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US Concerns Over Indian Minorities


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Indian Minorities

By Sajjad Shaukat

It is surprising that media did not take much notice of the report of a US Congress-established

panel which has shown serious concerns over the maltreatment of religious minorities in India.

In this regard, on April 30, in its annual report 2015, the US Commission on International

Religious Freedom said, “Since the [last year’s] election, religious minority communities have

been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) and numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

The report pointed out, “Hindu groups had announced plans in December to forcibly reconvert at least 4,000 Christian families and 1,000 Muslim families to Hinduism in Uttar Pradesh as part of a so-called ‘ghar wap’’ (homecoming) programme…the Hindu groups sought to raise money for their campaign, noting that it cost nearly 200,000 rupees per Christian and 500,000 rupees per.

The Panel asked the Obama Administration to press the Indian government to publicly rebuke

officials and religious leaders who make derogatory remarks about various communities

However, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Christian approach, leader of the BJP and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism. Indian society is rapidly radicalizing, as unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism has posed serious threats to the very existence of the religious minorities.

It is amazing that theoretically, Indian Constitution safeguards the rights of minorities, but in

practice, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu majority led by the BJP has shown complete disregard to it, and commit excesses and cruelties against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits with impunity.

Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalist parties such as BJP, VHP, Shiv

Sena and RSS including other extremist outfits have been propagating Hindutva. Provocative

utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into unending violence especially against the It is mentionable that Hinduvta agenda enabled BJP hardliner, Narendra Modi to get a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014. In this respect, RSS driven anti-Muslim move of the BJP including other Hindu fanatic parties could be judged from various developments.

On May 28, 2014, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, a Mangalore-based Hindutva outfit and activists from various right wing groups organized a protest in Mangalore in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner by demanding the authorities to ban the morning Muslim call to prayer (Azan) across the country. Besides forcing the Muslim employee in a Parliament Canteen by BJP leader to break his fast by stuffing piece of bread in his mouth, statement of Deputy Chief of Goa, declaring India as a Hindu state might be cited as example.

It is noteworthy that in 1992, a large crowd of Hindu Karsevaks (volunteers) in accordance with a preplanned scheme of the Indian high officials entirely demolished the 16th-century Babri Masjid (mosque) to reclaim the land known as RAM Janmabhoomi–birthplace of the god. The destruction of the Babri Masjid sparked Muslim outrage around the country, provoking several months of inter-communal rioting between Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people, majority of whom were Muslims. Besides, massacre of 2500 Muslims in the in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 and those of more than 2002 Muslims during the communal riots of 2008 in Uttar Pradesh—participation of Indian high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal in the incidents might also be cited as instance.

Similarly, in the recent years, assaults on Christians, their churches and property have been

executed by the Hindu mobs in various cities of India. In this connection, at least 100 Christians have been assassinated by Hindu extremists, mostly in the state of Orissa.

It is of particular attention that on November 7, 2011, leader of the VHP, Pravin Togadia, in his

furious speech questioned the past of Muslims and Christians, and further gave a call to HindusNto capture the Islamic holy places in Arab and Vatican of Europe.

It is worth-mentioning that forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus also

continue. In this regard, Bajrang Dal, an offshoot of the RSS, converted at least 57 Muslim

families (200 people) into Hindus at a ceremony in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

Previously, in early September 2014, Christians were also forcefully converted to Hindus which created unrest among Christian clergy. Recently, a similar event in Aligarh saw Christian families converting to Hinduism. Since installment of the BJP government in the center, this campaign has been accelerated.

As regards persecution of minorities in India, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Testimony by Human Rights Watch presented before US Senate Committee on atrocious attitude of Hindu majority had highlighted the plight of minorities in India. The report was presented before Indian general elections 2014. But, it is strange that American government which had denied visa to Modi on the basis of his involvement in Gujrat genocide, allowed.

Nevertheless, some of the fanatic Hindu groups are not in favour of a separate and distinct

culture for minorities. A Hindu fundamentalist namely Prof Balraj Madhok had suggested that

the minorities must adopt Indian (Hindu) names.

Now, schools and other educational institutions are being systematically Hinduized. References to Hindu gods and goddesses abound in the text books. Books, prescribed by the Education Boards contain lessons giving false stories of Muslim atrocities on Hindu women, kidnapping, Undoubtedly, Hindu fundamentalism is increasingly widening its influence everywhere and has already established for itself a firm base in every sector of the Indian society including bureaucracy, media, educational institutions, and the like. The hate campaign unleashed by the fundamentalist forces is keeping the minority wholly preoccupied with defending their basic human rights and cultural identity.

Nonetheless, it is a good sign that the US has abandoned its double standard by showing grave

concerns about mistreatment of Indian religious minorities. American said report has exposed

Indian false claim of the largest democracy, acting upon the principles of liberalism and

secularism. Now, the West and particular the US must take appropriate steps against New Delhi in this respect. Otherwise, Hindu extremists may cause World War 111 or clash of civilizations.

Posted in India, USA0 Comments

Indian Cultural Invasion on Pakistan


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Sajjad Shaukat

Socialists agree that historical background and national character play a key in moulding the

behaviour pattern of a country’s people, while customs and beliefs also influence the thoughts of individuals. But electronic media of the rival countries have accelerated the process in

formulating the opinion of persons against each other.

In these terms, as part of psychological warfare, besides supporting subversive acts in our

country, India has started cultural penetration in Pakistan through movies, dramas, shows and

advertisements which are directly targeting our own ideology and cultural values. The practice

amounts to Indian culture invasion on Pakistan.

In this regard, Pakistan government issued licenses to various TV channels with a view to

earning revenue, showing utter disregard to the core values of our culture.

However, the job of media houses has been facilitated by some of us by encouraging projection

of Indian films and dramas including advertisements. Shameless interest groups are promoting foreign contents just to protect their monetary benefits.

Meanwhile, the civil society has resisted this practice through their meager voice, but those

enjoying political, social and economic influence favoured storming attack of external media

instruments which have power and the ability to kill without firing any bullet.

