human rights

Bapuji’s Dandi March


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S.O.S – eVoice For Justice – e-news weekly

Spreading the light of humanity & freedom

Editor: Nagaraj.M.R……. vol.5 . issue.14 ………04/04/2009

EDITORIAL :Bapuji’s dandi march- the origin of civil dis-obedience
movement

It is on this day in 12/03/1930, mahatma gandhi led
people to dandi in gujarath state,india , to peacefully protest
against the atrocious, illegal tax levied by the occupiers-britishers
on natural salt. This non-violent, civil dis-obedience movement soon
became a mass movement throught india & shook the very foundations of
the colonial british government . it is an important milestone in
our freedom struggle
.
Today, in india even after 1947’s independance
commoner’s are yet to relish the fruits of independance. criminals
have occupied the seats of power , in their greed for power & money
are violating the fundamental/human rights of commoners. The saving
grace is that still a few honest people are here & there in seats of
power. We the commoners must come together & support those honest
people in their endeavours. towards , this objective on this holy
day HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH-weekly newspaper on web has born.
Let us build ram rajya of mahatma’s dream through non
violent means within the existing democratic framework .that ram
rajya is aptly described by poet shri. Ravindranath tagore as,

Where the mind is without fear & the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches it’s arms towards
perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom , my father
Let my country awake.

Jai hind. Vande mataram.

Your’s sincerely,

Nagaraj.m.r.

Relevance Of Bhagat Singh In Modern India

By Shobha Shukla

27 March, 2009
Countercurrents.org

The Kalam Vichar Manch ( thinkers’ association) recently organized a thought provoking seminar to commemorate the death anniversary of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh, who was ‘hanged to death’ on 23 March 1931.

On this occasion, noted historian Dr. Irfan Habib spoke on the relevance of Bhagat Singh in the present times. It was a real treat to hear the renowned professor dwell on the various facets of the personality of the great revolutionary, in his characteristic style.

Bhagat Singh is indeed a unique character of Indian history. his life is what legends are made of. Several films have been made on him and his photo is still garlanded by various political parties (though sadly for their own dubious interests).

Although termed as a terrorist by the then British Empire, Bhagat Singh rightly wanted to be called a revolutionary and a soldier in the war against imperialism. He believed that his retaliation against oppression could not be termed as anarchy. His ideas reflect his deep understanding of the Indian milieu and his thought provoking writings make him a class apart from his contemporaries. Though he died at the young age of 24 years, he had a clear vision of an India which was not only politically free, but also free from poverty and social injustices. In one of his speeches, less than 2 months before his death, he stressed the need for a Socialist Revolution, through a political revolution. Else, he said that it did not matter whether Purushottam Das Thakur ( a wealthy industrialist of his times ) ruled India or the Britishers. So for any movement to succeed, it was (and still is) imperative that the masses be involved in it.

Dr. Habib lauded the scientific temperament of Bhagat Singh, which is very relevant in today’s scenario. More than any other nationalist of his times, Bhagat Singh stressed the importance of being rational. He believed in ideological firmness and said, ‘Religion has no connection with the National Movement.’ Bold sentiments indeed, but very true. It is distressing to see that today Nationalism is being touted in the garb of religion and caste. This has resulted in fragmentation of society and in communal riots. Instead of insisting on religious instructions to our children, it would be better if we instruct them in the values of love and peaceful co existence.

Bhagat Singh also believed in a ‘realistic socialism’. He dreamt of social equality and prosperity. His vision of a Communist Society was very similar to that of Marx and Lenin— a society where there were equal opportunities for all and a just distribution wealth according to one’s capabilities, and where even the lowliest could live comfortably. His brand of socialism was not a utopia, but a reality which could be brought about with non violent and peaceful methods. He knew that in this quest for socialism, one would have to make compromises at times, without losing sight of the main aim. In any such compromise, both parties gain some and lose some. But the onward, non violent march towards socialism should continue. Nothing worth while can be achieved by being a hardliner.

During his trial in the court, Bhagat Singh said that India ’s struggle for freedom cannot be carried out in isolation. It will have to be linked and influenced by other international movements and happenings. This concept of International Solidarity is very important today, when we talk of the world as a global village. Yet our leaders are sadly lacking in ideological condemnation of anti people regimes. We tend to be guided more by economic self gains rather than by valued principles.

