Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The French-German Tussle In Pakistan

I have received this urgent alert from Mr. Zaid Hamid, the renowned Pakistani security analyst, regarding the Franco-German diplomatic tussle over selling submarines to Pakistan. The government of Mr. Asif Zardari wants to buy the French subs, mainly becuase the French pay heavy commission/bribes. The German subs are more effective. The Pakistani military appears to have chosen the German subs. But the dollar-hungry government of President Zardari wants to oblige his old friend Nicholas Sarkozy. Obviously the kickbacks will be received by a group of Pakistani and French officials.

Here's Mr. Hamid's alert:

"The French and the Indians are using extreme pressure, bribes and diplomacy with the Pakistani government and the Pakistan Naval Headquarters to block and cancel the German submarine deal. The French want to sell their subs and the Indians are scared of the German platform and technology. Someone powerful in the government is selling the nation's honor as we write. Someone please act immediately."

Interestingly, the deal with the German government was almost sealed when the Zardari government began contacts with the French government to sabotage the German deal. Shamefully for Pakistan, the government of Angela Merkel actually went the extra mile and even pacified the opposition in her country to the deal with Pakistan. Now the Germans are waiting for Pakistan's Ministry of Defense to simply issue a purchase order. This hasn't come.

For more details about the intrigues and the under-the-table moves on this deal, click and read this report:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Musharraf Sound Asleep Tonight

Let me cut through the confusion and tell you this.

The case in the court is about two Sindh high court judges who want to be reinstated. It is not about Musharraf. The former president is not under prosecution.

His name came up because the fate of the two judges depends on an action taken by the former president two years ago.

If the former president’s action is right, then the two judges can be restored to their jobs. If the action is wrong, the two judges will stay jobless.

Someone emailed me asking: If the court proves that introducing emergency rule on Nov. 3, 2007, was wrong, does that mean Mr. Musharraf will be hanged?

Hell, no. Not in this case. Someone has to register a separate case against the former president for that to happen. And even then it’s not guaranteed.

It is the fate of the two jobless judges that is being decided, not Musharraf’s.

Case closed.

I am sure Mr. Musharraf will have a good night's sleep in London tonight without any worry.

A word for the judges: Maybe the Supreme Court of Pakistan should probe the case of the politician caught red handed in credit card theft and fraud and is still walking free, thanks to the plane hijacker whom the court found not guilty a few days ago.

Or how about the other provincial minister who almost raped a woman and then settled quietly out of court and continues to be in his job.

Better still, maybe the Supreme Court should take up NRO, the law that washed clean our President, his Interior Minister and terrorists from several Pakistani political parties that pretend to be parties when they are actually made up of thugs and criminals.
[I won't mention the minister suspected of protecting the accused in burying three women alive in Balochistan, or the feudal lords who threw a pregnant young woman to hungry dogs in Sindh. It's hard to believe I am still talking about our 'democracts', these gems of Pakistani democracy!].

Doing any of the above is better for the Supreme Court than wasting our time and its own by involving itself in issues like Musharraf or the case of the hijacker prime minister who endangered the country’s security and reputation by kidnapping the plane of the army chief.

Seriously, Pakistan these days is under the reign of the deranged. Who is guiltier? A former president who came to save the nation and ended up handing it over to criminals? Or criminals who think they are politicians and statesmen? Or judges who are making rulings as if they are living in Switzerland, as if Pakistan were some kind of a birthplace of democracy?

It’s a country ruled by thieves. Wake up, judges.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CNN-BBC And India's Women

Do you know that around 50,000 females are missing from India's population at any given time because most of them are buried alive after birth?

For every 100 Indian men, there are less than 93 Indian women, and the number is going down, for the women that is.

And these are the best estimates. Chances are it is worse than what is being reported.

The world's biggest democracy, India, is also home to the world's biggest figures of child deaths, child labor, and child sex bondage. The real shocker, however, is female infanticide where it is an accepted practice in entire Indian villages in many cases to bury female newborns immediately after birth.

Again, this is not a limited phenomenon. It is an ACCEPTED PRACTICE in large swathes of India. As we speak, there is a baby girl somewhere in India, mostly outside the cities, being buried alive right now.

Don't believe me. Check UN figures. Also check this report on an Indian site

Burying girls alive is not the only anti-woman crime common in India and sanctioned by customs and religion.

