SPY EYES website launched

Posted by Admin On Sunday, 28 April 2013 0 comments

By the Grace of Almighty Allah (SWT), Team SPY EYES proudly announce the launch of its website.

The website will provide news from all over the world, analysis, articles and much more. 

Website is still under construction, its the BETA version and changes will be made time by time. Here is the link of our website:


Thanks for your support and co operation.




Posted by Admin On Saturday, 27 April 2013 0 comments

Erik Rush and others who hastened to scapegoat Muslims for the Boston Marathon bombing are ignorant of the religion. I can’t understand why people who have never so much as read a book about a subject appoint themselves experts on it. We don’t yet know who carried out the attack, but we know they either aren’t Muslims at all or they aren’t real Muslims, in the nature of the case.

For the crowd, here are the top ten ways that Islamic law and tradition forbid terrorism :-

1. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

2. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

3. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

4. In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state, as advised by the mufti or national jurisconsult.

5. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, Abu Bakr, their caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

6. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes, “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/ 1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah . . .”

7. Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice.

8. The Prophet Muhammad counseled doing good to those who harm you and is said to have commanded, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

9. The Qur’an demands of believers that they exercise justice toward people even where they have reason to be angry with them: “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

10. The Qur’an assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims. I wrote elsewhere, “Dangerous falsehoods are being promulgated to the American public. The Quran does not preach violence against Christians.

Quran 5:69 says (Arberry): “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabeaans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness–their wage waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.”

In other words, the Quran promises Christians and Jews along with Muslims that if they have faith and works, they need have no fear in the afterlife. It is not saying that non-Muslims go to hell–quite the opposite.

When speaking of the 7th-century situation in the Muslim city-state of Medina, which was at war with pagan Mecca, the Quran notes that the polytheists and some Arabian Jewish tribes were opposed to Islam, but then goes on to say:

5:82. ” . . . and you will find the nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”

So the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims!
Infact, Islam doesn't allow violence against any innocent.
The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God, and their lack of overweening pride.

So next time, when a hate-driven, TV brainwashed sheep gives you Quran of his own understanding, please do well to bear this in mind and learn about Islam from the person belonging to that religion. Not someone who merely falls for the interpretation of terrorists who perform rituals in the Bohemian Grove.

Of Aisha’s age at marriage

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IT is said that Hazrat Aisha was six years old when her nikah was performed with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Makkah, and nine years old when she moved in to live with her husband in Madina after Hijra.
This piece of misinformation has led to the wrong view that child marriage has the sanction of Islam. It must be noted that establishing the authenticity of hadiths, the narrators’ circumstances and the conditions at that time have to be correlated with historical facts. There is only one hadith by Hisham which suggests the age of Hazrat Aisha as being nine when she came to live with her husband.
Many authentic hadiths also show that Hisham’s narration is incongruous with several historical facts about the Prophet’s life, on which there is consensus. With reference to scholars such as Umar Ahmed Usmani, Hakim Niaz Ahmed and Habibur Rehman Kandhulvi, I would like to present some arguments in favour of the fact that Hazrat Aisha was at least 18 years old when her nikah was performed and at least 21 when she moved into the Prophet’s house to live with him.
According to Umar Ahmed Usmani, in Surah Al-Nisa, it is said that the guardian of the orphans should keep testing them, until they reach the age of marriage, before returning their property (4:6). From this scholars have concluded that the Quran sets a minimum age of marriage which is at least puberty. Since the approval of the girl has a legal standing, she cannot be a minor.
Hisham bin Urwah is the main narrator of this hadith. His life is divided into two periods: in 131A.H. the Madani period ended, and the Iraqi period started, when Hisham was 71 years old. Hafiz Zehbi has spoken about Hisham’s loss of memory in his later period. His students in Madina, Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifah, do not mention this hadith. Imam Malik and the people of Madina criticised him for his Iraqi hadiths.
All the narrators of this hadith are Iraqis who had heard it from Hisham. Allama Kandhulvi says that the words spoken in connection with Hazrat Aisha’s age were tissa ashara, meaning 19, when Hisham only heard (or remembered), tissa, meaning nine. Maulana Usmani thinks this change was purposely and maliciously made later.
Historian Ibn Ishaq in his Sirat Rasul Allah has given a list of the people who accepted Islam in the first year of the proclamation of Islam, in which Hazrat Aisha’s name is mentioned as Abu Bakr’s “little daughter Aisha”. If we accept Hisham’s calculations, she was not even born at that time.
Some time after the death of the Prophet’s first wife, Hazrat Khadija, Khawla suggested to the Prophet that he get married again, to a bikrun, referring to Hazrat Aisha (Musnad Ahmed). In Arabic bikrun is used for an unmarried girl who has crossed the age of puberty and is of marriageable age. The word cannot be used for a six-year-old girl.
Some scholars think that Hazrat Aisha was married off so early because in Arabia girls mature at an early age. But this was not a common custom of the Arabs at that time. According to Allama Kandhulvi, there is no such case on record either before or after Islam. Neither has this ever been promoted as a Sunnah of the Prophet. The Prophet married off his daughters Fatima at 21 and Ruquiyya at 23. Besides, Hazrat Abu Bakr, Aisha’s father, married off his eldest daughter Asma at the age of 26.
Hazrat Aisha narrates that she was present on the battlefield at the Battle of Badar (Muslim). This leads one to conclude that Hazrat Aisha moved into the Prophet’s house in 1 A.H. But a nine-year-old could not have been taken on a rough and risky military mission.
In 2 A.H, the Prophet refused to take boys of less than 15 years of age to the battle of Uhud. Would he have allowed a 10-year-old girl to accompany him? But Anas reported that he saw Aisha and Umme Sulaim carrying goatskins full of water and serving it to the soldiers (Bukhari). Umme Sulaim and Umme Ammara, the other women present at Uhud, were both strong, mature women whose duties were the lifting of the dead and injured, treating their wounds, carrying water in heavy goatskins, supplying ammunition and even taking up the sword.
Hazrat Aisha used the kunniat, the title derived from the name of a child, of Umme Abdullah after her nephew and adopted son.
If she was six when her nikah was performed, she would have been only eight years his senior, hardly making him eligible for adoption. Also, a little girl could not have given up on ever having her own child and used an adopted child’s name for her kunniat.
Hazrat Aisha’s nephew Urwah once remarked that he was not surprised about her amazing knowledge of Islamic law, poetry and history because she was the wife of the Prophet and the daughter of Abu Bakr. If she was eight when her father migrated, when did she learn poetry and history from him?
There is consensus that Hazrat Aisha was 10 years younger than her elder sister Asma, whose age at the time of the hijrah, or migration to Madina, was about 28. It can be concluded that Hazrat Aisha was about 18 years old at migration. On her moving to the Prophet’s house, she was a young woman at 21. Hisham is the single narrator of the hadith whose authenticity is challenged, for it does not correlate with the many historical facts of the time.
The writer is a scholar of the Quran and writes on contemporary issues.
Courtesy: DAWN

