Monthly Archives: January 2016

#TraditionallySubmissive eh?

Photo from TweetImage copyrightTwitter/@Soukeina
Image caption‘#TraditionallySubmissive? I don’t think so @David_Cameron’ read the caption with this tweet

It’s not clear what exact words David Cameron used in private conversation but many Muslim women have taken to Twitter to tell him that they are not quite the timid creatures he is reported to have portrayed them as.

Using the hashtag #TraditionallySubmissive some have posted pictures of themselves and their achievements to politely put the British prime minister straight.

tweeted photoImage copyrightTwitter/@AyyLaLaLaLa
photo of tweetImage copyrightTwitter/@asmaam
Tweeted picture of graduateImage copyrightTwitter/@RuwaydaMustafah

The trouble started when Mr Cameron announced a £20m fund to provide English lessons in homes, schools and community facilities. The government says that 22% of Muslim women living in England speak little or no English and that the cash will help rectify that situation.

Announcing the cash, Mr Cameron said more Muslim women should speak English so that they are less isolated within British society.

He was also reported by The Telegraph as having privately suggested that some young men are vulnerable to radicalisation due to the “traditional submissiveness of Muslim women,” which prevents them from speaking out. And these are the words – whether they were actually said or not – that inspired the hashtag.

Explaining his thinking, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “I’m not saying there’s some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist – of course not, that would be a ridiculous thing to say.

“But if you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh (so-called Islamic State).”

tweetImage copyrightTwitter/@loveinaheadscarf

Shelina Janmohamed, the author of the memoir “Love in a Headscarf” told BBC Trending she was offended by Mr Cameron’s reported remarks.

“My heart just sank when I saw the headlines,” she said. “It’s just making things harder for Muslim women. That’s just one stereotype about Muslim women, it’s not how we all are. We are vibrant, diverse, we’re talented and we have opinions. The prime minister is always saying we need to take up British values, so I responded in the most British way I could – with sarcasm.”

So Janmohamed created #TraditionallySubmissive as a way to counteract the idea that Muslim women are submissive. She encouraged her followers to tweet about their successes, professions, hobbies and views. In just a few hours more than 33,000 people tweeted using the hashtag, many of them alongside pictures of themselves. Some trumpeted the achievements of other British female Muslims such as Nadiya Hussain, the winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off TV series..

photo of tweetImage copyrightTwitter/@arifadavdani
Tweet with pic of Nadiay HusseinImage copyrightTwitter/@SaffiyyaM

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Join the conversation on this and other stories here.


The social media campaign has even been supported by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has been retweeting many of the pictures to her millions of followers.

Photo of tweetImage copyrightTwitter/@FizaAzlam

Janmohamed told BBC Trending that although many of the tweets are funny, there’s a serious message behind them. “The serious point is, these Muslim women are not hiding, they are participating, they want the prime minister and government policy to respond to their participation. Muslim women in the UK have asserted they have something to say and he ought to listen. I’d love David Cameron to respond,” she said.

Blog by Emma Wilson

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

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Ashwagandha Cured Cancer?

Herbal therapy gives cancer patient hope

 

KIRSTY MCMURRAY

 
 
 
 
Last updated 05:00 27/01/2012
 
tdn hari

CAMERON BURNELL
Cancer survivor Hari Nath used a herb to free himself from throat ulcers thought to be caused by chemotherapy.
 

Alternative medicine is proving the answer for one Taranaki cancer patient who claims his immune system was wrecked by chemotherapy.

Hari Nath, a chemical engineer from New Plymouth, was 20 kilograms underweight and in a wheelchair when he travelled to India to find a solution to the painful recurring throat ulcers he developed after being treated with intravenous chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

He said he tried everything modern medicine had to offer, including controversial drug thalidomide, at hospitals in Bangalore and Kerala, but nothing worked apart from high doses of the steroid prednisone, which worsened his diabetes, and left him prone to infection and in an emotional tailspin.

Every time he tried to reduce his dosage of the steroid his ulcers would return – making it so painful to eat even liquidised food that he had to numb his throat with an anaesthetic before he could get anything down.

“Even to watch him eat was a torture,” his wife Geetha Nath said.

Mr Nath turned to alternative medicine, but with equally little success.

He tried several traditional Indian Ayurvedic remedies, but abandoned them when he found no improvement.

“After a year of unsuccessful struggle and a life with pain killers and antidepressants, the feeling of hopelessness crept in and I googled to search for a naturally occurring steroid equivalent and stumbled across a herb called ashwagandha (witheria somnifera) used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine over thousands of years for improving immune system,” he said.

He did some more research and found on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre’s website that studies had been done where the herb had killed cancerous cells in mice.

“I decided to make myself the mouse,” he said.

Mr Nath consulted both an Ayurvedic doctor and his oncologist before beginning treatment with ashwagandha, and got the go-ahead from both of them. They were out of other ideas.

Being a chemical engineer, Mr Nath had a keen scientific interest in his health.

“I took the results of all my blood tests since I was diagnosed in 2002 and plotted them on a graph.”

Shortly after starting to take the herb, Mr Nath began to feel better.

Within a week he was able to halve his steroid dose without the ulcers coming back, and a month later his blood tests began to show a remarkable improvement.

“A blood test showed a sharp jump in total white cell counts with my lymphocytes increased from previous level of 600-700 to a whopping 2500-2800. Interestingly my ESR [indication of inflammation/infection] also had a sharp dip from 80 to below 20, ” he said.

Three months later he was able to stop taking the steroids altogether and got back to a healthy weight and state of mind.

Mr Nath said that if a year before someone had suggested he take a herb to treat his problem he would’ve dismissed it out of hand.

“It got to the point where I had no choice, I had to do something.”

Since then he’s discovered that clinical trials using ashwagandha to treat cancer patients were in progress in the United States and India, and patents pending in the US and Japan.

“I had contacted the concerned head of clinical trials and was told that they had several positive feedbacks from cancer patients on ashwagandha,” he said.

In November last year he was finally able to return home to New Plymouth and has been ulcer and cancer-free since.

“Now I am hoping for a long remission and possibly a complete cure,” he said.

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The romance of an Indian Muslim Freedom Fighter and a Lithuanian Jewish Woman

A Story of the Holocaust and the AIDS Epidemic: The romance of an Indian Muslim Freedom Fighter and a Lithuanian Jewish Woman

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By Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod

In 1992, the editor of the Times of India telephoned one of Mumbai’s most prominent businessmen, Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied. The editor asked Hamied “as a Muslim leader” his opinion on communal riots that were taking place in the city. Hamied replied: “Why aren’t you asking me as an Indian Jew? Because my name is Hamied? My mother was Jewish!” His maternal grandparents perished in the Holocaust.

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K.A. & Luba

Hamied, chairman of one of India’s largest pharmaceutical firms, is the son of an aristocratic Muslim scientist from India and a Jewish Communist from what is now Lithuania. Defined by his parents’ extraordinary marriage, he unites his father’s scientific skills, business acumen, and Indian patriotism with his mother’s compassion for the less fortunate. He charges the Western pharmaceutical industry with “holding 3 billion people in the Third World to ransom by using their monopoly status to charge higher prices,” and has devoted himself to making life-saving inexpensive generic medications for the inhabitants of poorer countries.

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India’s Robin Hood” Yusuf K. Hamied: Maker of generic life-saving medications and scourge of the giant multi-national pharmaceutical houses

Khwaja Abdul Hamied (1898-1972)

Yusuf Hamied’s father, Khwaja Abdul (K.A.) Hamied, was born in Aligarh. His paternal grandfather Khwaja Abdul Ali (1862-1948) traced his lineage through spiritual guides to the Mughal emperors of India back to Khwaja Ubaidullah Ahrar (1403-1490), a great Naqshbandi Sufi in Uzbekistan. His mother Masud Jehan Begum (1872-1957) came from the family of Shah Shuja ul-Mulk, the pro-British Amir of Afghanistan (1803-1809 and 1839-1842), whose family fled to India after his assassination in an anti-British uprising. Khwaja Abdul Ali’s uncle was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1819-1898), the great Muslim educational and social reformer.

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K.A. Hamied with his his father, brothers, nieces, and son Yusuf

KR5The family of K.A. Hamied

Khwaja Abdul Ali entered the judicial service of the British government in India, but his son K.A. Hamied passionately opposed “the evils of foreign rule.” When Mahatma Gandhi’s noncooperation movement called for a boycott of government-run educational institutions, Hamied organized a strike at his school, Muir Central College. As a result he was expelled from the university, then arrested when he tried to disrupt graduation ceremonies.

Hamied now returned to Aligarh, where Muslim nationalist leaders founded a new university, Jamia Millia Islamia, which refused government funding. Hamied taught chemistry there. He also supervised the production and sale of khadi, or homespun cloth, which Gandhi had made a central element of Indian nationalism. At his maternal uncle’s home, he first met Gandhi as well as Motilal Nehru and his son Jawaharlal.

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K.A. Hamied would continue to be active in Indian political affairs throughout his life

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K.A. and Luba Hamied with his good friend Zakir Hussein, who became President of India

While teaching at Jamia, K.A. Hamied began a lifelong friendship with Zakir Hussain, later President of India. Hamied and Hussain later left for Germany to pursue graduate studies. Hamied studied with one of the world’s leading chemists, Professor A. Rosenheim.

Luba Derczanska (1903-1991)

One day in 1925, Hamied joined some friends on a lake cruise near Berlin. One of the passengers on the boat was a young woman named, Luba Derczanska. Luba was born in Wilno in Russian Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) and had come to Berlin to study. From their first meeting, the romance between Abdul Hamied and Luba Derczanska blossomed. In 1928, Hamied married Luba in Berlin’s only mosque, and the following year they were again married in the Choral Synagogue in Wilno and the marriage was “solemnized” at a Register Office in London.

Luba was active in Communist circles in Berlin, and sought to bring her Indian beau into the movement: the first gift that she ever gave Hamied was a postcard of Lenin and for a time the couple were regulars at party meetings. (In later life, Hamied had very strong reservations and concerns about Communism.) Hamied was a prominent member of Indian revolutionary circles in India.

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K.A. Hamied and Luba with Maulana Mahommad Ali (trademark crescent in his hat), the leader of the pan-Islamic political protest Khilafat Movement. Berlin, 1928    

Their parents were open-minded and welcoming, and the warmth with which Luba’s parents Rubin and Paulina greeted Hamied on his first visit to Wilno was matched by the welcome extended to Luba by Abdul Ali and Masud Jehan when she went to Aligarh.

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The Hamieds with Luba’s family in 1929. In the center are Luba’s brother Zorach and aunt. Zorach Derczanski came to India in 1934. The aunt came to India in 1938 and was joined there in 1946 by her non-Jewish husband Arthur Taenzler, a German flying ace in World War I 

Their son Yusuf was born in Wilno during his parents’ last visit there before the Holocaust. Yusuf is the Arabic form of the Hebrew name Joseph. It was the name of Luba’s grandfather, and hence pleasing to her family, as well as the first name of the Polish president, Józef Piłsudski, and so flattering to the Hamieds’ Polish friends. A month after his birth, Yusuf’s parents took him back to Bombay.

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The Hamieds with her Jewish parents and their children Yusuf and Sophie

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Yusuf and Sophie with their paternal grandmother Masud Jehan Begum, who was descended from the family of Amir Shuja ul-Mulk of Afghanistan

Though Luba was not an observant Jew, her son Yusuf chose to memorialize her in the most active Indian synagogue. He heavily supported the reconstruction of the Shaar Hashamaim Synagogue in Thane.

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Shaar Hashamaim Synagogue, Thane

Hamied’s Views on Religion

K.A. Hamied defined himself as an Indian who happened to be a Muslim, and he became openly hostile to the Muslim League. He rejected the notion that Hindus and Muslims were “separate nations” as Jinnah argued. Unlike his brothers who opted for Pakistan, he always hoped for reconciliation in India between Hindus and Muslims.

In a speech to the Inter-Religious Seminar in Delhi on October 18, 1971, K.A. said that the “study of religion is my special hobby” and that “the basic attributes of this mysterious power, by whatever name we call it, are the same in all religions.” He quoted Zoroaster, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad  and Guru Nanak as “prophets” and said that “an ideal man must be a good man by virtue of his actions in society (and) may belong to any religion so long as he follows the tenets of his religion”.

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K.A. Hamied believed that there should be “no compulsion in religion”

Hamied always enthusiastically urged a partnership between Jews and Muslims. He loved to talk about Islamic Spain, where Jews and Muslims had joined to create a golden age, and once said that “if the Jews, with their wealth, knowledge and scientific skill and Arabs made a common cause, they would have a strong empire covering West Asia and the entire coast of South Mediterranean”.  He even “asked President Nasser as to why he was seeking help from the communists, who weremulhids (non-believers in God) to fight Jews, who were nearer to Islam.” He always emphasized that “the Arabs and Israelis should see the necessity of getting out of this whirlpool of Russian and Western power politics” and “sit together at a round table conference away from Western powers to thrash out their differences and carve out a new future based on ancient friendship, alliance and mutual regard”.

The Holocaust

He regularly visited Germany, where he had many friends as well as business dealings. Once, Germans mistook him for a Jew and insulted him. He foresaw something far worse than discrimination and insults, and urged his Jewish friends to leave Germany. They insisted that, as members of the intellectual élite, they had nothing to worry about.

The horrors of the Holocaust were to touch Hamied and Luba directly. In June 1941, Nazi troops occupied Wilno, and almost immediately began the extermination of the city’s Jews. Luba’s siblings survived: her brother Zorach was working for Hamied in Bombay, and her Communist sisters had escaped to Moscow before the coming of the Germans.

However, the Nazis murdered her elderly parents who were unable to emigrate. Hamied tried to obtain visas so his in-laws could come to India. The papers finally came through two weeks after the Derczanskis were killed.

Their son Yusuf was very moved when in 2008, during a visit to his birthplace, Vilnius, he went to the Ponary forest, where German units massacred up to 100,000 people, the great majority of them Jews. Recently, he commissioned statues of Gandhi and his Lithuanian Jewish disciple Hermann Kallenbach in Vilnius. In honor of his mother, he sponsored a concert there by his life-long friend Zubin Mehta.

Yusuf, though focused on the lessons of the Holocaust, does not feel threatened personally as a Jew. He sees anti-Muslim mob violence in Bombay as particularly chilling, since to him it evokes the fear that Indian Muslims may share the same fate as European Jews. He remembers his father’s stories of Jewish friends who believed that their elevated place in society would protect them, and he says that Indian Muslims who echo this sentiment are as naive as European Jews were.

CIPLA

After several years in India, Hamied gained success as a businessman, and in 1935 he founded the Chemical, Industrial and Pharmaceutical Laboratories (CIPLA). It has since become one of India’s most important pharmaceutical companies.

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K.A. And Yusuf Hamied created a successful multinational pharmaceutical company with a social conscience

K.A. Hamied had written in The Times of India on December 11, 1964 that patent law should enforce “compulsory licensing” to other manufacturers to prevent monopolistic predatory pricing. Later Yusuf picked up this same battle in the case of the astronomical pricing of AIDS medications by patent holders. By retro-engineering the first medication and antiretroviral cocktail effective against HIV and AIDS and selling them at a fraction of the price, he helped saved millions of lives.

Perhaps with the murders of his own grandparents and six million other Jews in mind, Yusuf has called Big Pharma “global serial killers,” “traders in Death,” and “death profiteers.”   He sees the lack of access to life-saving medication by poor people in the developing world due to cost as a form of “selective genocide in healthcare” driven by Big Pharma’s desire for profits.

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Yusuf Hamied addressing the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, 1976

Note:  A more comprehensive study of the Hamieds by the authors will be included in one of seven forthcoming volumes dealing with Jews in South Asia. This project, conceived by Kenneth X. Robbins, has already resulted in the publication of Western Jews in India and Jews and the Indian National Art Project as well as the current  American Sephardi Federation exhibition, Baghdadis & the Bene Israel in “Bollywood & Beyond: Indian Jews in the movies. Objects and Arifacts from the Kenneth And Joyce Robbins Collection. Dr. Robbins is presently working with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts on a comprehensive exhibition dealing with Jewish communities in India and contributions to India made by Jews.

Authors:
Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins is a collector and independent scholar. He has curated more than a dozen Indian exhibits and five scholarly conferences. In addition to publishing more than seventy articles, he is co-editor of Western Jews in India: From the Fifteenth Century to the Present (2013), Jews and the Indian National Art Project (2015), and several other volumes about Jews in South Asia.

Dr. John McLeod holds a Ph.D. in Indian history from the University of Toronto, and is Professor of History at the University of Louisville. He is the author of Sovereignty, Power, Control: Politics in the States of Western India, 1916-1947 (Brill, 1999; South Asian edition Decent Books, 2007) and The History of India (2nd edition, ABC-Clio, 2015), and (with Kenneth X. Robbins) is the co-editor ofAfrican Elites in India: Habshi Amarat (Mapin, 2006). He is currently completing a biography of the Indian statesman and community leader, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree.

How a Muslim-Jewish romance shaped a pharma with conscience

How a Muslim-Jewish romance shaped one of India’s biggest pharma firms

January 25, 2016 Quartz India

In 1992, the editor of The Times of India telephoned one of Mumbai’s most prominent businessmen—Yusuf K Hamied. The editor asked Yusuf, “as a Muslim leader”, his opinion on communal riots that were taking place in the city. “Why aren’t you asking me as an Indian Jew? Because my name is Hamied? My mother was Jewish,” Yusuf replied. His maternal grandparents perished in the Holocaust.

 

 

Yusuf K. Hamied.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Yusuf, chairman of one of India’s largest pharmaceutical firms, is the son of an aristocratic Muslim scientist from India and a Jewish Communist from what is now Lithuania. Defined by his parents’ extraordinary marriage, he unites his father’s scientific skills, business acumen, and Indian patriotism with his mother’s compassion for the less fortunate. He charges the Western pharmaceutical industry with “holding three billion people in the Third World to ransom by using their monopoly status to charge higher prices.” And he has devoted himself to making life-saving inexpensive generic medications for the inhabitants of poorer countries.

 

 

Yusuf’s father

Yusuf’s father, Khwaja Abdul (K.A.) Hamied (1898-1972), was born in Aligarh. His paternal grandfather Khwaja Abdul Ali (1862-1948) traced his lineage through spiritual guides to the Mughal emperors of India back to Khwaja Ubaidullah Ahrar (1403-1490), a great Naqshbandi Sufi in Uzbekistan. His grandmother Masud Jehan Begum (1872-1957) came from the family of Shah Shuja ul-Mulk, the pro-British Amir of Afghanistan (1803-1809 and 1839-1842), whose family fled to India after his assassination in an anti-British uprising. Khwaja Abdul Ali’s uncle was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1819-1898), the great Muslim educational and social reformer.

 

 

K.A. Hamied remained active in Indian political affairs throughout his life.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)
K.A. and Luba Hamied with his good friend Zakir Hussein, who became India’s president.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Khwaja Abdul Ali entered the judicial service of the British government in India, but his son K.A. passionately opposed “the evils of foreign rule.” When Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement called for a boycott of government-run educational institutions, K.A. organised a strike at his school, Muir Central College. As a result, he was expelled from the university, then arrested when he tried to disrupt graduation ceremonies.

 

 

K.A. now returned to Aligarh, where Muslim nationalist leaders founded a new university, Jamia Millia Islamia, which refused government funding. He taught chemistry there. He also supervised the production and sale of khadi, or homespun cloth, which Gandhi had made a central element of Indian nationalism. At his maternal uncle’s home, he first met Gandhi as well as Motilal Nehru and his son Jawaharlal.

 

 

While teaching at Jamia, K.A. began a lifelong friendship with Zakir Hussain, later India’s president. K.A. and Hussain later left for Germany to pursue graduate studies. K.A. studied with one of the world’s leading chemists, professor A Rosenheim.

 

 

Yusuf’s mother

K.A. Hamied and Luba Derczanska.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

One day in 1925, K.A. joined some friends on a lake cruise near Berlin. One of the passengers on the boat was a young woman named, Luba Derczanska (1903-1991). Born in Wilno in Russian Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), she had come to Berlin to study. From their first meeting, the romance between K.A. and Luba blossomed. In 1928, they married in Berlin’s only mosque, and the following year they were again married in the Choral Synagogue in Wilno, and the marriage was “solemnised” at a register office in London.

 

 

Luba was active in Communist circles in Berlin, and sought to bring her Indian beau into the movement: the first gift that she ever gave Hamied was a postcard of Lenin and for a time the couple were regulars at party meetings. (In later life, K.A. had very strong reservations and concerns about Communism.) He was a prominent member of revolutionary circles in India.

 

 

K.A. Hamied and Luba Derczanska.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Their parents were open-minded and welcoming, and the warmth with which Luba’s parents, Rubin and Paulina, greeted K.A. on his first visit to Wilno was matched by the welcome extended to Luba by Abdul Ali and Masud Jehan when she went to Aligarh.

 

 

Their son Yusuf was born in Wilno during his parents’ last visit there before the Holocaust. Yusuf is the Arabic form of the Hebrew name Joseph. It was the name of Luba’s grandfather, and hence pleasing to her family, as well as the first name of the Polish president, Józef Piłsudski, and so flattering to the K.A.’s Polish friends. A month after his birth, Yusuf’s parents took him back to Bombay.

