Month: September 2009

EU reluctant to commit troops to Afghanistan without clear shift in strategy

EU reluctant to commit troops to Afghanistan without clear shift in strategy Geraint Rees Published in Open democracy 29 – 09 – 2009 European Union defence ministers have expressed reluctance to committing more troops to Afghanistan except as part of a limited plan training the Afghan military and police. The statements were made as EU defence ministers met yesterday in Göteborg, Sweden, for informal discussions on theEU’s security and defence policy. Several ministers were reluctant to send front line troops, instead wishing to focus resources and efforts on training Afghan security forces. ‘We have a lot, about 2,000 men in Afghanistan. I think it’s far more important in the long run that we have more Afghan military, and Afghan police,’ Dutch defence minister Eimert Van Middelkopp told reporters. The ToD Verdict: The statements come in anticipation of a possible call by the US for the EU to commit more front line troops to support the Nato-led mission in Afghanistan. The US is considering a request by General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in …

Economic Contractions in the United States: A Failure of Government

Charles K. Rowley and Nathaniel Smith Obama is repeating the mistakes of the Great Depression Seeking ‘not to let a crisis go to waste’, left-leaning politicians and old-style Keynesian economists want to remedy the alleged failure of capitalism with a rising tide of big government. Let the budget deficits rip, empower the unions, socialise healthcare, increase trade protection, go green, and socialise the financial and industrial base. The irony, as Charles Rowley and Nathanael Smith show in this timely monograph, is that the Keynesian policy prescriptions that are serving as the pretext for this programme have already been tried. Expansionary fiscal and monetary policies by the Bush administration and the Greenspan Fed were implemented to deal with the recession of 2001, and are precisely what caused the current crisis.

Three women tortured, forced to walk naked in public

Dawn: 29-09-09 No case has been registered against the mob that attacked the women and publicly humiliated them LAHORE: Three women, accused of prostitution, were tortured by an angry mob and were later forced to walk naked on Multan Road in Phoolnagar, Kasur, a private television channel reported on Monday. A large number of people attacked a house in Jambarkalan village, torturing the women — including one Shahnaz — for alleged involvement in prostitution and running a brothel in the village. The victims said the accusations against them were baseless. They said they had a property dispute ongoing with Union Council Nazim Ilyas Khanzada who wanted to occupy their house illegally. The women have accused him of planning the assault on their home. Khanzada confirmed the women were tortured by the mob. He, however, denied plotting against them. Jambarkalan Police Sub-Inspector Bashir said a case had been registered against the women for running a brothel on the local residents’ complaints. Meanwhile, no case was registered against the mob that attacked the women and publicly humiliated …

How Top Generals May Trap Obama in a Losing War By Tom Engelhardt

Front and center in the debate over the Afghan War these days are General Stanley “Stan” McChrystal, Afghan war commander, whose “classified, pre-decisional” and devastating report — almost eight years and at least $220 billion later, the war is a complete disaster — was conveniently, not to say suspiciously,leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post by we-know-not-who at a particularly embarrassing moment for Barack Obama; Admiral Michael “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been increasingly vocal about a “deteriorating” war and the need for more American boots on the ground; and the president himself, who blitzed every TV show in sight last Sunday and Monday for his health reform program, but spent significant time expressing doubts about sending more American troops to Afghanistan. (“I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan… or sending a message that America is here for the duration.”)

Devastating Report Documents Israeli Crimes Against Civilians in Gaza: Where’s the Outrage?

By Roane Carey, The Nation The Goldstone report has been denounced in Israeli and ignored by the U.S. press, unless you count the NY Daily News, which called it a “blood libel against Israel.” The recently released UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the December-January Gaza conflict, released on the eve of Barack Obama’s attempt to jump-start comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, was but the latest in a series of investigations, most of them by human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Like its predecessors, the so-called Goldstone report, named after chief investigator Richard Goldstone, is devastating in its critique of Israeli actions: indiscriminate use of firepower; deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian structures, including hospitals, schools, mosques, water and sewage plants, and rescue vehicles; use of white phosphorus munitions in built-up areas; use of human shields; abusive treatment of detainees; imposition of a blockade on Gaza before and after the attack itself–the report concludes that Israel violated international humanitarian law, committed “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and …

While our Country starves, Senators spend Rs. 22 Million as travelling expenses in FOUR Months

Teeth Maestro 26 Sep 2009 Senate secretariat has spent a staggering amount of over Rs22 million in just four months, traveling / jet-setting around the world from April to July 2009 on 13 foreign trips made by senators to participate in various international events. The Chairman Senate Farooq H Naik said these expenses were incurred on air tickets, foreign exchange, and communication charges, hiring of transport and other miscellaneous expenditures, Geneva Rs 5.452 million, Oslo for a meagre Rs 5.127 million, China for Rs 4.515 million, UK trip cost us Rs 2 million and a trip to Ethiopia costed us Rs1.22 million. Goodness gracious 22 Million in four months or an average of 5.5 million a month is enough to be the basic monthly salary of 4000 people (6000/month), it can possibly teach 2200 children for a whole year at Citizens Foundation (10,000/year) or another more touching calculation could be that this 22 Million can possibly feed 50,000 people for an entire week, or simply feed 2500 people for the entire four months that our …

G20 leaders map out new economic order at Pittsburgh summit

Bankers’ bonuses and excessive national deficits targeted in package of reforms Patrick Wintour & Andrew Clark G20 leaders, installing themselves as permanent stewards of the world economy for the first time, agreed yesterday on a tighter regime for bankers’ bonuses and mapped out an economic order in which countries would be urged to co-operate to avoid building up excessive trade deficits or surpluses. Gordon Brown hailed the result of the summit in the former steelmaking city of Pittsburgh as a victory for British thinking and persistence, insisting the economic regime would have an impact in restoring balanced growth.