In such situation, any uncertain and cynic grain of mistrust injected through Indian media will

never allow us to strengthen our real values and beliefs as Muslims. Therefore, the hostile

elements, as Indian TV channels also target us with their cartoons and animated caricatures. The aim is to capture Pakistan’s loyal audience of the future and injecting them with dissenting thought to challenge the teachings and traditions of Islamic culture including ideology of Indian hostile propaganda against our customs and beliefs advances at a gradual pace, starting with a positive thought and supporting a just event. But, it contains deeply entrenched acrimony to create sense of suspicion amongst our youth who are passing through a formative stage of development and are at the initial phase of understanding their religious beliefs, cultural norms Besides Indian films and dramas, Pakistan’s cable networks also display Indian commercials on our channels, projecting Indian products and consumer goods. In such phenomenon, people, especially the youth and female audience are likely to prefer brand of Indian products and goods.

On the other side, New Delhi does not allow telecast of Pakistani dramas and movies on Indian

soil. In this context, New Delhi has adopted very strict policy of restricting Pakistani channels,

being broadcasted in India. In August 2009, Indian daily, “The Asian Age” disclosed that the

Indian government banned Pakistani TV channels in its country and it was also planning to

establish high-frequency transmitters and towers in the bordering areas to stop transmission of But, Indian rulers’ decision was taken as a preventive move to keep the new generation ignorant about other side of the coin—from Pakistani media, while continuing Indian propaganda against Nevertheless, more shocking aspect is that there is not lack of supporters of Indian TV channels in Pakistan. These internal elements neglect the fact that the Indian media, news or entertainment tend to malign Pakistan and to dominate its culture rather than to entertain the audience.

In fact, ndian film industry often makes movies against Pakistan which project our country as a villain. Pakistan-bashing, denigrating Pakistan and burning its flag are common in Hindi films. Such films are exempted from heavy taxes and win prestigious awards, even if they totally flop in the It is mentionable that with the rapid development of science, range of the TV channels has been extended to many countries. And, India has deliberately been sending high electronic waves so that its cultural propaganda could reach every part of Pakistan.

In this respect, particularly, Indian films, dramas and special-shows which display dances and

songs including cartoons and caricatures are full of obscenity and vulgarity. These sorts of

entertainment, seen by our youngsters and teenagers are negatively influencing their minds, as being immature; they are becoming more prone to Indian media’s propaganda campaign.

It is regrettable that owing to the absence of a clear-cut media policy, some renowned private TV channels of Pakistan are also following suit, and present dance competition shows in imitation of Indian programmes by displaying, as if dance is a part of our culture. There is also a misconception among the supporters of Indian channels in our country that both the

neighbouring countries share a common culture.

Pakistan’s viewers must know that in one of his speeches, while explaining separate culture of

Muslims, Quaid-e-Azam said, “We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life.”

There are number of countries which allow access of their citizens to the government-controlled nternet only. In order to protect the nation particularly the youth, the concerned authorities must take immediate note of Indian cultural penetration in Pakistan, against our traditions, and values.

In this connection, first of all, the right option is that Indian contents should be banned in

Pakistan. For the purpose, proper legislation or law could prohibit TV channels and cable

networks which show Indian programmes.

And, there is need to promote our own culture by helping our TV channels and film industry,

making them lucrative so that Pakistani talent could divert their energies in serving their own

audience. Once Pakistani artists and audience are satisfied with local means of entertainment,

they will not depend on Indian channels.

Media houses should also realize their responsibilities and discourage facilitating or proliferating the Indian contents and help the government in its drive.

Nonetheless, Indian cultural invasion needs to be stopped through a strong national commitment o ‘Say no to Indian cultural onslaught’ and ‘No Indian movies’ in Pakistan.

Posted in India, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Al Jazeera Pakistan bureau chief on US terror watch list

Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, the chief of the Al Jazeera bureau in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad

Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, the chief of the Al Jazeera bureau in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad

Documents disclosed by the former US National Security Agency (NSA)contractor, Edward Snowden, show that an Al Jazeera journalist was listed by US authorities as a suspected terrorist.

Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, the chief of the Al Jazeera bureau in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad, was on an NSA terror watch list due to being a “member” of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, The Telegraph cited a report from the online news site The Intercept on Friday.

The report added that Zaidan was for long the target of Skynet, an NSA surveillance program, which tries to trace suspicious activities by studying location and communication data from bulk call records.

The photo shows Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan (R) in an Al Jazeera documentary he made about former al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, in 2011.

Zaidan “absolutely” denied any connection with the terrorist group, saying his profession as a journalist in Pakistan and Afghanistan has made it quite inevitable for him to meet and interview influential figures in the two countries such as al-Qaeda leaders.

“For us to be able to inform the world, we have to be able to freely contact relevant figures in the public discourse, speak with people on the ground, and gather critical information,” read Zaidan’s statement to The Intercept, adding, “Any hint of government surveillance that hinders this process is a violation of press freedom and harms the public’s right to know.”

He also dismissed the NSA’s Skynet program as “questionable” and “absurd”.

“To assert that myself, or any journalist, has any affiliation with any group onaccount of their contact book, phone call logs, or sources is an absurd distortion of the truth and a complete violation of the profession of journalism,” Zaidan stated.

During his career, Zaidan has conducted several interviews with senior extremist figures in the region, including Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda leader.

The issues of digital surveillance and privacy protection have been in the limelight since Snowden began leaking classified intelligence documents in June 2013. He revealed that the NSA had been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir, USA0 Comments

UN Condemns Zio-Nazi regime for Occupation of Nepal


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Following reports that more than 250 Israelis have made their way to Nepal in order to assist in recovery efforts following a devastating earthquake, the UN has issued its latest condemnation of the Jewish State for its sudden occupation of the South-Asian nation.

“We are dismayed to learn that Israeli forces are currently using the chaos in Nepal to colonize the country, and we order all these Israeli settlers to leave at once,” the UN Human Rights Council said in a statement over the weekend. “The people of Nepal are authorized to use all means available to repel the Zionist invaders.”

The UN condemnation was followed by a letter, written by Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, and signed by Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, as well as self-declared revolutionist Russell Brand, condemning Israel for committing genocide and apartheid in Nepal, a statement from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling the Israeli presence in the country “unsustainable” and a host of celebrities tweeting #FreeNepalfromZionism. Hamas, meanwhile, fired a series of rockets towards Nepal, though most landed somewhere in the Jordanian desert.

RELATED: The Israeli Daily has been heard!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the UN’s claims and said the government had not approved any settlement construction in Nepal, but added, “If we wanted to we totally could, because God said so.” Israeli officials were said to be working to keep news of the UN resolution away from Economy Minister Naftali Bennett so that the right-wing leader “wouldn’t get any ideas.”

