Archive | Asia

Stop Repression on Kashmir’s People

NOVANEWS

Kashmir has been plunged into yet another cycle of massive civilian protests met with brutal state repression that claimed 32 lives till now and severely injured many more. The crisis has been precipitated this time by the killing of a young militant, Burhan Wani. Wani had been a popular figure in Kashmir, adept in addressing youth on social media. Vast numbers of Kashmiri people gathered to mourn at his funeral. Mourners and protesters alike are being subjected to repression by paramilitary forces on Kashmir’s streets, in a repeat of the events of 2010, when 112 civilian protesters were killed in a period of four months.

There are many unanswered questions about Burhan Wani’s killing. The Supreme Court’s recent order, reiterating that every encounter must be subjected to criminal investigation and prosecution, whether the person killed is a militant or a civilian, ought to be respected and followed here. But Burhan Wani’s killing also raises other questions about the Indian State’s policy vis a vis Kashmir. In 2010, on the heels of the spate of killings of civilian protesters, Wani and his brother and friends were subjected to a casual, brutal beating by security forces. Such humiliations are part of the daily experience of most Kashmiris, as a result of the military and paramilitary deployment in civilian areas. Months after the beating, the 16 year-old Wani left home to join a separatist outfit and emerge as a well-known face of the Kashmiri insurgency. In Kashmir, youth who do not take up arms and engage only in street protests, are routinely killed or maimed by security forces. By choking off all spaces for peaceful resistance and delegitimising even seminars and slogans that reflect Kashmiri sentiments, by routinely cracking down on internet services, and subjecting youth to brutal, arbitrary beating even when they are not protesting, the Indian establishment itself is creating the soil in which militancy takes root. Moreover, Wani was not charged with participating in any specific instance of terrorism, and is on record assuring that Amarnath pilgrims would not be attacked and appealing to Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley. There could have been many ways of engaging youth like him – and separatist organisations like his – in talks about Kashmir’s political future rather than killing them.

What the Central Government and the BJP-PDP Government in J&K are unable to reckon with is the scale of the spontaneous civilian mourning and protests that have broken out following Wani’s killing. Attempts to blame the protests on instigation by Pakistan, and justify the killing of Wani as well as the repression on civilians as a war on terror, only point to the colossal political failure of the Governments to engage respectfully with the voices and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Kashmir is primarily a political issue calling for a political solution that is in keeping with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, their self-respect and dignity.

The Sangh Parivar and BJP have for long vitiated the discourse on Kashmir by demanding abrogation of Article 370. But even the Congress and the UPA, that stood by Article 370, had much the same militarised policy towards Kashmir. Both Congress and BJP-led governments at the Centre have insisted on tame state governments in J&K, have branded every instance of Kashmiri mass resistance and protests as ‘instigated by Pakistan’, and unleashed brutal repression on such protests. The NCP leader Omar Abdullah has been blaming Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her failure to stop the killings of civilians – forgetting perhaps that he himself presided over a spate of such killings in 2010 when he was Chief Minister. The fact that the NCP and PDP utterly fail to command any credibility, trust and respect among Kashmir’s people is brought home by the fact that the Chief Minister, Ministers and elected MLAs are yet to feel confident enough even to meet the injured in hospital and the families of the victims!

The coverage of the crisis in Kashmir by influential sections of the Indian media is a recipe for further alienation of the Kashmiri people. Any calls for restraint, for sympathy with Kashmir’s grief and rage, for Supreme Court-mandated enquiries into encounter killings, are equated with ‘support for terrorism’ or ‘support for Pakistan.’ The question of the killings of civilian protesters and use of pellet guns to blind scores of protesters is either rendered virtually invisible. The political issues are obscured and Kashmir is seen entirely through the prism of ‘Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.’

Indian leaders talk now and then of ‘winning the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people’. PV Narasimha Rao had promised that ‘the sky is the limit’ in talks with separatist groups on Kashmir. Vajpayee had, in response to a question about whether talks with separatist groups would take place ‘within the scope of the Indian Constitution’, had countered that they would take place ‘within the scope of humanity.’ But such promises seem to have remained in the domain of phrase-mongering. The average Kashmiri finds that far from the ‘sky’ being the limit, political self-expression of Kashmiris on the question of self-determination is pushed underground. Rather than talks ‘within the scope of humanity’, the template for dealing with Kashmiri resentments, mournings and protests remains within the grim and inhuman scope of pellets and bullets. It is of course, asserted that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’, but the Kashmiri people are subjected to brutalisation and humiliation on a scale and intensity that few other parts of India have experienced. Above all, the Indian establishment as well as most political parties and the media, fail to display even the most basic respect for Kashmiri sentiments and aspirations.

It is urgent for the democratic-minded Indian citizens to open their hearts and minds to the voices of Kashmiri people, and to tell Indian Governments at the Centre and State that the brutal military handling of Kashmiri resistance must stop. To create a conducive climate where a genuine dialogue on solutions for Kashmir can be discussed where Kashmiri people can freely express themselves and be heard with respect, it is a must for the AFSPA to be withdrawn, and or all encounters and alleged rapes by security forces to be subjected to credible and timely investigations. The right of Kashmiris to a political solution in keeping with their wishes and sense of autonomy and dignity, must be articulated strongly not just in Kashmir but in every corner of India.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

No More Una Or Dadri Style Atrocities ## Ban Casteist And Communal ‘Cow Protection’ Mobs

NOVANEWS

Image result for Cow Protection CARTOON

For the past several years, ‘cow-protection’ vigilantism has been the pretext for casteist and communal violence. Akhlaque was killed in Dadri by such a mob; two Muslim cattle herders were lynched and hung from trees in Jharkhand by such mobs. Such mobs, acting closely with RSS outfits, have routinely stripped, paraded and thrashed their victims in the presence of police, and uploaded videos of the violence online. But they have done so once too often in Una in Gujarat’s Somnath District.

The job of skinning and tanning cow leather and disposing of cow carcasses is assigned by the oppressive caste system to Dalits, who face untouchability for doing this work that is considered ‘dirty.’ On July 11th, a Shiv Sena ‘cow protection’ mob caught hold of four Dalit men who had been called by a farmer to dispose of a dead cow. Accusing the Dalits of being ‘cow leather smugglers,’ the cow-vigilantes brutally stripped and thrashed them for four hours, and released a video of the atrocity as a ‘warning’ to ‘cow smugglers.’ The Gujarat police, far from intervening to prevent the violence and arrest the perpetrators, detained the victims and questioned them. This is reminiscent of the shocking manner in which a UP Court has ordered that a FIR of ‘cow slaughter’ be registered against the family of the Dadri lynch-mob victim Akhlaque.

