may be known as yet how the main opposition party (not though in parliament), the BNP, will execute its expressed desire to dislodge the government unless a consensus-based election is held under a caretaker regime of some sort. The ruling party’s game plash/n, however, has become pretty much clear.
Theoretically, Bangladesh cannot live with this ‘managed democratic hangover’ for too long. The lull in the political horizon is set to be transformed soon into a bloody struggle for power, according to informed sources.

Politics vs. mendacity
Signs of an impending destabilization are visible everywhere, thanks to the wild August tempests surrounding the death anniersary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the ruling party leaders’ spasmodic comments that had exposed the main planks of their defenses against an impending opposition drive to dislodge what is a dubious regime by all accounts and is vulnerable by virtue of its non-representativeness and an arbitrarily- accrued- mandate scavenged through the non-participatory January election.
The bulwark of that defence is mendacity and propaganda. The government wants to brand the BNP and its allies as terroristic and prone to religious extremism. Secretary General of the ruling Awami League, Syed Ashraf, has categorically said so during an August 17 rally in Dhaka: “We have evidence that then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia had aided and abetted the extremists who had exploded the series bombs on this day in 2005,” Ashraf said.
The accusation against a three- time-elected Prime Minister of the country is a damn lie, as we shall see. It also came on the heels of another major accusation against the BNP’s founding leader, Ziaur Rahman, that “he (Zia) was involved in Mujib killing” and that the “USA and Canada’s unwillingness to handover some of the convicted Mujib killers proved they (USA & Canada) were involved in the killing too.” More so, following her recent visit to the UK, where the Downing Street had reportedly insisted on her (the PM) to hold an inclusive election sooner, PM Sheikh Hasina retorted: “The red building (meaning perhaps the historic Curzon Hall) is a colonial relic. Why should we keep it?”
If the grudge against colonialism did demand demolition of historic sites, India would have bulldozed all such structures long ago. Instead, even a fervent nationalist like Naredra Modi, the incumbent Indian PM, has chosen to hold his 2014 Independence Day rally in the historic Red Fort, a relic of the 500- years- long Muslim rule in India.

Autocratic utterances
Modi is mindful that history is the repository of politics, not vice a versa. Our PM has forgotten that her party, the AL, too has a historical legacy that is not entirely suitable for today. But that’s a reality without which today’s AL has little to swagger. We as a nation cannot efface the taints of colonialism by demolishing a historic site or two.
That’s not all. The dirty and divisive politics of the government encompasses layers of many other accusations and utterances that are utterly authoritarian, arrogant and intolerant. The utterance of another ruling party leader and minister, Motia Chowdhury, who, characteristically, displayed her teeth-cringing arrogance and a grimaced face during an August 17 rally, is more illustrative. She said:  “The BNP will not be allowed to come to power again.”
It was the epitome of an autocratic utterance that had exposed the true intent and the disposition of the ruling AL regime. Shouldn’t the people decide who shall govern them?
As observers, we are given to surmise that: (1) the government’s plan is not to allow the BNP to come to power again, which is only possible by denying the people the right to chose their leaders and nominees in an inclusive, fair and participatory election; (2) the BNP (and its leaders) will be branded and prosecuted further for being terrorists and inclined towards religious fundamentalism; (3) the government will use such allegations to dismember the BNP and prop up the ‘clinically dead’ Jatio Party (JP) as the alternative nationalist force, as it has partially done during the January 5 elections.

Proxy and propaganda
Amidst this backdrop, the visit to India of the JP’s discredited and laughable leader, H.M. Ershad, carries significance. Sources say Ershad had returned home from his recent Delhi trip with an assignment to watch over the major players of the coming showdown and ensure that the AL is either kept in power, or replaced by someone pliant to the AL and India alike. Ershad is desperate to fit in as a proxy to many shoes simultaneously, it was learnt. His next theatric, therefore, could be more stunning than the game he played last time by sending his estranged wife, Rowshan, to parliament and himself heading to the CMH under feigned RAB escort.
Ershad once again emerges as a joker because the government is aware that the terror bogey that was used in early 2007 to suck in the armed forces into the political fray is not going to cut the ice this time. For, according to records, it was the BNP regime that had created the RAB to fight out the religious extremists. As well, the August 2005 series bomb exploders and the masterminds of similar crimes were arrested, prosecuted, convicted and executed.
It was while the BNP was in power that the trials of the main accused of the fundamentalist variety took place smoothly, leading to the conviction to death in January 2007 of JMB leaders Abdul Qaiyum (alias Bhodu), Minhajul Islam (alias Sohel Rana) and Abu Sayeed (alias Hussain). Another 22 Islamic extremists were sentenced to death for the same attacks.
Earlier, in November 2005, JMB’s two top leaders, Rahman and Siddiqul Islam (Bangla Bhai), were served with death penalty. Blaming the BNP chairperson for such a crime is hence a non-starter in the eyes of law and reasoning.