 

 

Though Luba was not an observant Jew, Yusuf chose to memorialise her in the most active Indian synagogue. He heavily supported the reconstruction of the Shaar Hashamaim Synagogue in Thane.

 

 

Shaar Hashamaim Synagogue, Thane.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)
K.A. Hamied and Luba with Maulana Mohammad Ali (trademark crescent on his hat), the leader of the pan-Islamic Khilafat Movement. Berlin, 1928.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Jews-Muslims partnership

K.A. defined himself as an Indian who happened to be a Muslim, and he became openly hostile to the Muslim League. He rejected the notion that Hindus and Muslims were “separate nations” as Jinnah argued. Unlike his brothers who opted for Pakistan, he always hoped for reconciliation in India between Hindus and Muslims.

 

 

K.A. Hamied with his his father, brothers, nieces, and son Yusuf.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)
The family of K.A. Hamied.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

In a speech to the inter-religious seminar in Delhi on Oct. 18, 1971, K.A. said that the “study of religion is my special hobby” and that “the basic attributes of this mysterious power, by whatever name we call it, are the same in all religions.” He quoted Zoroaster, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, and Guru Nanak as “prophets” and said that “an ideal man must be a good man by virtue of his actions in society (and) may belong to any religion so long as he follows the tenets of his religion”.

 

 

K.A. Hamied believed there should be “no compulsion in religion”.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

K.A. always enthusiastically urged a partnership between Jews and Muslims. He loved to talk about Islamic Spain, where Jews and Muslims had joined to create a golden age, and once said that “if the Jews, with their wealth, knowledge and scientific skill and Arabs made a common cause, they would have a strong empire covering West Asia and the entire coast of South Mediterranean”. He even “asked president Nasser as to why he was seeking help from the communists, who were mulhids(non-believers in God) to fight Jews, who were nearer to Islam.” He always emphasised that “the Arabs and Israelis should see the necessity of getting out of this whirlpool of Russian and Western power politics” and “sit together at a round table conference away from Western powers to thrash out their differences and carve out a new future based on ancient friendship, alliance and mutual regard”.

 

 

The Holocaust

He regularly visited Germany, where he had many friends as well as business dealings. Once, Germans mistook him for a Jew and insulted him. He foresaw something far worse than discrimination and insults, and urged his Jewish friends to leave Germany. They insisted that, as members of the intellectual élite, they had nothing to worry about.

 

 

The Hamieds with Luba’s family in 1929. In the center are Luba’s brother Zorach and aunt. Zorach Derczanski came to India in 1934. Her aunt came to India in 1938 and was joined in 1946 by her non-Jewish husband Arthur Taenzler, a World War-I German flying ace.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

The horrors of the Holocaust were to touch K.A. and Luba directly. In June 1941, Nazi troops occupied Wilno, and almost immediately began the extermination of the city’s Jews. Luba’s siblings survived: her brother Zorach was working for K.A. in Bombay, and her Communist sisters had escaped to Moscow before the coming of the Germans.

 

 

However, the Nazis murdered her elderly parents who were unable to emigrate. K.A. tried to obtain visas so his in-laws could come to India. The papers finally came through two weeks after the Derczanskis were killed.

 

 

The Hamieds with Luba’s Jewish parents and their children Yusuf and Sophie.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)
Yusuf and Sophie with their paternal grandmother Masud Jehan Begum, who was descended from the family of Amir Shuja ul-Mulk of Afghanistan.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Their son Yusuf was very moved when in 2008, during a visit to his birthplace, Vilnius, he went to the Ponary forest, where German units massacred up to 100,000 people, the great majority of them Jews. Recently, he commissioned statues of Gandhi and his Lithuanian Jewish disciple Hermann Kallenbach in Vilnius. In honour of his mother, he sponsored a concert there by his life-long friend Zubin Mehta.

 

 

Yusuf, though focused on the lessons of the Holocaust, does not feel threatened personally as a Jew. He sees anti-Muslim mob violence in Bombay as particularly chilling, since to him it evokes the fear that Indian Muslims may share the same fate as European Jews. He remembers his father’s stories of Jewish friends who believed that their elevated place in society would protect them, and he says that Indian Muslims who echo this sentiment are as naive as European Jews were.

 

 

Most important pharma company

After several years in India, K.A. gained success as a businessman, and in 1935, he founded the Chemical, Industrial and Pharmaceutical Laboratories (CIPLA). It has since become one of India’s most important pharmaceutical companies.

 

 

K.A. and Yusuf Hamied created a successful multinational pharmaceutical company with a social conscience.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)
K.A. and Yusuf Hamied created a successful multinational pharmaceutical company with a social conscience.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

K.A. had written in The Times of India on Dec. 11, 1964, that patent law should enforce “compulsory licensing” to other manufacturers to prevent monopolistic predatory pricing. Later, Yusuf picked up this same battle in the case of the astronomical pricing of AIDS medications by patent holders. By retro-engineering the first medication and anti-retroviral cocktail effective against HIV and AIDS and selling them at a fraction of the price, he helped saved millions of lives.

 

 

Perhaps with the murders of his own grandparents and six million other Jews in mind, Yusuf has called Big Pharma “global serial killers,” “traders in death,” and “death profiteers.” He sees the lack of access to life-saving medication by poor people in the developing world due to cost as a form of “selective genocide in healthcare” driven by Big Pharma’s desire for profits.

 

 

Yusuf Hamied addressing the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, 1976.(Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod)

Note: A more comprehensive study of the Hamieds by the authors will be included in one of seven forthcoming volumes dealing with Jews in South Asia. This project, conceived by Kenneth X. Robbins, has already resulted in the publication of Western Jews in India and Jews and the Indian National Art Project as well as the current American Sephardi Federation exhibition, Baghdadis & the Bene Israel in “Bollywood & Beyond: Indian Jews in the Movies. Objects and Artifacts from the Kenneth And Joyce Robbins Collection.” Dr. Robbins is presently working with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts on a comprehensive exhibition dealing with Jewish communities in India and contributions to India made by Jews.

 

 

This post first appeared on Café Dissensus. We welcome your comments atideas.india@qz.com.

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Dilemma

Mohamed Iqbal Pallipurath

 

Dr. Chinnaramaswamy Iyengar was bewildered. Never in his 25 years tenure as professor of IIT Delhi (Mechanical Engineering Department, Thermal Science Stream, Applied Quantum Chromodynamics Section, Hyperspace Heat Transfer Subsection, and Specialisation Picard-Iyengar Tesseracts) had he ever been confronted with such a dilemma, “But we cannot accept an incomplete application form. “Mr…., er, Miss…, I mean… “ He gazed in mute appeal at the new student, dressed nattily in the latest androgynous fashion of the year 2112.

                “Just call me Yar, sir, without the appellations” said the new student.

“What?!”

Dr. Iyengar was appalled. A strict disciplinarian, he had always been impersonal-in his dealings with students. And now this!

His spectacles oozed down his nose. He was one of those diehards who hold old traditions dear. Nowadays, when you could install a force field generator in a single hair of your eyelashes at any ophthalmologist’s clinic by laser microsurgery, he defiantly wore his anachronism.

“I don’t mean the Hindi word sir“, The rich tenor voice was continuing pleasantly “Just part of my acronym O-YAR. Stands for Organic Yttrium Articulated Robot”

“What?!”

“Yes Sir!! I am part of a new secret experiment being conducted by the Non-Human Resources Development Council. I am required to register for an M.Tech  course under the quality improvement Programme”.

“What?!”

Dr. Iyengar appeared to possess a rather limited vocabulary.

“I have no doubt sir, that you would have received a copy of the G.O. connected with my enrolment here”

Dr. Iyengar forced his grey cells to work. He remembered no G.O. But then, he thought, bureaucratic lethargy increases exponentially with its age. More than one and a half centuries after independence, Indian bureaucracy had reached colossal heights of bungling inefficiency. The extinction of bamboo in the beginning of the 22nd century was attributed by many conservationists to the Paper Mountains created by millions of smug bureaucrats at the drop of a hat. If paper had not been replaced by cheap holograms which could present the printed word on thin air as it were, no organism with cellulose in its cellular makeup would have survived.

“May I suggest sir, that you peruse this copy I have at your leisure?”

Wordlessly Dr. Iyengar accepted the hologram but his eyes remained on the features of the new student.

They were not bad features at that. Familiar as he was with anthropomorphic robots, he was nonetheless dumbfounded by the life like object he saw. Longish hair was brushed back from a broad forehead, sparking wide set eyes, an aquiline nose and a rather wide mouth over a determined chin.

Dr. Iyengar recovered the use of his vocal cords.

                “Do you mean to tell me that you are …..er.., synthetic?”

“No, not at all sir, my flesh and bones and blood vessels are quite real and do function normally as in a human being. It is mainly in the central nervous system that the difference lies. It’s all made of organic chip circuitry. As you know we have never been successful in growing human nerve cells in vitro”.

Dr. Iyengar nodded. Unlike others who personify the tongue-in- cheek definition of a specialist as one who knows more and more about less and less, he took an active interest in fields other than his own. The VLSIC of the 21st century had been relegated to museums by the development of huge organic molecules which could act as diodes and transistors, thereby increasing the density of a circuit a thousand fold. A super computer of the 2010s could now be placed on a desk. And not a big desk at that. 

“And your power sources?”

“I have three independent ones. The first a fusion reactor with force field plasma containment, the second ordinary metabolic processes as in living organisms but with a catalysed ATP* energy release and finally an Iqbal modified Stirling engine drawing energy from the ambient with the heat sink in hyper space. The last will be of particular interest to you I think, sir.”

“Yes indeed.”

Dr. Iyengar’s eyes gleamed.

“And to think I never heard of this project!”

“Well sir, the whole project was shrouded in secrecy. The Americans would have loved to get hold of something like this”.

“Hmpf…yes indeed.”

Deprived of all its Asian born scientists and professionals, during the reverse brain drain of the 2020s, American economy and technical invincibility had collapsed like a pricked balloon. Hard core capitalism had gone the way of hard core socialism: down the drain.

* Adenosine Tri Phosphate, the chemical responsible for the release of energy from food.

 

The “Arab Spring” and “Occupy Wall Street” movements of the early 21st century had dealt Autocracy and heartless Capitalism, blows from which neither recovered.

The occidental was now inferior to the oriental; at least technologically. India led the world in technology. Technology! Dr. Iyengar snapped out of his reverie.

“Tell me,” he asked, “Why do you have to study? It should have been a simple thing to program all the requisite data into your memory.”

“Quite so sir, but one of the main reasons for my creation is to study the efficacy of the present higher education system and its effects on the social interactions of the student.”

“Social interactions?… Hmmm…”

The good doctor suddenly became aware of the registration form in his hands.

“But you have to fill up this column.”

“I leave it to your discretion sir; I can take care of the physical aspect by simply changing my objective reality module.”

“Oh in that case,…” Dr. Iyengar took hold of his hologram stylus and firmly ticked the box marked – “Male”.

 

 

Classified Evidence: US Soldiers Raped Boys In Front Of Their Mothers

Classified Evidence: US Soldiers Raped Boys In Front Of Their Mothers

John Vibes
December 17, 2014

 

(TheAntiMedia) According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.

According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed.

Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface.

While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.

Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.

In the most revealing portion of his speech he said that:

251005Abu_Ghraib

“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

“It’s impossible to say to yourself how did we get there? Who are we? Who are these people that sent us there? When I did My Lai I was very troubled like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened. I ended up in something I wrote saying in the end I said that the people who did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed because of the scars they had, I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we’re dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher, and we have to get to it and we will. We will. You know there’s enough out there, they can’t (Applause). …. So it’s going to be an interesting election year.”

Put into context with another speech that Hersh gave earlier this year, it becomes clear that the women who witnessed these young boys being raped were actually their mothers.

At a speech in Chicago this past June Hersh was quoted as saying:

“You haven’t begun to see evil… horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.”

Other stories at the London Guardian also talked of young Iraqi detainees getting violently raped by US soldiers.

Ten years ago when the initial Abu Ghraib scandal was in the news, the Guardian published the testimony of an Abu Ghraib detainee who allegedly witnessed one of these brutal attacks.

Former detainee Kasim Hilas said in their testimony that:

“I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass, I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures.”

Now, over a decade later the evidence of these events are beginning to surface, but the Department of Defense is still doing their best to keep it under the radar. That is why now more than ever, it is important to keep the pressure on and force the release of this evidence, while the torture report is fresh in the minds of the general population.


This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheAntiMedia.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive our latest articles. 

John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

Sorry, vegans: Eating meat and cooking food is how humans got their big brains

Sorry, vegans: Eating meat and cooking food is how humans got their big brains

 
 November 26, 2012

Vegetarian, vegan and raw diets can be healthful, probably far more healthful than the typical American diet. But to call these diets “natural” for humans is a bit of a stretch in terms of evolution, according to two recent studies.

Eating meat and cooking food made us human, the studies suggest, enabling the brains of our prehuman ancestors to grow dramatically over a few million years.

Although this isn’t the first such assertion from archaeologists and evolutionary biologists, the new studies demonstrate that it would have been biologically implausible for humans to evolve such a large brain on a raw, vegan diet and that meat-eating was a crucial element of human evolution at least a million years before the dawn of humankind.

Calories to grow our brains

At the core of this research is the understanding that the modern human brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy at rest, twice that of other primates. Meat and cooked foods were needed to provide the necessary calorie boost to feed a growing brain.

One study, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the brain size of several primates. For the most part, larger bodies have larger brains across species. Yet humans have exceptionally large, neuron-rich brains for our body size, while gorillas — three times as massive as humans — have smaller brains with one-third the neurons. Why?

The answer, it seems, is the gorillas’ raw, vegan diet (devoid of animal protein), which requires hours upon hours of eating to provide enough calories to support their mass.

Researchers from Brazil, led by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, calculated that adding neurons to theprimate brain comes at a fixed cost of approximately six calories per billion neurons.

For gorillas to evolve a humanlike brain, they would need an additional 733 calories a day, which would require two more hours of feeding, the authors wrote. A gorilla already spends as much as 80 percent of the tropics’ 12 hours of daylight eating.

Similarly, early humans eating only raw vegetation would have needed to munch for more than nine hours a day to consume enough calories, the researchers calculated. Thus, a raw, vegan diet would have been unlikely, given the danger and other difficulties of gathering so much food.

Cooking makes more foods edible year-round and releases more nutrients and calories from both vegetables and meat, Herculano-Houzel said.

“The bottom line is, it is certainly possible to survive on an exclusively raw diet in our modern day, but it was most likely impossible to survive on an exclusively raw diet when our species appeared,” Herculano-Houzel told LiveScience.

The study puts an upper limit on how big a brain is able to grow while on a premodern raw, vegan diet. But the researchers could not determine whendaily cooking began. Was it about 250,000 years ago, when humans were nearly fully evolved with big brains, which is supported by archaeological findings? Or was it about 800,000 years ago, when prehumans began their most dramatic brain-growth spurt, an era for which there is little archaeological evidence of controlled fires for cooking?

 
Meet the meat-eater

If cooking wasn’t routine before the dawn of modern humans, eating meat certainly was.

The second study, published in October the journal PLoS ONE, examined the remains of a prehuman toddler who died from malnutrition about 1.5 million years ago. Shards of a skull found in modern-day Tanzania reveal that the child had porotic hyperostosis, a type of spongy bone growth associated with low levels of dietary iron and vitamins B9 and B12, the result of a diet lacking animal products in a species that requires them.

The child was around the weaning age. So either the child’s mother’s breast milk lacked key nutrients or the child himself did not consume enough nutrients directly from meat or eggs.

Either way, the finding implies that meat must have been an integral, and not sporadic, element of the prehuman diet more than 1 million years ago, said the study’s lead author, Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo, an archaeologist at Complutense University in Madrid.

This supports the theory that meat fueled human brain evolution because meat — from arachnids to zebras — was plentiful on the African savanna, where humans evolved, and is the best package of calories, proteins, fats and Vitamin B12 needed for brain growth and maintenance.

“Carnivore animals, whether terrestrial or aquatic, are bigger-brained than herbivores,” Dominguez-Rodrigo told LiveScience. He added that “there is no [traditional] society that live as vegans,” essentially because it wouldn’t be possible to get Vitamin B12, which is only available in animal products.

Vegetables still healthful

Both sets of researchers said their conclusion — that cooked food and meat were necessary for human brain development — is not a statement of how the human diet must have been but rather how it likely was in order to make humans “human.”

With supermarkets and refrigeration, humans today can and increasingly do eat a vegetarian or vegan diet year-round. And given the amount of heart-stopping saturated fats in factory-produced animal products, a plant-based diet can be more healthful.

Yet both extremes of the meat argument — the unapologetic meat-eater and the raw vegan — should remember that few of today’s so-called natural foods were around as little as a few hundred years ago, from the modern invention called corn-fed beef to genetically altered strains of Queen Anne’s lace called the carrot.

There are many reasons to go vegetarian, go vegan and even go raw, but evolution isn’t one of them.

 

Wanjek is the author of “Hey, Einstein!,” a comical nature-vs.-nurture tale about raising clones of Albert Einstein in less than ideal settings. His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

Beards may be more hygienic and bacteria-resistant than shaven skin, study finds

Beards may contain bacteria which could potentially be developed into new antibiotics, a study has found.

Researchers found that clean-shaven men were actually more likely to harbour infection-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics when compared to bearded men.

The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, tested swabs from the faces of 408 hospital staff with and without facial hair.

According to the results, clean-shaven men are more than three times as likely to be carrying methicillin-resistant staph auerus (MRSA) on their cheeks as their bearded counterparts.

Clean-shaven men were also more than 10 per cent more likely to have colonies of Staphylococcus aureus on their faces, a bacterium that causes skin and respiratory infections, and food poisoning.

Researchers suggest this may be due to micro-abrasians caused by shaving in the skin, “which may support bacterial colonisation and proliferation”.

The report reads: “Overall, colonisation is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair, however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.”

Dr Adam Roberts, a microbiologist from University College London, was able to grow over 100 different bacteria from beard swab samples in a separate analysis.

Among the petri dishes, he found the presence of a microbe that appeared to be killing the other bacteria.

Dr Roberts isolated the microbe and tested it against a form of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections, and found the microbes killed the bacterium efficiently.

 

Science Explains Why a Beard Makes You Look Hotter

 02/04/2015 08:19 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2015
  •  
    Jonha RevesencioBusiness strategist exploring the intersection of business, leadership and technology

The next Movember, which is also known as No-Shave November, is still several months away. However, this does not mean that you should switch to a clean-shaven look, especially if you are interested in attracting the attention of a potential mate.

scientific study conducted by the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society also indicated that specific types of facial hair have a major impact on how others perceive individuals with a beard.

Therefore, depending on your personal preferences, you might want to grow ayeard or stick with thick stubble.

So what type of beard is right for your lifestyle? That depends on which qualities you want to be associated with:

 

  1. Most Attractive – Female participants in studies that have analyzed male facial hair have rated heavy stubble as the most attractive look. Men equally enjoyed the appearance of heavy stubble or a full beard.
  2. Healthiest – Men and women indicated that men who have a full beard appear to be healthier than those without any type of facial hair.
  3. Best Parenting Skills – This was another category that both genders ascribed to men who maintain a full beard.
  4. Masculinity – The perception of a man’s masculinity increases with the amount of facial hair that he has. So if you want to be seen as a highly masculine individual, you should consider cultivating a full beard.

 

 

2015-02-05-BeardMakesYouLookHotterWeKnowMemes.jpgMeme showing men with beard look ‘hotter’, Photo Credit: WeKnowMemes.com

 

Men who are clean-shaven or who have a light amount of stubble were rated as being the least attractive by women and men.

Additionally, it is interesting to note that a heterosexual woman’s interest in masculine looking men becomes more pronounced during the ovulation portion of her fertility cycle. In other words, if you and your female spouse or partner have been trying to conceive or are dealing with intimacy issues, it could be beneficial to grow your facial hair out.

After all, increasing your level of attractiveness in your partner’s eyes is definitely a good way to boost their sex drive.

There are also scientifically proven health benefits associated with having a beard. According to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, beards are able to block up to 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays, and this will reduce your risk of contracting skin cancer.

Men who suffer from asthma could experience some relief from symptoms by growing a beard because this will help prevent dust and pollen from getting into their respiratory system. As an added bonus, a full beard will keep your skin looking healthier and more youthful.

It sounds like it is time to toss out your razors, gentlemen, but make sure that you take steps to keep your beard in good shape so that you can look your best!

 

Abstract

Facial hair strongly influences people’s judgments of men’s socio-sexual attributes. However, the nature of these judgments is often contradictory. The levels of intermediate facial hair growth presented to raters and the stage of female raters’ menstrual cycles might have influenced past findings. We quantified men’s and women’s judgments of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities for photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded. We also tested the effect of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use on women’s ratings. Women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive. In contrast, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, followed closely by clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. Men and women rated full beards highest for parenting ability and healthiness. Masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increased, and this effect was more pronounced in women in the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, although attractiveness ratings did not differ according to fertility. Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.