Posted in Far East0 Comments

Fukushima’s “Caldrons of Hell”


More than 300 Tons of Highly Radioactive Water Generated Daily


Asahi Shimbun, May 1, 2015 (emphasis added): Yauemon Sato, the ninth-generation chief of a sake brewery operating here since 1790 [and president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku] likens the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to “caldrons of hell.” In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sato said the nuclear disaster “continues to recur every day”… Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: What drives you to be so active, including in the use of renewable energy? — Sato: You know the caldron of hell? You will be sent to hell and will be boiled in that caldron if you do evil. And there are four such caldrons in Fukushima… And the disaster has yet to end. It continues to recur every day. More than 300 tons of water, contaminated with intense levels of radioactive substances, are being generated every day…

Hiroaki Koide, professor at Kyoto Univ. Research Reactor Institute (retired), Apr 24, 2015:

  • 11:30 – The Prime Minister [said Fukushima] had been brought to a close. My reaction on hearing his words was, ‘Stop kidding.’ Reality is, though 4 years have passed, the accident has not yet been brought to a close at all.
  • 15:15 – What is the situation within the core? How much has melted? Where is the fuel exactly? We do not know… This is an accident of a severity that cannot be imagined anywhere else… As you can see, we are facing a very, very difficult situation. The only choice that we have open to us is to somehow keep the situation from getting worse.
  • 30:30 – We are in a very terrible situation, I would even call it a crisis.
  • 55:30 – The Japanese government has issued a declaration that this is an emergency situation. As a result, normal laws do not have to be followed. What they are saying is that, in these very high radiation exposure level areas, they have basically abandoned people to live there. They’ve actually thrown them away to live there… The Cs-137 that’s fallen onto Japanese land in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, so much so that this area should all be put under the radiation control area designation [the Kanto region includes Tokyo and is home to over 40 million people].
  • 1:01:00 – I really do want to impress upon you that the accident effects are continuing.
  • 1:02:00 – Bahrain’s Ambassador to Japan: If you were the Prime Minister of Japan, what are you going to do with this very complicated situation?… Koide: When you have an emergency legally declared, regular laws are put on hold. What that means is people can be thrown away into areas where normally people should not be… The first thing I would do as Prime Minister is evacuate all the children that are in the contaminated areas.
  • Watch Koide’s presentation here

Posted in Japan0 Comments

Council on Foreign Relations’ Grand Strategy


China Must Be Defeated, The TPP Is Essential to Undermining China

Global Research

Wall Street’s Council on Foreign Relations has issued a major report, alleging that China must be defeated because it threatens to become a bigger power in the world than the U.S.

This report, which is titled “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is introduced by Richard Haass, the CFR’s President, who affirms the report’s view that, “no relationship will matter more when it comes to defining the twenty-first century than the one between the United States and China.” He says that the report he is publishing argues that “strategic rivalry is highly likely if not inevitable between the existing major power of the day and the principal rising power.” Haass says that the authors “also argue that China has not evolved into the ‘responsible stakeholder’ that many in the United States hoped it would.” In other words: “cooperation” with China will probably need to become replaced by, as the report’s authors put it, “intense U.S.-China strategic competition.

Haass gives this report his personal imprimatur by saying that it “deserves to become an important part of the debate about U.S. foreign policy and the pivotal U.S.-China relationship.” He acknowledges that some people won’t agree with the views it expresses.

The report itself then opens by saying: “Since its founding, the United States has consistently pursued a grand strategy focused on acquiring and maintaining preeminent power over various rivals, first on the North American continent, then in the Western hemisphere, and finally globally.” It praises “the American victory in the Cold War.” It then lavishes praise on America’s imperialistic dominance:

“The Department of Defense during the George H.W. Bush administration presciently contended that its ‘strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor’—thereby consciously pursuing the strategy of primacy that the United States successfully employed to outlast the Soviet Union.”

The rest of the report is likewise concerned with the international dominance of America’s aristocracy or the people who control this country’s international corporations, rather than with the welfare of the public or as the U.S. Constitution described the objective of the American Government: “the general welfare.”

The Preamble, or sovereignty clause, in the Constitution, presented that goal in this broader context:

 ”in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

The Council on Foreign Relations, as a representative of Wall Street, is concerned only with the dominance of America’s aristocracy. Their new report, about “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is like a declaration of war by America’s aristocracy, against China’s aristocracy. This report has no relationship to the U.S. Constitution, though it advises that the U.S. Government pursue this “Grand Strategy Toward China” irrespective of whether doing that would even be consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble.

The report repeats in many different contexts the basic theme, that China threatens “hegemonic” dominance in Asia. For example:

“China’s sustained economic success over the past thirty-odd years has enabled it to aggregate formidable power, making it the nation most capable of dominating the Asian continent and thus undermining the traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.”

The report never allows the matter of America’s “hegemonic control” to be even raised. Thus, “hegemony” is presumed to be evil and to be something that the U.S. must block other nations from having, because there is a “traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.” In other words: the U.S. isn’t being “hegemonic” by defeating aspiring hegemons. The report offers no term to refer to “hegemony” that’s being practiced by the U.S.

The report presents China as being supremacist, such as what (to quote again from the report) “historian Wang Gungwu has described as a ‘principle of superiority’ underwriting Beijing’s ‘long-hallowed tradition of treating foreign countries as all alike but unequal and inferior to China.’ Consistent with this principle, Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” America’s own ‘Manifest Destiny’ or right to regional (if not global) supremacy is not discussed, because supremacism is attributed only to the aristocracies in other countries, not to the aristocracy in this country.

Rather than the “general welfare,” this document emphasizes “U.S. Vital National Interests,” which are the interests of America’s aristocrats, the owners of America’s large international corporations.

This report urges:

“The United States should invest in defense capabilities and capacity specifically to defeat China’s emerging anti-access capabilities and permit successful U.S. power projection even against concerted opposition from Beijing. … Congress should remove sequestration caps and substantially increase the U.S. defense budget.”

In other words: the Government should spiral upward the U.S. debt even more vertically (which is good for Wall Street), and, in order to enable the increased ‘defense’ expenditures, only ‘defense’ expenditures should be freed from spending-caps. Forget the public, serve the owners of ‘defense’ firms and of the large international corporations who rely on the U.S. military to protect their property abroad.