It is time we paid just more than lip service to the dreams of Bhagat Singh. Their relevance in modern day India cannot be ignored.

AN APPEAL TO HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF MEGHALAYA , INDIA

Dear Sir,

INDIA: Police must act to ensure the safety of a human rights defender

Name of victim: Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network, Ranee’s Abode
Near Horse Shoe Building, Lower Lachumiere, Shillong–793001, Meghalaya state
Alleged perpetrators:
1. Ms. Bethswa Dympep, accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya
2. Mr. Steven Dympep, accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya
Date of incident: Since June 2008

I am writing to express my concern about the case of Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, a human rights defender in Meghalaya. I am aware that Kharbhih is the team leader of Impulse NGO Network, a local human rights organisation based in Shillong, working against human trafficking. Kharbhih is also the complainant in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya.

I am informed that Kharbhih and the Impulse NGO Network has been investigating cases of human trafficking in Meghalaya and that the investigation has exposed the possible links of some fake recruitment agencies operating in Meghalaya and drug and human trafficking cartels operating in the country. I am informed that since June 2008, Kharbhih has been receiving threatening and intimidating calls asking Kharbhih and the Impulse NGO Network stops its activities, particularly the investigation it is conducting into the cases of girls faked into human trafficking on the pretext of recruitment for private airline companies. Kharbhih not only refused to comply, but filed a complaint at Sardar Police Station, Shillong, informing the police the details regarding the threats that she received. This complaint is registered as case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station.

I am informed that in spite of repeated requests, the police not only failed to properly investigate the case and further let the prime accused abscond and continue threatening Kharbhih over telephone. In the meanwhile the police required Kharbhih to be arrested on the basis of a false complaint filed by one of the accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya. This warrant has been withdrawn after contest.

I am aware that threatening and intimidating a person is a crime in India. Yet, I am surprised to know that the local police have refused to take sensible and appropriate action upon the complaints filed by Kharbhih. I am also aware that due to this the threat against Kharbhih continues and her life is still at the risk of criminals who fear that Kharbhih’s work as a human rights defender would expose their criminal acts. I am informed that threats to life in India have to be taken seriously, owing to the relative inability of the local police to provide protection to ordinary citizen.

I therefore urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that appropriate protection is provided to Kharbhih and the work of Impulse NGO Network in Meghalaya. I also request you to take appropriate actions to guarantee that the investigation of case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya is completed as early as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Nagaraj.M.R.

Upholders Of Law

By Suroor Mander

18 March, 2009
Countercurrents.org

I am fascinated with what is happening in Pakistan for many reasons, but also mainly as a law student. In recent history, the only real civil rights movement in Pakistan has started from the steps of the Supreme Court and ended its streets. India has had a history of lawyers being at the fore of movements, be it Gandhi or Ambedkar.

At a time when large parts of the lawyer community in India is busy making money and battling people who stand up for human rights, I find it interesting that in a crumbling country like Pakistan, it is the lawyers that are upholding the bastions of truth, however compromised it is.

The judiciary is the only wing of the Indian State that is surrounded in a shard of mystery today. The judiciary claims to be the most righteous of the three pillars of the Indian State, yet it fails to make it self accountable or transparent. It wants to curb the role of the Right to Information Act and stub the Judicial Accountability bill. The supreme court in 2004 passed strictures against the judiciary in Gujarat that failed to provide justice to the survivors of the 2002 pogrom, but it also couldn’t protect its bench from being maligned. YK Sabharbhawal’s orders in the Delhi land sealing case and the recommendation of judges with doubtful ethical practices have raised doubts over the credibility of the highest court of law in the country. Moreover the recent Provident fund scam and the Ghaziabad land allotment scam has exposed decay that hides behind a charade if self righteousness. The hypocrisy of the Supreme Court was exposed when they filed a petition in the High Court of Delhi against an order of the Central Information Commission that Supreme Court judges must declare their personal wealth, while continuing to make executive accountable to itself.

