Archive

Archive for November, 2011

Crisis in Global Politics?

November 28, 2011 1 comment

Across the world, there is talk of a global crisis in leadership. Can all major economies of the world have a leadership crisis at the same time?

The 'Free World' has more prisoners and spies than any other 'World'.  |  Cartoon by Rex May; Source & courtesy - cartoonresource.com  |   Click for source image.

The 'Free World' has more prisoners and spies than any other 'World'. | Cartoon by Rex May; Source & courtesy - cartoonresource.com | Click for source image.

The last 30 years

The last thirty years has been a difficult period for Indian polity.

No Indian political party has been able to win an absolute majority on merit for 30 years after Indira Gandhi’s win in 1980. Rajiv Gandhi’s electoral victory after 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi was ‘tainted’ with a sympathy vote for Congress.

Thirty years without a positive mandate for any political party is a tough commentary on Indian polity – and its inability to connect to the Indian Voter.

A recent article in nytimes.com reveals a similar situation the USA.

During Franklin Roosevelt’s era, Democrats were the Sun Party. During Ronald Reagan’s, Republicans were. Then, between 1996 and 2004, the two parties were tied. We lived in a 50-50 nation in which the overall party vote totals barely budged five elections in a row. It seemed then that we were in a moment of transition, waiting for the next Sun Party to emerge.

But something strange happened. No party took the lead. According to data today, both parties have become minority parties simultaneously. We are living in the era of two moons and no sun.

It used to be that the parties were on a seesaw: If the ratings of one dropped, then the ratings of the other rose. But now the two parties have record-low approval ratings together. Neither party has been able to rally the country behind its vision of government.

Ronald Brownstein summarized the underlying topography recently in The National Journal: “In Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor polls over the past two years, up to 40 percent of Americans have consistently expressed support for the conservative view that government is more the problem than the solution for the nation’s challenges; about another 30 percent have backed the Democratic view that government must take an active role in the economy; and the remaining 30 percent are agnostic. They are open to government activism in theory but skeptical it will help them in practice.”

In these circumstances, both parties have developed minority mentalities. The Republicans feel oppressed by the cultural establishment, and Democrats feel oppressed by the corporate establishment. They embrace the mental habits that have always been adopted by those who feel themselves resisting the onslaught of a dominant culture. (via The Two Moons – NYTimes.com).

We have the satisfaction of 'leaders' hearing us, but not listening to us  |  Cartoon by Joel Pett; on June 17, 2010; image source and courtesy - kaiserhealthnews.org   |   Click for source image.

We have the satisfaction of 'leaders' hearing us, but not listening to us | Cartoon by Joel Pett; on June 17, 2010; image source and courtesy - kaiserhealthnews.org | Click for source image.

The world faces common problems, because the world is moving towards one common system – socialism.Desert Bloc political systems are now a global phenomenon. In the post-globalized world, political ideology, lack of leadership, economic crisis are all global problems – respecting no boundaries or territories.

Communism has failed, Capitalism died with end of African slavery – and in a world made of  socialist flavours, it may be worthwhile to understand what works – and for how long.

From New York to New Delhi, the rage against Desert Bloc polity and the resultant problems is being ‘used’ in a new form. Organizers are ‘behaving’ differently.

What crisis?

Yes.

There is a crisis of leadership. It is because we have invested to much power in the hands of polity. We have moved in a linear direction – with Desert Bloc systems that progressively need more laws, more powers that limit freedom.

No.

What we need is less political power – and more intellectual leaders. The Indic model, has the solution. One Vighneswara, sitting in a small town in Karnataka, wrote a legal text. Later, the Vighneswara’s Mitakshara became the law of the land of Bharat-ah.

For the next 700 years.

Seeing the short term 'success' of Desert Bloc entities, we forget that Desert Bloc has suicidal instinct.   |   Cartoon By Mike Keefe, The Denver Post  on 3/16/2007; source and courtesy - media.caglecartoons.com  |   Click for source image.

Seeing the short term 'success' of Desert Bloc entities, we forget that Desert Bloc has suicidal instinct. | Cartoon By Mike Keefe, The Denver Post on 3/16/2007; source and courtesy - media.caglecartoons.com | Click for source image.

Now …

In this style of governance, power is concentrated with the less than 5,000 politicians who control the Government.

And 50,000 businessmen who control the 2,500 biggest corporations, the 25,000 academics who control national thought streams – and then the enormity of the model becomes numbing.

And the Maya माया of it all takes over.

Ghor maya – घोर माया.

Global disease

A bloated State, over-sized bureaucracy that controls every aspect of our life. On one side, these States speak of freedom,  liberty, human rights. The reality is increasing prison populations and an expanding police State.

Fundamentally, the country model of the West  has failed – and the time for भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra draws near. In the last 200 years,भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has gone into regression. But, in this period, the world has also learnt more about the limitations of the Desert Bloc ideology.

People get ready!


Advertisements

Walmart and Jahangir’s Love Letter

November 28, 2011 3 comments

What’s common between Jahangir and the UPA govt? They both licensed two large corporations. What did they get in return?

Has India been sold out? Graphic by Parag Tope; published on November 28, 2011; at quicktake.wordpress.com; copyright with artist. Click for image.