The report says that China would have no reason to object to such policies: “There is no reason why a China that did not seek to overturn the balance of power in Asia should object to the policy prescriptions contained in this report.” Only a “hegemonic” China (such as the report incessantly alleges to exist, while the U.S. itself is not ‘hegemonic’) would object; and, therefore, the U.S. should ignore China’s objections, because they would be, by definition ‘hegemonic.’ Or, in other words: God is on our side, not on theirs.

“Washington simply cannot have it both ways—to accommodate Chinese concerns regarding U.S. power projection into Asia through ’strategic reassurance’ and at the same time to promote and defend U.S. vital national interests in this vast region.”

The authors make clear that U.S. President Obama is not sufficiently hostile toward China: “All signs suggest that President Obama and his senior colleagues have a profoundly different and much more benign diagnosis of China’s strategic objectives in Asia than do we.”

Furthermore, the report ends by portraying Obama as weak on the anti-China front: “Many of these omissions in U.S. policy would seem to stem from an administration worried that such actions would offend Beijing and therefore damage the possibility of enduring strategic cooperation between the two nations, thus the dominating emphasis on cooperation. That self-defeating preoccupation by the United States based on a long-term goal of U.S.-China strategic partnership that cannot be accomplished in the foreseeable future should end.”

The report’s “Recommendations for U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” urges Congress to “Deliver on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, … as a geoeconomic answer to growing Chinese economic power and geopolitical coercion in Asia,” but it fails to mention that the Obama Administration has already embodied the authors’ viewpoint and objectives in the TPP, which Obama created, and which cuts China out; it could hardly be a better exemplar of their agenda. The authors, in fact, state the exact opposite: that Obama’s objective in his TPP has instead been merely “as a shot in the arm of a dying Doha Round at the World Trade Organization (WTO).” They even ignore that Obama had cut China out of his proposed TPP.

Furthermore, here is what President Obama himself told graduating West Point cadets on 28 May 2014:

“Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.”

He was saying that these future military leaders will be using guns and bombs to enforce America’s economic dominance. This is the same thing that the CFR report is saying.

His speech also asserted:

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. … The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.”

(That even resembles: “Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” Obama is, in a sense, saying that America is the “sole sovereign government in the world.”)

He made clear that China is “dispensable,” and that the U.S. must stay on top.

However, there is a difference between Obama and the CFR on one important thing: Obama sees Russia as the chief country over which the U.S. must dominate militarily, and China as the chief country to dominate economically. But in that regard, he is actually old-line Republican, just like his 2012 opponent Mitt Romney is. The only difference from Romney on that is: Obama wasn’t so foolish as to acknowledge publicly a belief that he shared with Romney but already knew was an unpopular position to take in the general election.

Furthermore, whereas the CFR report ignores the public’s welfare, Obama does give lip-service to that as being a matter of concern (just as he gave lip-service to opposing Romney’s assertion that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”). After all, he is a ‘Democrat,’ and the authors of the CFR report write instead as if they were presenting a Republican Party campaign document. No ‘Democrat’ can be far-enough to the political right to satisfy Republican operatives. The pretense that they care about the public is therefore far less, because the Republican Party is far more open about its support of, by, and for, the super-rich. Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican who had contempt for the lower 47%. But even he tried to deny that he had meant it. In that sense, the CFR’s report is a Republican document, one which, quite simply, doesn’t offer the public the lip-service that Obama does (and which he politically must, in order to retain support even within his own party).

Perhaps on account of the CFR report’s condemning Obama for not being sufficiently right-wing — even though he is actually a conservative Republican on all but social issues (where China policy isn’t particularly relevant) — the report has received no mention in the mainstream press, ever since it was originally issued, back in March of this year. For whatever reason, America’s ‘news’ media ignored the report, notwithstanding its importance as an expression of old-style imperialistic thinking that comes from what many consider to be the prime foreign-affairs mouthpiece of America’s aristocracy — the CFR. The report’s first coverage was on 2 May 2015 at the World Socialist Web Site, which briefly paraphrased it but didn’t even link to it. Then, two days later, Stephen Lendman wrote about the CFR report. He briefly paraphrased it and passionately condemned it. He did link to the report. But he didn’t note the WSWS article, which had first informed the public of the CFR report’s existence — an existence which, until the WSWS article, all of America’s ‘press’ had simply ignored.

The present article is the first one to quote the CFR report, instead of merely to paraphrase and attack it. The quotations that were selected are ones presenting the report’s main points, so that readers here can see these points stated as they were written, rather than merely as I have interpreted them. My interpretation is in addition to, rather than a substitute for, what the report itself says.

Posted in China, USA0 Comments

Memories of Empire: Remembering the Fall of Saigon

Global Research

Despite sharing the same diplomatic table as the United States, and forging ahead with trade agreements, Vietnam still remembers. Remembers, that is, those countless barbarous crimes, as the countrys prime minister calls them, committed by the United States during the long wars of the 1960s and 1970s. On April 30, 1975, Saigon was stricken by scenes of evacuation and panic. Our homeland, explained Nguyen Tan Dung, had to undergo extremely serious challenges.

Both countries provided mirrors of violent change, a form of toxic exchange that seemed share more with disease than nutrition. A distant country that was supposedly off the radar of American homes became a round-the-clock transmission feast of gore and depravity. Then came the battlefield traumas and the counter-cultural response.

The words from President Gerald R. Ford a week before the fall of Saigon before an audience at Tulane University spoke of America regaining the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam, but it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned. The crowds began gathering for the evacuation 130,000 Vietnamese leaving the South that April, a projection that made State Department predictions woefully inadequate. Bing Crosbys White Christmas did the rounds on radio on April 29, triggering the airlift evacuation Operation Frequent Wind.

An all to quiet theme behind the commemorations has been one of waste. Waste of life, of resources. In Tim OBriens words on the fall of Saigon and a slew of images, it was the waste of it all. The dead, the wounded, the money, the psychic energy and the moral energy [...] just everything. Poor planning for the evacuation also saw a prolonging of suffering the separation of families, the special, God-like power of who would join in the evacuation and who could not. We separated families in a wink, remembers Frank Snepp, one of the CIAs top strategists working in Vietnam, because we hadnt planned adequately.

