January 23, 2010
The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the La Luna−Quercual Total Petroleum System encompasses approximately 50,000 km2 of the East Venezuela Basin Province that is underlain by more than 1 trillion barrels of heavy oil-in-place. As part of a program directed at estimating the technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins worldwide, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the recoverable oil resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit. This estimate relied mainly on published geologic and engineering data for reservoirs (net oil-saturated sandstone thickness and extent), petrophysical properties (porosity, water saturation, and formation volume factors), recovery factors determined by pilot projects, and estimates of volumes of oil-in-place. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the East Venezuela Basin Province; the range is 380 to 652 billion barrels. The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit thus contains one of the largest recoverable oil accumulations in the world.
An estimated 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil are in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt.
This area contains one of the world's largest recoverable oil accumulations, and this assessment is the first to identify how much is technically recoverable (producible using currently available technology and industry practices).
Worldwide consumption of petroleum was 85.4 million barrels per day in 2008. The three largest consuming countries were United States with 19.5 million barrels per day, China with 7.9 million barrels per day, and Japan with 4.8 million barrels per day.
“Knowing the potential for extractable resources from this tremendous oil accumulation, and others like it, is critical to our understanding of the global petroleum potential and informing policy and decision makers,” said USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce. “Accumulations like this one were previously very difficult to produce, but advances in technology and new understandings in geology allow us to assess how much is now technically recoverable."
“Heavy oil is a type of oil that is very thick and therefore does not flow very easily,” said USGS scientist Christopher Schenk. “As a result, specialized production and refining processes are needed to generate petroleum products, but it is still oil and can generate many of the same products as other types of oil.”
This is the largest accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. The estimated petroleum resources in the Orinoco Oil Belt range from 380 to 652 billion barrels of oil (at a 95 and 5 percent chance of occurrence, respectively). The Orinoco Oil Belt is located in the East Venezuela Basin Province.
The USGS conducted this assessment as part of a program directed at estimating the technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins worldwide. To learn more about this assessment, read the fact sheet, "An Estimate of Recoverable Heavy Oil Resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela" and visit the USGS Energy Resources Program web site. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3028/
January 20, 2010
Mohsen Islami, Cultural Affairs General Director of the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, has stated that the Ministry is planning to organize a series of [training] camps to increase the university students’ knowledge about “soft wars.” This plan was coordinated with Qom Technical University.
Islami added that students will become familiarized with the history, objectives, dimensions, and psychological atmosphere of soft wars, as well as environmental conditions conducive to their creation. Given the ongoing soft war efforts of the Islamic Republic’s enemies, organizers of the camps are also planning on providing training courses to familiarize students with strategies on how to face and cope with soft war.
Islami noted that, as part of the program, students will also be given political-ideological training, for which the organizers will be assisted by the Imam Khomeini Institution and all the provincial universities. Based on the correspondence [to date], the country’s universities will identify students interested in participating in the camps. The course registration will commence in the month of Bahman [January 21 – February 19 2010], and the first running of the camps is expected to start in the month of Esfand [February 20 – March 20 2010].
Each week, 100 students—in addition to political, cultural, and social activists—from one university will participate in these courses. Islami added that all public and non-profit universities will be welcomed to participate in this program. For the original article in Persian, click here.
Persia House Note:
This article indicates that even non-security related sectors of the Iranian government, including the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, are increasing their efforts to counter—through ideological indoctrination—“soft threats” to the regime. Because university students comprise an active part of the opposition movement, it is not surprising that the regime is tailoring a program to counter what it deems to be a Western plot to co-opt this large portion of society through aggressive use of its culture and technology. These courses will run parallel to the numerous extracurricular Basij camps already in existence, designed to indoctrinate youths in the values of the Islamic Revolution.
Faced with the civil unrest that has followed the June 2009 presidential election, a number of Iranian security and law enforcement bodies, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Basij, have made countering the West’s soft war their top priority. Such non-military means by which the government is waging a counter-soft war against the enemy include filtering websites and expanding surveillance on the internet.
Fars News Agency is a conservative news source with ties to the Iranian government. It is supportive of President Ahmadinejad.
Aharq al-Awsat – Editorial by Tariq Alhomayed
January 20, 2010
Iran’s animosity toward the countries in the region has no boundaries. A few days ago, the Iranian president attacked Saudi Arabia and today, media sources close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps attacked Yemen and its president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, calling him “Little Saddam.” Could this be a random media campaign or does it unveil true Iranian intentions in the region, particularly towards Saudi Arabia and Yemen? It is clear that the attack on Yemen’s president goes beyond defending the Houthies, since calling him “Little Saddam” expresses strong animosity against Yemen as a unified and sovereign country. Attacking Yemen today while it is struggling on three fronts—fighting the Houthies, Al-Qaeda, and the Southern Separatists—proves that Iran is not only helping the Houthies but is also helping Al-Qaeda. This is because Iran’s ultimate goal is to destabilize Yemen so that, through the Houthies, it can have a foothold on the Saudi border just as it has in Lebanon through Hezbollah and in Iraq through militias. Iran’s final aim is to surround Saudi Arabia on all of its borders. The only explanation for the Iranian attacks against Saudi Arabia and Yemen is Iran’s failure both domestically and internationally. Iran has not met its goals in Lebanon or Yemen. And it is being marginalized both politically and diplomatically in the region due to the effective diplomatic steps taken by Saudi Arabia on regional and international levels, not to mention Iran’s own internal problems. For the original article in Arabic, click here.
Persia House Note:
This article reflects the concern held by Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments that Iran is continuing its attempts to expand its reach throughout the region. Since the Iranian Revolution, Arab commentators have denounced Iran for its interference, through its proxies, in Arab affairs.
The tensions between Iran and Yemen intensified in August 2009, when the Yemeni government launched Operation Scorched Earth against Houthi rebels in the north of the country, and accused Iranians of supporting the fighters. In October 2009, Yemen announced that it had seized a ship manned by an Iranian crew and carrying weapons believed to be destined for the Houthi rebels. Iran denies providing any aid to the rebels, and only claims to support the Houthies’ right to religious freedom as a Shi’a minority. While at first glance, there may appear to be a natural link between Shi’a Iran and the Yemeni rebels, it is important to note that the Houthi brand of Zaydi (“Fiver”) Shi’ism is, in fact, ideologically closer to Sunni Islam than Iranian Twelver Shi’ism. Therefore, if Iran were to lend support to the group, it most likely would be for geostrategic rather than religious reasons.
Tariq Alhomayed is the editor-in-chief of Asharq al-Awsat. Managed by Saudi King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Asharq al-Awsat is an influential pan-Arab newspaper said to reflect the Saudi government’s views on foreign policy.
Attached is a detailed invitation for the Bharati Puja programme on the coming Sunday 24/01/10 in the evening. Sri Chamu Krishna Shastry will address. You may be aware that Sri Chamu is the force behind our Speak Samskrit movement. Listening to him in Saral Samskrit is a great experience. I cordially invite all of you to attend this function with friends and other Samskrit lovers.
The venue will be (for direction instructions you can call our office 2475 0111, 94901 92622 or me):
Karnataka Sahitya Mandir
Near Limgampalli Raghavendra Math or Nrupathunga College
In case you have difficulty in viewing / understanding the attached invitation, here is the programme:
5:20 - Cultural Programmes
5:45 - Song
5:50 - Introduction by President, Sri Ch. Lakshminathacharya, President, Samskrita Bharati, Bhagyanagaram
5:55 - Bharati Puja and Offering
6:10 - Address by Chief Guest, Dr. Justice K. Ramaswamy, Retired Justice, Supreme Court
6:20 - Address by Special Guest, Sri P. Venkateswarlu, Kakatiya Group Chairman
6:25 - Address by Main Speaker, Sri Chamu Krishna Shastry, All-India Secretary, Samskrita Bharati
7:05 - Bharati Puja and Offering continues
7:10 - Vote of Thanks
7:15 - Shanti Mantra
Our Bharati Puja programme is an occasion to offer financial help to our movement by Karyakartas. You may feel free to make a personal contribution during the puja.
Looking forward to meeting you on this important occasion.
Krupalu, Secretary, Samskrita Bharati, Hyderabad
The problem with the FC does not merely lie in its ethnic makeup, though it plays a major role in its attitude problem. The real problem lies with the mindset and its unbridled power compounded with a total absence of any accountability for its actions
Mohammad Aslam Bhootani, the Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly, though a member of the ruling coalition has a penchant for forthrightness that leaves many of his partners embarrassed. In May last year he said that the trust deficit between the Baloch leadership and Islamabad was a major impediment to resolving the Balochistan issue. He had also said there was “a perception in Balochistan that the Frontier Corps (FC) was running a parallel government in the province”.
The truth of his statement has presented itself in shedding of innocent blood in Khuzdar where two students, Ali Dost and Saddam Hussain, were killed and four others were injured. HRCP Khuzdar chapter accused the FC of opening fire on a peaceful rally organised by BSO-Azad to protest the recent Lyari killings. The FC denies this claim and states that it retaliated when a convoy of the Kalat Scouts commandant was attacked. So people were killed though versions differ. Who could be speaking the truth?
