The Candid Eye

October 31, 2009

Maoists-SIMI tie-up to create base in south India: IB

Filed under: Islam,Jihad — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Communist Party of India-Maoist have established linkages with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, and are looking to set up a base in south India, an Intelligence Bureau report, accessed by rediff.com, has revealed.This is the first time an intelligence agency has established a link between the two banned groups.

The report says that early this year leaders of the two organisations held two meetings — in Bengaluru and Hyderabad — to strike an alliance.

After discussions, the two outfits decided to create a joint base in south India, the report said, adding that while they would step up recruitment, the base would operate out of Kerala.

Though the Maoists have always supported the Kashmir insurgency, and have raised their voice against what they call the ‘persecution of Muslims in India’, till now there has never been concrete evidence of any linkages with Islamic terror groups.

The IB report say the first signs of a link were in Kerala, where SIMI had a strong base before it was banned and the Maoists are also present in sizeable numbers.The IB report claims that several Maoist leaders and cadre took shelter in Kerala with the help of SIMI.

Red India

Red India by Maoists : Image courtesy - http://naxalwar.wordpress.com/

Last year, nearly 500 Maoists underwent training under the SIMI in the Vagamon hills on the Idukki-Kottayam border, IB sources said. This information is bound to worry the security forces that are planning to storm Chhattisgarh’s Abujmaad forests, the de facto headquarters of the Maoists. Special forces have been trained in jungle warfare to take on the Maoists in their stronghold.

The Maoist cadre were imparted commando training and some were even asked to train with SIMI’s suicide squads, the IB report says.

SIMI’s leader, Safdar Nagori, who is now in police custody in Madhya Pradesh, confirmed this fact, sources added.

Following several serial blasts across the country, the SIMI anticipated that it would face tremendous heat from the security agencies. They also knew that their cause of destabilising India could be furthered if they tied up with the Maoists, sources said.

Similarly, the Maoists are always open to make strategic alliances which will aid them achieve their ultimate goal. Known as Strategic United Front, the Maoists say that it is one of the three ‘magic weapons’ that will help them reach their goal (The other two are the party and the army).

Sources said that more importantly, the Maoists were aware that SIMI could impart commando training since most of its cadres were already trained in this type of warfare.

Last year, when the government renewed the ban on SIMI, the Maoists condemned it. Its central committee spokesperson Azad said, “This reiterates the government’s policy to continue its brutal war on Muslims.”

Around the same time, Azad also condemned what he called the ‘double standards of the Indian ruling classes in Kashmir.’ He called upon the Kashmiri Muslims to ‘fight back Hindu fascist forces and Indian expansionists.’

Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood by SIMI

The Maoists have been traditionally calling the insurgency in the Valley as a ‘nationalist struggle’ and talked about it in the same breath as the movements in India’s northeast and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam’s fight against the Sri Lankan army.

What should be more worrying to the Centre and the security forces is the fact that the Maoists are adept at forming strategic and tactical alliances with any group that might help them achieve their ultimate goal.

“If at all the Maoists are looking for a linkage with the SIMI, or whatever remains of it, it should be understood considering the following points: First, it is an attempt to win over the support of the Muslim community and thus broaden their base. Second, they are trying to make common cause with SIMI, as both are banned outfits. Third and most important is the Maoist strategy of making common cause with any outfit that opposes the Indian state either through peaceful means or violence,” a security expert said.

However, till now, there has been no known instance where the Maoists had colluded with religious fundamentalists in any major operation.

In another crucial development in this context, CPI-Maoist general secretary, Ganapati, recently said only the Maoist leadership can provide anti-imperialist orientation and achieve class unity among Muslims.

“Islamic jihadist movements of today are a product of imperialist — particularly the US imperialist — aggression and the suppression of the oil-rich Islamic and Arab countries and the persecution of the entire Muslim religious community,” Ganapati had said.

“Atrocities on the Muslims have reached horrendous proportions unheard of since the persecution of the Jews under Hitler [ Images ]. It is only the Maoist leadership that can provide correct anti-imperialist orientation and achieve class unity among the Muslims as well as the people of other religious persuasions,” he had said.

Source: Rediff

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October 30, 2009

PM says – China not building dam!

Filed under: Arunachal Pradesh,China,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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The present congress government once again ignored and played down the serious threat that China poses to India.Manmohan Singh or anyone for that matter, cannot counter the Chinese directly unless we shed our complacency and red tapism atleast in security and defence related issues.