But a response to defeat and trauma tends to be that of the reassuring fairy tale, the inventive scribe who finds better ways of reimagining horror. Think of them, suggests Bill Moyers, as silver-lining tributes to good intentions and last-ditch heroism that may come in handy in the years ahead.[1] Hence the fall of Saigon being deemed humanitarian and worthy of remembrance in its tragic meter. American aggression, noted Christian Appy, was given a different pigmentation: that of a tragic humanitarian rescue mission.[2]

The very idea of defeat that somehow masquerades as honourable exit started the show. The peace accords of 1973 served as a masking agent. The brutality began to disappear from the screens beaming into the homes. But scores were going to be settled, and vacillation before the advancing North Vietnamese forces would see compromising records fall into the hands of the victors. The CIA, as tends to be the usual pattern, could not be trusted to be reliable on this one those on their payroll were found in undestroyed records, captured, sent for re-education, be it through ideological patching up or traditional execution.

As Moyers notes, a response of selective remembrance reverberates in the halls of quaint, if somewhat dangerous delusion. Spin doctors with dusters and gloves have gone back into the archives, reshaping defeats as strategic wind downs and exists. America, after all, cannot lose, and certainly cant be seen to sport a broken nose. Corrupt regimes installed by the grace of superpowers become mechanisms of stability. Gambles pay off even when they are ignominious failures. That is the modern legacy of Vietnam, visible in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Euphemistic bureaucracy thrived in South Vietnam, and has given birth to some terrifying monsters. The language of body counts and free fire zones entailing practical desserts have not lost their appeal in any shape or form. They have found shape in the broader objectives of the modern American Republic.

Vietnam also provided another pertinent reminder in the context of refugees. The first makeover of anniversary thought was to neglect the enormous internal displacement created by US operations those arising from the strategic hamlet program designed to pacify local populations. In a technique all too reminiscent of British strategy towards the Boers in South Africa, millions were forced off their land, herded, encamped. I never flew refugees back in, remembers flight chief Jim Soular. I always flew them out.

Refugees arising from the conflict chose the sea as a means of passage. They were the boat people snaking their way in danger via the Mekong and the South China Sea to make it to countries like Australia. Many were ethnic Chinese that formed the bulk of those expelled by the Vietnamese government in 1979. Government policy to them from Australia, an ally of the southern government, resisted cultural and racial angst. There was no Pacific or extra-territorial repulsion, despite the fear in some circles that white purity was being muddied. But tens of thousands would languish for years in refugee camps in Southeast Asia.

Even now, as the fall of South Vietnam is being remembered, it is providing moments of selective reflection. Whatever happens at these points, the strategists and the dream factory merchants should be kept away from the planning rooms about military interventions. Any reference to Vietnam as precedent is bound to be foolish and misguided, because the wrong questions are bound to be asked.

Posted in Far East, USA0 Comments

Book Review of Hira, Hijrat Aur Khidmat


Map of Waziristan

Collector Customs Appeals Asif Jah’s new

book hailed, acknowledged

Reported by: `M Hayat March 26, 2015

LAHORE: Hira, Hijrat and Khidmat, the newly launched book, written by the known social

worker, collector of customs appeals Dr Asif Mehmood Jah has been widely hailed and


The book has been written on the plight of Internally Displace Peoples (IDPs) of North

Waziristan and the challenges faced by Customs Healthcare Society in rehabilitation and

restoration work in Bannu and surrounding areas.

“Hira, Hijrat and Khidmat, newly launched book of Dr Asif Mehmood Jah reflects

demonstration of extreme level of tolerance and bravery of IDPs for the restoration of peace and

harmony in Pakistan,” central region chief collector of customs Rozi Khan Burki saud.

He admitted that Dr Asif Jah and his team made no mistake in rehabilitation and restoration work

for the IDPs in Bannu.

“Being an inhabitant of South Waziristan, Jah provided me an opportunity to express my feelings

about the people of Waziristan and I am thankful to him”, Burki stated.

Orya Maqbool Jan is a columnist; writer, poet and civil servant said that besides Jah has great

feelings for the predicaments of the suppressed, he is also a writer and pen down the stories of

the state of emotions of the people in difficult times.

“The title picture of Dr Jah with the innocent Hira in one of the affectees camp exhibits that Dr

Jah has attained the happiness of the whole world embracing the little Hira”,columnist Asadullah

Ghalib stated, while Attaul Haq Qasmi expressed his gratitude for Jah for writing the simple and

eloquent Hira, Hijrat and Khidmat.

In his book, Dr Jah besides writing the account of his welfare work for the IDPs, he also

expressed his gratitude for the philonthrops who enabled him to execute the rehabilitation and

restoration of work for the iDPs successfully.

Jah thanked Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa, Chief collector of Customs Rozi

Khan Burki, collectors of customs Fazal Yazdani, Muhammad Zahid Khokhar who donated for

medicines for the IDPs. He was also grateful to the other customs officers including Sadia

Munib, Iram Sohail, Mohasin Rafique and others for the donation and support in the

rehabilitation work for the IDPs of Northen Wazirastan.

Furthermore, Jah expressed his resolved to serve the mankind for the rest of his life.


Provision of immediate medical and relief supplies to the IDPs of North Waziristan was the main

objective of the care and welfare team of Customs Health Care Society (CHCS). Seeing this

emergent need, Customs Health Care Society first of all established a medical clinic in Miryan,

Bannu which is located only one kilometer away from border of North Waziristan. This clinic

has been provided medical facilities to the IDPs as well as the local population since 1st June,

2014. Besides this, the medical team of (CHCS) was immediately rushed to Bannu with

ambulance, mobile hospital and relief goods to help the IDPs.

The details of medical and relief work so far undertaken by the teams of the Customs Health

Care Society (CHCS) in Bannu for the IDPs of North Waziristan is given as under:-

Do change

It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that the care and welfare teams of Customs Health

Care Society (CHCS) under the supervision of the undersigned have once again taken the lead to

reach the earthquake affected areas of Awaran, Baluchistan immediately after 24 September

earthquake and at present are fully engaged in the relief and rehabilitation work for the

earthquake affectees there.

BANNU: A book on the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from North Waziristan was

launched here on Monday.

A noted social worker and Chairman of the Custom Healthcare Society, Dr Asif Mehmood Jah,

wrote a book titled ‘Hira, Hijrat Aor Khidmat’ in which he elaborately described the problems

and hardships faced by the IDPs during their displacement. A seven-year-old Hira was the chief

guest on the launching ceremony took place at the auditorium in the Fazal Qadir Park.

