Friday, December 16, 2011

PPP gives authority to Gilani for taking extraordinary decisions during prevailing situation

Pakistan People’s party has given the authority of taking any extraordinary step during the prevailing situation of the country; meanwhile Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that that PPP government would not surrender before any unconstitutional and undemocratic force in the country.

This was decided during the PPP parliamentary party meeting which was jointly chaired by Prime Minister Gilani and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Prime minister said that the PPP parliamentarian should not scare from any one, adding that we would make decisions after deep thinking.

Prime minister said that PPP would succeed in Senate elections, adding that we will start preparations of the general elections after the senate elections.

According to sources, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told the meeting that whenever the PPP came into power there were always conspiracies against them and that even his mother’s government faced false accusations.

Prime Minister Gilani informed the meeting that memogate was a conspiracy against the government and democracy and there is no truth to the memo issue.

Gilani said that the PPP government has completed four years with 128 votes, adding that the leaders of PPP should take the masses into confidence regarding the present situation.

Sources further added that it was decided in the meeting that a strong answer would be given to the developments which were talking place in the country.

According to the sources the prime minister asked the PPP leaders to organize big public gathering after March.

Article 47 inapplicable, says Zardari


Asif Ali Zardari, while talking to media by telephone, said that he is in good health now however; doctors prohibited him from traveling, therefore, article 47 cannot be applied at him.
The clause (1) of article 47 of constitution says “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, that the President may, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct”.
President Zardari said that he will not accept the forcible imposition of the said article. How this article could be applied at me as I am absolutely fine, the president asked.

U.S. military acknowledges abuse by Afghan militias it trains

Members of local police forces that the United States sees as vital to ending the Afghan war have committed human rights abuses, the U.S. military acknowledged in a report issued late Thursday.

The report summarized the findings of an investigation carried out in response to a Human Rights Watch probe that implicated members of Afghan Local Police, or ALP, units in killings, rapes, arbitrary detentions and land grabs.

U.S. military officials recently announced plans to triple the ranks of the village paramilitary groups, which are trained by U.S. Special Forces, from their current strength of nearly 10,000. American commanders say the groups are uniquely qualified to secure areas that would otherwise be run by insurgents. But their creation has raised concerns about the empowerment of armed militias in a country with a long history of tribal feuds and weak government institutions.

Air Force Brig. Gen. James R. Marrs’s investigation substantiated some of the 32 allegations detailed in the human rights group’s report, although not the most serious of them.

Marrs said his team was unable to corroborate several of the allegations in the rights group’s report because of a lack of evidence and witnesses.

One case deemed credible involved an ALP member who was stabbed by two members of a separate ALP unit in May. In another case, ALP members detained Afghan police officers.

“The suspects were roughed up by the ALP, but not to the point where they required medical attention,” the military report said, referring to the detained officers.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday called on the Obama administration to abandon its plan to expand the paramilitary groups until the military takes significant steps to enhance oversight.

“The Afghan Local Police needs to be fixed before it can be expanded,” Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director, said in a statement.

The military’s report, which is dated Dec. 6, recommends improving training and discouraging rights abuses. Four days later, the commander of U.S. Special Forces, Adm. William McRaven, told reporters in Kabul that the military is expanding the local forces to 30,000. U.S. commanders view the groups as a cornerstone of the plan to delegate more responsibility for security to Afghans as foreign troops start to withdraw.

Marrs said in his report that Human Rights Watch’s cooperation with the military’s review of the allegations was “an enc uraging sign for future cooperation.” But he charged that the human rights group “ignores the vital service” local police forces “are providing every day to give Afghans a chance to end 30 years of conflict and to live secure and peaceful lives.”

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s president said Thursday that peace talks with the Taliban ought to take place in his country, an apparent rebuke to Qatar, which Afghan officials say was planning to allow the Taliban to open a political office in the Gulf emirate without coordinating with Afghan officials.

If peace talks with the Taliban must be held abroad because of the logistical challenges of holding them in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said, they should take place in Saudi Arabia or Turkey and only in coordination with Kabul.