In the recent past, lawyers in the country have protested the amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code, mainly because they will lose their bail fees and not because it gives uncontrolled powers to the infamous police. The only time the lawyers united against the judiciary in Delhi was when the High Court revoked the licenses of I.U. Khan and R.K. Anand. The subversion of the legal system in Gujarat and the anti begging Public Interest Litigation in Delhi show the disconnect of the lawyers from the constitution. The recent incident at the Madras High Court speaks of the ever deteriorating state of the judiciary.

The boycott and harassment of lawyers fighting the defence of Kasab, Moninder Kohli or Binayak Sen is a disturbing sign that the lawyer community is becoming n sync with politics and not upholding the fundamentals of the constitution. In post independent India, the police, another upholder decided to join hands with politics, and today the institution holds no repute.

If the lawyer community in India wants to curb any loss of face or pride, it needs to introspect and make very critical choices about which values it wishes to uphold and what it wants to shed.

Manichean Echoes: Terrorists As Sub-Human

By Binu Karunakaran

31 January, 2009
Countercurrents.org

Lex non distinguitur nos non distinguere debemus
(The law does not distinguish and so we ought not distinguish)

Maintaining propriety in public speech is one of the key canons of judicial ethics. Propriety demands that judges desist from airing their views on issues that are sub judice, controversial or that are likely to be adjudicated by themselves or other courts.

While the honourable judges cannot be denied the right to privately hold views, secretly wear ideological and political biases and feel frustrations like that of an ordinary citizen, decorum demands they resist the temptation to air them in public forums.

Lordships should remember that words coming out of their mouth, both inside the sanctum sanctorum of justice and outside carry more weight than that of an ordinary official. They just cannot afford to be frivolous in the use of words. More so at a time when Indian democracy is facing threats from perpetrators of terrorism and the questionable means the state wants to employ in its fight against the menace through enactment of draconian laws and encounter style executions.

The opinion expressed recently by one of the senior judges in the Supreme Court, shows that the judiciary too has started to feel the pressure imposed by politicians who feed the rhetoric on terror as a means to garner votes and a society that feels terrorised in the absence of security. Such thoughts render the concept of fair trial invalid. The fact that such a statement came from top echelons of our judiciary means that list of worries of India’s civil society is a growing list.

According to the learned Judge, who sits in the Constitution bench and has co-authored books that analyse threadbare the Article 21 (Right to life and liberty under the Constitution: a critical analysis of Article 21; Publisher: Bombay : N.M. Tripathi, 1993) a terrorist is not fit to be called a human. “He’s an animal and what is required is animal rights,” quipped Justice Arijit Pasayat, No 3 in the court by seniority, while speaking at a seminar on ‘Investigation and Prosecution of Offences relating to Terrorism’, organised by Indian Law Institute in New Delhi.

According to a Times of India report he also poured out ‘anguish and pain at the current trend of crucification of police officials by so-called human rights groups for every perceived fault in any police operation against terrorists. “Today we are concerned with the rights of the terrorists but we are unmindful of the plight of the victims of terrorism. How many protest marches have been organised seeking to highlight the plight of poor daily wager bystanders, with whose death his family leads a life of extreme penury?” Pasayat said continuing his broadside against rights activists. The Judge also made allusions to the Batla House encounter and the case of Mohammed Afzal whose mercy petition is still pending before the President of India.

Joining him in the tirade was Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati who said lot of “noise” being made for the nabbed Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s right to defence.

Now contrast this with what Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had to say on December 13, 2008 while addressing the inaugural session of the international conference of jurists on ‘Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights’ in New Delhi:

Adherence to the constitutional principle of ‘substantive due process’ is an essential part of our collective response to terrorism. As part of the legal community, we must uphold the right to fair trial for all individuals, irrespective of how heinous their crimes may be. If we accept a dilution of this right, it will count as a moral loss against those who preach hatred and violence. We must not confuse between what distinguishes the deliberations of a mature democratic society from the misguided actions of a few.

No one expects the entire colloquium of judges to speak in one voice. It’s perfectly acceptable that Judges differ in opinion, but when the brightest legal minds of the country begin to deviate from the spirit of the Constitution and the accepted and revered statutes of International Human Rights covenants one feels jittery.

