Archive | February 20th, 2017

Diplomats shocked by sudden death of Russian UN envoy ChurkinLIVE UPDATES

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Diplomats shocked by sudden death of Russian UN envoy Churkin
Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has died suddenly in New York, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The cause of Churkin’s death has not yet been released.

 

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Kingdom of Terror

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Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Says ‘Kingdom of Terror’ Spreading Islamism in Europe
Norway’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia claims the Gulf kingdom has had “a tremendous influence on the spread of the Islamist ideology”, but fears that the West is turning a blind eye.

“That Saudi Arabia has had a tremendous influence on the spread of the Islamist ideology is quite clear,” said Carl Schiøtz Wibye, speaking to the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten. “But apparently very few want to talk about it.”

In a new book, Kingdom of Terror, the diplomat claims that the Saudi state religion “is not even a religion, but a cult built on fanatical fantasies of a power-hungry desert preacher in the 1700s”.

The preacher in question is Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahab, founder of the Wahhabi branch of Salafi Islam. Salafism calls on Muslims to emulate the first three generations of believers, known as the salaf, who rode with Mohammed and conquered Jerusalem, Persia, and Spain.

Wibye alleges the Saudis have used their oil wealth to fund the spread of Wahhabism worldwide and argues that Norway must tackle it head on.

He suggests that one method of checking extremism might be to revive a Progress Party proposal to ban regimes which do not subscribe to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights from funding religious and political institutions.

“To block the influence of Wahhabism, we must provide an overview of this ideology and weed out local influence wherever it comes from, be it through financial support, literature or videos by preachers who say terrible things online,” he said.

“In addition, we require that all imams should speak Norwegian, so we can better understand what is happening in the Muslim community in Norway.”

Wibye would not speculate on whether Saudi Arabia also funds Islamic State, as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alleged in a leaked 2014 email, saying that the theocracy’s “transactions are hidden”.

He also called for a ban on full-face veils in Norway. “The niqab is not part of Islam,” he claimed. “It is an interpretation that emerged in recent years … to keep women in their place.”

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Eight People Flee U.S. Border Patrol to Seek Asylum in Canada

NOVANEWS
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers assist a child from a family that claimed to be from Sudan as they walk across the U.S.-Canada border.
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers assist a child from a family that claimed to be from Sudan as they walk across the U.S.-Canada border. | Photo: Reuters
As the U.S. looks to tighten its policies on refugees and illegal immigrants, people seeking refugee status have been pouring over the Canada-U.S. border.

Eight asylum-seekers, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday as a U.S. border patrol officer tried to stop them and a Reuters photographer captured the scene.

As a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer seized their passports and questioned a man in the front passenger seat of a taxi that had pulled up to the border in Champlain, New York, four adults and four young children fled the cab and ran to Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the other side.

One by one they scrambled across the snowy gully separating the two countries. RCMP officers watching from the other side helped them up, lifting the younger children and asking a woman, who leaned on her fellow passenger as she walked, if she needed medical care.

The children looked back from where they had come as the U.S. officer held the first man, saying his papers needed to be verified.

The man turned to a pile of belongings and heaved pieces of luggage two at a time into the gully — enormous wheeled suitcases, plastic shopping bags, a black backpack.

“Nobody cares about us,” he told journalists. He said they were all from Sudan and had been living and working in Delaware for two years.

People seeking refugee status have been pouring over the Canada-U.S. border as the United States looks to tighten its policies on refugees and illegal immigrants. Asylum-seekers sneak across because even if they are caught, they can make a claim in Canada; if they make a claim at a border crossing, they are turned away.

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Pakistan Shrine Attack Kills Sparks Fierce Crackdown

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  • A man mourns the death of a relative who was killed in a suicide blast at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi.
    A man mourns the death of a relative who was killed in a suicide blast at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi. | Photo: Reuters
The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan’s deadliest attack for two years.

Pakistani security forces killed at least 39 suspected militants Friday, a day after the Islamic State group claimed a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 worshippers at a Sufi shrine, the biggest in a spate of attacks this week across the country.

RELATED: 4 Indian Soldiers, 4 Militants Dead in Kashmir Gun Battles

The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan’s deadliest attack for two years, killing at least 88 people and highlighting the threat of militant groups.

The security response was swift.

“Over 100 terrorists have been killed since last night and sizeable apprehensions also made,” the military said in an operations update on Friday evening.

“Terrorists will be targeted ruthlessly, indiscriminately, anywhere and everywhere. No let up,” an armed forces spokesman added in a tweet.

With authorities facing angry criticism for failing to tighten security before the shrine bomber struck, analysts warned that the wave of violence pointed to a major escalation in Islamist militants’ attempts to destabilize the region.

“This is a virtual declaration of war against the state of Pakistan,” said Imtiaz Gul, head of the independent Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad.

ANALYSIS: No Country for Women: India Enters 2017 with ‘Mass Molestation’ 

With pressure growing for action, Pakistan demanded that neighboring Afghanistan hand over 76 “terrorists” it said were sheltering over the border.

The bombings over five days have hit all four of Pakistan’s provinces and two major cities, shaking a nascent sense that the worst of the country’s militant violence may be in the past.

A series of military operations against insurgent groups operating in Pakistan had encouraged hopes that their leaders were scattered.

“But this has led to a degree of complacency within our civil-military leadership that perhaps they have completely destroyed these elements, or broken their back,” Gul said.

If so, that impression has been shattered in recent days.

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Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever

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Exclusive: Democrats and liberals are so angry about President Trump that they are turning to McCarthyistic tactics without regard to basic fairness or the need to avoid a costly and dangerous New Cold War, notes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

America is a strange place and the blow-up over Mike Flynn’s conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is making it even stranger. Liberals are sounding like conservatives, and conservatives like liberals.