External design
Besides, the terror bogey itself has become a rotten ruse both locally and internationally. Despite raucous accusations that the 10 truck-load of arms cache in Chittagong port in 2004 was the handiwork of Islamic extremists, subsequent investigations and the trials, though totally flawed and orchestrated, could not avoid the finding that the cache was destined for the ULFA separatists of India. Even the Time magazine has had its face smeared with eggs due to its misguided cover-page reporting of the arms cache being for use to stage a ‘green revolution’ in Bangladesh.
Yet, two of the country’s topmost intelligence chiefs (DGs of DGFI and NSI) were framed into the arms cache case to brand the BNP as a terrorist outfit. If the incumbent BNP regime was really involved in the scheme, how did a low ranking police officer got through the security parameters at the port where the arms got unloaded and the media was allowed instantly to publicize the event as a success tale of the Bangladeshi law enforcers?
The nation wanted to forget such bickering past and start afresh. But in the manner the political landscape is being manicured by the government, we feel an externally designed plan is being implemented gradually to turn this nation of 160 million into a backyard and a satellite of a major power that wants the ruling party to stay in power perpetually.
The divisive and the diversionary tactic and the strategy being followed to meet that end will lead to many other bogus and concocted schemes to destroy the institutional fabrics of the nation and its Nationalist-Islamist political compact that remains doggedly opposed to such autocratic, anti-national interest policies. In the end, the scheme of the ruling party will fail and democracy will return one day.


Login to post comments


(0)



‘END OF HISTORY’ GAG OF THE MEDIA
Govt. nervous about its weathered lifeline

Sadeq Khan

By creeping measures undeterred by political or civil society outcries, the impugned tenth parliament obtained by a boycotted and manipulated ritual of Election Commission exercise and its unrepresentative “unity” government by Sheikh Hasina with hand-picked loyals both from Treasury and feigned Opposition Benches (mostly declared elected unopposed by coercing or buying out of contest “unreliable” aspirants who were ready to take advantage of the boycotted election ritual) are chopping down the democratic fabric of the state structure.

Full Story

Sadeq Khan

By creeping measures undeterred by political or civil society outcries, the impugned tenth parliament obtained by a boycotted and manipulated ritual of Election Commission exercise and its unrepresentative “unity” government by Sheikh Hasina with hand-picked loyals both from Treasury and feigned Opposition Benches (mostly declared elected unopposed by coercing or buying out of contest “unreliable” aspirants who were ready to take advantage of the boycotted election ritual) are chopping down the democratic fabric of the state structure.

The Supreme Court Judges, widely perceived to be awed and tamed already by overt and covert blackmail of authoritarian Executive power, now face the Damocles’ Sword of parliamentary impeachment under a Sixteenth Amendment Bill approved by Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet.
The Fifteenth Amendment passed in her preceding tenure as Prime Minister had introduced too many contradictory provisions to confound the democratic spirit of the Constitution, particularly complicating the process of smooth transmission of power as practiced since the retrospective effect of the consensual Twelfth Amendment and later-introduced Thirteenth Amendment, now nullified. The resulting continuous political unrest and extreme polarisation of power politics in this country, combined with criminalisation of political authority and police administration at various levels have created a suffocating climate of disorder with rampant extortions, muggings, kidnappings, contract murders, “cross-fire” killings and mafia terror simultaneously from criminal, political and extra-judicial intents.

No rule of law exists
There is no rule of law, not even minimal governance surviving the systematic subversion of the state institutions by the neo-Baksalites in power. There are only wilfully modified rules of business that succeeded in enforcing a Prime Ministerial dictatorship freely granting virtual impunity from prosecution to loyal mafia godfathers, and allotting subordinate tyrannical fiefdoms to Members of Parliament over their constituencies and rent-seeking turfs to crony capitalists over commerce, industry and services of any kind anywhere in the country.
To protect such mafia anarchy and police raj, Sheikh Hasina’s “unity” government of the impugned tenth parliament has now come up with cabinet approval for a “National Broadcast Policy”, gazetted on August 6, to muzzle the electronic media, negating its own past rightful law-making in the form of Right to Information Act 2009 and Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011. The government now is too eager to protect itself from any adverse publicity by controlling right to information of any probing citizen and by nipping any potential whistleblower in the bud. Not only the political opposition but also civil society members, irrespective of their attachment to either side of the sharply divided polity, have reacted with horror.
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Chapter of Transparency International, the transnational anti-corruption crusaders, has questioned the Policy as prompted by presumption of “End of History”. He noted that the so-called National Broadcast Policy “contains many provisions that are subject to such risk of motivated, subjective and arbitrary interpretations that it may turn out to be a convenient tool to restrict free flow of information, media freedom, and freedom of expression, thought and opinion as enshrined in the Constitution. The policy appears to be a brainchild of those who are intolerant of media freedom and critical views. It speaks of a mindset that either you are with us or with our enemies. It undermines the fact that freedom of information and free media are the key to checks and balances indispensable for democratic accountability.

