Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Video - Abe: WWII sex slaves were victims of human trafficking

China hits out as Abe visits the US

Tokyo alliance 'mustn't undermine Beijing's interests or disturbAsia-Pacific region'
Beijing warned on Tuesday that the alliance between the United States and Japan shouldnot undermine China's interests or disturb the Asia-Pacific region.
The warning came as the two allies highlighted territorial issues and Japan's increasedsecurity role during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ongoing trip to the US.
US President Barack Obama welcomed Abe to the White House on TuesdayHailing thealliance as the "cornerstoneof security in the Asia-Pacificthe two countries vowed tocounter threats to "international orderby forging a trade deal and through an expandedsecurity role for long-pacifistic Japan.
Observers said the Obama administration's latest policy agenda shows that the US viewsChina's rising strategic influence in the region as an imminent challenge and that Tokyohas secured more tangible support from Washington during Abe's visit.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday at a joint news conference thatWashington's "commitment to Japan's security remains ironclad and covers all territoriesunder Japan's administration".
Agence France-Presse reported that Kerry clearly included China's Diaoyu Islands withinthe scope of Japan's administration.
Following a meeting of foreign policy and defense chiefs from both countriesthe US andJapan announced new guidelines on Monday for bilateral defense cooperation.
Under these guidelinesrevised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the right toexercise collective self-defense — being allowed to defend not just its own territorybutalso the United States and other countries if needed.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday, "Both the US and Japanhave a duty to ensure that their alliance does not infringe the interests of third parties,including Chinaor the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region."
China's territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and affiliated islets "remains intactno matter who makes remarks or (takesaction against them", he saidHe also said theway in which the US-Japan treaty allianceformed during the Cold Wardevelops"deserves attention from all parties".
Abethe first Japanese leader to visit the US since 2006, was scheduled to address a jointsession of Congress on Tuesday.
Yang Bojiangdeputy director of the Institute of Japanese Studies under the ChineseAcademy of Social Sciencessaid Washington is trying to champion its leadership over theregion through the evolving US-Japan agendaand Japan's influence appears to haveincreased within the alliance.
"The US is trying to tie Japan tightly to its future strategies. ... AlsoChina's latest strategicproposals with regional influence — including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bankhave impressed Washington," Yang said.
Ruan Zongzevice-president of the China Institute of International Studiessaid the US isadding weight to Japan's role in its global security strategyRuan said, "Washington'ssecurity policy support has sent a misleading signal to Abe — that he can gloss overJapan's historical issues."
Washington has said it takes no position over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu IslandsButObama for the first time officially included the islands within the area of Japan'sadministration during a visit to Tokyo in April last yearwhich triggered protests fromChina.
During a meeting on Tuesday with students at Harvard's Kennedy School in Cambridge,MassachusettsAbe drew criticism as he again defined "comfort women" — a euphemismfor Asian women forced by the Japanese Imperial Army into sexual slaveryas victims of"human trafficking".
In response to a student's questionAbe said, "It's heart-wrenching to think about womenwho fell victim to human trafficking and suffered unspeakable pain."

Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

By Chris Simkins

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting and looting broke out a day earlier.
Violence swept across parts of the U.S. eastern city following Monday’s funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose suspicious death while in police custody outraged many in the city’s African-American communities and beyond.
Gray, arrested April 12, sustained a spinal cord injury while in police custody and died a week later.
Tuesday also brought peaceful street gatherings in West Baltimore, with racially mixed crowds rallying to prevent further violence and demonstrate a softer side of the city. Some stood, arms linked, to separate potential troublemakers from a line of law enforcement troops holding up shields. Others danced and distributed water bottles in a show of harmony on the sunny day.    
Local leaders condemned the violence, but some were not surprised given the long-standing frustration among blacks in the city.
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings cited “the pain and frustration of young people.”
The Maryland Democrat said he knows many youths “who are crying out, saying, 'Look we want to be better educated.' They say, 'We want jobs.’ They want recreation centers.  But they are saying, 'What about us?'"
Gray’s is the latest in a recent string of fatal run-ins between black men and police officers in several cities scattered across America. Among them, the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white officer Darren Smith in Ferguson, Missouri, touched off fiery protests for which the governor called in the National Guard. Public anger was rekindled with the news that Eric Garner, 43, died in July after being put in a police chokehold in Staten Island, New York.   
Dividing lines
Baltimore is a tale of two cites. There is economic development downtown, but not far away poverty and crime plague many black neighborhoods. 
The predominantly black city of almost 625,000 is home to the NAACP, formerly known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the largest civil rights organization in the country.  
Its president, Cornell William Brooks, said: "The anger that we feel in Baltimore is very much related to the anger that has been felt in Ferguson, the anger that has been felt in Staten Island, New York. The anger that has been felt across the length and breadth of this country. But we have to go beyond anger to action." 
Many African-Americans in Baltimore have long complained about aggressive policing tactics and are demanding more accountability from police. The city has paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits against police for inappropriate behavior. 
One teenage gang member is among those calling for solutions.
"If we can stick together doing something negative, then we can stick together doing something positive,” said the young man identified only as Steve. “If we start giving ear and listening to the youth more than just neglecting them, then it would probably be a change."
Now community leaders are focused on keeping the peace as tensions between young blacks and police remain high.  
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ordered a mandatory curfew to take effect Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and continue nightly into Monday. 