Lawyer Roy Cohn (right) with Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, made perfect sense when he remarked on CNN concerning the intelligence leaks that are now turning into a flood: “We’ve got to have some facts to work with here. And what troubles me is that … there are people within the intelligence community that disagree with President Trump [and] that don’t want to see his administration succeed. … General Flynn has been subject to a political assassination here regardless of what he did or didn’t say to President Trump or Vice President Pence.”

Quite right. Breitbart News’ Joel B. Pollak sounded similarly sensible in asking “whether our nation’s intelligence services were involved in what amounts to political espionage against the newly-elected government.” So did right-wing talk-show host Michael Savage in describing “the demonization of Putin, Russia, and Flynn” on the part of “neocons, the intel community, and Democrats who want constant antagonism with Russia.”

Considering the craziness we usually get from such sources, it was all disconcertingly … sane. On the liberal side, however, the hysteria has been non-stop. In full prosecutorial mode, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza demanded to know:

“Did Trump instruct Flynn to discuss a potential easing of sanctions with Russia? Did Flynn update Trump on his calls with the Russian Ambassador? Did Trump know that Flynn lied to Pence about those contacts? What did the White House counsel do with the information that he received from [Acting Attorney General Sally] Yates about Flynn being vulnerable to blackmail?”

At The Nation, Joan Walsh was thrilled to hear the media asking “the old Watergate question about what the president knew and when.”

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again,” declared Bill Moyers and Michael Winship at Alternet: “there MUST be an investigation by an independent, bipartisan commission of Russia’s ties to Donald Trump and his associates and that nation’s interference in our elections.”

At The Intercept, the perennially self-righteous Glenn Greenwald said intelligence agents are “wholly justified” in leaking inside information because “[a]ny leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing – as this one did – should be praised, not scorned and punished.”

Over the Top

Finally, there was The New York Times, which, in Thursday’s lead editorial, compared the Flynn contretemps to Watergate and Iran-Contra, expressed “shock and incredulity that members of Mr. Trump’s campaign and inner circle were in repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials,” and called for a congressional investigation into whether the White House has been taken over by Moscow:

Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn speaks at the Defense Intelligence Agency change of directorship at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, July 24, 2012. (DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

“Coming on top of credible information from America’s intelligence agencies that Russia tried to destabilize and influence the 2016 presidential campaign, these latest revelations are more than sufficient reason for Congress to investigate what Moscow has been up to and whether people at the highest levels of the United States government have aided and abetted the interests of a nation that has tried to thwart American foreign policy since the Cold War.”

High-level wrongdoing! Colluding with the enemy! Shock and incredulity! It’s enough to make a concerned citizen reach for the nearest bottle of 151-proof rum. But it’s all nonsense. Liberals are working themselves into a crisis mode on the basis of zero evidence. 

Let’s begin with what The Nation’s Joan Walsh regards as the key issue: what do we know and when did we know it?

Well, we know that on Thursday, Dec. 29, Barack Obama expelled 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives for allegedly interfering with the presidential election and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services. We also know that Flynn had called the Russian ambassador a day earlier to discuss sanctions in general and that although he “never made explicit promises of sanctions relief,” according to unnamed government officials cited by the Times, he “appeared to leave the impression it would be possible.”

In Times-speak, “appeared to leave the impression” means that the paper is unable to pin down anything that Flynn did that was specifically wrong, but still believes that the conversation was somehow unseemly.

According to The Washington Post, the key phone call came after Obama’s Dec. 29 decision to expel the Russian diplomats when Kislyak reached Flynn by phone while the national security advisor-designate and his wife were vacationing at a beachside resort in the Dominican Republic.  “As a veteran intelligence officer,” The Post said, “…Flynn must have known that a call with a Russian official in Washington would be intercepted by the U.S. government, pored over by FBI analysts and possibly even shared with the White House.”

In any event, whatever he told Kislyak must have been reassuring since Vladimir Putin announced later that day that he would not engage in a tit-for-tat retaliation by expelling U.S. diplomats.

Getting Payback

Irritated by such maturity, the American “state security organs,” as the KGB and other Soviet intelligence services were once called, pounced. Having intercepted the Russian ambassador’s phone call, the FBI relayed the contents to Obama’s Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who authorized it to interrogate Flynn about the conversation. Flynn may have lied or not given a complete account or forgotten some of the details about what he and Kislyak discussed. He also may have given a similarly incomplete account to Vice President Mike Pence, which apparently upset Pence and led to Flynn being tossed overboard.

Governor (now Vice President) Mike Pence of Indiana speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. August 31, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

But if Trump and his team thought that would satisfy the sharks, they were wrong. The press went into a feeding frenzy. But the substance of the complaint against Flynn adds up to very little.

As Obama administration holdovers in the Justice Department searched for a legal justification with which to accuse Flynn of wrongdoing, the only thing they could come up with was the Logan Act of 1799 forbidding private citizens from negotiating with a foreign government that is in dispute with the United States. Adopted during the presidency of John Adams, the law was prompted by Dr. George Logan’s unauthorized negotiations with France, contacts that were praised by the Jeffersonians but anathema to the Federalists.

But invoking the Logan Act in any instance is a stretch, much less this one. It has never been used to prosecute anyone; it has never been tested in a court of law; and its constitutionality couldn’t be more questionable. Moreover, if the law is dubious when used to threaten a private citizen engaged in unauthorized diplomacy, then using it to go after a designated official of an incoming presidential administration that has been duly elected is many times more so.

As journalist Robert Parry points out, the Logan Act has mainly been “exploited in a McCarthyistic fashion to bait or discredit peace advocates” such as Jesse Jackson for visiting Cuba or House Speaker Jim Wright for trying to end the Contra war in Nicaragua. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Trump Caves on Flynn’s Resignation.”]

Of course, the Obama holdovers at Justice also said that Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. But if Flynn assumed that the U.S. intelligence was listening in, then the Russians probably did also, which means that both sides knew that there was no secret dirt to be used against him.

In other words, there’s no there there. Yet anti-Trump liberals are trying to convince the public that it’s all “worse than Watergate.”