The Dalits of Gujarat have erupted in protest against the atrocity. They have adopted an innovative means of protest: they are dumping cow carcasses at Government offices, saying that Dalits refuse to dispose of cow carcasses any more. They have declared that those of the RSS, Shiv Sena and other ‘cow protection’ outfits who claim the cow to be their mother, can in future take on the responsibility of conducting the ‘last rites’ of their ‘mother’. This form of protest has most effectively exposed the sheer hypocrisy of the casteist and communal ‘cow protection’ groups that refer to cows as their ‘mother’, but consider the ‘mother’s’ carcass to be too ‘polluting’ to be handled by anyone except Dalits.

Some 16 Dalits of Gujarat have attempted suicide in the wake of the atrocity, reflecting the sense of outrage and humiliation felt by Dalits in the State. The Gujarat Government, in an attempt to contain the protest, has suspended some of the concerned police personnel. But suspension is far from adequate: all the perpetrators, identified on the basis of the videos, must be arrested and the responsible police personnel arrested and prosecuted for their complicity in an atrocity against Dalits.

A study titled “Understanding Untouchability: A Comprehensive Study of Practices and Conditions in 1,589 villages”, conducted in Gujarat by the Navsarjan Trust between 2007-2010, had found evidence of widespread untouchability, tacitly approved and encouraged by the Government, in 98% of the villages. And Gujarat is unlikely to be an exception – untouchability and anti-Dalit atrocities are common all over rural and urban India.

What needs to be emphasized is the fact that casteist anti-Dalit discrimination and violence is joined at the hip to communal discrimination and violence. Strategies used to stoke hatred and violence against Muslims today, have long been used against Dalits. Both Dalits and Muslims are the targets of organized violence in the name of ‘cow protection’; Dalits, like Muslims, do not share the taboo on consumption of beef imposed by caste Hindus. Dalit communities face violence when Dalit men marry ‘caste Hindu’ women; Muslim communities face violence when Muslim men marry Hindu women. In other words, ‘cow protection’, as well as inter-caste and inter-faith marriage are common pretexts for casteist and communal politics as well as mob violence. Modi himself, during the Parliamentary and Assembly election campaign speeches in Bihar, repeatedly used the ‘cow protection’ motif in a vain attempt to stoke communal hatred and consolidate caste and religious vote-banks in Bihar.

Today, the BJP and Sangh Parivar are caught in a wedge. They are the champions of the ‘cow protection’ politics and the casteist and communal violence that go with it. At the same time, they seek to woo Dalits to identify with communal, anti-Muslim politics. Their ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) campaign is essentially a campaign to ask Dalits to embrace their subordinate position in the Hindu casteist status quo, without complaint. They also seek to appropriate Ambedkar, minus his radical anti-caste and anti-communal democratic politics. But time and again, actions and words of the BJP, Sangh and Hindutva leaders and groups reveal them to the Dalits to be ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing.’

When Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister, he referred in a book titled ‘Karmayog’ to manual scavenging as a ‘spiritual activity’ done voluntarily by Dalits to serve society. After facing huge protests, he has since changed his tune. But his original remarks throw light on the Sangh’s own ideology that disguises and glorifies anti-Dalit atrocities as part of a desirable social order.

Even as the Dalits of Gujarat – Narendra Modi’s supposedly ‘model’ home state – are up in arms against a shamelessly casteist administration and Government, Mumbai has witnessed a massive rally of Dalit and Left groups against the BJP Government’s shocking demolition of Ambedkar’s historic office at Dadar.

The Dalits’ protests in Gujarat must resonate across the country. Democratic groups all over India must unite to demand a ban on cow protection vigilantist outfits that indulge in, promote or glorify mob violence in the name of ‘cow protection.’

Posted in India0 Comments

70th Independence Day

NOVANEWS

Remember Sacrifices, Fight For Broken Promises To Be Kept

The Modi Government has announced that India’s 70th Independence Day – 15 August 2016 –will be marked by celebrations on the theme of ‘Yaad Karo Kurbani’ (Remember the Sacrifices). Celebrations will include the Indian tricolor borne on 8-foot masts; tricolour ‘yatras’ in the constituencies of BJP MPs and MLAs; performances by armed forces bands at Rajpath; and visits by Central Ministers to key freedom struggle sites such as Jallianwala Bagh, Kakori, Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Champaran, Dandi and Bardoli and celebrations at the birthplaces of freedom fighters.

India’s 70th Independence Day should not merely be an occasion for superficial displays of patriotism. While remembering the sacrifices of the freedom fighters, it should also be an occasion to look back at the promises made to the citizens of the independent Republic, and introspect on how far those promises have been kept.

As we approach August 15 2016, it is impossible to ignore India’s stark failure, in 70 years of independence, to ensure equality and dignity for Dalits, for adivasis, for women and for the minorities. In 70-year-old free India, citizens are not free to eat, love and marry in violation of the shameful shackles of caste and community. Organized vigilante mobs, drunk on a poisonous brew of casteism and communalism and proximity to the ruling party, are torturing and killing Dalits and Muslims in the name of protecting cows. In Gujarat, Dalits were stripped and publicly flogged; in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, Muslim men were lynched to death by ‘cow-protection’ vigilantes. In Tamil Nadu, a communist activist from an oppressed caste is beheaded by casteist and communal outfits for daring to organize for social and political rights, while a Dalit man is hacked to death on the open road for daring to love and marry a non-Dalit woman. Birsa, Siddho and Kano led adivasi resistance against British colonialism; today, adivasis are being massacred to make way for corporate and MNC plunder. Students uttering the cry of ‘freedom’ are slapped with colonial sedition laws and threatened with arrest. Is this the ‘promised dawn’ of freedom that the freedom fighters fought and died for?

Ironically, the worst barbarism is parading as patriotism. The thugs who brutalise and kill in the name of ‘Mother Cow’, also abuse and bully dissenters in the name of ‘Mother India’. The Modi Government and Cabinet has its share of abusive bullies. The Ministers who take their ‘advice’, inspiration and orders from the RSS will, we are told, visit the Cellular Jail and other iconic sites of the freedom struggle, and lead Tricolour Yatras. This is the same freedom struggle from which the RSS totally abstained; the same tricolor that the RSS called ‘inauspicious’ and wanted to discard in favour of the saffron flag; the same Cellular Jail that the Hindutva icon Savarkar escaped by writing repeated apology letters to the British colonial rulers. The RSS collaboration with the colonial rulers during the struggle for independence, is matched today by the betrayal of India’s sovereignty by the BJP Government that is placing India’s economic and foreign policies in the strategic stranglehold of US imperialism. Among the most shameful instance of broken promises is the promise of democracy made before the world to the Kashmiri people. Democratic countries must be judged by their sensitive and democratic handling of aspirations of nationalities – and in the case of Kashmir and North East, India’s handling has never shed the birthmarks of colonialism. India’s rulers will be paying lip service to the memory of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre while bludgeoning and blinding unarmed Kashmiri protesters, and invoking the colonial Armed Forces Special Powers Act to militarily suppress popular aspirations and movements.