Justice Pasayat exhibited a perverse sense of justice, and a pathetic sense of humour when he dubbed terrorists as animals and said shockingly tongue-in-cheek that they require animal rights. The words must have been uttered in a moment of emotional outburst, but it certainly exposed the ideals that guide his current judicial philosophy.

What message would it be sending to Judges of lower level courts waiting anxiously for guidance in hundreds of human rights/terrorism related cases and police officials looking for the slightest excuse to disentangle their actions from the scrutiny of fundamental rights.

Lordships should know that in the fight against terrorism, an error made by a judge who circumvents the due process of law is greater than omissions and commissions committed by other branches of democracy. Only the judiciary holds the power to scrutinise the action of the executive and the legislature and order a correction of course if they have erred.

The role of a Supreme Court Judge in a democracy is two-fold, writes Aharon Barak in ‘The Judge in a Democracy’ – to bridge the gap between law and society, and to protect democracy and its constitution.

There are no shortcuts here. No ‘state of exception’ that allows skipping the due process of law because the times are different. Once the threat of terrorism passes and peace returns judges will not be able to wish away the terrible consequence of their actions.

POTA 3.0: India’s New Terror Law Shows Old Genes

By Binu Karunakaran

20 December, 2008
Countercurrents.org

In a country were human rights activists can be incarcerated for months without bail the introduction of a new ‘tougher’ anti-terror law should be no news.

Successive governments and architects of anti-terror laws in India have shown scant disregard for human rights and lack of vision in evolving a successful counter-terrorism strategy based on the values of democracy.

Instead they have focussed their energies in formulating laws that look like regurgitated versions of one another oscillating between notions of soft and hard based on which side of the political spectrum you are.

Experience over the years has shown us that ordinary Indian citizens do not remain immune from the ambit of such laws sculpted to suit the agenda of state repression.

The only golden thread is the government statement that an independent authority will be set in place to review the registration and investigation of the case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Not much of a concession when you realise the draconian provisions contained in this piece of legislation enacted in 1967 and infamously utilised to target PUCL leader Binayak Sen.

Almost all the draconian provisions in POTA except the admissibility of confessions, in accordance with the Indian Evidence Act, seems to be back in the amended version of the UAPA posing a serious credibility problem for India’s criminal justice system. When POTA was allowed to lapse in 2004 everyone thought India was turning a new leaf in its quest for being a civilised nation. The amendments brought to UAPA in 2004 showed notable improvements, but a closer scrutiny revealed that several provisions from POTA were retained verbatim.

The 2008 amendments made to UAPA show that several POTA genes have been transplanted.

Clauses added to section 43 of the Principal act now blatantly asks the courts ‘to presume, unless the contrary is shown, that the accused has committed such offence’ if evidence suggesting the involvement of the accused has been found at the site.

Suspects can be detained without bail for up to 180 days (The longest pre-charge detention period sanctioned by a democracy), the dreaded special courts of POTA are back and so is the obligation to furnish information sought by the investigating officer.

The failure to furnish the information called for or deliberately furnishing false information shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

A suspect spending six months in jail risks not just losing his job but also the trust of the community, his friends and even the members of family.

Even if a statute for judicial supervision or parliamentary oversight of terrorism cases exist, clauses that enable cops to detain suspects for unusually long periods will inevitably turn legalised instruments of psychological torture.

India has a long history of detention related human rights abuses and it is common knowledge that officials often resort to coercing people into confessions instead of conducting fair and diligent police work. Long pre-charge detention also facilitates physical torture, because evidences like body marks are likely to fade away making it difficult to prove such charges afterwards.

These provisions also come in the way of effectively challenging the ideologies that extremists believe can justify the use of violence. In the long run they tend to turn counterproductive, as every actual and perceived acts of injustice will transform into propaganda material at the hands of terrorists.

According to UK Home Office statistics, 669 out of 1,228 individuals arrested as part of terrorism investigations between September 11, 2001, and March 31, 2007, were released without charge. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine the scenario in India where people from the minority Muslim community and Naxal sympathisers are regularly picked up with impunity, tortured under detention and released without charge.

An Appeal To  Government of India


An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

We, the concerned citizens, urge your government to support the resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions, at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Supported by countries from all regions of the world, such a resolution would be an important milestone towards abolition of the death penalty in all countries.