According to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that China has not constructed any dam on Brahmaputra river that would have been a matter of concern for India.

Manmohan Singh with Dorjee Khandu

Manmohan Singh with Dorjee Khandu, the CM of Arunachal Pradesh

Khandu, who led a delegation of state leaders to Singh, said on Monday that the Prime Minister had also told them that India would tackle the boundary issue with China diplomatically. The delegation met Singh to seek a review of the defence strategy for the eastern sector in view of Chinese incursions and expressed serious concern over reports of a dam being constructed by China on Brahmaputra river.

“The Prime Minister said no dam is being constructed and only run-of-the-river construction has been made,” Khandu told reporters while citing a letter from the Chinese government. A media report last week had said that China was building a big dam on Brahmaputra river, prompting India to express concern over the development as it would change the course of the river and could result in submergence of low-lying areas downstream. India has no problem with run-off-the-river constructions but building of a dam as it involves storage of water.

When the delegation raised the issue of Chinese incursions into the state, the Prime Minister reportedly assured them that the Centre will “tackle” the boundary question with the neighbouring country bilaterally.

“The Prime Minister told us not to worry. He said the Centre will tackle with the situation bilaterally,” said Congress MP from Arunachal West Takam Sanjoy, who was part of the delegation. Sanjoy said the delegation requested the Prime Minister to give a big push to infrastructure development to ensure better surveillance over Chinese activities and urged him to create a para-military force exclusively comprising youths from the state.

Source: Indian Express

Related Articles:

China begins building of dam on its side of Brahmaputra

India asks China to stay out of PoK

October 29, 2009

How I’ve imbibed the energy of my Indian guru

An experience shared by Riza Pansacola Regis of Bali.

“WHEN A SPIRITUAL MASter is in town, drop what you are doing and go to imbibe the energy of the guru’s presence”.

HH Sri Sri Ravishankar

HH Sri Sri Ravishankar

This was the advocacy of my former yoga teacher. A “guru”, just like in our Filipino dialect, means “teacher”. But in the parlance of yoga, a guru who is also a sage, is one who is enlightened and able to spark the enlightenment of his or her student or devotee.

It was in the spirit of this knowledge that I basked in the presence of Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living, when he visited Manila three years ago. When I saw his photo on a flyer on the Internet, I could have judged him as just another Indian guru. But upon glancing at his long hair, compassionate face, peaceful eyes, and white robe, I was inspired to join the “Health and Happiness” workshop he would conduct for three evenings.

Heeding the call of my soul, I cancelled all my appointments and enrolled in the course.

The main thing that struck me upon entering the venue was the peaceful atmosphere of the ballroom where more than 500 people were enthusiastically and quietly seated on the floor which was covered with white sheets.

Guruji, as his devotees fondly call him, exuded lightness, wisdom and humor. The knowledge points that he imparted made a lot of sense and if applied, would make one’s life simple and happy. The activities were fun; the breathworks blissful. I felt very good at the end of each session.

My three evenings extended to two more days of following Guruji to other events he attended. Laughing at myself, I did not even think to analyze why I kept following him. I simply felt joy being around him as did all his followers whose smiling faces were very inspiring.

I learned that the Art of Living offers all kinds of workshops for adults, drug addicts, prisoners, and companies in 150 countries. When he was asked why thousands of people keep following him wherever he went, including Iraq, he answered it is because he refuses to grow up. His objective in offering workshops, he says, “is to put a smile on everyone’s face”. He describes life as well-lived “if when you are born you are crying while everybody around you are laughing and if at the end of your life you die smiling and everybody around you are crying”.

The powerful current of bliss I felt in the presence of this guru has drawn me in the past years to go all the way to Bangalore, India, where the Art of Living “ashram” (center) offers more advanced courses.

On other occasions, I sought to bask in his presence in Hong Kong and Bali, where he regularly visits his students and devotees. The precious gift that the Art of Living has bestowed upon me is the daily practice of “Kriya” (breathworks) and “sadhana” (meditation) which often stimulates me to sing and dance and feel happy in the mornings, charging me up for the day’s activities.

Bali Beach

Bali Beach

Shri Shri Ravi Shankar will hold a talk on Nov. 3, 7-9 p.m. at the SMX Convention Center near Mall of Asia. For inquiries and tickets, call 09178254333 or e-mail riza333@terraregis.net. More on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: http://www.srisri.org; http://www.artofliving.org.ph/founder

October 28, 2009

Pakistanis appear to be their own worst enemies

An article from Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

How many ways can Pakistanis shoot themselves in the foot? Let me count them.

