Kashmir in the Shadows – by Robert Fantina – 26 May.23

While few of the world’s governments seem to care about Palestine, at least their officials will occasionally pay lip service to the extreme violations of human rights and international law that the apartheid regime of Israel commits against the people of Palestine on a daily basis. Sometimes, following a particularly egregious crime, there will even be some news coverage about it. But generally, the myth of Israel as a democratic state is declared, although few outside of profit- and power-motivated governmental leaders believe it.

Yet for the Kashmiris, even this limited attention is not granted, despite the fact that the brutal settler-colonial project that India is perpetrating on the Kashmiris equals if not exceeds that of Israel’s on Palestine. Zionist beliefs in Jewish superiority parallel Hindutva beliefs in Indian superiority. And India is following the Israeli model.

There can be no doubt that India is a settler-colonial nation, with Kashmir as its victim. Settler-colonialism differs from colonialism, the goal of which is to dominate an indigenous majority to fulfill the interests of the dominating nation, at the expense of the nation being colonized. With settler-colonialism, the goal is to permanently occupy the nation or territory being colonized. Since the Abrogation of Article 370, thousands of Indians have moved into Kashmir, taking control, by force, of administrative positions in all areas, that were once held by Kashmiris. Once prevented from purchasing land in Kashmir, Indians are now free to do so, and are taking full advantage of that. The goal of settler-colonialism is, as Saito has expressed, “to establish a new state on someone else’s land.”12

How is India accomplishing this? On November 16 of 2019, three months after the abrogation of Article 370,  Sandeep Chakravorty, India’s consul-general to New York City, was in New York attending a private event, and he clearly outlined the plan. He told Kashmiri Hindus and Indian nationals that India will build settlements in Kashmir modelled after Israel. He said: “I believe … you will be able to go back … and you will be able to find security, because we already have a model in the world. I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it.[1]

Several international human rights groups have documented how Israel is an apartheid regime, yet the same behaviours are being perpetrated on the Kashmiris by India, and yet the same level of criticism is not leveled toward that country.

Time does not allow me to detail all the ways in which the brutal, racist regimes of Israel and India are similar, but I will discuss a few of them.

Articles 1, 55, 56 and 73 of the United Nations Charter guarantee the right of self-determination of all peoples. But that is not the only international agreement guaranteeing this right. The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all guaranteed self-determination. More specifically, United Nations Resolution 47, article 7, states the following: “The Government of India should undertake that there will be established in Jammu and Kashmir a Plebiscite Administration to hold a plebiscite as soon as possible on the question of the accession of the State to India or Pakistan.” The people of Kashmir have been waiting for this right to be granted to them for three quarters of a century.

Another right is enshrined in Article 9 of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, which states the following: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”[2] This right is violated by Israel and India on a daily basis.

Israel has a policy called ‘administrative detention’, enabling Palestinians to be incarcerated for long periods of time without charge, and without access to counsel.

In India the Public Safety Act (PSA) allows detention for a year without trial and without charges being laid. However, many prisoners, released after one year, are immediately arrested again soon as they leave the police station. These subsequent arrests can recur multiple times; there is no limit. So a Kashmiri can basically receive a life sentence, and never be charged with a crime.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA ) provides the so-called ‘security sector’ almost unlimited powers to arrest and kill any Kashmiri suspected of ‘insurgency’. The property of ‘insurgents’, who could better be described as freedom fighters, can be destroyed. No trial is required. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows soldiers and members of the police to act as judges, juries and executioners. This is a role they seem to fulfill with pleasure.

I will again draw your attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 states the following: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”[3]

In Israel, Palestinians can be imprisoned for simply writing poetry and posting it to social media. Anti-Zionist Jews who speak against the regime are threatened and beaten by soldiers. Reporters in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem are threatened, harassed and killed by Israeli soldiers.

The situation in Kashmir is similar.

One year after the Abrogation, laws made public gatherings dangerous for any participants, and nearly 4,000 people had been arrested, accused of throwing stones or being ‘miscreants’; these actions were part of the Public Safety Act I mentioned earlier. Additionally, political leaders were arrested and denied access to the Kashmiris who seek freedom.

Journalist Misbah Reshi, writing for The Leaflet on September 18, 2020, just a year after the Indian abrogation of Article 370, said this: “On June 2, the Jammu and Kashmir administration (Indian) approved a new media policy titled ‘Media Policy 2020’ in order to ‘ensure a synchronized and effective use of all forms of media to build public trust, foster a genuinely positive image of the Government based on performance and strengthen the relationship with key stakeholders.’” When an avowedly racist government sets media policy, there can be no freedom of the press, or free speech.