NBP: Govt’s own Frankenstein
For those who have pushed it through it seems that the history is going to end here. The government appears to have been motivated by short term priorities so as to present itself a tool to promote parochial interests. As a result, it has the risk of eventually turning into its (the government’s) own Frankenstein if and when it lands in the hands of political opponents.
Leaving wide options for subjective and politically motivated interpretations, the policy provides that views affecting the interest of the public and the country cannot be broadcast. Broadcast of speech of the heads of the state and the government has been made mandatory, whereas no such provision has been made for opposition leader, a position of high importance in a democratic society. On the other hand, it prevents broadcast of anything that may be deemed harmful to political sentiments, a provision that can be subjectively used as per convenience.
It stipulates that no information can be disclosed that may tarnish anyone’s personal image, which may facilitate interpretation of disclosure of a corrupt activity or abuse of power to affect the image of the individual concerned. The policy practically imposes a ban on reporting acts of sedition, anarchy and destructive events that may affect public interest. This may imply that people will have no right to know or to express opinion on such phenomena even when they have occurred.
“Equally inexplicable is the provision that no information, campaign, picture or opinion can be broadcast that may adversely affect Bangladesh’s relations with a friendly state. This may open the scope of practical blackout of information and opinion on such matters as border killing and other cross-border issues.
“With regard to the effectiveness of the proposed independent Broadcast Commission, ..... it stipulates that the Commission may recommend to the government on matters related to broadcast license, without articulating whether and under what circumstances the Commission’s recommendation can be overruled by the government. This practically leaves licensing authority in the hands of the government. Another blanket provision of control is that the government retains authority to decide on any matter not included in the policy...... “(Thus) although the policy is about broadcast and media, it will affect access to information and freedom of expression of practically all institutions and individuals.”

Electronic media turning biased
Likewise, Dr. CR Abrar of Dhaka University International Relations Department and also President of the prominent Rights Activists organisation, Odhikar, bluntly exposed the ill motives of the government behind the move in the following lines: “Weighed down by misinformation propagated by the state-run channels and a section of private channels, another section began drawing interest of the politically conscious citizenry of the country. The discussion sessions, the so-called talk-shows, hosted by these channels provide a refreshing setting, particularly for those who are hungry for reflection and analysis of events as and when they occur.
“A powerful few find the talk-shows ‘tawk’ (sour) and have candidly voiced such feelings. The administration, therefore, has opted to bring in line those channels that respond to the market forces, i.e., popular demands for unbiased reporting and differing perspectives. Hence, its insistence on streamlining the contents of the news and talk-shows. The inclusion of the provision to include government programmes mandatory for private channels will invariably result in those channels meeting the same fate as that of Bangladesh Television and Radio, losing credibility and audience and their trust. So instead of helping the electronic media to prosper, the administration is on course to incapacitate them. Its final goal is to ensure pervasive conformism.
“One does not have to be a sage to realise that media control can lead to catastrophic consequence for the political leadership.
“Successive authoritarian administrations in this country learnt the hazards that lay in taking such a path. It leads to a plethora of freedom-curbing anti-democratic policies and further alienation of the rulers from the ruled. One wonders if the current administration is wittingly treading that path or not.”
Instant impact of the declared National Broadcast Policy, notwithstanding strong objections from the civil society and political opposition, is already evident in TV coverage. The sharply critical “talk shows” are vanishing from the TV screens, replaced by goody goody exchanges of feeble appreciation.

Signs of nervousness showing
The news-coverage of the massive crowd that gathered in Suhrawardy Udyan on 19 August daunting incessant rains to hear the opposition 20-party alliance leaders (their supremo Begum Khaleda Zia was unwell and absent) was snapped off the TV screens after only seconds of broadcast before the TV audience could comprehend the extent of burgeoning attendance and public response to the opposition cries for concerted agitation for the downfall of the “illegitimate regime.”
Some analysts and commentators have detected in the latest authoritarian moves by the government a sign of growing “nervousness” of the ruling party leaders on account of patent alienation of the people, as demonstrated by very poor public response to this year’s regular and occasional events of the “Month of Mourning” observed and organised by ruling party organs throughout the country. The contrast of public response to the opposition 20-party alliance’s rally in drenching rains with or without umbrellas on August 19 was glaring indeed.
And in a news-commentary, reporter Khademul Islam noted: “Experts and rights activists observe apparent desperation of the Awami League and its partners that appears to have reached a climax, as the sham January 5 election failed to win national and international recognition as yet. They believe that the attempts to curb the independence of the judiciary and democratic freedom of the media might not save the day for the incumbents. In a bid to impose partisan control over the higher judiciary, Sheikh Hasina has taken a number of steps, including framing of broadcasting policy, drafting an online media policy, restoring parliament’s power to impeach Supreme Court judges and amending the Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act of 1973. Experts said that the government, isolated as it was from the people and desperate to cling to power without a popular mandate, now only depended on warranted control of the democratic space for free thought and expression.”
Such a diffident administration is bound to succumb to the test of time under the stress of public disaffection.