A look at FC’s history and its conduct — or rather misconduct — in Balochistan should set the record straight. A hundred years ago Lord Curzon bequeathed this region with the FC, an efficient and reliable instrument of repression. The devil be given his due, he created an outfit that not only fulfilled their needs then but serves their legatees even today.
The US provides the 80,000-strong force $ 75 million a year for five years from the $ 750 million FATA package. It also sustains FC in Balochistan because it is supposedly performing the duty of guarding Balochistan (from its own people I suppose?). In January 2003, US envoy Nancy Powell handed over 483 vehicles and 626 wireless sets to them under the $ 73 million security assistance package “to enable them to patrol rugged, remote locations in order to maintain law and order on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and to check terrorist activities, narcotics trafficking and other forms of criminality.” Probably the suppression of the people’s democratic struggle is conveniently lumped under the heading of checking ‘other forms of criminality’.
The FC’s colonialist behaviour and activities are a major reason for the resentment and anger of the people of Balochistan. This attitude has prompted defiance from the Baloch population and more often than not resulted in violence in which the unarmed people bear the brunt of state violence. The 37,000-strong Balochistan FC, like the Rangers in Sindh, draws hefty amounts from the provincial government in the name of internal security and operating in place of the police. At times it seems that conditions are created to prolong and perpetuate the presence of these forces in these provinces.
The misconduct and highhandedness of FC had prompted a debate in the Balochistan Assembly in August last year where it came under severe criticism from members of the ruling party because of its continued and unjustified harassment of the people. The House was told that the provincial government had allowed a public rally in Turbat on Bugti’s death anniversary but the FC resorted to unprovoked shooting, which killed a civilian and injured many people. The FC had also completely sealed the Pak-Iran border, resulting in a severe shortage of food in the border towns. It was revealed that the FC personnel rubbish the officially issued passes of the DCOs to the citizens wanting to visit their relatives in Iran. The Khuzdar situation too was pronounced as equally bad even then.
In July 2003, the FC in Quetta forcibly occupied a youth hostel meant for short visits run by Pakistan Youth Hostels Association (PYHA), a private charitable trust. An FC contingent surrounded the hostel and kept its staff hostage for several hours. Another FC contingent led by a Major surrounded the hostel secretary’s residence and abused him when he refused to hand over the keys. However, on the night of July 16-17, the FC contingent broke open the gates and locks of the hostel and forcibly occupied it.
The problem of hostel occupation is acute in Sindh as well where in June 2009 the Sindh Assembly was informed that 27 buildings of schools, colleges and hostels were occupied by the law-enforcement agencies (read the Rangers).
In October 2002 the Mekran Scouts wing of FC opened fire on a crowd protesting its highhandedness and killed Nisar Ahmed and Noor Mohammad; five people were injured. Though an FIR was reluctantly registered, nothing came of it. The track record shows that the trigger-happy FC personnel do not hesitate to open fire on peacefully protesting crowds.
This is not the only problem. The FC’s mandate to guard Balochistan’s borders with Afghanistan and Iran is a source of an equally grave evil of lucrative smuggling. This vice’s prevalence was serious enough to force the FC in October 2003 to suspend 45 lower ranks with the promise of action against some officers. This happened only after the finance ministry and other authorities had taken serious notice of massive smuggling despite increased deployment of security forces along the border.
The siege of three newspaper offices — Daily Asaap, Daily Azadi and Daily Balochistan Express last year, which eventually forced Asaap to cease publication, is among its dubious achievements in the battle to subdue democratic forces in Balochistan. Sadly, there was not a squeak from the national mainstream media.
The recent Khuzdar killings are a continuation of the long list of atrocities against the Baloch population and will not be the last. Following the gruesome killings of Balochistan National Movement (BNM) Chairman Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Muneer Baloch, Sher Mohammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), the Balochistan High Court (BHC) took suo motu action and the chief minister formed a three-member tribunal comprising of BHC judges to investigate the activists’ death. Nine months have elapsed with no results. The Home Minister has now ordered a judicial inquiry. Odds are that it too will suffer the same fate.
These outrages are countered only with worthless and insincere condemnations and denunciations simply because the writ of the chief minister and the governor does not go beyond the doors of their respective official residences. They are ineffectual and helpless when their orders infringe on the areas of influence of the military and paramilitary. The chasm between their rhetoric and actions has severely diminished their stature and credibility. Though their authority has a semblance of autonomy, it is as illusory as it is inane and in fact completely subservient not only to the Centre but also to the FC.
The problem with the FC does not merely lie in its ethnic makeup, though it plays a major role in its attitude problem. The real problem lies with the mindset and its unbridled power compounded with a total absence of accountability for its actions. It has repeatedly committed atrocities with impunity as commissions and judicial probes have never redressed the grievances. This ironclad guarantee against prosecution encourages it to ride roughshod and little wonder it acts like a parallel government in Balochistan. All this does not augur well for anyone.
Postscript: Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has accused the FC of running a parallel government in Balochistan (January 20, 2010). He has only confirmed the obvious, already put on record by Aslam Bhootani. He also complained that the federal government had rejected the scrapping of the Gwadar Deep Sea Port and Reko Diq project agreements; but bravely said that the Balochistan government would not allow any agreement that undermined the rights of the people. So much for the illusory authority that they are so proud of.
It should now dawn upon the power wielders that the Centre can ill afford to allow the FC to run a parallel government and that they can overrule the decisions of their very loyal provincial government at will and still expect the already alienated people of Balochistan to help them sustain the already endangered integrity of the federation.
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Project Grey Goose investigation was launched on October 16, 2009 to answer
the question of whether there has been any successful hacker attacks against the
power grid, both domestically and internationally.
Today, January 21, 2010, we are able to answer that question. Our Key Findings are
particularly relevant now as Smart Grid research and development ramps up and
implementation of Smart Grid technology occurs across the globe.
There are many reports in the public domain which discuss vulnerabilities in the
power grid. This is not one of them. Instead, this report looks at the broader threat landscape, some (not all) of the key actors involved, and most importantly, how U.S.
Energy companies as a self-regulating and predominantly privately owned industry
contribute to making the U.S power grid less secure.
State and/or Non-state actors from the Peoples Republic of China, the Russian
Federation/Commonwealth of Independent States, and Turkey are almost certainly
targeting and penetrating the networks of energy providers and other critical
infrastructures in the U.S., Brazil, the Russian Federation, and the European Union.
Network attacks against the bulk power grid will almost certainly escalate steadily in
frequency and sophistication over the next 12 months due in part to international
emphasis among the G20 nations on Smart Grid research, collaborative development
projects and the rich environment that creates for acts of cyber espionage.
The appeal of network intrusions against the U.S. Grid is enhanced by two key
1. 90% of the U.S. Department of Defense's most critical assets are entirely
dependent on the bulk power grid.
2. Most Grid asset owners and operators have been historically resistant to
report cyber attacks against their networks as well as make the necessary
investments to upgrade and secure their network
WASHINGTON — Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the Central Intelligence Agency has struck back against militants in Pakistanwith the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft since the covert program began.
Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties. The assault has included strikes on a mud fortress in North Waziristan on Jan. 6 that killed 17 people and a volley of missiles on a compound in South Waziristan last Sunday that killed at least 20.
“For the C.I.A., there is certainly an element of wanting to show that they can hit back,” said Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal, an online publication that tracks the C.I.A.’s drone campaign. Mr. Roggio, as well as Pakistani and American intelligence officials, said many of the recent strikes had focused on the Pakistani Taliban and its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, who claimed responsibility for the Khost bombing.
The Khost attack cost the agency dearly, taking the lives of the most experienced analysts of Al Qaeda whose intelligence helped guide the drone attacks. Yet the agency has responded by redoubling its assault. Drone strikes have come roughly every other day this month, up from about once a week last year and the most furious pace since the drone campaign began in earnest in the summer of 2008.
Pakistan’s announcement on Thursday that its army would delay any new offensives against militants in North Waziristan for 6 to 12 months is likely to increase American reliance on the drone strikes, administration and counterterrorism officials said. By next year, the C.I.A. is expected to more than double its fleet of the latest Reaper aircraft — bigger, faster and more heavily armed than the older Predators — to 14 from 6, an Obama administration official said.
Even before the Khost attack, White House officials had made it clear to Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, that they expected significant results from the drone strikes in reducing the threat from Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, according to an administration official and a former senior C.I.A. official with close ties to the White House.
These concerns only heightened after the attempted Dec. 25 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner. While that plot involved a Nigerian man sent by a Qaeda offshoot in Yemen, intelligence officials say they believe that Al Qaeda’s top leaders in Pakistan have called on affiliates to carry out attacks against the West. “There’s huge pressure from the White House on Blair and Panetta,” said the former C.I.A. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern about angering the White House. “The feeling is, the clock is ticking.”