Analysis: A Perpetual Haunting

Posted by Admin On Friday, 26 April 2013 1 comments

The worst fears and apprehensions of the nation are finding the force of logic as PSO’s creditworthiness in the international market is becoming questionable. News of the state-owned enterprise struggling to come out of its sad pecuniary state has attracted the attention of many observers of the economic scene. The significance of PSO to Pakistan cannot be stressed enough; it is the driving force behind the economy. A potential dry-out could shake up the entire system and leave the economy limbless and utterly hopeless. As PSO defaults on its L/C payments and that, too for more than five times in the past few days, it continues to pose complex challenges for the country’s future.
Holding growth hostage and causing problems in the payment of dues to foreign suppliers, circular debt stands at a whopping Rs872.41 billion. The supply chain, thus, suffers at the hands of an acute, and chronic shortage of cash which has caused frequent, prolonged electricity outages in urban and rural centers of the country. The risk of possible paralysis of the entire system looms large. It is an equally distressing reality that the previous government used the entire CSF of $1.1 billion to extend power subsidies to consumers. The action qualifies as a fire-fighting maneuver at best and came at a huge opportunity cost of solving the core issue. Yet, there was method to this madness according to popular analysis. The tactic was aimed at keeping the system afloat till the elections. As a new government will come into power and inherit a plethora of economic worries, it is from then on that the real battle to keep crisis at bay will start.
A dismal indicator of the future is the value of PSO’s receivables exceeding Rs 126.803 billion. On April 9, the receivable break-down was as follows: WAPDA- Rs46.347 billion, HUBCO – Rs53.093 billion, KAPCO- Rs10.67 billion, PIA- Rs1.552 billion, KESC- Rs12.064 billion, IPPs owed Rs1.146 billion and Pakistan Railways- Rs1.303 billion. The energy sector thus posed the greatest problem to the oil marketing company and things are bound to become worse as temperatures escalate. The problems of corruption, overstaffing, free electricity to WAPDA employees, poor collection of bills, inadequate maintenance and upkeep of machinery, inefficient government owned generation and distribution companies have already played their part in worsening the already troublesome situation.
The scenario continues to get grimmer as cash reserves grow thinner. Unsustainable superficial measures may suffice to give the impression of improvement and feed the nation’s naïveté, but do nothing to help the situation. With the government giving a subsidy of Rs. 3.10 per unit of electricity, it anything but serves as a means to combat the woes of an approaching economic doom. The situation will become more aggravated as the subsidies are expected to reach a value of Rs 291 billion by end June against allocation of Rs 185 billion for the current financial year.
While it is true that PSO earned profits amounting to Rs9.32 billion (July 2012-March 2013) making for a 3.82% increase when compared to previous year’s statistics and that this led investors to earn a profit of up to Rs37.72 for every share in the company, the belief that the crisis is not nearly over has gained currency. The letter written by the Deutsche Bank is one reason to ponder over the problems that have arisen as a result of late and irregular payments. The credibility of the organization in the international market is at stake and losing it would prove to be fatal.
Currently, the overall growth in profitability stands at a modest 3.82% and is attributed to a smaller penal income. Topline Securities opines that with reference to the humble penal income, there are two possibilities. The first is that the payment from debtors to the PSO has shrunken and the second assumption is that there has been significant progress in taming the burgeoning circular debt. The 32% drop in financial charges for the period also follows the same narrative indicating that the company owes less to its suppliers, hence incurring lower penalties on late payments.
For a nation that ties its hopes to the ‘we can’ rhetoric, the statements of MD Pakistan State Oil, Mr. Yahya Mir give reason for optimism. That the success thus far in bringing down receivables to Rs110 billion will become a withstanding trend and the cost-cutting measures will save PSO at least Rs8-9 billion annually should serve as a sigh of relief. PSO according to the MD is so ‘interwoven’ into the fabric of the economy of Pakistan that its downfall can cause the entire system to come tumbling down like a deck of cards. In addition to a crisis in the energy sector, its downfall might harm Pakistan’s profitable banking industry which has helped finance its operations whenever the need arose. Therefore, in this doom and gloom there is some kind of realization on part of the concerned authorities that the issue at hand is grave and requires immediate attention. Additionally, the NAB drive against electricity bill defaulters is also an encouraging development- at least in spirit.
With this in mind, it will become important for the elected government to call for restructuring of the energy policy with a reduced dependence on oil- a commodity that makes for a significant part of the country’s import bill. The portfolio mix of Pakistan’s sources of energy generation, while an interesting debate on its own, is relevant in to the context. Owing to myopic policies of yester-years, the reliance on oil for energy generation increased substantially leaving the country dependent on the commodity for generation of around 40% of its electricity from oil- a statistic which is much higher than other countries. For the sake of comparison, one can look towards the neighbor to the east- India. The country generates only 3% of its electricity from this means. Bangladesh, another national favorite for comparison, generates only 5% of its electricity by oil. OGDCL has forecasted that the national oil reserves will be exhausted by 2025.While it is important to understand the impact of the follies of the past, equally important is the understanding that little if anything has ever has come out of crying over spilt milk.
In the long run, reduced dependence on oil that will come about as a change in the energy portfolio can also significantly lower the import bill. As of now, Pakistan imports 6 million tons of fuel oil, 3.5 million tons of diesel, 1.5 million tons of petrol and 0.5 million tons of jet fuel every year.  Moreover, Pakistan should also aim to establish more oil refineries at home. Recently, an MOU was signed with the Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the establishment of a state-of-the-art oil refinery, which is expected to be commissioned by 2016-17. The refinery will be capable of produced 40,000 barrels per day of refined oil. It will save lower the import bill and save additional costs related to transportation for instance. The next government should also focus on bringing efficiency and order to the organization with a greater emphasis on implementation as that is the key to bringing about any change. The policy should be framed with a long-term view of national interest. Pricing policies can be revisited and some, if not all, subsidies can be removed as this is still a sensitive issue in the country.
The economy of Pakistan that is already in a limbo, caught between aspirations and despair will not be able to withstand a blow to PSO. Multiple industries will be affected as the issue continues to gain gravity. Currently, Moody’s rating of Pakistan is Caa1 for sovereign debt and the outlook is listed as negative which raises serious concerns about the future. The situation demands that whosoever is entrusted with the responsibility of ruling over the masses as a result of the upcoming elections demonstrate the kind of political will to tackle the issue through action. History will not be kind to us for the mere reason that the democratic process was a new experience.  If we don’t rise to the challenge, the ghost of strategic mistakes will continue to haunt us for years to come.