Video - Obama's passionate reaction to Baltimore unrest

Video - Protesters Call for Apology From Japan's Abe

Pakistan - Roadside bomb kills one in Peshawar

At least one person was killed Tuesday when a bomb planted on the side of a road exploded in Peshawar’s upscale Hayatabad area.
According to police, the blast also damaged a vehicle near Hayatabad's Bagh Naran Chowk.
A man who was seriously injured in the blast was taken to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment, but later succumbed to his injuries.
Superintendent of Police Rana Umer said the explosive material had been planted by the side of the road which caused a loud explosion.
Umer said that police had started a search operation in adjoining areas.

Police also said that a convoy of security forces' personnel had passed by the area shortly before the explosion, but they remained unhurt.

Sabeen Mahmud's Brutal Killing Is Another Stain on Pakistan's Human Rights


The brutal killing of Pakistan's human rights activist, Sabeen Mahmud, has not only stunned Pakistanis, but has also sent shock waves, which are rippling through the global social media.
She is also the latest victim, among the recent range of murders of human rights activists and journalists in Pakistan including, Rashid RehmanPerween RahmanMurtaza Rizvi, and Masood Hamid.
Rashid Rehman was the regional director of Pakistan Human Rights Commission; Perween Rahman was managing the Orangi Pilot Project serving one of the disadvantaged communities of Sindh province. Murtaza Rizvi, and Masood Hamid were the distinguished journalists associated with Pakistan's major news organization, the Dawn group.
These murderous attacks are a continuum that has seen senior journalists like Hamid Mir, and Raza Rumi also being attacked with bullets, though both survived. Hamid Mir continues his work in Pakistan and Raza Rumi has been forced into exile like Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani and others.
The fact that journalists in Pakistan live under siege and are attacked with impunity has been recorded many times. A report by Amnesty International, reviews this phenomenon and also shows that perpetrators of the crimes are neither found, nor ever prosecuted.
Various reports by Human Rights Watch have included the plight of human rights abuses in Pakistan, and have also highlighted the issue of missing persons in Pakistan's Balochistan Province. It is an issue that has not captured wide attention among the rights activists globally. The 2015 HRW report includes:
"Enforced disappearances linked to the security forces continued with impunity. On March 18, plainclothes gunmen later identified as belonging to Pakistan's Frontier Corps allegedly abducted Zahid Baloch, chairperson of the Baloch Students Organization -- Azad, in the provincial capital Quetta. Baloch's safety and whereabouts remained unknown at the time of writing. Despite ruling from Pakistan's Supreme Court in 2013, demanding justice for victims of enforced disappearances, as well as recommendations from the UN Working Group on Enforced, or Involuntary Disappearances in 2012, Pakistan's government has failed to meet its obligations, under the constitution, and international law prohibiting enforced disappearances."
While Sabeen Mahmud's philanthropy and human rights activism, as the founder of T2F and Peace Niche, had many shining facets, it could be her last act -- of highlighting the plight of Balochistan's missing persons -- that may have taken her life.
T2F, has been a unique Arts, Culture, Literature, and Events space, that many put on their itinerary when visiting the plight ridden metropolis of Karachi to find some peace and solace. T2F website reads:
"since our inception in May 2007, T2F has hosted hundreds of events, ranging from poetry readings and film screenings, to vibrant debates on critical issues. With the support and participation of musicians, artists, writers, film makers, scientists, comedians, thought leaders, and engaged audiences, T2F has contributed to revitalizing Karachi's cultural landscape and has provided an alternative, independent, safe space for discourse."
The last event at T2F, just before Sabeen Mahmud's murder was a talk, on Balochistan. "Unsilencing Balochistan (Take 2): In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur." It also included journalist Wusat Ullah Khan, who is known for his incisive commentaries on Pakistani society and politics.
The event hosted Mama Qadeer, a Baloch activist who has been leading a thousands-of-kilometres-long march by foot from Balochistan to other areas of Pakistan with a very small group of supporter to demand justice for Balochistan's missing persons.
His efforts have generally been ignored by Pakistan's media and authorities in general and he has been barred from traveling out of Pakistan.
A similar earlier event to be organized at Pakistan's reputed liberal university LUMS was cancelled, and the organizers blamed it on pressures by authorities.
This is what the university issued as a calrificaton:
Sabeen Mahmud carried out the event at T2F, despite allegedly receiving threats, and even when her moderator and another journalist backed out of the event at the last minute. She was killed in a hail of bullets soon after the event, on her way home. Her mother was also seriously injured but survived.