We oppose the death penalty believing it to be a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims, as has been persistently demonstrated.

A momentum is gathering to end capital punishment in all countries: 137 countries from all regions of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006.

By adopting a resolution on a moratorium on executions, the UNGA will take a further, important step towards the fulfillment of the established UN goal of abolition of death penalty set out by the UNGA in 1977 (resolution 31/61 of 8 December 1977).

The vote on this resolution affords India the opportunity to support the eventual abolition of the death penalty at the international level and strengthen world opinion against capital punishment.

A step towards abolishing death penalty would go well with the principles of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, of which the whole country is proud.

We recall what the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized shortly after assuming office on 11 January 2007: “I believe that life is precious and must be protected and respected, and that all human beings have the right to live in dignity. International law affirms these values. I recognize the growing trend in international law and in national practice towards a phasing out of the death penalty.”

We request you to take note of this growing trend and not to lose this opportunity.

Thanking you.

Sincerely yours,

Nagaraj.M.R.

A Global Satyagraha Against Imperialism

By Rohini Hensman


Countercurrents.org

Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2 provides a fitting occasion to launch a global satyagraha – defined by him as ‘truth-force’, a non-violent struggle using the power of the truth – against imperialism. Such a struggle is urgently needed today, given the carnage being inflicted by imperialism in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the threat of even greater carnage in Iran. Support for the people of these countries needs to be stepped up to a higher level globally if the continuing holocaust is to be halted.

The oldest struggle is that of the Palestinian people against Zionism. While the indigenous Jews of Palestine lived in peace with their Muslim and Christian neighbours for centuries, the advent of European Zionism – a colonial enterprise promoted by the British Raj in the 19th century – ignited conflict by dispossessing Palestinian peasants of the land they were cultivating. During the British Mandate period after World War I, a nationalist Palestinian revolt was brutally crushed by the British, even as they encouraged the Zionist settlers. In 1938 Gandhi, despite his deep sympathy for persecuted Jews, saw quite clearly the colonial character of the enterprise being carried out ‘under the shadow of the British gun’. The Zionists quite cynically used anti-Semitism, the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and later the Holocaust, as a justification for their settler colonialism. Although they – like the European settlers in North America – waged a war for independence from the British, this did not change their colonial relationship with the indigenous people. The partition of Palestine, pushed through in the UN by the US in 1947, gave most of the land to the European settlers, but they were not content with that: Zionists declared their intention of colonising the whole of Palestine and parts of neighbouring countries, and many of the terrorist attacks subsequently carried out against the Palestinians were outside the area assigned to the Zionists. The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was accompanied by brutal ethnic cleansing directed against the indigenous Palestinians.

More recently, the occupation of the West bank and Gaza after the 1967 war, the division of the West Bank into a series of ghettoes by the apartheid wall, and the conversion of the Gaza strip into one big ghetto, has exposed the long-standing Zionist plan to wipe Palestine off the map. It is a model of settler colonialism falling somewhere between the South African model and the genocidal model of the European settlers in North America and Australia. As in Apartheid South Africa, discrimination against non-Jews is inscribed in Israeli law. But unlike the South African regime, the Israeli regime wishes to eliminate the non-Jewish indigenous population altogether. The methods often resemble Nazi policies: for example, mass murder like the massacre at Deir Yassin, herding people into ghettoes, depriving them of food, water, infrastructure, essential services and a livelihood, and the abhorrent Nazi policy of collective punishment. But the project is a colonial one, aimed at getting rid of Muslim and Christian Palestinians by massacres and population transfer, actions codified in international law as ‘crimes against humanity’ by the Nuremburg Charter and the International Criminal Court.