Bush’s politics vs. Obama’s

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That was the message that then Texas Gov. George W. Bush ran on when he sought the presidency in 2000, a mantra that was aimed at re-inventing the Republican party by casting it as caring and committed to core values, more interested in uniting than dividing. “We will prove that someone who is conservative and compassionate can win without sacrificing principle,” Bush said on the day he announced his presidential campaign in Iowa in the summer of 1999.
It’s ironic then that what Bush’s presidency ushered in was a period of hyper-partisanship, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in modern political history — and through which we continue to slog.
The first shows that of the 10 most polarized years in terms of how the two parties view the president, nine have come in the years since George W. Bush took office.  (The polarization number is determined by the difference between a president’s approval rating with Democrats and his approval rating with Republicans.) Bush accounts for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th most polarizing years. President Obama accounts for the 1st, 5th, 6th and 8th most polarizing years. (Bill Clinton’s 1996 is the only pre-2001 year to crack the top 10.)
Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 11.23.00 AM
The second chart details the average party gap in terms of approval ratings for every president since Dwight Eisenhower. The two biggest average gaps? You guessed it: Bush (#2) and Obama (#1).
Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 11.26.52 AM
It’s clear that Bush’s ascendancy to the presidency began a period of previously unmatched partisanship in our politics. (There is a case to be made that the extreme polarization began during the Clinton presidency — particularly during the impeachment proceedings — but Clinton’s ability to win over Republicans by the end of his term contradicts that idea somewhat.)
What’s less clear is the why — and how much responsibility Bush personally bears for this polarization.
From the start, Bush’s presidency divided the country.  He was one of four presidents to lose the popular vote while being elected thanks to winning the electoral vote. It was 32 days between the 2000 election and the Supreme Court decision that ended the legal fight and effectively gave Bush the presidency.
Bush’s resistance to governing from the middle after such a divided result enraged those who had voted against him and who believed (and believe) that he was not the legitimately elected president. “With the advantage of extensive pre-transition planning his administration hit the ground running,” reads a history of the Bush presidency at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. “In his first six months in office, Bush had accomplished most of his 2000 campaign trail agenda.”
Then came Sept. 11, 2001, a day that changed his presidency and the country in ways with which we continue to grapple today.  What Bush did in reaction to those terrorist attacks — most notably his decision to invade Iraq based on an ultimately incorrect conclusion that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction — set the course for all the partisanship that followed.
While Bush’s job approval rating has bumped up to 47 percent in the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, almost six in ten respondents still disapprove of his decision to invade Iraq. Almost three-quarters of Democrats (73 percent) still disapprove of that decision as do 60 percent of Independents; nearly four in ten Republicans disapprove of Bush’s going into Iraq.
Of course, Bush didn’t operate in a vacuum. The growth of talk radio, 24-hour cable news and the increased silo-ing of the media — conservatives read/listen to conservative talkers, liberals read/listen to liberal talkers — played a major role in pushing people deeper and deeper into their partisan camps. In a world in which people didn’t live near (or even know)  anyone they respected who disagreed with their political views, partisanship ran wild. (Sometime in the 2000s the idea of “reasonable people can disagree” died.)
But, circumstances aside, Bush was quite clearly a catalyst in the increasingly partisan mixture of American politics. And, while policies like Iraq or his 2001 tax cuts or how he handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina all played a role, it’s the way in which he went about the job that may well be most responsible for the divisiveness with which he is viewed and which defined not only his presidency but our current political climate.
Bush was not a second-guesser. He didn’t apologize or back down from the direction he led the country — then or now. Michael Gerson, a longtime Bush speechwriter and now a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote of his former boss: “Bush’s frankly moral approach, on other issues, is precisely what enraged his critics. But more than most, he is a leader of undivided sentiments.”
Undivided sentiment to his allies.  Rank partisanship to his enemies. Regardless of where you come down on that question, it’s clear that George W. Bush’s presidency — whether the man, the times or, most likely, a combination of the two  – brought the country into a period of historic levels of partisan polarization.
It’s where we still are.