Karzai’s announcement came a day after he recalled his ambassador to Qatar for consultations in response to reports that the tiny emirate would soon allow representatives of the Taliban to hold peace talks there with the United States. News reports about the imminent establishment of a Taliban office were attributed to anonymous diplomats.

“No country can interfere in the political process without the Afghan government’s permission,” Karzai said in a statement.

U.S. officials held preliminary talks with a Taliban envoy in Qatar earlier this year, but those discussions appear to have gone nowhere. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said recently that the United States does not have an open line of dialogue with the extremist group that has been battling U.S. and Afghan troops for years.

Karzai issued the statement after a round of meetings with members of the peace council he empaneled more than a year ago in an effort to negotiate a peace settlement.

Karzai suspended his effort after the September assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president who led the peace council. A suicide bomber who pretended to be a Taliban envoy delivering an important message killed the Afghan elder with explosives hidden in a turban.

The Taliban’s leaders have said they will not negotiate until the U.S.-led international military force in Afghanistan agrees to withdraw.

IRAQ WAR: History will not fondly remember war-makers

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the end of the U.S. war in Iraq together with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Dec. 12, saying the remaining troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. Barack Obama, who consistently criticized the Iraq War, said history will judge the original decision to go into Iraq.

The war in Iraq is undoubtedly a major event in the 21st century. The American people and media are reflecting. Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers lie died, more than 30,000 wounded, and 3 trillion U.S. dollars was spent in this nine-year war. Furthermore, the fiscal deficit of the United States is closely related to the huge war expenses. However, the large cost paid by the United States did not see an equal return. Iran, its old enemy in the Middle East, has more influence than it in Iraq.

The Americans' reflection on the Iraq War, just as how they reflected on the Vietnam War years ago, mostly focuses on their own interests but rarely reviews the long-term impact of the war on Iraq. In the view of Americans, today's Iraq is "an Iraq that is self-governing, inclusive and has enormous potential.”

But the fact is that over the past eight years, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed, millions became refugees, and a large portion of the social elite immigrated abroad. Agonies left by the war continue in Fallujah, where two fierce battles recently broke out.

Many newborns are malformed as the U.S. troops used white phosphorous bombs and other chemical weapons during the war. A local hospital doctor said, "As many as 12 babies born on Oct. 11 are malformed." The local water purification and sewage treatment systems have not yet been completed due to the shortage of reconstruction funds.
The locals are worried that terrorist organizations and anti-U.S. insurgent groups may stage a comeback. There is no adequate personal security, and the so-called political development and economic prosperity is nothing but empty talk.

The largest political legacy of the Iraq war is the so-called democracy. The United States claimed that it has made Iraq a model of democracy in the Middle East, but the fact is that Iraq is still facing a grim security situation and a bitter religious rivalry, with a weak foundation for democracy. More alarmingly, the country’s Kurdish and Sunni minorities are joining hands to seek greater autonomy, and terrorism has not been rooted out in the country. Is such a “model of democracy” really attractive?

The United States previously twice announced the end of the Iraq war and did not start withdrawing its troops from Iraq until nearly three years after its commitment on troop withdrawal, showing the great difficulty in ending a war. The superpower announced the end of the war once again, while Iraq remains a war-ravaged country with weak mobilization and action capabilities as well as long-term internal political and security risks.

The Iraq war has exerted considerable impact on Iraq and the United States as well as the system of international relations. At the beginning, the war had two purposes: to remove the possible threat posed by the Saddam Hussein regime’s weapons of mass destruction and to overthrow the Iraqi dictatorship supporting terrorism. However, no weapons of mass destruction were found even after the U.S. troops entered Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

The then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who claimed at a United Nations conference that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction, later said angrily that he was misled. The second purpose produced the opposite result.

Iraq used to have no relations with terrorist organizations but became a hotbed of terrorism after the U.S. invasion. The United States declared war on another sovereign nation without the support of the international community, so even the U.S. media have naturally used the word “invasion” when mentioning the Iraq war. The United States has set a bad example for other countries through this unjustifiable war.