The spirit of a hard-won Independence can never be respected or represented in the hypocritical ‘patriotic’ propaganda of repressive and bigoted rulers. That spirit of service and sacrifice, that dream of a truly free and democratic country, of rebellion against injustice lives on in today’s fighters for democracy: in the likes of Chandrashekhar, of Rohith Vemula, of Irom Sharmila. It is that spirit that students and youth uphold as they give the call of ‘Arise My Country’, committing anew to an India of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh’s dreams. For India’s spirited, idealistic youth, ‘independence’ cannot be contained in the official parades and yatras around 15th August. Rather even on 15th August they will remember the call of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to keep fighting for a thoroughgoing rather than formal independence and democracy.

Posted in India0 Comments

Stop The War On Democracy In Kashmir

NOVANEWS

Kashmir has been plunged into yet another cycle of massive civilian protests met with brutal state repression that claimed 46 lives (and still counting) and severely injured many more. The crisis has been precipitated this time by the killing of a young militant, Burhan Wani. Wani had been a popular figure in Kashmir, adept in addressing youth on social media. Vast numbers of Kashmiri people gathered to mourn at his funeral. Mourners and protesters alike are being subjected to repression by paramilitary forces on Kashmir’s streets, in a repeat of the events of 2010, when 112 civilian protesters were killed in a period of four months.

There are many unanswered questions about Burhan Wani’s killing. The Supreme Court’s recent order, reiterating that every encounter must be subjected to criminal investigation and prosecution, whether the person killed is a militant or a civilian, ought to be respected and followed here.

But Burhan Wani’s killing also raises other questions about the Indian State’s policy vis a vis Kashmir. In 2010, on the heels of the spate of killings of civilian protesters, Wani and his brother and friends were subjected to a casual, brutal beating by security forces. Such humiliations are part of the daily experience of most Kashmiris, as a result of the military and paramilitary deployment in civilian areas. Months after the beating, the 15 year-old Wani left home to join a separatist outfit and emerge as a well-known face of the Kashmiri insurgency. In Kashmir, youth who do not take up arms and engage only in street protests, are routinely killed or maimed by security forces. By choking off all spaces for peaceful resistance and delegitimising even seminars and slogans that reflect Kashmiri sentiments, by routinely cracking down on internet services, and subjecting youth to brutal, arbitrary beating even when they are not protesting, the Indian establishment itself leaves little space for Kashmiri youth to salvage their self-respect. Moreover, Wani was not charged with participating in any specific instance of terrorism, and is on record assuring that Amarnath pilgrims would not be attacked and appealing to Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley. There could have been many ways of engaging youth like him – and separatist organisations like his – in talks about Kashmir’s political future rather than killing them.

What the Central Government and the BJP-PDP Government in J&K are unable to reckon with is the scale of the spontaneous civilian mourning and protests that have broken out following Wani’s killing. Attempts to blame the protests on instigation by Pakistan – as witnessed in the speeches by Government leaders as well as many Opposition leaders in Parliament – and justify the killing of Wani as well as the repression on civilians as a war on terror, only point to the colossal political failure of the Governments to engage respectfully with the voices and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Kashmir is primarily a political issue calling for a political solution that is in keeping with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, their self-respect and dignity.

The Sangh Parivar and BJP have for long vitiated the discourse on Kashmir by demanding abrogation of Article 370. But even the Congress and the UPA, that stood by Article 370, had much the same militarised policy towards Kashmir. Both Congress and BJP-led governments at the Centre have insisted on tame state governments in J&K, have branded every instance of Kashmiri mass resistance and protests as ‘instigated by Pakistan’, and unleashed brutal repression on such protests. The NCP leader Omar Abdullah has been blaming Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her failure to stop the killings of civilians – forgetting perhaps that he himself presided over a spate of such killings in 2010 when he was Chief Minister. The fact that the NCP and PDP utterly fail to command any credibility, trust and respect among Kashmir’s people is brought home by the fact that the Chief Minister, Ministers and elected MLAs are unable to feel confident even to go out to meet the injured in hospital and the families of the victims!

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

U.S. Awards $1.7 Billion Contract to Buy Radios for Afghan Army

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Image result for US MILITARY IN Afghanistan CARTOON
By Peter Van Buren 

I always found myself giggling during the Democratic debates when Hillary would ask Bernie how he was going to pay for things like healthcare or college tuition, and then Bernie stammering to find an answer.

They both knew the secret but neither would say it — there’s plenty of money, we just don’t want to spend it on Americans.

We think of that as freeloading, unearned stuff. Go get a job, moocher. But then move the same question overseas and everything changes. There is always plenty of money, and the people getting free stuff from that money aren’t moochers. They’re allies.

So how much healthcare would $1.7 billion buy? Because that’s how much money the United States just laid out to buy radios for the near-useless Afghan Army. And while I don’t know how much healthcare the money would buy, I do know it will purchase a helluva lot of radios. Is everyone in Afghanistan getting one? Maybe we’re buying them for the Taliban, too.

Anyway, the $1,700,000,000 radios for Afghanistan contract was just recently awarded to the Harris Corporation. And here’s a funny thing: only one company — Harris — actually put in a bid for the contract.

But the Afghans must need more stuff than just radios, and so the U.S. has money ready for that.

The United States will provide $3 billion to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces from 2018 to 2020 for, well, we don’t really know. Meanwhile, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said the White House planned to ask Congress for about $1 billion a year in development and economic assistance for Afghanistan through 2020. And if that isn’t enough, the United States and its allies are expected to raise $15 billion for the Afghan National Defense and Security forces at a NATO summit scheduled for next month in Warsaw.

There’s money. You just can’t have any of it, moochers.

Posted in Afghanistan, USA0 Comments

How the Australian, British, and US Governments Shamelessly Helped Kill Countless People in Indonesia in 1965

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Asia-Pacific Research 

The Hague-based International People’s Tribunal has ruled that the Indonesian regime that replaced Indonesian President Sukarno committed crimes against humanity in 1965. The governments of Australia, Britain, and the United States have also been pronounced guilty as complicit partners in the massacre of 500,000 to 1000,000 people or more in Indonesia. People were murdered in Indonesia due to their principles, political ideology, ethnic backgrounds, and opposition to foreign influence. Albeit the ruling is an important historical acknowledgment, the assistance that the Australian, British, and US governments provided to the coup and played in the massacres is not a secret.