There is also marrying off girls as young as 13 to older men.

Again, this is not about isolated incidents. There are entire regions in India where this is a common practice. India has a law against this but it is seldom enforced. If it was, more than 10% of India's population would have been in jail now.

The latest is the story of Rekha Kalindi, a bright 13-year-old poor girl from a village just outside Kolkata, or Calcutta [read her story here]. Rekha's story came to light because she said no to her parents who were marrying her off to a guy more than double her age. She happened to attend a foreign-run school and that’s why her story reached the media. She is lucky. Most of the girls her age in her area are married off before or just at the cusp of puberty.

But you won't hear about this story on CNN or BBC. Now imagine if the same thing happened in Saudi Arabia for example, or Pakistan, or any other Muslim country. Both CNN and BBC and other outlets of the Am-Brit combine would be buzzing with coverage and spilling crocodile tears over the sad state of women in Muslim countries and so forth. Most of the time they exaggerate, since such practices are dying out even inside Saudi Arabia where they are on the extreme fringes of society and do not represent the mainstream Saudi women.

The same goes for Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and other places. But any woman-related story from these countries is instantly picked up by CNN and BBC to feed a stereotype that indirectly justifies the so-called War on Terror, which in many ways is a War on Islam by the US-UK military-intelligence complex that wants a threat to justify the hunt for world's riches.

Meanwhile, thousands of girls like Rekha go about in India being married off at 13 if they're lucky and not buried alive at birth. And yet India gets away with building nuclear bombs and reactors, now with the active help of the United States. The Indian government is even spending hundreds of millions of dollars to send an Indian to space [most probably to open an offshore call center for the Russians, Americans, and the Chinese who are already there, so goes an online joke I read on a website posted by George Fernandes].

At this point you might ask me: Why India then gets preferential treatment and gets away with all of this?

Simple. India is the new cheap, well equipped slave-soldier for American and British plans in Asia. Who cares about 13-year-old Rekha Kalindi.

Incredible India, isn't it?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

McDemocracy In Iraq And Pakistan

"Augustus boasted that he found Rome a city of bricks and made it a city of marble. Baghdad was another city of bricks, and a coterie of American generals turned it into a city of cement." -- Washington Post correspondent Anthony Shadid;

But it wasn't just a 'coterie of American generals.'

The worst culprits in America are the think-tank types in Washington and New York who believe they can sit in their cozy air-conditioned offices watching Fox and CNBC and come up with kooky ideas about shaping the politics in other nations. Read for some of them and you'd wonder how could the peoples of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan live for so many centuries without the wise and sage advice of American think-tank types.

The latest victim of American McDemocracy is Pakistan, where a nation that had Asia's best performing capital market before 2004 has been utterly destabilized by Washington in order to bring a McDemocractic government to power.

Pakistan is destined to suffer as long as it continues to allow the Americans inside Pakistan buying and cajoling politicians and public figures, while the American military messes up whatever is left of Afghanistan.

Will Mr. Rehman Malik Ask Interpol To Arrest Google Chief Now?

Our friends at http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/ did this search. And it turns out that Google search engine receives huge queries on the word Zardari followed by the words you can see above, which are expletives in Urdu, Pakistan's language. I checked it out this snapshot from the search page is absolutely correct. I hope the sleuths of Mr. Rehman Malik, Mr. Zardari's Interior Minister, see this and decide to take action against Google and Yahoo.

Thanks to Mr. President and his team the world is laughing at us. Well done.

By the way, former President Musharraf, who probably made a gazillion mistakes [including bringing the present nincompoops to power] never reacted like this to hundreds of jokes and insults on him on television talk shows, comedies, text messages and emails. And he supposedly was a dictator.
Check out what PKKH found out when it searched for terms such as Sherry Rehman and Mr. 10%. Click here to read the story:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Jokes on Zardari or Rehman Malik, Please!

In 2006-07, Washington brokered a ‘deal’ with an outgoing military ruler to restore democracy in the country. Pundits warned that Benazir Bhutto and her husband weren’t exactly democrats. Washington needed yes-men in Islamabad. It got what it wanted. This is how American-imposed democracy looks like in Pakistan today.

You have to give it to Pakistan’s civilian dictators. This is their second major anti-democratic action in less than a week.