Additional Commissioner Bannu Damsaz Khan Marwat, Prof Faridullah Khan, Khun-i-Jigar

Foundation chairman Aslam Marwat, Maulana Habibullah Haqqani, Mufti Abdul Ghani,

educationist Basheer Ahmed and others were present.

Dr Asif Jah said, “I wanted to launch the book in Bannu as mostly I have covered the miseries of

the Waziristan operation affectees.”He said that his society examined and provided free

medicines to more than 100,000 IDP patients and relief items worth Rs50 million had been given

to them so far.

Tag Archives: Internally Displaced Persons

(IDPs) of North Waziristan Agency

Customs society distributes relief goods to IDPs

M Hayat September 10, 2014

LAHORE: Customs Healthcare Society (CHS) has distributed relief goods worth Rs 5 million

among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan Agency in district Bannu.

The items included edibles, children’s garments and cooking pots. This was stated by Customs

Healthcare Society President Dr Asif Mehmood Jah.

He said that the CHS team visited Bannu for seventh time as the figure of IDPs crossed 700,000

mark and they had spread in various parts of the district adding that it was quite difficult to

provide them relief goods and medical facilities. He said that the society provided free medical

facilities to 10,000 persons including elderly, women and children.

Moreover a free medical dispensary had been set up in Bannu as well, he added. He said that the

society would continue providing free medical facilities to IDPs till their return to homes.

Some R The Nation August 2014

PESHAWAR – Custom Health Care Society of Pakistan distributed relief goods and food packages of

Rs500 million among internally displaced families of North Waziristan Agency.

Collector Customs and President Custom Health Care Society of Pakistan Dr Asif Mahmood Jah said they

would not let IDPs alone in this critical hour. The packages included food items, 1600 solar fans, new

cloths, shoes, mates and mosquito nets and medicines.

The organisation also set up three medical centres permanently in FR Bannu, Bannu City and Lakki

Marwat. A mobile ambulance was also sent to remote areas where more than five thousands patients

were diagnosed and given medicines free of cost.

Dr Asif said that like participation in various functions of Independence Day, they would also celebrate

Defence Day with these IDPs. He reiterated that on Defence Day, declamation contest would be

organised to entertain the war-affected families.

Dr Asif promised that Custom Health Care Society would also reconstruct the damaged houses of the

IDPs after their repatriation. The spokesman said the philanthropists belonging to Punjab are also

cooperating in this regard.

The society also set up relief medical camps in various temples and churches of Christian community.

They also arranged medicines and maternity care goods for the IDPs.

Swat, Exodus and Service the News September 21, 2009

Dr Asif Mahmood Jah has composed his unique experiences in his book, “Swat-Exodus

and Service”, where he travelled miles to serve the devastated inhabitants of Swat,

Malakand, Buner and Dir.

In the past too, whenever calamities befell on our Pakistani brethren as a result of earthquakes in

NWFP, Azad Kashmir and Balochistan killing thousands of people, Dr Asif Mahmood Jah rose

to the occasion with strong determination, collected his team of sincere workers and set out on a

journey to serve the suffering humanity in the difficult terrain of these areas.

The team led by Asif Jah served with unparalleled and unmatched zeal and enthusiasm.

This time, a new sort of calamity befell the inhabitants of Swat, Malakand and Buner caused by

the atrocities of the so-called Taliban on our Muslim brothers of these regions in the name of

Islam and Sunnah.

These Taliban militants massacred innocent Pakistani men and women and forced more than

three million people to leave their homes and to take shelter in the tented villages prepared by the


The author, endowed with compassion and sympathy by Allah Almighty, inspired his colleagues

to come out of their complacency and help the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with money,

commodities, medicines and daily use articles.

As narrated by Dr Asif Mahmood Jah that with the advent of Swat operation, “I was feeling

restless with a queer condition of my mind.” I wanted to organise a team of selfless workers at

once, so that we could reach Mardan Camp in order to serve the IDPs affected by the Taliban

insurgents. However, all were ready to go. Kavish Welfare Trust agreed to join us and we

reached Mardan on May 13 with a caravan of doctors and members of Customs Health Care

Society along with those of the Kavish Welfare Trust.

While describing his personal experiences and services for the needy, the author is indebted to a

number of persons who participated and helped him during this operation.

He is indebted to Dr Arshad who sent two trucks loaded with edibles and other necessities of


Mr Aftab of Blatroon also sent two trucks full of necessary articles and he himself reached

Mardan along with his friends including his son, Asif Aftab.

Besides, most respectful Ejaz Sikka, his friends Haroon Iftikhar and Shahid travelled with us

twice and distributed millions of rupees in cash, sending trucks loaded with edibles and other

basic commodities of life, worth thousands of rupees.

The author points out that from Karachi to Khyber, officers and colleagues of Customs

department cooperated with us wholeheartedly. DGO Khawaja Shaukat Ali and Deputy

Commissioner Ali Adnan helped us in collecting funds. Ghulam Ahmad Bimbal from Karachi

and Khawaja Zakauddin from Sialkot also cooperated with us in this venture. Insha Allah, the

journey that started from May 13, 2009, would continue till the affectees of Swat return to their

homes and are rehabilitated satisfactorily.

Dr Asif Mahmood Jah is extremely obliged to the renowned writers, columnists and intellectuals

of Pakistan including Hasan Nisar, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Oria Maqbool Jan, Afzaal Shahid,

Dr Ajmal Niazi and Nasir Ali Khan for their guidance and advice in preparing the contents of the


He is particularly grateful to Furqan Danish for his sincere cooperation in preparing this book.

It was owing to the adventurous spirit of the author that he succeeded in his noble mission to

help the deprived people, even without bothering for human limitations.

It was the same spirit which during every trip, he also kept alive in his visiting team and

members of the Customs Health Care Society Lahore where he also performs his duties as a

doctor, treating maximum patients free of cost 0 provision of medicines.

Besides, he also serves as a high official in a government department. In wake of his multiple

official and non-official engagements, immediate decision of the author to set out on the journey

to help the needy in the affected areas as described in the book surprise every intellectual and the

non-intellectual equally.

Dr Asif Mahmood Jah is well known for his social services and as a sympathetic medical


His book has become a historical record of how the suffering millions of Swat, Malakand and

Buner faced the calamity perpetrated by the militants who pay lip service to Islam and Sunnah,

but otherwise are heartless and callous diehards who have no sympathy and compassion for any

human being.