After the Khost bombing, intelligence officials vowed that they would retaliate. One angry senior American intelligence official said the C.I.A. would “avenge” the Khost attack. “Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day,” the official said at the time, speaking on the condition he not be identified describing a classified program.
Today, officials deny that vengeance is driving the increased attacks, though one called the drone strikes “the purest form of self-defense.”
Officials point to other factors. For one, Pakistan recently dropped restrictions on the drone program it had requested last fall to accompany a ground offensive against militants in South Waziristan. And tips on the whereabouts of extremists ebb and flow unpredictably.
A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, declined to comment on the drone strikes. But he said, “The agency’s counterterrorism operations — lawful, aggressive, precise and effective — continue without pause.”
The strikes, carried out from a secret base in Pakistan and controlled by satellite link from C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia, have been expanded by President Obama and praised by both parties in Congress as a potent weapon against terrorism that puts no American lives at risk. That calculation must be revised in light of the Khost bombing, which revealed the critical presence of C.I.A. officers in dangerous territory to direct the strikes.
Some legal scholars have questioned the legitimacy under international law of killings by a civilian agency in a country where the United States is not officially at war. This month, theAmerican Civil Liberties Union filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for government documents revealing procedures for approving targets and legal justifications for the killings.
Critics have contended that collateral civilian deaths are too high a price to pay. Pakistani officials have periodically denounced the strikes as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty, even as they have provided a launching base for the drones.
The increase in drone attacks has caused panic among rank-and-file militants, particularly in North Waziristan, where some now avoid using private vehicles, according to Pakistani intelligence and security officials. Fewer foreign extremists are now in Miram Shah, North Waziristan’s capital, which was previously awash with them, said local tribesmen and security officials.
Despite the consensus in Washington behind the drone program, some experts are dissenters. John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School who frequently advises the military, said, “The more the drone campaign works, the more it fails — as increased attacks only make the Pakistanis angrier at the collateral damage and sustained violation of their sovereignty.”
If the United States expands the drone strikes beyond the lawless tribal areas to neighboring Baluchistan, as is under discussion, the backlash “might even spark a social revolution in Pakistan,” Mr. Arquilla said.
So far the reaction in Pakistan to the increased drone strikes has been muted. Last week, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan told Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s senior diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the drones undermined the larger war effort. But the issue was not at the top of the agenda as it was a year ago.
Hasan Askari Rizvi, a military analyst in Lahore, said public opposition had been declining because the campaign was viewed as a success. Yet one Pakistani general, who supports the drone strikes as a tactic for keeping militants off balance, questioned the long-term impact.
“Has the situation stabilized in the past two years?” asked the general, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Are the tribal areas more stable?” Yes, he said, Baitullah Mehsud, founder of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed by a missile last August. “But he’s been replaced and the number of fighters is increasing,” the general said.
Sabrina Tavernise contributed reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Ismail Khan from Peshawar.
By Uddipan Mukherjee
Column: Machine Gun
Kolkata, India — U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to deploy 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan and at the same time increase drone attacks on the tribal areas of Pakistan may have convinced many of the quick demise of the Taliban-al-Qaida duo in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. However, the hardened terrorists have been equal to the task and at times even better than the intelligence network of the U.S.-led anti-insurgency machinery.
The spate of attacks, starting from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s unsuccessful attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound transatlantic flight on Dec. 25, to the Taliban’s moderately successful urban warfare in Kabul on Jan. 18, has surely awakened many from their slumber.
In between, alleged Jordanian double agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi’s suicide attack on a U.S. facility in Khost, Afghanistan that killed seven CIA operatives made the agency doubt its own intelligence.
Most analysts, security officers, diplomats and politicians were engrossed with the Pakistan Army’s ground offensive in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The White House too was engaged in pressurizing Pakistan’s military to act in a servile manner.
Focus on military operations in FATA and its adjoining areas was necessary on four counts. First, the Pakistani Taliban faction – Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud – had stepped up its fearsome suicide attacks on major cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar and even the business hub Karachi. Moreover, economic crisis-ridden Washington was eager to pass the buck to the Pakistanis, who were alleged to have bypassed the burden.
Third, a decisive blow to the Taliban in Pakistan was essential to weaken al-Qaida, which draws its support base from the Taliban. Fourth, the United States wanted to use Pakistan’s infantry to catch the elusive Osama bin Laden, whom they failed to capture nine years ago at the cave complex of Tora Bora.
But the overemphasis on FATA was probably a tactical mistake as al-Qaida and its franchisees have unfolded new ways of terrorizing the world. They have started targeting weak states like Yemen, started recruiting from new mass bases like Nigeria, Somalia and North Africa, and have commenced their assault on the aviation sector.
Thus, a fresh strategy against terrorism is an imperative, and it cannot be U.S-specific or Pakistan-centric. It needs to holistically connect all the countries of the world, which have obvious geopolitical concerns regarding the menace of terrorism, be it Islamic fundamentalism or any domestic insurgency.
Legitimate coordination between different Asian intelligence agencies could be a first positive step. This becomes more expedient in light of repeated intelligence failures. In fact, an alliance between the U.S. CIA, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, India’s Research and Analysis Wing and Israel’s Mossad may turn out to be a fruitful venture. With time, this common body could bring in its sway security agencies of other nation-states of South Asia, and if possible other major Asian countries.
If anarchists can thread alliances across borders, why shouldn’t nation-states do the same? One may say that religious fanaticism is the binding factor for jihadists. But then, what is common between the Tamil insurgents of Sri Lanka and the Maoists in India? Is it religion or ideology? Rather, it is sheer tactical measures.
If the rebels can unite on a militaristic issue, the Asian state actors can also forge a coherent “security grid” under the auspices of the CIA.
In this business the states must not act in a selfish manner, however. They must disseminate information pertaining to each other’s interests, howsoever insignificant it may be to its own security calculus. Thus, discovery of a militant camp on Bangladeshi soil pertaining to insurgency in India’s Northeast could be reported without delay, as it would have the potential to inflict incalculable harm not only to India, but also to Bangladesh. Policymakers should comprehend this fact.
Along similar lines, the leftist insurgency in India could not be undermined by the United States or Israel. The current U.S. war against terror could not be a selective war against anti-U.S. terrorists. Rather it should live up to its proper meaning.
Presently, South Asia is the most vulnerable zone and den of the Taliban-al-Qaida duo. So nations in South Asia should come forward to set an example.
It requires no guessing to predict that the most troublesome partner in such a coalition would be Pakistan’s ISI. With its “childhood enemy” India as a party to the coalition, the ISI may find it suffocating to assert itself. Moreover, in an “extended grid,” the prospects of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel working in tandem is a bit too much to expect.
Skeptics and critics would argue that the fate of such a security grid would be similar to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. But U.S. presence in the network might tilt the balance toward equilibrium; at least as far as the Indo-Pakistani scuffle is concerned.
But to achieve this, the nation-states of Asia would need to break the paranoid outlook of their neighbors and appreciate the greater danger of terrorism. Unless that is done, a terror-free Asia and a terror-free world will remain a utopian concept in the coming decades.
(Uddipan Mukherjee has a doctorate in physics from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India. He writes on international relations and security issues pertaining to India. He blogs at: http://uddipanmukherjee.blogspot.com. ©Copyright Uddipan Mukherjee.)
Amb (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh
23 January, 2010.
For Crimes against Humanity
Prof Boyle requests International Arrest Warrants for Rendition & Torture
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world : Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Illinois University professor Francis A. Boyle has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” ie enforced disappearance and consequent torture perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
While United States is not a party to the Rome Statute the Accused ordered and were responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C.C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.
The Complaint requests (1) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor open an investigation of the Accused on his own accord under Rome Statute article 15(1); and (2) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor also formally “submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3).
For similar reasons, the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration risk the filing of a follow-up Complaint with the I.C.C. if they do not immediately terminate the Accused’s criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition,” which the Obama administration has continued to implement.
The Complaint concludes with a request that the I.C.C. Prosecutor obtain International Arrest Warrants for the Accused from the I.C.C. in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), 58(1)(b)(i), 58(1)(b)(ii), and 58(1)(b)(iii).
Prof .Francis A Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. who teaches law at the university is a scholar of international law and human rights. He received a J.D. degree magna cum laude and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Harvard University, where he was a teaching fellow and an associate at its Center for International Affairs. He also practiced tax and international tax Laws with Bingham, Dana & Gould in Boston. He has written and lectured extensively in the United States and abroad on the relationship between international law and politics. Professor Boyle served as counsel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine. He has advised numerous international bodies in the areas of human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy, and bio-warfare.