Asia-Pacific Research presents these excerpts from the Australian journalist John Pilger’s book The New Rulers of the World, which was published by Verso in 2002, in the interest of providing the historical background about the massacres that took place in Indonesia. Reading them will educate one on the despicable and criminal roles that Australia, Britain, and the US played. ”There were bodies being washed up on the lawns of the British consulate in Surabaya, and British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so that they could take part in this terrible holocaust,” for example Pilger writes. In his work John Pilger also notes that the US was directly involved in the operations of the death squads and helped compile the lists of people to be murdered while the Australian, British, and US media were used as propaganda tools to whitewash the coup and bloodbaths in Indonesia. A key point, however, that is emphasizes is that the underlying economic motivations and plunder hidden behind the ideological discourse of the Cold War that really motivated the massacres in Indonesia. – Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Asia-Pacific Research Editor, 22 July 2016.

 Indonesians preparing to die in a mass grave

Excerpts from The New Rulers of the World (Verso)

John Pilger, 2002

… according to a CIA memorandum, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President John Kennedy had agreed to ‘liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and available opportunities’. The CIA author added, ‘It is not clear to me whether murder or overthrow is intended by the word liquidate.’

Sukarno was a populist, the founder of modern Indonesia and of the non-aligned movement of developing countries, which he hoped would forge a genuine ‘third way’ between the spheres of the two superpowers. In 1955, he convened the ‘Asia-Africa Conference’ in the Javanese hill city of Bandung. It was the first time the leaders of the developing world, the majority of humanity, had met to forge common interests: a prospect that alarmed the western powers, especially as the vision and idealism of nonalignment represented a potentially popular force that might seriously challenge neo-colonialism. The hopes invested in such an unprecedented meeting are glimpsed in the faded tableaux and black-and-white photographs in the museum at Bandung and in the forecourt of the splendid art deco Savoy Hotel, where the following Bandung Principles are displayed:

I – Respect for fundamental human rights and the principles of the United Nations Charter.

2 – Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

3 – The recognition of the equality of all peoples.

4 – The settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

Sukarno could be a democrat and a demagogue. For a time, Indonesia was a parliamentary democracy, then became what he called a ‘guided democracy’. He encouraged mass trade unions and peasant, women’s and cultural movements. Between 1959 and 1965, more than 15 million people joined political parties or affiliated mass organisations that were encouraged to challenge British and American influence in the region. With 3 million members, the PKI was the largest communist party in the world outside the Soviet Union and China. According to the Australian historian Harold Crouch, ‘the PKI had won widespread support not as a revolutionary party but as an organisation defending the interests of ‘the poor within the existing system’. It was this popularity, rather than any armed insurgency, that alarmed the Americans. Like Vietnam to the north, Indonesia might ‘go communist’ .

In 1990, the American investigative journalist Kathy Kadane revealed the extent of secret American collaboration in the massacres of 1965-66 which allowed Suharto to seize the presidency. Following a series of interviews with former US officials, she wrote, ‘They systematically compiled comprehensive lists of communist operatives. As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured.’ One of those interviewed was Robert J Martens, a political officer in the US embassy in Jakarta. ‘It was a big help to the army,’ he said. ‘They probably killed a lot of people and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.’ Joseph Lazarsky, the deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta, said that confirmation of the killings came straight from Suharto’s headquarters. ‘We were getting a good account in Jakarta of who was being picked up,’ he said. ‘The army had a “shooting list” of about 4,000 or 5,000 people. They didn’t have enough goon squads to zap them all, and some individuals were valuable for interrogation. The infrastructure [of the PKI] was zapped almost immediately. We knew what they were doing . . . Suharto and his advisers said, if you keep them alive you have to feed them.’

Having already armed and equipped much of the army, Washington secretly supplied Suharto’s troops with a field communications network as the killings got under way. Flown in at night by US air force planes based in the Philippines, this was state-of-the-art equipment, whose high frequencies were known to the CIA and the National Security Agency advising President Johnson. Not only did this allow Suharto’s generals to co-ordinate the killings, it meant that the highest echelons of the US administration were listening in and that Suharto could seal off large areas of the country. Although there is archive film of people being herded into trucks and driven away, a single fuzzy photograph of a massacre is, to my knowledge, the only pictorial record of what was Asia’s holocaust.

The American Ambassador in Jakarta was Marshall Green, known in the State Department as ‘the coupmaster’. Green had arrived in Jakarta only months earlier, bringing with him a reputation for having masterminded the overthrow of the Korean leader Syngman Rhee, who had fallen out with the Americans. When the killings got under way in Indonesia, manuals on student organising, written in Korean and English, were distributed by the US embassy to the Indonesian Student Action Command (KAMI), whose leaders were sponsored by the CIA.

On October 5, 1965, Green cabled Washington on how the United States could ‘shape developments to our advantage’. The plan was to blacken the name of the PKI and its ‘protector’, Sukarno. The propaganda should be based on ‘[spreading] the story of the PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality’. At the height of the bloodbath, Green assured General Suharto: ‘The US is generally sympathetic with and admiring of what the army is doing.” As for the numbers killed, Howard Federspiel, the Indonesia expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 1965, said, ‘No one cared, as long as they were communists, that they were being butchered. No one was getting very worked up about it.’

The Americans worked closely with the British, the reputed masters and inventors of the ‘black’ propaganda admired and adapted by Joseph Goebbels in the 1930s. Sir Andrew Gilchrist, the Ambassador in Jakarta, made his position clear in a cable to the Foreign Office: ‘I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.’ With more than ‘a little shooting’ under way, and with no evidence of the PKI’s guilt, the embassy advised British intelligence headquarters in Singapore on the line to be taken, with the aim of ‘weakening the PKI permanently’ .

Suitable propaganda themes might be: PKI brutality in murdering Generals and [Foreign Minister] Nasution’s daughter . . . PKI subverting Indonesia as agents of foreign Communists . . . But treatment will need to be subtle, e.g. (a) all activities should be strictly unattributable, (b) British participation or co-operation should be carefully concealed.

Within two weeks, an office of the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD) had opened in Singapore. The IRD was a top-secret, cold war propaganda unit headed by Norman Reddaway, one of Her Majesty’s most experienced liars. It would be salutary for journalists these days to study the critical role western propaganda played then, as it does now, in shaping the news. Indeed, Reddaway and his colleagues manipulated the press so expertly that he boasted to Gilchrist in a letter marked ‘secret and personal’ that the story he had promoted – that Sukarno’s continued rule would lead to a communist takeover – ‘went all over the world and back again’ . He described how an experienced Fleet Street journalist agreed ‘to give exactly your angle on events in his article … . i.e. that this was a kid glove coup without butchery.’

