Archive | Asia

Britain to re-deploy drones from Afghanistan to Iraq


Britain will shortly begin re-deploying its unmanned armed drones from Afghanistan to counter Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament on Thursday.

The remotely-piloted Reaper aircraft will provide surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence support to the Iraqi troops and international coalition forces taking on the IS group in northern Iraq.

The drones can also launch bombs and missiles.

It will be the first time Britain has deployed Reapers outside Afghanistan, where Britain is completing a pull-out of combat troops this year.

“We are in the process of re-deploying some of our Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft from Afghanistan to the Middle East,” Hammond said.

Britain already has eight Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado fighter jets conducting bombing raids on Islamic State targets in Iraq.

“Approximately 20-30 percent of Iraq’s populated territory could be under ISIL control. Liberating this territory from ISIL is a medium term challenge, to be measured in months and years, not days and weeks,” Hammond said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The surveillance capability of Reaper will see it provide vital situational awareness, making it an invaluable asset to the Iraqi government and the coalition allies.

“If strike operations are required then Reaper has the ability to complement the sorties RAF Tornados have already completed.”

The US-made Reapers are normally armed with two Paveway laser-guided bombs and four Hellfire missiles for precision strikes.

The Ministry of Defence also said a small group of British infantry have completed a week training the Kurdish forces fighting extremists in using the heavy machine guns Britain gave them last month.

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, UK0 Comments

Missing Malala’s Message of Peace: Drones Fuel Terrorism


Missing Malala’s message of peace: ‘US Drones fuel terrorism.’ (Credit: Screenshot)

On October 10, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai–who received worldwide attention after being attacked by the Taliban for her advocacy for girls’ education–was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi.  Yousafzai’s work on educational equity is well-known. But less well-known is what she said to Barack Obama about how his wars were undermining the fight against terrorism.

Last year, Yousafzai’s White House meeting with Barack Obama received wide media coverage.  But as I pointed out  back then (FAIR Blog10/15/13), part of Yousafzai’s message didn’t make it into most media accounts: She told Obama that drone strikes in her country were fueling more terrorism.

After the meeting, she released a statement that included this:

I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education, it will make a big impact.

As Rania Khalek reported in Extra! (12/13), this part of her message wasn’t suited for US television:

In the week following the meeting, ABCNBC and CBS aired 20 Malala Yousafzai–related stories, according to a search of the Nexis news media database. But not one of them mentioned her comments about US drone strikes.

After Yousafzai’s award, she was back in the headlines; the news about the Nobel Peace Prize made it onto every network newscast. But once again, her message to Obama was absent–a curious omission, given the context.

CBS This Morning was one of the few outlets that covered her drone comments the first time around, so it replayed an excerpt of an interview with Norah O’Donnell on October 10:

DONNELL: Is it true that when you spoke with President Obama, that you talked about your concern that drone attacks are fueling terrorism?

YOUSAFZAI: The first thing is that, it is true that when there’s a drone attack, those–the terrorists are killed, it’s true, but 500 and 5,000 more people rise against it, and more terrorism occurs, and more bomb blasts occur. So for that reason, I think the best way to fight against terrorism is do it through peaceful way, not through war, because I believe that a war can never be ended by a war.

O’DONNELL: And you said that to President Obama?

YOUSAFZAI: Yes, of course.

CBS Evening News (10/10/14) aired an excerpt from the same interview that night , but it wasn’t this part.

Maybe it just takes some outlets longer to get around to talking about this. We noted last year that ABC reported Yousafzai’s critique of US policy 11 weeks after her visit (FAIR Blog1/2/14).  And in a report last week about the Nobel Prize, the New York Times(10/10/14) mentioned in the first paragraph that she “confronted President Obama about American drone policy in a meeting last year.”

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir, USA0 Comments

Bill Gates Faces Trial in India for Illegally Testing Tribal Children with Vaccines

Global Research

Have Bill Gates and his eugenicist foundation’s crimes against humanity finally caught up with him? If the Supreme Court of India has anything to say about it, he will face the ramifications of poisoning millions of Indian children with vaccines.