Prof .Francis A Boyle, was a member of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal**
Copy of Complaint of 19 January, 2010 from Prof Boyle to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo , International Criminal Court .The Hague , the Netherlands ,below.*
Rumsfeld, misled the US Congress and President George Bush also "had to be aware" of the atrocities ;- US Gen Antonio Taguba to Seymour Hersh
In an interview in 2007 with Seymour Hersh in New Yorker , Major General Antonio Taguba who led the first military investigation in 2004 into human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has bluntly questioned the integrity of former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, suggesting he misled the US Congress by downplaying his own prior knowledge of what had happened. Gen Taguba also claimed in the interview that President George Bush also "had to be aware" of the atrocities despite saying at the time of the scandal that he had been out of the loop until he saw images in the US media.
The long arm of Justice and Time and Criminals
US has tried all tricks including threats and money that countries joining ICC grant exemption to US citizens .Washington had coerced Belgium to change its law of universal jurisdiction under which Donald Rumsfeld could have been tried.
Many Israeli officials arriving in London and on being warned of arrests for war crimes did not disembark and returned home .
George Bush et al are now private citizens and let us see what happens when the declining US hegemony collapses .At best they will dare not leave USA.
Augusto Pinochet's arrest and al
General Augusto Pinochet was indicted on 10 October 1998 by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón. He was arrested in London and finally released by the British government in March 2000. Authorized to freely return to his native Chile, he was there first indicted by the judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, and charged of a number of crimes, before dying on 10 December 2006, without having been convicted in any case. His arrest in London made the front-page of newspapers worldwide as not only did it involve the head of the military dictatorship that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, but it was the first time that several European judges applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former head of states, despite local amnesty laws.
War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide In Iraq
Earlier on 7 October ,2009 a Legal Case against 4 U.S. Presidents and 4 UK Prime Ministers was filed by The Brussels Tribunal at the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid ahead of the change of law by the Spanish Senate, acting to confirm a decision already taken under pressure from powerful governments accused of grave crimes, which will limit Spain’s laws of universal jurisdiction for commissioning, condoning and/or perpetuating multiple war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Iraq.
This case, naming George H W Bush, William J Clinton, George W Bush, Barack H Obama, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown, is brought by Iraqis and others who stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in defence of their rights and international law.
Iraq: 19 years of intended destruction
The intended destruction — or genocide — of Iraq as a state and nation has been ongoing for 19 years, combining the imposition of the most draconian sanctions regime ever designed and that led to 1.5 million Iraqi deaths, including 500,000 children, with a war of aggression that led to the violent deaths of over one million more.
Destruction of Iraq included the purposeful targeting of its water and sanitation system, attacking the health of the civilian population. Since 1990, thousands of tons of depleted uranium have been dropped on Iraq, leading in some places to a 600 per cent rise in cancer and leukaemia cases, especially among children. In both the first Gulf War and “Shock and Awe” in 2003, an air campaign that openly threatened “total destruction”, waves of disproportionate bombing made no distinction between military and civilian targets, with schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, and historical sites all destroyed.
Since 2003, some 4.7 million Iraqis — one fifth of the population — have been forcibly displaced. Under occupation, kidnappings, killings, extortion and mutilation became endemic, targeting men, women and even children and the elderly.
In parallel, Iraq’s rich heritage and unique cultural and archaeological patrimony has been wantonly destroyed.
DESTRUCTION OF WORLD’S EASTERN HERITAGE IN IRAQ: by K Gajendra Singh
Every Iraqi victim deserves justice.
Everyone responsible should be accountable.
Kuala Lumpur Declaration to Criminalise War and War Crimes Tribunal
Following the launching of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration to Criminalise War in 2004, a War Crimes Commission was appointed to investigate allegations of brutality and to gather evidence. A War Crimes Court was also set up. The Commission took two and a half years to trace and interview victims, gather evidence and research the law.
On 31 October, 2009 the Commission submitted its case to the seven member judge Tribunal .
Prof .Francis A Boyle, was a member of the Tribunal .
Other members of the Tribunal are ;
Dato Abdur Kadir Sulaiman is a retired Malaysian Federal Court Judge. He is the President of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal ,
Tunku Sofia Jewa ,was called to the English Bar at the Lincoln’s Inn .She then obtained LLM and Ph.D from the US University of Miami .She has taught international law at universities in Malaysia and now heads a legal firm .
Prof Salleh Buang ,a Bar-at Law from Lincoln’s Inn. England, is visiting professor at Universiti Teknology, Malaysia .He served as a Federal council at the Attorney General’s Chambers and taught law and practiced corporate law .He has written over 25 books on Law.
Prof.Niloufer Bhagvat , a graduate of Mumbai Law college , did her LLM from the Mumbai University in Constitutional Law , Administrative Law and International Law. She taught law at the university and has appeared as senior advocate at the Supreme Court in New Delhi and Mumbai High Courts and also before Commissions of Enquiries including the Justice Srikrishna Commission .She is the vice president of Indian Lawyers Association and writes on legal and international affairs regularly .She was a judge at the International Tribunal on Afghanistan at Tokyo in 2003.
Alfred Lambremont Webre, J.D., M.Ed.,a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School is a renowned author, lawyer, futurist, peace activist, environmental activist . A space activist he promotes the ban of space weapons. He was a co-architect of the Space Preservation Treaty and the Space Preservation Act and is the International Director of the Institute for Cooperation in Space.He helped draft the Citizen Hearing in 2000 with Stephen Bassett and serves as a member on the Board of Advisors.
Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor at UiTM and Visiting Professor at USM. After graduating from the Wesleyan University in the United States ,Dr Faruqi completed his LLB (First Class) and LLM (First Class) from Aligarh Muslim University, India and his PhD from International Islamic University Malaysia
War Crimes Commission presents Testimonies of the victims to the Tribunal
An International Conference to Criminalize War by the Perdana Global Peace Organization (PGPO) and Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War (KLFCW) with the aim of stopping slaughter of innocents and prevent profiteers from earning blood money was held along with an Exhibition at Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur from Oct. 28 to 31. The conference was opened by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been the driving force behind the conference , the exhibition and holding the Commission and the Tribunal . Renowned world and Malaysian experts and personalities participated in the events.
On the first two days of event, the conference heard views of both Malaysian and foreign Speakers on the wars and related matters.
‘Flouting of International Law and the Failure of International Organisations,’
In the 28 October morning session, British MP George Holloway ,Ms Cynthia Mckinney and the author spoke on the subject.
The War Crimes Commission and Tribunal heard testimonies from victims of torture following the illegal US led invasion of Iraq and earlier of Afghanistan.
The exhibition featured the carnage of war and torture committed by the US led forces and personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere.
War Crimes Commission Hears Graphic Accounts of US Torture From Former Detainees
The KL War Crimes Commission heard harrowing testimonies about the atrocities committed against the Guantanamo Bay detainees, which included psychological torture and routine humiliation.
A total of seven detainees including Sudanese journalist Sami Al’Hajj, and British nationals Moazzam Begg and Rahul Ahmed about the atrocities that took place in the camps including how they were shackled, stripped naked in front of female soldiers, thrown naked into makeshift cells made with barbed wires, injected with substances and subjected to mental torture to the point they hallucinated.
Begg also spoke of the psychological torture inflicted on him while he was imprisoned. A psychiatrist assigned to him had asked him if he had ever considered committing suicide and even suggested how he could kill himself by tying his prison clothes to make a rope that could be used as a noose.
“Of the six deaths that I knew of during detention, five were carried out in this way,” Begg said, adding that the detainees were also drugged.
Begg also revealed that he was interrogated more than 300 times including once when insinuations were made that his wife was in danger while the screams of a woman could be heard next door.He also said he was forced to sign a confession that he was member of the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda under threat of torture and because he though it would give him access to legal recourse.
Summing up his testimony, Begg revealed to the commission that 92% of people held in Guantanamo Bay were not involved with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, saying he believed many were detained and handed to the Americans to get the hefty bounty paid for each detainee.
He also had some harsh words for the role played by the British government in the affair.
Begg is now director of Cage Prisoners – a human rights organisation that works to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners held as part of the War on Terror
Another victim R Ahmed ,in 2002, when 18-year-old and two friends crossed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to obtain drugs and alcohol which they were told was easily available in the American-occupied Afghanistan. They were promptly arrested and Ahmed spent the next two and the half years of his life in Guantanamo Bay.
Iraqi-born Jameela Abbas Hameedi said that rape and abuse of women and children by US troops were almost a daily affair over at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. Jameelah, 54, was arrested in the Iraqi capital in January 2004 with her entire family, allegedly for supporting and funding forces against the US invasion.
"The US army even beat me with tubes and a plastic chair until it broke. A plastic shard entered my leg and caused a bad infection. I had to undergo surgery but without any anaesthetic given," said Jameelah who was also stripped to her underwear in the "black room" of the prison and bashed against a wall.
Her only daughter and nephew were beaten and tortured naked for six months until Jameelah admitted that she supported the resistance. She also witnessed other abuses like sleep deprivation, forced stress positions, forced nudity, the use of dogs to scare and bite prisoners, death threats and sexual abuse.
Jameelah and her family were freed in July 2004 without any charges brought against them.