According to report published at Wall Street Journal"Many blamed the military and its intelligence agencies for the assassination of Ms. Mahmud, a charge the military refutes." In a rare move, Pakistan Army' s media wing ISPR announced that it will probe and assign resources to Sabeen Mahmaud's murder.
Her murder is creating a temporary chill and fear among Pakistan's liberal and progressive communities. This was perhaps what the killers wanted to achieve, and are apparently successful.
However, Pakistan has a long history of dissidence and struggle for human rights, where leading writers, poets, artists, students, labour leaders, and journalists, including men and women have sacrificed and given their lives. Mahmud was the latest flickering candle that has been so brutally snuffed. But her light continues to guide hundreds of young activists whom she nurtured over many years, and they will carry the torch forward. They are also determined that they will lend their voices to voiceless missing people of Balochistan, and to other abuses of rights.

Why Is Pakistan More Legitimate than Israel?


Consider these facts about the creation of Israel and Pakistan. 
Whenever I have received a call from a listener to my radio show challenging Israel’s legitimacy, I have asked these people if they ever called a radio show to challenge any other country’s legitimacy. In particular, I ask, have they ever questioned the legitimacy of Pakistan? The answer, of course, is always “no.” In fact, no caller ever understood why I even mentioned Pakistan.

There are two reasons for this. First, of all the 200-plus countries in the world, only Israel’s legitimacy is challenged. So mentioning any other country seems strange to a caller. Second, almost no one outside of India and Pakistan knows anything about the founding of Pakistan. Only months before the U.N. adopted a proposal to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state in 1947, India was partitioned into a Muslim and Hindu state. The Hindu state was, of course, India. And the Muslim state became known as Pakistan. It comprises 310,000 square miles, about 40,000 square miles larger than Texas. In both cases, the declaration of an independent state resulted in violence. As soon as the newly established state of Israel was declared in May 1948, it was invaded by six Arab armies. And the partition of India led to terrible violence between Muslims and Hindus.

According to the final report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission, December 28, 1949, the 1948 war for Israel’s independence created 726,000 Arab refugees. Many sources put the figure at about 200,000 fewer. A roughly equal number of Jewish refugees — approximately 700,000 — were created when they were forcibly expelled from the Arab countries where they had lived for countless generations. In addition, approximately 10,000 Arabs were killed in the fighting that ensued after the Arab invasion of Israel.