The author deserves our encouragement for rendering unmatched services for the IDPs and

narrating his experiences of Swat episode into a readable material that inspires the readers to

follow his steps about serving the suffering humanity wherever it exists in the world.

In this regard, the book will remain an endless lesson for all people, belonging to all the

communities and religions. —Reviewed by Sajjad Shaukat

Posted in Literature, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Pakistan-Youm-e-Shuhada: The Real Heroes


Image result for PAKISTAN Martyrs Day PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

Every year, the Pakistan Army commemorates Youm-e-Shuhada (Martyrs Day) on April 30 and

the whole nation joins it to pay tribute to the departed souls of those valiant army officials who

sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of the country and its people.

Several ceremonies are being held at the Garrisons all over the country, but the main ceremony is

being held at Yadqar-e-Shuhada, General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi. The families and

relatives of the martyrs (Shuhada), serving and retired officers including people, belonging to

various segments of society are invited to attend a function at the GHQ to pay tribute to the

national heroes. Similarly, a sizeable number of near and dear ones of the martyrs are invited to

attend the functions at the Corps Headquarters.

This time, Youm-e-Shuhada has come at a time when Pakistan and its armed forces have been

facing a different war, while enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of

various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. In these terms, Pakistan is in

In this respect, our Armed Forces have almost successfully obtained their objectives in North

Waziristan Agency (NWA) including Khyber Agency through military operation Zarb-e-Azb

against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire

nation by their terror-acts. Pakistan has perennially been facing subversive activities and

sectarian violence in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country

including tribal areas where security forces are coping with the militants.

Externally, Pak Army and Rangers have boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at

the Line of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary in Sialkot. While, the fundamentalist

party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and

anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter

of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) 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,

And, Pakistan’s security forces have also faced cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan side,

encountering heavily-armed militants who from time to time, targeted Army’s check posts, and

other civil and military installations.

However, services of Pak Army cannot be explained in words. They always make us proud.

They stood first in the time of national crisis and natural calamities. Their untiring sincere efforts

mark the defence of Pakistan with an ultimate assurance to safeguard the country at all heads.

We are proud to have such great sons, because these are the heroes who really make history—

the martyrs. The sacrifices of our Shuhada are what make our defence unconquerable.

Pakistan’s armed forces are our strategic assets and first line of defence. Whether it be frustrating

enemy’s nefarious designs on the borders and fighting off internal enemies, horrifying the state

or it may be the difficult times of natural catastrophes, these bold soldiers have strengthened and

fortified the motherland by leaving no stone unturned. Every Pakistani salutes to those brave

sons of the soil, who always ensure our safety by keeping the frontiers safe. The alertness and

resolve of our soldiers in looking out—day and night for all internal and external enemies, and

who are always ready to confront the mayhem of severe conditions from the scorching deserts to

the icy glaciers in the face of death with no fear—help the persons in tiring times of calamities,

leaving their families behind in their determination to provide protection to all the families of our

country, and thus make them real national heroes.

Today, the whole nation stands by our soldiers who are guarding our borders and days will prove

that the war against terrorism will not finish us, while the terrorists themselves will be eliminated

by our valiant soldiers who desire to be martyrs and are not afraid of death. Caravans of Shuhada

will continue forever. We salute all the soldiers of Pakistan, who are sacrificing their today for

our tomorrow. However, surely martyrs are gladly giving up their bodies to torture and death-the

trustworthy heroes of our history.

Nevertheless, the importance of the Youm-e-Shuhada, this year has been increased, as the nation

stood by forces when they have also been made target of malevolent campaign, being launched

by the anti-Pakistan foreign entities.

In this regard, while playing national songs on the occasion, the TV channels must also give a

matching response to the hostile forces which are working against the integrity of the country,

and are distorting the image of Pak Army.

It is mentionable that last year, while offering Fateha for the martyrs Chief of Army Staff, Gen.

Raheel Sharif delivered a remarkable speech at Yadgar-e-Shuhada ceremony. He said, “The

commitment of Pakistan armed forces to democracy and the Constitution is a matter of

satisfaction and also a matter of huge significance.” Gen. Raheel Sharif’s declaration of his

devotion to media’s freedom and his tributes to the media were highly significant. He pointed

out, “The people and the Army are on the same page on all the important matters.”

Gen. Raheel Sharif also expressed the Army’s point of view on terrorism and the Kashmir issue,

and elaborated, He supports every attempt made for eliminating terrorism.” And, he

convincingly highlighted the importance of the Kashmir issue, saying, “Pakistan is a peace-

loving country, but if the country is ever subjected to aggression, it is fully capable of giving a

Besides, stressing the need of unity among all segments of society, he concluded, “Pakistan’s

armed forces are keeping a close vigil on the internal and external challenges and were fully

capable of meeting all the threats to the security of the country…the armed forces remained alert

round the clock for the defence of the motherland.”

Nonetheless, during this very day, the Yaum-e-Shuhada, people of Pakistan laud the unparalleled

sacrifices of the soldiers, paying them tribute, as they are the real heroes of the country.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Forty Years Ago, April 30, 1975. Who Won the Vietnam War?

Global Research
Who won the Vietnam War?

April 1975 marks the official end of the Vietnam War. Yet today, Vietnam is an impoverished countries. The Hanoi government is a US proxy regime. Vietnam has become a new cheap labor frontier of the global economy. Neoliberalism prevails.

In a bitter irony, Vietnam which was a victim of US war crimes has become a staunch military ally of the US under Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” which threatens China.

In 1994, I undertook field research in Vietnam with the support of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture, which enabled me to visit and conduct interviews in rural areas in both the North and South.

This article was written twenty years ago, initially published on April 30th 1995 in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Liberation of Saigon. A more in-depth analysis focusing on Hanoi’s neoliberal reforms was subsequently published as a chapter in my book, The Globalization of Poverty, first edition 1997, second edition, 2003.

Michel Chossudovsky, April 17, 2015

On April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended with the capture of Saigon by Communist forces and the surrender of General Duong Vanh Minh and his cabinet in the Presidential palace. As troops of the People’s Army of Vietnam marched into Saigon, U.S. personnel and the last American marines were hastily evacuated from the roof of the U.S. embassy. Twenty years later a fundamental question still remains unanswered: Who won the Vietnam War?