 

I didn’t even know I thought beards are more attractive until my boyfriend shaved his facial hair for Halloween. He looked so different, I felt I was cheating on him with his clean-shaven twin. And I dated that twin for over a month while we waited for his beard to grow back. (And you know, that waiting is the worst part — dealing with the itchy, in-between beard phase.) But we should commend our boyfriends’ patience — Men’s Journal saysthere’s a lot to maintaining a beard: “Trimming, shaping, fading, cleaning, combing, and conditioning is all part of the game and changes depending on what style you want and type of facial hair you were born with.”

Thinking back to men before that boyfriend, I realized more were bearded than not. Maybe it was in my psyche from when I was growing up, surrounded by uncles who had beards in Chicago — perhaps as a result of the near-arctic winters and their effort to keep warm? Or maybe it was an influence of where I live now, in L.A., and the prevalence of hipsters and bearded men there — particularly in trendy neighborhoods like Silverlake and Venice — versus other parts of the country? Or perhaps the surge of bearded celebrities seeped into my head, like George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Zach Galifianakis?

Celebrity or not, beards can change a man’s look nearly overnight (well, quite a few overnights to get the desired result, depending on what you want that to be).

http://giphy.com/embed/jraneQUaew59u

No matter what type of beard your boyfriend may have, we can all agree that beards (seemingly) change the man. You can even check out this dating site,Bristlr, that caters to men with beards and the people who love them. My reasons for loving bearded boyfriends include:

1. Men With Beards Look Older, Wiser, And Tougher.

http://giphy.com/embed/WirijtpYByXLO

Maybe this goes back to what I said about being raised among a lot of bearded men, like a Freudian thing. I think we women who like men with beards are not anti-clean-shaven men, we just prefer bearded ones, like these on Instagram. When you look at the men sans a beard versus with a beard, the latter makes them look more mature and someone who’d win an onscreen fight against their non-bearded nemesis. Beards make men look years older, in a very appealing way.

2. Beards Are For A Good Cause.

http://giphy.com/embed/8RWX5fIQpKoDe

Aside from beards looking good, they’re also for a great cause. Movembertook our men’s beards away while men focused on growing moustaches (and sometimes beards), but No-Shave November brought them back. Movember raises money for prostate or testicular cancer while No-Shave November raises money for cancer, as well, and partnered with the American Cancer Society in 2013. They figure that if men grow out their beards for the month of November instead of spending money going to the barber, they can donate that money toward cancer research instead.

3. Beards Are Seductive (And Soft).

http://giphy.com/embed/zVJ7fipMe954s

If you don’t believe me, have the guy you’re dating grow one. A friend of mine was practically the spokeswoman for anti-bearded men and happy her boyfriend was clean-shaven. But when he decided to participate in No-Shave November, she dreaded the bearded result, then grew to love it (and he still has the beard today). Just check out these before and after photos of men with beards and decide for yourself which look you prefer.

4. Beards Are Part Of Our History.

According to Live Sciencethe popularity of beards and facial hair has varied over time, sideburns being most prevalent in 1853, sideburns with mustaches in 1877, and solely beards in 1892. Facial hair is so popular that there’s even an annual World Beard and Moustache Championship (last year’s was in Portland and this year’s is in Austria). Judging criteria includes “…which contestant’s facial hair best enhances his overall appearance, style, and personality. In the freestyle categories the judges will be asked to consider originality and creativity as well.” There are 18 categories within three primary categories, complete with pictures: Moustaches, Partial Beards, and Full Beards. One of the official rules states: “artificial facial hair is not permitted.”

Artificial facial hair? Yep, beards are so hot right now that some people are spending around $3,000-7,000 on beard transplants (depending on how much hair they want filled in) — and you may not even realize it. Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a facial plastic surgeon in New York, has been doing them for over 12 years. He went from doing a handful ten years ago to a few a week as of last year (in Midtown East and Miami).

5. Beards Make Guys More Attractive — Science Said So.

A study in Evolution and Human Behaviorfound that women rate bearded men as more masculine, healthy, and more likely to make good parents. After showing participants pictures of clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded men, researchers explained:

“Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.”

So there.

Images: beardbrand/Instagram; Giphy (1-5)

വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ രാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയെന്ന് വിവരിക്കുന്നു

Reposted from Rajeev Edappal’s post

sriraman-non-veg

RSS-1

ഗോംമാംസം ഭക്ഷിച്ചതിന് ഒരു മനുഷ്യനെ തല്ലിക്കൊന്ന കാലഘട്ടത്തില്‍ ആരെ മുന്‍നിര്‍ത്തിയാണോ സംഘപരിവാര്‍ സംഘടനകള്‍ ഇത്തരം കൃത്യം നിര്‍വ്വഹിച്ചത് എന്ന് നോക്കുന്നത് നന്നായിരിക്കും. ശ്രീരാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയാണോ സസ്യാഹാരി ആണോ എന്ന് പരിശോധിക്കുകയാണ് ഇവിടെ. വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ കൃത്യമായി തന്നെ രാമന്‍റെ ആഹാരശൈലിയെ കുറിച്ച് വിശദീകരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്.

വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ പല ശ്ലോകങ്ങളിലും കൃത്യമായി തന്നെ രാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയെന്ന് വിവരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്.വനവാസത്തിന് പോകുമ്പോള്‍ രാമന്‍ കൗസല്യയോട് പറയുന്നുണ്ട്,

“चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने |
मधु मूल फलैः जीवन् हित्वा मुनिवद् आमिषम् || २-२०-२९”.

മലയാള പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”പതിനാലു വര്‍ഷം ഞാന്‍ ഇറച്ചി ഒ‍ഴിവാക്കി, ഫലമൂലാദികളും തേനും മാത്രം ഭക്ഷിച്ച് കാട്ടില്‍ ക‍ഴിയാം- അയോധ്യാകാണ്ഡം 2-20-29″

സുന്ദരകാണ്ഡത്തില്‍ ഹനുമാന്‍ സീതയോടു പറയുന്നുണ്ട്,

“न मांसं राघवो भुङ्क्ते न चापि मधुसेवते |
वन्यं सुविहितं नित्यं भक्तमश्नाति पञ्चमम् || ५-३६-४१”.

മലയാള പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”രാമന്‍ ഇപ്പോള്‍ മാംസം ക‍ഴിക്കുന്നുമില്ല, ലഹരി ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നുമില്ല, വൈകുന്നേരങ്ങളില്‍ കാട്ടില്‍ നിന്ന് ലഭിക്കുന്ന സസ്യാഹാരങ്ങളാണ് രാമന്‍ ഭക്ഷിക്കുന്നത്, സുന്ദരകാണ്ഡം 5-36-41″

ആരണ്യകാണ്ഡത്തിലെ ഒരു ശ്ലോകം ഇങ്ങിനെ,

“निहत्य पृषतम् च अन्यम् मांसम् आदाय राघवः |
त्वरमाणो जनस्थानम् ससार अभिमुखः तदा || ३-४४-२७”.

മലയാളം പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”രാഘവന്‍ ഒരു മാനിനെ കൂടി കൊന്നു, അതിന്‍റെ ഇറച്ചിയുമെടുത്ത് ജനസ്ഥാനയിലേക്ക് പോയി, ആരണ്യകാണ്ഡം 3-44-27″, അതായത് വനവാസകാലത്തും രാമന്‍ മാംസം ഭക്ഷിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്ന് വ്യക്തം.

വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തെ പുതുക്കിപ്പണിഞ്ഞവരില്‍ ജൈന-ബുദ്ധമതങ്ങള്‍ ചെലുത്തിയ സ്വാധീനമാണ് രാമന്‍ സസ്യാഹാരിയാണെന്ന വിശദീകരണത്തിലേക്ക് എത്തിച്ചത്. രാമന്‍ മൃഗങ്ങളെ ബലി ക‍ഴിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്നും മൃഗത്തോലു കൊണ്ടുണ്ടാക്കിയ വസ്ത്രം ധരിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്നും വാത്മീകി രാമായണം വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. രാമായണത്തില്‍ മാത്രമല്ല വേദങ്ങളിലും മാംസാഹാരം ഒരു ജനകീയ ശീലം ആയിരുന്നുവെന്ന് വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്.

മാംസാഹാരികള്‍ക്ക് നേരെ നടക്കുന്ന സംഘപരിവാര്‍ അക്രമം കരുതിക്കൂട്ടിയുള്ള വര്‍ഗീയ നീക്കങ്ങളാണെന്ന് വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നതാണ് മുകളില്‍ വിവരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ശ്ലോകങ്ങള്‍. രാമന്‍റെ പേരില്‍ നടക്കുന്ന അക്രമത്തെ രാമന്‍റെ ജീവിത കഥ സാധൂകരിക്കുന്നില്ല. താത്കാലിക രാഷ്ട്രീയ ലാഭങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മ്ലേച്ഛമായ വര്‍ഗീയ ചിന്തകള്‍ പരത്തുന്നതിനും മാത്രമാണ് ഇത്തരം അക്രമങ്ങള്‍. ജനാധിപത്യ ഇന്ത്യ ഒറ്റക്കെട്ടായി ഈ ഇരുട്ടു മനുഷ്യന്‍മാര്‍ക്കെതിരെ അണിനിരക്കേണ്ടിയിരിക്കുന്നു

 
 

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Israel to announce major land appropriation in Jordan Valley

Israel to announce major land appropriation in Jordan Valley

Government to declare 370 acres near West Bank settlement south of Jericho as state land in largest such seizure since 2014

 January 20, 2016, 4:18 am 213
The Jordan Valley. (photo credit: CC BY Trocaire, Flickr)

The Jordan Valley. (photo credit: CC BY Trocaire, Flickr)

The Israeli government will announce the allocation of 370 acres of West Bank agricultural land near the Palestinian city of Jericho as state lands, the largest such land appropriation since August 2014.

The area, part of which has been worked in recent years by Israeli farmers, is situated north of the West Bank settlement of Almog, in the Jordan Valley, according to an Army Radio report on Tuesday. Additional details about the move were to be published Wednesday morning.

Israel has previously used an 1858 Ottoman law stating that land which lies fallow for several years could revert to government property as the legal basis for such moves.

The procedure was approved by Israeli government officials and was to receive final approval in the coming weeks, according to the report.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Map data ©2016 Google, Mapa GISrael, ORION-ME
 
 
Map
Satellite

The move comes amid heightened tensions with the European Union, which earlier this week said in a declaration that its agreements with Israel didn’t extend over the Green Line, angering Jerusalem.

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro also said Monday that Washington was “concerned and perplexed” by Israel’s settlement policy which he said raised “honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.”

“This government and previous Israeli governments have repeatedly expressed support for a negotiated settlement that would involve mutual recognition and separation,” he said. “Yet separation will become more and more difficult” if Israel continues to expand settlements, Shapiro said.

The anticipated appropriation was expected to garner negative responses from the European Union, United States and Palestinian Authority, Army Radio reported.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Defense Ministry body serving as the Civil Administration in the West Bank, confirmed the report saying that the move was awaiting final approval, having already received the green light from senior officials and professional experts.

The last such move by the Israeli government, in August 2014, involved the appropriation of nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land near the site of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens months before. The Israeli army declared that there was no claim of Palestinian ownership on the land in question, but the action was roundly condemned by the US and European governments.

The head of Peace Now said at the time that it was the largest such confiscation of West Bank land by the Israeli government since the 1980s.

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How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed Into a Hub for Innovation

How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed Into a Hub for Innovation | WIRED