Pak Navy’s dreams for modernization crumbling

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Beset with monetary woes and a tenuous relationship with the US, Pakistan’s naval modernization plans appear to be faltering with the hoped for acquisition of further surplus US equipment now unlikely.
Former Australian defense attaché to Pakistan, Brian Cloughley, says Pakistan’s crippled economy means “the Navy will not receive as much as it needs for capital equipment,” increasing the importance of obtaining surplus equipment.
Pakistan has long hoped for up to six Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to replace its six ex-British Type-21 frigates acquired in the 1990s.
In 2005, the Perry frigates Elrod and Kaufmann were speculated to be destined for transfer to Pakistan.
However, only McInerney was transferred in 2010, and she currently lacks ASW helicopters and missile armament, though a new Turkish combat management system indicates she is at least to be retained.
Six US Navy Perry frigates are due for decommissioning in fiscal 2013. However, Mexico, Taiwan and Thailand are known to have been offered the frigates, with Taiwan reportedly to take at least four to replace its eight Knox-class frigates.
As far as can be ascertained, Pakistan has not been mentioned in any official documentation regarding further transfer of Perry frigates.
Sources in the defense section at the US Embassy here were unable to give any further information, or say if any P-3C Orion patrol aircraft would be made available to replace two destroyed in a 2011 terrorist attack.
The Pakistan Navy did not reply to a request for information.
Cloughley said obtaining further Perry frigates is now unlikely, and that both the US and the UK (which has four surplus Type-42 destroyers up for disposal) are “reluctant” to provide combat vessels that would meet strong Indian objections.
Based on past announcements, Pakistan would like its future surface combatant strength to include six Perry frigates, four Chinese Batch 1 and two to four Batch 2 F-22P/Zulfiquar frigates.
The Navy did not respond to a request to clarify if speculation for a heavier class of Chinese frigate was a reality.
Regarding further F-22P frigates, Cloughley said, China “is happy about this, but of course wants at least some money on the table.”
In the face of Western reluctance, Cloughley said, “the only alternative is China, with which the Navy appears comfortable.”
Christian Le Mière, senior fellow for naval forces and maritime security, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees the Chinese Type-054A Jiangkai II (or a variant thereof), “would be a good fit for the Pakistani Navy.
“Given the political considerations, namely the close relationship with China, and [Pakistan’s] current development of the Chinese-origin [F-22P]/Zulfiquar-class, the Type-054A would seem a logical buy,” he said
Comparable in size to Perry frigates, but not what Le Mière would describe as a stealth frigate, he says the Type-054A has “a number of stealthy features that the [Perrys] lack, given advances in naval stealth technologies.”
Carrying a variety of weapons, “[the Type-054A] is therefore able to fulfill a range of roles that Pakistan might require, from ASW to ASuW and air defense,” he said.
He concedes there may “be concern within Islamabad about over-reliance on a particular supplier or the costs of having new builds,” but added, “from a military requirement perspective, the Type 054A makes sense.”
The submarine flotilla is in similar straits, with Cloughley considering the three Agosta-90B subs to be “good”, but the two aging Agosta-70s to be “decrepit”.
“Again, however, the solution may be China,” he said.
Pakistan was first reported to have signed a deal for six Chinese AIP-equipped submarines in 2011, but that also seems to have stalled due to a lack of finances.
China has two modern submarine designs, the 4,000-ton (submerged) Type-041 Yuan class, and its smaller derivative the 2,300-ton (submerged) S-20, which can be fitted with an AIP module.
Analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank said, “The Pakistan Navy is more or less committed to Chinese submarines due to cost reasons plus it will give the Navy plenty of freedom to alter the design or request improvements in future.”
Adding, “The Navy urgently needs these subs as submarines are its primary and most effective offensive weapon.”
Finances also seem to be hampering any effort to offset the loss of the two P-3C Orions through additional purchase of ATR-72 ASW aircraft.
“Right now, the Navy has only bought a single ATR-72 for training purposes. No ASW suite is fitted yet. The idea was to buy more units, but due to budget constraints they have only gone for one and use it for training and then hope to buy more units once the budget crisis eases, ” he said.
Ultimately, Cloughley sees a somewhat mixed future for Pakistan’s Navy, which “will continue to be small, even if it is highly professional, and it values its association with Western navies, but these ties are becoming fewer.”

Why the liberals have gone silent on Libya?