Strangelovian Flynn

This is not to make Flynn into a martyr of some sort. To the contrary, the man is every bit as nutty as critics say. The Field of Fight: How to Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, the book he co-wrote last year with neocon “intellectual” Michael Ledeen, is a paranoid fantasy about Muslim extremists ganging up with North Korea, Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela to bring down the United States and Israel.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Flynn’s appearance at a Feb. 7 White House press briefing in which he announced that “we are officially putting Iran on notice” over a missile test – and then stalked off without taking a single question – was so bizarre as to be positively Strangelovian.

But whether Flynn is a criminal is another matter. As Ronn Blitzer observed in a smart article at Lawnewz.com: “Between the details of the communications being unclear and the complete lack of historical guidance for prosecutors to work off of, chances are slim that he’ll face any legal repercussions.”

Lying to the FBI is another matter, of course. But grilling someone about whether he violated a moldy old law that should have been repealed centuries ago is the equivalent of giving someone the third degree over whether he washed his hands after using a public restroom. It raises questions about civil liberties and prosecutorial abuse that used to concern liberals – before, that is, they went bonkers over Russia.

Moreover, taking a call from the Russian ambassador is not only legal but, with the inauguration only three weeks away, precisely what one would expect a newly designated national security advisor to do. If the call indeed happened while Flynn was on vacation – and hence without the usual staff support – it’s not that surprising that he might not have had total recall of what was discussed. For FBI agents to question him weeks later and test his memory against their transcript of the conversation seems closer to entrapment than a fair-minded inquiry.

The whole area is a gray zone regarding what is and isn’t proper for a candidate or an incoming administration to do. Eight years earlier, Barack Obama reached out to foreign leaders to discuss policy changes before he was even elected.

In July 2008, candidate Obama visited Paris to confer with then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy about Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and NATOIn late November – after the election, that is, but before the oath of office – he telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss how his country might achieve greater stability.

Yet as Robert Charles notes at the conservative Townhall.com website, no one thought to mention the Logan Act or accuse Obama of overstepping his bounds by engaging in private diplomacy.

As to whether it was Trump who instructed Flynn to talk to the Russian ambassador – what Politico calls “the key question” and what Times columnist Gail Collins says would be “super-illegal” if true – that is also standard operating procedure.

Poor Donald Trump is getting it from both sides, from those who claim that he was unprepared for his new responsibilities (which he was) and from those who claim that he was too “pro-active” in reaching out to key international players before taking office.

The Crime of Peace

As to Glenn Greenwald’s charge that what Flynn did was not only illegal but wrong, all one can say is: what on earth is so terrible about trying to reduce U.S.-Russian tensions? Of all the things that Trump said on the campaign trail, one of the few that was not completely stupid was his call for better relations with Moscow.

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

After all, Obama had gotten himself into a serious pickle by the end of his administration in the intermarium between the Baltic and the Black Sea. This is where Obama found himself beholden to dangerous nationalist provocateurs from Estonia to Ukraine, where a major NATO arms build-up was making observers increasingly nervous and where serious fighting is now underway. But while one would think that liberals would approve of attempts to defuse a dangerous confrontation, Flynn is under assault for merely giving it a try.

(And what about Greenwald’s usual concern about intrusive electronic surveillance? Isn’t the Flynn case a classic example of law-enforcement agencies using powers to entrap an individual into a possible criminal violation by seeing if his recollection diverges from the official transcript of a wire-tapped conversation?)

Finally there is the New York Times editorial, a farrago of half-truths and unsubstantiated assertions. For instance:

–No matter how many times the “paper of record” insists that “Russia tried to destabilize and influence the 2016 presidential campaign,” it should realize that saying something doesn’t make it so. In fact, the Director of National Intelligence’s Jan. 6 report on the alleged hacking was so skimpy that even the Times conceded that it “contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions” and was therefore “bound to be attacked by skeptics.”

–The charge of “repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials” is similarly evidence-free. The Times made the charge in a front-page exposé on Tuesday that was heavy on innuendo but short on facts. It said that Trump associates had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” without saying what those contacts were or whether the individuals in question were even aware of whom they were talking to. It added, moreover, that there was “no evidence of … cooperation” with Russian intelligence and that it was “unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself.” There’s no there there as well.

–As for aiding and abetting “a nation that has tried to thwart American foreign policy since the Cold War,” all one can say is that the Times is engaging in classic McCarthyism by crying treason with zero data to back it up.

Opportunism and Confusion

So, what’s going on? The simple answer is that Democrats are seizing on Russia because it’s an easy target in a capital city where war fever is already rising precipitously. Little thought seems to have been given to where this hysteria might lead. What if Dems get their way by forcing the administration to adopt a tougher policy on Russia? What if something horrendous occurs as a consequence such as a real live shooting exchange between U.S. and Russian troops? Will that make Democrats happy?  Is that really what they want?

A wintery scene in Moscow, near Red Square. (Photo by Robert Parry)

The truth is that America is in disarray not only politically but ideologically. Once Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race last summer, voters were faced with a choice between two right-of-center candidates, one (Hillary Clinton) seemingly bent on a pro-war policy regardless of the consequences and another (Donald Trump) who uttered isolationist inanities but nonetheless seemed to sense that a course change was in order with regard to Russia, Syria, and perhaps one or two other hot spots.

Since the election, both parties have responded by going even farther to the right, Trump by surrounding himself with billionaires and ultra-right fanatics and the Democrats by trying to out-hawk the GOP.

Sanity is in such short supply that the voices of reason now belong to Republicans like Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who told the Washington Post, “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded,” or House Speaker Paul Ryan who says that reaching out to the Russian ambassador was “entirely appropriate.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, seems oddly rational in indicating that he will block legislation seeking to prevent Trump from rolling back anti-Russian sanctions.

All in all, it’s the worst Democratic performance since the Washington Post complained in 1901 that Teddy Roosevelt had “fanned the flames of negro aspiration” by inviting Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House. What’s the point of an opposition when it’s even more irresponsible than the party in power?