HOW A NATION OF TECH COPYCATS TRANSFORMED INTO A HUB FOR INNOVATION Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon Ricoh’s Theta S Camera Captures CES in 360 Terrifying, Beautiful Degrees Misfit’s Wearables Hide Their Tech Behind Cool Minimalism SLIDE: 1 / OF 6 . Caption: Employees at rising mobile star Xiaomi take a break at their office in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 2 / OF 6 . Caption: A worker at ecommerce giant Meituan. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 3 / OF 6 . Caption: Offices of livestreaming enterprise YY. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 4 / OF 6 . Caption: Zepp Labs employee testing hardware at the company’s office in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 5 / OF 6 . Caption: Meituan office lobby. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 6 / OF 6 . Caption: Jerry Liu, CEO of ShenZhen YueJiang Technology, during an open house at a XinCheJian hackerspace. ZACHARY BAKO Advertisement Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon Ricoh’s Theta S Camera Captures CES in 360 Terrifying, Beautiful Degrees Misfit’s Wearables Hide Their Tech Behind Cool Minimalism SLIDE: 1 / OF 6 . Caption: Employees at rising mobile star Xiaomi take a break at their office in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO THE YOUNG PROGRAMMER had an idea, and everyone thought it was nuts. Just out of college, he’d gotten a job writing software for YY, a livestreaming company based in the mas­sive city of Guangzhou, in China’s Pearl River Delta. More than 100 million users every month stream them­selves, or tune in to broadcasts of others, singing, playing video­games, or hosting talk shows from their Beijing apartments. The audience chats back, prolifically, via voice or text. The programmer thought YY should try something new: use its proven streaming technology to run a dating service, which would operate kind of like a TV dating show. A host would set up an online lounge, then invite in some lonely singles and coax them to ask each other questions and maybe find a partner. Company executives were dubious. “The CEO almost killed it,” says Eric Ho, chief financial officer, sitting in YY’s head­quarters, atop three floors of furiously coding engi­neers and designers. Are you sure you want to do this? the CEO asked the kid. This is very stupid. I don’t think people will like it! But the programmer was hungry and persistent, so they waved him on: Give it a try. The old attitude—keep your head down and stay safe—is vanishing, swept aside by the surge in prosperity. In China, this type of employee didn’t used to exist. Ten years ago, high tech observers complained that the nation didn’t have enough bold innovators. There were, of course, wildly profi­table high tech firms, but they rarely took creative risks and mostly just mimicked Silicon Valley: Baidu was a replica of Google, Tencent a copy of Yahoo, JD a version of Amazon. Young Chinese coders had programming chops that were second to none, but they lacked the drive of a Mark Zucker­berg or Steve Jobs. The West Coast mantra—fail fast, fail often, the better to find a hit product—seemed alien, even dangerous, to youths schooled in an educational system that focused on rote memorization and punished mistakes. Graduates craved jobs at big, solid firms. The goal was stability: Urban China had only recently emerged from decades of poverty, and much of the countryside was still waiting its turn to do so. Better to keep your head down and stay safe. That attitude is vanishing now. It’s been swept aside by a surge in prosperity, bringing with it a new level of confi­dence and boldness in the country’s young urban techies. In 2000, barely 4 percent of China was middle-class—meaning with an income ranging from $9,000 to $34,000—but by 2012 fully two-thirds had climbed into that bracket. In the same time frame, higher education soared sevenfold: 7 million graduated college this year. The result is a generation both creative and comfortable with risk-taking. “We’re seeing people in their early twenties starting companies—people just out of school, and there are even some dropouts,” says Kai-Fu Lee, a Chinese venture capitalist and veteran of Apple, Microsoft, and Google, who has spent the past decade crisscrossing the nation, helping youths start firms. Now major cities are crowded with ambitious inventors and entrepreneurs, flocking into software accelerators and hackerspaces. They no longer want jobs at Google or Apple; like their counterparts in San Francisco, they want to build the next Google or Apple. Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 4 . Caption: YY programmer Mo Wengang, who pitched the idea of using the company’s streaming tech for a dating service. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 2 / OF 4 . Caption: YY employees line up for a mid-afternoon snack. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 3 / OF 4 . Caption: The offices of YY in Guangzhou. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 4 / OF 4 . Caption: The offices of YY in Guangzhou. ZACHARY BAKO Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 4 . Caption: YY programmer Mo Wengang, who pitched the idea of using the company’s streaming tech for a dating service. ZACHARY BAKO Anyone with a promising idea and some experience can find money. Venture capitalists pumped a record $15.5 billion into Chinese startups last year, so entrepreneurs are being showered in funding, as well as crucial advice and mentoring from millionaire angels. (It’s still a fraction of the US venture capital pool from 2014, $48 billion.) Even the Chinese government—which has a wary attitude toward online expression and runs a vast digital censorship apparatus—has launched a $6.5 billion fund for startups. With the economy’s growth slowing after two decades of breakneck expansion, the party is worriedly seeking new sources of good jobs. Tech fits the bill. The new boom encompasses both online services and the hardware arena. Recent local-kid-makes-good models like Xiaomi, the fast-rising Beijing mobile phone firm, or WeChat, Tencent’s globe-conquering social networking app, are leading the way forward. Homegrown firms have distinct advantages, namely familiarity with local tastes, the ability to plug into a first-class manufacturing system built for Western companies, and proximity to the world’s fastest-growing markets in India and Southeast Asia. The combination of factors is putting them in a position to beat the West at its own game. Xiaomi, for example, was the fourth-highest seller of mobile phones worldwide last year, behind Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. As for YY, it turns out it was good that the executives indulged their enterprising programmer. The dating show launched last year and became a hit. It also generated serious profits. YY has no advertising; it earns revenue when users fork over real Chinese currency to buy virtual items they give as gifts to each other or to the “broadcasters” streaming their own lives online. YY takes a 60 percent cut of each purchase, with the recipient getting the rest as actual cash. (Popular broadcasters make so much money that they live off their YY earnings.) At a laptop on Ho’s table, I peer at the screen, where a dating event is livestreaming. Money is flying around as male and female guests give each other—and the host—virtual presents: rings (worth $1.55), kisses (16 cents), and love letters (5 cents). Some items are pricier yet; for about $1,000, you can buy someone a virtual Lamborghini. In its first nine months, YY’s dating show brought in about $16 million, a sum growing rapidly every month. Last year YY itself brought in $580 million, and three years after going public on the Nasdaq, its market cap tops $3 billion, even after the market gyrations of 2015. The next Silicon Valley has emerged—and it’s in the East. CHINA’S TECH BOOM in the late ’90s produced its own Web 1.0: search engines, email and blogging tools, news portals, and Alibaba’s sprawling online sales market. Back then, China very much needed local copies of US companies, because US firms often couldn’t operate easily in China. The government blocked many foreign sites by using a complex system of filters known as the Great Firewall of China. Local firms had an edge anyway: They understood the particular demands of the Chinese digerati in the early ’00s, when Internet access was still scanty. Ten years ago, for example, eBay tried to dominate in China but failed, partly because many small businesses—the places that might otherwise have used eBay to sell their products to the world—didn’t yet have computers or a connection to the Internet. At Alibaba, however, founder Jack Ma understood this, so he assembled a huge sales force that fanned out across the country, teaching merchants how to get wired. (He also outcompeted eBay’s PayPal with Alipay, which holds a buyer’s payment in escrow until they receive their goods and pronounce themselves happy with the purchase; this helped build trust in online markets.) Riding that first crest, firms like Baidu and Alibaba became the “big dragons” of Chinese high tech, minting millionaires much as Microsoft had in the ’90s. The success of copycat firms paved the way for “little dragons”—creative, upstart Web 2.0 firms that emerged in the late ’00s. The big dragons provided role models, but even more significantly, they built the infrastructure crucial for today’s high tech boom, including the cloud services that allow any twentysomething to launch a business overnight and immediately start billing customers. One of the most successful in this second wave is Meituan, a firm that has become an ecommerce giant by enabling small merchants across the country to broadcast deals to nearby shoppers who have opted in, on the web and within Meituan’s mobile app. When I visit the Beijing headquarters, it looks like a tropical forest: There are leafy green plants plunked down between each workstation, while humidifiers puff clouds of moist air upward. It’s nearly silent, but there’s a lot of money flowing through the office. Suspended above dozens of coders is an LCD the size of a table for four that reads “8,309”: the number of deals Meituan has broadcast so far today. The firm’s revenue has skyrocketed in its five years of operation; in 2014 it processed more than $7 billion in deals for its 900,000 partners. It’s aiming to reach $18.5 billion by the end of this year. China’s techies don’t want jobs at Apple or Google—they want to build the next Apple or Google. Meituan’s CEO, the slender and soft-spoken Wang Xing, is a serial entrepreneur who tracks the emerging creative shift in Chinese startups. He had already made Chinese clones of Facebook and Twitter when, in 2008, he noticed the rise of Groupon. “There’s no doubt that we got influenced by Groupon,” he admits. But by then he was seasoned enough to spot the flaws in the discounter’s business model. Groupon took a big cut—up to 50 percent—of the revenue from each deal, which left participating merchants bitter. They’d routinely lose money by issuing Groupon deals, so they’d grit their teeth and hope it would attract new permanent customers; usually it didn’t. Wang, in contrast, wanted to make Meituan the easiest way for small merchants to charge their customers and stay in contact with them. Setting Meituan’s cut at only 5 percent ensured that merchants nearly always made money. He also began developing proprietary ecommerce tech. Wang whips out his phone to show me a recent example. His programmers fanned out to movie theater chains across the country, laboriously connecting Meituan’s app to their booking systems. It was a hassle, but now moviegoers can not only buy a ticket from the Meituan app, they can pick their seats. Wang clicks on The Hobbit to show me. “When you go to the theater you don’t have to wait in line and talk to any people—you can just go to a vending machine and scan your passcode” to get in, he says. It’s slick and simple, and now one-third of all movie tickets in China are bought via Meituan. Last year it was 10 percent of the firm’s annual income. Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 4 . Caption: Zepp Labs’ cofounder Robin Han at the company’s offices in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 2 / OF 4 . Caption: Zepp Labs’ cofounder Xiaowei Dai uses the company’s tech to capture his golf swing. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 3 / OF 4 . Caption: Hardware startup Zepp Labs in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 4 / OF 4 . Caption: A Zepp Labs employee tests hardware. ZACHARY BAKO Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 4 . Caption: Zepp Labs’ cofounder Robin Han at the company’s offices in Beijing. ZACHARY BAKO It’s an adroit move, because service—and convenience—is what China’s urban middle class increasingly craves. Sporting high-end mobiles and elite fashion from Europe, they pull out their phones for nearly every purpose: using Alipay to cover a cab ride to a DJ’d party in the artistic outskirts of Beijing; opening WeChat and using its location-sharing function so their friends can find them; posting selfies on Meitu, a picture-sharing service with built-in beautifying filters. The service economy commanded 44 percent of all money spent by the Chinese middle class in 2013, a figure that consulting firm McKinsey expects will grow to 50 percent by 2022, as young urbanites splurge via their phones on everything from massages to takeout food, hairstyling, and nail salons. Even the market meltdown of this year doesn’t seem to have dented middle-class consumption: During China’s travel-focused Golden Week national holiday in October, box office sales were up 70 percent over the previous year, and overseas trips were up 36.6 percent, according to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch analysts. Ecommerce, already big in China, has an astonishing amount yet to grow—a tremendous number of everyday services are not yet online. For example, 80 percent of China’s hotel rooms are still booked offline. And people are eager for ecommerce not just because it’s convenient, but because it’s much less corrupt and opaque than brick-and-mortar businesses. As Kai-Fu Lee points out, the latter are, by American standards, riddled with inefficiencies and hucksterism. “In the US, hundreds of years of fair competition made commerce relatively fair and transparent,” he says. Not so in China. “If you were to sell real estate, there is no transparency. If you buy a used car, there is no Consumer Reports or Ralph Nader.” By removing middlemen and creating reputation systems, ecommerce firms are making transactions more transparent and trustworthy, he argues. “So a mobile social-based solution will be dramatically better,” Lee says. Corruption is just one of the many challenges China faces. The country’s leaders and investors also contend with nontransparent banks, government regulators on the take, rampant pollution, fierce crackdowns on political speech, and a rural population yearning for better jobs in the cities. It’s not clear whether the party can solve all these messy problems. In the short run, though, the high tech gold rush has produced manic and fierce competition. Whenever a new category opens up, it’s immediately swarmed upon by dozens or even hundreds of entrepreneurs. By comparison, competition in the US is mild; for example, there are only two major firms—Uber and Lyft—duking it out for car bookings. But Lee estimates that in its early days, Meituan had to fight 3,000 competitors dotted across the country. Whoever is left standing is battle-hardened. That’s Wang now. Halfway between the old guard and the new, he has become an angel investor himself, on the lookout for youngsters with daring ideas: the next little dragons. One company he’s investing in is eDaijia, which, rather hilariously, lets car owners find someone to drive their vehicle home when they’re drunk. “They are totally dominant in China, and last year they went to Seoul,” he laughs, “because, they told me, that’s the most drunk city in the world.” CHINA’S CREATIVE BOOM in web services is significant enough, but arguably it has an even bigger edge over the US in hardware. The country has spent 30 years becoming the manufacturing capital of the world, so coastal cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou are now crammed with electronics facilities, from tiny three-person shops to Foxconn’s 30,000-employee city-factory complexes cranking out iPhones. All have a deep knowledge of how to make things, so it was almost inevitable that homegrown entrepreneurs would get in on the act. Living next to the factories or being able to stroll the electronics markets, they’re the first to know when trends in hardware emerge: for example, when a cutting-edge sensor arrives that lets you collect new forms of data—or when the cost of an existing one suddenly drops to a penny, allowing it to be sprinkled anywhere, like dust. The high tech gold rush has produced manic and fierce competition among the swarms of entrepreneurs. “It’s easier in China than in other places,” Robin Han says, “because we have Shenzhen.” Han is the 32-year-old cofounder of Zepp Labs, a Beijing-based hardware startup that is the darling of the sports world: It makes a square sensor that tracks your swing—of a golf club, a baseball bat, a tennis racket—then uses an iPhone app to help you improve. Han got the entrepreneurial itch five years ago as a PhD student working in Microsoft’s Beijing research office. Big-company life might be stable, but you could toil for years on a project that might never become a real product. Success was out of your control, he tells me, sitting in the brightly lit Zepp office, where, behind him, two dozen coders and designers pilot keyboards. Han had noticed gyroscopes being used in HTC and HP phones as well as Nintendo Wii remotes and figured they would go down in price as big companies continued to include them in their products. That had potential. He and a friend, Peter Ye (now Zepp’s head of R&D), loved sports and hit on the idea for a swing sensor. Players could analyze their motions or compare them to those of professionals; coaches could scrutinize an entire team’s practice swings, even remotely. Han and Ye started with golf. They figured duffers would be willing to spend money on a sensor that promised to improve their game. They lead me to the basement, where they have constructed a huge batting-and-golfing cage. “We spent a lot of hours in here perfecting the sensors and working on our swings,” Han says. The walls are studded with marks from errant balls. Their prototype worked so well it attracted the attention of an Apple rep who was touring China, looking for products for the Apple Store. Satisfying Apple’s precise aesthetics required them to slowly refine the design through 14 prototypes, but it paid off: Since the Zepp sensor launched in Apple Stores worldwide in 2012, Zepp has activated more than 300,000 of them. Han and Ye got Zepp Labs off the ground with $1.5 million in seed money from angel investor Xiao Wang and worked their contacts to find a good factory to help prototype and mass-produce their device. That last step—finding a talented, Foxconn-class factory that has deep experience in elegantly solving design challenges—has traditionally been the hard part of getting things made in China. But in recent years, that’s gotten easier too. A set of middlemen has emerged specifically to help bridge that gap, including Highway 1, a program by the manufacturing giant PCH: It picks gadget inventors from around the world and finds topflight factories willing to take a risk manufacturing a product by an unknown new talent. There’s also been a hackerspace movement in China. The first one—Shanghai’s XinCheJian—was cofounded in 2010 by Chinese Internet entrepreneur David Li, when he noticed how cheap prototyping tools were allowing kitchen-table inventors to produce increasingly slick prototypes. Now local creators from across China mix with expatriates who flock to XinCheJian from around the world, brainstorming ideas with each other and going on tours of factories organized by Li to help them understand how China’s hardware ecosystem works. Much like a gym, members pay monthly fees to XinCheJian, which gives them access to the hackerspace’s tools and, just as important, advice and networking from fellow inventors. “I always encourage people: Get to your prototype fast, try to find manufacturing partners, and get your Kickstarter campaign finished,” Li tells me, sitting at the hackerspace’s main table, in front of a fridge emblazoned with a sticker that reads DO EPIC SHIT. The rooms behind him are filled with metal lathes, electric tools, and rows of 3-D printers. One successful product that recently emerged from XinCheJian is Wearhaus headphones, which enable one person to stream music from their phone while friends listen in, letting them privately enjoy the same music while, say, coworking or studying. The first run of 3,000 headphones sold out, and now a larger run is in the pipeline. THE ACME OF China’s innovation boom can be found in four office towers that loom over a sprawl of condos in the suburbs of Beijing. These are the headquarters of Xiaomi. Founded in 2010, the company has become famous for making mobile phones comparable to the iPhone—fast processors, large screens, and a sleek operating system called MIUI—but at half the cost. It may be even more famous for its chiefly online sales model and explosive growth. Xiaomi sold 61 million phones last year, and for part of 2015 it was the top-selling mobile brand in China. Though it’s still private, last year investors said it was worth $45 billion. Xiaomi was founded by a serial entrepreneur who got a chance to make his early mistakes—and fortune—10 years ago: CEO Lei Jun founded the online bookseller Joyo, which he later sold to Amazon. He quickly became an angel investor, pouring money into the next generation of innovators, like YY, and making connections with the country’s brightest young designers and engineers. By 2010, a new vision had taken hold: to build an operating system and a new business model for selling mobile phones. Lei formed Xiaomi and hired a team of crack talent to quickly produce a gorgeous mobile phone OS and put it online in August of that year. China’s techies loved it. But only the most nerdy were willing to endure the hassle of downloading an OS to their existing phones. If Xiaomi wanted to get the system into the hands of millions, it would need to make—and sell—handsets. Foxconn became one of Xiaomi’s primary manufacturers. Meanwhile, the startup hit upon a hugely effective sales system. Each new model would initially be sold in a limited quantity—perhaps 50,000—via a weekly flash sale on its website. The exclusivity drove fans wild. The lucky few who scored phones would flaunt them to their envious hipster friends—and later, Xiaomi would open up a larger run to satisfy pent-up demand. Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 5 . Caption: David Li, cofounder of hackerspace XinCheJian. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 2 / OF 5 . Caption: XinCheJian’s first 3-D printer, an open-source machine called Printrbot. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 3 / OF 5 . Caption: A vintage oscilloscope at XinCheJian in Shanghai. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 4 / OF 5 . Caption: The SofaBike at XinCheJian. ZACHARY BAKO SLIDE: 5 / OF 5 . Caption: Every Wedneday evening, XinCheJian hosts an open house where makers present their ideas to the public. ZACHARY BAKO Related Galleries How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car Space Photos of the Week: A Supermassive Black Hole Burps The Best Photos of CES 2016: Drones, VR, and … a Pigeon SLIDE: 1 / OF 5 . Caption: David Li, cofounder of hackerspace XinCheJian. ZACHARY BAKO Xiaomi’s office is brightly lit and decorated with huge paintings. A mutt that workers adopted off the street sleeps in his doghouse on the first floor. One flight up, a sprawling room is filled with customer-service reps chattering into phones, attempting to solve users’ issues around the world. Though China is Xiaomi’s largest market, in 2013 the firm hired Hugo Barra, previously Google’s product manager for Android, to oversee global expansion. “These are phones for the generation that will never have access to a computer,” Barra says. “They’re discovering the Internet from their phones.” Xiaomi’s edge, he says, is that it continuously produces new upgrades. “We build hardware, but we take a very software way of doing it. We do a software update every week!” These updates often incorporate the voluminous feedback that Xiaomi gets from its deeply involved fans: A single post by Xiaomi’s team on the company’s customer forums can receive 100,000 replies discussing the latest tweak to the operating system. Indeed, Xiaomi’s willingness to talk online with its customers has been a key part of both understanding the demands of young consumers and cultivating their manic devotion. Xiaomi sells its phones at close to cost; much of the company’s revenue comes from its line of accessories, like headphones and step-tracker wristbands, as well as from app store purchases of things like new OS skins. The hope is that eventually even more revenue will come from the many ecommerce transactions that Xiaomi owners will engage in, buying everything from meals to plane tickets to clothing. But to see the company’s broader vision for the future, you need to head downstairs to a spare and elegant showroom. It’s filled with Internet of Things devices that the company is bringing to market, all of which can be operated remotely via the mobile OS. There’s a smart lightbulb, a connected webcam, a bathroom scale, a TV, a power strip—and an air purifier, a crucial appliance for the Chinese, who must contend with the country’s out-of-control air pollution. Once you buy one product, you’ll very quickly buy the others, because they all work so well together, Barra boasts. “The game in China is building walled gardens and getting them to stay in your garden.” Xiaomi didn’t design and manufacture this hardware itself. The executives went on a hunt for the country’s hungriest cutting-edge startups, then invested in them and demanded they produce Apple-quality design. It is astonishing to see the ecosystem laid out. It makes Google’s toe-dip into the Internet of Things—its Nest smart thermostat and security camera—look several years behind the curve. Western entrepreneurs now flock to hardware and software accelerators in China’s coastal cities. China’s creative generation, in other words, has proven it is ready to compete head-on with the world’s top high tech brands. “Apple and Samsung are right to be worried,” says Bunnie Huang, a well-known hardware hacker. (Indeed, Samsung’s global share of the smartphone market dropped to 21.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015, from 32.2 percent in the same period of 2012.) When it comes to hardware, Chinese inventors benefit from proximity to the world’s largest base of consumers, which is growing fast. Xiaomi’s first major foreign expansion wasn’t to the US but to the much huger—if poorer—India, where it sold 1 million phones in the third quarter of this year. Sew up China and India, it realized, and that’s a third of the planet. In context, the US, where many consumers already own smartphones, isn’t a particularly big market. Yet while Chinese firms like Xiaomi are challenging the big tech firms, the flow of opportunity goes both ways: It’s getting easier and easier for Western entrepreneurs to go work in China. They now regularly flock to hardware and software accelerators in the coastal cities so they can meet local collaborators or find factories. One French woman arrived in Shanghai last year to team up with Chinese coders and create an online market for French wine, targeting the chic restaurants where urbanites dine. Young American inventors congregate at H@xlr8r in Shenzhen, where they prototype everything from retro animated-GIF cameras to customized-pill-creation robots. China is essentially becoming a mecca, a destination for people with ideas—much as Silicon Valley did a generation ago. RELATED STORIES CADE METZ China’s Alibaba Just Beat the US in a Global Machine Battle ISSIE LAPOWSKY Techies Are Trying to Get Chinese Consumers to Rack Up Debt ANDREW CURRY Building a New Silicon Valley in a Post-Soviet Dictatorship I saw that one day toward the end of my visit. I dropped by David Li’s XinCheJian hackerspace, where Li was meeting with a startup team he’d been mentoring, including a Dutch-Italian man named Lionello Lunesu, who has lived in China for eight years, and a Latino man named Berni War. They were looking over their latest prototype, which had been sent by courier from a nearby factory. It was a little device that gives you alerts from your computer or phone, almost like an Apple Watch that sits on your desk instead of on your wrist. “For David, we’re not going nearly fast enough,” Lunesu says. Li picked up the gadget and stroked its sleek white sides. “That’s the same plastic they use for the iPhone 5c,” he says. The entrepreneurs grin. A lot of this opportunity is not available in the US. That’s why they’re here. Contributing editor CLIVE THOMPSON (@pomeranian99) is the author of Smarter Than You Think. Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.

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My review on Arnab Goswami’s newshour debate on Zakir Naik’s issue

My review on Arnab Goswami’s newshour debate on Zakir Naik’s issue

 

Sunday, 3 January 2016 | comments

By: Iftikhar Islam 

While watching news on Times Now I saw the news scrolls related to Mangalore and the name “Naik” appeared. I was confirmed, this news is about Dr. Zakir Naik which was related to the hashtag #CommunalDoublegame, the topic of Arnab Goswami’s Debate 1 (on 30th Dec 2015). The hashtag clearly displayed the intention of Arnab Goswami and his stance against Zakir Naik. But in the debate he crossed the expectations and painted Zakir Naik and other communalists with the same brush. No doubt he will speak against Zakir Naik but I thought he may do it in a diplomatic way – following the ethics of journalism. 

With half-baked research, Arnab laid various severe allegations against Dr. Zakir Naik that are absurd, ill-intended and malicious in nature. He has crossed all the levels in degrading Dr. Zakir Naik which he think he has done a wonderful thing. If he was truthful in his debate, then he would have invited people from IRF who knows Dr. Zakir Naik closely; or at least those who organize or listen to Dr. Zakir Naik’s speeches regularly. The cowardness of Arnab is exposed clearly when he started debating with those who doesn’t even know anything about Dr. Zakir Naik. 

It is said in Hindi “Kutta bhi apne ilakhe mein sher banta hai” (Even dog becomes lion in his area). I openly challenge you Mr. Arnab to have a debate with me on the same topic. Only sitting in the studio and asking questions to the fans of Dr. Zakir Naik who cannot respond you while sitting at home. Is this an ethical journalism? You would have called them and asked in the studio in front of the Nation. Now Nation wants to know the answers to your allegations. Are you ready to take up the debate again? Brave men face the challenges while the cowards run.

 
Arnab Goswami Dr. Zakir Naik debate on Times Now


Let me briefly refute the allegations laid on Dr. Zakir Naik: 

Dr. Zakir Naik is a self-proclaimed scholar: 

It is ridiculous to speak without knowledge and when a journalist of high caliber speaks ignorantly then it becomes dangerous. Dr. Zakir Naik has never claimed himself to be a scholar in religion. I challenge Arnab and his whole team to produce a single sentence or incident where Dr. Zakir Naik has claimed himself to be a scholar. He says “I am a student of Islam and Comparative religions”. He further says “The value of Dr. Zakir Naik is ZERO in Islam”. 

On the other hand Arnab is a self-claimed “honest” journalist. When Minakshi Lekhi, an advocate, accused Arnab of taking money, he got furious and said “Never ever make an accusation to an honest journalist”
 
Dr. Zakir Naik supports Osama Bin Laden: 

Zakir Naik never supported Osama Bin Laden. He has neither spoken in favour not against him. He is a man who handles open Q&A sessions in which any person from the audience can pose any question on the subject of ‘Islam and Comparative Religions.’ When any one ask him about Osama Bin Laden he says I neither believe him to be a saint nor terrorist. I haven’t met him. Media can turn hero into villain and villain into hero. He is just silent on the issue because the Quran says “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” (Quran 49:6) 

Regarding the statements Arnab Goswami quotes of Dr. Zakir Naik, it is out of context and more than a decade old. If you see the video completely you will get to know what Zakir Naik wants to say.
 

Dr. Zakir Naik says 9/11 is an inside job: 

When Zakir Naik did said 9/11 is an inside job? Watch his (all-time favourite) video on the topic “Is Terrorism a Muslim monopoly?” you will get the complete understanding of what Zakir Naik said about 9/11. He just quotes the people who says 9/11 is an inside job. So according to your logic the government should also restrict even those people from addressing public gatherings?

Even if Dr. Zakir Naik says 9/11 is an inside job, what is wrong in it? Haven’t you researched about 9/11 yet? If no, then it is embarrassment on us having this kind of un-researched journalism in our country. Shame on you to claim having “investigative” journalism. 

Just for a hint, study about False Flag Operations. I feel sorry to give an advice to a high caliber journalist of the nation. 

Vandemataram issue: 

Arnab feels “strange and ironical” when Zakir Naik says singing Vandemaratam goes against Islam and Hinduism. This shows how ignorant and illiterate Arnab is and how scholarly knowledge Zakir Naik possess. What Arnab knows when it comes to Islam or Hinduism? He just knows to shout and scream.

Vandemataram has some lines which directly goes against the teachings of Islam as well as the sacred scriptures of Hinduism. If Arnab Goswami doesn’t have the knowledge about religions then he should keep his mouth shut. Is vandemataram the criteria to judge the patriotism for the country? Is vandemataram the criteria to restrict people from addressing the large gatherings?


Dr. Zakir Naik provokes audience:


Arnab said, “I think he is saying the things deliberately to provoke the audience because that brings him viewer[ship]”. I can just laugh on Arnab’s analogy. How many lectures Arnab have seen of Dr. Zakir Naik? Dr. Zakir Naik has debated many prominent personalities in the world. Even after the debates nothing has happened. If Zakir Naik would have provoked the audience, then there would have been protests against him immediately. Why there are protests now, for those words he uttered more than a decade ago, and that too quoting him out of context. The reality is that people are accepting Islam openly in his programs that seems to be danger for them in the future. 

Dr. Zakir Naik speaks venom:


You need to understand the meaning of ‘venom’. By the way in which school have you studied Arnab? Who has appointed you in Times Now? What you do at 9 pm daily in your studio? Do you spread love? You spread brotherhood? What you do in the studio is venom. You speak those things which even you – if you sit quietly – ponder upon it, you will laugh on yourself.


“Let’s come to the common term first”, “Go back to the scriptures”, “Believe in one God” are these statements venom? After the debate, in the concluding sessions he say “I was just replying to allegations, I am not here to hurt the sentiments of the people” even this is venom? “I don’t know who Osama is, I have never met him… I cannot say whether he is a saint or a terrorist”, “When you get the news verify it”, even now he is speaking venom? When the media asked him about Sadhvi Pragya Singh, he said the same thing “I don’t know who Sadhvi Pragya Singh is, I cannot say whether she is a saint or a terrorist” Do you mean to say these sentences are venom as well? 

Shiva and Ganesh issue: 

Arnab says he didn’t even want to quote what Zakir Naik has said about Shiva and Ganesh. Why didn’t Arnab quote Zakir Naik on this issue? He very well escaped saying, “you want to me repeat what he says in the context of Shiva and Ganesh, I won’t repeat it.” Why?

The explanation Zakir Naik has given is in the context when non-Muslim friends and neighbors force or offer Muslims to eat Prasad. In answer to this he gave an example of Shiva and Ganesh and ask them to prove that ‘Shiva is God’ then we will eat ‘Prasad’. Because Muslims cannot eat those food on which anyone’s name is taken besides God. Even if anyone has taken the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the food, the food becomes prohibited for the Muslims.


In the context to explain that Muslims won’t eat food which is offered to any deities beside God, he narrated the story of Shiva and Ganesh. If it is false, then correct Zakir Naik with true version of the story. Dr. Zakir Naik is open for correction. The narration is only for the sake of knowledge, not to degrade or hurt anyone. Dr. Zakir Naik often quotes this ayat (verse) of the Quran which says “Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest in the ignorance they will revile Allah” (Quran 6:108) 

If the true story hurts you then stories and films should hurt you more. Those who write stories and make films should be restricted from making more films. The Director of the film ‘O My God’ Umesh Shukhla; and Producers Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Yashvini Yardi; should be banned for showing all those stuffs in the movie. The team of the film ‘PK’ – Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abhijat Joshi, Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and others – should be restricted from making more films.