Has India been sold out? Graphic by Parag Tope; published on November 28, 2011; at quicktake.wordpress.com; copyright with artist. Click for image.

Two recent news stories about opposition to FDI in retail, highlight an issue that is relevant in a historical context.

News Story-1

The government had taken a Cabinet decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and increased the FDI in single-brand to 100 per cent. Sushma Swaraj later tweeted that “Parliament is in session and the government announced a decision of such far reaching consequences outside the parliament.”

“It is contempt of the House. They should have discussed this issue in the Parliament and taken a decision in accordance with the sense of the House. They bypass Parliament. We cannot accept this,” Swaraj said. (via ndtv.com | Govt’s FDI decision contempt of House:Sushma Swaraj)

News Story-2

BJP leader Uma Bharti on Friday threatened to set on fire Walmart store wherever it opens in the country to register her party’s protest against allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail.

“I would personally set afire the showroom when it opens anywhere in the country and I am ready to be arrested for the act,” Bharti said, condemning the decision of the Union cabinet to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail.  (via ibnlive.in.com | Will set Walmart store on fire: Uma Bharti)

Large Corporations need Large Governments

A corporation’s complex ownership structure and contractual obligations are impossible to sustain without an active involvement and protection from the government.  In order for corporation to sustain itself, the government needs to expand its functions, hire more personnel, and raise more revenue.  Whether or not the corporations pay that extra revenue, the problem remains that the government needs to expand itself as more corporations come into existence.

A license or government approval, then gets an implicit “protection” from the government, thus creating a romance between Big Government and Big Corporations.  The present UPA government has extended this “license” to Walmart by going around the parliament, which was going to oppose the motion, like eloping lovers.

Jahangir’s Love Letter

This romance is not new – Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor, had also written his own love letter.  Not to Anarkali.  That love, we are told, remained unconsummated, but his letter to James I, King of England, expresses a different kind of love.

After decades of piracy in the open oceans, English East India Company (EEIC) wanted a foothold on shore and were literally “fighting off” competitors such as the Portuguese.  EEIC, a state sanctioned monopoly, had the backing of James I, King of England, who sent Thomas Roe to “request” the Emperor of Delhi for a “license.”  History is unclear as to what discussions took place between Roe and Jahangir, and what नजराना (gift) was offered to Jahangir, but romance was clearly in the air.  Shortly after, Jahangir wrote a letter to James I:

The letter of love and friendship which you sent and the presents, tokens of your good affections toward me, I have received by the hands of your ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe, delivered to me in an acceptable and happy hour; upon which mine eyes were so fixed that I could not easily remove them to any other object, and have accepted them with great joy and delight.

For confirmation of our love and friendship, I desire your Majesty to command your merchants to bring in their ships of all sorts of rarities and rich goods fit for my palace; and that you be pleased to send me your royal letters by every opportunity, that I may rejoice in your health and prosperous affairs; that our friendship may be interchanged and eternal. [Emphasis added] (source)

What was that “object” that was presented to Jahangir that his eyes were “so fixed” that he “could not easily remove them to any other object?”  Jahangir’s “love and friendship” with the EEIC was apparently cemented with promises of more “rich goods that were fit for his palace.”

An affection that was purchased with a gift and promises of more gifts from a large Corporation.

Has the the present day UPA government received such gifts and promises of more gifts from the future?

Corporations and India

While Mughal rulers and Indian governments have shown an affection for gifts from corporations, Indians themselves, don’t take too well to large corporations, especially foreign ones.  The Anglo-Indian War of 1857, also lit a fire to the English East India Company.  The leaders that lead the war against the English, made a five point Proclamation of Freedom, under the name of Bahadur Shah.  Three of the five points were about economic freedom.

An excerpt:

Products such as textiles, indigo and other articles that India has exported in the past are now a complete under the control of the English. This leaves only the trade of trifles to the people, and even in this, they are not without their share of profits by means of high customs, stamps, and bureaucracy that is entrenched in limiting freedom in trade.

My government will abolish these fraudulent practices and open the trade of every article, without exception, both by land and water, to all Indians. (Tatya Tope’s Operation Red Lotus, p. xxix)

The EEIC was was shut down while the war was still in progress.

गुण, कर्म and Liberty

Many on the “right” side of the great divide, consider any opposition to Walmart as “protectionism” that is reminiscent of India’s days of socialism.

Most of these people on the “right,” fail to understand that the phrase “free market capitalism” is an oxymoron.

In a true free market, competition will prevent accumulation or aggregation of capital, making “capitalism” moot.  In a true free market economy, power is not derived from “capital” but from individual effort and ability – from one’s गुण and कर्म.

Only in Indic polity is there a triad of freedom.

Welcome to Libya’s ‘democracy’

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Why does every US military intervention end up with politics dependent on terrorism and economies subverted by drugs?

The neo-colonial mirage. Does Libya own its oil - now or then, too! |  Graphic source and courtesy - http://thesantosrepublic.com  |  Click for larger source image.

The neo-colonial mirage. Does Libya own its oil – now or then, too! | Graphic source and courtesy – http://thesantosrepublic.com | Click for larger source image.