These are only some of the examples of illegal rendition and torture perpetrated by US and UK.
Commissioners at the hearing were former Bar Council president Zainur Zakaria, former UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian operations in Iraq Prof Hans-Christof von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general for human resource management and head of UN humanitarian programme in Iraq Dennis J.Halliday, lawyer and former magistrate Musa Ismail, professor of law Gurdial Nijar, Perdana Foundation’s Dr Zulaiha Ismail and Prof Dr Mohd Akram Shair Mohamed of the Islamic University.
The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings were submitted to the Tribunal on 31 October, 2009.
For some details on illegal ‘rendition’ and torture see below ;
US Franchised Torture Refuses To Go Away-By Gajendra Singh 18 Jan, 2006 www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11601.htm
Gen Taguba Unveils Abu Ghraib, US Gulag - "The abused are only Iraqis!"
By K Gajendra Singh -27 June, 2007
*Copy of Complaint dated 19 January, 2010 from Prof Boyle to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo , International Criminal Court .The Hague ,the Netherlands is below.*
January 19, 2010
Please accept my personal compliments. I have the honor hereby to file with you and the International Criminal Court this Complaint against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice , and Alberto Gonzales (hereinafter referred to as the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition.” This term is really a euphemism for the enforced disappearances of persons, their torture, severe deprivation of their liberty, their violent sexual abuse, and other inhumane acts perpetrated upon these Victims. The Accused have inflicted this criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” upon about one hundred (100) human beings, almost all of whom are Muslims/Arabs/Asians and People of Color. I doubt very seriously that the Accused would have inflicted these criminal practices upon 100 White Judeo-Christian men.
The Accused’s criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” are both “widespread” and “systematic” within the meaning of Rome Statute article 7(1). Therefore the Accused have committed numerous “Crimes against Humanity” in flagrant and repeated and longstanding violation of Rome Statute articles 5(1)(b), 7(1)(a), 7(1)(e), 7(1)(f), 7(1)(g), 7(1)(h), 7(1)(i), and 7(1)(k). Furthermore, the Accused’s Rome Statute Crimes Against Humanity of enforced disappearances of persons constitutes ongoing criminal activity that continues even as of today.
The United States is not a contracting party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless, the Accused ordered and were responsible for the commission of these I.C.C. statutory crimes on, in, and over the respective territories of several I.C.C. member states, including many located in Europe. Therefore, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction over the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes in accordance with Rome Statute article 12(2)(a), which provides as follows:
Preconditions to the Exercise of Jurisdiction
2. In the case of article 13, paragraph (a) or (c), the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if one or more of the following States are Parties to this Statute or have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with paragraph 3:
(a) The State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred …
So the fact that United States is not a contracting party to the Rome Statute is no bar to the I.C.C.’s prosecution of the Accused because they have ordered and been responsible for the commission of Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity on, in, and over the respective territories of several I.C.C. member states.
Consequently, I hereby respectfully request that the Court exercise its jurisdiction over the Accused for these Crimes against Humanity in accordance with Rome Statute article 13(c), which provides as follows:
Exercise of Jurisdiction
The Court may exercise its jurisdiction with respect to a crime referred to in article 5 in accordance with the provisions of this Statute if:
(c) The Prosecutor has initiated an investigation in respect of such a crime in accordance with article 15.
Pursuant to Rome Statute article 13(c), I hereby respectfully request that you initiate an investigation proprio motu against the Accused in accordance with Rome Statute article 15(1): “The Prosecutor may initiate investigations proprio motu on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.” My detailed Complaint against the Accused constitutes the sufficient “information” required by article 15(1).
Furthermore, I respectfully submit that this Complaint by itself constitutes “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation” under Rome Statute article 15(3). Hence, I also respectfully request that you formally “submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3) at this time. Please inform me at your earliest convenience about the status and disposition of my two requests set forth immediately above.
Based upon your extensive human rights work in Argentina, you know full well from direct personal experience the terrors and the horrors of enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture. According to reputable news media sources here in the United States, about 100 human beings have been subjected to enforced disappearances and subsequent torture by the Accused. We still have no accounting for these Victims. In other words, many of these Victims of enforced disappearances and torture by the Accused could still be alive today. Their very lives are at stake right now as we communicate. You could very well save some of their lives by publicly stating that you are opening an investigation of my Complaint.
As for those Victims of enforced disappearances by the Accused who have died, your opening an investigation of my Complaint is the only means by which we might be able to obtain some explanation and accounting for their whereabouts and the location of their remains in order to communicate this critical information to their next-of-kin and loved-ones. Based upon your extensive experience combating enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture in Argentina, you know full well how important that objective is. The next-of-kin, loved-ones, and friends of “disappeared” human beings can never benefit from psychological “closure” unless and until there is an accounting for the fates, if not the remains, of the Victims. In part that is precisely why the Accused’s enforced disappearances of about 100 human beings constitutes ongoing criminal activity that continues as of today and will continue until the fates of all their Victims have been officially determined by you opening an investigation into my Complaint.
Let us mutually suppose that during the so-called “dirty war” in Argentina the International Criminal Court had been in existence. I submit that as an Argentinean human rights lawyer you would have moved heaven and earth and done everything in your power to get the I.C.C. and its Prosecutor to assume jurisdiction over the Argentine Junta in order to terminate and prosecute their enforced disappearances and torture of your fellow Argentinean citizens. I would have done the same. Unfortunately, the I.C.C. did not exist during those darkest of days for the Argentine Republic when we could have so acted. But today as the I.C.C. Prosecutor, you have both the opportunity and the legal power to do something to rectify this mass and total human rights annihilation, and to resolve and to terminate and to prosecute the “widespread” and “systematic” policy and practice of enforced disappearances and consequent torture of about 100 human beings by the Accused.
Unfortunately, the new Obama administration in the United States has made it perfectly clear by means of public statements by President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder that they are not going to open any criminal investigation of any of the Accused for these aforementioned Crimes against Humanity. Hence an I.C.C. “case” against the Accused is “admissible” under Rome Statute article 1(complementarity) and article 17. As of right now you and the I.C.C. Judges are the only people in the entire world who can bring some degree of Justice, Closure, and Healing into this dire, tragic, and deplorable situation for the lives and well-being of about one hundred “disappeared” and tortured human beings as well as for their loved-ones and next-of-kin, who are also Victims of the Accused’s Crimes against Humanity. On behalf of them all, as a fellow human rights lawyer I implore you to open an investigation into my Complaint and to issue a public statement to that effect.
Also, most regretfully, the new Obama administration has publicly stated that it will continue the Accused’s policy and practice of "extraordinary rendition," which is really their euphemism for enforced disappearances of human beings and consequent torture by other States. Hence the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration fully intend to commit their own Crimes against Humanity under the I.C.C. Rome Statute – unless you stop them! Your opening an investigation of my Complaint will undoubtedly deter the Obama administration from engaging in any more “extraordinary renditions” -- enforced disappearances of human beings and having them tortured by other States. Indeed your opening of an investigation into my Complaint might encourage the Obama administration to terminate its criminal “extraordinary rendition” program immediately and thoroughly by means of issuing a public statement to that effect. In other words, your opening an investigation of my Complaint could very well save the lives of a large number of additional human beings who otherwise will be subjected by the Obama administration to the Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity of enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture by other States, inter alia.
The lives and well-being of countless human beings are now at risk, hanging in the balance, waiting for you to act promptly, effectively, and immediately to save them from becoming Victims of Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity perpetrated by the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration as successors-in-law to the Accused by opening an investigation of my Complaint. Otherwise, I shall be forced to file with you and the I.C.C. a follow-up Complaint against the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration. I certainly hope it will not come to that. Please make it so.
Finally, for reasons more fully explained in the Conclusion to my Complaint, I respectfully request that you obtain I.C.C. arrest warrants for the Accused in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), article 58(1)(b)(i), article 58(1)(b)(ii), and article 58(1)(b)(iii). The sooner, the better for all humankind.
I respectfully request that you schedule a meeting with me at our earliest mutual convenience in order to discuss this Complaint. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
This transmission letter is an integral part of my Complaint against the Accused and is hereby incorporated by reference into the attached Complaint dated as of today as well.
Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest consideration.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author E-mail email@example.com
Eugene IVANOV (USA)
It's fashionable to say these days that the world is entering the era of post-Americanism. Few can explain what that means in reality, but the gist is that U.S. influence in world affairs is gradually declining, and sooner or later, another country – most likely, China – will become the only world superpower.
We shall see. However, today it's hard to think of any major global problem – be it climate change or aid to poor countries – can be solved without at least the financial involvement of the United States. Besides, should the U.S. screw up big time – a number of great examples are available over the past decade – no one would be immune.
This keeps making Washington DC a natural target of numerous ethnic lobbies trying to promote their agendas through U.S. foreign policy institutions. According to John Newhouse1, “nearly one hundred countries rely on lobbyists to protect and promote their interests [in the U. S.].”