Login to post comments


(0)



Life becoming more difficult for journalists

Fazal M. Kamal

That being a media professional has become a dangerous incarnation is all too well-known by this stage of our advanced and tech-savvy civilization; that just voicing an opinion not having the imprimatur of the myriad offshoots of state authority has also been known to lead to what may euphemistically be described as dire consequences; that after the atrocious events of 9/11 it has become absolutely commonplace for governments all around the globe — and which government would pass up such an opportunity since being self-serving is in their very nature — to take advantage of fears of unknown peril to asphyxiate many freedoms particularly to make it simpler and easier for them to throttle critical opinions as well as facts that are likely to discomfit powerful entities.

Full Story

Fazal M. Kamal

That being a media professional has become a dangerous incarnation is all too well-known by this stage of our advanced and tech-savvy civilization; that just voicing an opinion not having the imprimatur of the myriad offshoots of state authority has also been known to lead to what may euphemistically be described as dire consequences; that after the atrocious events of 9/11 it has become absolutely commonplace for governments all around the globe — and which government would pass up such an opportunity since being self-serving is in their very nature — to take advantage of fears of unknown peril to asphyxiate many freedoms particularly to make it simpler and easier for them to throttle critical opinions as well as facts that are likely to discomfit powerful entities.

These are only some of the realities of today’s interconnected world. And they aren’t pretty.
Consequently, from the most powerful administration in the universe (the United States) to one of the most myopic (in Bangladesh) via India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and an assortment of many across the world every government has been enacting tougher and tighter regulations so that they can blame the messenger (and of course shoot them when needed) instead of rectifying the lapses that are reported. The speed of legislating stranglehold laws increased once Julian Assange and Edward Snowden dumped all those files onto the public domain and told the people what was really going on behind the smoke-and mirror sleights performed behind the all-encompassing rubric of national security — a potent factor that has had innumerable definitions morphing whenever a government wished it to.

Chilling effect on democracy
In a recent report, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union underscored that “digital mass surveillance is having a chilling effect on US democracy, affecting journalists and lawyers” and concluded that some of the most fundamental freedoms are under threat. They also warned that the US government’s policies on secrecy and preventing leaks, as well as its stance on officials talking to the media, undermine traditional US values. “These concerns do indeed appear to be playing out in the industry,” wrote Phillip Di Salvo commenting on the report. “In 2012 alone, the US federal government reclassified 95 million pieces of information. It’s not clear how many of these were made more or less secret but overclassification is becoming a concern. It has been estimated that between 50% and 90% of classified documents could be made public without them posing a security threat.”
What seems even more significant is that “The Obama administration has also used the 1917 Espionage Act to routinely target whistleblowers. Under the current presidency, eight people have been pursued for leaking information to the press, including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks source. Just three such prosecutions were pursued between 1917 and Obama’s election.” These developments evidently have immense impact on media professionals as well as on their ability to tell a story or for commentators to provide opinions on issues of much national and international import.
Not surprisingly these circumstances led one national security journalist to state: “We’re not able to do our jobs if sources are in danger.” These concerns, as Di Salvo commented, “are in turn leading to increasing use of encryption technology among a significant number of journalists interviewed for the report. But … the [HRW and ACLU] report notes that many journalists fear [the encryption technology is] not completely safe. This was a fear raised by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Erich Schmitt when he warned that asking sources to protect their digital communication can actually attract more attention to their communications.”

Fear stalks the free & the brave
So there you have it. In the land of the free and home of the brave, fear stalks those very people who ought to be faithful to their chosen line of work by telling the truth. This environment has further added to the self-editing whims of large news organizations always trying to lean on the side of the more powerful. Which brings me to the tale told by Richard Falk, an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. The primary point of his story is this: “When the BBC calls, don’t answer.” The main cause behind that advice is the decision of many news outlets editing and selecting the spin they prefer to provide to reports of different events. In this instance, Richard Falk was called by the aforementioned BBC to stand by so that he could be interviewed on the situation in Gaza during the bombing by Israel.
Following a number of such invitations and subsequent rejections Prof. Falk reached the conclusion: “It seems that somewhere buried in these trivial rejections there is occasion for concern that the media claim of objectivity in liberal societies is above all else a sham. That even powerful players such as the BBC are secretly captive, and their reportage and commentary qualify less as news than as Hasbara, at least when it comes to Israel-Palestine. In any event, my advice to the media savvy, is that if you have caller ID, and you can tell that it is BBC calling, don’t bother answering. I hope I have the good sense to follow my own advice should the phone ever ring again!” That, of course, is the management’s method of operation. For the working journalist it’s indeed quite a vastly different set of circumstances since s/he is usually reluctant to decide on her/his own what to report and what to secret away. In fact, a professional media person always feels a moral compulsion to tell the tale, often in spite of threats of many kinds. Because their conscience advises them to. (Certainly, as in all spheres, there indeed are exceptions.)