A large Benghazi-based “revolution” sold to the West as a popular movement was always a myth. Only two months ago the armed “revolutionaries” barely numbered 1,000. NATO’s solution was to build a mercenary army – including all sorts of unsavory types, from former Colombian death squad members to recruiters from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who pinched scores of unemployed Tunisians and tribals disgruntled with Tripoli. All these on top of the CIA mercenary squad – Salafis in Benghazi and Derna – and the House of Saud squad – the Muslim Brotherhood gang.

It’s hard not to be reminded of the UCK drug gang in Kosovo – the war NATO “won” in the Balkans. Or of the Pakistanis and Saudis, with US backing, arming the “freedom fighters” of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Then there’s the dodgy, Benghazi-based, Transitional National Council (TNC)’s cast of characters.

The leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, Gaddafi’s justice minister from 2007 until his resignation on February 26, studied sharia and civil law at the University of Libya. That might entitle him to cross rhetorical swords with the Islamic fundamentalists in Benghazi, al-Baida and Delna – but he could use his knowledge to press their interests in a new power-sharing arrangement.

As for Mahmoud Jibril, the chairman of the council’s executive board, he studied at Cairo University and then the University of Pittsburgh. He’s the key Qatari connection – having been involved in asset management for Sheikha Mozah, the ultra high-profile wife of the emir of Qatar.

There’s also the son of the last monarch of Libya, King Idris, deposed by Gaddafi 42 years ago (with no bloodshed); the House of Saud would love a new monarchy in northern Africa. And the son of Omar Mukhtar, the hero of the resistance against Italian colonialism – a more secular figure.

The new Iraq?

Yet to believe that NATO would win the war and let the “rebels” control power is a joke. Reuters has already reported that a “bridging force” of around 1,000 soldiers from Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan will arrive in Tripoli to act as police. And the Pentagon is already spinning that the US military will be on the ground to “help to secure the weapons”. A nice touch that already implies who’s going to be really in charge; the “humanitarian” neo-colonialists plus their Arab minions.

Abdel Fatah Younis, the “rebel” commander killed by the rebels themselves, was a French intelligence asset. He was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood faction – just when the Great Arab Liberator Sarkozy was trying to negotiate an endgame with Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s London School of Economics son now back from the dead.

So the big winners in the end are London, Washington, the House of Saud and the Qataris (they sent jets and “advisers”, they are already handling the oil sales). With a special mention for the compound Pentagon/NATO – considering that Africom will finally set up its first African base in the Mediterranean, and NATO is one step closer to declaring the Mediterranean “a NATO lake”.

Islamism? Tribalism? These may be Libya’s lesser ills compared to a new fantasyland open to neo-liberalism. There are few doubts the new Western masters won’t try to revive a friendlier version of Iraq’s nefarious, rapacious Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), turning Libya into a hardcore neo-liberal dream of 100% ownership of Libyan assets, total repatriation of profits, Western corporations with the same legal standing of local firms, foreign banks buying local banks and very low income and corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, the deep fracture between the center (Tripoli) and the periphery for the control of energy resources will fester. BP, Total, Exxon, all Western oil giants will be gratefully rewarded by the transitional council – to the detriment of Chinese, Russian and Indian companies. NATO troops on the ground will certainly help to keep the council on message. (via Asia Times Online :: THE ROVING EYE: Welcome to Libya’s ‘democracy’).

After American military interventions, many economies were subverted by drugs - and politics by terrorism. Why?  |  Cartoon by Charlie Daniels; source and courtesy - http://editorialexplanations.blogspot.com   |   Click for source image.

After American military interventions, many economies were subverted by drugs – and politics by terrorism. Why? | Cartoon by Charlie Daniels; source and courtesy – http://editorialexplanations.blogspot.com | Click for source image.

Oil … The Big Story

Pepe Escobar, specializes in seeing how oil influences the West – and dictates policy all over the world – from Uzbekistan to Uganda. He has also traced (in other posts) how China has moved across various geographies, to secure its oil interests.

The other element that Pepe Escobar touches on is the role of KLA-UCK, a significant part of the Serbo-Croat problem in Bosnia-Kosovo.

KLA being the English abbreviation of the Albanian name UCK (Ushtria Clirimtare E Kosoves) – a known entity dealing in drugs, well-funded and sufficiently armed.

Sources?

War, Drugs .Terror

Widely supported, trained and equipped by US and West European governments, the KLA-UCK targeted the Serbs and Roma Gypsies. Yugoslavia (now Crotia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Serbia, Montenegro), for long a legal drug-supplier to Europe, apparently continued this trade even after WWII, when it declared illegal.

After WWII, traditional opium supplies from (Greater) China, by Government granted opium monopolies of Yugoslavia and Italy, were replaced by Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mexico. It was the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent which dominated opium supplies from 1960s, after the start of Vietnam War.

Even though most drugs in the world originated in India; India remains a producer of these drugs - Indians are not major users.  |  Cartoon by Mike Keefe; on 25 March, 2009; source and courtesy - theipinionsjournal.com  |  Click for larger source image.

Even though most drugs in the world originated in India; India remains a producer of these drugs – Indians are not major users. | Cartoon by Mike Keefe; on 25 March, 2009; source and courtesy – theipinionsjournal.com | Click for larger source image.

The Pattern Behind Drugs

There is a pattern in Central Europe and Afghanistan-Pakistan, South East Asia. All these regions became major centres of drug trade. In an earlier post, we had seen how close US allies became terror hot-spots.

