Showing posts from August, 2008

Purge of Bhutto Allies Raises Further Questions about Zardari

It looks as if Pakistan could be in for more political unrest. Zardari seems to be a rather dubious character and quite corrupt. He promised Sharif that he would re-instate all the lawyers Musharraf had fired but did not do so. This is part of the reason Sharif left the coalition govt. I wonder where the U.S. fits into all this. Apparently there have been recent meetings between U.S. and army brass.

Purge of Bhutto Allies Raises Further Questions About Zardari
Posted August 30, 2008
Updated 8/30 8:45 PM EST
Less than a week after losing their largest coalition partner the Pakistani Peoples Party’s internal stability has been called into question, amid reports that acting party leader and presumptive future President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has purged many of assassinated former leader Benazir Bhutto’s closest allies from the upper ranks of the party.
Close Zardari ally Zulfiqar Mirza reportedly blamed Naheed Khan, one of Bhutto’s most loyal allies, for the assassination, claiming she …

OSCE observers fault Georgians in conflict.

This report probably will not get too much press play in the U.S. press. I just wonder how aware U.S. authorities were of what was going on. Even if the U.S. did not support Georgia's move you would think that they would have enough knowledge and influence to stop this reckless action if they had wanted to. But perhaps not. On the U.S. side there has been almost no blaming of Georgia at all which is rather surprising given the facts as this western report shows. The OSCE report supports the Russian line for the most part. Of course this does nothing to support the subsequent Russian incursion into Georgia proper.

From Monsters and
Europe NewsSpiegel: OSCE observers fault Georgians in conflictBy DPAAug 30, 2008, 9:52 GMT
Hamburg - European observers have faulted Georgia in this month's Caucasus conflict, saying it made elaborate plans to seize South Ossetia, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.
In a report to appear in its Monday edition, i…

Musharraf eyes comfy retirement home.

This is from wiredispatch.
Musharraf managed to negotiate a golden parachute with the help of the U.S. and the political parties that took over from him. It seems that he wants to stay in Pakistan. While his retirement home is not palatial it is certainly a cut above the average domicile in Pakistan! While security sounds not too tight the whole area is upscale so perhaps there is security around the whole area.

Musharraf eyes comfy retirement home
Musharraf eyes comfy, but high-security retirement as Pakistan political storm moves on
Aug 29, 2008 13:20 EST
Predictions that Pervez Musharraf will have to flee Pakistan to escape treason charges have died along with the coalition that drove him from the presidency.

The ex-general can now eye comfortable — though high-security — retirement in the luxury villa, complete with a swimming pool and strawberry patch, that he is building in an elite suburb of the capital.
Since resigning Aug. 18 to avoid impeachment, the fo…

Some Marines in Georgia during Russian assault.

This is from the Marinecorpstimes.
No mention of the presence of the marines in reports at the time of the Russian assault. The Russians are probably just making up stories about sending the Humvees they nabbed to Moscow to be examined. Heck. If Russia makes a half decent offer to GM for the Humvee division they could probably buy the whole kit and kaboodle at bargain prices! Russia can afford the gas more than the U.S. too. Maybe the Russians intend to present the Humvees as military aid to the South Ossetian armed forces! Of course it may just be the civilian division of Humvee that GM wants to get rid of. Probably GM makes a bundle on the military side.

Corps wants its Humvees back
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writerPosted : Friday Aug 29, 2008 17:36:04 EDT

U.S. officials continue to negotiate the release of five Marine Humvees seized by Russian forces in the Georgian port of Poti during their August assault on the U.S. ally.
The Humvees were taken Aug. 19, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Corey Bar…

Malaysia Extends Philippine Peacekeeping Mission.

This welcome news for the Philippine government. Anything that may help the peace process is a plus. It seemed earlier as if Malaysia had given up on the peace process and was going to withdraw its peacekeepers. The ceasefire is monitored by personnel from as far away as Libya, as well as Japan and Brunei.