Roland Challis, the BBC’s South-East Asia correspondent, was a particular target of Reddaway, who claimed that the official version of events could be ‘put almost instantly back to Indonesia via the BBC’. Prevented from entering Indonesia along with other foreign journalists, Challis was unaware of the extent of the slaughter. ‘It was a triumph for western propaganda,’ he told me. ‘My British sources purported not to know what was going on, but they knew what the American plan was. There were bodies being washed up on the lawns of the British consulate in Surabaya, and British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so that they could take part in this terrible holocaust. It was only much later that we learned the American embassy was supplying names and ticking them off as they were killed. There was a deal, you see. In establishing the Suharto regime, the involvement of the IMF and the World Bank was part of it. Sukarno had kicked them out; now Suharto would bring them back. That was the deal.’

With Sukarno now virtually powerless and ill, and Suharto about to appoint himself acting president, the American press reported the Washington-backed coup not as a great human catastrophe, but in terms of the new economic advantages. The massacres were described by Time as ‘The West’s Best News in Asia’. A headline in US News and World Report read: ‘Indonesia: Hope . . . where there was once none’. The renowned New York Times columnist James Reston celebrated ‘A gleam of light in Asia’ and wrote a kid-glove version that he had clearly been given. The Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, who was visiting the US, offered a striking example of his sense of humour: ‘With 500,000 to a million communist sympathisers knocked off,’ he said approvingly, ‘I think it’s safe to assume a reorientation has taken place.’

Holt’s remark was an accurate reflection of the complicity of the Australian foreign affairs and political establishment in the agony of its closest neighbour. The Australian embassy in Jakarta described the massacres as a ‘cleansing operation’. The Australian Ambassador, KCO Shann, enthused to Canberra that the Indonesian army was ‘refreshingly determined to do over the PKI’, adding that the generals had spoken approvingly of the reporting on Radio Australia, which he described as ‘a bit dishonest’.’ In the Prime Minister’s Department, officials considered supporting ‘any measures to assist the Indonesian army … cope with the internal situation’.

In February 1966, [British] Ambassador Gilchrist wrote a report on the scale of the massacres based on the findings of the Swedish Ambassador, who had toured central and eastern Java with his Indonesian wife and had been able to speak to people out of earshot of government officials. Gilchrist wrote to the Foreign Office: ‘The Ambassador and I had discussed the killings before he left [on the tour] and he had found my suggested figure of 400,000 quite incredible. His enquiries have led him to reconsider it a very serious under-estimate. A bank manager in Surabaya with twenty employees said that four had been removed one night and beheaded . . . A third of a spinning factory’s technicians, being members of a Communist union, had been killed … The killings in Bali had been particularly monstrous. In certain areas, it was felt that not enough people [emphasis in the original] had been killed.’

On the island of Bali, the ‘reorientation’ described by Prime Minister Holt meant the violent deaths of at least 80,000 people, although this is generally regarded as a conservative figure. The many western, mostly Australian, tourists who have since taken advantage of cheap package holidays to the island might reflect that beneath the car parks of several of the major tourist hotels are buried countless bodies.

The distinguished campaigner and author Carmel Budiardjo, an Englishwoman married to a tapol and herself a former political prisoner, returned to Indonesia in 2000 and found ‘the trauma left by the killings thirty-five years ago still gripping many communities on the island’. She described meeting, in Denpasar, fifty people who had never spoken about their experiences before in public. ‘One witness,’ she wrote, ‘who was 20 years old at the time calmly told us how he had been arrested and held in a large cell by the military, 52 people in all, mostly members of mass organisations from nearby villages. Every few days, a batch of men was taken out, their hands tied behind their backs and driven off to be shot. Only two of the prisoners survived . . . Another witness, an ethnic Chinese Indonesian, gave testimony about the killing of 103 people, some as young as 15. In this case, the people were not arrested but simply taken from their homes and killed, as their names were ticked off a list.’

[…]

‘In the early sixties,’ he said, ‘the pressure on Indonesia to do what the Americans wanted was intense. Sukarno wanted good relations with them, but he didn’t want their economic system. With America, that is never possible. So he became an enemy. All of us who wanted an independent country, free to make our own mistakes, were made the enemy. They didn’t call it globalisation then; but it was the same thing. If you accepted it, you were America’s friend. If you chose another way, you were given warnings, and if you didn’t comply, hell was visited on you. But I am back; I am well; I have my family. They didn’t win.’

Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, described the terror in Indonesia from 1965 – 66 as a ‘model operation’ for the American-run coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. ‘The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,’ he wrote, ‘[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.’ He says Indonesia was also the model for Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, where American-directed death squads assassinated up to 50,000 people. ‘You can trace back all the major, bloody events run from Washington to the way Suharto came to power,’ he told me. ‘The success of that meant that it would be repeated, again and again.’

[…]

Indonesia, once owing nothing but having been plundered of its gold, precious stones, wood, spices and other natural riches by its colonial masters, the Dutch, today has a total indebtedness estimated at $262 billion, which is 170 per cent of its gross domestic product. There is no debt like it on earth. It can never be repaid. It is a bottomless hole.

Posted in Europe, Far East, USA0 Comments

Police State South Korea Clamps Down on Peace Movement

NOVANEWS
Deployment of US THAAD Missile System in South Korea

Statement of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea on the Park Geun-hye Government’s Deportation of its Members

 
Financial Crisis Conducive to Instability of Asia's Currency Markets: South Korea Imposes Currency Controls

On July 26, 2016, the South Korean government blocked the entry of two Korean American peace activists – Juyeon Rhee and Hyun Lee – into its country. The two are representatives of the U.S.-based Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. They had traveled to South Korea to participate in the annual Jeju Peace March as well as join protests against the recent U.S.-South Korean decision to deploy the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea.

After being detained by immigration officers at Incheon International Airport, the two were deported pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the Korea Immigration Law, which prohibits the entry of foreigners who, among other things, are “deemed likely to commit any act detrimental to national interests of the Republic of Korea or public safety.”

The two activists had traveled to South Korea numerous times in the past with no problems. They have never broken any laws in South Korea and had never been denied entry nor deported in the past.

The denial of their entry can only be seen as an attempt by the Park Geun-hye administration to block peace activists from internationalizing the growing opposition in South Korea against THAAD deployment. Since announcing its decision to collaborate with the U.S. military to deploy the missile system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, the government has waged an aggressive campaign to crack down on all those who oppose the government’s decision. President Park recently referred to those voicing opposition as “subversive forces” and declared, “It’s important to block subversive forces from all affairs, and we must be thorough in weeding them out.”