A recent report published by Health Impact News shows that a vaccine empire built on lies can only go on for so long. The reports states:

“While fraud and corruption are revealed on almost a daily basis now in the vaccine industry, the U.S. mainstream media continues to largely ignore such storiesOutside the U.S., however, the vaccine empires are beginning to crumble, and English versions of the news in mainstream media outlets are available via the Internet.

One such country is India, where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their vaccine empire are under fire, including a pending lawsuit currently being investigated by the India Supreme Court.”

If you aren’t aware of the key players in the vaccine mayhem being driven into African countries, they are:

  • The World Health Organization
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, funded by the Gates’ foundation), and
  • GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, also funded by the Gates’ foundation)

All four of these organizations will now be expected to explain themselves due to a writ of petition originally submitted to the Supreme Court of India in 2012, by Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot, and Dr. Rukmini Rao, which has finally been heard by the courts.

The petitioners stated:

“BMGF, PATH and WHO were criminally negligent trialling the vaccines on a vulnerable, uneducated and under-informed population school administrators, students and their parents who were not provided informed consent or advised of potential adverse effects or required to be monitored post-vaccination.”

Furthermore, though absent from most mainstream U.S. media outlets, the Economic Times of India published their report in August 2014, stating that young tribal girls were tested with HPV vaccines. This involved not a handful of children, but 16,000 individuals in Andhra Pradesh, India, where they were given the Gardasil vaccine.

KP Narayana Kumar reported that within a month of receiving the vaccine, many of the children fell ill, and by 2010, five of them had died. Another two children were reported to have died in Vadodara, Gujarat, where another 14,000 tribal children were vaccinated with another brand of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmitheKline (GSK), who incidentally, has been accused of dumping polio virus into a Belgium river.

Consent forms to administer the HPV vaccine were ‘illegally’ signed by wardens form youth hostels, showing that the Gates’ prey on the indigent without parents. For those who had parents, most were illiterate, and the true potential dangers of the vaccines were not explained to them.

SAMA, an organization in India which promotes women’s health discovered this insidiousness, and reported it, but only now will Gates and his cronies have to answer for their misdeeds. Approximately 120 girls reported epileptic seizures, severe stomach cramps, headaches, and mood swings, of those who did not die. Other girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine have experienced infertility.

The Economic Times further reported:

“The SAMA report also said there had been cases of early onset of menstruation following the vaccination, heavy bleeding and severe menstrual cramps among many students. The standing committee pulled up the relevant state governments for the shoddy investigation into these deaths.

It said it was disturbed to find that ‘all the seven deaths were summarily dismissed as unrelated to vaccinations without in-depth investigations …’ the speculative causes were suicides, accidental drowning in well (why not suicide?), malaria, viral infections, subarachnoid hemorrhage (without autopsy) etc.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declared their little vaccine project a total success. I guess the Supreme Court of India will decide that now.

Posted in India0 Comments

Pakistan: Why India Continues Cross-border Shelling?


By Sajjad Shaukat

Since October 6, this year, India accelerated cross-border shelling along the Line of Control

(LoC) and Working Boundary (WB) and killed several innocent persons including their animals

inside Pakistan. It compelled tens thousands of the residents of the villages to migrate to safe

areas, with their livestock and other belongings.

In this regard, spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-General Asim

Bajwa said that Pakistan Rangers and troops “befittingly” responded to “unprovoked firing” by

Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and military troops. He also clarified that Pakistan’s Armed

Forces are fully prepared to meet any aggression.

Regarding these constant violations, Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest, and also

raised the issue with the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan, asking for a visit of

the observers to the affected areas.

Meanwhile, in India where Pakistan is accused of starting the skirmishes, leader of the

fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is reported to have given a

free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the violations. While, Pakistan’s Prime

Minister Nawaz Shariff convened a meeting of the National Security Committee on Oct 10, this

year, and discussed the recent ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and WB.