Malaysia Extends Philippine Peacekeeping Mission
By Nancy-Amelia Collins Jakarta28 August 2008
Malaysia agreed to extend a mandate to keep its peacekeepers in the volatile southern Philippines, where they will continue to monitor a shaky cease-fire between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.Malaysia agreed Thursday to keep its peace monitors in the war-torn southern Philippine island, Mindanao, for another three months, following appeals from the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.The announcement came after officials from the Philippine government and the MILF met in the Malaysian capital, …

Philippines health dept. endorses condoms despite opposition from the RC Church.

I noticed that there were no tv ads for condoms in the Philippines or any other type either. If condoms are promoted probably the Health Department will have to pay for any advertisements. Perhaps manufacturers do not wish to alienate the Church by advertising condoms or maybe I just never noticed any advertisements. As I recall condoms are not displayed at drug stores either unless things have changed since I was there a couple of years ago.

Philippines endorses condoms despite church
21 hours ago
MANILA (AFP) — The Philippine Health Department will promote the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS despite disapproval from the influential Roman Catholic church, an official said Thursday.
"The use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is different from their use for birth control," Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde told a media briefing.
"The church's position is detrimental to public health," he said.
Besides the use of condoms, which have 95 …

"Red-lining"in Cuba and Georgia: Hornberger

This sums up the transparent hypocrisy of the U.S. While it is quite inappropriate and a red-line for Russia to have a missile defence system in Cuba it is OK for the U.S. to have one in Poland. It is OK for the U.S. to recognise Kosovo against Russian objections and in violation of the territorial integrity of Serbia. However, it is not OK for Russia to recognise South Ossetia and Abkazia in violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia. Personally I would support independence in all three cases since I don't think any of the areas can successfully stay within the borders of Serbia in the one case or Georgia in the others but to support territorial integrity in the one case but not the other is inconsistent. Of course Russia is being inconsistent as well but then we expect that of Evil Empire II but not the Leader of the Free World!

"Red-Lining" in Cuba and Georgiaby Jacob G. Hornberger
In my August 19 blog, I pointed out how President Bush knowingly and intentionall…

Name change for the Philippines?

This is from globalnation.
I doubt that most people Filipinos included associate the Philippines with the sins of the Spanish despot. The idea of the Manila councilor seems sensible enough to me. But perhaps Rizal Islands would be more nationalistic. This article claims that Mongolia is now called Ulan Bator. That is news to me. Last I heard Ulan Bat0r was still just the capital.

GLOBAL NETWORKINGName Change for the Philippines
By Rodel RodisINQUIRER.netFirst Posted 11:35am (Mla time) 08/26/2008
When I visited Manila in January of 2006, a city councilor I knew excitedly informed me that his council had just voted to change the name of the Philippines. What? The country would no longer be named after a ruthless Spanish despot? We would finally be rid of this last vestige of colonialism? Hallelujah!
Breathlessly, I asked my friend, Councilor Cassie Sison, to pray tell me what name the good City Council of Manila had proposed.
“The Philippine Islands,” he replied.
After I recovered from my d…

U.S. vows enclaves will never be independent.

This is from this site.
This is rather a contrast to the U.S. reaction when Kosovo declared independence. At that time Russia specifically warned the U.S. that recognising Kosovo in spite of Russia's objections would have repurcussions with respect to Abkazia and South Ossetia. Now the U.S. knows what those repercussions are. Of course unlike the U.S. Russia may not be able to get most other nations to recognise the two entities but some probably will. In any event with the degree to which Abkazians and South Ossetians are now alienated from Georgia it seems quite unrealistic to think that they can peacefully integrate back into Georgia but Russia will not allow this to happen by force. Russia will simply ignore U.S. objections to its actions in the same way that the U.S. ignored Russia with respect to Serbia.

US Vows Enclaves Will Never Be Independent as Russian President Recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Posted August 26, 2008
Last Updated 8/26 8:40 PM EST
Earlier this month wh…

Rice, In Israel, Criticizes Surge in Settlement Construction.