Instilling fear in newsmen
Way out there in Bangladesh, meanwhile, the incumbent administration despite having every tentacle of state apparatus in its firm grip, has decided to add more ammunition to its armory by formulating a brand-new so-called national broadcast policy which observers have dubbed yet another “black law”. Among other aspects, obviously, it’s meant to instill more fear especially in journalists as also to some extent among media owners. “We have enough reasons to be concerned over the policy. The media cannot operate like this. The policy ensures the government’s control on the media,” is how the Bangladesh chapter of Transparency International viewed this attempt of the government, and added: “This policy contradicts the Constitution, the Right to Information Act, the values of democracy and human rights.”
While a university professor commented, “If journalists live with fear of a lawsuit for revealing the truth, they won’t be able to work independently and people would suffer for it. …With journalists and lots of people dissatisfied with the policy, I don’t think the government can ever implement it in its current condition.” But the facts exhibit that such inhibitions don’t bedevil the present rulers.
All the factors together are creating enormous difficulties almost in all countries, and they are also affecting public discourse, an essential gear in a functioning democracy. As stated by Phillip Di Salvo, in the United States if sources are reluctant to talk, information doesn’t get through to the public. When it comes to reporting national security issues, several journalists described the climate in the US as comparable to what they might come up against in more authoritarian countries.

Horrific and outrageous
Journalist Peter Maass is quoted in the report as saying he is “horrified and outraged” by the situation, revealing that he has the same problems working as a reporter in the US as he did in the former Soviet Union and North Korea.
Di Salvo concludes by declaring: “We should be outraged but we should also use the case as evidence in the fight to narrow the scope of surveillance, reduce government secrecy and better protect national security whistleblowers — as well as the lawyers who defend them and the journalists who tell their stories.” This may also convey to government leaders in countries like Bangladesh that there definitely will be resistance to all efforts to quieten the media.


Login to post comments


(0)



Will UN try war crimes in Gaza?

Abu Hena

According to AFP, Geneva report, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay, on Thursday 31 July, slammed Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law during the Gaza conflict. “There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” Pillay told reporters adding that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis in Gaza and on previous occasions in the Israeli – Palestinian conflicts.

Full Story

Abu Hena

According to AFP, Geneva report, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay, on Thursday 31 July, slammed Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law during the Gaza conflict. “There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” Pillay told reporters adding that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis in Gaza and on previous occasions in the Israeli – Palestinian conflicts.

“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said after Israeli shells killed 16 people in a UN school in Jabaliya which was sheltering some 3300 homeless civilians. “It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” Pillay deplored. She also condemned Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s only power plant as well as water and sewerage systems which plunged the Gaza Strip into ghostly darkness and rendered the remaining 15 hospitals inoperative.
During the week preceding Israel’s brutal attack on Jabaliya the UN Human Rights Council voted a resolution authorizing an inquiry into the Gaza carnage, despite fierce opposition from the United States and the apartheid occupation regime of Israel. Twenty nine members voted in favour of the resolution with 17 abstentions and the United States voted against it as the lone member. “We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on. I join the world on condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians,”   Pillay, the South African former judge of the ICC declared in clear terms.

Israel knew UN school locations
On the 24th day of the cold- blooded massacre perpetrated by the Israeli occupation hordes, a humanitarian crisis of monstrous proportion forced the UN to appeal for humanitarian aid and assistance to respond to shelter, food, emergency and intensive care units. The UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, Chris Gunness broke down in tears Wednesday, when Al–Jazeera television interviewed him after 16 people were killed by Israeli shelling in a UN shelter. “The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied and it’s appalling,” Gunness said in a voice choked with emotion, before burying his face in his hands and sobbing uncontrollably.
When Gaza’s UN shelters were piled high with corpses of 449 children and 400 women, and another 10,000 civilians were killed and wounded with 65,000 homes and facilities razed to the grounds by ‘indiscriminate ‘Israeli shelling, the United States, ‘the leader of the free world’, allowed Israel to tap a local US arms stockpile to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds. The munitions were located inside Israel as part of a program called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel [WRSA-1] which stores munitions for US use that Israel can also access in ‘emergency’ situations.
Condemning the Israeli strike in a UN designated shelter, UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “All available evidence suggested that Israeli artillery was the cause. It was yet another gross violation of humanitarian law,” he said adding that the Israeli Defense Forces had been informed at least 33 times about the location of the UN sites. The UN which had been sheltering over 260,000 people at that point of time in 90 UN schools emailed the Israeli authorities with their exact locations twice a day.