As Zbigniew Brzezinski explains2, the influence exerted by ethnic lobbies originates from the very nature of the U.S. foreign policy decision-making process. It’s generally believed that the president has the upper hand in designing and implementing foreign policy. However, the entire executive branch of the U.S. government lacks a central planning organ responsible for this task. Theoretically, this role should be played by the National Security Council, but in practice, the NSC is so busy with day-to-day coordination of policy (between the presidential administration, Department of State, Department of Defense, CIA, etc.) that it simply has no time for strategic planning, resulting in a decentralized and fragmented decision-making process that is open to external influence.
Besides, presidential prerogatives to direct foreign policy are often challenged by Congress. Due to its composition and structure, Congress is especially susceptible to the influence of special interests, including ethnic lobbies. This is reflected in countless congressional resolutions and legislative amendments introduced and lobbied by special ethnic interests (which, in the process, have become very skillful in using campaign funds to win congressional support for their causes). A common place is congressional caucuses identified with specific ethnic interests; so are congressmen and senators serving as spokesmen for specific ethnic lobbies. For example, the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, one of the largest of this kind, includes over 150 members, none of them being Indian. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, in her days as U.S. Senator, used to co-chair the Senate India Caucus.
In their daily activities, ethnic lobbies perform a number of functions. First, they serve as subject-matter experts and sources of information to members of Congress and other branches of government. Second, they participate in drafting legislation and providing policy oversight. Third, they organize media and public campaigns to advertise and promote their pet issues. Naturally, special attention is being paid to providing campaign contributions to elected officials through political action committees (PAC).
It's important to point out that not every ethnic group living in the U.S. forms a functional lobby. Addressing this issue, James Lindsay3 identified a number of factors that could predict a transformation of an immigrant group into a bona fide ethnic lobby. First, immigrants who came to the United States as political refugees (e.g. Cubans) are more likely to be politically active than those who came for “purely” economic reasons (e.g. Italians). Second, immigrants whose homelands are threatened by their neighbors (e.g. Armenia or Israel) are more likely to lobby for their homeland than those who came from “un-threatened” countries (e.g. Norway, Sweden, or Germany). Third, the most efficient ethnic lobbies are formed by economically successful ethnic groups (such as Jewish, Armenian, Cuban, and Greek Americans). Fourth, ethnic lobbies are the most successful in their activities when the issues that they promote are supported by U.S. political elites. Obviously, they are least successful if their issues go against of what is perceived as American national interest.
In their influence exerted on contemporary American political life, no ethnic lobby can rival the Jewish-American lobby (The Israel Lobby, as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt call it in their highly-publicized 2007 book4). Many consider its power comparable with that demonstrated by such titans of American lobbyism as National Rifle Association (NRA) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Jewish-American lobby (organized under the aegis of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)), Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid since WWII: over $140 billion in 2004 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-sixth of the total U.S. foreign aid budget and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli – not a bad deal for a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income in the top 30 countries in the world.
In addition, the U.S. provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support: between 1972 and 2006, the U.S. has vetoed 42 of the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions critical of Israel. What makes the Jewish-American lobby so successful is its commitment, unity, resources, and political skills. (The last two factors, when combined, are especially powerful: it is said that presidential candidates from Democratic Party depend on Jewish support for as much as 60% of campaign contributions). The "ideological" unity obviously distinguishes the Jewish lobby from the Arab-American lobby, which has been hurt over the years by national and religious divisions. However, one cannot also discount the fact that the Jewish lobby faces almost no opposition to its actions because it advocates policies that are considered (rightfully or not) as fully aligned with American national interests.
Recent years have witnessed the impressive rise of the India lobby, whose influence may one day become comparable to that of the Jewish lobby. Perhaps, non-coincidentally, both ethnic groups share a number of similarities: Indian Americans are also well educated, financially successful, and strongly inclined toward political activism. (Add the real or perceived military threats to India from Pakistan and China). The India lobby also benefits from strong ties to the U.S.-India Business Council, an umbrella organization for 200 companies doing business with India or otherwise having Indian connections. (As pointed out by John Newhouse, 20% of all companies in Silicon Valley are owned by Indian Americans).
So far, the most visible demonstration of the strength projected by the India lobby has been last year’s congressional approval of the U.S.-India “123 Agreement” on civil nuclear cooperation. Concerns were raised in the arms control community that the agreement will increase India’s ability to produce fissionable material for its nuclear weapons program. To ensure the passage of the controversial deal, the lobby joined forces with the U.S.-India Business Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and two U.S. companies producing nuclear reactors, General Electric and Westinghouse.
Speaking of successful ethnic lobbies one must mention two more: Cuban and Armenian.
The power wielded by the Cuban exile lobby (associated with the Cuban American National Foundation, CANF) in Washington is even more impressive given that Cubans are concentrated primarily in only one location: Miami, FL. However, the special role played by Florida in the politics of presidential elections has allowed a bunch of noisy but politically savvy anti-Castro immigrants to completely hijack – and for decades dominate – the U.S. policy debates on Cuba.
The Armenian lobby (and its flagship group, Armenian Assembly of America) has made Armenia one of the highest per capita recipients of U.S. aid – thanks largely to Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader and a ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee responsible for the distribution of foreign aid. On the other hand, the lobby has so far failed to reach its most cherished goal: a congressional resolution condemning Turkey for the 1915 Armenian genocide. In 2007, the victory was close, as having secured support of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the lobby almost succeeded in setting up the vote for a genocide resolution. However, prodded by the furious Turkish government, the White House intervened and persuaded Pelosi to shelve the resolution. Naturally, in its communication with the Bush administration, the Turks used some help too: former heavy-weight Congressmen Bob Livingston and Dick Gephardt lobbied on Turkey's behalf.
Among other ethnic groups, the Central and Eastern Europeans do possess a significant voting strength (for example, there are more than 10 million ethnic Poles in the United States), but their lobbies lack the financial resources available to their Jewish or Armenian counterparts. Nevertheless, the Polish lobby (through the Polish American Congress) or the Baltic lobby (represented in part by the Baltic American Freedom League (BALF) and the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC)) have been instrumental in promoting the admission of their respective countries in NATO (Poland in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 2004). It is a little secret to anyone in Washington that the noisy anti-Russian hysteria fueled by the Polish and Baltic lobbies is partly responsible for the negative image of Russia in the United States and worsening of U.S.-Russia relations.
Experts disagree on whether ethnic lobbies have positive or negative impact on U.S. foreign policy. Some5 consider ethnic lobbies as a welcomed sign of "globalization" of U.S. national politics and believe that ethnic lobbies will help spread "American values" around the globe. Others are not so sure expressing the concern that "privatization" (as John Newhouse puts it) of the U.S. foreign policy further corrupts American political system and diminishes its attraction to the rest of the world. An even more extreme point of view was expressed by Mearsheimer and Walt, who asserted that due to the actions of the Jewish lobby, U.S. policy in the Middle East serves the national interest of Israel rather than that of the United States.
In their turn, American politicians are mum on the subject. Used to campaign contributions from various special interests – the pharmaceutical lobby, the energy lobby, the agribusiness lobby, etc. – they don't seems to be concerned with taking money from their ethnic counterparts. And is there any difference, anyway?
1 John Newhouse, “Diplomacy, Inc. The Influence of Lobbies on U.S. Foreign Policy”, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2009.
2 Zbigniew Brzezinski, “The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership” (2004) Basic Books, New York.
3 James Lindsay, “Getting Uncle Sam’s Ear”, Council on Foreign Relations (Winter 2002).
4 John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (2007) Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.
5 Yossi Shain, “Marketing the American Creed Abroad (Diasporas in the U.S. and their Homelands” (1999) Cambridge University Press.
It is getting increasingly difficult to route energy supplies around Russia as the resource base available to feed the fourth energy transit corridor is rapidly shrinking.
The January 14-15 energy summit in Batumi, Georgia got downgraded from the outset to the level of an ordinary forum. It was expected on the eve of the event that the presidents of Georgia, Poland, Ukraine and Azerbaijan as well as Baltic leaders, United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy R. Morningstar, and high-ranking representatives of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan would take part, but the leaders of the countries did not bother to show up. Instead, the gathering was mostly attended by prime ministers, energy ministers, and foreign ministers.
Traditionally, representatives of Russia ignore the Batumi forum due to its focus on charting routes for supplying energy to Europe that would bypass Russia. Moreover, as Georgian energy minister A. Khetaguri promised this time, the forum would nothing less than pass a presidential-level declaration on the principles of gas supply to West Europe. In other words, in Batumi countries most of which play minimal roles in the energy sphere somehow intended to formulate the principles of energy supply to the world's larges fuel market.