Report alleges Victoria's Secret linked to child labor


The company that owns Victoria's Secret vowed a full investigation Thursday after a report said cotton used in some of its products is grown using child labor.

"We are very concerned," parent company Limited Brands said in a statement, noting that the cotton in question, which comes from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, is "used in a small portion of our Victoria's Secret panty styles."

"If this allegation is true, it describes behavior that is contrary to our company's values and the code of labor and sourcing standards that we require all of our suppliers to meet," the statement said. "These standards expressly prohibit child labor."

The company said it immediately "began working with key stakeholders internally and externally to fully investigate this matter. Depending on the findings, we are prepared to take swift action to prevent the illegal use of child labor in the fields where we source Fairtrade-certified organic cotton in Burkina Faso."

Victoria's Secret, known for its underwear and lingerie, describes itself as "one of the most powerful, sexy and glamorous stores in the world." Its fashion show recently aired in more than 90 countries.

The statement from Ohio-based Limited Brands on Thursday followed an extensive report from Bloomberg that describes the life of a 13-year-old-girl who is beaten by the farmer she works for on a cotton field in Burkina Faso. The cotton picked by the girl went to factories in other countries, "where it was fashioned into Victoria's Secret underwear," the report said.

While forced labor and child labor are not new to African farms, Bloomberg noted, the girl works on a farm certified as organic and fair trade. Such farms "should be free of such practices," the report said.

"Perversely," the article said, the lucrative premiums paid for organic and fair-trade cotton have "created fresh incentives for exploitation. The program has attracted subsistence farmers who say they don't have the resources to grow fair-trade cotton without violating a central principle of the movement: forcing other people's children into their fields. "

The report cited the leader of Burkina Faso's organic and fair-trade program and the head of fair-trade organization Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation as saying that Victoria's Secret purchased all of Burkina Faso's organic crop from last season.

A report earlier this year from the U.S. Labor Department found that child labor is used in cotton production in more than a dozen countries, including Burkina Faso.

A press attache for the Burkina Faso Embassy in the United States had no immediate comment Thursday.

In its statement Thursday, Limited Brands said that in 2007, it "established a pilot program to purchase Fairtrade-certified organic cotton from primarily women farmers in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa that struggles with endemic poverty. We were committed to this initiative because of its potential to generate life-changing opportunities for some of the world's poorest women."

The "Charter of Fair Trade Principles," published in 2009 by the World Fair Trade Organization and Fairtrade International, states that the rights of children are to be respected. "The importance of children's involvement in the work of family-based production units, and the learning of skills required for their working life is recognized, but any involvement must be disclosed and monitored and must not adversely affect the child's well-being, security, educational opportunities and need for play," it says.

Record 173 polio cases reported in 2011

The number of polio cases in Pakistan has risen to 173 in 2011 breaking a five-year record, Geo News reported Friday.

During the current week, six new cases have been reported from Balochistan and two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As per date provided by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the highest number of polio cases have been registered in Balochistan (68), 50 from Fata, 30 from Sindh, 19 from KPK, 5 from the Punjab and one from Gilgit-Baltistan.

In 2010, 144 polio cases were reported while 2009 witnessed 116 polio cases.

An anti-polio countrywide campaign is planned to start from December 19th.

Imprisoned activist's daughter detained in Bahrain

A rights group says a daughter of a prominent Bahraini activist has been detained during an anti-government demonstration in the Gulf kingdom, roiled by months of protests and crackdowns.

Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, says Zainab al-Khawaja was detained early on Friday during the rally outside the capital Manama.

She is a daughter of Bahrain's most prominent political activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who was imprisoned for life in June. A special security tribunal, set up under emergency rule, convicted him of anti-state crimes.

Bahrain's Shiite majority has been campaigning for greater rights from the Sunni monarchy since February. At least 35 people have been killed since the uprising erupted.