Palestine/Israel is de facto a single state now: Israel, by its actions, has ruled out any possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict, and indeed, such a solution would have been unjust, legitimising the expulsion of large numbers of Palestinians from their own land and discrimination against those who remain. The only meaningful struggle would be for a democratic, secular state of all the communities living in the whole of historical Palestine, with equal rights for all. Refugees, according to international law, would have the right to return if they wish to, and all Jewish immigrants, including settlers outside Israel, would have the right to stay, provided they abide by the democratic principle of equal rights for all, special privileges for none. The joint Palestinian/Israeli campaign for a one-state solution to the conflict has called on the international community to support them by a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, similar to the campaign against Apartheid South Africa, to force it to democratise, and this is the least we can do to demonstrate our solidarity (see http://www.odspi.org/ ). A major weakness of this campaign, however, is that it fails to attack the source of Israel’s military, diplomatic and economic support, without which it would not even exist, much less be able to defy international law with such impunity, namely US imperialism.

On the other hand, the anti-war movement, while conscientiously publicising the British ORB poll suggesting that 1.2 million Iraqis have died violent deaths as a result of the US-led occupation, and many more – especially children – have died of malnutrition and disease, while reporting that the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are killing civilians and causing malnutrition, and exposing and opposing plans to attack Iran, seldom highlights the role of Israel, especially in instigating the attack on Iraq and now on Iran. There are occasional complaints that Israel influences US foreign policy to the detriment of US interests, or, conversely, that the US influences Israeli policy to the detriment of Israel’s interests, but the truth seems to be that the two are so intertwined that separating them is impossible. A rare occasion on which the close symbiotic relationship between the US and Israeli states was discussed was during the criminal Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006; it was again suggested after the September 2007 Israeli air strike on Syria. Yet cooperation between the US and Israel seems to be standard practice rather than anything unusual.

What this suggests is that the anti-war movement needs to target Israel as much as the US, while the Palestine solidarity movement needs to target the US as much as Israel. In what way can the US be compelled to stop its aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and possibly Iran, and its total support for Israeli crimes against humanity in Palestine? As the bombs started falling on Iraq in 2003, I wrote and circulated an appeal entitled ‘Boycott the Dollar to Stop the War!’, arguing that although the military strength of the US was enormous, its economy was in a mess; with a massive gross national debt, the only reason it could finance its foreign wars and occupations was because of the inflow of over a billion dollars a day from countries accumulating foreign exchange reserves in dollars because it was the world’s sole reserve currency. The denomination of the oil trade in dollars made it additionally desirable. With the advent of the euro, however, there was the possibility of an alternative world currency; therefore individuals, institutions and countries opposed to the war on Iraq should refuse to accumulate dollars or use them outside the US, because these were activities that helped to finance US-Israeli aggression against Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis. After the World Social Forum meeting in 2004, the Boycott Bush Campaign adopted the dollar boycott as part of its strategy (see http://www.boycottbush.org/dollar_en.php ).

Four-and-a-half years later, the war has not stopped, but there is a significant reduction in the worldwide use of the US dollar as a reserve currency, and the value of the dollar has fallen. Campaigns to persuade governments to reduce their dollar holdings further could well be successful, since a falling dollar constitutes a loss for them. Pressure could also be put on oil-producing countries to denominate their oil sales in some currency other than the dollar. This does not necessarily mean denominating the oil trade in euro; in some cases, oil-producing countries could be asked to accept their own currency in payment for oil exports, and pay for imports, likewise, in their own currency. This would be a boon to South Asian countries, for example, who could then use remittances from migrant workers in Gulf countries and earnings from exports to these countries directly for their oil imports. In other cases, barter could be used, as Venezuela is already doing. A reorientation of trade away from the US would minimise the fallout of a reduction in US imports as the dollar falls. Campaigning for policies of employment creation, protection of workers’ rights, shorter working hours, social security and minimum wages that are adequate to support a decent standard of living will redistribute resources from destructive militarism to productive consumption of working people, and thus expand mass markets in all countries.

It must be emphasised that the purpose of these boycott campaigns against the US and Israel is to follow Gandhi’s principle of non-violent non-cooperation with injustice and oppression. It is not intended to harm wage-earners in either of these countries, although they will have to learn to do without the privileges that come from being beneficiaries of imperialism. It may be easier today (when imperialism is linked to neo-liberalism at home) than it was in the past (when imperialism was linked to social-democracy at home) for US workers to understand that their interest lies in solidarity with the Iraqi oil workers’ union resisting the US occupation and proposed oil law, and not in support for their own state’s occupation of Iraq and plans to rob it of its oil. It will be even easier when the full burden of the billions spent not only on US military forces and armaments, but also on hundreds of mercenary armies and corrupt contractors, falls on US taxpayers rather than being borne by the rest of the world. The people of Israel and the US have the greatest power to force their governments to stop the slaughter in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq and threat of more slaughter in Iran, by methods ranging from mass demonstrations and electing anti-war representatives to civil disobedience and a general strike.