The rushed decision by the South Korean and U.S. governments to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea was undemocratic with no input from South Korean citizens. The burden of producing and operating the THAAD system will ultimately be borne by U.S. and South Korean taxpayers. The cost of the system is estimated at $1.3 billion, and the average annual operating and sustainment costs amount to $200 million. Many fear that long-term exposure to high frequency electromagnetic waves emitted by the THAAD radar and noise caused by its engines may be detrimental to the health of the Seongju residents who live near the designated site. The THAAD system has been deemed ineffective in the defense of South Korea. Its deployment is a provocative move against North Korea, China and Russia and will redraw Cold War lines as well as escalate tensions in a region that is already heavily militarized with weapons of mass destruction.

The South Korean government’s action of refusing entry to peace activists shows just how much it has devolved into a police state under the Park Geun-hye administration and that it deems international solidarity a threat to its policy of military confrontation. Indeed, only the strength of international solidarity between citizens of the United States and South Korea can stop the two governments’ provocative action towards increased militarization. The Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea is resolved to redouble its efforts of solidarity with the people of South Korea fighting for democracy and peace and call on all those who stand on the side of justice to join the opposition against the dangerous U.S. move to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

Posted in South Korea0 Comments

What Theresa May Forgot: North Korea Used British Technology to Build Its Nuclear Bombs?

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DF-ST-87-12392

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea’s nuclear dream come true.

The reactors at Calder Hall on the Sellafield site, then called Windscale, were opened by the young Queen Elizabeth in 1956. But it was never meant as a commercial civilian nuclear plant: the real purpose was to make plutonium for nuclear bombs.

North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

In the debate on Trident nuclear WMD renewal in Parliament last week, the new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a peculiarly ill-informed speech – demonstrating her political career that has virtually no experience in security or defence affairs – made, inter alia, the following unsupported assertions:

  • ” … today the threats from countries such as Russia and North Korea remain very real.”
  • “North Korea has stated a clear intent to develop and deploy a nuclear weapon, and it continues to work towards that goal, in flagrant violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
  • “North Korea is the only country in the world to have tested nuclear weapons this century, carrying out its fourth test this year, as well as a space launch that used ballistic missile technology. It also claims to be attempting to develop a submarine-launch capability and to have withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
  • “Based on the advice I have received, we believe that North Korea could already have enough fissile material to produce more than a dozen nuclear weapons. It also has a long-range ballistic missile, which it claims can reach America, and which is potentially intended for nuclear delivery.”

It reminded me of the similarly ill-informed former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his speeches to MPs trying to win them over with dodgy ‘advice’ from British intelligence, to go to war by invading Iraq in 2003.

MPs have short memories, despite the Chilcot Report on the Iraq invasion disaster not yet two weeks old, and 472 motley MP fools backed May and Trident replacement. As with the Iraq invasion, MPs will in future have to admit their regrets at being fooled. And again, they ignord the thousands of demonstrators outside, calling for Trident to be abandoned.

Britain’s nuclear proliferation ‘secret’

But May was right in one way. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons. But what she did not say was they did it with copied British bomb-making technology.

There is significant evidence that the British Magnox nuclear plant design – which was primarily built as a military plutonium production factory – provided the blueprint for the North Korean military plutonium programme based in Yongbyon. Here is what Douglas (now Lord) Hogg, then a Conservative minister, admitted in a written parliamentary reply in 1994 to Labour MP Llew Smith:

We do not know whether North Korea has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. North Korea possesses a graphite moderated reactor which, while much smaller, has generic similarities to the reactors operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc. However, design information of these British reactors is not classified and has appeared in technical journals.

The uranium enrichment programmes of both North Korea and Iran also have a UK connection. The blueprints of this type of plant were stolen by Pakistani scientist, A Q Khan, from the URENCO enrichment plant in The Netherlands in the early 1970s.
(see David Albright, Peddling Peril, 2010 pp 15-28, Free Press, New York)

This plant was – and remains – one-third owned by the UK government. The Pakistan government subsequently sold the technology to Iran, who later exchanged it for North Korean Nodong missiles.

A technical delegation from the A Q Khan Research Labs visited North Korea in the summer of 1996. The secret enrichment plant was said to be based in caves near Kumch’ang-ni, 100 miles north of the capital, Pyonyang, where US satellite photos showed tunnel entrances being built.

Hwang Jang-yop, a former aid to President Kim Il-sung (the grandfather of the current North Korean President) who defected in 1997, revealed details to Western intelligence investigators. (Levy A, Scott-Clark C Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Global Weapons Conspiracy, 2007, p.281, Atlantic Books)

Magnox machinations

Magnox is a now obsolete type of nuclear power plant ( except in North Korea) which was designed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in the early 1950s, and was exported to Italy and Japan The name ‘magnox’ comes from the alloy used to clad the fuel rods inside the reactor.

The reactors at Calder Hall on the Sellafield site – then called Windscale, and operated by the UKAEA – were opened by the young Queen Elizabeth on 17th October 1956. But it was never meant as a commercial civilian nuclear plant: the real purpose was to make plutonium for nuclear bombs.

The UKAEA official historian Kenneth Jay wrote about Calder Hall, in his short book of the same name, published to coincide with the opening of the plant, referring (p.88) to“major plants built for military purposes, such as Calder Hall.” Earlier, he wrote (p.80): ” … The plant has been designed as a dual-purpose plant, to produce plutonium for military purposes as well as electric power.”

The term Magnox also encompasses:

Nuclear ‘self sufficiency’ on the Korean peninsula

Olli Heinonen, senior fellow at the internationally reknown Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in the US has explained how North Korea obtained its uranium enrichment capability. He wrote five years ago:

The pre-eminence of Juche, the political thesis of Kim Il Sung, stresses independence from great powers, a strong military posture, and reliance on national resources. Faced with an impoverished economy, political isolation from the world, and rich uranium deposits, nuclear power-both civilian as well as military-fulfills all three purposes.

History and hindsight have shown a consistency in North Korea’s efforts to develop its own nuclear capability. One of the first steps North Korea took was to assemble a strong national cadre of nuclear technicians and scientists. In 1955, North Korea established its Atomic Energy Research Institute. In 1959, it signed an agreement with the Soviet Union to train North Korean personnel in nuclear related disciplines. The Soviets also helped the North Koreans establish a nuclear research center and built a 2 MW IRT nuclear research reactor at Yongbyon, which began operation in 1969.

Throughout the 1970s, North Korea continued to develop its nuclear capabilities, pursuing a dual track approach that was consistent with the idea of nuclear self-reliance. While engaging in discussions to obtain Light Water Reactors (LWRs) from the Soviet Union, North Korea proceeded with parallel studies on graphite moderated gas cooled reactors, using publicly available information based on the Magnox reactor design.