As Phil Ochs sang about unprincipled liberals back in the 1960s:

Once I was young and impulsive

I wore every conceivable pin

Even went to the socialist meetings

Learned all the old union hymns

But I’ve grown older and wiser

And that’s why I’m turning you in

So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

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Republicans Move to Expand Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits

NOVANEWS

By Mike Ludwig

(Photo: PhillipeDelavie; Edited: LW  TO)

(Photo: Phillipe Delavie; Edited: LW TO)

House Republicans gave Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and other Republican governors a gift on Wednesday: They voted to repeal a Labor Department rule that limited which workers state governments can drug test before handing out unemployment benefits. The vote tally was 236-189, and largely fell along party lines.

Nearly 50 labor and civil rights groups signed a letter arguing that the repeal legislation would allow states like Wisconsin to waste taxpayers dollars on drug testing already performed by employers and punish working families that are trying to get back on their feet. Funding for unemployment insurance generally comes out of workers’ paychecks, so labor advocates argue the benefit is a right, not a privilege earned by testing clean.

“The reality is that people who receive public assistance are no more likely to use illicit drugs than the general population, and these kinds of drug testing programs are a big waste of tax dollars for states to run and defend in court,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement.

Along with the governors of Texas, Mississippi and Utah, Governor Walker applauded the legislation and said in a statement that it would help his state move forward with plans to expand drug testing for those on public assistance. Civil rights and labor groups warn that “suspiscionless” drug testing for public assistance is a waste of money and violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, so programs like Governor Walker’s would likely face expensive challenges in court.

Drug testing people who receive government benefits has long been a popular idea among Republicans. Proponents claim they are seeking to divert taxpayer dollars from the illicit drug trade and compel the workforce to sober up, but opponents say their proposals single out poor people for punishment. Don’t expect the GOP to tack on drug testing requirements for rich CEOs to corporate tax breaks anytime soon.

Plus, mandatory drug testing policies unfairly impact people of color, who are more likely to be criminalized for drug use when tests are positive.

In 2012, Congress passed a law with a bipartisan compromise: States could only drug test workers receiving unemployment benefits if the workers were let go due to unlawful drug use, or if the Labor Department determined that their line of work would require them to be drug tested in order to get a new job. Last year, the department finalized a rule limiting this class of workers to those who are already required to be tested by state or federal law, such as firefighters, pilots and workers who carry firearms.

That ruling was too narrow for Governor Walker and three other Republican governors. Labor and civil rights advocates fear that, if permitted to do so, these governors would mandate the testing of everyone receiving unemployment benefits in their states, even though most states already deny benefits to workers who have received a drug-related discharge. Republicans control the legislatures and the governor’s office in 25 states, so Governor Walker’s model could easily spread.

To repeal the rule on Wednesday, the House used the Congressional Review Act, a dusty 1990s-era law that Republicans have been using to roll back Obama-era regulations with lightning speed. President Trump has said he would sign the bill if it passes the Senate, where Republicans hold a slimmer majority than in the House.

The move disappointed reformers, particularly since some Republicans have embraced more sensible policies in recent years, such as reducing mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes and expanding treatment for people with opioid-related disorders.

“It’s disappointing that Republican leadership in Congress is choosing to focus on drug testing people who have lost their jobs rather than helping them,” said Smith, who added that it’s “shameful” for Congress to demonize drug users after embracing rhetoric around helping people with opioid and other forms of addiction.

Perhaps anticipating such a pushback, Governor Walker and House Republicans are now couching their position on drug testing in terms of “helping” workers — a strange position for Walker, who has promoted extreme austerity policies — and treating addiction.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that many employers require drug testing for new employees, so testing for unemployment benefits provides an incentive to stay clean and find a job. Governor Walker goes even further, suggesting that his state may require rehab for workers who fail the state-mandated test.

“If someone fails the test, we help them with rehabilitation, so they can get healthy and ready to enter the workforce,” Governor Walker said.

However, most people who use drugs are not addicted to them, and do not need or wish to undergo medical treatment. Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the country, but only about 9 percent of users are dependent on the drug. Unfortunately for cannabis users on unemployment in Wisconsin, marijuana can linger in the body longer than most other drugs, making it easier to detect on a drug test.

It’s well known that poor people and people of color have suffered disproportionately in the war on drugs, and targeting recipients of public benefits for state-mandated drug testing and rehab would only continue this trend. Wealthy people who use drugs can choose if, when and where they receive treatment for addiction or other problems, while low-income people may have few options besides public facilities that often mimic prison.

A casual marijuana user may refrain in order to receive public benefits, but a worker with an opioid abuse disorder, perhaps stemming from painkillers prescribed legally after a workplace accident, does not have this option. Still, advocates note, that worker should have the right to decide with their doctor how to handle the condition instead of being coerced by a state government threatening to take away their livelihood. Why? They earned it.

Unemployment insurance is supposed to provide a portion of a worker’s salary during job shortages so they can find another job while still supporting themselves and their families. Unemployment programs are funded by payroll taxes, the cost of which are passed down by employers to their workers in the form of lower wages, so advocates argue that workers have earned the benefit, whether they use drugs or not.

With mandatory drug testing and rehab hanging over their heads, some people who are already struggling with serious challenges would lose their main source of income, should this bill become law. In fact, many people might forgo applying for unemployment benefits altogether to avoid being criminalized and forced into rehab.

This may be what Republicans are really after. Representative McCarthy points out that Utah “saved” $350,000 because drug users were “barred” from receiving certain welfare benefits, but his statement is not accurate. The Utah program did not bar drug users from receiving benefits, but it did require applicants to complete a written questionnaire about drug use and to be tested for drugs if ordered. Rehab was mandatory if they tested positive.

A total of 250 people lost benefits after failing to comply with Utah’s requirements, but that doesn’t mean they were using drugs. They could have missed an appointment or simply refused to provide such personal information about their bodies to the state. Only 12 actually tested positive for drugs.