Golden Triangle in SE Asia; Golden Crescent in Af-Pak region; and the Russian-Eastern/Central European mafias. Drug flows from these new supply sources coincided with America’s Asian Wars in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, etc. These wars were justified under Eisenhower’s Domino Theory – which made Communism an enemy ‘under-your-bed’.

The subject of much research, many Hollywood films and significant evidence confirm that American armed forces and the CIA were behind drugs import into USA. The so-called Phoenix operation was run by CIA with some 200 Green Berets – whose major activity, apart from killings, assassinations and torture, was narcotics. For some time during the Vietnam War, the French intelligence also used drug money to funds its own operation. Like its British and American counterparts, French Government identified its intelligence agencies to manage drug trade.

In former Yugoslavia, the Albanian mafia made $45 million annually in 1990s by controlling the Turkish drug chain from Istanbul through Zurich to New York. A large chunk of this money returned to Kosovo to finance separatist activities inside the province as well as use the money to buy sympathies from the international NGOs that will implicitly advocate Kosovo Albanian separatist agenda.

Ethnic Albanians were initiated as the couriers for the Turkish and Bulgarian state mafia thirty years ago. These used smuggling of narcotics as the source of financing secret political, military and intelligence service operations. The majority of them were recruited in the “Kosovo triangle” Veliki Trnovac-Preševo-Gnjilane, marked on Interpol map as a black point on world drug routes.

French expert on narcotics, Alen Labrus described Kosovo Albanian drug smuggling operations to the Washington Post as being managed by tough, merciless bands that have displaced Turks as the leading smuggling clan:

“Powerful Turkish clans controlling Europe heroin market, realized that Russian, Caucasian and Albanian narco-mafia have invaded their territory in the last ten years, looking for their part of the market and profit. Kosovo ethnic Albanians have become so strong that they keep under their control 70% of drug market just in Switzerland. The war in the Balkans interrupted previous Yugoslav channels of drug smuggling. (via Balkan Death: The Albanian Narco-Mafia | Serbianna Analysis).

Who Pays

While the Oil and Terror linkage is much talked about, the role of Saudi Arabian funding much discussed, the global footprint of the drug trade is overlooked. As controls on gold sparked a global crime wave, the war on drugs is sparking another crime wave – a wave of terror. When the West wanted they imposed Opium Trade in the name of open markets. When the West wanted they declared a war on drugs.

Either way, someone else is paying.

PS

The usual story – cure is worse than the disease. Will the NATO-supported regime in Libya be better than Gaddafi’s?

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi | Source: AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia; Courtesy rt.com  |  Click for image.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi | Source: AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia; Courtesy rt.com | Click for image.

The most serious charge against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi that Libya managed to back with evidence is over his failure to obtain a license for his camels, the head of Human Rights Watch says.

Kenneth Roth cited on his Twitter account complaints of lawyers of the International Criminal Court, who said the case of Saif is a “legal black hole”.

According to the lawyers, Libya said it would not charge “serious crimes, such as murder & rape, due to lack of evidence” and has only managed to charge him with “the absence of a licence for camels, and irregularities concerning fish farms” so far.

The ICC forcefully demanded that Saif al-Islam were extradited to The Hague earlier on Thursday. But the Libyan government refused to do so, insisting that it will try him on its soil.

via Gaddafi son’s atrocity: Failing to license camels? — RT.


 

Can Arab Spring Be Successful?

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Was the overthrow of Mubarak another spontaneous ‘revolt’? What is the road-map? Any agenda?

It was clear then - and clear now. This is just empty rage - without any clear agenda or roadmap.  |  Cartoon by By William Warren  |  February 1, 2011  |   Image source and courtesy - libertyfeatures.com  |  COPYRIGHT 2011 LIBERTY FEATURES SYNDICATE - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It was clear then - and clear now. This is just empty rage - without any clear agenda or roadmap. | Cartoon by By William Warren | February 1, 2011 | Image source and courtesy - libertyfeatures.com | COPYRIGHT 2011 LIBERTY FEATURES SYNDICATE - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Time and place

When people are dying and suffering, it is no time to say I told you so …

Except when the situation demands that!

Nine months ago, 2ndlook warned about the gushing coverage of Arab Spring  in the mainstream media on these ‘protests (which) may have now acquired a life of their own’ and ‘sweeping changes … coming to the Arab lands, where authoritarian regimes are the norm’ and how ‘present protests, could be a game-changer’. 2ndlook threw cold water on an overjoyed world of Twitterati, Chatterati, Bloggerati, Paparazzi went ahead and claimed credit for this ‘change’.

Aladdin’s Lamp – Old despots for new

Are Arabs talking of Western style’ democracy’ and ‘freedom‘?

Like ‘freedom’ in the USA, with 20 lakh prisoners – the largest prison population in the world? Or ‘religious tolerance’ like single-faith Switzerland where a third mosque with minarets was not allowed? Is it political freedom, like Europe which believes that a two-party collusive democracy is better than one-party conspiring oligarchy?

Maybe, build on ethnic-diversity like the Danes who want to pay Muslims to leave Denmark. Why not even aim for a ‘fair’ legal-system like Britain, where hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested to build a DNA data-bank – ostensibly to help in criminal identification. To be like the West today, that has the lowest levels of diversity – ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity. And makes the most noise about freedom and human rights.