And now, India seeks to present an ‘all is well’ vision of the situation in Kashmir to members of the G20. Government leaders who attend will stay in luxury hotels and eat the finest food. They will see a sanitized version of Kashmir, much like many government leaders who are treated to expensive vacations in Israel only see what Israel wants them to see. People attending the G20 meetings in Srinegar will not see the many political prisoners, including children; they will not see the people expelled from their jobs to be replaced by Indians; in no way will they witness the ongoing violence perpetrated on the men, women and children of Kashmir. Their motorcades will not take them past burned buildings where Indian forces shot and killed innocent people. They will see no protests, since protest leaders have been killed or incarcerated, and the fear of attending a public gathering to protest the repressive India regime is great, since so many Kashmiris have seen loved ones die or be arrested for peaceful protest. Yes, foreign leaders will praise India for its work in Kashmir, ignoring the reality that India will not let them see.

Since profits, power and adulation are more important for most government officials that human rights and international law, and since they seem willing and able to overlook abject suffering, we must speak for those who are voiceless. As journalists, human-rights activists and others in Kashmir are silenced, we must raise our voices, so they will be heard. It is a moral obligation; the people of Kashmir are relying on us.


[1] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/india-consul-general-united-states-calls-israeli-solution-kashmir

[2] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf. Accessed on March 3, 2021.

[3] https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/. Accessed on Feb. 12, 2021.

This the text of Fantina’s presentation at a panel discussion titled: India’s G20 Meetings in Kashmir: Camouflaging Settler Colonialism.


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The Geopolitics of the Ukraine War – Alfred W. Mccoy

Just as the relentless grinding of the earth’s tectonic plates produces earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, so the endless superpower struggle for dominance over Eurasia is fraught with tensions and armed conflict. Beneath the visible outbreak of war in Ukraine and the U.S.-Chinese naval standoff in the South China Sea, there is now an underlying shift in geopolitical power in process across the vast Eurasian landmass — the epicenter of global power on a fast-changing, overheating planet. Take a moment to step back with me to try to understand what’s now happening on this increasingly embattled globe of ours.

If geology explains the earth’s eruptions, geopolitics is the tool we need to grasp the deeper meaning of the devastating war in Ukraine and the events that led to this crisis. As I explain in my recent book, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, geopolitics is essentially a method for the management of empire through the use of geography (air, land, and sea) to maximize military and economic advantage. Unlike conventional nations, whose peoples can be readily mobilized for self-defense, empires are, by dint of their extraterritorial reach and the perils inherent in any foreign military deployment, a surprisingly fragile form of government. To give an empire a fighting chance of survival against formidable odds requires a resilient geopolitical architecture.

For nearly 100 years, the geopolitical theories of an obscure Victorian geographer, Sir Halford Mackinder, have had a profound influence on a succession of leaders who sought to build or break empires in Eurasia — including Adolf Hitler, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and, most recently, Vladimir Putin. In an academic essay published in 1904, when the Trans-Siberian Railway was completing its 5,700-mile crawl from Moscow to Vladivostok, Mackinder argued that future rails would knit Eurasia into a unitary landmass that, along with Africa, he dubbed the tri-continental “world island.” When that day came, Russia, in alliance with another land power like Germany — and, in our time, we might add China — could expand across Eurasia’s endless central “heartland,” allowing, he predicted, “the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would be in sight.” Continue reading

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Germany Deserves a Big Share of the Blame for the Ukraine Disaster BY DAVE LINDORFF

Nobody is talking about the blame that must be shouldered by the German government for the crisis and humanitarian disaster in Ukraine.

Sure Russia is guilty of a huge war crime in invading Ukraine. Surely too, the US must be blamed for creating the situation which led Russia and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin to decide it had to invade to prevent Ukraine from being pulled into the US orbit with the goal that it would ultimately become a base for US offensive weapons — even nuclear weapons — on Russia’s border — something the US would never allow to happen anywhere in its self-proclaimed “backyard” of Latin America and the Caribbean.

But Germany, the largest country in NATO after the US, is almost as guilty for this current war in Europe as is the United States.

Germany was only reunified without any difficulty after 45 years of being split in two following World War II, because of a deal struck by the US with Russia in 1990 at which US Secretary of State James Baker stated that NATO would not be expanded “one inch ” eastward past the reunified German border. Continue reading

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Why is Washington Encouraging India to Confront Pakistan? BY BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

India and Pakistan share a long border and do not get along well, to put it mildly.  The main cause of disagreement is the divided territory of Kashmir which as long ago as 1948 necessitated UN Security Council attention, resulting in a Resolution determining, among other things, that there should be a “free and impartial plebiscite to decide whether the State of Jammu and Kashmir is to accede to India or Pakistan.”  This has not happened and the seemingly insoluble dispute could well lead to a fourth war between the countries, both of which are nuclear-armed.