It is notable that by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in

Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier

and injuring many troops. Contrarily, on December 24, 2013, New Delhi agreed for the meeting

of Directors-General Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries, who met in Pakistan,

and discussed specific measures strengthening the bilateral ceasefire mechanism across the LoC.

While, Islamabad and India had on November 25, 2003, agreed to observe ceasefire along all

areas of WB, LoC and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir. However,

Pakistan military indicated that Indian hostility has gradually increased since 2010 making lives

of civil population living in closer vicinity of the LoC and WB difficult. Indian troops committed

86 ceasefire violations in 2011, 230 in 2012 and 414 in 2013. But, Indians have again resorted

to unprovoked firing for about 224 times on both LoC and WB and killed several people on the

Pakistani side this year.

In this context, military officials further elaborated that Indian perennial escalation across the

LoC and WB is according to a deliberate plan. So question arises as to why India continues

cross-border shelling inside Pakistan.

In fact, by promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans,

extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the

Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against

Pakistan. In this context, recent upsurge in skirmishes across the LoC and WB is also linked

to upcoming elections in Indian occupied Kashmir, as BJP again wants to make Pakistan

a scapegoat. Therefore, the border violations, accompanying hostile statements by Indian

leadership are aimed at motivating support base before the elections, and even the expected delay

in polls in Kashmir would provide more time to the Indian side to hype up sentiments at the cost

of Pakistan. The BJP government is looking at winning a majority in the Kashmir assembly so

that it could fulfill its manifesto pledge of revoking the special status, given to Kashmir under

Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to annex the area.

As regards Indian covert aims, BJP rulers are trying to divert attention of international

community from the Kashmir dispute, while, Kashmiri leaders and Pakistan have been keeping

this issue in limelight.

In this connection, terming the support and advocacy of the right to self determination of the

people of Jammu and Kashmi (J&K), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing 69th

session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), stressed for settlement of the Kashmir

issue, and offered Pakistan’s readiness to endeavor for the same through negotiations. He also

reminded the international community of its pledge for holding “plebiscite” in the Indian-
held Kashmir, and resolves the issue in accordance with UN Charter. The speech generated

appreciations from the political circles of Pakistan and Kashmir as well. It is also acknowledged

that the speech is true reflection of sentiments of the people of Pakistan, who believe that peace

and prosperity in south Asia is inter- linked with solution of core dispute of Kashmir between

Pakistan and India.

Islamabad’s successful attempt at the UNGA seems to have irked Indian political, diplomatic and

journalist circles. Under the growing frustration, a notoriously controversial journalist affiliated

with the Indian NDTV namely Barkha Dutt engaged Pakistan’s prime minister’s special advisor

on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and managed to create a controversy through aggressive posture

to make him concede that Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with the

Kashmiri leadership in New Delhi was ill-timed, and affected secretary level engagements with

Pakistan. No doubt, Barkha-Aziz episode has been projected, because under the pretext, India

cancelled secretary level talks with Islamabad.

Moreover, Indian media created an impression that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by highlighting

Kashmir issue made an effort to improve relations with military establishment in the backdrop of

the protesters of the sit-ins led by PTI and PAT. It also generated controversy of gray relations

between political and military echelons of Pakistan. By increasing cross-border shelling, New

Delhi also wants to create pressure on Islamabad and the Armed Forces in wake of present

political turmoil—and military operation Zarb-e-Azb which successfully continues against

terrorists in North Waziristan Agency.

It is of particular attention that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swami stated on July 12, 2014 that

India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was

war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution. Responding to the withdrawal of the US-
led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to

Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan.”

In these terms, Indian hawks think that in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO, they will

keep their anti-Pakistan network in Afghanistan by harming the genuine interests of Pakistan

which shares geographical, cultural and religious bonds with the former, and is determined to

bring peace and stability there.