North Korea also carried out plutonium separation experiments at its Isotope Production Laboratory (IPL), and successfully separated plutonium in the same decade. The North Koreans worked on the design of a reprocessing plant for which, the chemical process was modeled after the Eurochemic plant.

Eurochemic was a research plant dedicated to the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. It was owned by thirteen countries which shared and widely published technologies developed. The plant, located in Dessel, Belgium, operated from 1966 to 1974.

When negotiations to acquire four LWRs from the Soviet Union failed, North Korea had already embarked on its indigenous nuclear program. Throughout the 1980s, North Korea constructed a 5 MWe reactor, fuel fabrication plant, and a reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, with no known documented external help and with minimal foreign equipment procured.

When the joint statement on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was concluded in December 1991, all three facilities had been fully operational for a number of years, with two additional (50 MWe and 200 MWe) graphite moderated gas cooled reactors under construction.

Why enrich the people when you can enrich uranium?

North Korea’s closed society and isolationist position has made it immensely difficult to accurately gauge its nuclear activities. Pyongyang has gone to great lengths to hide much of its nuclear program, including its enrichment route.

Nevertheless, there have been indications, including procurement related evidence, that point in the direction that North Korea has been actively pursuing enrichment since the mid-1990s, with likely exploratory attempts made up to a decade earlier.

It is clear that North Korea received a key boost in its uranium enrichment capability from Pakistan through the A Q Khan network. Deliveries of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, special oils, and other equipment from Pakistan to North Korea in the late 1990s were acknowledged by former Pakistani President General P. Musharraf in his memoirs, In the Line of Fire.

President Musharraf also wrote that, separately, North Korean engineers were provided training at A Q Khan’s Research Laboratories in Kahuta under the auspices of a government-to-government deal on missile technology that had been established in 1994. In all likelihood, North Korea also received the blue prints for centrifuges and other related process equipment from the Khan network during that period of time.

In the late 1980s, North Korea acquired vacuum equipment from a German company. While such equipment was primarily meant for North Korea’s fuel fabrication plant then under construction, some of the vacuum pumps could have been used for enrichment experiments. But additional attempts made in 2002 to again acquire vacuum technology after the completion of the fuel fabrication plant strongly pointed to its use for enrichment purposes.

Evidence of North Korea’s procurement activities in the late 1990s to the early 2000s showed its objective to achieve industrial or semi-industrial scale enrichment capacity, based on a more efficient Pakistani P-2 centrifuge design. In 1997, an attempt was made to acquire large amounts of maraging steel suitable for manufacturing centrifuges.

UK contributes again – by exporting high strength aluminium

In 2002 / 2003, North Korea successfully procured large quantities of high strength aluminium from Russia and the United Kingdom, another requirement in making centrifuges.

A simple tally of the amounts and types of equipment and material sought by North Korea suggests plans to develop a 5,000-centrifuge strong enrichment capacity. This appears consistent with a separate earlier enrichment offer A Q Khan had made to Libya.

For North Korea to have embarked on procuring equipment and materials meant for a (semi-)industrial scale enrichment facility, it is highly likely that the known Uranium Enrichment Workshop (UEW) at Yongbyon, which in reality approximates a full sized facility, is not the only one that exists. More workshops would have been needed to serve as test beds for pilot cascades of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges prior to (semi-)industrial scale enrichment operations.

While we have signs of North Korea’s enrichment goals, the final picture remains unclear given that the actual amount of items procured remains unknown. This problem is compounded by the fact that the North Koreans have and are continuing to source nuclear material and equipment from several parties. Moreover, there remains a high degree of uncertainty concerning the level of North Korea’s enrichment technology development.

In April 2009, after expelling IAEA inspectors, North Korea publicly announced for the first time that it was proceeding with its own enrichment program. To reinforce its intentions, North Korea followed up with a letter to the UN Security Council on September 3 to confirm that it was embarking on an enrichment phase.

In November 2010, the North Koreans unveiled to Siegfried Hecker, a pre-eminent nuclear expert and former director of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, an enrichment facility in Yongbyon with 2000 centrifuge machines similar to the P-2 version, built with maraging steel rotors. (S. Hecker, ‘Redefining Denuclearization in North Korea’, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 20, 2010.)

Implications and consequences

On March 22, 2011, North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, portrayed Libya’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons as a mistake that opened the country to NATO intervention following its domestic Arab Spring uprising.

Such conclusions drawn by North Korea make an already difficult case to engage North Korea to give up its nuclear weapon deterrence that much harder. At the same time, the alternative of disengagement will in all likelihood bring about greater problems.

In engaging North Korea, several key hurdles have to be tackled. First, North Korea shows a poor proliferation record. It was the suspected supply source of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Libya via the A Q  Khan network – the uranium gas used in centrifuges to separate out the fissionable 235U needed in nuclear bombs from non-fissionable 238U.

There is also mounting evidence that North Korea was involved in the construction of a secret nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour in Syria that was subsequently destroyed in 2007. It is plausible that North Korean personnel assisted Syria in building the reactor. (North Korea’s Nuclear Enrichment: Capabilities and Consequences‘, 38 North.org; 22 June 2011).

Lessons of history

This sorry tale has several important lessons for us today. First – and this must never be forgotten – the UK’s early ‘atoms for peace’ nuclear power programme was specifically designed and intended to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. And it was not just nuclear waste from Calder Hall that went for plutonium extraction at Windscale, but from other sites that were meant to be purely civilian such as Hinkley Point.

The UK is therefore guilty of ‘breaking the rules’ that are meant to separate civil and military nuclear activities, and its complaints of other states doing the same all carry the unmistakeable whiff of ripest humbug.

Second, for all its public position of seeking to restrain nuclear proliferation, the UK is actually one of the world’s most egregious nuclear proliferators: providing arch-nuclear enemy North Korea with both the Magnox technology it has used to produce plutonium for atom bombs; and the high strength aluminium it has used for its uranium centrifuges.

So when Theresa May stands up in Parliament and proclaims that we need the Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, remember: it is a threat that the UK created in the first place, providing both the nuclear reactor technology and the centrifuge materials to make it happen.

And when the UK cites the nuclear threat from North Korea as a reason to spend an estimated £200 billion on the next generation of Trident, we can be sure that North Korea and other countries aspiring to their own nuclear weapons are applying precisely the same logic to the British nuclear threat.

And that considering the UK’s history of aggressive regime-changing interventions in Iraq and Libya, the hundreds of (up to 225) nuclear warheads in its possession, and its ability to target them accurately anywhere in the world, North Korea’s fears are probably a great deal better founded than Mrs May’s.