‘US comfortable’: Kerry
While visiting Gaza, Cat Carter of Save the Children, said, “One in four casualties is a child. It’s a horrifying scene. One child dying every hour.” The Israeli’s have turned the Gaza Strip of 1.8 million people into a hell on earth by their blockade,” said British MP Gerald Kauffman. When asked to comment on the Gaza tragedy, Bill Clinton said, “Israel is isolating itself from the world opinion. I hope, there will be a soul- searching.”
It needs a UN judicial court to judge the defence argument advanced by Netanyahu and do justice to the 2000 civilians killed and 10000 wounded and another half a million who lost their homes and livelihood because of brazen Israeli atrocities. John Kerry also praised the Israeli operation calling it a “hell of a pin-pointed operation. US is comfortable with the Israeli action,’ Kerry said. Visiting Gaza after the Israeli carnage Peter Maurer, the Red Cross President said, “I have a deep feeling of shock.”
It is crucial at this stage to note the alarming turn in the rhetoric used by some section of Israelis and Diaspora Jews to justify Israeli savagery in Gaza. A right wing member of Israeli Knesset wanted that civilians in Gaza should be ‘erased’ on the grounds that no one there was innocent. Another member for the Jewish Home Party, called on the Israeli army to destroy the homes of the terrorist ‘snakes’ and to murder their mothers as well, so that they would not be able to bring ‘little snakes’ into the world. Israel occupies 78 percent of the Palestinian land by force, violating UN resolutions 242 and 338 and disregarding world opinion. The remaining 22 percent which comprise Gaza and the West Bank is recognized by the UN as an occupying power due to its complete control of Gaza’s airspace, access to sea and land borders.
The Israeli occupation forces have exterminated 65000 Palestinians since 1930 and expelled million others. They have demolished more than 65000 Palestinian homes and forcibly displaced the inhabitants violating the obligations under the Geneva Convention.

13 centuries of Arab-Jew peace under Muslims
The British colonialists have created Israel to preserve their imperial interests and invented the new Palestine question to make entire Middle East unstable. They along with the Zionists precipitated the new conflict between the Arabs and the Jews. During the Muslim rule which started in 634 and culminated in 1924 with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, there was no such conflict. Europe and not the Middle East was the home of Anti-Semitism which peaked in the 20th century with the mass murder of the Jews by the German National Socialists.
Contrary to the Shephardic Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, who were socially integrated under the rule of the Muslims, the Jews of central and eastern Europe lived in a society characterized by widespread animosity. It was in the year 1516 that the Jews who were driven out from Spain and Portugal came to Venice. They were allowed to live in the island of ‘Ghetto’. Later on the word ‘Ghetto’ became associated with exclusion and persecution. The Germans indiscriminately bombarded the ghettos when the Jews rose in revolt.
Now the Jews have turned the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into ‘ghettos’ for exclusion, persecution and killings of Palestinian Arabs oblivious of the fact that the glorious culture of the Muslims who ruled the world for 1300 years is not associated with ‘ghettos’. The Israeli Jews want Palestine without the Palestinians and their great weakness lies in the debased Zionists’ moral bankruptcy. It is absurd to say that Palestine which remained under Muslim rule since 634 belongs to the Jews who left the land after the Assyrians and the Babylonians occupied it in the 8th and the 6th centuries B. C. Einstein warned the Jews in Israel long ago about this moral failure if they fail to live in peace with the Arabs.

Rise against Israeli Apartheid regime 
Andrew Exum, a former US army officer and defence department special adviser on ME says: “There are good strategic reasons to avoid using air power and artillery in these conflicts; they tend to be pretty indiscriminate in their effects and make it difficult for the population under fire to figure out what they’re supposed to do to be safe.”
From this it is crystal clear that Israel was committing war crimes by definition, every time it carried out one of the thousands of airstrikes that marked the beginning of the so-called ‘Operation Protective Edge’ that continues to this day. Israel’s 155th howitzer shells, according to experts, have a lethal radius up to 150 meters and causes injury up to 300 meters from its point of impact. Furthermore, such indirect artillery fire [meaning it is fired out of direct sight of the target] has a margin of error of 200 to 300 meters ­ that’s an injury zone of close to half a kilometer from intended ‘precise’ site of impact–in a territory like Gaza that is only few kilometers wide and long.
Time has come for the international community to rise up and declare that Israel cannot continue to be an exception to the rule of international law and human rights. The international community must hold Israel accountable for its actions and treat it like all other countries. It can no longer be allowed to defy the world in the manner Nazi Germany did and enjoy its state of exceptionality to wreck wanton destruction on Palestine and its people.
The Writer is a former Member of Parliament, an author, columnist and activist


Login to post comments


(0)



BJP advocates impose Hindutva in India

Shamsuddin Ahmed

The suggestion Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief is preposterous. Also a prominent leader behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhagwat said on August 18 that India is a Hindu nation and Hinduism can assimilate followers of other religions; the present inhabitants of India are descendants of Hinduism. The statement of the chief of RSS, the main arm of ruling BJP has raised controversy and RSS likely to spurt communal riots, already increased since Narendra Modi rose to power.