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One of the book’s accomplishments is its comprehensive demolition of the war’s supposed justifications. Forte shows us that there was no “mass rape” committed by “Gaddafi forces” – as alleged by US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Ocampo
Reviewed by Dan Glazebrook
The media has gone very quiet on Libya of late; clearly, liberal imperialists don’t like to dwell on their crimes. This is not surprising. The modus operandi of the humanitarian imperialist is not one of informed reflection, but only permanent outrage against leaders of the global South; besides, in the topsy-turvy world of liberal interventionism, the “failure to act” is the only crime of which the West is capable.
As Forte puts it, their moral code holds that “If we do not act, we should be held responsible for the actions of others. When we do act, we should never be held responsible for our own actions.” With Muammar Gaddafi dead, the hunt is on for a new hate figure on whom to spew venom (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, North Korean leader Kim Jong-eun); far more satisfying than actually evaluating our own role in the creation of human misery. This is the colonial mentality of the liberal lynch mob.
For the governments that lead us into war, of course, it makes perfect sense that we do not stop to look back at the last invasion before impatiently demanding the next one – if we realized, for example, that the 1999 bombing of Serbia – the textbook “humanitarian intervention”- actually facilitated the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo it was supposedly designed to prevent, we might not be so ready to demand the same treatment for every other state that falls short of our illusory ideals.
That is why this book is so important. Thoroughly researched and impeccably referenced, it tells the story of the real aims and real consequences of the war on Libya in its historical perspective.
One of the book’s accomplishments is its comprehensive demolition of the war’s supposed justifications. Forte shows us that there was no “mass rape” committed by “Gaddafi forces” – as alleged by US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Ocampo and others at the time, but later refuted by Amnesty International, the UN and even the US army itself.
Despite hysterical media reports, there was no evidence of aerial bombing of protesters, as even former CIA chief Robert Gates admitted. Gaddafi had no massacre planned for Benghazi, as had been loudly proclaimed by the leaders of Britain, France and the US. The Libyan government forces had not carried out massacres against civilian populations in any of the other towns they recaptured from the rebels, and nor had Gaddafi threatened to do so in Benghazi.
In a speech that was almost universally misreported in the Western media, he promised no mercy for those who had taken up arms against the government, whilst offering amnesty for those who “threw their weapons away”, and at no point threatening reprisals against civilians. When the NATO invasion began, French jets actually bombed a small retreating column of Libyan armor on the outskirts of Benghazi, comprising 14 tanks, 20 armored personnel carriers, and a few trucks and ambulances – nothing like enough to carry out a “genocide” against an entire city, as had been claimed.
Indeed, the whole image of “peaceful protesters being massacred” was turning reality on its head. In fact, Forte notes, rebels “torched police stations, broke into the compounds of security services, attacked government offices and torched vehicles” from the very start, to which the authorities responded with “tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets – very similar to methods frequently used in Western nations against far more peaceful protests that lacked the element of sedition”. Only once the rebels had proceeded to occupy the Benghazi army barracks, loot its weapons, and start using them against government forces did things begin to escalate.
But the most pernicious of the lies that facilitated the Libyan war was the myth of the “African mercenary”. Racist pogroms were characteristic of the Libyan rebellion from its very inception, when 50 sub-Saharan African migrants were burnt alive in Al-Bayda on the second day of the insurgency.
An Amnesty International report from September 2011 made it clear that this was no isolated incident: “When al-Bayda, Benghazi, Derna, Misrata and other cities first fell under the control of the NTC in February, anti-Gaddafi forces carried out house raids, killing and other violent attacks” against sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans, and “what we are seeing in western Libya is a very similar pattern to what we have seen in Benghazi and Misrata after those cities fell to the rebels” – arbitrary detention, torture and execution of black people.
The “African mercenary” myth was thus created to justify these pogroms, as the Western media near-universally referred to their victims as “mercenaries” – or “alleged mercenaries” in the more circumspect and highbrow outlets – and thus as aggressors and legitimate targets.
The myth was completely discredited by both Amnesty International – whose exasperated researcher told a TV interviewer that “We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence: the rebels spread these rumors everywhere [with] terrible consequences for African guest workers” – and by a UN investigation team, who drew similar conclusions – but not until both organizations had already helped perpetuate the lie themselves.
That liberal humanitarians would launch a war of aggression in order to facilitate racist massacres is not as ironic as it might at first seem. Forte writes that “if this was humanitarianism, it could only be so by disqualifying Africans as members of humanity”.
But such disqualification has been a systematic practice of liberalism from the days of John Locke, through the US war of independence and into the age of nineteenth century imperialism and beyond. Indeed, Forte argues that the barely-veiled “racial fear of mean African bogeymen swamping Libya like zombies” implicit in the “African mercenary” story, was uniquely and precisely formulated to tap into a rich historical vein of European fantasies about plagues of black mobs. That the myth gained so much traction despite zero evidence, says Forte, “tells us a great deal about the role of racial prejudice and propaganda in mobilizing public opinion in the West and organizing international relations”.