Now, as part of its blame game, India has intensified unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir

and WB in Sialkot to delay the Pak-India peace process, without caring for latter’s nuclear

Undoubtedly, every Indian government due to international pressure found it easy to make false

pledges that it was willing to engage in peace process to resolve all issues like Siachen, Sir

Creek, Wullar Barrage, Water and especially main dispute of Kashmir with Islamabad. But, New

Delhi earnestly endeavored to find excuses and pretexts to cancel peace talks, while shifting the

blame to Pakistan. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian

parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India cancelled the ‘composite

dialogue’ on the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks.

Particularly, on May 27, 2014 Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Prime Minister Sharif in

the oath-taking ceremony proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues of terrorism as

pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. He said that slow pace of trial against the

terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case; being held in Pakistan is main hurdle.

But, Indian prime minister ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013 the Indian former home

ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in

November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the

Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

Notably, in the recent past, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New

Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation, claiming that its role had become irrelevant.

It is also mentionable that Pakistani business community is agitated by the High handedness of

Indian authorities in India, whenever they participate in trade exhibitions. As per visa protocols

of year 2012, both India and Pakistan are bound to give business visa “Exemption from Police

Reporting.” Recently, Pakistani delegation members were fined $ 40 per participant for missing

Police reporting during trade exhibition (Alishan Pakistan), held at New Delhi from 11-14

September 2014. Besides this, no relaxation is being granted by Indian authorities in issuance of

visa to Pakistani businessmen. Element of non-cooperation and aggressiveness towards Pakistan

is significant in conduct of Indian authorities after the arrival of Modi regime in power.

Nonetheless, we can undoubtedly conclude that India continues cross-border shelling inside

Pakistan so as to obtain multiple designs against the former.

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 India, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

America forces who have tortured or killed civilians in Afghanistan



Huria Musadiq, Afghanistan Researcher for Amnesty International

US forces who have tortured or killed civilians in Afghanistan have not been brought to justice because of failures in the US military justice system, human rights group Amnesty International said yesterday.

At least 1,800 Afghan civilians have been killed by coalition troops between 2009 and 2013, Amnesty said in a report released in the Afghan capital, but only six cases against US military personnel went to trial over the period.

Several families seeking justice from the US government attended a conference in Kabul to give dramatic accounts of their experiences of loss and torture, among them burqa-clad women who had survived a deadly air strike.

by  Zabiullah Rashidi

U.S. Navy Seabee with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 fires the M2 .50 caliber machine gun during crew serve weapons familiarization training with NMCB 26 at the Tarnak Weapons Range in Kandahar (2)

“The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses,” Richard Bennett, Asia-Pacific director for Amnesty, said in a statement urging the need for reform.

“Thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces since the invasion, but the victims and their families have little chance of redress.”

The US Department of Defence said troops go to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties and it took all credible reports of injuries and deaths seriously.

“The United States has investigated US military personnel and civilian personnel, including contractors, for civilian casualties that are alleged to be not incident to lawful military operations,” said spokeswoman Navy Commander Amy Derrick-Frost.

Victims at the conference told of how they witnessed the killing of family members in night raids and survived torture by US troops.

Mohammad Saber, from the eastern province of Paktia, recalled the moment when US forces arrested him and three others in a raid on his home after a party.


Saber’s wife, sister and niece were shot dead on the spot, while his brother and nephew were left to die of their wounds and he was taken away for questioning with the three men.

“We should not let this go unanswered, those who killed my family must be punished,” he said, choking on his words. “The Americans call the Taliban terrorists but they are themselves terrorists for raiding homes and committing atrocity.”

Most US forces, along with coalition troops, will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year and the country’s Western backers hope a deadlock between rival presidential candidates will be broken before a key Nato summit in early September.

Another victim described being among a group of 18 people who were tortured, and some killed, in Wardak province, an hour’s drive from Kabul, when they were arrested in a raid by US special forces.

“Their clothes were taken off, their legs were stretched out and they were beaten,” said Qand Agha, an elderly man with a slight frame, grey beard and turban.

“I was sitting in a room when they were all getting killed in front of me and then put in black body bags.”

Qand Agha was taken with other survivors that day to Bagram prison, where he was held for a year without being charged.