Why only target Zakir Naik and leave others? Only because Zakir Naik is a Muslim? Or more and more people accept Islam in Zakir Naik’s gathering?


This is a brief response to some of the allegations which Arnab has deliberately put on Dr. Zakir Naik. I could have given point by point refutation to Arnab Goswami. I don’t want the response to get lengthy. There are many illogical and nonsensical statements given by him which I thought of not worth responding. 

I didn’t touch the four points he has given to compare Zakir Naik to the other communalist. It is not worth responding. The audience of Zakir Naik consist of the people of all faiths but that communalist have only people of his community. All the four points which Arnab mentions fit the other communalist and not Zakir Naik.

Before concluding the response, I would like to throw some light on how Arnab fools the viewers: 

Misquoting the Law: 

He quoted section 295 of IPC against Zakir Naik. Here are the exact words of the section. “295. Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class. — Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defile­ment as an insult to their religion..”

Does this section fits Zakir Naik in ANY manner? I hope Arnab understands these simple words of the section. You don’t have to be a lawyer to interpret this section and apply on Dr. Zakir Naik. The other sections of IPC and CrPC and Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India is subject of discussion when it comes to application on Dr. Zakir Naik. Being a student of Law, I can just laugh on Arnab.


Arnab lacks research:


By quoting unwanted section for Dr. Zakir Naik, he showed the level of research he has. The other allegations and sentences he quoted against Zakir Naik has already been answered by Dr. Zakir Naik before and relayed on Peace TV multiple times and available on YouTube. The allegations are taken from a decade old tapes which Zakir Naik already answered in his new tapes.


Arnab and his team doesn’t know the countries in which Zakir Naik is banned. Times Now was regularly displaying US and UK in the countries that banned Zakir Naik. When did US banned Zakir Naik from entering in their state?


Arnab fools the viewers by inviting unrelated persons as panelists, keep few photocopies of the papers, scream and do not allow the person to speak. Even if he allow once, he takes the time to refute and does not allow the person to refute his baseless allegations and goes on to another panelist and divert the question.


Henry Anatole Grunwald said “Journalism can never be silent…” and Arnab took it seriously!


If you want to know about Dr. Zakir Naik in the right perspective, then watch his videos for yourself (here: www.youtube.com/DrZakirChannel) and you be the judge whether Zakir Naik is the prince of peace or preacher of hate.

 

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I’m not bothered, says Asaduddin Owaisi after getting a threat from ISIS

I’m not bothered, says Asaduddin Owaisi after getting a threat from ISIS

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president was asked to ‘keep his mouth shut’ and not speak against the terror outfit, on Twitter.
Scroll Staff  · Jan 07, 2016 · 03:03 pm  · India
I'm not bothered, says Asaduddin Owaisi after getting a threat from ISIS

Photo Credit: IANS
27.4K
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President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Asaduddin Owaisi said on Thursday that he had received a threat over Twitter from the Islamic State, asking him to stop speaking against the militant group. “It’s better for you to shut your mouth on the Islamic State if you don’t know the truth, Islamic State will invade India soon (sic),” a user who went by the name Abu Talout al-Khorasani tweeted to Owaisi. While The Times of India reported that al-Khorasani was an IS sympathiser, Zee News claimed the account was managed by IS. The user with the Twitter handle @abotalout also called Owaisi a “disgrace for Muslims of India.”

The Muslim leader responded to the tweets and said, “Sir you are a bloody Takfiri if you want to debate on Evil ISIS I am ready you will not be able to counter my Theological Points (sic).” Takfiri is someone who accuses any Muslim of straying from Islam. Terror outfits, including the IS, use this ideology to target opponents.

Owaisi has not filed a police complaint over the tweets. “I am not sure if they are ISIS sympathisers or IS militants, but I am not bothered by the threat. I get hundreds [of] such threats every day,” he said. Owaisi also told The Times of India he was confident security agencies would identify the user and take action. “Anything on Twitter is in the public domain. It will surely be noticed. Anybody with affiliations to banned organisations will attract the attention of the authorities,” he said.

The Hyderabad MP had earlier declared ISIS “rebels of Islam” and said that they had no right to speak about the religion. Speaking to The Indian Express about the influence of the IS in India, Owaisi had called the group an “evil, draconian force” and said, “ISIS is a threat. I just want everyone to realise this…If you pick up Urdu papers from the last two years, [you’ll find that] scholars and leaders, including me, have been criticising, condemning the activities of ISIS. It has nothing to do with Islam.”

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Israel debates how to stop BDS even as it continues to lose friends abroad

Israel debates how to stop BDS even as it continues to lose friends abroad

 

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

On Wednesday, a debate was held in the British Parliament on the issue of Palestinian child prisoners detained by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

 

The same day, two thousand miles away, Israel’s Knesset hosted a discussion on how to combat the growing, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Together, these two parliamentary meetings serve as a useful illustration of why Israel’s international image continues to deteriorate – and why it is not likely to improve any time soon.

First, to Westminster, where Labour MP Sarah Champion sponsored a debate on Palestinian child prisoners. The majority of the debate was taken up by a detailed account of the situation as it currently stands, including how children are taken from their homes at night, and the injustices and discrimination inherent in Israel’s use of military courts to try and jail Palestinian children.

Instructively, however, the debate did not just focus on the human rights abuses being perpetrated by Israel, but what can be done to stop them.

Champion, describing the transfer of Palestinian detainees out of the OPT as a war crime, urged the government to establish “a watch list” of those responsible, and to “ensure that any individual on the watch list who attempts to enter the UK is detained for questioning and, if sufficient evidence is available, charged and prosecuted, subject to the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, meanwhile, asked Champion whether she agreed “that it is now time for action”, and suggested that “the UK could call for the suspension of the EU-Israel association agreement”, on the basis that it includes “a clause saying that if there are human rights abuses, there is a right to suspend the agreement.” Champion called the recommendation “superb.”

Two members of Labour’s frontbench similarly urged further meaningful steps to be taken: shadow Foreign Office minister Diana Johnson insisted that “the British Government need to do much more to hold the Israeli Government to account”, while shadow minister for human rights Andy Slaughter criticised what he called “the apartheid regime that exists…in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Interestingly, given how strong the support for Israel has been, and continues to be, within the Conservative Party, three Tory MPs also voiced criticism of Israeli policies. Tania Mathias, for example, noted the “sad coincidence” that the debate was taking place the same week the UN human rights envoy to the Palestinian territories resigned because Israel denied him access.

Conservative MP Bob Stewart predicted that, unless Israel changes its illegal policies, “people such as me, who actually are big supporters of Israel, will lose the urge to be supporters.” Similarly, Tory MP David Jones, calling himself a friend of Israel, said that “the way that Israel is conducting itself is in a way that should bring shame to any self-respecting democracy.”

Attempts to defend Israel during the debate were feeble and predictable. Labour MP Ian Austin was literally laughed at, after he asserted that the detention of children under-12 simply “does not happen.” Conservative MP John Howell referred to Palestinian “incitement” six times in one minute, and also declared that “we should focus our attention on the Saudi execution of minors.”

Andy Slaughter put it succinctly when he said “government Members—and, indeed, Opposition Members—who seek to defend the occupation are increasingly clutching at straws in doing so.”

In the Knesset, meanwhile, Wednesday saw some 150 politicians and activists gather for a two-hour discussion organised by the Caucus to Fight Delegitmization on how to fight the BDS campaign. The caucus has five, cross-party co-chairs: Michael Oren (Kulanu), Anat Berko (Likud), Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp), Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu).

Read: Israel sets up special ministry to tackle BDS

The meeting was chaired by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who called for “a network to face a network”, echoing the wording used by think-tank the Reut Institute. Erdan is responsible for coordinating the government’s efforts to sabotage the various global campaigns designed to hold Israel to account, with a NIS 100 million budget for 2016.

Erdan described delegitimization as “a challenge with strategic potential”, and BDS as “part of a broader campaign that covers many areas, including education and culture.” BDS activists’ aim, the minister warned, is “to restrict the IDF’s actions and discriminate in international institutions.”

The Labor party’s Nachman Shai emphasised how the fight against the growing boycott united both coalition and opposition alike. MK Berko called BDS “jihad dressed up in a suit.” Mostspeakers were well-known pro-Israel advocates, including Irwin Cotler, former ambassador Ron Prosor, NGO Monitor head Gerald Steinberg, and Shurat HaDin’s ‎Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

MK Michael Oren, meanwhile, in remarks made to the press beforehand, claimed that BDS activists “are well-funded, highly organized and very sophisticated.” According to Oren, Israel is yet to “come up with an answer [to BDS]”, and suggested a role for the Israeli military and intelligence services.

Desperate stuff, and the suggestions made during the meeting were more of what has already been tried: former Israeli soldiers visiting North American campuses, ‘exposing’ BDS activists, and so on.

Also see: A look at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement in 2015

Meanwhile, in London, British politicians – including many who still describe themselves as ‘friends’ of Israel – despaired of the treatment of Palestinians under a discriminatory occupation, and, crucially, called for the government to go beyond mere words.

Israel’s leaders still don’t understand. BDS is not some well-resourced, evil conspiracy but a grassroots response to Israel’s colonialism, occupation, and apartheid. Without drastic changes on the ground, support for this form of pressure will only grow – including in Westminster.

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മരുഭൂമി തന്നത്

മരുഭൂമി തന്നത്

by ഉണ്ണി കെ. വാരിയർ

 

 
M. A. Yousuf Ali

എം.എ.യൂസഫലി

 
 
 

പഞ്ചനക്ഷത്ര സൗകര്യങ്ങളുള്ള ഈ ഒാഫിസ് സമുച്ചയത്തിന്റെ പതിനൊന്നാം നിലയിൽനിന്നു നോക്കുമ്പോൾ മരുഭൂമി പാൽക്കടലാണെന്നു തോന്നും. വെളുത്ത് കണ്ണെത്താ ദൂരത്തോളം കിടക്കുന്ന മണൽ. ആകാശവും മണൽപ്പാടവും ഒരുമിച്ചാകുന്നതുപോലും എവിടെവച്ചാണെന്നു തിരിച്ചറിയാനാകുന്നില്ല. മണലിൽ വീഴുന്ന വെയിൽ കണ്ണാടി നിരത്തിവച്ചതുപോലെ വെട്ടിത്തിളങ്ങുന്നു. അകലെ നീണ്ടു കിടക്കുന്ന റോഡിലൂടെ പറക്കുന്ന വാഹനങ്ങളുടെ മേൽ വെയിൽ തട്ടുമ്പോൾ തിളക്കം കാണാം. റോഡിനിരുവശവും ന‌ട്ട ഈന്തപ്പനകളുടെ പച്ചപ്പുമാത്രം. ഇടയിൽ ഒരു തടാകത്തിന്റെ നീല നിറം. ചൂടുകാറ്റ് അതിന്റെ സകല ശക്തിയുമെടുത്തു വീശിത്തുടങ്ങിയ കാലമാണ്. തീക്കൂനയ്ക്ക് അരികെ നിൽക്കുന്നതുപോലെ തോന്നുന്ന കാലം. ഇത് അബുദാബി നഗരത്തിന്റെ പുറകുവശമാണ്. ഒാഫിസിന്റെ മറുവശത്തേക്കു നോക്കിയാൽ ബഹുനില കെട്ടിടങ്ങളുടെ നീണ്ട നിരകാണാം. ഒരോന്നും അടുത്തുള്ളതിനോടു മത്സരിച്ച് ഉയർന്നു നിൽക്കുന്നതുപോലെ. മണലിനു നടുവിലുണ്ടാക്കിയ നഗരമാണിത്. ലുലു ഗ്രൂപ്പിന്റെ ആസ്ഥാനമന്ദിരമാണിത്. പതിനൊന്നാം നിലയുടെ ചുമരുകൾ ചില്ലുകൊണ്ടായതുകൊണ്ടു ഇവിടെനിന്നുള്ള നഗരത്തിന്റെ ആകാശക്കാഴ്ച വളരെ വിശാലമാണ്. ഇരു കൈകളും പുറകിൽക്കെട്ടി എം.എ.യൂസഫലി മരുഭൂമിയിലേക്കു നോക്കി നിൽക്കുകയാണ്. ഏറെ നേരത്തെ മൗനത്തിനു ശേഷം എം.എ.യൂസഫലി പറഞ്ഞു,

‘ ആ തെരുവുകൾക്കപ്പുറത്തുള്ള വീട്ടിലാണു ഞാൻ താമസിച്ചിരുന്നത്. പൊള്ളുന്ന ചൂടിൽ എസി പോലുമില്ലായിരുന്നു.ടെറസിൽ ആകാശവും നോക്കി എത്രയോ രാത്രി ഉറങ്ങാതെ കിടന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്. വണ്ടിയിലേക്കു സാധനങ്ങൾ കയറ്റി തളർന്നുറങ്ങിയപ്പോയ ദിവസങ്ങളുമുണ്ട്.’

യൂസഫ് ഭായ് എന്ന് എല്ലാവരും വിളിക്കുന്ന യൂസഫലി ഇപ്പോൾ ലോകത്തെ ആദ്യ ആയിരം കോടീശ്വരന്മാരിൽ ഒരാളാണ്. ഇന്ത്യയിലെ കോടീശ്വരന്മാരിൽ നാൽപതാമൻ. നാലു പതിറ്റാണ്ടുകൊണ്ടു യൂസഫ്ഭായ് സ്വന്തം സാമ്രാജ്യം തീർക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. നിമിഷങ്ങൾകൊണ്ടു വളർന്നുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന സാമ്രാജ്യം. എതിർത്തു പറഞ്ഞാൽപ്പോലും ചിരിച്ചുകൊണ്ടു നേരിടുന്ന യൂസഫലി തന്റെ ജീവിതത്തെക്കുറിച്ചു ഏറെനേരം സംസാരിച്ചു. ആഘോഷവും രോഷവും കണ്ണീരും നന്മയുമെല്ലാം നിറഞ്ഞ ദിവസങ്ങൾ. തന്നെ വേദനിപ്പിച്ചവരെക്കുറിച്ചും യൂസഫി ഇടയ്ക്കു പറഞ്ഞു. അപ്പോൾ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ മനസ്സും മുഖവും കലുഷിതമായതുപോലെ തോന്നി.

∙ മലയാളി എന്നെങ്കിലും താങ്കളെ വേദനിപ്പിച്ചതായി തോന്നിയിട്ടുണ്ടോ .

മലയാളികളെല്ലാം വേദനിപ്പിച്ചു എന്നു പറയില്ല. എന്നാൽ അവരിൽ അപൂർവ്വം ചിലർ എന്നെ വേദനിപ്പിച്ചു. ഒരു വലിയ പത്രം അബുദാബിയിൽ അച്ചടിക്കാനായി ഞാനാണ് ഇവിടത്തെ സർക്കാരിനു ഗാരന്റി നൽകിയത്. മാസങ്ങൾക്കു ശേഷം അവരുടെ ചാനലിൽ എം.എ.യൂസഫലി കൊച്ചിയിൽ രണ്ടു സെന്റു സ്ഥലം കയ്യേറി എന്നു രാവും പകലും പറഞ്ഞുകൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. ഞങ്ങളുടെ പുതിയ ലുലു സെന്റർ തലങ്ങും വിലങ്ങും ഷൂട്ടു ചെയ്തു കാണിച്ചു. ഞാൻ ചെയ്ത സഹായം ആരും ഒാർക്കണമെന്നില്ല. പക്ഷെ സത്യത്തിനും ദൈവത്തിനും നിരക്കാത്തതു പറയരുത്. എന്നെ കുറ്റം പറയുന്നവർ യഥാർഥ യൂസഫലി ആരാണെന്ന് അന്വേഷിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. 42 വർഷം ഈ മരുഭൂമിയിൽ കിടന്നാണു യൂസഫലി വളർന്നത്. ഞങ്ങളുടെ ടീമിന്റെ കഠിനാധ്വാനത്തിന്റെ ഫലമായാണു ഇതെല്ലാമുണ്ടായത്. അബുദാബിയിലെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ മാൾ ആയ മുർഷിംമാൾ നിർമ്മിക്കാൻ എനിക്കു 44 ഏക്കർ സ്ഥലമാണു ഇവിടത്തെ രാജകുടുംബം ചില്ലിക്കാശു വാങ്ങാതെ തന്നത്. ഭൂമിക്കു മാത്രം ഇന്നു 3600 കോടി രൂപവരും. എനിക്കു വീടുവയ്ക്കാനായി 600 കോടി രൂപയുടെ ഭൂമി സമ്മാനമായി തന്നു. ഇതൊന്നും ചോദിച്ചു വാങ്ങിയതല്ല. ഈ രാജ്യം എന്നോടു കാണിച്ച സ്നേഹമാണത്. അവർ നിസ്സാരനായ എന്നിൽനിന്നു ഒന്നും പ്രതീക്ഷിച്ചുതന്നതല്ല. ഞാനീ നാടിനു നൽകിയ സ്നേഹത്തിന്റെയും ആദരവിന്റെയും ആകെത്തുകയാണിത്. ഇവിടെയൊരു വലിയ കച്ചവടം നടത്തുന്നതിന്റെ പ്രതിഫലമാണ്. കുറെപ്പേർക്കു ജോലി കൊടുത്തതിന്റെ നന്ദി പറച്ചിലാണ്. ഇതെല്ലാം ഇവിടെ കിട്ടിയ ഞാൻ എന്റെ സ്വന്തം മണ്ണിൽ രണ്ടു സെന്റു സ്ഥലം കയ്യേറിയവനാണെന്നാണ് അവർ വിളിച്ചു പറഞ്ഞു. ഏതു വാർത്തയിലും എന്തെങ്കിലും അടിസ്ഥാന സത്യം വേണ്ടേ. ഞാൻ ആരോടും പരാതി പറഞ്ഞില്ല. രാവും പകലും വാർത്ത വന്നുകൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. എനിക്കു വേണമെങ്കിൽ തടയാമായിരുന്നു. ഞാനതു ചെയ്തില്ല. ഇവർക്കൊന്നും യൂസഫലിയെ അറിയില്ല. പക്ഷെ എന്നെ അധിക്ഷേപിക്കുന്നതിനു മുൻപു ഞാൻ എങ്ങിനെ ഈ നിലയിലെത്തി എന്നവർ അന്വേഷിക്കണം. മരുഭൂമിയിലെ പൊള്ളുന്ന ചൂടിൽ ട്രക്കിൽ സാധനങ്ങൾ കയറ്റിക്കൊടുക്കുന്ന കാലം എനിക്കുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. (യൂസഫലിയുടെ ശബ്ദം പതിവില്ലാതെ ഉയർന്നുയർന്നു വന്നു.കലഹമണെന്നു കരുതി സെക്രട്ടറിമാർ വാതിൽക്കലെത്തി. യൂസഫലി ഇരു കൈത്തലങ്ങളും നിവർത്തിക്കാണിച്ചു പറഞ്ഞു, )

‘ഇത് അധ്വാനിച്ചവന്റെ കൈകളാണ്. പടച്ചവന് എല്ലാമറിയാം. പടച്ചവനു നിരക്കാത്തതൊന്നും ഞാൻ ചെയ്തിട്ടില്ല, ചെയ്യുകയുമില്ല. എന്റെ സമ്പാദ്യത്തിലെ ഒരു ചില്ലിക്കാശുപോലും അനഭിമതമായ വഴിക്കുന്ന വന്നതല്ല. ഒരു തുട്ടിൽപ്പോലും പാപത്തിന്റെ കറയില്ല. ഇതു ദൈവാനുഗ്രഹമായി വന്നതാണ്. അധ്വാനത്തിന്റേയും പ്രാർഥനയുടെയും പ്രതിഫലമാണിത്. ’ ശബ്ദം ഇടറുന്നതിനിടയിൽ ഇരു കൈകളും വിടർത്തി യൂസഫലി ഖുർആനിലെ വരികൾ ഉറക്കെച്ചൊല്ലി. അതിനർഥം ഏകദേശം ഇതായിരുന്നു, പരമകാരുണികനായ ദൈവം സത്യവും ദയയുമുള്ളവന്റെ കൂടെയായിയിരിക്കും ’ യൂസഫലിയുടെ ഇതുവരെ കാണാത്ത ശബ്ദവും രോഷവും വേദനയും കണ്ട സെക്രട്ടറി പതുക്കെ വാതിൽ അടച്ചു പുറത്തുപോയി. ഒരു മിനിറ്റു കണ്ണടച്ചു സ്വയം സമാധാനിപ്പിച്ചെന്നപോലെ യൂസഫലി ചിരിച്ചു. ‘ഞാനിതു പറയുന്നതു റമസാൻ മാസത്തിലാണ്. ഞാൻ ആരുടെ മുതലും മോഷ്ടിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. കള്ളത്തരത്തിലൂടെ ഒന്നും സമ്പാദിച്ചിട്ടുമില്ല. പടച്ചവനു മുന്നിൽ ഞാൻ പറയുന്നു, യൂസഫലി തെറ്റായ വഴിക്കു സമ്പാദിച്ചതുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ അതു നിങ്ങളോളോരുത്തരും കാണിച്ചു തരിക. ഞാനതു തിരിച്ചു തരാം. വേണമെങ്കിൽ അതിലിരട്ടി തിരിച്ചു തരാം. ’

യൂസഫലി നിമിഷങ്ങളോളം മിണ്ടാതിരുന്നു. ഷർട്ടിന്റെ കൈ മുകളിലേക്കു കയറ്റിവച്ചു പിരിമുറുക്കം മാറ്റി.