It might be thought that in such circumstances the world’s “best-educated, best-prepared” nation that President Biden also declares has “unmatched strength” would apply at least some of its education, preparation and power to encouraging India and Pakistan to engage in meaningful negotiations and move towards rapprochement.

Not a hope.

Continue reading

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Colin Powell: Grotesque Atrocities and the New Liberal Conscience – BY RICHARD FALK – DANIEL FALCONE

Colin Powell died on Monday at the age of 84. Born in New York City in 1937, he attended City College where he studied geology. Over the course of his high-ranking military and government career he formulated the Powell Doctrine and later became known for justifying the illegal Iraq War in 2003. In this interview, international relations scholar Richard Falk reflects on Powell’s life and the US reaction to his passing: including the relevance of identity politics, the question of moderation, his contribution to the horrors of Vietnam and Iraq, and US governmental hypocrisy in the wake of its January 2020 assassination of the comparable Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.  

Daniel Falcone: As the US media mourns the death of Colin Powell and regrets the passing of a “memorable and principled statesman,” can you comment on how the actual history competes with this memory and knowledge construction of this notable figure? Continue reading

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Pakistani-American director Iram Parveen Bilal’s new film shows a different type of Pakistani family

I’ll Meet You There is Bilal’s third feature film after Josh and PHD filmJosh was released in Pakistan in 2012 at a time when Pakistani cinema was shakily climbing back up to its feet. We sat down with Bilal to find out more about the film and her experience as an independent filmmaker.

How did you come up with the idea of Bismil: I’ll Meet You There?

Bilal: Bismil: l’ll Meet You There is a story of inter-generational and international immigration conflict. It is a story of growth, it is also a story of what happens when we make choices to break ourselves from traditions. Continue reading

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Clearer view of secretive Israeli nuclear facility is visible by satellite thanks to two archaeologists

It was late one evening in 2017 when somewhere in the minds of Michael Fradley and his colleague Andrea Zerbini a light flickered on. 

The two Oxford University archaeologists often found they worked better after hours, once the office had emptied and with no phone calls or emails to distract them. 

Both specialists in the Middle East, the pair were two years into a project involving satellite imagery of Israel and the West Bank when they noticed something odd. 

“From the start, we knew that there was a problem,” Dr Fradley said. 

They were trying to access photos taken over Israel but noticed they were all blurry, and not high enough quality to make out any of the details on the ground they were looking for. Continue reading

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‘I Converted to Islam, But Hide My New Faith in Public’: An Upper Caste Hindu Man Tells His Story

At a time when many BJP state governments have passed or plan to pass so-called anti-conversion laws, his journey from Hinduism to Islam has given him a special insight in to the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment.

New Delhi: “I have hated Muslims most of my life and today I proudly call myself one,” says Siddharth, who assumed the name Shadab when he converted to Islam in 2012.

At a time when many BJP-ruled state governments have passed or plan to pass so-called anti-religious conversion laws, his journey from Hinduism to Islam  has given him a special insight in to the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment.

He was a devoted Hindu who prayed at the temple every Tuesday and Saturday. He would offer obeisance to everything that the religion mandated, and recalls taking sweets to the temple to offer to the Gods. From to the Kshatriya caste, he says all festivals and traditions were celebrated in complete adherence to the Hindu customs prescribed by priests for their caste. Continue reading

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The Base tapes

Secret recordings reveal how a global white supremacist terror group actively targeted young Australian men for recruitment, including a One Nation candidate for federal parliament.

Full Story Here 

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The grandfather of the European Enlightenment was Muslim

What is the Muslim philosopher Averroes doing in the famous fresco “The School of Athens” of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael? The painter brought together all thinkers and scientists that influenced the West. So, it’s no surprise that Plato and Aristotle are in the centre of this 16th century painting. More surprising is that two ‘Eastern’ persons are made part of the school: Zoroaster and Averroes. A similar surprise might occur to the readers of the Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri. In this 14th century Renaissance masterpiece Dante gave his description of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, with a special chapter on Limbo where good non-Christians were allowed to have a decent afterlife. In Limbo we not only find ancient Greeks and Romans, but also three Muslims: Averroes, Avicenna and Saladin.

The fact that two Renaissance masterpieces dealing with the fundaments of Western civilization are putting a Muslim in the centre of it, is odd to say the least. We learn that the Renaissance, Humanism and the Enlightenment were a purely European accomplishment. In this view, humanists like Petrarch would have found lost Greek and Roman manuscripts in old abbey libraries. This would have triggered the end of the Dark Middle Ages, the revaluation of men over the Church and critical thinking over dogmas. Continue reading

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