Is democracy a solution - or a temporary respite from malignant dictatorships  | Cartoon by Carlos Latuff; February 2011; source and courtesy - desertpeace.files.wordpress.com  |  Click for larger source image.

Is democracy a solution - or a temporary respite from malignant dictatorships | Cartoon by Carlos Latuff; February 2011; source and courtesy - desertpeace.files.wordpress.com | Click for larger source image.

How bad were these ‘despots’

Indeed, a case could be made for these stable despots who have sent packing in Tunisia and Egypt.  In both Tunisia and Egypt, people have seen economic progress, without dependence on oil – unlike most of Islāmic Middle East.

Compared to Turkey’s per-capita, or oil-inflated Oman’s US$ 25,000 or petro-daddy  Saudi’s US$ 23,300, Tunisia with US$ 9100 per capita and Egypt with US$ 5900 come out favorably. Tunisia or Egypt did not favor the beheading or amputation routine of Iran or Saudi Arabia – or mass-imprisonment regimes like USA, UK or China. Like all modern-State-nations, concentration of wealth is a ‘given’ – regardless of Europe, USA or Islāmic Middle-East.

There was neither a shining vision, nor economic necessity, or relative oppression, which triggered these revolts. Instead of an ‘elected’ Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians got Army Rule. Was that a satisfactory or a desirable outcome? Does empty rage count as a reason to expose nations to unknown rulers and uncertainty? Unknown devils instead of known devils? Does a change in government without modifying governance-model make any difference?

Without a viable ‘reason’ for revolt, what made so many people come out in the open?

I can get no satisfaction

It is no satisfaction that this outcome was forewarned in the 2ndlook post.

Egypt’s military rulers apologized Thursday for the deaths of dozens of pro-democracy protesters and vowed to prosecute those responsible in its latest attempt to appease the tens of thousands who have taken to the streets demanding that the generals immediately step down.

Police and protesters also agreed to a truce negotiated by Muslim clerics after five days of fierce street battles that have left nearly 40 dead.

The fighting around Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, which began Saturday, has been the longest spate of uninterrupted violence since the 18-day uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. It has deepened the country’s economic and security woes ahead of the first parliamentary elections since Muabrak’s regime was toppled. Voting is scheduled to begin on Monday.

The military statement came two days after Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council that assumed control of the country after Mubarak stepped down, promised in a televised address to hold a presidential election in the first half of next year but did not offer an apology for the killings. (via Truce Halts Fighting In Cairo’s Tahrir Square | Fox News).

The Gagging Concert

November 24, 2011 2 comments

Who issued the gag order to the media for coverage on the birth of the Bachchan grandchild? Do we want a more ‘obedient’ media?

It is unclear on who issued the gag-order to the media. But the media went obedient is a matter of concern.  |  Cartoon by Canon; from singhsworld.files.wordpress.com  |  Click for larger source image.

It is unclear on who issued the gag-order to the media. But the media went obedient is a matter of concern. | Cartoon by Canon; from singhsworld.files.wordpress.com | Click for larger source image.

The news of Aishwarya Rai’s pregnancy and her star-studded baby shower grabbed print and electronic media coverage galore. But thanks to a 10-point directive against excessive coverage on TV of her childbirth, news channels hadskeleton coverage when she delivered a baby girl Wednesday. (via dnaIndia.com | TV channels stay away from ‘breaking’ Bachchan baby news)

Speak no Evil or Don’t Speak at All?

Going mute, has now become a virtue, almost fashionable.

Consider Anna Hazare’s मौन व्रत from last month.  He lost his voice, when faced with answering troubling questions about his “team” on a लोकपाल (national ombudsman) crusade.  He chose मौन, rather than answer the inevitable question of who will guard the guards, when the guards themselves have shown a history of questionable conduct.

Although Hazare was mute, the media was going gung-ho over every word that came out of the Hazare camp.

In the case of the Bachchan baby, the media collaborated to collectively respect the privacy of the Bachchan family.

That is troubling.

Is the Anna campaign running out of steam? Thin on agenda, low on energy.  |  Cartoonist credit source missing; cartoon from post By as Kahol and Piyush Srivastava;  source and courtesy - msn.com  |  Click for source image.

Is the Anna campaign running out of steam? Thin on agenda, low on energy. | Cartoonist credit source missing; cartoon from post By as Kahol and Piyush Srivastava; source and courtesy - msn.com | Click for source image.

Collaboration or Collusion?

The question is not whether respecting the Bachchan family’s privacy is a “good” thing or not.

It is not troubling that the media chose to downplay the event of the birth to respect their  privacy.  What is troubling is that the media was able to act, in concert, on a 10-point directive!

This particular directive was “public”, but it is entirely possible, that the media outlets get such “private” directives as well.

It is the existence of these directives, and the ability of the media to follow such directives, that begs the question if the media outlets were collaborating for a “good” cause or are they of colluding – which then can be use to manufacture news stories?

Does that explain why the media is gagging in concert on any news of Ramdev, whose massive rallies in rural India showcases his views on polity that echo the Indic Triad of Freedom?

Does the media gag because Ramdev speaks of less governance, less tax and more personal responsibility?