Yet the racism of the rebel fighters was not only useful for mobilizing European public opinion – it also played a strategic function, as far as NATO planners were concerned. By bringing to power a virulently anti-black government, the West has ensured that Libya’s trajectory as a pan-African state has been brought to a violent end, and that its oil wealth will no longer be used for African development.
As Forte succinctly puts it, “the goal of US military intervention was to disrupt an emerging pattern of independence and a network of collaboration within Africa that would facilitate increased African self-reliance. This is at odds with the geostrategic and political economic ambitions of extra-continental European powers, namely the US”.
A large part of the book is dedicated to outlining Libya’s role in the creation of the African Union, and its subsequent moves to unify Africa at the economic, political and military levels. This included the investment of billions of petrodollars in industrial development across the continent, the creation of an African communications satellite, and massive financial contributions towards the African Development Bank and the African Monetary Fund – institutions designed specifically to challenge the hegemony of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Gaddafi was passionate about using Libyan oil money to help Africa industrialize and “add value” to its export materials, moving it away from its prescribed role in the global economy as a supplier of cheap raw materials.
This was a threat to Western financial and corporate control of African economies, and combined with the rise of Chinese investment, was considered a strategic obstacle to Western domination that had to be removed. As Forte put it, “The US, France and the UK could not afford to see allies that they had cultivated, if not installed in power, being slowly pulled from their orbits by Libya, China and other powers”.
The African Oil Policy initiative Group – a high level US Committee comprising members of Congress, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – noted in 2002 the growing dependence of the US on African oil, and recommended a “new and vigorous focus on US military cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, to include design of a sub-unified command structure which could produce significant dividends in the protection of US investments”.
They noted that “failure to address the issue of focusing and maximizing US diplomatic and military command organization…could…act as an inadvertent incentive for US rivals such as China [and] adversaries such as Libya”. In other words, with their economic grip on the continent facing serious challenge, the Western world would increasingly have to rely on aggressive militarism in order to maintain its interests.
The recommendations of the committee would be implemented in 2006 with the creation of AFRICOM – the US army’s African Command. AFRICOM was conceived as a sort of “School of the Americas” for Africa, designed to train African armies for use as proxy forces for maintaining Western control, with the 2010 US National Security Strategy specifically naming the African Union as one of the regional organizations it sought to co-opt.
Libya, however, proved most uncooperative. The leaked US diplomatic cables make it very clear that Libya was viewed by the US as THE main obstacle to establishing a full muscular US military presence on the African continent, regularly highlighting its “opposition” and “obstruction” to AFRICOM. With Gaddafi still a respected voice within the AU, having served as its elected Chairman in 2009, he wielded significant influence, and used this to spearhead opposition to what he considered the neocolonial aims of the AFRICOM initiative.
Meanwhile, Chinese investment in Africa was growing rapidly, having grown from $6 billion in 1999 to $90 billion 10 years later, displacing the US as the continent’s largest trading partner. The need for a US military presence to cling on to the West’s declining influence in Africa was growing ever more urgent. But Africa was not playing ball – and Gaddafi was (rightly) seen as leading the charge.
Fast forward to 2012, and US General Carter Ham, head of AFRICOM, was able to claim that “the conduct of military operations in Libya did afford now the opportunity to establish a military to military relationship with Libya, which did not previously exist”. He went on to suggest that a US base would be established in the country (Gaddafi having expelled both the US and British bases shortly after coming to power in 1969), saying that some “assistance” would probably be necessary, in the form of a “military presence”.
President Obama wasted no time in announcing the deployment of soldiers to four more African countries within weeks of the fall of Tripoli, and AFRICOM announced an unprecedented 14 joint military exercises in Africa for the following year.
Furthermore, NATO’s attack had not only destroyed a powerful force for unity and independence in Africa, and a huge obstacle to Western military penetration of the continent, but it had also created the perfect conditions to justify further invasions.
The US had previously attempted to argue that its military presence was required in North Africa in order to fight against Al Qaeda; indeed, it had set up the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Programme to this end. But as Muattasim Gaddafi had explained to Hillary Clinton in Washington in 2009, the program had been rendered redundant by the existing, and highly effective, security strategy of CEN-SAD (the Libyan-led Community of Sahel and Saharan states) and the North African Standby Force.
Like a classic protection racket, however, the British, US and French decided that if their protection wasn’t needed, then they would have to create a need for it. The destruction of Libya tore the heart out of the North African security system, flooded the region with weapons and turned Libya into an ungoverned safe haven for violent militias. Now the resulting – and entirely predictable – instability has spread to Mali, the West are using it as an excuse for another war and occupation.
In a prescient warning (the book was published before France’s recent invasion of Mali), Forte wrote that “intervention begets intervention. More intervention is needed to solve the problems caused by intervention”.