The Department of Defence said its troops were banned from torturing prisoners and it was committed to humane treatment of all those detained.

“We take vigilant action to prevent such conduct and to hold any such perpetrators accountable for their wrongful acts,” Frost said.


Airstrikes caused more than half the casualties documented over the five years ending in 2013, among them many women and children, and families were still hoping for justice.

“Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored,” Bennett said, adding that even when cases had been prosecuted, courts appeared biased in favour of soldiers and Afghans were rarely invited to testify.

Those seeking justice included two women cloaked in head to toe covering burqas, left blind by airstrikes two years ago that killed seven women and a child as they collected firewood.

The women sat silently beside their male chaperones, in line with Afghan custom, and let them speak.

“We pleaded with them to ask the Americans to stop the bombing because they were women, and not Taliban, but they didn’t stop and bombed for two hours,” said Baba.

Posted in Afghanistan0 Comments


A Daily Web Page Summary of the Dirty Lies, Glaring Omissions, Half Truths & Globalist Bias of The NY Times Front Page Headlines

“We read and rebut their vile crap so you won’t have to!”


NY Times: Two Champions of Children Are Given Nobel Peace Prize



Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani advocate of girls’ education, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian who has rescued trafficked children from slavery, shared the prize.

Today’s front page is dominated by the co-winner of this year’s fake Nobel Peace Prize; the fake “children’s rights” activist from Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai. The other winner, Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian man who has saved enslaved children (we are told), gets 2nd billing to Saint Malala.
In 2012, the then 15 year old Malala, (we are told), was shot in the head and neck at point-blank range while returning home on a school bus. The culprits (we are told) were the big bad Muslim Taliban of 9/11 fame, who (we are told) oppose education for girls. 
At a time when the controversy surrounding Obongo’s drone killings of innocent children was at its peak, the “shooting” of Malala once again reminded Boobus Americanus and Boobus Europithicus as to why the CIA’s bombings of Pakistan and Afghanistan are necessary.
How convenient.
The Malala Hoax took the steam out of the anti-drone movement.
“Drones kill so Malala can live.”    …WOW!
After being allegedly shot in the head, Malala was rushed to a military hospital, and then to Britain as soon as her condition “stabilized”. was-malala-yousafzai-used-for-a-larger-us-plan-3412-articles.html
A simple bandage on a bloodless head wound and fake Malala was back up and running her lying mouth in no time!
“Thanks for the “rehab”! I’m off to make me some CIA money for my family.”
The pinko press and dignitaries such as the UN’s Ban Ki Moon, the Hildebeast and Obongo (another Nobel Peace Prize winner) all rushed to condemn the horrible attack. And yet, the names of the other two girls allegedly shot on the bus remain unknown. Also unknown to the world are the names of the children in Pakistan, some of whom lived in towns close to Malala, who have been killed by Obongo’s Predator Drones.
Soon after her “recovery”, superstar Malala went on to resume her studies and her CIA agitation against Islam.While tour-speaking on behalf of “children’s rights” (for a fee!) with her fake speech slur, never once has this wicked little CIA asset made mention of the Pakistani boys and girls being killed by US-CIA drone strikes. Instead, Malala, now a best-selling author, even visited with Obongo, the very man who authorizes the drone killings!
Mendacious Malala is very selective in her concern for “the children”. 

Malala was a ‘Sandy Hook’ scam which took place a few months before the fake shootings of Sandy Hook. Her fake shooting has taken all the attention away from the drone murders of Pakistani and Afghan children. To see Sulzberger’s Slimes and the sanctimonious hypocrites of the ‘International Community” puff this phony little she-devil up to super-hero status is hard to believe, and even harder to stomach.

Globalist Productions presents: The Malala Story Bureau 

“Your Highne$$. I wa$ wondering if you could plea$e give my book an endor$ement plug.”



Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Cult members face execution after guilty verdict for beating woman to death at McDonald’s in China


Victim attacked with mops and chairs while customers told not to intervene

Two members of a radical religious cult who beat a woman to death in a McDonald’s restaurant after she refused to join them will be executed under a court order.