Posted in North Korea, UK0 Comments

Australia, UK, US Complicit in Indonesian Massacres, International Judges Say

NOVANEWS

By Samantha Hawley

A non-binding international tribunal at The Hague has found Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States were complicit in facilitating the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia.

Key points:

  • 500,000 Indonesians killed in anti-communist purge at height of Cold War
  • Report found Australia continued to back army despite knowing about the killings
  • President Joko Widodo has refused to apologise for historic murders

An estimated half a million people perished in what was one of the worst massacres of the 20th Century. The killings were triggered by a failed coup that led to the deaths of six army generals, followed by the mass targeting of communists.

The International People’s Tribunal at The Hague has now ruled that Indonesia committed crimes against humanity, but the finding is non-binding and carries no legal weight.

The judges found allegations of “cruel and unspeakable murders” and the “unjustifiable imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people without trial” was well founded.

“It has also been demonstrated that sexual violence, particularly against women, was systematic and routine, especially during the period 1965 to 1967,” the report said.

The judges found Indonesia responsible for the crimes and called for the current administration to apologise and to institute investigations and prosecutions of those perpetrators who are still alive.

“Furthermore, the archives should be opened and the real truth on these crimes against humanity should be established,” the judges said.

The tribunal’s report found Australia, the US and the UK complicit by using propaganda to manipulate international opinion in favour of the Indonesian army.

The report said Australia and the UK, ” … shared the US aim of seeking to bring about the overthrow of president Sukarno.”

“They continued with this policy even after it had become abundantly clear that killings were taking place on a mass and indiscriminate basis. On balance, this appears to justify the charge of complicity,” the report said.

The report detailed horrifying details of rape and torture, including accused communists being forced to drink soldiers’ urine, while in other cases victims’ ears were cut off and they were forced to consume them.

According to the report, other acts of torture included, burning body parts, electric shocks, water torture, pulling out of fingernails and tying victims inside a sack with snakes.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said he will not apologise for the historic atrocity, but the report argued it was his duty to do so.

Posted in Far East, USA0 Comments

Martyrs’ Day: Genesis of the Kashmir’s Struggle

NOVANEWS

Image result for KASHMIR CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat

The Martyrs’ Day, known as Youme Shuhada-e- Kashmir is observed on July 13 every year on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world by the Kashmiris to pay homage to 22 Kashmiris who were martyred in 1931 to free Kashmir from the brutalities of despotic Dogra rulers. The day is the milestone in the history, as it has become genesis of the Kashmir’s struggle for independence against foreign occupation.

However, the history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with tyrannous treatment, meted out to the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under the Dogra rule, they were leading so miserable life that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant terror was order of the day.

In this regard, Yousaf Saraf in his book, “Kashmiris Fight for Freedom” calls it “free forced labour” and “instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas.” In this context, while describing the pathetic picture of the Kashmiris, in his book, “The India We Served”, Sir Walter Lawrence writes, “Army was employed in forcing the villagers to plough and sow, and worse still, the soldiers came at harvest time and when the share of the state had been seized” and “there was very little grain to tide the unfortunate peasants over the cruel winter.”

On April 19, 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba (Sermon) ignited widespread demonstrations in the Jummu city for a number of days. It was followed by desecration of the Holy Quran at the hands of Dogra forces, which resulted into outrage among the Muslims throughout the state. In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid to denounce this blasphemy. One such get-together was held in Khankah-e- Muella Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting was concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised slogans “destroy its every brick.” With the accusation of sedition, he was arrested forthwith. Abdul Qadir was to be tried in the court, but due to large public resentment, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.

On July 12, 1931, in response to the shifting of court, intense public protests were held throughout the city. The next day, on July 13, 1931, thousands of people thronged the Central Jail Srinagar to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for Azan. The Dogra Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered soldiers to open fire at him.

When he got martyred, another young man took his place and started Azan. He was also shot dead. In this way, 22 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the Azan. The people carried the dead and paraded through the streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to halt from July 13 to 26, 1931.

The 22 martyrs are buried in Martyrs’ Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar, Srinagar.

Consequent upon these brutal killings, the Kashmiri leadership realized the need to form a political party, Muslim Conference (MC) with a view to waging struggle for their freedom.

Later, in 1934, state’s first elections were held and MC won 10 out of 21 seats, and after two years in 1936, it succeeded in getting 19 out of 21 seats. Indian Congress was upset with this situation and tried to create division in the ranks of Kashmiri leadership. Afterwards, on July 19, 1947, MC passed a resolution to merge Kashmir with Pakistan, considering the geographical proximity—majority of Muslim population (77%), language and cultural relations of Jammu and Ironically, despite a lapse of 66 years, Kashmiris are still struggling and sacrificing to achieve their alienable right under the UN resolutions for the plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir Valley is one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world with Indian 7 million armed security forces which are perpetrating various forms of state terrorism on the innocent Kashmiris.

Since 1989, a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against the Kashmiris has been manifested in brutal tactics such as crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989, there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests, 1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

In this respect, European Union passed a resolution on May 11, 2011 about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.

Particularly, in 2008, a rights group reported unnamed graves in various regions of the Indian occupied Kashmir. In this context, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations including Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have disclosed that unnamed graves include thousands of persons, killed by the Indian forces in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by Indian secret agency RAW.

In its report China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian occupied Kashmir. The report revealed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.”

It seems that non-condemnation of these Indian massive human rights violations and non- interference for the settlement of this issue by the so-called civilized international community, especially the US have further encouraged New Delhi to keep on going with its state terrorism on the armless Kashmiri masses. Ignorance of the issue by them involves the risk of nuclear war between Pakistan and India.

Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.

It is notable that dialogue between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of the occupied Kashmir due to Indian intransigence.

Nevertheless, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle during the Martyrs’ Day, every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illicit occupation. In this context, Youme Shuhada-e- Kashmir is an ideal day for Kashmiris to seek inspiration to take their war of liberation to its logical end. At this time of distress, the people of Pakistan’s side are sharing the grief of Kashmiri freedom lovers. Pakistan also observes Youme Shudaha-e- Kashmir on July 13, launching a protest against the oppressive polices of Indian occupation, which have continued against the hapless Kashmiris.

Nonetheless, on July 13, all over the world, Kashmiris renew their pledge to continue the ongoing war of liberation for the accomplishment of their right of self-determination and for the independence of Kashmir from the despotic Indian rulers who continue state terrorism in the Indian-controlled Kashmir like the Dogra rulers. In these terms, Martyrs’ Day has become genesis of the Kashmir’s Struggle for independence.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

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