Full Story

Shamsuddin Ahmed

The suggestion Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief is preposterous. Also a prominent leader behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhagwat said on August 18 that India is a Hindu nation and Hinduism can assimilate followers of other religions; the present inhabitants of India are descendants of Hinduism. The statement of the chief of RSS, the main arm of ruling BJP has raised controversy and RSS likely to spurt communal riots, already increased since Narendra Modi rose to power.

The idea of Bhagwat seems well neigh impossible and a perilous as well for India with huge number of citizens of different religions. It is also repugnant to the Constitution that enshrined secularism and guaranteed rights of citizens of all faiths. Can believers of Islam, Buddhism or Christianity be assimilated into Hinduism, a culture not a religion?  How the Muslims, Buddhists and Christians be adapted to the culture of Hinduism? Will the Hinduism that allows lots of fun and frolic, drinking, gambling flirting, philandering, seducing, dallying of women with men be acceptable to a Muslim, Buddhist or Christian? Mohan Bhagwat might be thinking that followers of other religions would be coerced into adapting Hinduism in Hindu majority India.

Modi nothing without RSS: Bhagwat
Bhagwat also asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is nothing without Rashtriya Sevak Sangha (RSS). It is millions of RSS members who have worked in ensuring victory of BJP in the May elections. In fact, Hinduism plank of Modi gave his party an overwhelming majority.
Outlining the goal of RSS and VHP (Bishya Hindu Parishad), another front of BJP, in next five years, Bhagwat said they would ensure equality of caste divided Hindus. He viewed that Hindu samaj would rise in 10 to 20 years as world leader. And the plan of Ram Mandir at the site of ancient Babri Mosque, demolished by Hindu zealots led by LK Aadvani and others more than a decade ago, would be constructed at any cost, he was quoted by official news agency Press Trust of India.
The RSS chief’s statement came under severe criticism within India.  Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi said Bhagwat betrayed the long tradition of secularism and of co-existence of people of all faiths.  She blamed the BJP government for recent spurt of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra that left scores of people killed, mostly Muslims. All recent communal riots were being deliberately orchestrated to divide the country on religious lines. Sonia Gandhi referred to the probe committee report on recent communal violence that blamed the administration’s lapses and questioned the role of BJP leaders accusing them of conniving in allowing communal tension to spread in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Aam Admi Party slammed RSS chief for calling India a Hindu Nation. It said such remark is a dangerous indication of things to come in days ahead under the BJP rule. Since Modi came to power the BJP and the Sangh Parivar have been trying to stoke communal hatred and want repetition the Muzafarnagar communal riots in other parts of the country.

30 riots in India since May
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said communal violence has increased since Narendra Modi assumed power. At least 30 incidents of communal violence have taken place in seven states after the BJP came to power in May,” Sarkar said at the Independence Day function in Agartala. People, especially Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra were among the worst victims of communal violence in recent months, he said.
It is a fact never denied by the government that India is bedeviled by frequent communal riots. Recently it was informed in parliament that Uttar Pradesh has recorded the highest incidents of 247 communal riots out of 823 across the country in 2013. Officials admitted that hundreds of people were killed in the riots in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradhesh, Karnataka and Gujarat. More than 2269 people were injured and thousands rendered homeless. Muslims were the worst victims.


Login to post comments


(0)



Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Jim Miles

Israel reveals its true colours and true aspirations every time it attacks Gaza (or any other selfved enemy) as being the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, even to the degree — as the references above indicate - to the act of genocide. The western world/Washington consensus group are guilty of enormous war crimes in their full complicit support of Israel, regardless of the rhetoric expressing their concern over the deaths, while they continue to supply Israel with its military needs.

Full Story

Jim Miles

Israel reveals its true colours and true aspirations every time it attacks Gaza (or any other selfved enemy) as being the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, even to the degree — as the references above indicate - to the act of genocide. The western world/Washington consensus group are guilty of enormous war crimes in their full complicit support of Israel, regardless of the rhetoric expressing their concern over the deaths, while they continue to supply Israel with its military needs.