Zhang Fan, 29, and her father Zhang Lidon, 55, were given the death sentence on Saturday, following trial at the Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong, eastern China, state media have reported.

Both are members of the banned “All-powerful Spirit” cult in China, also known as the Church of Almighty God, which believes Jesus has been resurrected as a Chinese woman who is also the founder’s wife.

Together with three fellow cult members they were found guilty of murdering 37-year-old Wu Shuoyan who they claimed was an “evil spirit” after she allegedly refused to give them her telephone number.

They attacked her with mops and chairs before stamping on her during the attack at a fast food outlet in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, on May 28.

Lu Yingchun, 39, another member of the murderous gang, was handed a life sentence while two others, Zhang Hang and Zhang Qiaolian, received 10 and seven years respectively. All three also faced cult related charges.

It is understood a 12-year-old was also tried in relation to the murder in a separate court, although more details have yet to emerge.

The attack was dubbed “extremely cruel” by court officials after they heard the five-strong gang had forbidden anyone in the fast food restaurant from intervening to stop the violent attack.

During the trial, which began in August, Fan, Lidon and Yingchun told the court they had acted in self-defence after they were attacked by the “demon’s supernatural powers”.

All death sentences handed out by trial courts must be reviewed by China’s supreme court.

The cult was banned by in China after it called for a battle to defeat the “Red Dragon” – referring to the ruling communist party. It is one of 14 cults that have been listed as illegal in the country.

Aalso known as the Quannengshen group, its founder Zhao Weisha is understood to have fled to the United States of America in September 2000.

Posted in China0 Comments

Amid Promises to End Afghanistan War, US Bombings Hit Two-Year High


Central Command reveals US military carried out 436 air strikes on the country during August alone

A U.S. Army helicopter taking off from Forward Operating Base Shindand, Afghanistan, Oct. 3, 2012. (Photo: DoD/public domain)

A U.S. Army helicopter taking off from Forward Operating Base Shindand, Afghanistan, Oct. 3, 2012. (Photo: DoD/public domain)

Just months away from what President Obama refers to as the “end of the U.S. combat mission” in Afghanistan, the U.S. military escalated its air bombardments on the country.

In response to an information request from the Boston Globe, Central Command revealed that during the month of August, the U.S. carried out 436 “weapons releases” on Afghanistan, referring to air strikes. This is the highest number of air strikes on Afghanistan since August 2012, according to U.S. Central Command’s own data, pictured in the graph below.


Military officials are still working to compile data for the month of September, officials told the paper.

The data was released just over a week after Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani,approved the U.S. Bilateral Security Agreement, which locks in at least another decade of U.S. military presence in the country, far past the formal “end” to the war at the conclusion of this year. The heightened bombings, furthermore, were revealed the same week the longest war entered its 14th year.

Posted in Afghanistan, USA0 Comments

China Overtakes US as World’s Single Largest Economy


‘The days when the IMF, World Bank, and U.S. Treasury could essentially dictate international finances and intimidate or crush opponents … are drawing to a close.’

The purchasing power of Chinese consumers has now surpassed that of American consumers and its overall economy, by some measures, is now the largest in the world. Despite those declarations, the deeply intertwined nature of the American consumer-based economy and China’s role as the world’s leading manufactuter, means the narrative about overall financial strength is never straight-forward. (Image: therealsingapore)

China has overtaken the United State to become the world’s largest economy, according to new data and an analysis by the International Monetary Fund.

Calculated by looking at gross domestic product (GDP) alongside cost-of-living data, the IMF announced Tuesday that China is now larger economically than the U.S. for the first time in history with an adjusted GDP of $17.6 trillion compared to a U.S. GDP of $17.4 trillion.

The milestone has been forecast for some time, but the conclusion of the IMF—presented in its 2014 World Economic Outlook report—comes as other economic indicators suggest a global shakeup in the world economy may be upon us. As the Financial Times reports, “the speed of [China's] transformation” is what’s most” breathtaking” considering that  “as recently as 2005, China’s economy was less than half the size of America’s.” Additionally, the IMF now projects that “China’s economy will be 20 percent bigger than that of the U.S. by 2019.”