Governor Walker and Representative McCarthy may be eager to kick people off the government dole, but unemployment insurance is a benefit largely paid for by workers themselves. Requiring them to be drug tested for it is another piece of red tape that could prevent people from accessing badly needed support. Drug testing may save Wisconsin a little bit of money, but it’s a rip-off for workers.

Posted in USAComments Off on Republicans Move to Expand Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits

Nazi racist regime brand Indian Jew genetically inferior

Israeli authorities brand Indian Jew genetically inferior

Jacob - Indian Jew described as genetically defective by Israeli Jews

Marianne Azizi writes:

Jacob is Indian. He is also an Israeli citizen. His parents immigrated to Israel when he was a very young boy.

When Jacob reached the age of four he started kindergarten. But because his parents spoke their own language at home, his knowledge of Hebrew was weak. This was the cause of a lifetime of persecution by the Israeli education and welfare systems that continues to this day.

For 20 years Jacob has been fighting in the courts for justice and compensation for the abuse he endured in the Israeli education system.

Jacob suffers from muscular dystrophy but the Israeli authorities refuse to carry out a proper diagnosis and describe his physical illness as psychosomatic, or mental disorder.

A “Neanderthal” from a “culturally inferior wasteland”

Jacob has been described by the Israeli authorities as Neanderthal, coming from a cultural wasteland that is genetically inferior to Israeli society. He has also been accused of being a homosexual and told that he needs drugs to overcome his “anti-feminist” views.

Not only has this been told to Jacob and his family to their faces, but it was also documented in the defence papers of an ongoing claim for compensation that has so far lasted for two decades.

This week Jacob lost his appeal but he intends to take the individuals and ministries concerned to the Israeli Supreme Court and also sue them abroad. His lawyer, Hanna Boulas, an Arab Christian lawyer who is appalled by the racist abuse hurled at Jacob, has represented him for free for nearly 20 years.

Jacob wants his story to be told. He asked for an interview, and sent his story as a warning to others.

Jacob comes from a respectable family: his father having a patented invention of his own and his great grandparents worked as architects when India was under British rule.

In his interview, Jacob says:

In India my family was very respected and well educated: my grandfather and my father’s brother were both draftsmen in a British architect company. My great grandfather was an officer in the British army, my grandmother’s father was a senior director of the main post office in Aden, Yemen. My mother’s father was a senior clerk in the main post office of Bombay – examples from more than 100 years back and to this day. Still, they [the Israelis] keep referring openly to my family’s “genetic inferiority” as proof that I was born defective.

Quacks, ignoramuses and sadists

What Jacob didn’t know as a child was that he suffered from a form of muscular dystrophy known as spinal muscular atrophy. There is cognitive evidence to show that children afflicted with this disease are in fact more intellectually advanced than others, and this is true for Jacob.

In their ignorance, Jacob’s Israeli teachers decided that his struggle to climb stairs, which left him breathless and weak, was a mental disorder. He was stigmatised by “psychiatrists” as early as four as a reserved child and this was used to build on for more than 10 years of educational and other system abuse.

Jacob relates his experiences:

At school, not only the kids were very violent and abused me every day, the teacher, Miriam Tzabbar, was truly sadistic and physically abused me: because of the violence I was absent from school many times, and the authorities sent a special officer to warn me and my parents that if I would not go to school every day, my parents would go to prison and I would be sent to an institution for young criminals. She also came with uniformed officers who scared me about life in prison. “Do you really want to see your parents in prison because of you?”

Jacob was to endure his whole schooling being abused. It went as far as him being beaten and even having a flagpole inserted into his backside while the teacher looked on with apathy. The abuse Jacob endured through his education extended to psychiatric tests: enforced hospitalisation, enforced drugs and medication.

Jacob was forced to take the anti-psychotic drugs Ridazin, which the authorities claimed would help him with his “fear of dogs”, and Modal. He suffered every side effect of the drugs, which the authorities claimed were “all in his mind”. Imagine giving drugs of this kind to a child who was yet to be diagnosed with his terminal illness but was showing all the physical symptoms!

Jacob describes his fight against being forced to take medication:

The female family-doctor and every doctor who met me told me “you have nothing” without examining me because they saw the referral letter which said I am “under psychiatric treatment”. They were sure that my complaints were imaginary and shouldn’t be treated seriously.

In the summer of 1993 Jacob was sent to a secure mental hospital as a result of the side effects of the drug Modal. A “diagnosis” committee determined that his inability to climb stairs was “a bad mental condition”, and this was signed off by two “psychologists” and a “psychiatrist”.

Jacob spent 10 years being passed around institutions and was threatened that if he didn’t comply his parents would be punished by the state. He was determined to get his education despite all the beatings and emotional abuse. By the end of his schooling, with help from a few good people, he emerged with 85 per cent on his grades.

When in 1994 Jacob was eventually diagnosed properly, his teachers still refused to accept his medical condition. This is how he describes his school’s response to his diagnosis:

In the beginning of 1995 I got an appointment with the school counsellor. She was very hostile to me, refused to believe that I suffer from a physical disease. She smiled and kept irritatingly nodding her head and saying: “No, no, no, you don’t understand. Don’t speak about physical problems, I am asking about your mental condition.”

Punishing the victim

Jacob is an extraordinary man. He is a fighter, refusing to be beaten by his disease, and more so, refusing to lie down and die, which he believes the authorities would like.

He can walk only a short distance and needs constant care, yet he refuses to die without justice. He says:

My case discloses a long chain of severe negligence, failures and corruption in the education establishment of Israel, while the leading policy dealing with violence, even today in 2017, is still that when a group of kids abuse and beat up one specific child, the system will do everything possible to punish, slander and throw the victim out of the system, not the perpetrators, as a senior educational psychologist, Dr Menachem Ophir, clearly told to me. That is exactly what explains so well the false diagnoses, misleading presumptions and the harassment by the authorities against me and my parents.

They were looking only for retrospective excuses for the question why I’ve been so many years in therapeutic institutions while they found nothing real against me. They even suggest something about suspicion of homosexuality, which was never even close to reality.