‘സഹോദരാ ഇതൊക്കെ തുറന്നു പറയാത്തതു പേടികൊണ്ടല്ല. വേദനകൊണ്ടാണ്. മനസാ വാചാ കർമ്മണാ ചെയ്യാത്തതു കേൾക്കുമ്പോൾ ആരുടെയും നെഞ്ചു പൊള്ളിപ്പോകും. ഞാനൊരു സാധാരണ കച്ചവടക്കാരനും ഇടത്തരക്കാരൻ മനുഷ്യനുമാണ്. ഈ മരുഭൂമിയിലെ ചൂട് 52 ഡിഗ്രി കടന്ന കാലത്തു കിടക്കാൻ ഒരു എയർകണ്ടീഷനർ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ |എന്നു മോഹിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. യൂസഫലി പിന്നീടു ഫോബ്സ് കോടീശ്വരന്മാരുടെ പട്ടികയിൽ വന്നിട്ടുണ്ടാകാം. നിങ്ങൾ കാണുന്നത് ആ യൂസഫലിയെയാണ്. പക്ഷെ എന്റെ ഉള്ളിന്റെ ഉള്ളിലുള്ളതു നാട്ടിക എന്ന ഗ്രാമത്തിൽനിന്ന് ഒരു പാടു സ്വപ്നങ്ങളുമായി കപ്പലുകയറിയ യൂസഫലി എന്ന ഇടത്തരക്കാരനാണ്.

∙ സാധനങ്ങൾ ചുമന്നു കയറ്റി എന്നു പറയുന്നതു ശരിക്കും നടന്നതാണോ അതോ വികാരാവേശത്തിൽ പറഞ്ഞു പോയതാണോ

യൂസഫലി വികാരത്തിൽ എന്തെങ്കിലുമൊന്നും പറയാറില്ല. അബുദാബിയിൽ ജനറൽ സ്റ്റോർ നടത്തുന്ന കാലത്തു പലപ്പോഴും പെട്ടികൾ കയറ്റിക്കൊടുക്കാൻ ആളുണ്ടാകില്ല. അത്യാവശ്യമായി ചരക്കും പോകുകയും വേണമായിരിക്കും. അപ്പോൾ ഞങ്ങൾതന്നെ ചരക്കു കയറ്റിക്കൊടുക്കും. എത്രയോ ദിവസം അതു ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ട്. അതു പറയുന്നതിൽ ഇന്നും അഭിമാനമുണ്ട്. അന്നും ഇന്നും മനസ്സിലുള്ളതു മുഴുവൻ സമയവും അധ്വാനിക്കാനുള്ള മനസ്സാണ്. അബുദാബിയിൽ വന്നപ്പോഴുള്ള സമ്പാദ്യവും അതായിരുന്നു.

∙ ദുബായിയിലേക്കുള്ള നീണ്ട കപ്പൽ യാത്ര ഒാർമ്മയുണ്ടോ.

43 വർഷം മുൻപായിരുന്നു അത്. ഒൻപതു ദിവസം യാത്ര ചെയ്താണു 1973 ഡിസംബർ 31നു ഞാനിവിടെ എത്തിയത്. കൊച്ചാപ്പ എം.കെ.അബ്ദുള്ളയ്ക്ക് അന്നിവിടെ കച്ചവടമുണ്ട്. അദ്ദേഹമാണ് എന്നെ സ്വീകരിക്കാൻ വന്നത്. അന്നത്തെ ഗൾഫ് ഇന്നു കാണുന്ന പകിട്ടുള്ള ഗൾഫല്ല. ശരിക്കും മരുഭൂമിയായിരുന്നു. വലിയ കെട്ടിടങ്ങൾപോലും അപൂർവ്വം. അത്യാവശ്യ സാധനങ്ങൾ എല്ലാം കിട്ടുന്നൊരു ജനറൽ സ്റ്റോർ എന്നു വിളിക്കുന്ന പലചരക്കു കടയിൽനിന്നാണു ഞങ്ങൾ തുടങ്ങിയത്.

∙ അന്നത്തെ അബുദാബി ……….

കുറച്ചു സമയമേ വൈദ്യുതി ഉണ്ടാകൂ. രണ്ടു നല്ല റോഡുകളെയുള്ളു. എയർകണ്ടീഷനർ വലിയ പണക്കാർക്കു മാത്രമുള്ള ലക്ഷ്വറിയായിരുന്നു. അന്നിവിടെ ഇത്രയും മരങ്ങളില്ല. ചൂട് പലപ്പോഴും 50 ഡിഗ്രി കടക്കും. പക്ഷെ എന്റെ മനസ്സിനു ചൂടില്ലായിരുന്നു. അതു നല്ല തണുത്ത ഭാവി സ്വപ്നംകണ്ട് കിടക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. എന്നെ രക്ഷിച്ചതും ആ സ്വപ്നങ്ങളാണ്. അന്നൊന്നും രണ്ടു വർഷംകൂടുമ്പോൾപോലും നാട്ടിൽപോകാൻ പറ്റില്ല. ടിക്കറ്റെടുക്കാൻ കാശുണ്ടെങ്കിൽപ്പോലും എടുക്കില്ല. ഇവിടത്തെ ജോലി മുടങ്ങുമോ എന്ന പേടിയായിരുന്നു. എവിടെയെങ്കിലും എത്തിയിട്ടു നാട്ടിൽ പോകാമെന്നായിരുന്നു അന്നത്തെ ചിന്ത. (ഇന്നും യൂസഫലിക്കു നാട്ടിൽ പോകാൻ ടിക്കറ്റെടുക്കേണ്ട ആവശ്യമില്ല. കാരണം, സ്വന്തം വിമാനമുണ്ട്. )

∙ കുറച്ചുകാലം അഹമ്മദാബാദിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ലെ

ഞങ്ങളുടെ കുടുംബം നാലു തലമുറകളായി കച്ചവടക്കാരാണ്. കാർഷിക വിളകളും മറ്റു കച്ചവടം ചെയ്തവർ. എന്റെ രക്തവും അതുതന്നെയാണല്ലോ. പിതാവിന്റെ അനുജൻ എം.കെ.അബു അന്ന് അഹമ്മദാബാദിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഞങ്ങൾക്കവിടെ ജനറൽ സ്റ്റോറും പ്രസ്റ്റീജ് കുക്കറുകളുടെ ഏജൻസിയും ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അന്നാണ് ആദ്യമായി പ്രഷർകുക്കർ എന്താണെന്നു മനസ്സിലായത്. നാട്ടികയിൽ അന്നും സാധാരണ പാത്രവും വിറകടുപ്പുമാണ്. കുക്കറിന്റെ പിടി, വാൽവ്, വാഷർ തുടങ്ങിയയെക്കുറിച്ചെല്ലാം അന്നു വിശദമായി പഠിച്ചു. എത്ര കാലംകൊണ്ടു ഇവ മാറ്റേണ്ടിവരുമെന്നു മനസ്സിലാക്കി. പണ്ടു മുതലേ ഒന്നിലേക്ക് ഇറങ്ങിയാൽ അതേക്കുറിച്ചു പഠിച്ചുകൊണ്ടേയിരിക്കുക എന്റെ ശീലമാണ്. അഹമ്മദാബാദിൽവച്ചാണു ബിസിനസ് മാനേജുമെന്റു ക്ളാസിൽ ചേർന്നത്.

∙ ബിസിനസ് പഠിച്ചത് അവിടെനിന്നാണല്ലെ.

കച്ചവടം സ്കൂളിൽപോയി പഠിക്കാവുതല്ല. അതൊരു കുട്ടി നടക്കാൻ പഠിക്കുന്നതുപോലെയാണ്. എപ്പോഴാണ് പഠിച്ചതെന്നു പറയാനാകില്ല. ഒാരോ ചുവടുവയ്പ്പും ഒരു പാഠമാണ്. എനിക്ക് എന്നും ചായ തരുന്ന ഈ കുട്ടിയിൽനിന്നുപോലും ഞാൻ എത്രയോ കാര്യങ്ങൾ പഠിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. കണ്ടിട്ടും മനസ്സിലാകാത്തതു ചോദിച്ചു മനസ്സിലാക്കും. അന്നു പോപ്പ്സി എന്ന പുതിയ മുലക്കുപ്പി പുറത്തിറങ്ങി. ഞങ്ങളുടെ കടയുടെ മുന്നിൽ ആ മുലക്കുപ്പിക്കുവേണ്ടി പ്രത്യേത ഡിസ്പ്ളെയൊരുക്കി. അന്നുവരെ കാണാത്തൊരു പരിപാടിയായിരുന്നു അത്. കമ്പനിക്കാർ ഞങ്ങൾക്കു പ്രത്യേക സമ്മാനം നൽകി. പുതിയതായി എന്തെങ്കിലും ചെയ്യണമെന്ന മോഹം അന്നും ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു.

∙ പണ്ടു കച്ചവടം ചെയ്ത സ്ഥലത്തു പിന്നീടു പോയിട്ടുണ്ടോ.

കഴിഞ്ഞ തവണ പ്രവാസി ഭാരതീയ സമ്മാൻ വാങ്ങാനായി അഹമ്മദാബാദിൽ പോയപ്പോൾ ഞാൻ പഴയ തെരുവിലൂടെ നടക്കുകയും കീ ട്രേഡേഴ്സ് എന്ന കട കാണുകയും ചെയ്തു. കച്ചവടമാകെ മാറിയിരിക്കുന്നു. എന്നാലും 46 വർഷം മുൻപുള്ള നിലം അതേ പോലെ നിലനിർത്തിയിരുന്നു. ഞാൻ കടയിൽ കയറി ഇനിയും നിറം മങ്ങാത്ത ആ നിലത്തു കുറച്ചുനേരം നിന്നു. യൂസഫലി ആദ്യമായി വലിയ സ്വപ്നം കണ്ടതു ഈ നിലത്തു ചവിട്ടിനിന്നായിരുന്നു. ആ കട കണ്ടപ്പോൾ എനിക്കു യൗവ്വനം തിരിച്ചു കിട്ടിയതുപോലെ തോന്നി.

∙ അക്കാലത്തു താമസിച്ചിരുന്നത് എവിടെയാണ്.

പാഞ്ച്ക്വ എന്ന സ്ഥലത്തെ ചെറിയൊരു മുറിയിലായിരുന്നു താമസിച്ചിരുന്നത്. എത്രയോ രാത്രികളിൽ ഞാൻ മാനം നോക്കി കിടന്നിട്ടുണ്ടെന്നോ. മനസ്സിൽ ആഗ്രഹങ്ങൾ കുത്തി നിറച്ച കാലമായിരുന്നു അത്. എവിടെയെങ്കിലും എത്തണമെന്ന മോഹം മനസ്സിൽ കിടന്നു തിളയ്ക്കുകയായിരുന്നു.

∙ ഗൾഫിലേക്കുള്ള ആദ്യ യാത്രയിൽ ഒൻപതു രാത്രികൾ കടലിൽ ചിലവഴിച്ചതു ഒാർമ്മയുണ്ടോ.

ഞാൻ ഉറങ്ങിയില്ല എന്നതാണു സത്യം. വാരികകളുടെ രണ്ടുകെട്ട് ഞാൻകൂടെ കൊണ്ടുപോയിരുന്നു.അവ വീണ്ടും വീണ്ടും വായിച്ചു. ബോബനും മോളിയും വായിച്ചാണു ടെൻഷൻ കുറച്ചത്. രാത്രി ഉറങ്ങാതെ ആലോചിച്ചുകൊണ്ടു കിടക്കും. പുതിയ രാജ്യം, പുതിയ ഭാഷ, പുതിയ കച്ചവടം അങ്ങിനെ മനസ്സിൽ പല പേടികളുമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു.

M. A. Yousuf Ali

എം.എ.യൂസഫലി

∙ അബുദാബിയിൽ എത്തിയ ശേഷമോ

നല്ല വെള്ളവും സൗകര്യങ്ങളുമില്ല. കുറച്ചു നേരം മാത്രമെ വൈദ്യുതി കിട്ടൂ. ചൂടു മൂലം പകൽ അധികമാരും പുറത്തിറങ്ങില്ല. കാര്യമായ വ്യവസായങ്ങളുമില്ല. എന്നാലും ഞങ്ങൾ മോശമില്ലാതെ കച്ചവടം ചെയ്തു. പല സാധനങ്ങൾ ഞങ്ങൾ പലരിൽനിന്നു ശേഖരിച്ചു വിൽക്കുന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. എന്തുകൊണ്ട് ഇവ നേരിട്ട് ഇറക്കുമതി ചെയ്തു വിറ്റുകൂടാ എന്നു തോന്നിയ നിമിഷമാണു ലുലുവിന്റെ ജനനം എന്നു പറയാം. അങ്ങിനെ ചിന്തിച്ചില്ലായിരുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ ഒരു സാധാരണ കച്ചവടമായി ഞങ്ങളുടെ കച്ചവടവും മാറിപ്പോയെനെ. ഇറക്കുമതി ചെയ്യുന്ന സാധനങ്ങളുടെ വഴി അന്വേഷിച്ചു പോയതോടെ പുതിയ ലോകം തുറന്നു തുടങ്ങി. അവരും ഞങ്ങളും നേരിട്ടായി കച്ചവടം. പിന്നീടു ഞങ്ങൾ ചെറുകിട കച്ചവടത്തോടൊപ്പം ഇറക്കുമതിക്കാരുമായി വളർന്നു. അങ്ങിനെയാണു ലുലു ചെറിയ കടകളും പിന്നീടു വലിയ കടകളും സൂപ്പർമാർക്കറ്റുകളും ഹൈപ്പർമാർക്കറ്റുകളും മാളുകളും തുടങ്ങിയത്.

∙ അന്നത്തെ ജീവിതം ……

ബ്രദർ, അന്നൊന്നും ജീവിതത്തിൽ ഇത്രയല്ലെ കിട്ടിയുള്ളു എന്നു പറഞ്ഞു സങ്കടപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കാൻ സമയമില്ല. രാത്രി വൈകുംവരെ ജോലി ചെയ്താലെ മുന്നോട്ടു പോകാനാകുമായിരുന്നുള്ളു. രാത്രി വൈകി വന്ന ശേഷം ചൂടുകൊണ്ടു ഉറങ്ങാൻ പറ്റാത്ത രാത്രികളുണ്ട്. പലപ്പോഴും രാത്രി ദേഹത്തും ടെറസിലും വെള്ളമൊഴിച്ചു ആ നനവിൽ കിടന്നുറങ്ങിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. എയർകണ്ടീഷനൊന്നും അന്നു സ്വപ്നം കാണാൻ പോലുമാകില്ല. അതും സ്വപ്നം കണ്ടു കിടന്നിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ ഇവിടെ എത്തുമാകുമായിരുന്നില്ല. നാളെ എന്ത് , നാളെ എന്ത് എന്നാണ് അന്നും ചോദിച്ചിരുന്നത്. ഇന്നും ഒാരോ രാത്രിയും ചോദിക്കുന്നത് അതാണ്.

∙ ഇപ്പോഴും രാത്രി ഉറക്കം കുറവാണോ?

ഞാൻ അഞ്ചു മണിക്കൂറെ ഉറങ്ങൂ. എന്നും മുടങ്ങാതെ യോഗ ചെയ്യും. അഞ്ചുനേരവും നമസ്ക്കരിക്കും. എന്നും എന്റെ ഉമ്മയേയും ബാപ്പയേയും കാരണവന്മാരെയും ഒാർക്കും. കഷ്ടപ്പെടുന്നവർക്കായി പ്രാർഥിക്കും.

∙ യൂസഫലിയൊരു അമ്മക്കുട്ടിയായിരുന്നോ ?

ഉമ്മയാണോ ബാപ്പയാണോ കൂടുതൽ പ്രിയപ്പെട്ടതെന്നു ആർക്കെങ്കിലും പറയാനാകുമോ. ബാപ്പ കച്ചവടത്തിന്റെ തത്രപ്പാടിലായിരുന്നു. വളർത്തിയത് ഉമ്മയും വല്യൂപ്പയുമാണെന്നു പറയാം. കാരുണ്യം, ദയ, നന്മ, സ്നേഹം നല്ല ജീവിതം ഇതെല്ലാം പറഞ്ഞുതന്നത് ഉമ്മയാണ്. ഇല്ല എന്ന് ഉമ്മ ആരോടും പറയില്ല. വിശക്കുന്നവനു മുന്നിൽ ഉമ്മ ഒരിക്കൽപ്പോലും വാതിലടച്ചിട്ടില്ല. അന്ന് എന്റെ ഗ്രാമമായ നാട്ടികയിൽ നല്ല പട്ടിണിയുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. മിക്കവരും പാവപ്പെട്ട മത്സ്യത്തൊഴിലാളികൾ. അഭിമാനത്തിന്റെ പേരിൽ വിശപ്പു മറച്ചുവയ്ക്കാനൊന്നും അറിയാത്തവർ. വിശക്കുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ വിശക്കുന്നു എന്നവർ ആരോടും പറയും.

∙ സുഹൃത്തുക്കളായ കുട്ടികൾ ഭക്ഷണം കഴിക്കാൻ താങ്കളുടെ വീട്ടിൽ എത്തുമായിരുന്നുവെന്നു നാട്ടികയിലെ സഹപാഠികൾ പറഞ്ഞിരുന്നു. …..

അതെ, വിശക്കുന്ന എല്ലാവരോടും വീട്ടിലേക്കു വരാൻ ഉമ്മ പറയുമായിരുന്നു. ജാതിയോ, മതമോ ഒന്നും നോക്കിയല്ല ഇതു ചെയ്തത്. എന്റെ അനുജൻ അഷറഫലിയോടൊപ്പം പഠിക്കുന്ന കാലത്തു ടി.എൻ.പ്രതാപൻ എംഎൽഎ ഞങ്ങളുടെ വീട്ടിൽ വന്നു ഭക്ഷണം കഴിക്കുമായിരുന്നു. മത്സ്യത്തൊഴിലാളിയായ പ്രതാപന്റെ വീട്ടിൽ പലപ്പോഴും ഭക്ഷണം വേണ്ടത്ര ഉണ്ടാകുമായിരുന്നില്ല. ഇതു പ്രതാപൻതന്നെ പറഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്. ഉള്ളതിൽനിന്ന് ഉമ്മ ആർക്കും കൊടുക്കും.

ഉമ്മ മരിച്ചു രണ്ടോ മൂന്നോ ദിവസം കഴിഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ ഒരു സ്ത്രീ വീട്ടിൽവന്നു. അവർ എന്നെ കാണണെന്നു നിർബന്ധം പിടിച്ചു.അവർ വള പണയം വച്ച റസീറ്റ് എന്നെ ഏൽപ്പിക്കാൻ നിർബന്ധം പിടിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. അവരുടെ റസീറ്റിലെ പണം കൊടുക്കാൻ സെക്രട്ടറിയോടു പറഞ്ഞു. പക്ഷെ ആ വയസ്സായ സ്ത്രീ എന്നെ കാണാതെ പോകില്ലെന്നു വാശിപിടിച്ചു. അവർ പറഞ്ഞു, ഇതു മോന്റെ ഉമ്മയുടെ വള പണയം വച്ച റസീറ്റാണ്. എന്റെ മകളുടെ കല്യാണത്തിനു പണമില്ലാതെ വന്നപ്പോൾ സഹായം ചോദിച്ചു ഉമ്മയുടെ അടുത്തു വന്നിരുന്നു. കയ്യിൽ പണമില്ലാതിരുന്നതിനാൽ ഉമ്മ വള ഊരിക്കൊടുത്തു. മോൻ യൂസഫലി വന്നാൽ പണയം എടുക്കാനുള്ള പണം വാങ്ങിത്തരാമെന്നു പറഞ്ഞിരുന്നു. ആ വയസ്സായ സ്ത്രീ പണത്തിനു വന്നതായിരുന്നില്ല. വള തിരിച്ചെടുത്തു ഉമ്മയ്ക്കു കൊടുക്കാനാകാത്ത സങ്കടം സഹിക്കാനാകാതെ വന്നതായിരുന്നു.

അന്നു ഞാൻ പല തവണ ഉമ്മയെ ഒാർത്തു കരഞ്ഞു. എത്രയോ കാലമായി കയ്യിൽ കിടക്കുന്ന പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട വളപോലും ഉമ്മ ഊരിക്കൊടുത്തു. ആഭരണത്തെക്കാൾ തിളക്കം നന്മയ്ക്കുണ്ടെന്നു ഉമ്മയ്ക്ക് അറിയാമായിരുന്നു. പടച്ചോനുമായി കൂടുതൽ കൂടുതൽ അടുപ്പിക്കുന്നത് ഇത്തരം പ്രവർത്തികളാണ്. ഉമ്മ കാണിച്ചതന്ന വഴിയിലാണു ഞാനെന്നും നടന്നിട്ടുള്ളത്. എന്റെ വല്യുപ്പ കാഞ്ചി കുഞ്ഞഹമ്മദാജിയും വല്യുമ്മ കുഞ്ഞുബീവിയുമാണു ഉമ്മയെ കാരുണ്യത്തിന്റെ പാഠം പഠിപ്പിച്ചത്.