The first was the scrapping of town and city governments across Pakistan. These governments challenged the 60-year old monopoly of the politician-landlords of Pakistan and their powerful families. The ‘local’ governments empowered middle and lower class Pakistanis for the first time. Ironically it was a military-led government that introduced the system. It had some flaws but it did make more Pakistanis part of the decision making process.

It was a matter of time before the combined Pakistani political elite struck down the local governments. Interestingly, all Pakistani politician-landlords, the feudal arbiters of Pakistan’s destiny, are united on this. No surprises here.

The crack down on expression through SMS and the Internet is the least that the elected government can do. For example they can’t do much about the 50+ independent television news channels in the country licensed under the last military-led government.

While there is no question that Pakistan needs cybercrime legislation to regulate the alternative media, the problem with the new act is that it is designed to stifle and punish legitimate criticism. Much of the legitimate political criticism on Internet and harmless jokes through SMS messages will be blocked by this new law.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik gave three reasons and three layers to the new draconian cybercrime law:

1. To protect lady members of parliament who receive abusive calls or text messages.

2. To curb ‘slander’ against the ‘political leadership’ of the country; the loosely defined ‘cyber crimes’ are punishable by a 14-year jail term.

3. To prevent terrorist or banned groups from using the Internet for propaganda against the Pakistani military.

There is no question that the main aim of this law is the point number 2 above, to counter criticism against the PPP-led government.

The Pakistani military and the female parliamentarians [points 1 and 3 above] were dragged in as camouflage.

I am accused of being soft on the Pakistani military and I am yet to see any significant Internet propaganda against the Pakistani military by terrorists or banned groups. The complaints of lady politicians can be handled through existing laws. The only party that faces constant criticism and ridicule for its policies through SMS messages and emails is the PPP-led government. There is no other reason for the cybercrime law.

The ‘Democratic’ Government’s Previous Attempts

The PPP-led government tried to crack down on SMS and emails last month when it levied a new tax on all text messages. The tax was going to ruin this source of revenue for Pakistan’s five cellular companies and send a wrong signal to one of the fastest growing sectors of the Pakistani economy.

As soon as the tax was announced, a text message began making the rounds in Urdu that can be roughly translated as, ‘The government has imposed a tax on all messages. This means that until now President Zardari was getting abused for free. Now he’ll get paid every time someone abuses him!’

Mr. Zardari’s Spelling Mistakes

Another proof of how this law is not as innocent as it sounds is the PPP-led government’s first brush with Internet and SMS criticism last year.

In September 2008, Mr. Zardari visited the Mausoleum of The Great Leader [Pakistan’s Founding Father] in Karachi and jotted down a few words in the visitors’ book. It turned how he made some embarrassing spelling mistakes. Someone photographed the page using a cell phone and posted it online.

The government and party spokespeople said the picture was fake. But one of Pakistan’s senior most columnists, Ardeshir Cowasjee, investigated the matter on the ground and exposed the real story. It turned out the President’s men were sent to remove the page and rewrite the message with the corrections. [
Click to see this story as relayed by Mr. Cowasjee].

Incensed at the embarrassment, Mr. Rehman Malik, a former director of the Federal Investigations Agency [FIA] was assigned to punish those publicizing the President’s spelling skills. No less than the official news agency, the APP, was ordered to issue a warning to Pakistanis on sending SMS messages and emails on the subject. [
Click to see the story].

Rehman Malik’s Hurt

The question is: Why now? What exactly prompted Interior Minister Rehman Malik, a powerful aide to President Zardari and a former director of FIA to introduce the new cybercrime act?

A day before unveiling the new law, an anonymous writer posted a revealing report on Internet that explained how Mr. Malik and Mr. Zardari contacted Indian intelligence and agents from Israel’s Mossad spy agency and promised them information on Pakistan’s nuclear program in exchange for money. [
Click here to see the report. Or click here for an alternative link.]

The report said that the activities of both Mr. Malik and Mr. Zardari were the main reason behind the dismissal in 1996 of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto’s government. Zardari was a minister and Malik was running the FIA.

Several versions of this story have been circulating in Pakistan for the past several years. But the new Internet version is the first time that someone has articulated what happened in a detailed report rich in references and names. No one knows for sure if the story is true. Neither Mr. Malik nor Mr. Zardari has commented on the allegations now or ever.

