Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hey BBC, Here are some Other Things to know About Kashmir

The BBC has a story about the death of a 12-year old in Srinagar that sums up the situation in the valley with the following "Five things to know about Kashmir."

  • India and Pakistan have disputed the territory for nearly 70 years - since independence from Britain
  • Both countries claim the whole territory but control only parts of it
  • Two out of three wars fought between India and Pakistan centred on Kashmir
  • Since 1989 there has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India
  • High unemployment and complaints of heavy-handed tactics by security forces battling street protesters and fighting insurgents have aggravated the problem.
That is not enough!

Anyone who wants to understand why Kashmir is the way it is, must also understand the following:

  • Britain deliberately created the dispute over Kashmir when they split India in 1947 to establish Pakistan; the aim was to prevent reconciliation.
  • The first war between India and Pakistan was in 1947, when the armies on both sides were still commanded by British officers. While it was going on a British officer established the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the spy agency that has effectively controlled Pakistan ever since.
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan who got rid of the British General commanding the country's Army in January 1950 and signed a peace pact with India, was assassinated in October the same year.
  • In 1988, President Zia al Haq of Pakistan and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India tried to make peace and were close to signing an agreement on Kashmir when the former was killed when his aircraft exploded in mid-air. Three years later, Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated.
  • It is important for the British to keep the Kashmir situation boiling because it gives them the leverage over Pakistan necessary to maintain control of Afghanistan, source of 90 per cent of the world's illicit opium and heroin. Only about 2 per cent of the $60 billion annual revenue from that drug trade stays in the region; the rest is siphoned into British banks.
  •  Those banks control the global money laundering economy through a string of some 70 "tax havens," most of them in small former British colonies. That money laundering system supports every terrorist group in the world. The so-called "Islamic terrorists" who have spread out from South Asia and the Middle East to Africa protect the routes along which Britain ferries drugs to major markets. 
It is necessary to keep all that in mind in trying to understand the tragic unnecessary death of a 12-year old in Kashmir. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

UN's Guterres Avoids Truth About Terrorism

In a wide-ranging talk to the annual gathering of the world's top security officials at Munich, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seemed to go out of his way to avoid telling the truth about global terrorism. 

He repeatedly referred to "fragile States," the multiplication of conflicts, their inter-relationship and "root causes" without once mentioning drug trafficking, money laundering and their role in shaping the disastrous terrorist conflicts ravaging the world. 

 There was no mention of the multi-trillion dollar illicit drain of funds from developing countries, a problem the African Group, and more recently the Group of 77 has specifically asked him to address. The only reference to illicit drain of resources was in answer to a question from the audience.

The inter-linkages he did mention were those between the "global mega-trends" of "climate change, population growth, urbanization, many times chaotic urbanization, food insecurity, water scarcity, massive movements of people." He pointed to "dramatic consequences, namely the competition for resources, increasing the probability of conflicts to take place and generating dramatic humanitarian situations."

The avoidance of the truth about the international situation was particularly vivid when he noted that the wealth of the eight richest men in the world equaled that of the poorest half of humanity. That comparison by the British charity OXFAM neatly directs attention away from those who run the global black market with its command center in London's financial district. The illicit flow of funds from developing countries is estimated at over $7 trillion in just the first decade of the 21st Century. Read More

Donors Not Giving to UN Haiti Cholera Fund

Donors have not been eager to fund the UN's belated effort to fight the cholera epidemic in Haiti brought to the island by a contingent of troops sent to help following the devastating earthquake of 2010. Only two percent of the needed $400 million has been raised, according to a letter UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sent to all member States.

So far, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein and South Korea have together contributed about $2 million to the UN fund, while Canada and Japan have donated $7 million bilaterally. Guterres asked member-states in the letter to notify the United Nations by March 6 if they intend to contribute to the fund. "Should resources not materialize, a multi-funded solution would have to be explored," the letter said. What exactly that means is not clear.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

UN System CEOs

The United Nations System consists of the central political organization, its 11 subsidiary entities, 15 autonomous Specialized Agencies and two related bodies, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Trade Organization. 

They are rather fitfully coordinated by twice a year meetings of a Chief Executives Board (CEB) under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General. 

I've just listed the (21) men and (8) women who make up the CEB and it makes interesting reading. The women are outnumbered but they run the largest and most influential agencies, including the IMF, the World Food Program (world's largest aid agency), the World Health Organization and UNDP (world's largest technical assistance agency). 

The listing has links to the biographical pages of the relevant agencies

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Imperial Elites and the United Nations

After World War II, as formal imperial structures were dismantled, those who had benefited from them were shape-shifting into the new money laundering elite. 

 These old/new elites will not relinquish their power meekly at the behest of UN resolutions and declarations. The three world wars (I, II and Cold) show the extent to which they will go to retain power, and it would be wise to expect horrors equal in magnitude as we seek to escape from their monstrous dominance. 

In our nuclear tinderbox world with a Pandora’s Box of invented pandemics it requires little imagination to think of what might happen.

There are also a number of less dramatic eventualities that could affect world order severely. Consider the following: Read More

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rich Debate on UN Peace Ops Misses key Issues

A richly detailed and lively two-day discussion of United Nations peace operations and architecture (10-11 May), left untouched the basic reason for the Organization’s 70-year failure to achieve its primary Charter aim. Although the debate was shot through with facts and themes pointing to a malign and actively hostile international environment, no one tried to define it or say how the UN should respond. 

A few speakers from developing countries murmured about the negative role of “external actors” and one from a comfortably peaceful and affluent country cautioned against doing even that. In contrast, there was much talk of the internal factors – from weak governance and lack of democracy to insufficiently inclusive elites – that have contributed to the current grim and deteriorating world situation.

The Secretary-General’s report last September on the “Future of United Nations Peace Operations” described the current world situation as follows: “Since 2008 the number of major violent conflicts has almost tripled. Long-simmering disputes have escalated or relapsed into wars, while new conflicts have emerged in countries and regions once considered stable. Labels assigned to conflict, such as “internal”, “inter-State”, “regional”, “ethnic” or “sectarian”, have become increasingly irrelevant as transnational forces of violent extremism and organized crime build on and abet local rivalries. Environmental degradation and resource deprivation are not contained by borders. Exclusion at home is driving tension abroad. The number of people displaced by war is approaching 60 million, and global humanitarian needs for 2015 amount to close to $20 billion.”

Remarkably, neither the Secretary-General’s report nor the two from expert panels in 2015 inquired into the reasons for the negative trend and the growing disorder. That lack of curiosity has been endemic in the UN system as a whole, despite repeated complaints about the predatory international environment from developing countries dating back to the conceptual birth of the Nonaligned Movement at the 1955 Bandung Conference in Indonesia. Read More

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New Hearings for UN Secretary-General Candidates

The slow-motion search for the next head of the United Nations is moving into a new phase. General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft announced today that he had scheduled the next so-called "informal dialogues" with candidates on 7 June. However, he did not say who would be appearing. 

According to scuttlebutt the new candidates will be Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia, Susanna Malcorra of Argentina and former UN Chef de Cabinet Alicia Barcena of Mexico.

Meanwhile, AP UN correspondent Edith Lederer reported that two of the declared candidates, Croatia's Vesna Pusic and Moldova's Natalia Gherman had asked to meet with the Security Council. Pusic had asked for the meeting to hear the "concerns and questions" of council members and have its 15 members evaluate her candidacy.

The selection schedule for the next head of the UN calls for a decision on a new Secretary-General by mid-year, allowing a significant period of transition.

For more information on the declared candidates and the selection process check out