This is from the NY Times.
Israel as well as Palestine violate agreements. Israel is of course in violation of oodles of UN resolutions but nothing happens as a result. Probably little will happen because of this increase in settlement. When there is any movement of Israelis out of a settlement there is often considerable coverage. This coverage in a major newspaper is a welcome addition in covering the rest of the story but with all eyes focused on the Democratic Convention and Gustav the article may not attract too many readers.

August 27, 2008
Rice, in Israel, Criticizes Surge in Settlement Construction
JERUSALEM — Peace Now, the Israeli advocacy group, said in a report released Tuesday that in the last year Israel had nearly doubled its settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, in violation of its obligations under an American-backed peace plan.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Jerusalem on a short visit to help Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the…

Philippines seeks help of UK and Sweden in peace talks with MILF

Gloria needs all the help she can get. Unless things start to cool down a bit on the ground any peace talks may be a bit premature. No doubt the MILF will not agree to start laying down their arms until they have an agreement they can live with and that may be some time if it is even possible at the present juncture.

Gloria seeks help of UK,Sweden in peace talks
PRESIDENT Arroyo is seeking the help of Sweden and the United Kingdom in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Brunei is also offering scholarships for MILF members and their families to enable them to "learn to moderate Islam," Arroyo said in an informal interaction with media Monday night at the Well Being Spa at the Clark Freeport Zone.
Arroyo cited the experiences of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in talks with Northern Ireland.
"Actually Blair is willing to come to help us because he (played) a very strong part in the negotiations of Northern Ireland, although Swe…

60 children among Afghan Dead UN finds.

This is from the NY Times.
NATO and the U.S. insist they always show the utmost concern for civilian casualties. Yet they do not even count them. In this case as in others they insist on giving a quite different account of what happens inevitably downplaying any civilian deaths if they even admit any. Karzai has for his part been complaining about this for ages without any results. The U.S. is getting a bit peeved at his complaints however and for this and other reasons will try to arrange his replacement by a more amenable president such as Zalmay Khalilzad who has served the Bush administration well. Of course this arrangement will be democratic!
This example shows what probably happens reasonably often. Money is paid for intelligence and any Afghan who has a beef against another tribe can make some money and get even by fingering them as Taliban and indicating where they are.

August 27, 2008
60 Children Among Afghan Dead, U.N. Finds
KABUL, Afghanistan — A United…

Philippine co-ops insure themselves.

Here is a short article on Philippine Co-ops. I gather that most Philippine co-ops are rather small and as this article points out members sometimes run off with co-op funds! Co-ops are a good way to enable smaller producers to gain by combining operations and purchases that will give savings because of size. This is from Malaya.

Coops insure themselves
There is a snake in every forest, so old folks say. It turns out that are a few scalawags in some cooperatives. It’s hard to run after them once they have absconded with the money.
According to Rep. Agapito "Butz" Aquino, replacing an absconding coop member is simply not enough. Those left behind need continuing education, a process going on for many decades. But the record of success is less than desirable.
Two weeks ago, the Federation of Cooperatives and the National Cooperative Movement headed by Aquino gathered to galvanize what they have always thought of as the solution to thievery in some cooperatives.

Arroyo: All-out war, no; all-out peace, yes.

A neat slogan but peace will be difficult to obtain given that the two sides are really still in disagreement over some issues and there is opposition to the agreement from many on the government side and also on the MILF side. Several MILF commanders obviously acted to occupy territory and are now being driven out by the AFP. So far the conflict has not widened it seems. This is from Malaya.

Gloria: ‘All-out war, no; all-out peace, yes’
PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday informed the Organization of Islamic Conference through the Kuwaiti government and businessmen that her administration is on a path of all-out peace in Mindanao and not all-out war.
Arroyo spoke at the inauguration of the Global Gateway Logistics at the Clark Freeport Zone attended by, among others, Kuwait Ambassador Doaud Salman Al-Sabah.
She said government forces in Mindanao are running only after members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who were responsible for the recent attacks in parts of North Co…

Obama selects Biden to Reassure US ruling elite.