The fact remains that issues such as Mr. Zardari’s initial foreign policy blunders with Pakistan’s traditional allies China and Saudi Arabia, his apologetic policy toward a belligerent India, his embrace of Hamid Karzai who is seen in Pakistan as an American puppet, his US-brokered rise to power, and the questionable source of the immense wealth that he and his close aide Mr. Malik have accumulated after their stints in power, not to mention the general revulsion in Pakistan toward unimaginative and incapable politicians, all of this will ensure that both of them and their closest aides will remain on the hit list of political satirists.

The question is: Can Pakistan’s self-styled democrats take it?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What More Evidence On Mr. Zardari Do We Need?

Someone in the Presidency in Islamabad should inform Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to go easy on his passion for kissing American bottom.

I know he is grateful to the United States government for restoring his and his late wife's billions of dollars in unexplained wealth, and for elevating him to power in Pakistan.

But he should go easy on how he expresses his gratitude.

Under his command, the Pakistani government has conferred the nation's highest civilian award on at least three or four US citizens in less than a year.

That's a world record for US officials. No one has shown them this much love. Not even the Brits.

And now Mr. Zardari is repeating like a parrot what the American media and some US officials and think-tank types say about Pakistan that it 'created' the Taliban and other extremist groups to serve foreign policy interests.

Of course, that's baloney.

There is nothing wrong if Pakistan identified friends among Afghan and Kashmiri groups that emerged because of crises in those regions.

It is our right to support our friends as much as the Indians are supporting Tibetan terrorists on Indian soil, or the Americans are secretly backing Chinese Muslim groups.

This is why a majority of Pakistanis have been shocked by the irresponsible statement by the President of Pakistan 'admitting' that Pakistan has 'created' violent groups.

The presidential spokesman, Farhatullah Babur, is busy firing off angry statements to newspapers scolding what he calls ‘Bhutto-haters’. A better use of his time might be to show his boss some recent examples of what others do to protect their interests.

Mr. Babar can tell Mr. Zardari the story of the American woman caught red handed in Tehran a couple of months ago with documents in her hand stolen from a sensitive government department. She was accredited as a journalist by a respectable American newspaper that issued her a reporter's badge knowing that she is no journalist and knowing that she will be spying for CIA.

When the operation was botched and she was arrested, all Washington's threats were gone and were replaced by somber pleas for her release with quiet winks that if Iran releases the spy, America might consider going easy on Iran [unfortunately the Mullahs in Tehran fell for the ruse.]

Yet no US Senator or Congressman came out to say, 'Why are we sending spies to other countries' or 'Let's admit that we've created the Jundullah terrorist group to bring down Iran's government.'

In any other self-respecting nation, President Zardari would've been impeached by now. But not in Pakistan. We're destined to enjoy the bitter fruits of the Am-Brit imposed democracy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Democracy Of Thieves

… and fraudsters, rapists and murderers. This is the truth about Pakistan’s democracy that Washington and London lobbied to impose on the country’s otherwise creative and hardworking people. The government in power, led by Mrs. Bhutto’s widower Asif Zardari, is made up of your choicest convicts whose names read like an entry book in a maximum security prison.

The opposition, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is even funnier. I’m not sure if we Pakistanis are supposed to laugh or cry. In the past six months, Mr. Sharif’s party has produced ministers and members of parliament with the following list of achievements:

attempted rape and murder
attempted smuggling of diamonds
attempted cheating in an academic examination
and a sexist slander against a lady member of parliament

And now we have a lady member of parliament from Mr. Sharif’s party appearing in a security camera showing impressive self confidence as she buys jewelry and clothes worth US $1,000 using a credit card she stole from another woman at a health club.

I believe that the accused lady politician, Shomaila Rana, can’t be blamed. Pakistan’s superrich feudal elite, which has a monopoly over politics and runs political parties as family businesses, has produced a ruling class that looks down at the country’s middle and lower class Pakistanis. Mr. Sharif, widely seen as Mr. Zardari’s future replacement, often gives the look of a vengeful man whose compass is stuck in 1999, the year he lost power to a military intervention.

So, next election we’ll be replacing government thieves with opposition thieves.

I leave you with these two fine short commentaries.