Last Tuesday, two suicide bombers, apparently sent by the Taliban, blew themselves up amid gatherings of students at an Islamic university in Islamabad, killing at least six people and injuring many others.

 

Pakistani Terrorism

Pakistani Terrorism

This was just the latest in a string of fatal bombings that have ripped through Pakistani society in recent days. The Taliban, it seems, have unlimited resources to wreak havoc in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. And where do they get their money? Yes, they earn a lot from all of those opium poppies in Afghanistan. But that is not all.

The Taliban in Pakistan also received more than $100 million last year in donations from sympathetic, wealthy people who live in Islamic countries — including Pakistan. In other words, Pakistanis are providing a good portion of the money the Taliban are spending to tear Pakistan apart.

That comes from a recent Central Intelligence Agency analysis. And it’s consistent with all we already know about Pakistan. Weren’t the Taliban close friends and allies of Pakistan before 9/11 — after which the George W. Bush administration forced a divorce? By all accounts the separation was only superficial. In fact, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is widely quoted as saying in a leaked internal report that the Taliban in Afghanistan “are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI.’’

 

Pakistani bomb blasts

Pakistani bomb blasts

He was referring to Pakistan’s chief intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, and McChrystal’s remark simply codified what most everyone in the region already assumed. During the 1990s, the ISI. wanted to have an ally in Afghanistan to prevent India from extending its influence there. The ISI also set up training camps in Afghanistan, away from prying Pakistani eyes. The alliance continues.

Some people like to place a distinction between the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan and those in Pakistan. But remember: They all came from the same Taliban cabal that ruled Afghanistan until October 2001. They share goals, tactics, fighters and equipment.

The Pakistani Taliban’s stated goal is to overthrow the government in Islamabad. They seized the Swat Valley early this year and were making inroads in Punjab Province, the nation’s most populous, before the Pakistani army arose from its torpor and fought back by lobbing rockets and artillery shells into towns and villages from a safe distance.

Last week, the Pakistani army began an offensive in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold. It’s hardly the first over the past eight years or probably the last. The army never seems to finish the job.

Meanwhile, the Barack Obama administration is pushing Congress to approve $7.5 million in aid for Pakistan over the next five years. This is developmental, not military, aid. Well, no one seems to have noticed that over the past few years Pakistan’s corruption problem has grown from serious to endemic. Transparency International, in a special report on Pakistan last month, found that the amount of public funds embezzled has increased fourfold in the past three years — to almost $40 billion so far this year.

Is this a government to which the U.S. should hand over almost $1 billion a year in the next five years? It’s not as if the people of Pakistan couldn’t use the aid. Look at some of the state’s statistics, provided by UNICEF. Ninety of every 1,000 children born there die before they reach age five. Only 37 per cent of children struck with dysentery, a common and often fatal illness in developing countries borne by contaminated food or water, receive treatment. Adult literacy stands at only 55 per cent. Just 18 per cent of the nation’s girls attend secondary school. One reason: Thirty-two per cent of children 14 years or younger are married.The average life expectancy is 65 years.

What is the government doing about these miserable statistics? About 18 per cent of the state’s budget is spent on the military, one per cent on health and two per cent on education.

This is a country that needs assistance. But first it has to help itself, stop shooting itself in the foot. The government must shut down the ISI and create a new intelligence agency that is responsive to the needs of the country, not its own interests.

It must pass credible anti-corruption measures. Only by taking steps like these and at last winning the support and faith of the nation can it persuade some of its wealthiest people to help the government instead of the Taliban.

October 27, 2009

The Kingdom by Robert Lacey

Robert Lacey, a British historian noted for his original research which gets him to close to,often living alongside his subjects.He is the author of numerous bestsellers and also the author of “The Kingdom“.

An article about Saudi Arabia appeared in thestar.com.

***************Excerpts from the article*******************

In most countries, a generation gap means a struggle between aging conservatives and their young and restless critics. But in Saudi Arabia, an opposite kind of battle is being waged, and one that poses dangers for both the mega-rich kingdom and the West.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

It’s a high-stakes contest that will determine the future of the world’s biggest oil producer, the holiest sites of Islam, and the tiny kingdom whose influence has made it a geopolitical giant.