The book is also very strong in exposing the ideology of the “human-rights industry” and its role in bringing about the Libyan war. Western liberal humanitarianism, argues Forte, “can only function by first directly or indirectly creating the suffering of others, and by then seeing every hand as an outstretched hand, pleading or welcoming”. He exposes the role of groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who helped perpetuate some of the worst lies about what was happening in Libya, such as the fictitious “African mercenaries” and “mass rape”, and who in the case of Amnesty, “mere days into the uprising and well before it had a chance to ascertain, corroborate or confirm any facts on the ground…began launching public accusations against Libya, the African Union and the UNSC for failing to take action”.
By calling for an assets freeze on Libya and an arms embargo (“and more actions with each passing day”), Amnesty “thus effectively made itself a party to the conflict”; it had become part of the propaganda war and myth making that was designed to facilitate the invasion.
This should not be surprising given Amnesty’s history. Forte helpfully recalls that their promotion of the infamous “incubator babies” myth that justified the Iraq war of 1991 was later given by many Senators as having influenced their decision to vote for the attack. In the event, the Senate vote was passed by a majority of just six. The 1991 war devastated Iraq, which had barely recovered from the Iran-Iraq war and killed well over 100,000 people, as well as hundreds of thousands more from the diseases that ravaged the country following the deliberate destruction of its water and sewerage systems.
So it should be little surprise that Suzanne Nossel, a State Department official on Hillary Clinton’s team, was made Executive Director of Amnesty-USA in November 2011. In her State Department job, Nossel had played a key role drawing up the UN Human Rights Council resolution against Libya that ultimately formed the basis of Security Council resolution 1973 that led to the aggression.
Forte also discusses the role of Soliman Bouchuiguir, former president of the “Libyan League for Human Rights”, who emerges as the Libyan “Curveball”. Curveball was the Iraqi “source” who came up with the lies about Saddam’s non-existent “mobile chemical weapons factories” that were used to justify the 2003 Iraq war. Likewise, Bouchuiguir’s wildly inflated casualty figures provided the raw material for the hysterical UNHRC resolutions against Libya that set the ball for war rolling. He admitted on camera later that there was no evidence for his claims – but not before 70 NGOs had signed a petition “demanding action” in response to them.
Much has been written elsewhere about the “neo-cons” who became (rightly) hated for their brutally idiotic conceptions of social change. But the liberal humanitarians are perhaps even more contemptible; after all, at least the neo-cons never claimed to be kind, or even interested in anything other than their own self-interest. Yet the liberal humanitarians seem – or at least claim – to be driven by some kind of higher purpose, which makes their constant calls for wars of aggression even more repulsive.
Forte puts it brilliantly: “The vision of our humanity that liberal imperialists entertain is one which constructs us as shrieking sacks of emotion. This is the elites’ anthropology, one that views us as bags of nerve and muscle: throbbing with outrage, contracting with every story of “incubator babies”, bulging up with animus at the arrest of Gay Girl in Damascus, recoiling at the sound of Viagra-fuelled mass rape.
From mass hysteria in Twitter to hundreds of thousands signing an online Avaaz petition calling for bombing Libya in the name of human rights, we become nerves of mass reaction….We scream for action via “social media”, thumbs furiously in action on our “smart” phones. ..Then again, our “action” merely consists of asking the supremely endowed military establishment to act in our name.” This anthropology is of course “accompanied by NATO’s implicit sociology: societies can be remade through a steady course of high altitude bombings and drone strikes”.
How exactly Libya has been remade is also discussed. The July 2012 elections in Libya, their very existence trumpeted in Western media as immediately vindicating every act of butchery the war brought about – regardless of whether the parliament being elected was likely to wield any actual influence over the country – saw fewer than half the eligible voting population take part. Even more intriguing were the results of a survey carried out in Libya by Oxford Research International that found that only 13% of Libyans said they wanted democracy within a year’s time, and only 25% within five years.
Meanwhile, the new authorities set about persecuting their opponents, real and imagined. Tawergha was emptied of its entire population of around 20,000 black Libyans after militias from Misrata began systematically torching every home and business in the town, with the support of the central government.
Former residents now reside in refugee camps where they continue to be hunted down and killed, or in arbitrary detention in makeshift prisons. Candidacy for elections is barred to: workers (a professional qualification is needed); anyone who ever worked in any level of government between 1969 and 2011 (unless they could demonstrate “early and clear” support for the insurrection); anyone with academic study involving Gaddafi’s Green book; and anyone who ever received any monetary benefit from Gaddafi.
A constitutional lawyer noted these restrictions would disqualify the Libyan population. Other new laws banned the spreading of “news reports, rumors or propaganda” that could “cause any damage to the state”, with penalties of up to life in prison; and prison for anyone spreading information that “could weaken the citizens’ morale” or for anyone who “attacks the February 17 revolution, denigrates Islam, the authority of the state or its institutions”.
This is the new Libya for which the human-rights imperialists and their allies lobbied, killed and tortured so hard.
“The next time empire comes knocking in the name of human rights”, concludes Forte, “please be found standing idly by”.
This book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in understanding the motives and consequences of the West’s onslaught against Libya and African development.
Dan Glazebrook is a teacher and writer specializing in the military and economic relationships between the global South and the Western world. 
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