Veena Malik scandal

By:Malik Tariq Ali

I fail to understand the unnecessary furor over the acts of

Veena Malik, a women who is working in entertainment industry. In every country, there are such women, who use their bodies to earn money by playing upon the fantasies of men and what she has done has been happening for centuries. Venna Malik exposed her body to create a controversy and get the publicity which she has successfully got. Such individual acts do not reflect upon the women of Pakistan, nor in my opinion has Pakistan’s image been tarnished.

The image of Pakistan is damaged when its elected or paid public servants chose to sell their conscience to benefit themselves financially even compromising vital national interests that they were supposed to protect. Those who robbed and fleeced Hajjis, violated their oaths of office, or pilfered state exchequer, be it the missing containers scam, or NICL, or even Pak Steel Mills, Railways, PIA etc have harmed Pakistan more. When people in power utilize state funds to indulge in their sexual fantasies, it is our national image which suffers. Those who hired services of escorts during their official tours to Turkey, or who stated that Pakistani women plan their rape to get visas, damaged our national image. I see no difference between the acts of men and women who form part of our ruling elite when they sell their conscience and the acts of women in the pleasure industry who sell their body for financial profits. Each sells what is there to be sold for their individual benefit. The only difference is that people in authority do more harm to their countries and the people who elect them than these women. The Pakistani media and our so called clergy would serve the people better if they were to concentrate on moral and financial corruption that deprives us of millions of funds that would have been spent on education health, security, provision of basic necessities, rather than on individual acts of people like Veena, who represent nobody but themselves.

ANP’s Bushra Gohar demands ISI chief’s resignation


Amid exchange of allegations between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over President Asif Ali Zardari’s health and the memo scandal in the National Assembly on Thursday, Awami National Party (ANP) legislator Bushra Gohar took the lead and demanded the resignation of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha for having been accused by Mansoor Ijaz for seeking Arab rulers’ support to remove Zardari.
Gohar’s demand was supported by Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan which was a complete U-turn from his earlier stance in which he had defended Pasha, saying that Ijaz’s allegations against the ISI chief were part of a conspiracy to malign the national spy agency.
“When a foreigner (Mansoor Ijaz) levelled allegations against Hussain Haqqani, he (the ambassador) was asked to resign to make investigations transparent … now Ijaz has accused the ISI DG of seeking support of Arab countries for Zardari’s ouster but he (Pasha) is investigating the ‘memo’ issue … General Pasha should also resign to make the memo investigations impartial,” she said while criticising Nisar’s speech in which he had defended the ISI DG in the memo case and had termed Ijaz’s allegation against Pasha a lie. However, ANP Information Secretary Senator Zahid Khan distanced himself from Gohar’s demand, saying it was her personal opinion and not the party’s policy.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Chaudhry Nisar criticised the government for its delay in rebutting news report in which Ijaz claimed that the ISI DG had sought support of Arab countries after the Abbotabad incident to remove Zardari. “I know he (Pasha) is not a fool that he would seek approval from Arab countries for Zardari’s ouster … this is a conspiracy to malign the ISI in the world … the report is a lie and should be rebutted by the government but I do not know why the government is keeping mum over the issue,” he said.
Later on when Gohar challenged the PML-N’s double standard on the memo case, Nisar backtracked from his stance, saying that he endorsed Gohar’s demand. “Bushra Gohar represents the treasury benches, therefore the ANP should ask the PPP government to get resignation from the ISI DG … I was the man who repeatedly talked about General Pasha’s resignation in front of him during the joint sitting of the parliament,” Nisar said.
Severely criticising the government over the Shamsi Airbase issue, Nisar said giving the base to foreigners without any written agreement was tantamount to treason. “Who authorised former president Pervez Musharraf to hand over Shamsi Airbase to the United States for launching aerial attacks inside Pakistan ... the governments (previous and incumbent) have been denying the presence of NATO forces on the base for the last ten years which turned out to be a complete lie,” he said.
On Zardari’s health, the opposition leader said that contradictory statements by top government officials had created confusion about the president’s health, indicating that the ruling party had no competence to run the affairs of the country.
Expressing disappointment over the prime minister’s speech in the Senate on Wednesday, Nisar asked him to expose the conspiracy which was haunting him. “Had the PML-N intended to hatch a conspiracy against the government, it would have succeeded three years ago in toppling the government,” he said without elaborating the nature and timing of the conspiracy which could be hatched three years ago against the government. Nisar further assailed the government for a reported expenditure of Rs 260 million on the renovation of the presidency’s kitchen.
Responding to Nisar’s tirade, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said his party was not concealing anything from the nation. “Our government did not handed over Shamsi or any other airbase to NATO … we are releasing a daily health bulletin on the president’s health to the media,” he said. Kaira said that Ijaz’s charges against the ISI DG were as baseless as his allegations against Hussain Haqqani and others. On the reported renovation of the presidency’s kitchen, Kaira said the president himself had rejected the proposal and the government would soon issue a rebuttal against such news.