“In Saudi Arabia, the idea that you have to go to the young for progress is turned on its head,” says Robert Lacey, author of Inside the Kingdom. “It’s the older generation of Saudis, including the royals, who are more friendly to progress, and to the West. Fundamentalism is a belief … embraced by the young.”

Lacey says it’s also a product of the royal family’s history as the spear-carrier of Wahhabism, one of the most austere Islamic sects. And, he says, the society that produced Osama bin Laden, 9/11 and global jihad, now depends on an 85-year-old monarch, King Abdullah, to strike a balance among the entrenched conservatives, extremists and modernists struggling to steer Saudi Arabia’s course to the future.

It was Abdullah’s House of Saud that fought its way to power in 1932, and hammered three disconnected territories into one kingdom under the Wahhabi faith. But the extremism the regime nurtured brought the country to a near standstill and opened the way for radicals who mixed religion with violence.

“If it were not for Ibn Saud and his sons, the oilfields now called Saudi would probably be another overly affluent, futuristic emirate like Kuwait or Dubai, along the Persian Gulf coast,” Lacey says. “(They) would be totally separate from the holy places of Mecca and Medina – and would almost certainly be following a softer, more tolerant branch of Islam.”

Instead, the Saudi rulers’ adherence to Wahhabism led to decades of turmoil, starting with the oil boom of the 1970s, when wealth and contact with the West prompted a softening of traditional norms – followed by a violent backlash and the rise of militant Islam.

“The result of the oil boom was a religion boom,” Lacey said in an interview in Toronto.

The extremists doubled their efforts in 1990, when Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait brought thousands of American troops into the reticent kingdom. But an alleged bargain between the Saudi government and bin Laden – a payoff to keep the terrorist chief from attacking the royal family – went sour after 9/11. Ruthless attacks were launched against Saudi Arabia in 2003.

More recently, Al Qaeda militants have holed up in neighbouring Yemen, making it a base for cross-border attacks.

Now, says Lacey, “Saudi opinion has shifted, and sympathy for Al Qaeda has dropped. The sight of women in black abayas covered in blood made people line up with the government (against the militants).”

But animosity to “Western” liberalization lingers, stoked by media and schools that are run by conservative Islamists. The young, says Lacey, are especially vulnerable.

Saudi Arabia has an average income of about $25,000 a year, and nearly 80 per cent literacy. But dependent on oil wealth, it lacks jobs for its young, who make up 60 per cent of the country’s 28 million people: a generation that has higher education and expectations than their parents.

“It’s a deeply conservative, mistrustful population,” Lacey says.

King Abdullah has taken the fight to the fundamentalists’ own turf. He has funded a well-publicized militant rehabilitation project. And he is behind a $12.5 billion (U.S.) graduate research institute that will bring 21st century science and technology to Saudi Arabia, providing homegrown jobs and laying the groundwork for the future.

But the religious purists are already decrying plans to let men and women study together, as well as predictions that the institute will host large numbers of foreign faculty and students. The success or failure of the project will be a test case for Saudi Arabia’s evolution.

“At the king’s age,” says Lacey, “he knows there is little time to waste.”

October 26, 2009

Dinosaur extinction caused by Shiva??

Filed under: Geology,Technology — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

EVERYONE knows that the dinosaurs were exterminated when an asteroid hit what is now Mexico about 65m years ago. The crater is there. It is 180km (110 miles) in diameter. It was formed in a 100m-megatonne explosion by an object about 10km across. The ejecta from the impact are found all over the world. The potassium-argon radioactive dating method shows the crater was created within a gnat’s whisker of the extinction. Calculations suggest that the “nuclear winter” from the impact would have lasted years. Plants would have stopped photosynthesising. Animals would have starved to death. Case closed.

Asteroid hitting Earth

Asteroid hitting Earth

Well, it now seems possible that everyone was wrong. The Chicxulub crater, as it is known, may have been a mere aperitif. According to Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, the main course was served later. Dr Chatterjee has found a bigger crater—much bigger—in India. His is 500km across. The explosion that caused it may have been 100 times the size of the one that created Chicxulub. He calls it Shiva, after the Indian deity of destruction.

Dr Chatterjee presented his latest findings on Shiva to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, on October 18th. He makes a compelling case, identifying an underwater mountain called Bombay High, off the coast of Mumbai, that formed right at the time of the dinosaur extinction. This mountain measures five kilometres from sea bed to peak, and is surrounded by Shiva’s crater rim. Dr Chatterjee’s analysis shows that it formed from a sudden upwelling of magma that destroyed the Earth’s crust in the area and pushed the mountain upwards in a hurry. He argues that no force other than the rebound from an impact could have produced this kind of vertical uplift so quickly. And the blow that caused it would surely have been powerful enough to smash ecosystems around the world.