Now let’s turn to the creation of Pakistan. According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, the creation of Pakistan resulted in 14 million refugees — Hindus fleeing Pakistan and Muslims fleeing India. Assuming a 50-50 split, the creation of Pakistan produced about 7 million Hindu refugees — at least ten times the number of Arab refugees that resulted from the war surrounding Israel’s creation. And the Mideast war, it should be recalled, was started by the Arab nations surrounding Israel. Were it not for the Arab rejection of Israel’s creation (and existence within any borders) and the subsequent Arab invasion, there would have been no Arab refugees. As regards deaths, the highest estimate of Arab deaths during the 1948 war following the partition of Palestine is 10,000. The number of deaths that resulted from the creation of Pakistan is around 1 million. In addition, according to the Indian government, at least 86,000 women were raped. Most historians believe the number to be far higher. The number of women raped when Israel was established is close to zero. From all evidence I could find, the highest estimate was 12. Given the spectacularly larger number of refugees and deaths caused by the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, why does no one ever question the legitimacy Pakistan’s existence? This question is particularly valid given another fact: Never before in history was there a Pakistan. It was a completely new nation. Moreover, its creation was made possible solely because of Muslim invasion. It was Muslims who invaded India and killed about 60 million Hindus during the thousand-year Muslim rule of India. The area now known as Pakistan was Hindu until it was invaded by the Muslims in A.D. 711. On the other hand, modern Israel is the third Jewish state in the geographic area known as Palestine. The first was destroyed in 586 B.C., the second in A.D. 70. And there was never a non-Jewish sovereign state in Palestine. So, given all these facts, why is Israel’s legitimacy challenged, while the legitimacy of Pakistan, a state that had never before existed and whose creation resulted in the largest mass migration in recorded history, is never challenged? The answer is so obvious that only those who graduated from college and especially from graduate school need to be told: Israel is the one Jewish state in the world. So, while there are 49 Muslim-majority countries, and 22 Arab states, much of the world questions or outright rejects the right of only the one Jewish state, the size of New Jersey, to exist. If you are a member of the Presbyterian Church, send these facts to the leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA who voted to boycott Israel. If you are a student in Middle Eastern studies — or for that matter, almost any other humanities department — and your professor is anti-Israel, ask your professor why Pakistan is legitimate and Israel isn’t. They won’t have a good answer. Because their opposition to Israel isn’t based on moral considerations.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417575/why-pakistan-more-legitimate-israel-dennis-prager
Read more at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417575/why-pakistan-more-legitimate-israel-dennis-prager#3UhzxvdGdBWmfitP.99