Because manufactured news is माया, is the media generally gagging Ramdev related news, in concert, because those who own these outlets fear Indic Polity?

Ramdev’s Raring Rallies

November 24, 2011 7 comments

Is Baba Ramdev’s campaign in India’s hinterland – based on a lesser State and greater self-help, striking a chord with Bharat?

A nervous Government's 'crackdown' on Baba Ramdev was revealing.  |  Cartoon by Satish Acharya; source and courtesy - srai.org  |   Click for source image.

A nervous Government's 'crackdown' on Baba Ramdev was revealing. | Cartoon by Satish Acharya; source and courtesy - srai.org | Click for source image.

Despite the lack of media coverage, Ramdev’s rallies in towns and villages are getting a raring response.  In the last few months, Ramdev visited hundreds of towns and villages, addressing millions of people in these gatherings.

In these Yoga shivirs, he urges people to take their health into their own hands by practicing योग and प्राणायाम. He then extends the argument of self healing and health, to the nation, urging the people to make India healthy by bringing political reform and taking more personal responsibility.

While, his primary campaign is to repatriate Indian wealth stored in foreign countries, there are several other themes to his prescriptions to a healthy India.  Other than the provocative statements that are often taken out of context, the media rarely covers Ramdev’s ideas on “व्यवस्था परिवर्तन” or restructuring polity.

As the government went into contortions, is Baba's campaign in India's hinterlands gathering steam?   |   Cartoon by Shyam Jagota; source and courtesy - sunilscove.files.wordpress.com   |   Click for source image.

As the government went into contortions, is Baba's campaign in India's hinterlands gathering steam? | Cartoon by Shyam Jagota; source and courtesy - sunilscove.files.wordpress.com | Click for source image.

Ramdev’s Prescriptions for an Ailing India

Ramdev’s speeches are loaded with data, economic indicators and prescriptions for a new India (for example this speech).  He speaks of the triad of freedom, echoing the ideas presented by the leaders of 1857 as the Triad of Freedom.  He understands that a sound economic policy can strengthen India’s geopolitical position vis-a-vis the western countries (as in this speech).  Some of his important prescriptions, from his various addresses, are summarized below:

  • Remove the monopoly of the English language.  Let Indian languages be allowed for all higher and technical education.
  • Reform monetary policy.   Ramdev wants the RBI to stop promoting and indirectly propping up the dollar and he wants the government from creating policies that encourages Indian savings to flee to tax havens.
  • Restructure tax policy. He wants to radically reduce the tax burden on the population.  Eliminate income, excise and energy taxes.  Streamline other taxation.

During one such rally, Ramdev, rhetorically asked the audience what did India do wrong in the 1950s?  His answer – two large books – that were India’s first and second five year plans.  Ramdev is not a fan of central planning of India’s economy.  Ramdev’s prescriptions  are about reducing governance, which is the foundation of Indic polity.  The emphasis is more freedom less governance.

While the Indian State is promoting increasing dependence; Baba Ramdev is pushing the envelope on self-help   |   Cartoon by Monica Gupta; source and courtesy - monicagupta.info  |   Click for source image.

While the Indian State is promoting increasing dependence; Baba Ramdev is pushing the envelope on self-help | Cartoon by Monica Gupta; source and courtesy - monicagupta.info | Click for source image.

More Personal Responsibility

For example, Ramdev urges people to follow healthy lifestyles that includes giving up addictive substances.  A child from the audience, asked him the following:

“बीडी सिगरेट गन्दी चीज है तो बिकती क्युं है?” (“if beedi and cigarettes are bad things, then why are they allowed to be sold?”)

One might think that someone who opposes these addictive substances, would answer by saying that the government should “control” these substances, perhaps even ban them.  However, Ramdev’s answer was consistent with his message.  He answered:

“बाजार में जहर भी बिकता है । कोई चीज़ बिकती है तो वह बेचते हैं । हमे क्या करना है? हमे इस गंदी चीजोंसे दूर रहना है ।”
“We also get poison in the market.  When there are people who want to buy  there will be people who will sell it.  But what should we do?  we stay away from all these poisons?”  (watch video here).

Or, in this speech for example, Ramdev says:

“Government थोडी ना अपनी बीमारी ठीक करके देगी” (“Don’t expect the government to take care of your health.”)

More freedom and less governance means that people must take more personal responsibility for themselves.  Expecting too much from the government automatically enlarges the size of the government.  More controls, more mechanisms to check nepotism, corruption and regulation.   In short – a pyramidal polity that expands like a ponzi scheme, and thus leading to the question of “Who will guard the guards?”

For someone who views the west with skepticism, and even mocks western choices in hygiene, Ramdev’s prescriptions are largely rooted in reality of Indic wisdom.

Perhaps the media whose obsession with Western economists and jargon throwing “intellectuals” fail to understand the power in Ramdev’s messages.

Or perhaps they understand it all too well!

Russian warships in Syrian waters

November 23, 2011 3 comments

India’s The Hindu reports of Russian warships moving into a Russian naval base in Syria. Are we seeing a return of Russia on the world stage?

Pyotr Veliky – flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet  |  Image source and courtesy - en.rian.ru;  © RIA Novosti. Sergey Eshenko

Pyotr Veliky – flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet | Image source and courtesy - en.rian.ru; © RIA Novosti. Sergey Eshenko

Is this true

This is intriguing news.