∙ ഉമ്മയെ ഒാർത്തല്ലാതെ യൂസഫലി കരയാറുണ്ടോ .

പലരും കഷ്ടപ്പാടുകൾ വിവരിച്ചു എഴുതിയ കത്തുകൾ കാണുമ്പോൾ കരച്ചിൽവരും. രോഗം പിടിപെട്ടവരുടെ ദുരന്തമാ എന്നെ ഏറ്റവും വേദനിപ്പിക്കാറ്. പത്രത്തിൽ ഇത്തരം വാർത്തകൾ വായിക്കുമ്പോഴും ഞാൻ കരയാറുണ്ട്. അവരുടെ വേദനയിൽ എനിക്കു ചെയ്യാവുന്നതു ചെയ്യാറുണ്ട്. എനിക്കുതന്ന സൗഭാഗ്യങ്ങളിലെ പടച്ചോന്റെ കൃപയോർത്തും കരയാറുണ്ട്.

∙ പണം കൊണ്ട് ഒന്നുമാകില്ലെന്നു താങ്കൾ പലപ്പോഴും പ്രസംഗങ്ങളിൽ പറയാറുണ്ട്. പണമുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ മിക്കകാര്യവും നടക്കില്ലെ.

എന്റെ ഉമ്മ അബുദാബിയിൽനിന്നു ദുബായിയിലേക്കുള്ള യാത്രക്കിടയിലാണു വാഹനാപകടത്തിൽ മരിച്ചത്. ഇതേ അപകടത്തിൽ പരുക്കേറ്റു മൂന്നുമാസം വളരെ സൗകര്യങ്ങളുള്ള ഖലീഫ ആശുപത്രിയിൽക്കിടന്നു ബാപ്പയും മരിച്ചു. എന്റെ എല്ലാ സ്വത്തും എഴുതിക്കൊടുത്തും ബാപ്പയെ രക്ഷിക്കാൻ ഞാൻ തയ്യാറായിരുന്നു. പക്ഷെ ഈ സമ്പാദ്യമെല്ലാം സാക്ഷിയായി നിൽക്കെ ബാപ്പ യാത്രയായി. പണത്തിന് എന്തും ചെയ്യാമായിരുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ ബാപ്പയെ രക്ഷിക്കുമായിരുന്നില്ലെ. എന്റെ ബാപ്പയെ തിരിച്ചുതന്നിരുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ അവിടെനിന്നു വെറും കയ്യുമായി മടങ്ങാൻ പോലും യൂസഫലി തയ്യാറായിരുന്നു. എന്റെ വിധിക്കുമുന്നിൽ എന്റെ എല്ലാ സ്വത്തും തലതാഴ്ത്തി നിന്നില്ലെ. പണത്തിനു പരിമിതികളുണ്ട്. അത്യാഹിത വിഭാഗത്തിൽ കിടക്കുന്ന ബാപ്പയുടെ വിവരവും കാത്തു ആശുപത്രിയിൽ നിൽക്കുന്ന ഒാരോ നിമിഷവും യൂസഫലിക്കു നിങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടെന്നു പറയുന്ന പ്രൗഡ പ്രതാപങ്ങൾ ഒന്നുമില്ലായിരുന്നു. നിസ്സഹായനായ ഒരു മനുഷ്യൻ. അവിടെ പണത്തിനു എന്തു സ്ഥാനം.

∙ വല്യുപ്പയാണോ യുസഫലിയുടെ റോൾ മോഡൽ

അല്ല. പ്രവാചകനാണ് എന്റെ റോൾ മോഡൽ. ഒാരോ മനുഷ്യനും എന്തു ചെയ്യണമെന്നു പ്രവാചകൻ പറഞ്ഞുതന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്. വീട്ടിൽ, നാട്ടിൽ അങ്ങിനെ ഒാരോ സ്ഥലത്തും ഉണ്ടാകേണ്ട ജീവിതരീതിയെക്കുറിച്ചുവരെ പറഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്. കച്ചവടം ചെയ്യേണ്ടത് എങ്ങിനെയെന്നു പറഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്. സത്യം സത്യമായതു മാത്രം ചെയ്യാനുള്ള മാർഗ്ഗരേഖയാണു പ്രവാചക വചനങ്ങൾ.

∙ കുട്ടിക്കാലത്തു വളർത്തിയതിൽ വല്യുപ്പയ്ക്കു വലിയ പങ്കില്ലെ.

വല്യുപ്പ മടിയിലിരുത്തി പറഞ്ഞുതന്നെ കാര്യങ്ങളാണു എന്നെ ഇവിടെ എത്തിച്ച ഘടകങ്ങളിലൊന്ന്. എത്ര വലുതായാലും മറ്റുള്ളവർ ചെറുതാണെന്നു നീ കരുതത്. ആരെയെങ്കിലും ചെറുതായി കണ്ടാൽ നിന്റെ തകർച്ചയുടെ തുടക്കമാണെന്നു നീ അറിയുകയെന്നു വല്യുപ്പ എന്നോടു പറഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്. ഇന്നും ഒരാളെയും ഞാൻ ചെറുതായി കാണാറില്ല.

∙ഫോബ്സ് മാഗസിന്റെ കണക്കുപ്രകാരം ലോകത്തിലെ 737 ാമത്തെ കോടീശ്വരൻ, ഇന്ത്യയിലെ നാൽപ്പതാമത്തെ കോടീശ്വരൻ.15,000 കോടി രൂപയുടെ വ്യക്തിഗത സ്വത്ത്, ലുലുവിന്റെ വിറ്റുവരവ് വാർഷിക മാത്രം 36,000 കോടി രൂപ. ഒന്നുമില്ലായ്മയിൽനിന്ന് ഇതെല്ലാമായ എം.എ.യൂസഫലി എന്ന സാധാരണക്കാരനു അഹങ്കരിക്കാൻ തോന്നിയിട്ടില്ലെ.

ഒരിക്കലും ഞാൻ അഹങ്കരിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. കാരണം, ഇതു യുസഫലിയുടെ മാത്രം അധ്വാനംകൊണ്ടും കഴിവുകൊണ്ടും ഉണ്ടായതല്ലല്ലോ. ഞാൻ ഒരോ കൊല്ലവും നോമ്പുതുറക്കുന്നതു അറബ് രാജ്യങ്ങളിലെ ഭരണാധികാരികളോടും രാജകുടുംബാംഗങ്ങളോടുമൊപ്പമാണ്. അവരുടെ മുന്നിൽ ഞാൻ എത്രയോ നിസ്സാരനല്ലെ. അവരെ കാണുന്നതോടെ നമ്മുടെ മനസ്സിലെ അഹങ്കാരം തനിയെ ഇല്ലാതാകില്ലെ. വലിയവരെ നോക്കണം, കാണണം, എന്നാൽ മനസ്സിലാകും നാം ആരാണെന്ന്. കണ്ണാടിയിൽ മാത്രം നോക്കി ജീവിക്കരുത്.

M. A. Yousuf Ali

എം.എ.യൂസഫലി

( യൂസഫലിയുടെ ഒാഫീസ് മുറിയൊരു വിശാലമായ ലോകമാണ്. തൂവെള്ള കസേരകൾ, വിലകൂടിയ ലതർ സോഫകൾ, വിവിധയിടങ്ങളിൽനിന്നു സമ്മാനമായി കിട്ടിയ പ്രൗഢഗംഭീരമായ വസ്തുക്കൾ. രാജ, ഭരണാധികാരികളുടെ വാത്സല്യം നിറഞ്ഞ ചിത്രങ്ങൾ. തേക്കിൽ തീർത്ത തിളങ്ങുന്ന മേശകൾ. അതി മനോഹരമായ വെളിച്ച സംവിധാനം. വാതിൽ തുറക്കുമ്പോൾ അകത്തുനിന്നു പലപ്പോഴും യൂസഫലിയുടെ പൊട്ടിച്ചിരി കേൾക്കാം. ചിലപ്പോഴെങ്കിലും ഒരു ഗ്രാമീണ കൂട്ടായ്മയുടെ ഛായ.)

∙ പലപ്പോഴായി പണം വാങ്ങുകയും താങ്കളുടെ പദ്ധതികളെ എതിർക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്ന രാഷ്ട്രീയ നേതാക്കളോടു ദേഷ്യം തോന്നാറില്ലെ.

എന്തിനു ദേഷ്യപ്പെടണം. അവർ രാഷ്ട്രീയക്കാരാണ്. അവരോടു ദേഷ്യപ്പെട്ടു രാഷ്ട്രീയം കളിക്കണമെങ്കിൽ അതിലും വലിയ രാഷ്ട്രീയം യൂസഫലിക്ക് അറിയണം. എനിക്കു കച്ചവടമല്ലാതെ ഒന്നുമറിയില്ല. അറിയാത്ത കളിക്കുപോയി തോൽക്കുന്നത് എന്തിനാണ്. കാര്യം നടത്താനായി ഒരാൾക്കുപോലും ഞാൻ പണം കൊടുക്കാറുമില്ല.

∙ ഭൂമി നികത്തുന്നതിനെ എതിർക്കുന്ന വി.എസ്.അച്യുതാനന്ദനാണ് തൃശൂരിൽ ഭൂമി നികത്തി നിർമ്മിച്ച ലുലു കൺവൻഷൻ സെന്റർ ഉദ്ഘാടനം ചെയ്തത്. അന്നദ്ദേഹം പറഞ്ഞതു ചേറിൽനിന്നു വിരിഞ്ഞ ചെന്താരമയാണു ലുലു എന്നാണ്. വിഎസ്സിനെപ്പോലുള്ള പിടിവാശിക്കാരനെപ്പോലും കൂടെ നിർത്തി മനസ്സിൽ താരമ വിരിയിച്ചു കൊടുക്കുന്ന മാജിക്ക് എന്താണ്.

വി.എസ്.പിടിവാശിക്കാരനായി എനിക്കുതോന്നിയിട്ടില്ല. ഞാൻ അദ്ദേഹവുമായുള്ള ബന്ധം ഉപയോഗിച്ച് അവിഹിതമായി ഒന്നും ചോദിച്ചിട്ടില്ല, നേടിയിട്ടുമില്ല. അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ രാഷട്രീയ പ്രവർത്തനത്തിന് എന്റെ ആവശ്യമോ സഹായമോ വേണ്ടതാനും. നിയമപരമായി മാത്രമെ ഞാൻ കാര്യങ്ങൾ ചെയ്തിട്ടുള്ളുവെന്നു അദ്ദേഹത്തനറിയാം. ഞാനതു തെളിയിക്കാനും തയ്യാറാണ്. ഭൂമി ഉപയോഗപ്പെടുത്താനുള്ള നിയമം കേരളത്തിലുണ്ട്. അതു പാലിച്ചു ഭൂമി കാർഷികേതര ആവശ്യങ്ങൾക്കു വിനിയോഗിക്കാം. പുറത്തുനിന്നു പലരും പലതും പറയും. അവർക്കു ചോദിക്കാനുള്ളതു ചോദിക്കട്ടെ. യൂസഫലി മറുപടി പറയാം. പക്ഷെ എല്ലാവരോടും മറുപടി പറഞ്ഞു സയമം കളയാൻ യൂസഫലിയില്ല. വി.എസ്.അച്യുതാനന്ദൻ നേരെ വാ, നേരെ പോ എന്ന രീതിയിൽ പെരുമാറുന്ന മനുഷ്യനാണ്. ശരിയായ വഴിയിൽ കാര്യങ്ങൾ ചെയ്തതുകൊണ്ടാണ് എനിക്കു വി.എസ്.അച്യുതാനന്ദനെപ്പോലുളള്ള ഒരാളുടെ മുന്നിൽ ആരുടെയും ശുപാർശയില്ലാതെ ചെന്നു നിൽക്കാനാകുന്നത്. ഈ നേതാക്കളൊന്നും പണം കാണിച്ചു വീഴ്ത്താവുന്നവരാണെന്നു ഞാൻ കരുതുന്നില്ല. അതിന്റെ രീതിയുമല്ല. അവരെല്ലാം നല്ല ബുദ്ധിമാന്മാരും ദിശാബോധമുള്ളവരുമാണ്. അവർക്കു പറയാനുള്ളതു പറയും, അതിൽ എന്റെ തെറ്റുകൾ ഉണ്ടെങ്കിൽ തിരുത്തും. യൂസഫലിക്കു പറയാനുള്ളതു യൂസഫലിയും പറയും. ഇവരെ കൂടെ നിർത്താനായി ഞാൻ ഒന്നും ചെയ്യാറില്ല. ശരിയായ രീതിയിൽ ചെയ്താൽ ആർക്കും നമ്മളോടു എതിർപ്പുണ്ടാകില്ല.

∙ പാർട്ടിക്കകത്തുപോലും വി.എസ്സും പിണറായി വിജയനുമായി ഒരുപോലെ അടുപ്പമുള്ളവർ ഇല്ല. താങ്കൾ പിണറായിയുമായും നല്ല അടുപ്പത്തിലാണല്ലേ.

ഇനി അതിൽപ്പിടിച്ചു കുഴപ്പമുണ്ടാക്കരുത്. പിണറായി വിജയൻ കേരളത്തിന്റെ വികസനത്തെക്കുറിച്ചു നല്ല കാഴ്ചപ്പാടുള്ള ആളാണ്. കേരളത്തിന്റെ വികസനം പലതുംകൊണ്ടും മെല്ലെപ്പോകുന്നതിൽ പിണറായി വിജയൻ അതീവ ദു:ഖിതനാണെന്ന് എനിക്കിറിയാം. അത്തരമൊരു ആകാംഷ ഈ നാടിനെക്കുറിച്ചു ചിന്തിക്കുന്ന ഒരാളുടെ മനസ്സിലെ ഉണ്ടാകൂ. ( നേതാക്കളെയും രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തെയുംകുറിച്ചു യൂസഫലി വളരെ സരസമായി സംസാരിച്ചു. പല നേരമ്പോക്കുകളും പങ്കുവച്ചു. അതിനു മുൻപു സംസാരം റെക്കോർഡ് ചെയ്യുന്ന ഫോൺ ഒാഫാണെന്നു വളരെ സൗമ്യതോടെ ഉറപ്പാക്കി. )

കാറിലിരിക്കവെ യൂസഫലി അബുദാബിയിലെ വലിയ കെട്ടിടങ്ങൾ ഏതാണെന്നു പരിചയപ്പെടുത്തി. അബുദാബിയുടെ ഷോപ്പിങ് ചരിത്രത്തിൽ പുതിയ ചരിത്രമെഴുതിയ ലുലു മുഷ്റിഫ് മാളിനു മുന്നിലൂടെ കാർ കടന്നുപോകുമ്പോൾ അവിടെ കാറുകളുടെ തിരക്കുണ്ടെന്നു സ്വയം ഉറപ്പുവരുത്തി. നൂറുകണക്കിനു കാറുകൾ അകത്തേക്കു കടക്കാനായി കാത്തു നിൽക്കുന്നു. നാൽപതു വർഷം മുൻപു ഈ മരുഭൂമിയിലൂടെ സ്വയം വാഹനമോടിച്ചു പലചരക്കു സാധാനങ്ങൾ കടയിലെത്തിച്ചിരുന്നത് ഈ മനുഷ്യനാണെന്നു വിശ്വസിക്കാൻ പ്രയാസം തോന്നും. കാർ വീടിനോടടുക്കുകയാണ്.

∙ കൊച്ചിയിലെ ദ്വീപായ ബോൾഗാട്ടി പാലസ് യൂസഫലിക്കുവേണ്ടി കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാർ നികത്തുകയായിരുന്നുവെന്നു പറയുന്നുണ്ടല്ലോ.

നിങ്ങളും കേട്ടതു പറയുകയാണ്. ബോൾഗാട്ടി പാലസ് പാട്ടത്തിനു കൊടുക്കാൻ തീരുമാനിക്കുന്നത് എട്ടു വർഷം മുൻപാണ്. അന്നു ഞങ്ങൾക്കു കൊച്ചിയിൽ പ്രോജക്റ്റുമായി വരുന്ന കാര്യം ആലോചിച്ചിട്ടേ ഇല്ല. എട്ടുവർഷത്തിനു ശേഷം പരസ്യമായി ലേലത്തിനുവച്ച ഭൂമിയാണത്. അവിടെ എന്തു ചെയ്യണമെന്നുപോലും പരസ്യ നിബന്ധനയിലുണ്ട്. ലേലത്തിൽ പങ്കെടുക്കുകയും ലുലു അതിൽ വിജയിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. ആ ഭൂമി വിറ്റ് എനിക്കു പണവുമായി നാട്ടികയിലേക്കു പോകാനാകില്ല. സർക്കാരിന്റെ ഉടമസ്ഥതയിലുള്ള ഭൂമിയാണത്. മത്സരിച്ചു ലേലത്തിൽ പിടിച്ചതാണോ യൂസഫലി ചെയ്ത തെറ്റ്. ഭൂമി ലേലം ചെയ്തു കൊടുക്കരുതെന്ന് ആരും പറഞ്ഞില്ലല്ലോ. നിയമ പ്രകാരം ഞങ്ങൾ ആ ഭൂമിയെടുത്തു രാജ്യത്തെ ഏറ്റവും മനോഹരമായ കൺവൻഷൻ സെന്റർ നിർമ്മിക്കുകയാണ്.

∙ ഇത്രയെറെ പ്രശ്നമുണ്ടായ സ്ഥിതിക്കു ഇനിയും കേരളത്തിൽ നിക്ഷേപിക്കുമോ.

ഇടപ്പള്ളി ലുലു സെന്ററിൽ ഞങ്ങൾ നിക്ഷേപിച്ചതു 1600 കോടി രൂപയാണ്. ബോൾഗാട്ടി കൺവൻഷൻ സെന്റർ 60 വർഷം നടത്തിയാൽപ്പോലും ലാഭത്തിലാകില്ലെന്നു മനസ്സിലാക്കാൻ കഴിയുള്ളവരാണു ഞങ്ങൾ. ലുലു സെന്റർ നഷ്ടമാകുമെന്നു പലരും സൂചിപ്പിച്ചിരുന്നു. പക്ഷെ അതു ജനങ്ങൾ ഏറ്റെടുത്തു ആഘോഷമാക്കി. ടൂറിസം രംഗത്തുപോലും പ്രതിഫലനം കണ്ടു. ബോൾഗാട്ടിയിലെ ലുലു വരുന്നതോടെ സിംഗപ്പൂരിലും മറ്റും നടക്കുന്ന രാജ്യാന്തര കൺവൻഷനുകൾ ഞങ്ങൾ കൊച്ചിയിലേക്കു കൊണ്ടുവരും. ഹോട്ടലുകാർക്കും പച്ചക്കറി ഉൽപ്പാദിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ചെറിയ കർഷകർക്കും ടാക്സി ഡ്രൈവർമാർക്കുംവരെ ഇതിന്റെയെല്ലാം നേട്ടം കിട്ടും. ലുലുവിന്റെ കാക്കനാട് ടെക്നോപാർക്കിൽ 11,000 പേർക്കാണു ജോലി സാധ്യത. തൃശൂരിലെ പഞ്ചനക്ഷത്ര ഹോട്ടലിന്റെ പണി തുടങ്ങിക്കഴിഞ്ഞു. കേരളത്തിലെ നിക്ഷേപം ലാഭത്തിന്റെ അടിസ്ഥാനത്തിൽ മാത്രമല്ല. ഇവിടെ നിക്ഷേപിക്കുന്നതിൽ ഞങ്ങൾ അഭിമാനിക്കുന്നു. ലോകത്തോട് ഇതിലൂടെ ഞങ്ങൾ പറയുന്നു, ഇന്ത്യയും കേരളവും നിക്ഷേപ സൗഹൃദ പ്രദേശമാണെന്ന്. ഇത് ഈ രാജ്യത്തോടുള്ള ഞങ്ങളുടെ കടപ്പാടുകൂടിയാണത്. ഏതെങ്കിലും നാലുപേർ ഭീഷണിപ്പെടുത്തിയാലോ, ചീത്ത വിളിച്ചാലോ യൂസഫലി വിരണ്ടുപോകില്ല. നിങ്ങൾ പറയുന്ന കുത്തകകളിൽപ്പെട്ട ആളല്ല ഞാൻ. അധ്വാനിച്ചു വളർന്നൊരു സാധാരണക്കാരനാണ്.