Jacob is by no means the only child abused in the system. Stories are abound of children who are drugged in institutions to “correct their mental attitudes”, children who have no diseases but are separated from their parents, children who simply are pining and yearning to go home.

Institutional perjury

Jacob, his family and his lawyer are having to fight the institutional perjury in the courts. Here are some examples of the lies put out by Israeli institutions to smear him and his family

Lie: “As a child, Jacob was the victim of sexual abuse by his grandmother and grandfather.

Fact: Jacob never knew his grandfather, who died when his own father was seven years old.

Lie: “Yakov was behaviourally disturbed in school and was yelling in the class very hateful remarks against women, Jews and Israel.”

Fact: Every teacher described Jacob always as too quiet, too shy, introverted and a gentle kid. But one of his teachers, Soffy Katz, a divorced feminist, spread falsehoods about Jacob, for example by telling Jacob in front of everybody, including psychiatrists:”You are against feminism because you have a problem in your brain.” She even claimed that drugs would resolve his views about feminism!

What child would not suffer emotionally or mentally? Yet Jacob has a host of friends and a dedicated lawyer fighting for him. Once his case reaches the international arena, it remains to be seen how so many experts testifying for him can be ignored.

Here is an example from Jacob’s lawsuit (in Hebrew).

Many elements of Jacob’s story are similar to those of numerous other parents and children in Israel: children being medicated against their will with strong psychotropic drugs; ignoring physical conditions or illnesses, which in many instances are caused by the side effects of drugs; enforced incarceration in mental hospitals when the child is intellectually proven to be fit.

As with many victims, Jacob tried to get his story told on Israeli mainstream media. Most of these stories are stopped at the last minute by the authorities.

What is special about Jacob’s case is that he can prove the lies and misinformation about him. Yet, he cannot get justice.

Jacob needs help to file a lawsuit overseas for racism and abuse as his remedies in Israel are almost exhausted. Just as the Ethiopians are fighting to overcome racism, Jacob, with his Indian heritage, fights on.

For further information about Jacob’s case, contact Marianne Azizi.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi racist regime brand Indian Jew genetically inferior

Suspected Targeted Drone Attack Hits Family of Grand Mufti

NOVANEWS

Why would anyone want to kill the family of the most beloved religious figure in Syria, a “multi-faith” Muslim, as we head into the Geneva Syrian peace talks?

VT says goodbye to the Grand Mufti – September, 2015

Nana is interpreting on the left, the Mufti, and a guest of honor, Thomas, Duff and Dean

[ Editor’s Note: The Mufti was the real deal, and no he didn’t fool us. People at his level are not difficult to learn about when they are public and accessible…sort of, in his case. Because he was a “multi-faith” Muslim, he was hated by the Wahhabis and placed under a death sentence, so he had heavy security, the kind you need when you are a truck-bomb target.

He has huge support in Syria for his passionate advocacy for saving the Syrian people from the terror war inflicted on it by the West, Israel, the Gulf States, and even Turkey.

They are all in the game to get a piece a Balkanized Syria, or what was left of it. Turkey got a head start, by stripping Aleppo clean of all its industry and trucked over the border for sale at special prices, I am sure, to the Erdogan party faithful.

We have just bare bones news on the attack today, and will be updating as we learn more. Russia could be on the spot here, if it was a drone killing, and if they do not release the details of their radar and satellite tracking. Nothing flies over Syria that both Moscow and NATO don’t see and know where it took off from and returned. 

With checkpoint soldiers in Homs, Syria, Election day, June 3rd, 2014, my first trip

Being tired from doing this work is normal, because it is endless. If this were a retribution killing — a response to the progress of the Astana talks and with the Geneva ones around the corner, an attempt to poison the peace effort by killing the Mufti’s family — then that would be very disappointing.

Our condolences go out to the Mufti, but we cannot say to his immediate family also, because he doesn’t have one anymore. But Syria has always been his family. When the Takfiris started targeting the Christian churches, to show solidarity with them and to refute the fomenting of a religious war, he sent his imams out to hold prayer vigils in Christian churches.

This of course put them all on death lists, too. The Mufti is the kind of man who can ask people to do this, and they will. This conflicts 180-degrees with the propaganda image the Israelis have tried to tar him with. Many Syrians have lost families in this proxy war against Syria. The Mufti now shares their pain more than he ever expected to.

We will continue to work, as always, to find and spotlight those responsible, in the hope that some justice might be broughtJim W. Dean ]

Our formal shot with the Mufti

 

Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Bader Hassoun, said Turkish warplanes killed 18 members of his family in, wives, children and the even his father.

Two weeks ago, Human Rights Watch accused Ahmad Bader Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria and primary defending of Christian communities throughout the Middle East of personally ordering the hanging of 30,000 prisoners being held at a single prison outside Damascus.

[ Note: I chose the video below for its quality, a PressTV shoot, and he covers a lot of ground on the issues that Western media stays away from. The Mufti was such a skilled ambassador for the Syrian people, all of them, that the terror sponsors lined up against Syria refused him visas to promote his peace message. Ireland has been the only exception.]

Now it is revealed that the Human Rights Watch accusations were based on fake reports, and when this ploy failed, another one materialized, this one requiring White House approval for a targeted assassination attack on the family of a religious leader, a new all-time low, even for the United States.

Two weeks later, in what is a suspected US drone attack, held during Turkish raids in the region, the family compound of the Hassoun clan was obliterated, with 18 dead, in what has to be characterized as a targeted terror attack on Syria’s most beloved cleric and a known enemy of Israel and Turkey for his criticism of their persecution of Christians.

Posted in USAComments Off on Suspected Targeted Drone Attack Hits Family of Grand Mufti

UN envoy to Syria questions US role in resolving Syria crisis

NOVANEWS
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura delivers a speech at the third day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, February 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura 

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has questioned the role of the United States and its so-called military engagement against terrorist groups in the Middle Eastern country, saying Washington’s new administration is still working on its conflicting priorities in tackling the six-year-long crisis.