No other major newspaper or news agency in English has reported this. Even the website of the RIA-Novosti makes no mention of this. While The Hindu and its editorial line and business policies has many detractors, at least its credibility is rarely questioned. It’s path breaking work on the Bofors scandal stood intense scrutiny for factual integrity.

This post written by Vladimir Radyuhin, in The Hindu is at least, not without credibility. Vladimir Radyuhin is himself an old hand on the Indo-Russia news circuit.

The Hindu reports

The rift between Russia and the West over Syria and Iran has widened on Tuesday as Moscow sent warships to Syrian shores in a show of support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and slammed new United States sanctions against Iran as “unacceptable”.

Three Russian warships have entered Syrian territorial waters, Russian wire services reported on Tuesday citing Syrian sources. The news came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West and Arab monarchies of engaging in “political provocation” in Syria by rejecting dialogue between the opposition and authorities and welcoming armed attacks on government offices.

The Russian warships were reported to be heading towards the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia has a naval base. A source close to the Syrian President said the Russian ships would patrol Syrian waters “to prevent any military interference”. Media reports said the ships may try to intercept small vessels that are smuggling weapons for Syrian opposition from the Lebanon and Turkey. (via The Hindu : News / International : Russian warships in Syrian waters. Subsequently, other reports,  started showing up in search results. Linked above.).

Five days after this post, rt.com, a prominent Russian news site, also confirmed.

The Russian battle group will consist of three vessels led by the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov.

News of Russia’s naval deployment in Tartus came shortly after the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush anchored off Syria, along with additional naval vessels. The US battle group is to remain in the Mediterranean, allegedly to conduct maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. The US 6th Fleet is also patrolling the area, Interfax reports.

Nevertheless, he added that the presence of a military force other than NATO’s is very useful for this region, because “it will prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict,” Izvestia quoted Kravchenko as saying.

“Of course, the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean will be incommensurate with those of the US 6th Fleet, which includes one or two aircraft carriers and several escort ships,” Admiral Kravchenko explained. “But today, no one talks about possible military clashes, since an attack on any Russian ship would be regarded as a declaration of war with all the consequences.”

Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago, the Izvestia newspaper reports. Apart from Syria, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships are set to visit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Genoa in Italy and Cyprus, says the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko.

The mission is set to start in early December, when the Admiral Kuznetsov begins its journey in the Barents Sea, accompanied by another vessel of Russia’s Northern Fleet, the heavy ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko. The group will then skirt the European continent from the west and enter the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar. (via Sea alert: Russian warships head for Syria — RT).

New actions on old agreements

Russia has an old agreement with Syria – and under this agreement, Russian ships have been regular visitors and users of this naval base. An old report from UPI states

TARTUS, Syria, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Ten Russian warships are docked in the Syrian port city of Tartus to the apparent surprise of the Israeli military, military sources say.

The unidentified sources said Israeli military leaders were unaware that Russian had already moved so many vessels into Syrian territory following a Sept. 12 agreement between the two countries, DEBKAfile, a Israeli news Web site, reported Friday.

The military intelligence Web site said the agreement reached between Russian navy commander Adm. Vladimir Wysotsky and Syrian naval commander Gen. Taleb al-Barri allows Russia to use Syrian ports as long-term naval bases. (via Sources: Russian warships in Syrian port – UPI.com).

Iran into the game

Interestingly, a few months ago, Iranian warships, a frigate and a supply vessel crossed the Suez and docked into Syria. RIA-Novosti reports,

Senior Iranian military figures are in the Syrian capital Damascus for a ceremony to greet the arrival of two Iranian warships later on Thursday.

The two vessels involved, the British-built frigate the Alvand and supply vessel the Kharg, docked at the Port of Latakia on Wednesday. Israel last week described the planned move as a “provocation.”

It is the first time since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iranian warships passed through the Suez Canal.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sattari is leading the delegation of military officials in Syria.

The ceremony at Lattakia later today will feature officials from both countries, a senior Iranian official told the IRNA news agency.

In his comments on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “takes a grave view” of the Iranian step. (via Iranian military to ‘greet’ warships in Syria amid Israeli concern | World | RIA Novosti).

Yakhont missiles |  Image source and courtesy - © RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko

Yakhont missiles | Image source and courtesy - © RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko

Yakhont deployment

Last year RIA-Novosti reported the deployment of a new missile system in Syria – by Russia.

Russian-made mobile anti-ship missile systems sold to Syria could be used to protect a Russian naval supply and maintenance site near Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus, a Russian arms trade expert said on Monday.

Russia earlier announced it would honor a 2007 contract on the delivery of several Bastion anti-ship missile systems armed with SS-N-26 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles to Syria, despite U.S. and Israel security concerns.

Syria needs to shield a 600-km stretch of its coastline from potential amphibious assaults.

“One of the purposes of the deployment of Bastion missile systems in Syria is to ensure the protection of the Russian naval site in Tartus,” said Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on the international arms trade. (via Yakhont missiles could protect Russian naval base in Syria – analyst | Defense | RIA Novosti).