The BusinessInsider explains how the IMF’s announcement is only based on a certain set of calculations and does not translate to a direct, side-by-side comparison of the two economies:

The simple logic is that prices aren’t the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it’s not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist’s Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy. [...]

It’s not all sour news for the US. It’ll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time.

As the relative size of world’s largest economies are shifting, so too, are some of the world’s most important economic alliances and institutions. Though the U.S. dollar continues to be the world’s dominant currency and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund both maintain formidable influence on monetary policies, their singular hold on global financial is shifting in numerous ways.

On Wednesday, USA Today reports on ongoing Chinese efforts to have its currency, the renminbi, allowed into the IMF’s Special Drawing Right (known as SDR), a global composite currency system that fosters international trade and maintenance of the world’s top currencies —which currently includes only the U.S. dollar, the British pound, the Japanese Yen, and the Euro. According to the paper:

As the world’s No. 2 economy after the U.S., China believes it is close to earning the status of a reserve money, the first time that an emerging market currency would attain this position. Chinese entry into the “magic circle” has been advanced by the British government’s September decision to issue renminbi-denominated bonds, the first big government to take such a step, and allow the proceeds to be held as reserves by the Bank of England.

The main conditions for the renminbi to pass the SDR test are that it should be widely used in trade and be “freely usable” in international payments and asset management. Although a long way behind the dollar, the renminbi has made impressive strides recently and is challenging the euro in several key fields.

As Conn Hallinan, an analyst who writes for Foreign Policy In Focus, wrote on Tuesday, the rise of emerging of economies—with China the largest and most striking example—the global economic picture is changing in interesting, though not widely understood, ways. According to Hallinan:

This past summer, the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—created an alternative to the largely U.S.-controlled World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) added 1.6 billion people to its rolls.

The BRICS’ construction of a Contingent Reserve Arrangement will give its members emergency access to foreign currency, which might eventually dethrone the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The creation of a development bank will make it possible to bypass the IMF for balance-of-payment loans, thus avoiding the organization’s onerous austerity requirements.

Less than a month after the BRICS’ declaration of independence from the current strictures of world finance, the SCO—which includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—approved India, Pakistan, Iran, and Mongolia for membership in the organization. It was the single largest expansion of the economic cooperation and security-minded group in its history, and it could end up diluting the impact of sanctions currently plaguing Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and Tehran over its nuclear program.

Given the deeply intertwined nature of the economic relationship between the American consumer-based economy and China’s role as the world’s leading manufactuter, the narrative about overall financial strength is never straight-forward.

However, as Hallinan concludes, “the days when the IMF, World Bank, and U.S. Treasury could essentially dictate international finances and intimidate or crush opponents” is swiftly “drawing to a close.”

Posted in China0 Comments

Indonesia struggles with Zio-Wahhabi Islamic State recruiting

In this March 8, 2014 photo, motorists ride past a graffiti of the Islamic State group's flag in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. — Photo by AP
In this Sept. 5, 2014 photo, protesters hold posters during a rally against the Islamic State group, in Jakarta, Indonesia. — Photo by AP
In this Sept. 5, 2014 photo, protesters hold posters during a rally against the Islamic State group, in Jakarta, Indonesia. — Photo by AP
In this June 18, 2014 photo, a Muslim man wears a headband showing the Islamic State group's symbol during a protest calling for the closure of a local prostitution complex in Surabaya, Indonesia. — Photo by AP

CIANJUR: A businessman who proclaims himself leader of the Indonesian chapter of the Islamic State group says he has personally overseen the departure of scores of fighters from this Southeast Asian nation to Syria and Iraq.

Police detained him for a night recently, but were unable to charge him with a crime.

Chep Hernawan reflects both the success IS has had in attracting support in the region, and the challenges Indonesia faces in responding.