De Mistura made the remarks in the 53rd Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top diplomats and defense officials, on Sunday, the last day of the summit and just four days ahead of crucial peace negotiations on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland.

He further said that US President Donald Trump’s administration is stuck among three incompatible priorities in tackling the conflict, which include its so-called war against Daesh Takfiri terrorists, “how to limit the influence of some major regional players, and how not to damage one of their major allies in the region.”

De Mistura added that Trump needed to decide whether he was interested in just fighting Daesh or defeating the Takfiri group.

The UN special envoy also wondered how the White House was going to “square this circle,” adding that Washington was practically absent in all efforts devoted to settle the crisis politically. “Where is the US in all this? I can’t tell you because I don’t know,” he said.

Under former US President Barack Obama, the White House insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had to be ousted, making it at odds with Russia, which firmly supported the Syrian leader and launched its military campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits in Syria at the Syrian government’s request in September 2015. Moscow has also called for an end to demands for the removal of Assad.

De Mistura also stressed that the ultimate resolution of the deadly conflict could be achieved only through an “inclusive” political solution.

A fresh round of UN-led negotiations is scheduled to be held in Geneva on Thursday, involving the Syrian government and representatives from armed opposition groups.

Furthermore, Iran, Russia, and Turkey in late last year proposed to mediate new talks in Kazakh capital, Astana, between the Syrian government and opposition groups. The talks were organized and held in Astana in January this year. They were followed by technical talks attended by experts from Tehran, Moscow, and Ankara in the same city earlier in February.

A man waves to a member of Syrian pro-government forces patrolling a street in the newly retaken Bab al-Hadid neighborhood in Aleppo’s Old City, December 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Elsewhere in his remarks, De Mistura said that the Astana talks and the truce agreed created an opening that should be explored, but he warned that “even a ceasefire with two guarantors can’t hold too long if there is no political horizon.” He said any political solution had to be comprehensive to be credible

The UN envoy stated that Astana talks focused on cessation of hostilities, while Geneva negotiations must see if there is any window for political talks.

Syrian army troops and allied fighters have been fighting different foreign-backed terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011. Damascus blames the six-year-old militancy on some Western states and their regional allies, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

De Mistura estimated in August last year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then. The UN stopped its official casualty count in the war-torn country, citing its inability to verify the figures it received from various sources.

Over the past few months, government troops have made sweeping gains against Takfiri terrorists, who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats in Aleppo and elsewhere.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on UN envoy to Syria questions US role in resolving Syria crisis

The Afghan Connection of Terrorism in Pakistan 

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today

Pakistan’s Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operation Zarb-e-Azb, which has also been extended to other provinces of the country. While, Pakistan’s law-enforcing agencies, especially primary intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. But, the new wave of terrorism which started in the beginning of this year, having connection in Afghanistan has, again, enveloped Pakistan.

In this regard, at least 88 people were martyred and 343 were injured on February 16, this year when a suicide bomber attacked the crowded Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh province of Pakistan. 

Terrorist organisation, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 15, three suicide bombers targeted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining tribal areas leaving around seven people dead. One of the incidents occurred in Peshawar where a suicide bomber riding a motorbike hit a vehicle carrying civil judges, while two other suicide bombers blew themselves up at separate locations in Mohmand Agency.

At least 13 people were killed on February 13, this year when a suicide bomber struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road in the eastern city of Lahore during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.

The affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.

Terror attack in Lahore coincided with the incident in Quetta-the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where at least one policeman was killed and five people were injured on February 13, 2017 in an explosion occurred on Sariab road.

Besides, more than 24 people had been killed in an explosion which ripped through a crowded marketplace in Parachinar Kurram tribal agency on January 21, 2017. Soon after the incident, Afghan-based TTP claimed responsibility for the blast in Parachinar.

At least 65 people were killed when a blast struck at the shrine of the Sufi saint Shah Noorani in Balochistan’s Hub Tehsil on November 12, 2016. ISIL had accepted responsibility for the attack via Amaq, its affiliated news agency.

Earlier, the affiliated group of the TTP, TTP-JA took responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Quetta, which killed at least 74 people on August 8, 2016 in a assault at the government-run Civil Hospital.

However, the suicide bombing at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is the worst single attack since the TTP militants massacred about 150 students at an army school in Peshawar in December 2014. Pakistan’s military and civil high officials strongly condemned the attack and recent terror attacks by pointing out their connection in Afghanistan.

In this respect, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that senior Afghan diplomats were summoned to the General Headquarters (Of army) over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and asked to ensure that immediate action was taken against the Pakistani terrorists living in safe havens in their country.

The army, which took the lead in dealing with Afghanistan over the terrorist sanctuaries there, had soon after the Sehwan shrine attack announced closure of the border crossings with Afghanistan citing security reasons.

According to the statement of the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, on February 17, 2017, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm by saying, “our security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed…each drop of nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately…no more restraint for anyone.”

Gen. Javed Bajwa had called Gen John Nicholson, commander of the US’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan through telephone to protest continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan perpetrated from Afghanistan, saying that they were testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.

Gen. Bajwa told Gen. Nicholson that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan had been claimed by terrorist organisations whose leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, and asked him to play his role in “disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support”.

In a terse message, during the conversation with Nicholson, Gen. Bajwa also informed him of the list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities earlier—operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism.

Taking note of the terror assault in Sehwan, including the recent ones, Pakistan Army targeted a training camp of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and militant hideouts located close to the Pak-Afghan border in areas adjacent to Mohmand and Khyber agencies.

In a similar message to Kabul, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to call for strong action against JuA and terrorist’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that Afghanistan had been asked to address concerns about presence of terrorist groups on its soil, which are behind the latest wave of terrorism in the country.