Part II (Updated – 28-11-2011)

An analysis, dated September 2011, from the Egyptian Weekly, Al Ahram started showing up on search engines. This post by Al Ahram nuances the Soviet position. It says

“Should Russia should accede to Western plans for the Middle East?” To “learn from its mistake” in Libya and dump Al-Assad immediately, whatever the internal dynamics of Syria may be?

The two camps represent the two poles in post-Soviet Russian thinking: the Eurasianists vs the Atlantists. The former trying to put Russia at the centre of an independent anti-Western coalition. The latter are happy to throw in the towel, to accede to the Western hegemony which characterises the postmodern imperial order unfolding since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There are powerful forces in Russia behind both views. Atlantist enthusiast Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was responsible for the success of UN Resolution 1973 allowing the NATO bombing of Libya. In March, he overrode broad Russian opposition including by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who denounced the Western invasion as a new Crusade. Medvedev had to fire Russian ambassador to Libya Vladimir Chamov when the latter sided with Putin. Medvedev now warns Al-Assad of a “dire fate” if he continues his campaign against the opposition.

Those who want to accede to the Western agenda complain that in Libya Tatneft and Gazprom Neft will have to abandon their projects. “We won’t have anything; Libya’s oil market will shift in favor of Italian ENI. After them, the American and European companies,” whines Uralsib Capital analyst Alexei Kokin. The Russian Railways contract to build a 550km high-speed rail line from Sirte to Benghazi also appears to be under review by the new government in Tripoli.

Libya is far away, and was never much of a Soviet-Russian ally. In Syria, Russian economic and security stakes are much higher. Not only is Syria one of Russia’s largest arms export customers, with current and pending deals valued at $10 billion, but Al-Assad’s regime is also a significant Russian security partner in the Middle East. The Russian navy is dependent on Syrian ports to sustain its operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Russia’s NATO Ambassador Dmitri Rogozin scoffed at the idea that the West had any altruistic motives in invading Libya. He told the EUobserver on 2 September that the Libya experience shows NATO will now “expand towards its southern borders”, and though he was happy NATO had stopped expanding eastward, “we cannot trust [that] NATO will not exceed the mandate and NATO bombs will not be dropped on Damascus.”

Concerning the proposed UN resolution against Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “This is a call for a repeat of the Libyan scenario. The BRICS nations will not allow this to happen.” Russia is unwilling to contemplate another Western-incited civil war and invasion leading to regime change. For the moment, the Eurasianists have the upper hand.

Underlying the Atlantist-Eurasianist debate is the fate of the entire Western project to transform the Middle East, which has been in the works since the 1980s with the rise of the neocons. This plan was to bring about a controlled chaos in the region, creating a series of weak statelets that would benefit a strong Israel.

After much delay, Reuters, a leading Western news agencies confirmed,

Russia is sending a flotilla of warships to its naval base in Syria in a show of force which suggests Moscow is willing to defend its interests in the strife-torn country as international pressure mounts on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Russia, which has a naval maintenance base in Syria and whose weapons trade with Damascus is worth millions of dollars annually, joined China last month to veto a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Assad’s government.

Izvestia newspaper reported on Monday, citing retired Russian Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, that Russia plans to send its flagship aircraft carrier the “Admiral Kuznetsov” along with a patrol ship, an anti-submarine craft and other vessels.

“Having any military force apart from NATO is very beneficial for the region as it prevents the outbreak of armed conflict,” Kravchenko, who was navy chief of staff from 1998-2005, was quoted as saying by Izvestia.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, abstained from voting on a resolution that paved the way for Western military intervention in Libya but later criticised the mission saying NATO overstapped its mandate and interfered in a civil war.

Russia said it lost of tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals with Muammar Gaddafi’s fall and is loathe to lose another customer in the region. Syria accounted for 7 percent of Russia’s total of $10 billion in arms deliveries abroad in 2010, according to CAST. (via Russia sending warships to its base in Syria | News by Country | Reuters).

Another leading news agency, Bloomberg, echoed similarly,

Russia will send three warships to its naval base in Syria next month, including the country’s only aircraft carrier, Izvestia reported, citing navy officials.

The vessels including the Admiral Kuznetsov, which will have eight Su-33 fighter aircraft, several new MiG-29K fighter jets and two Ka-27 naval helicopters on board, will arrive at the Mediterranean port of Tartous in the spring, the Moscow- based daily said.

Russia maintains a servicing point for naval vessels in Tartous, its only military facility outside the former Soviet republics. About 600 Russian Defense Ministry staff work at the base, Izvestia said.

The naval mission to Syria, which has been an ally since the Soviet era, will prevent NATO military involvement in the Middle Eastern country, the newspaper cited former Russian naval chief Victor Kravchenko as saying. (via Russia Sends Warships, Aircraft Carrier to Syria, Izvestia Says – Bloomberg).

Yet another leading Western agency, UPI confirmed

Russia plans to send a fleet of warships, including its only aircraft carrier, to the Syrian port of Tartus in early spring next year, a senior officer said.

“The call of the Russian ships in Tartus should not be seen as a gesture towards what is going on in Syria … . This was planned already in 2010 when there were no such events there,” the officer was quoted as saying.

Adm. Viktor Kravchenko, former navy chief of staff, said the presence of the warships at the Syrian port “will prevent the outbreak of armed conflict.” (via Russia to send ships to Syria next year – UPI.com).


%d bloggers like this: