Saturday, February 21, 2009

Views on the news - 20/02/2009

Britain one step away from the return of the Spanish Inquisition

On Feb 17 the Guardian newspaper reported that British government was considering plans that would lead to thousands more Muslims being branded as extremists. The proposals are in a counterterrorism strategy which ministers and security officials are drawing up that is due to be unveiled next month. Some say the plans would see views held by most Muslims in Britain being classed by the government as extreme. According to a draft of the strategy, Contest 2 as it is known in Whitehall, people would be considered as extremists if:

· They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.
· They promote Sharia law.
· They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world.
· This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
· They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.
· They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Contest 2 would widen the definition of extremists to those who hold views that clash with what the government defines as shared British values. Contest 2 is still being finalised by officials and ministers. Those considered extreme would not be targeted by the criminal law, but would be sidelined and denied public funds.
No doubt such measures will fail to halt the tide of Islamic awareness that now encompasses the whole world. But real question is—how long before Britain and the rest of Europe resort to a modern day Spanish Inquisition in a desperate bid to purge their Muslim populations for so called “belief crimes”.

Jim Rodgers on the current economic crisis: Get yourself a tractor and learn how to farm

In an interview with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera television, veteran investor Jim Rogers attacked Obama’s economic plan, blamed the Federal Reserve for the economic crisis and said that the World Bank and the IMF should be abolished, not given more power, if a recovery is to be made. Rogers strongly slammed Obama's stimulus package, pointing out that more good money was being thrown after bad, and that the bailouts were only making things worse. The veteran investor said that the U.S. was following the same disastrous policies as Japan in propping up companies that should be allowed to fail, and that the same consequences would be reaped as much as 20 years into the future.
"The way the system is supposed to work, when times like this come, the solid people, the competent people, take over the assets from the incompetent people and then you start over again from a sound base, this is what South Korea did, this is what Russia did, and they did fine. What they're doing this time is they're taking the assets away from the competent people and giving them to the incompetent people and saying now you compete with the competent people with their assets and their money - it's terrible economics and it's not going to work, it hasn't worked before and it's not going to work this time," said Rogers. Rogers said that price had to be paid for 15 years of excess, but that the crisis could have been overcome in two or three years had zombie companies and banks been allowed to go to the wall.
"The central bank in the United States, the Federal Reserve, would not let people fail," said Rogers. Asked if he had any respect for the World Bank and the IMF, Rogers responded, "Zero....the best thing that would happen would be if we could abolish the World Bank and the IMF, they were set up in 1945 and '46 with very sound goals and very sound aspirations - they have far far left behind those aspirations and goals, they're now run by people who do little more than take care of themselves....look at their projects and you would be mortified." In response to a question about what if any sectors would be profitable amidst the crash, Rogers advised people invested in stocks to "get yourself a tractor and learn how to farm".

America reveals Pakistan’s complicity in providing airbases for drone attacks

On Feb 14 the Pakistani English newspaper The Dawn revealed that Pakistan had granted permission to the US to use its airbase(s) to carry airstrikes in FATA. Expressing surprise over Pakistan’s opposition to the campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against targets inside the Pakistani border, Senator Feinstein said: “As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base.” The CIA declined to comment, but former US intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Senator Feinstein’s account was accurate. Later, Philip J. LaVelle, a spokesman for the senator, said her comment was based solely on previous news reports that Predators were operated from bases near Islamabad. Another Pakistani English newspaper The News reported that the US was secretly flying unmanned drones from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan as early as 2006, according to an image of the base from Google Earth. It also stated that the drones were Global Hawks — which are generally used only for reconnaissance, flying for up to 36 hours, at more than 400mph and an altitude of up to 60,000ft. The existence of drone bases inside Pakistan demonstrates that the Pakistani leadership is fully involved in the slaughter of its own citizens to please America.

Indonesia wants America to ‘educate’ its army officers

The cash-strapped and poorly equipped Indonesian Armed Forces, or TNI, has no plans to purchase military equipment from the United States but would welcome assistance in the area of officer training, Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said on Feb 18. Juwono told reporters that he had asked Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda to relay the message to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is currently in Jakarta for a two-day visit.“We want to enhance cooperation with the United States in order to give our military officers better educational and training opportunities,” Juwono said, adding that an exchange program involving TNI officers would be more constructive than an equipment purchase deal. Juwono said the TNI needed its officers to undergo advanced training programs, to enable them to lead the military in a more professional manner. American military programmes are renowned for producing loyal agents through which America secures her vital interests. Calling for such programmes is dangerous and is a betrayal of the Indonesian people. Rather the defence minister should have announced a complete cessation of ties with the US and demanded that America ends its military presence in the area.


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