As before, discussions at the forum revolved around lessening West Europe's dependence on energy supplies from Russia and linking the energy-rich Caspian region to the EU without resorting to Russia's pipeline network. The plan amounts to the development of the so-called Fourth South Energy Transit Corridor. The construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline and the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk oil pipeline as well as the potential resources to be fed to them were examined in the context of the above objectives. A lot of time was also spent on the brainchild of the previous Batumi forums – the totally mythical White Stream gas pipeline project. The latter is a priority on the agenda of the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic energy transit space. Constructing the White Stream pipeline underneath the Black Sea was supposed to be the main energy project of the anti-Russian GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) bloc. Designed as an alternative to Nabucco, White Stream is to pump natural gas from the Caspian region to Ukraine and further to Romania, from where it can be marketed to Europe. Gas is to be transited to Supsa (Georgia) via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline and then to Romania via a pipeline to be constructed beneath the bottom of the Black Sea. Georgian energy ministry set the pipeline throughput to make 8 bcm a year initially and to reach 24-32 bcm annually upon the linking the White Stream to Central Asian gas reserves.
One of the ideas touted as a breakthrough at the Batumi meeting was to construct natural gas liquefaction facilities in Georgian seaports which would have to be connected to the already functioning Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline. The initiators of the projects claim that the construction of liquefaction facilities in Supsa, Batumi, and Kulevi and of a link between them and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline would make it possible to supply liquefied gas to global markets by tankers with minimal risks for the producers.
All of the projects are premised in the assumption that vast hydrocarbon reserves necessary to provide workloads for them actually exist. The only countries sitting on natural gas reserves to join the forum were Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. No doubt, they are interested in reaching the European market, but it is clear that throughout the past couple of years the overall situation held no promise for the Batumi projects.
The reduction of gas demand in the EU caused by the crisis was so serious that the feasibility of any new gas supply routes – especially ones as exotic as White Stream - comes into question. The average gas demand drop in the EU countries in 2009 was 5-7%, which was the greatest contraction on record. The only reason why Russia's energy giant Gazprom managed to limit the decrease in its sales to Europe to 10.3% instead of 20% as earlier projected was that the “take or pay” concept was built into its long-term contracts. Under the circumstances, only Russia's South Stream project may be credited with some viability, and even this is due to the potential for getting rid of the unreliable Ukrainian gas transit rather than to any chances to export greater volumes of gas. Aware of the uncertainty on the European gas market, the participants of the Batumi forum did mention South Stream in their declaration, but only in the sense that the project in which Russia, Italy, and South European countries are keenly interested affects the economic and environment-related interests of the countries not involved in it. Expert from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies A. Kurtov says Turkey – the country whose politics is increasingly diverging with the EU guidelines - is the country most likely to come under pressure in this connection. The same day the forum opened in Batumi, Turkish and Russian prime ministers R. Erdogan and V. Putin met and reached what Gazprom spokesman S. Kupriyanov described as a basic agreement that Turkish companies would join the ranks of such strategic partners of Russia as Germany and Italy.
Even in case the gas demand rebounds (which is too early to expect so far), alternative gas supply routes to Europe circumventing Russia would lack the natural gas needed to provide workloads for the corresponding pipelines. For example, Brussels' beloved Nabucco project is growing increasingly unrealistic due to the problem.
The plan to find the gas reserves necessary for the functioning of Nabucco are evidently running into major roadblocks. Recently Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta cited Azerbaijani Oil Studies Center Director Ilham Shaban as saying that for the first time in its independent history in 2009 Azerbaijan encountered certain problems exporting natural gas. He said last year the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over gas transit compelled the West to turn to Azerbaijan, but no plans were put into practice due to the failure to agree on the gas transit from the country to Europe across Turkey. Shaban said the Nabucco theme was also invoked a number of times in 2009 but now it seems that the project pretty much sank into oblivion, and instead Azerbaijan signed two gas supply contracts – with Russia and with Iran. Shaban stressed that doubts persist over the potential of the Western direction of Azerbaijan's gas export. As the result, gas production in Azerbaijan is growing at a declining rate, the Sahkh Deniz project being the one hit most by the tendency. Azerbaijan for a number of years postponed sanctioning the second phase of the project supposed to ensure the export output of 16 bcm of natural gas.
Disappointed over the dire prospects for exporting gas to the West without the involvement of Russia, Baku opened the second phase of its program of gas export routes diversification. On January 1, Russia became the third country (following Turkey and Georgia) to start buying natural gas from Azerbaijan. Gazprom signed a contract for 2010-2014 with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan in October, 2009. Its initial version set the sales volume at less than 500 bcm annually, but recently the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan agreed to double the amount. As a parallel process, Baku is talking to Tehran over a contract to sell 500 bcm of natural gas to Iran.
The hope that Nabucco would tap into Turkmenistan's gas reserves was practically dispelled over the past several weeks. Turkmen policy of export diversification is clearly eastbound and not intended to accommodate European energy security problems. There are three directions of Turkmen gas export. A pipeline linking Turkmen gas fields to China was inaugurated in December, 2009. The second Turkmenistan-Iran pipeline was launched this January. Finally, also this January Turkmenistan resumed supplying gas to Russia. On the whole, Turkmenistan's gas export is going to total over 90 bcm. The country's domestic consumption is estimated at 20 bcm. Turkmenistan claims that its natural gas production potential massively exceeds the resulting 110 bcm, but the truth is that even the 1991 level of 76 bcm has not been reached over the past 15 years. Moreover, Turkmenistan sharply reduced production last year following the freeze of the export to Russia and switched some 150 wells to the dormant regime. There is consensus among experts that the country will restore the 2008 production level only by 2013 or even later. Currently Turkmenistan produces 70 bcm of gas and 10 mln tons of oil annually.
Even in case reliable audit confirms that Turkmenistan's gas reserves are as huge as it claims, it must be taken into account that there exist serious technological barriers in the way of the county's ambitious export plans. Chances are Turkmenistan is indeed able to boost production, but 75% of its gas contain condensate and heavy components and cannot be fed to supply networks without processing. The processing capacities in Turkmenistan make some 85 bcm annually, which is clearly the bottleneck of the export program.
Even the above elementary analysis shows that the endless talk about Nabucco is pointless. On top of that, the investment aspect of the project is unclear, and the unresolved status of the Caspian Sea is the major formal obstacle in the way of constructing the Trans-Caspian pipeline necessary to pump gas out of Turkmenistan. The launch of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China pipeline sent a wave of doubts concerning the availability of Turkmenistan's resources across the EU. An unnamed European Commission officer told Nezavisimaya Gazeta on January 17 that the EU missed the moment when the access to the Turkmen gas could be secured and that Beijing outpaced Brussels in this regard.
Nevertheless, the impression is that too many players are eager to capitalize politically – and not only politically - on the theme of diversifying away from Russia in the energy sphere. «There is room for confidence that Nabucco will continue to dominate the conferences and workshop of the Caspian chattering class - but will it ever be built?», said William C. Ramsay, Director of the IFRI Energy Program.
Planned as a summit, the Batumi forum materialized as yet another expert round table that produced no considerable results. Vremya Novostey cited Georgian political analyst I. Khindrava as saying that there were no decision-makers among the forum participants, its format was mainly consultative, and the question was what prevailed – energy or politics. Truly speaking, energy had nothing to do with it while – as during the past forums – politics totally dominated the discourse. Consequently, the forum's decisions are bound to remain on paper.
Igor TOMBERG is the Director of Energy and Transit Studies Center of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Science and professor at the Moscow State Foreign Relations Institute of the Russian Foreign Ministry
22 Jan 10
Seeking to regain the initiative after several heavy political setbacks, U.S. president Barack Obama yesterday proposed significant new curbs on the activities of banks to prevent future financial crises.
IHS Global Insight Perspective
The proposals currently lack detail but are potentially far-reaching, including limits on the size of banks and restrictions on high-risk forms of trading; the proposals go much further than the tax levy on the largest banks to recoup US$90 billion announced earlier in January.
If implemented, the plans may lead to a break-up of some of the larger U.S. banks or at least a more formal separation of trading and banking activities; however, it is not clear whether the proposals will significantly strengthen bank stability.
Although the proposals have considerable popular support, their passage through Congress is by no means assured, and the ultimate impact may be considerably weaker than initially imagined.
The announcement lacked clear details as to the nature and extent of measures to be taken, but in essence consist of two elements:
Commercial banks will be prohibited from trading purely for their own account (proprietary trading), and banned from owning hedge funds and private equity firms. Banks will have to choose between owning an "insured depository" (normal commercial deposit-taking and lending operation) on the one hand, and owning proprietary trading operations or stakes in hedge funds and private equity firms on the other. These activities are seen as being unrelated to serving customers, although banks would be able to continue proprietary trading that is related to their customers' businesses. The announcement falls short of a formal separation between high-risk trading activities and routine commercial and retail banking functions, as existed under the Glass-Steagall Act until 1999. It is thought likely that some banks may have to dispose of certain activities, especially in view of earlier proposals already being debated in Congress that would allow regulators to compel large institutions with different but connected activities to sell off divisions that could present a threat to financial stability.
New rules would place unspecified limits on the size of financial institutions, beyond current regulations restricting banks from holding no more than 10% of total bank deposits, but which would take into account other forms of funding employed by large financial institutions.