Double whammy

In truth, agreement on the cause of the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous (when not only the dinosaurs, but also a host of other species died) has never been as cut and dried among palaeontologists as it may have appeared to the public. One confounding factor is that the late Cretaceous was also a period of great volcanic activity. In India, which was then an island continent like Australia is today (it did not collide with Asia until 50m years ago), huge eruptions created fields of basalt called the Deccan Traps. Before the discovery of Chicxulub, the climate-changing effects of these eruptions had been put forward as an explanation for the death of the dinosaurs. After its discovery, some argued that even if the eruptions did not cause the extinction, they weakened the biosphere and made it particularly vulnerable to the Chicxulub hammer-blow.

Dinosaur extermination by Asteroids

Dinosaur extermination by Asteroids

There are also puzzling anomalies in the pattern of extinction. The greatest of these is that, as fiery and horrible as the impact would have been, the survivors included many seemingly sensitive animals like birds, frogs and turtles. Moreover, close inspection of the fossil record shows that many “Cretaceous” species disappear both well before, and well after, the signs of the impact that are found in the rocks.

Ironically, it was while he was investigating the Deccan Traps that Dr Chatterjee came across the evidence for Shiva. First, he found dinosaur nests that had been built between lava flows 10-15 metres thick—evidence that the animals were coping well with the volcanic activity rather than being weakened by it. Then, quite suddenly, 65m years ago, a layer of lava nearly 2km thick appears. This led him to wonder what could possibly have caused such a sudden volcanic surge.

He knew that the west coast of India had been the site of an ancient impact of unknown age and size. It was not until he was reading through a paper published by an oil company that had collected geological information in the area that he realised the volcanic surge he had seen might be related to a cosmic collision.

Further examination revealed a crater rich in shocked quartz and iridium, minerals that are commonly found at impact sites. (These are also the telltales in distant layers of ejecta that the rock in question has come from an impact.) Most important, the rocks above and below Shiva date it to 65m years ago. Dr Chatterjee therefore suggests that an object 40km in diameter hit the Earth off the coast of India and forced vast quantities of lava out of the Deccan Traps. As well as killing the dinosaurs the impact was, he proposes, responsible for breaking the Seychelles away from India.These islands and their surrounding seabed have long looked anomalous. They are made of continental rather than oceanic rock, and seem to be a small part of the jigsaw puzzle of continental drift rather than genuine oceanic islands.

Read the full story here.

October 25, 2009

World gears up for a peaceful tomorrow

When Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed the second Israeli Presidential Conference on Tuesday titled ‘Facing Tomorrow’, he hoped that if tomorrow comes, it would be peaceful.

So he spread his message of cheer and comfort among the August gathering at the gala opening of the three-day event that was inaugurated by President Shimon Perez and began with a video message from President Barak Obama, in the presence of world leaders from USA, Europe, ministers from China, ambassadors and representatives from the UN, research scientists, engineers, IT professionals, entrepreneurs and Noble Laureates.

The guru, who has a huge following in Israel, applied his own brand of narrative medicine, which is about healing yourself by hearing the stories of others. Touching upon a gamut of topics from climate change to the leadership issues in Israel and Palestine, a concerned Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said he was optimistic that patience and perseverance will bring peace in the region. With his wit and humor, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar brought a sense of lightness and laughter to an atmosphere.

Israel’s renowned talk show host Dan Shilon was the moderator for the session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on a panel, along with President Shimon Perez, Jimmy Wales, the founder for Wikipedia, Andre Azoulay, Counsellor of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, Cecilia Attias, President of Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Guma Aguiar.

Israel’s TV & Radio 2 stated, “No doubt, the most colourful and interesting talk was by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.” They quoted Sri Sri’s address saying, “vision and mission is needed among the youth towards resolving the conflict.” A statement issued by the president’s office noted that the conference was being held amid a number of significant problems facing the world. It listed them as the ongoing economic crisis, continuing ecological deterioration, political instability in the Middle East and Iran’s push to acquire nuclear weapons.

Leading economic, political, intellectual, and technological experts from Israel and the world will address these issues in this year’s conference, Perez’s’ office said.

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