The government, home to most of the up to 200 Southeast Asians believed to be fighting in Syria and Iraq, has forcefully spoken out against the Islamic State, as have mainstream Muslim organisations in the country.

But translating that into stronger legal tools that could stop suspected militants from traveling abroad, for example, will be a challenge given the fractious nature of the next parliament and other legislative priorities, according to a recent report into the evolution of the Islamic State group by the Institute of Policy Analysis for Conflict.

National Police spokesman Brig Gen Boy Rafli Amar said his force could only monitor IS supporters. “If they have no record of terrorism activities then they can’t be charged under our criminal law,” he said.

For the first time since the 1990s and the Afghan jihad, Indonesians, Malaysians and other extremists in Southeast Asia are traveling abroad in an organised fashion to join a global militant movement, picking up battlefield skills and militant contacts.

Security officials fear they could take part in terrorism on their return to Southeast Asia, as those trained in Afghanistan did in attacks such as the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people.

Radicals at home also could heed the Islamic State group’s exhortations to carry out revenge attacks on Western targets.

In response to the threat posed by foreign fighters, the United Nations Security Council last month adopted a resolution demanding member states prevent the recruitment and travel of people to join militant groups like IS.

Hernawan’s brush with the law has not stopped him from campaigning on behalf of the group or defending its actions, including the beheading of journalists and opposition forces.

“I’m convinced that these are religious acts based on Islamic teachings (permitting acts) that strike fear in the hearts of enemies of Islam,” he told The Associated Press recently in an interview in his plush home.

Hernawan, 63, a longtime public supporter of radical Islam, said he was appointed the head of IS head in Indonesia at a meeting of radicals on March 16.

While he is a well-known for speaking on IS’s behalf in the country, two experts on militancy in Indonesia said it was unclear or even unlikely whether he had any structural links to the group’s leadership in Syria.

Like some other radicals in Indonesia, he says violent jihad within Indonesia is not justified because the country doesn’t meet the conditions required under Islamic law. Not so elsewhere.

“In countries where there are wars such as Iraq, Syria and Palestine, you either kill or get killed,” Hernawan said.

Earlier this year he addressed a gathering of IS supporters in the heart of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. On the stage with him was a man called Bahrumsyah, who in July later appeared in an IS propaganda video with other Indonesians in Syria.

The Islamic State group has quickly achieved popularity among a section of extremists in Southeast Asia because it has a territory that welcomes those willing to fight, a slick social media campaign and a reputation for battlefield success.

The danger posed to Indonesia from IS was brought into focus last month when police arrested four ethnic Uighurs they allege were being taken to meet the country’s most wanted militant to discuss recruitment for IS.

The militant, Abu Wardah Santoso, has taken responsibility for the killings of several Indonesian police officers and has pledged allegiance to IS.

In Malaysia, authorities have revoked the passports of 30 suspected militants who had previously been arrested under the country’s new defunct national security act, said Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

In late September, police detained three suspected jihadists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were about to board a flight to Turkey.

Ayob Khan said at least 22 Malaysians were known to have left for the war in Syria. Sri Yunanto, an expert on militancy at Indonesia’s anti-terrorism agency, said many jihadi groups within Indonesia are trying to use the war in Syria to create a pool of combat-trained and indoctrinated recruits.

“Their goal is to send young people to Syria to provide them with expertise and experience,” Yunanto said. “When the time comes for terrorism, they will have skilled operatives. “

At least four Indonesians are known to have been killed in Syria and Iraq.

The first was Wildan Mukhollad, who blew himself up in a restaurant in Baghdad earlier this year.

He grew up in the same village as two notorious militants convicted and later executed for their role in the Bali bombings, and attended a school founded by them.

Ali Fauzi, his teacher at Al Islam boarding school, remembers Mukhollad watching the funerals of the two militants in the village. “He was a good boy, a smart boy,” Fauzi said. “I knew that it was his dream, he had reached what he dreamed of as a kid: to be martyred and go to heaven. “

Posted in South Asia0 Comments


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