Populist Tone Worries Businesses
The proposals have been under development for some time, but President Obama has seized on them as a means to fight back politically. This week's loss of a Senate seat came as a major blow and potentially thwarts the ambitious healthcare reforms that Obama has cited as his number-one domestic priority. The Republicans have thrived on a populist message, criticising big government, excessive regulation, and taxation. Now the Democrats are looking to adopt a more populist tone of their own with the November mid-term election looming, and the banks make an especially tempting target. There is little public sympathy for the sector, and the Republicans find themselves in a bind as they do not want to be seen as a friend of the banks, but at the same time are unwilling to support tougher regulation. Quite how much political mileage Obama will get out of the proposals remains to be seen, but for banks and the wider corporate world the situation is ominous.
Outlook and Implications
The reaction from the U.S. banking sector has been almost universally negative, not least because the proclaimed objective is to strengthen stability, but there has been no clear link made between what is now proposed and the financial sector turmoil stemming from the sub-prime loan crisis. There is, however, clear political support for action that would restrain risky trading activities (seen by may as having little if any social or economic benefit), and directing banks to channel more resources towards greater capital strength, improved liquidity, and more lending to businesses and households. To the extent that trading activities contribute significantly to total earnings the measures are likely to be strongly resisted, since the removal of significant sources of income will weaken profitability (already reflected in the share price of major institutions) and necessitate the urgent need for replacement earnings at a time of depressed economic activity and suitable credit demand.
For European banks the threat is not so great because proprietary trading accounts for a much smaller proportion of total revenues (up to 2% compared with more than 10% at some U.S. institutions). Efforts by U.S. banks to transfer activities to London or elsewhere in Europe may be impeded by European regulators who are anxious to ensure co-ordination at an international level. Both Germany and the United Kingdom—two likely destinations for disaffected U.S. banks—are believed to be supportive of the Obama proposals and unlikely to welcome attempts to evade them. The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, in particular is believed to be strongly supportive of some form of Glass-Steagall separation of trading and routine banking activities.
Dear Shri Menon,
I welcome your appointment as the National Security Adviser and wish you well in your new assignment. My purpose in writing this open letter to you is to share with you my thinking on the tasks ahead of you. Since retiring from the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) on August 31, 1994, I have written over a hundred articles on national security management. This letter will repeat some of the points figuring in those articles which are still valid and some others to which I will be giving open expression for the first time.
2. The importance of an action-oriented analytical process was highlighted by Lord Franks of the UK, who was asked by the British Government to enquire into the failure of Britain's national security managers to anticipate and forestall the Argentine occupation of the Falklands Islands in 1982, which led to a brief, but fierce naval conflict. Lord Franks concluded that though there was no secret intelligence regarding the Argentine intentions and plans, there was considerable open source reporting in the US and Argentine media on this, but these reports were not taken seriously and analysed either in the Foreign Office or in the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) to see what those reports implied and what action was called for. Hence, the so-called surprise.
3. The US National Commission, which enquired into the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland, stressed the importance of the culture of joint action for dealing effectively with terrorism. It pointed out that effective coordination alone would not be adequate unless it was supplemented by the operating principle of joint action by all those having any responsibility for counter-terrorism. This principle implies that every piece of intelligence is analysed jointly by everyone responsible for counter-terrorism and acted upon. One of the main purposes of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which came into being in 2004 under the supervision of the Director, National Intelligence, (DNI), would be to enforce this responsibility for joint action. Every counter-terrorism agency would be individually and jointly responsible for ensuring that significant pieces of intelligence are promptly analysed and acted upon.
4. The recent enquiries by officials of the Barack Obama Administration into the failed attempt by a Nigerian student to blow up a US commercial flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day brought out that even more than five years after the NCTC was set up, the culture of an action-oriented analytical approach has not taken hold in the US national security establishment.
5. The father of the student alerted a US diplomat and a CIA officer in Nigeria that his son had got radicalised and was suspected to be in Yemen. The diplomat conveyed the information to the State Department and the CIA officer to his agency's headquarters. Both passed on the information to the NCTC. Days before the student boarded the plane at Amsterdam, the information that he is a security risk was available in the data bases of the US Embassy in Nigeria, the State Department, the CIA and the NCTC, but it was not subjected to a joint analysis to see what the information implied and what joint action on it was called for.
6. In his statement in the Lok Sabha after taking over as the Home Minister after the 26/11 terrorist strike, Shri P.Chidambaram mentioned that he found that responsibility for follow-up action on intelligence reports was diffused. In December last year, the "Hindustan Times" had reported that twice in September, 2008, the R&AW had reported about the Lashkar-e-Toiba's plans for a sea-borne terrorist attack in Mumbai. The paper also quoted a senior unnamed official of the R&AW as saying that its responsibility was to collect and disseminate intelligence and that follow-up action on the intelligence disseminated was not its responsibility. This showed the total absence of the culture of joint action in our national security establishment. This should be a matter of serious concern and needs to be addressed.
7. The Kargil conflict of 1999 revealed a serious deficiency in our analysis and follow-up action process. Every year, the Indian Army had been withdrawing its troops from the Kargil heights during winter. Before the onset of the winter of 1998-99, there were intelligence reports of unusual Pakistani Army activity in the Gilgit-Baltistan area. In the middle of 1998, Shri Shyamal Dutta, the then Director of the Intelligence Bureau, had analysed these activities and sent his assessment to the Prime Minister's Office and other Ministries concerned. One would have expected an immediate meeting of the JIC to consider the implications of these developments and to recommend to the Government whether in the light of these developments the annual winter withdrawal by the Army should be cancelled. Nothing was done in Delhi and the decision to withdraw as usual was taken locally. The result: the Pakistani occupation of the heights.
8. One would have thought that in the light of the detailed lessons drawn by the Kargil Review Committee, the analysis and follow-up action process would have improved. Unfortunately, this was not so. This became evident during the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The two reports received in September,2008, about the danger of a sea-borne attack by the LET were analysed and security was upgraded by the Mumbai police, the naval authorities and those in charge of physical security in the Taj Hotel. Subsequently, nothing happened for seven weeks. There were no fresh reports.
9. There should have been an analysis in Delhi on what this lack of activity and absence of fresh reports implied. Did it mean that the threat no longer existed and that the security could be down-graded? These were very important questions which should have been examined in Delhi and instructions issued to the concerned authorities in Mumbai as to whether the high-level of security should continue or could be downgraded. This was not done and there were no fresh instructions to Mumbai from Delhi. The local authorities in Mumbai downgraded the security on their own, presuming that the threat was less likely. Delhi was not aware of this till the terrorists struck on 26/11.
10. The analysis, assessment and follow-up action process has been in a state of neglect for many years. Nothing illustrates this more than the state of the JIC. In 1983, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, bifurcated the JIC and created a separate JIC for internal security. Two years later, Rajiv Gandhi reversed her decision and re-merged them. Officers of the IB and the R&AW started monopolising the post of the JIC Chairman. When Shri Inder Gujral was the Prime Minister, a move was made to consider military officers too for this post. As no consensus could be reached on this, the post was kept vacant for nearly three years and the chief of the R&AW was asked to hold additional charge as the Chairman of the JIC. He did not have adequate time to discharge this responsibility. The JIC functioned with no head and only half a body. There was a dramatic drop in the flow of military intelligence reports to the JIC.
11. The Atal Behari Vajpayee Government, which created a new national security management mechanism headed by the NSA, felt that with the creation of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), the JIC had become superfluous and made it a subordinate division of the NSCS with very limited independent powers of analysis, assessment and follow-up action. The Task Force for the Revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus headed by Shri G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW, recommended in 2000 that the JIC should be rescued from the limbo to which it had remained confined for about five years and restored to its original authority. It took another six years to implement its recommendation.
12. Previously, for nearly a decade, we had no body for analysis, assessment and follow-up action, today we have three---- the JIC of the old vintage, the NSCS of the 1998-99 creation and the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which came into existence in 1999 as a body of non-governmental analysts and advisers on national security. From a state of practically no analysis, we have gravitated to one of a plethora of analysis. Analysis for analysis sake without orienting it towards action has become the name of the game.
13. There is a need to re-visit the national security management system created in 1998-99 and subsequently modified by the revival of the JIC in order to ensure that the JIC, the NSCS, the NSAB and the NCTC, to be created in the Ministry of Home Affairs, work in a co-ordinated manner instead of adding to the prevailing confusion. The main responsibility of the JIC and the NCTC should be action-oriented analysis and follow-up action---- the JIC in respect of non-terrorism related threats to national security and the NCTC focusing on terrorism-related threats. The NSCS should confine itself to policy-related analysis to examine how past and present policies in national security matters have been working and whether any changes are called for. The NSAB should provide the inputs for the policy-related work of the NSCS. It should be encouraged to function as the generator of new ideas on specific issues to be referred to it by the PM and the NSA.
B.Raman, Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
Shri Shiv Shankar Menon,