The first one is this hilarious commentary by Riaz Jafri, a retired colonel of the Pakistan Army who resides in Rawalpindi:

“One has to admire the nerves, the cool confidence and the calm composure of the lady MPA while presenting the allegedly ‘stolen’ credit card and affixing her signatures on the bill on making the purchases. Not an eye blinked nor a finger quivered during the entire episode, which would have made even a three-war hardened soldier like me sweat profusely. If the honourable MPA can be that deft, skilled and expert with a card not belonging to her, then what havoc could not be expected of her playing with the millions of the state funds and other lucrative deals entrusted to her by the nation? Hers is the 5th case bringing ignominy to the party. When an elderly white bearded Haji MPA can cheat in an examination, when an honourable minister can not only allegedly bypass the customs channels but also manhandle the custom staff on duty, when an honorable minister can misbehave with a lady MPA on the floor of the assembly and when an honorable minister is accused of raping a woman under threat of murdering her, can the image of the politicians and the political parties remain untarnished and clean? One would not be wrong in assuming that probably these are only a few out of the thousands of cases that have surfaced. A proverbial tip of the iceberg! How many more must have gone unnoticed and consequently unpunished. If such are our leaders, do we need foes?”

The second brief one is by Joshua Kurlantzick, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote this insightful paragraph while reviewing a book on Pakistan:

“[T]he country remains in the grip of venal, feudal, wealthy politician-landlords like the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and the current president, Asif Ali Zardari, for whom democracy means one vote one time, after which the victors go on to dominate indefinitely. Worse, greed and graft have led Islamabad’s ruling class to ignore large portions of the population, who remain illiterate, and their incompetent governance has opened the door to” chaos.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alex The Great Goes Pansy!

Yesterday we had a nice guy from NATO visiting Islamabad. Admiral Giampaolo di Paola told Pakistani reporters that NATO was not in Afghanistan to 'conquer the country like Alexander the Great.'

"We will not stay a day longer when we're asked to leave," he said.

And who will ask them to leave? The puppet government of Hamid Karzai, his ministers, army and intelligence who owe their new jobs to a foreign occupation?

I enjoyed a hearty laugh when I saw the good NATO admiral deny that his army was a new Alexander The Great.

You're right, Mr. di Paolo. Those were honorable men. When they came to occupy a nation, they said so openly and didn't lie like pansies in the UN Security Council showing doctored photographs of mobile nuclear labs in order to justify occupation [sorry Colin Powell]. They plundered and left or stayed and built. Those who brought you here, Mr. di Paolo are plunderers and destroyers.

Right now in Afghanistan we have pansies and thieves occupying and ruling a proud nation. They don't have the guts to admit they're occupying someone else's country. If they admit it, then they'd at least become responsible for rebuilding what they broke. Yet these occupiers refuse to take this responsibility, and then send nice guys to tell us they are here on the request of the very puppets they have put in power.

The occupied nation of Afghanistan is not sitting quiet of course. Just cut through the fog of propaganda and you'll see a nation rejecting them and fighting and giving them a good run for their money.

di Paolo was visibly embarrassed when the CIA drones were mentioned. Almost at a loss for words. “I don’t want to (be seen) as shy," he said, "I am not a US official. There are some US policies ... I believe that [sovereignty] of both Pakistan and Afghanistan should be respected."

We understand you, Adm. di Paolo. You've been dragged into Afghanistan by these pansies who hide behind democracy, terror and women's rights. They've wasted eight years and turned Afghanistan into a base for narcotics trade and a base for destabilizing China, Pakistan and Iran.

Leave while you can, Mr. di Paolo, or your friends who brought you here will lead you to bankruptcy as they've done to their own nation.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oooh! Another Pakistan Scare Story

This is another example of the scare campaign that the American and the British [Am-Brit] media is busy waging against Pakistan.

Hizb al-Tahrir is a small British Muslim group. It is not only based in the UK but some of its members were granted political asylum by successive British governments. There have been reports that the British secret service MI6 has actually penetrated the group and succeeded in planting or recruiting agents to be used in their countries of origin.

The Hizb has always been peaceful and its members were never found involved in violence. But it is their position that all governments in Arab and Muslim nations need to be removed in order to establish a Muslim empire.

Nothing wrong with that. They're free to believe in this and promote it peacefully. We have Israelis who believe in reviving the Kingdom of Israel from the Niles to the Euphrates. And we have Americans who believe America must wage wars in order to preserve its supremacy and end competition. And we have Indians who believe God is a monkey or a cow. So big deal if we have the Hizb.

The Hizb has never specifically focused on Pakistan because the group is equally present in almost all the major Arab and Muslim nations.