What about the EU? Some leaders, like Blair and Sarkozy, have been fully supportive of the US-Israeli imperialist project, others less so. But there has not been any consistent opposition, even to the worst crimes; EU complicity in the horrifying slow-motion genocide being committed in Gaza is particularly disturbing. Given that the EU, unlike the US and Israel, at least pays lip-service to international law, it would be worth bombarding its leaders with reminders of the gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law being committed by the US and Israel, and their own role as active or passive accomplices.

It is also necessary to resist the displacement of the goal of nuclear disarmament by that of non-proliferation. Anti-war groups have responded to statements by Bush and Sarkozy that a nuclear-armed Iran is ‘unacceptable’ by emphasising, quite correctly, the lack of any evidence whatsoever that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But it has been left to campaigners for nuclear disarmament to point out the dishonesty involved in these denunciations of Iran, which make the unstated assumption that nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, Israel, China, Russia, Britain, France, and above all USA – the only state that has actually used these weapons of mass destruction – are acceptable. The anti-war and Palestine solidarity movements need to challenge this assumption most vigorously. We must highlight the hypocrisy of Bush and Sarkozy using the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) against Iran, which has not violated it, when they themselves are violating Article VI of the NPT, in which parties to the treaty undertake to ‘pursue negotiations in good faith.on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control’. Indeed, non-proliferation makes no logical or practical sense in the absence of nuclear disarmament. Logically, if these weapons are so evil that countries have to be barred from obtaining them, then those that already possess them should proceed to eliminate them; practically, so long as some countries have nuclear weapons, others will inevitably strive to acquire them, and some will succeed.

The NPT is a discriminatory treaty, in that it subjects non-nuclear weapon signatories to strict safeguards while nuclear weapons states are allowed to get away with a commitment to nuclear disarmament that there is no means of enforcing. Therefore, instead of the NPT we should emphasise the importance of universal ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans nuclear tests by all countries without discrimination, and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), which would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and subject the nuclear weapons states to the verification procedures currently applicable only to non-nuclear weapons states. While not actually measures of nuclear disarmament, these treaties would prevent nuclear weapons states from expanding their arsenals and developing new weapons, pending the introduction of a new a treaty on total global nuclear disarmament, which would be the ultimate goal.

In conclusion: if we wish to stop the war in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, and prevent it from spreading to Iran and other countries, we need to take the following measures:

1) support the Palestinian-Israeli struggle for a single democratic state in historical Palestine by a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel;

2) boycott the US dollar until it ceases to be a world currency, thereby refraining from contributing financially to the war;

3) campaign for a ban on the production, stockpiling and use of all nuclear weapons, including Depleted Uranium weapons, as well as chemical and biological weapons, and weapons such as land mines and cluster bombs that target civilians;

4) lobby the UN on all these issues: an earlier petition to the UN General Assembly that contains the e-mail addresses of UN Ambassadors and others can be found at http://www.waronfreedom.org/petition.html

5) and finally, work for democracy in our own countries and oppose the threat or use of force by our own governments, since a democratic and peaceful world order can only be built out of democratic and peaceful constituents!

Edited, printed , published owned by NAGARAJ.M.R. @ #LIG-2 / 761,HUDCO FIRST STAGE ,OPP WATER WORKS , LAXMIKANTANAGAR , HEBBAL ,MYSORE –  570017 INDIA …       cell :09341820313
home page : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naghrw , http://groups.google.co.in/group/hrwepaper/ ,
https://evoiceofhumanrightswatch.wordpress.com/ ,
http://indiapolicelaw.blogspot.com/ , http://hrwpaper.blogspot.com/ ,  http://naghrw.tripod.com/evoice/ ,
http://e-voiceofhumanrightswatch.blogspot.com ,
contact : naghrw@yahoo.com , nagarajhrw@hotmail.com

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