3,663,626 children to be vaccinated in Khyber Pakthunkhwa

As many as 3,663,626

children under five-year of age would be vaccinated in three days polio eradication campaign, which will kick off simultaneously in 17 districts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa from Monday.

In Fata, anti-polio drops would be provided to 937,029 children during the period for which all arrangements have been completed by the Government.

Dr Jan Baz Afridi, Deputy Director, Extended Programme Immunization (EPI), Khyber Pakthunkhwa told APP here on Thursday as many as 9575 mobile, 1007 fixed and 560 transit teams have been constituted for vaccination in selected districts of Khyber Paktunkhwa.

To administer anti-polio drops to children in Fata, he said, 2778 mobile, 252 fixed and 86 transit teams have been formed that will visit far flung and vulnerable areas of Fata to vaccinate children at their doorstep. He said the Health Department has given task to these teams to ensure 100 per cent target.

According to World Health Organization, as many as 167 cases have been reported from the country this year including 49 from Fata, 18 in KP, 5 in Punjab, 30 in Sindh and 64 in Balochistan. As many as 19 cases had been reported in 2001, 90 cases in 2002, 103 (2003), 53 (2004), 28 (2005), 40 (2006), 32 (2007), 117 (2009), 89 (2009) and 144 (2010) in the country.

To a question about variation in reported cases, Dr Jan Baz said security situation, refusal cases, cross border movement and religious factor etc are the major reasons that hamper efforts to completely eradicate the crippling disease from the country.

He said the President and Prime Minister were taking keen interests in polio eradication programmes keeping in view its paramount importance.

Under the Prime Minister's Action Plan against polio, the campaign would be monitored at the grassroots level. He assured foolproof security to the staff and field workers for extensive vaccination in Fata and KP.

Underling the need for active role of media, Ulema and other segment of the society in making the programme a success, he said refusal cases could be tackled effectively by educating masses on constant basis, saying polio-free Pakistan was the dream of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and the government would realize her dream at every cost.

For a polio-free Pakistan, he said, the government was actively engaged with world partners and international donor agencies and time was not far away when this crippling disease would completely be wiped out.

He said refusal cases are one of the major hurdles for increase in polio cases in KP and sought the role of media and Ulema for education of masses to discourage this tendency. Special emphasis is being made on advocacy campaigns for education of parents in far flung and remote areas, capacity building of staff and involvement of religious scholars and elected representative to achieve desired results.

The necessary logistics including vaccines, finger-markers, social mobilization materials and recording forms have been provided to the districts, he added.

He urged parents and guardians to bring their kids to the nearest Basic Health Units (BHUs) and hospitals in case mobile teams did not reach their homes.

Dr Jan Baz said it was our collective responsibility and religious obligation to work and support Government's endeavors by vaccinating their kids against polio so that no child in future could become crippled.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa top recipient of remittances: Study

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province is top amongst all the four provinces in terms of per capita expenditures on household as it is the biggest recipient of remittances from abroad as well as within the country.

It was the finding of research paper titled “Is Consumption Pattern Homogenous in Pakistan? Evidence from Pakistan Social Living Measurement (PSLM) survey” presented by Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Dean NUST Business School and economist Umer Khalid during a PIDE conference on Wednesday.