This is from Information Clearing House.
This article shows how mainstream Obama is. Of course those fearful of him will say it shows how he can hide his real tendencies! At any rate the two party system is a big sales media event The Democratic convention paid for partly by some taxpayers has no real purpose except as a media show since Obama is already the candidate. I have to stay away from U.S. news TV stations for several days. It is like the Olympics except there are no contests just the opening ceremonies but in no way as spectacular or entertaining. We don't even have any adorable little American girl lip-syncing the Stars and Stripes for us.

Obama Selects Biden to Reassure the US Ruling EliteBy Patrick Martin
25/08/08 "WSW" --- The selection of Senator Joseph Biden as the vice-presidential candidate of the Democratic Party underscores the fraudulent character of the Democratic primary campaign and the undemocratic character of the entire two-party electoral syste…

Karzai ousts general as religious leaders call for trials.

Perhaps the general gave the U.S. the information that led to the airstrikes. Probably he sanctioned the U.S. version of the incident as well. Maybe he even provided that disinformation to the U.S. authorities. Who would be on trial? The NATO brass. Forget it. Occupiers don't commit war crimes and the Afghan government has no power to bring them to court in any event. Also, this is a UN sanctioned mission with the neat acronym ISAF the International Security Assistance Force. There is also the US Enduring Freedom aspect of the situation too. With all those high sounding phrases surely a few dozen civilian deaths are a small price to pay for such a noble mission.

Karzai Ousts General as Religious Leaders Call for Trials
Posted August 24, 2008
As the fallout from the Herat bombing continues, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a Presidential decree today ordering the immediate firing of two Army officials, including the top ranking officer in western Afghanistan, General Jalandar Shah…

Pakistan coalition breaks apart..

This is not surprising. As the article notes Zardari has broken several key parts of the agreement that formed the coalition. He chose the presential candidate without consultation and has not agreed upon re-instatement of the lawyers and chief justice who were dismissed by Mussharaf. While Zardari may be able to govern as a minority or obtain enough support to survive from smaller parties the political situation seems to be becoming more unstable. This is from the NY Times.

August 26, 2008
Fractious Coalition in Pakistan Breaks Apart
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The five-month-old coalition government in Pakistan collapsed Monday when the head of the minority party, Nawaz Sharif, announced his members would leave the fractious alliance, citing broken promises by Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the majority party.
“We have been forced to leave the coalition,” Mr. Sharif said in Islamabad. “We joined the coalition with full sincerity for the restoration of democracy. Unfortunately…

The blowback from Kosovo

This is from

The U.S. recognised Kosovo when it unilaterally declared independence in the absence of any agreement with Serbia. Serbia always claimed that Kosovo was a part of its sovereign territory. This did not matter as the U.S. was able to get many countries to go along and recognise the newly minted state. At the time Russia warned that the recognition of Kosovo's independence without the agreement of Serbia would change Russia's policy with respect to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is the culmination of that change. Bush continually stresses that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are territories within Georgia in effect part of sovereign Georgia. In the light of Kosovo this is complete hypocrisy. While Serbia with Russian support complained about U.S. recognition of Kosovo the U.S. simply ignored Russia. Now Russia will return the favor with respect to South Ossetia and Abkazia. Of course most of the western media will treat the two cases quite differently and com…

After pullout, Russia envisions long-term shift

Russia is giving notice that it is not about to let the situation return to the status quo before Georgia tried to reassert control over South Ossetia. Russia also interprets the cease-fire in a much broader way than does the U.S. or France among others. The U.S. and Germany continue to support Georgia joining NATO a recipe for even more conflict. These events are going to create problems for Obama and McCain probably to the benefit of McCain who is more likely to be hawkish on relations with Russia. This is from the NY Times.

August 23, 2008
After Pullout, Russia Envisions Long-Term Shift
MOSCOW — As the Russian Army withdrew most of its forces from Georgia, it was becoming ever more clear on Friday that Moscow had no intention of restoring what once was — either on the ground or diplomatically.
The West wants a return to early August, before an obscure territorial dispute on the fringes of the old Soviet empire erupted into an international crisis. But Russia’s force…