America’s amnesia problem

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Marx mused that history first appears as tragedy and then as farce. That may not apply to America, as we are too often amnesia prone when it comes to history.  Our ability to ignore or forget history is legion. Three cases underscore this point.
A popular critique of today’s CIA is that is has become a killing machine thereby diluting its role as the principal collector of foreign intelligence and its main duty of informing the nation about current and emerging dangers. CIA-run drone campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen that kill enemy combatants and suspected terrorists form exhibit A in these allegations. Whether or not the Agency has downgraded its intelligence functions is unclear. Yet, regarding its status as a killing machine, how quickly we forget.
In Vietnam, what became known as the Phoenix Program began in 1965 as a CIA-led operation. The purpose was to neutralize the National Liberation Front (NLF), the political arm of the Viet Cong, and was directed against civilian suspects not soldiers.  In 1967, Phoenix was absorbed into the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support or CORDS program. William Colby, later CIA Director, was its first head followed by Ambassador Robert W. Komer.
Phoenix operatives were a mix of CIA, US and Australian Special Forces and South Vietnamese personnel and mercenaries.  Until it ended in 1972, Phoenix “neutralized” some 80,000 NLF and Viet Cong of which about 30,000 were killed.  In many cases, assassination was too kind a term and torture and barbaric interrogation practices were part of the standard operating procedure. Compared with Phoenix, enemy combatants killed so far by drone strikes have been a miniscule percentage as technology bypassed the need for “terminating with prejudice” at close range.
The bombings in Boston last week that killed three so far have triggered national condolences and dominated media reporting. Interestingly, coverage of the thousands or more killed and injured on the same day from Venezuelan protestors contesting the elections to terrorist attacks against innocent Iraqis in Baghdad and major cities, Syria, Pakistan and several African countries has been trivial.  But even given the terrorist bombings of Oklahoma City in 1995 and the attempts against the World Trade Center culminating with September 11th, what is new?
Alfred Nobel and his invention of dynamite a century and a half ago gave terrorism a powerful weapon.  In 1919, 36 dynamite laden bombs were mailed to distinguished Americans from a Supreme Court Associate Justice to the U.S. Attorney General and business tycoons John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.  That was immediately followed by eight bombing attempts that only managed to kill a hapless night watchman.  In 1920, J.P. Morgan on Wall Street was bombed and three dozen killed. The country panicked.
The attacks were attributed to Italian anarchists, none of whom was ever apprehended, tried or convicted.  But in the “Red Scare” prompted by these bombings and presided over by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, more than ten thousand suspects were rounded up, many illegally, and about 550 were deported.  And the country was indeed terrorized by these bombings.
Last is an economic example.  The administration and Congress have managed simultaneously to raise taxes and cut spending virtually guaranteeing a halt in the sadly tepid economic growth.  Debt and deficits are indeed ticking time bombs.  But we forget that during the Great Depression, both Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt proposed balanced budgets.  And while FDR changed course to pursue deficit spending, the depression was technically worse in 1938 and 1939 than in 1929.  World War II finally ended the depression and turned the U.S. into an economic colossus.
For all the discussion of Boston, CIA targeted killings and the current economic mess, history is forgotten.  Terrorism is not new even when it comes to bombings.  And Americans are infinitely safer than most people.  The CIA has had a history of targeted assassinations that dwarf the current drone strikes and for all of the argument about water boarding three captured al Qaeda leaders, relied on real torture and murder in Vietnam.
As for the economy, war is NOT a solution.  But a massive injection of investment is.  Readers will be bored with another attempt to promote a national infrastructure bank funded by private capital in the form of long term bonds, guaranteed by the government and repaid by user fees and tolls.  However, this is the stimulus the nation so desperately needs.
Americans mourn the latest attacks along with our fellow citizens in Boston. And knowledge of the past about the recurring use of terror to terrorize is no anesthetic to relieve our pain.  That said, better understanding of history might make dealing with the dangers of today and the uncertainties of tomorrow a little easier. Historical amnesia is not the answer.
By Harlan Ullman

N Korea’s nuclear device explosion speaks volumes

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Despite – or perhaps because of – strong international pressure, North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date. Now analysts say that hopes for improved relations are on hold.
Despite strong international pressure, even from ally ChinaNorth Korea tested a third nuclear device Feb. 12, its most powerful to date, prompting an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council at which the action was unanimously condemned.
What’s behind North Korea’s latest move? Here are four brief points to know:    
Why is this latest test by North Korea of such concern?
Experts say it indicates the country may be getting closer to being able to put a nuclear warhead on a missile. The test appeared to show an increase in North Korea’s nuclear capability. In an English-language statement acknowledging the test, North Korea characterized the device as “a smaller and light A-bomb, unlike the previous ones.” The nation also acted against the will of its primary ally and sponsor, China, calling into question China’s ability to check its neighbor. China declared its “firm opposition” to the test.
The yield of the bomb was equivalent to 6,000 tons of TNT, or 6 kilotons. That’s bigger than either previous test, in October 2006 (1 kiloton) and May 2009 (2 kilotons). The bombs dropped on Hiro­shima and NagasakiJapan, were about 13 kilotons and 20 kilotons, respectively.
Why did North Korea do it?
“This is meant to get the attention of South Korea, the US, Japan, and – dare I say it – China,” says Sung-Yoon Lee, assistant professor of Korean studies at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.“With leadership transitions going on in all those countries, this is a particularly appeasement-prone time. None of those countries want a foreign-policy crisis at the moment and will be more likely to resort to damage-control diplomacy.”
The North is trying to persuade the world – and in particular the United States – that it is a full-fledged nuclear power that can threaten others as much as it is threatened by them. That Pyongyang chose the day of President Obama‘s address on the state of the Union on which to conduct its test indicates how much the test was meant as a message for the US, regional analysts say.
The test was also directed at an internal audience. Leader Kim Jong-un, in power for just a year, is still establishing his credentials, observers say, and a successful test adds to his prestige and legitimacy, thus strengthening internal security.
The true aims of North Korea, however, remain officially unstated, and therefore open to speculation.
What are the likely ramifications for North Korea?
It’s likely to further isolate the Pyongyang regime. Analysts say that hopes for improved relations with the new governments in WashingtonSeoulTokyo, or even Beijing are now on hold – at least for the time being. The test, in part a defiant response to sanctions, will probably result in even more sanctions.
It may be weeks before the United Nations Security Council comes up with a resolution whose measures could include anything from travel bans on officials involved in the North’s weapons programs to even stricter inspections of North Korean vessels and financial sanctions, regional experts say. During that time all eyes will be on China to see how far Beijing, increasingly exasperated with its troublesome ally and neighbor, is willing to go to punish the North for its actions.
How much of a threat to the US is North Korea’s nuclear program?
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Pentagon workers recently that North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs represent “a serious threat to the United States of America.” But the prospect of North Korea being able to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at the US is not an immediate one. There is no evidence that Pyongyang has mastered the tough task of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead sufficiently to use on a ballistic missile (though Pyongyang claims that progress had been made in that direction in its latest test).
A 2012 display of missiles on portable launchers said to be intercontinental ballistic missiles were declared fakes by Western intelligence analysts, and indicated that North Korea was a long way from having a credible ICBM.
After 14 years of trying, North Korea did finally succeed in placing a satellite in orbit – briefly – in December. Its nuclear program began in 1989.
By Steven Borowiec