The research study revealed that the proportion of total households receiving remittances is highest in KPK where nearly 31 percent of all households received remittances in 2007-08, with this proportion higher for rural sector of the province at 36 percent.

In Punjab, over 19 percent of the households were getting remittances, with this proportion being 16 percent and 22 percent in urban and rural areas respectively. The share of households receiving remittances is lowest in Balochistan and Sindh at around 2 percent.

In terms of the marginal expenditures shares, households getting remittances have a lower spending at the margin on food and drinks in all the provinces.

In case of fuel and lighting, marginal expenditure shares of remittances recipient households in all provinces except KPK are lower than those for their counterparts not receiving remittances. On the other hand, households receiving remittances spend more on education in all four provinces, especially Balochistan, in comparison to non recipient households.

In another presentation on economic, political and institutional determinants for budget deficit, the experts stated that the rampant corruption led to more exposure to the budget deficit.

In another session on Economic Reforms and Competitiveness, former chairman Competition Commission of Pakistan Khalid Mirza said that the poorly conceived and poorly implemented regulations became worst than having no regulations and the same was the case related to enforcement of competition law.

While referring to recent observations of the Supreme Court, he said that the regulations were quite crucial to run the economy on smooth basis.

He said that the government’s dominant role was problematic but whatever space was available to market forces it should act fairly and judiciously.

The regulators like SBP, CCP and SECP must observe three ‘As’ by ensuring putting in place autonomy, appropriate and accountability. The regulators should be accountable not to the government but to the Parliament and the civil society, he concluded.

Bangladesh celebrating 40th year of Victory

On this day in 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces had surrendered to the allied forces, ending the nine-month Liberation War.

Editorial:The Victory Day

December 16 is a red-letter day in our national history. The nation celebrates the Victory Day on this day every year with a renewed pledge to safeguard national sovereignty, strengthen democracy and attain economic emancipation. There is a lot of enthusiasm and festivity all around on this occasion. This year is also no exception and the people are celebrating the historic Victory Day today amid festivity and jubilation. But it can not be denied that the day is set to pass off leaving many hearts filled with despair as the dreams of the independence movement and the great victory in the liberation war are yet to be fulfilled.
The independence of the country is the result of united struggle of the whole nation, heroic fight of the brave sons of the soil and supreme sacrifice of three million people as well as unbearable abuse and humiliation of two lakh women of the country. The dreams that prompted the people to fight a life and death battle for liberation were that independence would bring about freedom from subjugation and also peace, democracy and economic emancipation. But those dreams have only partially been materialised.
No, doubt we have been liberated from colonial rule in 1971, but our economic emancipation is still a distant goal. A lot of changes have taken place in the country over the last 40 years in different fields, but the lot of the common people still remains unchanged. The blood earned independence has paved the way for the rich being richer. But the poor people continue to become poorer. The rich-poor gap is widening rapidly. Thus the main objective of independence remains yet to be accomplished, because political freedom without economic emancipation is almost meaningless. So, all out efforts must be made to attain economic emancipation to make the independence meaningful for all.
Every one knows, one of the main objectives of independence was to establish a peaceful democratic society in the country. But it is a matter of great regret that even after so many years of achieving independence democracy is fragile in the country and peace continues to be disrupted by widespread violence and terrorism plunging the people into a state of insecurity. And no doubt, people are unhappy over this situation. Now, we all hope, those who run the country and decide the fate of the people must deliver goods to fulfill the aspiration of the nation. We can not but remind all concerned that the nation has earned freedom at the cost of blood not for the power and pomp of some leaders, but for a social order in which the people can leave peacefully with democratic right, human dignity and economic security.
Those who are in the helm of affairs, must respond positively to the call of the time by placing the interests of the people above that of the parties and individuals to make Bangladesh a real welfare state ensuing basic needs of life as well as peace, security and justice for all. If it can not be done the sacrifice of the nation for liberation may go in vain and the hopes and dreams generated by the liberation of the country may fade into history turning the blood-earned freedom into only a myth of independence.