But here we have the Sunday Times specifically creating a scare over Pakistan. Why? Because it fits into the Am-Brit campaign of lying to the world about Pakistan and creating an image where Britian and the US could argue that the world allow these two to invade another nation for the sake of world peace.

Pakistani politicians visit Washington and London frequently but are scared to raise this anti-Pakistan campaign in the Am-Brit media.

Maybe this is because most of these politicians have their properties and assets in London. This Am-Brit campaign has tremendously damaged Pakistan’s image worldwide through lies and inaccuracies.

There is enough evidence that the Am-Brit media is indulging in targeted campaigns that serve the objectives of their governments and their militaries, like the gang-up on Iran.

Pakistan should demand that this anti-Pakistanism stop.

It’s also interesting to note who is behind this anti-Pakistanism. The Sunday Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch’s other media group, FoxNews, has been dedicated to the cause of the new empire builders in Washington and their poodles in London.

You American? You Can Get This Award For Free

Pretty soon half of Washington will be wearing Pakistan’s highest civil award if President Zardari and his Washington office boy Husain Haqqani have their way.

Pakistan has many gracious American friends and we must show them our appreciation. We also need to help ordinary Americans cut through the anti-Pakistan propaganda that some US officials and government agencies are indulging in.

But installing a pop-an-award coin machine in Islamabad is not the way to do it. Especially when Mr. Zardari and Mr. Haqqani are using the award to appease those in Washington who brought the odd couple to power. The people in Washington are not stupid. They can see through the actions of Mr. Zardari and Mr. Haqqani.
Why should the good name of Pakistan’s highest civil award and the Quaid-e-Azam be muddied by Pakistan’s versions of Billy the Kid and Butch Cassidy?

US Congressman Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, is probably the fourth American citizen in less than a year to receive The Crescent Of The Great Leader [Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam]. And as in all previous cases, Mr. Haqqani recommended the awards and Zardari ordered them.

The joke in Islamabad these days is that Mr. Zardari has amended the rules to state that US citizenship and connections in Washington are now prerequisites to qualify for the prestigious award. Pakistan’s Independence Day, 14 August, used to be the occasion to announce these awards for those who have done exceptional service to the nation.

President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have amended the rules to allow the president to confer the award anytime he pleases. In the good old days before Pakistan turned into an American protectorate with a US-installed government, civil awards used to be announced once a year on August 14, the Pakistan Independence Day, for investiture on the next Pakistan Day on March 23.

But those were the good old days. To look at it from one angle, it’s good that Pakistan is hitting rock bottom under the stewardship of this exceptional leadership. This will teach our people a valuable lesson in identifying future charlatans.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Funny Presidential Spokesman

Presidential spokesmen are supposed to maintain high standards of public conduct but obviously not in Pakistan where foreign-brokered deals often bring fake democrats to power.

A simple fact is that the Presidency released an official photograph of the President and the Prime Minister with the Pakistan Cricket Team. This official photograph taken inside the Presidency showed no trace of the traditional portrait of the Quaid-e-Azam. Instead there were four – not one but four – portraits of PPP leaders on the wall behind the President and the team members.

Instead of firing off an angry statement [
The News, 1 July 2009] full of fume and bluster, Mr. Babar could have admitted an oversight, acknowledged the importance of the official portrait of the Founding Father of the nation, and ended the controversy by saying this will not be repeated. While at it, he could have also taken the courtesy of giving full respect to the ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ instead of repeating the single word ‘Quaid’ several times in his statement. [He should excuse us since we Pakistanis are lost now with so many permanent ‘Quaids’ leading our illustrious political parties.]

But instead Mr. Babar ended up giving us a long lecture about “the detractors of the Bhuttos,” the “Bhutto-haters,” and my favorite line, “It is a measure of the greatness of the Bhuttos that even a mention of their name boils the blood of the detractors forcing them to stoop as low as to fabricate lies.”

Is this how a Presidential Spokesman should sound like in a large important nation? He is right in a sense because it is not true that the portrait of the Founding Father has been removed from the Presidency. But why should the Presidency release an official photograph showing the framed pictures of four party leaders and none for the man who should be there in the first place? Is there no protocol officer in the Presidency who could prevent such blunders?

And when will we see people like Mr. Babar act professionally like government officials should and not like some smalltime party activist shouting street slogans?