It is notable that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference on February 17, this year claimed that the suspects involved in planning and carrying out the Feb 13 suicide bombing on a protest at Lahore’s Charing Cross (Mall Road) belonged to Afghanistan. Sharif also announced the arrest of the facilitator of the attacker, Anwar-ul-Haq who he said belonged to Fata’s Bajaur Agency which neighbours Afghanistan. The suspect’s confessional statement was aired during the briefing. The suspect stated, “I was associated with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and they trained me”, adding that he has visited Afghanistan around 15 to 20 times.

The police officers involved in the investigation into the incident of Mall Road, Lahore revealed that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is an offshoot of the Tehreek-i-Taliban.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks since Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) announced its ‘Operation Ghazi’. The Afghanistan-based JuA had in the announcement also hinted at unification of TTP splinter groups.

As regards the terror assault on the Police Training College in Quetta, IG FC Major General Sher Afgun had informed the press that the attackers acted on directions from Afghanistan and the initial investigation suggested that the terrorists were affiliated with the outlawed Lashkar-e- Jhangvi Al Almi militant group. He elaborated, “We came to know from the communication intercepts that there were three militants who were getting instructions from Afghanistan.”

Notably, as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP was being prepared to carry out a fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has become center of the Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan.

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its location among South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources irritate the eyes of the US, India and Israel which intend to weaken Pakistan for their collective aims, as the latter is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.

In case of Balochistan, every Pakistani knows that the militant outfits like ISIS and separatist groups like the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and their affiliated groups, including Jundollah (God’s soldiers) and Lashkar-i-Janghvi which have been creating unrest in the Balochistan get logistic support from RAW and Mossad with the tactical assistance of CIA. In the recent years, these terrorist outfits massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. These externally-supported insurgent groups had kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan including Iranian diplomats. They have claimed responsibility for a number of terror assaults, including those on Shias in Balochsitan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan.

As a matter of fact, like Syrian war, as part of the dual strategy of their countries, CIA, RAW and Mossad are especially using ISIS terrorists who are behind the latest blasts in Balochistan to obtain the covert aims of their countries against Pakistan, China and Iran.

It is of particular attention that arrest of the Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav in Balochistan has exposed Indian undeclared war against Pakistan. While addressing a joint press conference with the then Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheeda and former Director General of ISPR Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said on March 29, 2016, “Kulbushan Yadav’s arrest is a rare case that does not happen very often.” He disclosed that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.

A video was also shown during the press conference in which Yadav confessed that he spied for India. Yadav admitted that he was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan by stating, “I supported the individuals who worked to destabilize Pakistan…I promoted the criminal mindset that was there in Balochistan.” Another task assigned to him was to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also confessed—funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists. During investigation, RAW agent Yadav admitted that during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s security agencies uncovered another ring of Indian spies in the country, working as under covert agents, found involved in subversive activities to destabilize Pakistan. In this connection, on November 2, last year, Islamabad disclosed that five Indian diplomats who were serving at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad found to be part of the RAW spy network and were involved in subversive activities by facilitating and funding terrorism. They were declared as persona non grata and expelled from the country.

Undoubtedly, almost all the terrorists or terrorist groups and insurgency in Pakistan, especially have their connection in Afghanistan. The porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is frequently used by human and drug traffickers, criminals and terrorists. Their easy access through unguarded porous border provides opportunity to miscreants to cause havoc inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. For effective counter terrorism measures strong border, control management is vital at Pak-Afghan border. But, Afghan rulers are using delaying tactics in this respect.

Taking cognizance of the anti-Pakistan intruders, Pakistan’s army had decided to build a fence along the border, and to control the border crossings. The strategic project of 1,100-kilometre-long trench with the cost of Rs14 billion which was initiated along Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan by Frontier Corps in 2013 has been completed last year. In the next phase, the project will be extended to the entire long border with Afghanistan which had opposed this plan.

While, from time to time, controversy arises between Afghanistan and Pakistan when Afghan officials refused to recognize the Durand Line which is the 2640 kilometer long and porous border, situated between both the countries.

The issue again came to the limelight on June 12, 2016 when Afghan security forces started unprovoked firing at Torkham border crossing, resulting in injuries to more than 16 Pakistani citizens, including the martyrdom of some Pakistani security personnel. The aim was to stop Pakistan from construction of a gate.

Durand Line has not been drawn by Pakistan, but it was declared border line by British representative Sir Durand and Afghan Ameer Ghazi Amanullah Khan in 1919. People of Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA (Tribal Areas) opted to join Pakistan in 1947. So, it is a declared border line and Afghan government has no right to object on any construction along with the Durand line.

There is no doubt that escalation of tension at Pak- Afghan border is deliberately engineered by the elements opposed to peace talks and improvement of bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul.

Pakistan is committed to tackle the problem of terrorism mainly emanating from Afghanistan. Therefore, the effective border management becomes imperative to control all the terrorism-related infiltrations, drug smuggling etc.  Moreover, effective border management will also facilitate both countries to come out of blame game, as it would offer a strict check on both sides to counter the free movement of terrorists and drug mafia lords, who are the important factors of deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and its obvious backlash on Pakistan.

Besides, Afghan peace and reconciliation process is a reality despite of its slow pace and continual interruptions. The positive trajectory of constructive relations between Islamabad and Kabul raised alarm-bells amongst the US-led adversaries who are attempting to affect the progressive Pak-Afghan relations through smear and sinister scheming.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have previously suggested many initiatives to resolve their differences. However, as fast as these solutions had emerged, they have disappeared due to lack of follow-up. Afghanistan and Pakistan have no other option, but to cooperate and resolve their differences through political and diplomatic dialogue. And there is a huge lack of trust between the both sides. Hence, it is imperative for both the countries to develop a framework for strategic dialogue, focused on short, medium and long term solutions. As a trust building initiative, an effective border management mechanism will be beneficial for the two countries. Such an establishment will also plug in many loop holes, being manipulated by the terrorist outfits to conduct cross border terrorism.

We may conclude that besides the previous terror-events, the recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have connection in Afghanistan.

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on The Afghan Connection of Terrorism in Pakistan 

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