Vietnam never received war reparations payments from the U.S. for the massive loss of life and destruction, yet an agreement reached in Paris in 1993 required Hanoi to recognize the debts of the defunct Saigon regime of General Thieu. This agreement is in many regards tantamount to obliging Vietnam to compensate Washington for the costs of war.

Moreover, the adoption of sweeping macro-economic reforms under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions was also a condition for the lifting of the U.S. embargo. These free market reforms now constitute the Communist Party’s official doctrine. With the normalization of diplomatic relations with Washington in 1994, reference to America’s brutal role in the war is increasingly considered untimely and improper. Not surprisingly, Hanoi had decided to tone down the commemoration of the Saigon surrender so as not to offend its former wartime enemy. The Communist Party leadership has recently underscored the “historic role” of the United States in “liberating” Vietnam from Vichy regime and Japanese occupation during World War II.

On September 2, 1945 at the Declaration of Independence of Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi proclaiming the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, American agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor of today’s CIA) were present at the side of Ho Chi Minh. While Washington had provided the Viet Minh resistance with weapons and token financial support, this strategy had largely been designed to weaken Japan in the final stages of World War II without committing large numbers of U.S. ground troops.

In contrast to the subdued and restrained atmosphere of the commemoration marking the end of the Vietnam War, the 50th anniversary of independence is to be amply celebrated in a series of official ceremonies and activities commencing in September and extending to the Chinese NewYear.

Vietnam Pays War Reparations

Prior to the “normalization” of relations with Washington, Hanoi was compelled to foot the bill of the bad debts incurred by the U.S.-backed Saigon regime. At the donor conference held in Paris in November 1993, a total of nearly $2 billion of loans and aid money was generously pledged in support of Vietnam’s free market reforms.

Yet immediately after the conference, a secret meeting was held under the auspices of the Paris Club. Present at this meeting were representatives of Western governments. On the Vietnamese side, Dr. Nguyen Xian Oanh, economic advisor to the prime minister, played a key role in the negotiations. Dr. Oanh, a former IMF official, had been Minister of Finance and later Acting Prime Minister in the military government of General Duong Van Minh, which the U.S. installed 1963 after the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother(f.2). Dr. Oanh, while formally mediating on behalf of the Communist government, was nonetheless responsive to the demands of Western creditors.

The deal signed with the IMF (which was made public) was largely symbolic. The amount was not substantial: Hanoi was obliged to pay the IMF $140 million (owned by the defunct Saigon regime) as a condition for the resumption of new loans. Japan and France, Vietnam’s former colonial masters of the Vichy period, formed a so-called “Friends of Vietnam” committee to lend to Hanoi” the money needed to reimburse the IMF.

The substantive arrangement on the rescheduling of bilateral debts (with the Saigon regime), however, was never revealed. Yet it was ultimately this secret agreement (reached under the auspices of the Paris Club) which was instrumental in Washington’s decision to lift the embargo and normalize diplomatic relations. This arrangement was also decisive in the release of the loans pledged at the 1993 donor conference, thereby bringing Vietnam under the trusteeship of Japanese and Western creditors. Thus twenty years after the war, Vietnam had surrendered its economic sovereignty.

By fully recognizing the legitimacy of these debts, Hanoi had agreed to repay loans that had supported the U.S. war effort. Moreover, the government of Mr. Vo Van Kiet had also accepted to comply fully with the usual conditions (devaluation, trade liberalization, privatization, etc.) of an IMF-sponsored structural adjustment program.

These economic reforms, launched in the mid-1980s with the Bretton Woods institutions, had initiated, in the war’s brutal aftermath, a new phase of economic and social devastation: Inflation had resulted from the repeated devaluations that began in 1973 under the Saigon regime the year after the withdrawal of American combat troops(f.3). Today Vietnam is once again inundated with U.S. dollar notes, which have largely replaced the Vietnamese dong. With soaring prices, real earnings have dropped to abysmally low levels.

In turn, the reforms have massively reduced productive capacity. More than 5,000 out of 12,300 state-owned enterprises were closed or steered into bankruptcy. The credit cooperatives were eliminated, all medium and long term credit to industry and agriculture was frozen. Only short-term credit was available at an interest rate of 35 percent per annum (1994). Moreover, the IMF agreement prohibited the state from providing budget support either to the state-owned economy or to an incipient private sector.

The reforms’ hidden agenda consisted in destabilizing Vietnam’s industrial base. Heavy industry, oil and gas, natural resources and mining, cement and steel production are to be reorganized and taken over by foreign capital. The most valuable state assets will be transferred to reinforce and preserve its industrial base, or to develop a capitalist economy owned and controlled by Nationals.

In the process of economic restructuring, more than a million workers and over 20,000 public employees (of whom the majority were health workers and teachers) have been laid off(f.5). In turn, local famines have erupted, affecting at least a quarter of the country’s population(f.6). These famines are not limited to the food deficit areas. In the Mekong delta, Vietnam’s rice basket, 25% of the adult population consumes less than 1800 calories per day(f.7). In the cities, the devaluation of the dong together with the elimination of subsidies and price controls has led to soaring prices of rice and other food staples.

The reforms have led to drastic cuts in social programs. With the imposition of school fees, three quarters of a million children dropped out from the school system in a matter of a few years (1987-90)(f.8). Health clinics and hospitals collapsed, the resurgence of a number of infectious diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea is acknowledged by the Ministry of Health and the donors. A World Health Organization study confirmed that the number of malaria deaths increased three-fold in the first four years of the reforms alongside the collapse of health care and soaring prices of antimalarial drugs(f.9). The government (under the guidance of the international donor community) has also discontinued budget support to the provision of medical equipment and maintenance leading to the virtual paralysis of the entire public health system. Real salaries of medical personnel and working conditions have declined dramatically: the monthly wage of medical doctors in a district hospital is as low as $15 a month(f.10).

Although the U.S. was defeated on the battlefield, two decades later Vietnam appears to have surrendered its economic sovereignty to its former Wartime enemy.

No orange or steel pellet bombs, no napalm, no toxic chemicals: a new phase of economic and social destruction has unfolded. The achievements of past struggles and the aspirations of an entire nation are undone and erased almost with a stroke of the pen.

Debt conditionality and structural adjustment under the trusteeship of international creditors constitute in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, an equally effective and formally nonviolent instrument of recolonization and impoverishment affecting the livelihood of millions of people.

Posted in Far East, USA0 Comments


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