If you like this, check out these two earlier posts:

Free $14 Billion Dollar Airtime For Twitter On CNN

It's not just me. Others like cartoonist Matt Bors are also noticing the absurdity of the Twitter revolution that CNN is heavily promoting.

Seriously, why the free advertizing for Twitter? I mean, even the US military joined in when it arranged a free trip for Twitter owners to Iraq to meet tribal leaders and then arranged for coverage in all the major US news organizations.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Obama's First Coup

So, the United States is really no longer using CIA to topple governments and support terrorist insurgencies in other countries? Read this excellent brief analysis of the American connection to the toppling of the elected government in Honduras. This story is important because it partially explains what has been happening in Afghanistan for the past eight years, how the Afghan Taliban wiped out the drug trade and how CIA restored it to full glory in no time.

MSM Monitor: Obama's First Coup

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hey America: Tomahawks Or Michael Jackson?

Two things made America more influential and awe inspiring than any other nation on the face of the earth: cowboy movies and Michael Jackson.

Long before the American Tomahawks, B-52s and the rest of the American weapons used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, Michael Jackson entered the houses of the nations across the Middle East and Central Asia.

Some say these Muslim nations want war with America. That’s typical Langley hogwash. Long before Karen Hughes and Don Rumsfeld came up with kooky concepts of public diplomacy, and long before Pentagon and State Department established offices for outreach to Muslims, this icon of modern American culture was welcomed in a region that knew little about American culture or simply didn’t care.

America didn’t need men with twisted minds and Darth-Vader plans for global domination to open the doors for American supremacy [this is for you, Richard Perle]. It happened anyway thanks to Jackson, Stallone and Madonna.

I was ten years old, growing up in the Middle East with kids who were Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Iranians, Palestinians, Yemenis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Turks, Sudanese and Afghans. And I distinctly remember how in 1982 and 1983 Michael Jackson burst on the scene, to a great and an enthusiastic welcome never accorded to an American before.

Those who knew one face of America – Reagan at the time – and vehemently hated it became crazy about another American face. I am sure they could never reconcile this contradiction deep in their hearts. But it was there, the two sides coexisting side by side.

Aside from our region, Michael’s music opened the doors of the Soviet Union and China to everything American, not to mention Africa, East Asia and the rest of the world. Before his album, Thriller, for example, only members of the elite in some of these nations knew the truth: that there is another side to America besides imperialism, a good side.

It seems so ordinary now. But, really, think about it; closed and proud societies warmly welcoming a completely new and alien culture of a country whose foreign policy was viewed suspiciously by many.

Right about the same time as Michael’s Thriller and the moonwalk, there came Sylvester Stallone with his accent, Tom Cruise with Top Gun, and then ‘USA for Africa’: forty-five American singers joining in a song for the victims of the African drought. The song, We Are The World, gave the world this amazing message about an American nation striving to help the needy. Even the best American diplomats and the best image consultants couldn’t buy the goodwill that these ordinary good Americans created for their nation.

Sure, while this was happening, CIA was secretly supporting terrorist militias in Latin America and Africa, pushing Iraq to declare war against Iran, destabilizing governments and exploiting the pure passion and the blood of the Afghans to settle an American score with the Soviets. America’s governments were doing dirty things. But it was the good side of America that the people of the world preferred, the one that was really launched by Michael Jackson and others. The Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union didn’t exactly crumble thanks only to America’s gung-ho politicians or military strategists. They crumbled because of the enduring power of the image that Jackson and Madonna and Tom Cruise and Stallone and others spread worldwide.
This is the lesson that America desperately needs to learn today. Jackson almost launched America's cultural supremacy in the digital age. CIA or the US military used it, not caused it. So who is the real asset?

Enough of US government using Hollywood celebrities to get back at China like Stephen Spielberg did when he canceled a contract for Beijing Olympics last year in a theatrical move to politicize Tibet; and enough of the US government using YouTube and Twitter as political tools in its not-so-innocent battle with Iran.

The Americans need to bring that time back when they came together for something like ‘USA for Africa’, an effort devoid of any political mileage, like the search for cheap oil in African jungles, which is what they’re doing now.

This ugly and militarized side of America has eclipsed everything else in the past decade. Let’s remember that Washington’s entire might in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t and couldn’t generate the kind of real goodwill that America received with Jackson’s death.

Your Jacksons are far more appealing than your Tomahawks. Get it. Or beat it.