From all the terror inflicted by Israel on the Gaza Palestinians I can only ask what kind of God would permit this? Is this permitted by the God that gave the land to Israel? For a people who were to be a shining light for others? Could God not as equally well take the same land away as the atrocities against other human beings increase in magnitude and frequency?
How many rationalizations does it take to blind oneself to the savagery and murder of innocent citizens, women, and children? How is it that the Gospel of Israel is so readily inculcated into a whole nation such that they cheer the deaths of the other? And how does that same Gospel spreads its wings over many in the western-Washington consensus who somehow remain blind to the human savagery and misery of Israeli actions?
Israel will certainly survive militarily as they have many nuclear weapons with various delivery systems. But can such a militarized racist society survive its own internal contradictions for long? Can the false rhetoric of wanting peace, of being the eternal victims, of being surrounded by hateful others continue to over-ride the obvious brutality of the various Gaza operations? What can the world not see about the past seven decades of Israeli intentions to ethnically cleanse their land of the Palestinian people?
The current Defensive Edge operation is not an anomaly, but part of the ongoing demonization of the people of Gaza, with the mainstream media/political rhetoric trying to create a split between the citizens and Hamas. It is all a part of the ethnic cleansing process, really having very little to do with defending themselves against Hamas errant rockets, or protecting themselves from terrorists of any stripe. The West Bank has been subdued, aided and assisted by the Vichy dictatorship rule of Abbas working along with the Israeli forces. Gaza has refused to accommodate the wishes of Israel by folding its hands and acquiescing to all the Israeli demands; instead, with nowhere to go, and resistance obviously not being futile, they struggle against the overwhelming firepower of Israel.
The many demonstrations around the world indicate two significant trends. The first is the obvious that Israel does not really care about anyone else’s opinion and will operate mainly within the needs of their internal political structures and their long term goals of occupying all the lands of Palestine.
The second is that perhaps the world is waking up with abhorrence to the atrocities committed by Israel against the people of Gaza, an awakening that has slumbered for years, but with this renewed violent episode in a time when western/Washington consensus rule is fully showing its true colours of political-economic-military dominance of the rest of the world. This has led to increased awareness globally about the militarization and domination of people’s lives, about the racist nature of the Israeli attacks, and about the lack of validity about Israel’s claims of victimhood and its desire for peace.
Perhaps the fall-out from this will be in terms of blow back. The boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement will very likely receive more attention, not so much from governments, but from an increasing number of concerned citizens. With that will go the recognition that what Israel says, its attempts to persuade others what a wonderful place Israel is, will fall now upon ears deafened by the rockets, missiles, and bombs that have fallen on Gaza - and the resulting screams, tears, and cries that are seldom heard within mainstream media.
A highly militarized Israeli society guarding Palestinians in bantustan like areas could survive for quite some time. Hope carries forward that somehow the Israelis will create their own fully dysfunctional state that will be forced to change its actions (BDS, pariah status…..) and seek a non-violent solution by accommodating all peoples within its boundaries.
Source: Countercurrents.org Jim Miles is a Canadian educator


Login to post comments


(0)



METROPOLITAN
EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS
INFOTECH
CULTURE
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
LETTERS
LAST WORD
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
The OIC Foreign Ministers
Islamic solidarity fund projects and aids for the displaced
Jeddah Declaration to fight sectarianism
SEACO
Practical steps to Support Al-Quds and the Palestinian Cause
Violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka
OIC condemns approval of 1500 new settlement units in West Bank
Update: 7 July, 2014 Saudi patrol under fire at Saudi–Yemeni border post Secretary General condemns terrorist attack
Update: 10 July, 2014 Assault on Presidential Palace in Mogadishu OIC Secretary General condemns destabilising elements
Dangerous situation in Occupied Palestine Open-ended Extra ordinary Executive Committee Meeting of OIC
Update: 14 July, 2014 Appeal for Relief to Gaza
Update: 14 July, 2014 Call for International Task Force to investigate Israeli crimes
Update: 15 July, 2014 Humanitarian relief for Gaza in peril
 Update: 16 July, 2014 OIC Condemns Terrorist Attack in Paktika
Update July 19, 2014 ACT TO STOP MASSACRE IN GAZA
Update: July 21, 2014 Forced displacement of Christians in Iraq OIC condemns ISIS terror tactics
Update: August 2, 2014 Statement the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the Arab and Islamic nations
Update: August 3, 2014 Israel’s Brazen Onslaught on Mosques in the Gaza Strip
Update: August 6, 2014 Kashmir Question and Preparations of the First OIC Science & Technology Summit
State of the Ummah Review by Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
GRAVE SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED STATE OF PALESTINE INCLUDING AL-QUDS AL- SHARIF Communiqué, Expanded Extraordinary Meeting, Executive Committee of OIC Foreign Ministers, 10 July 2014
Update: August 4, 2014 Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity day
Update: August 16, 2014 OIC initiatives on ‘Gaza under fire’
Update: August 13, 2014 Positive Developments of last week
Update: August 18, 2014 Crimes against humanity in Gaza OIC Foreign Ministers, Bangladesh Cabinet denounce Israel
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
Contents Copyrighted © by Holiday Publication Limited
Mailing address 30, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh.
Phone 880-2-8170462, 8170463, 8170464 Fax 880-2-9127927 Email holiday@bangla.net
Site Managed By: Southtech Limited
Southtech Limited does not take any responsibility for any news content of this site