Pakistan's Neutrality in the Yemen Crisis: Brought to You by China

Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan to a warm welcome. He left having signed scores of agreements that commit, over several years, billions in Chinese financing and support for various Pakistani infrastructure projects. Beset with a range of problems, Pakistan lacks the indigenous capacity to invest adequately in its own power and infrastructure needs, despite facing major shortfalls in these areas. China and Pakistan enjoy a special relationship by their own admission: they refer to their partnership as an “all weather” one and Xi, prior to arriving in Islamabad, remarked that he felt as if he was “going to visit the home of [his] own brother.”
Still, despite the warm rhetoric toward China and years of positive ties between the two countries, when it came to backing Pakistan, both financially and politically, Islamabad had always found support flowing in from the Arabian peninsula to its west. Arab states, most notably Saudi Arabia, have long supported Pakistan at times when it found itself isolated by the international community. Pakistan, in turn, maintains close ties with the Arab world. With Saudi Arabia in particular, Pakistan enjoys a close security relationship. From the early Cold War years through the 1990s, Pakistani military assistance was somewhat taken for granted by Saudi Arabia. Last year, Riyadh gave Pakistan $1.5 billion in an “unconditional grant” to shore up its foreign exchange reserve to service its debts. Additionally, after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a coup in 1999, Riyadh hosted him during his years of exile.
It was Sharif who oversaw Xi’s visit to Pakistan last week, and it was Sharif who complied with the Pakistani parliament’s decision to stay out of Saudi Arabia’s “Operation Decisive Storm” — an air campaign launched in late March against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia with a coalition of Arab states and the United States backing it. Pakistan’s decision to stay out of the conflict stunned observers on the Arabian peninsula. Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, condemned what he saw as Pakistan’s “contradictory and dangerous” move.
Of course, Pakistani policymakers had to have been aware of potential blowback. Maintaining neutrality on the Yemen issue is a major move for Islamabad and one that will surely cause the Saudis and other Arab states flush with cash to reconsider their financial commitments to Islamabad in the future. Fortunately, with the commitments Beijing set out last week, this might now be less of an issue for Pakistan.
A report published Monday in Pakistan’s Express Tribune makes the case that the impending Chinese financing buoyed Islamabad’s conviction in standing neutral while the Saudi-led coalition bombed Yemen. The billions in investment announced during Xi’s visit overshot what any of Pakistan’s Arab allies could offer. Certainly, it is preferable for China if its ally and beneficiary stays away from foreign entanglements when it faces a major security threat at home from extremist groups. Shortly after Xi’s departure, Pakistan announced that it would create a security force comprising nine army battalions and six wings into civilian security forces to protect Chinese workers in the country. Islamabad appeared to be doubling down its commitment to China over its Arab benefactors.
As The Diplomat recently reported, the reason Xi’s trip to Pakistan was announced at the eleventh hour after being delayed beyond its original late-March time line was due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to launch Operation Decisive Storm. Xi was originally slated to also visit the Middle East, reportedly including stops in Cairo and Riyadh, in a single trip. Had Islamabad chosen to participate in Saudi Arabia’s campaign, Xi’s visit could have been delayed further. Additionally, as Mu Chunshan wrote last week, Chinese financing for the Iran-Pakistan pipeline entailed that Pakistan couldn’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Saudi Arabia in what was widely seen as a proxy conflict between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia (Pakistan itself is a Sunni majority state).
Pakistan acquiesced to these Chinese concerns. In return, Xi reportedly told Sharif, in the words of the Express Tribune, that China “would stand behind Islamabad in the event of unraveling of its ties with the Arab world.” The report adds:
The Chinese leader even suggested Pakistan realized its true potential and pointed out that if Islamabad maintained unity in their ranks and implemented the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, then it would not have to look up to outside help either from the West or Arab countries.
To be sure, Pakistan hasn’t left Arab states behind altogether — at least not yet. It remains to be seen if the fallout from Pakistan’s neutrality over Yemen will affect the broader relationship between Islamabad and Riyadh. Additionally, there is reason to view last week’s agreements between China and Pakistan with some skepticism. Despite optimistic headlines touting amounts in the billions, there is a considerable gap between what China has promised Pakistan in the past and what it has actually delivered. One study found that just six percent of what China promised Pakistan in terms of aid, assistance, and investment between 2001 and 2011 was delivered ($66 billion was pledged in total). Things may be different this time, given Xi Jinping’s personal interest in developing Pakistan as the linchpin of his One Belt, One Road initiative, but China’s track record in Pakistan leaves much to be desired.
Pakistan’s decisions over the past month could spark a longer-term recalibration in Riyadh and other Arab capitals. Despite what Saudi Arabia may have told Islamabad, its financial backing over the years was far from “unconditional” for Pakistan. It was a down payment for Pakistani support for Saudi policies in the region — the money came with a heap of strings attached. After saying no to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan will have to look to China to keep it afloat. Time will tell if Beijing can hold up its end of the “all-weather” partnership and deliver on what it has promised.

Nepal Earthquake: Pakistan Air Force Crew Caught in Aftershock

Landing a plane laden with aid in earthquake-struck Nepal proved particularly hair-raising for a Pakistan Air Force crew on Tuesday who touched down right as an aftershock hit.
Ahmad Bilal, Pakistan Air Force Squadron Leader, said that "right in the middle" of an exchange with air traffic control while the plane taxied, the controller stopped talking.
"I thought my [comms were] out," Bilal told NBC News minutes after landing his American-made Hercules aircraft at Kathmandu airport. "We were just rolling around. And then [the controller] comes back, 15 minutes later. He had run off because of the aftershocks."
Bilal successfully landed 40 tons of aid, 18 Pakistani engineers and two search-and-rescue dogs to find those caught up in Saturday's devastating 7.8-magnitude quake. The crew then unloaded the aid as a tremor violently shook the flight.
"When we stopped and were unloading all the supplies, and I was warming things down in the instruments, I read around a 30 degree lurch to the left and then a 30 degree right. On a stationary aircraft that weighs 150,000 pounds," technician Sanaullah Khan said. "Then the whole plane was lurched four feet forward. That's when, in the distance, a building collapsed and the dust raced towards us. It was like a sandstorm it came so fast."
Seeing the devastation on the ground prompted the seven-man crew to give away the food and water they had brought with them to the earthquake victims.