(കാറിന്റെ സീറ്റിൽ യൂസഫലി ശക്തമായി തട്ടി. വാക്കുകളിലെ മൂർച്ച പ്രകടമാണ്. മരുഭൂമിയിൽ യുദ്ധം ജയിച്ചൊരു പോരാളിയുടെ ശബ്ദവും ശക്തിയുമാണിത്. കൊടി കണ്ടാൽ വിരണ്ടുപോകുന്നൊരു ശരാശരി ഗൾഫുകാരന്റെ ശബ്ദമല്ല. അദ്ദേഹം കേരളത്തിലെ നിക്ഷേപങ്ങളുടെ കണക്കുകൾ വിവരിച്ചുകൊണ്ട് ഉറക്കെ സംസാരിച്ചു. )

∙കേരളം എം.എ.യൂസഫലിയെ മനസ്സിലാക്കിയില്ലെന്നു തോന്നുന്നുണ്ടോ.

എനിക്ക് അർഹിക്കുന്നതിലും കൂടുതൽ ആദരവ് ഇവിടത്തെ ഇടതു, വലതു സർക്കാരുകൾ തന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്. എന്റെ കേരളീയർ എന്നെ അതിരുവിട്ടു സ്നേഹിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. മലയാളികളായ 25,000 പേർക്കു നേരിട്ടു ജോലി നൽകാനായതിൽ എനിക്കു സന്തോഷമുണ്ട്. ഒരു പ്യൂണിനുപോലും ജോലി കൊടുക്കാൻ പറ്റാത്തവരാണ് എനിക്കു നേരെ വിരൽ ചൂണ്ടുന്നത്. യൂസഫലിയുടെ ജോലി യൂസഫലി പരമാവധി ചെയ്യാൻ നോക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. തെറ്റുകൾ പറ്റിയാൽ ഏറ്റുപറഞ്ഞു തിരുത്താറുണ്ട്. യൂസഫലിയെ തോൽപ്പിക്കണമെങ്കിൽ നിങ്ങൾ സ്നേഹിച്ചു തോൽപ്പിക്കണം. അതിനു മുന്നിൽ ഞാനെന്നും കീഴടങ്ങിക്കൊടുത്തിട്ടുണ്ട്. എന്റെ നേരെ വിരൽ ചൂണ്ടിയവരോടു പോലും എനിക്കു പരാതിയില്ല. ഒരു ദിവസം അവർ യൂസഫലിയെ തിരിച്ചറിയും.

( നിക്ഷേപത്തേക്കുറിച്ചു പറയുമ്പോൾ അദ്ദേഹത്തിനുള്ളിലെ കച്ചവടക്കാരനാണു സംസാരിക്കുന്നത്. അതിന്റെ തന്റേടവും പ്രകടമാണ്. എന്നാൽ യൂസഫലിയെന്ന വീട്ടുകാരന്റെ സ്വരം ഇതല്ല).

∙ പിതാവും മാതാവും അപകടത്തിൽ മരിച്ചതിന്റെ ഷോക്കിൽനിന്നു കരകയറി ബിസിനസ്സിന്റെ തിരക്കലേക്കു വൈകാതെ തിരിച്ചെത്തിയത് എങ്ങിനെയാണ്.

പ്രാർഥന. പടച്ചോനിൽ അടിയുറച്ച വിശ്വാസം. ചുറ്റും നിൽക്കുന്നവരുടെ സ്നേഹം.

∙ മരിക്കുന്ന ദിവസം യാത്ര പറഞ്ഞത് ഒാർമ്മയുണ്ടോ .

അന്നു ഞാൻ ലണ്ടനിലേക്കു പോകുകായിരുന്നു.കെട്ടിപ്പിടിച്ചപ്പോൾ ഉമ്മ പറഞ്ഞു, നീ വല്ലാതെ അലയരുത്. നിന്റെ തടി നോക്കേണ്ട സമയമായി എന്ന്. ബാപ്പ ചോദിച്ചു, എന്തിനാണു നീ ഇങ്ങനെ അധ്വാനിക്കുന്നതെന്ന്. ഞാൻ ചോദിച്ചു, അഹമ്മദാബാദിലും നാട്ടികയിലും ബാപ്പ അധ്വാനിച്ചതുവച്ചു നോക്കുമ്പോൾ ഇതു വല്ലതുമാണോ എന്ന്. ബാപ്പ എന്റെ തോളിൽ തട്ടി ചിരിച്ചു. കാറിൽ കയറുന്നതിനു മുൻപു ഉമ്മ ഒരിക്കലൂടെ എന്നെ ഉമ്മവച്ചു. അതു പതിവില്ലാത്തതായിരുന്നു.

∙ താങ്കളുടെ പേരക്കുട്ടികൾക്കു വല്യുപ്പയുടെയും വല്യുമ്മയുടെയും സ്നേഹം പൂർണ്ണമായി കിട്ടിയില്ല. അതു നികത്താൻ താങ്കൾക്കു കഴിയുന്നുണ്ടോ.

ഞാനെന്റെ മക്കളോടു പറയും, എന്റെ വല്യുപ്പ എന്നെ ചുമലിലേറ്റിയപ്പോൾ അനുഭവിച്ച ആനന്ദം എന്താണെന്നു ഞാൻ വല്യുപ്പയായപ്പോഴാണു മനസ്സിലായതെന്ന്. ബാപ്പമാർ അനുഭവിക്കുന്നതിലും വലിയ ആനന്ദമാണിത്. എന്നെ പ്രാർഥിക്കാനും പ്രവാചകനിൽ അർപ്പിച്ചു ജീവിക്കാനു പഠിപ്പിച്ചതു വല്യുപ്പയാണ്. സ്നേഹം, കരുണ അങ്ങിനെ പലതും മനസ്സിൽ തെളിയിച്ചതും അദ്ദേഹമാണ്. എന്റെ പേരക്കുട്ടികൾക്കും അതു കൊടുക്കാൻ കഴിയണെ എന്നാണെന്റെ പ്രാർഥന.

M. A. Yousuf Ali

എം.എ.യൂസഫലി

∙ താങ്കളുടെ മക്കളെയും മരുമക്കളെയും നേരിട്ടു ലുലു ഗ്രൂപ്പിന്റെ ബിസിനസ്സിലേക്കു കൊണ്ടുവരാതെ വഴി തിരിച്ചുവിട്ടത് എന്തിനാണ്.

എന്റെ സഹോദരനും കസിൻ ബ്രദേഴ്സുമെല്ലാം ചേർന്ന വലിയൊരു ടീം ഇപ്പോൾ ഉണ്ട്. അവരതു നടത്താൻ പ്രാപ്തരുമാണ്. പുതിയ തലമുറയുടെ ബിസിനസ്സ് പുതിയ തരത്തിലുള്ളതാണ്. അവർ അവരുടെ വഴിക്കു പോകട്ടെ. അവർ സന്തോഷിക്കുന്നതും അതിലാണ്.

∙ഖുർആൻ സൂക്തകങ്ങൾ ഉദ്ധരിച്ചു സംസാരിക്കുന്നതു കേട്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. മത പഠനം കുട്ടിക്കാലത്തു നടത്തിയതാണോ .

കുട്ടിക്കാലത്തു നന്നായി പഠിച്ചിരുന്നു. എന്റെ യാത്രകളിൽ ഞാൻ ഖുർ ആൻ കേൾക്കുകയും വായിക്കുകുയം ചെയ്യും. പണ്ഡിതരുടെ പ്രഭാഷണങ്ങൾ കേൾക്കും. ഖുർആനെക്കുറിച്ചു വരുന്നതെല്ലാം ഞാൻ എടുത്തു സൂക്ഷിച്ചുവയ്ക്കും. കഴിഞ്ഞ ദിവസം മനോരമയിലെ ഒരു വാർത്തയിൽ ഖുർആനിൽനിന്നൊരു ഉദ്ധരണി കണ്ടിരുന്നു. മറ്റു മതങ്ങളുടെ സംരക്ഷണത്തിനും ആദരവിനും ഖുർ ആൻ നൽകുന്ന ശ്രദ്ധയാണ് അതിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നത്. ഞാൻ ചിലരെ ചിലരിൽനിന്നു തടുത്തില്ലായിരുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ മതങ്ങളുടെ കലഹം ഉണ്ടായെനെ എന്നതാണ് അതിന്റെ സത്ത. എല്ലവരുടെയും സന്തോഷത്തിൽ സന്തോഷിക്കുകയും അവരുടെ സങ്കടത്തിൽ സങ്കടപ്പെടുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നവനാണു ഹൃദയമുള്ളവനെന്നു ഖുർആൻ പറയുന്നുണ്ട്. അങ്ങിനെ ഹൃദയമുള്ളവനെ മുഹസിൻ എന്നാണു പറയുന്നത്.

∙ താങ്കൾ മുഹസ്സിനാണോ .

ആകാൻ പരമാവധി ശ്രമിക്കുന്നു. ഒരാൾ എന്നെക്കാൾ നന്നായി കച്ചവടം ചെയ്യുന്നതിലോ സമ്പാദിക്കുന്നതിലെ എനിക്ക് അസൂയയില്ല. മാത്രമല്ല അത്തരക്കാരെ തേടി കണ്ടെത്തി പരിചയപ്പെടാനും അവരിൽനിന്നു നല്ലതു എടുക്കാനും ഞാൻ ശ്രമിക്കാറുണ്ട്. അന്യനോടു അസൂയയില്ലാതെ കച്ചവടം നടത്തുന്നു എന്നതായിരിക്കാം ഞങ്ങളുടെ വിജയത്തിനു ഒരു കാരണം. എനിക്കു റീട്ടെയിൽ കച്ചവടരംഗത്തെ ഭീമന്മാരായ വാൾമാർട്ടിനോടുപോലും അസൂയയില്ല. എന്നെങ്കിലും അതിലും വലിയ ശൃംഘലയായി ലുലു വരണമെന്ന ആഗ്രഹം മാത്രമെയുള്ളു. അത് കൂടുതൽ അധ്വാനിക്കാനുള്ള ശക്തിയായി മാറുമെന്നുമാത്രം.

( വീടിന്റെ വാതിൽ തുറക്കുകയാണ്. സെക്യൂരിറ്റി ഗാൾഡുകളുടെ അകമ്പടിയോടെ പടവുകൾ കയറി. ഇതു യൂസഫലിയുടെ കൊട്ടാരമാണ്. നാൽപതു വർഷം മുൻപു ചൂടുമാറ്റാൻ ബക്കറ്റിലെ വെള്ളം ദേഹത്തൊഴിച്ചുറങ്ങിയ അതേ യൂസഫലിയുട വീട്. നടന്നാൽ അകത്തെത്താൻ ഏറെ സമയമെടുക്കുന്ന മുറികൾ. ഇറക്കുമതി ചെയ്ത പേർഷ്യൻ കാർപ്പറ്റുകൾ. ലക്ഷങ്ങൾ വിലമതിക്കുന്ന ഷാന്റിലിയറുകൾ. ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാഭാഗത്തുനിന്നും ഭരണാധികാരികളും വലിയവരും സമ്മാനിച്ച സമ്മാനങ്ങളുടെ ശേഖരം. പല തരക്കാർക്കുള്ള അതിഥി മുറികൾ. സ്വർണ്ണ നിറത്തിലുള്ള അലങ്കാരത്തോടെയുള്ള തീൻമേശകൾ. ചുമരുകളിൽ തേക്കിന്റെ ഭംഗിയാർന്ന കൊത്തുപണികൾ. പഞ്ചനക്ഷത്ര ഹോട്ടലുകളെപ്പോലും അമ്പരപ്പിക്കുന്ന സൗകര്യങ്ങൾ. നോമ്പുതുറയും നമസ്ക്കാരവും കഴിഞ്ഞു യൂസഫലി മുറിയിലേക്കു വന്നു. അതിഥികളുടെ വലിയ നിരയുണ്ട്. നിരനിരയായി നിന്ന പരിചാരകർ പെട്ടെന്നു പാത്രങ്ങളുടെ അടപ്പു തുറന്നു. വിവിധ രാജ്യങ്ങളിൽനിന്നുള്ള ഭക്ഷണ സാധനങ്ങളുടെ നീണ്ട നിര. യൂസഫലി ഒാരോരുത്തരോടും വിഭവങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ചു വിവരിക്കുന്നു. ചിലരെ നിർബന്ധിക്കുന്നു, വിളമ്പിക്കൊടുക്കുന്നു. നാലു പതിറ്റാണ്ടു മുൻപു നാട്ടികയിലെ വീട്ടിൽ കഞ്ഞി വിളമ്പിവച്ചു മകന്റെ സഹപാഠികളായ കുട്ടികളെ കാത്തിരുന്ന ഉമ്മകൂടി ഈ കാഴ്ച കാണാൻ ഉണ്ടാകണമായിരുന്നു. രാത്രി വളരെ വൈകിയിരിക്കുന്നു. എല്ലാവരും ഇറങ്ങുകയാണ്. യൂസഫലി വീടിനു പുറകിലെ വിശാലമായ പച്ചക്കറി തോട്ടത്തിലേക്കു നടന്നു. അവിടെ നാട്ടിലും വിദേശത്തുമുള്ള പച്ചക്കറികളുടെ സമൃദ്ധി. ഒരു കൈ നീട്ടി അദ്ദേഹം ചെടികളെ തൊട്ടുകൊണ്ടു നടന്നു. )

∙ യോഗ ശീലിച്ചതാണോ ഈ കഠിനാധ്വാനത്തിലും രക്ഷയാകുന്നത്.

അഞ്ചു മണിക്കൂറിൽ കൂടുതൽ ഉറങ്ങാറില്ല. യോഗയിലൂടെയാണു എന്റെ ശരീരത്തിനും മനസ്സിനും വേണ്ട വിശ്രമവും ശക്തിയും കൊടുക്കുന്നത്. നാം ശരീരംകൊണ്ടും മനസ്സുകൊണ്ടും അധ്വാനിക്കുകയാണ്. ഉറങ്ങുമ്പോൾപോലും മനസ്സു ജോലി ചെയ്യുന്നു. ഏതു ജോലിയിലും വിശ്രമം വേണ്ടേ. അതാണു യോഗയിലൂടെ കണ്ടെത്തിയത്. ഈ വിശ്രമത്തിനു ശേഷം കൂടുതൽ നന്നായി മനസ്സും ശരീരവും ജോലി ചെയ്യാറുണ്ട്. മുസ്ലീങ്ങളുടെ നമസ്ക്കാരവും ഇതുപോലെയാണ്. പ്രാർഥനയോടൊപ്പം ശരീരത്തിനും മനസ്സിനും നൽകുന്ന ശ്രദ്ധകൂടി അതിലുണ്ട്.

∙ഗൾഫിലെ രാജ കുടുംബങ്ങളും ഭരണാധികാരികളുമായി താങ്കൾക്കുള്ള അടുപ്പും പ്രസിദ്ധമാണ്. ഗൾഫിലെ രാജകുടുംബങ്ങളുമായി ഉന്നത ബന്ധമുള്ള പത്തു പേരുടെ പട്ടിക വിദേശ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ തയ്യാറാക്കിയപ്പോൾ താങ്കളും അതിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഇതെങ്ങിനെ സാധിച്ചു.

ഗൾഫ് യുദ്ധകാലത്തിനു തൊട്ടുമുൻപാണു അബുദാബിയിൽ പുതിയ ഹൈപ്പർമാർക്കറ്റ് ആസൂത്രണം ചെയ്തത്. കിട്ടിയതല്ലാം പെറുക്കി പലരും നാടുവിടുന്ന കാലമായിരുന്നു അത്. ഞാനും പിന്മാറുമെന്നു പലരും കരുതി. എനിക്കു രണ്ടാമതൊന്നു ആലോചിക്കേണ്ടിവന്നില്ല. ഞാൻ വലിയ പരസ്യത്തോടെ ലുലു തുടങ്ങാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചു. അതറിഞ്ഞ് ഇവിടത്തെ രാഷ്ട്ര പിതാവും യുഎഇയുടെ ആദ്യ പ്രസിഡന്റുമായ ഷെയ്ഖ് സയ്യിദ് ബിൻ സുൽത്താൻ അൽ നഹിയാൻ എന്നെ വിളിപ്പിച്ചു. എന്തുകൊണ്ടാണു രാജ്യം വിടാതെ ഇവിടെ പണമിറക്കുന്നതെന്നു ചോദിച്ചു. ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞു, ‘അങ്ങയുടെ രാജ്യത്തുനിന്നാണ് ഞാനിതെല്ലാമുണ്ടാക്കിയത്. ഈ രാജ്യമൊരു പ്രതിസന്ധി നേരിടുമ്പോൾ അതെല്ലാം കെട്ടിപ്പെറുക്കി എവിടെയെങ്കിലും പോയി സുഖിക്കാൻ എന്നെ മനസാക്ഷി സമ്മതിക്കുന്നില്ല. യുദ്ധം വരുമായിരിക്കും. അപ്പോൾ ഈ രാജ്യവും അങ്ങും നേരിടുന്ന വിധി എന്തോ അതേറ്റുവാങ്ങാൻ ഞാനും തയ്യാറാണ്. ഇവിടെനിന്നു കിട്ടിയതല്ലാതെ എനിക്കു വേറെ ഒന്നുമില്ല. ’ ഞാനിതു പറയുമ്പോൾ ഗൾഫിനെ യുദ്ധം ഉലയ്ക്കാൻ തുടങ്ങിയിരുന്നു. രാഷ്ട്ര പിതാവ് എന്നെ ആലിംഗനം ചെയ്തു. ആ സ്നേഹം അടുത്ത തലമുറയിലേക്കും അദ്ദേഹം കൈമാറി.

∙ ഈ ബന്ധമാണോ കച്ചവടം വലുതാക്കിയത്.

എന്റെ വ്യക്തിപരമായ ആവശ്യത്തിനുവേണ്ടി ഗൾഫിലെ ഒരു രാജകുടുംബത്തെയും ‍ഞാൻ സമീപിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. രാജ്യത്തിനും കേരളത്തിനും വേണ്ടിയാണു അവരുട സഹായം തേടിയിട്ടുള്ളത്. അതെല്ലാം അവർ തരികയും ചെയ്തു. എന്റെ രാജ്യത്തിനുവേണ്ടിയല്ലാതെ ഒരിക്കലും ഞാനാ ബന്ധം ഉപയോഗിക്കുകയുമില്ല.

∙യുദ്ധത്തിനിടയിലും ഇവിടെ നിൽക്കാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചതൊരു വലിയ റിസ്ക് ആയിരുന്നില്ലെ. പ്രാർഥനയിലൂടെയോ മറ്റോ ആണോ ഈ നിർണ്ണായക തീരുമാനമെടുത്തത്.

എന്റെ മനസാക്ഷിക്കു ശരി എന്നു തോന്നുന്നതു ചെയ്തു. അതെ എന്നും ചെയ്തിട്ടുള്ളു. പലതും തെറ്റിക്കാണും. തെറ്റു വരുമ്പോൾ തിരുത്തും. കച്ചവടത്തിൽ എന്നും റിസ്ക്കുകളുണ്ട്. കേരളത്തിൽ ലുലു കൊണ്ടുവരാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചതിനു പുറകിലും റിസ്ക്കുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. കേരളം ഇത്ര വലിയൊരു നിക്ഷേപത്തിനോടു നന്നായി പ്രതികരിക്കുമോ എന്നും സംശയമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. റിസ്ക്കെടുക്കാൻ എനിക്കു പേടിയില്ല. പ്രാർഥനയും കച്ചവടവും രണ്ടും രണ്ടാണ്. പ്രാർഥനയിലൂടെ എന്തെങ്കിലും വെളിപാടു കിട്ടി തീരുമാനമെടുക്കാനുള്ള ദിവ്യത്വമൊന്നും എനിക്കില്ല.

∙ഹിന്ദുക്കൾക്കായി ഗൾഫിൽ ആദ്യമായൊരു ശ്മശാനം ഉണ്ടാക്കാൻ നേതൃത്വം നൽകിയതു താങ്കളാണ്. ഇതിനു പുറകിൽ ………..

വാഹനാപകടത്തിലും മറ്റും മരിക്കുന്നവരുടെ മൃതദേഹം ചിന്നിച്ചിതറിയതു മോർച്ചറികളിൽ പോയി ഞാൻ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. തകർന്നതിനാൽ അതു എംബാം ചെയ്തു നാട്ടിലേക്കു കൊണ്ടുപോകാനാകില്ല. ഏറ്റെടുക്കാനാളില്ലാതെ അതു മോർച്ചറിയിൽ കിടക്കുമായിരുന്നു. അവരുടെ വേണ്ടപ്പെട്ടവരുടെ വേദന എനിക്കു മനസ്സിലാകും.വേണ്ടപ്പെട്ടവരുടെ അന്ത്യകർമ്മങ്ങൾ വേണ്ടതുപോലെ ചെയ്യുക എന്നതു എല്ലാവരുടെയും മനസ്സിലെ ‌ആഗ്രഹമാണ്. ഞാൻ ഇവിടത്തെ ഭരണാധികാരികളോടു സംസാരിച്ചു. അവർ വളരെ ദയാപൂർവ്വം അതിനു അനുമതി തന്നു. അവരോടു ഇക്കാര്യം പറയാനുള്ള നിമിത്തം ഞാനായി എന്നു മാത്രം. എത്രയോ കുടുംബങ്ങളുടെ കണ്ണീരിനുള്ള സമർപ്പണമാണിത്. ഈ നാട്ടിലെ ഭരണാധികാരികൾക്കറിയാമായിരുന്നു ഞാൻ ഈ നാടിനോ നിയമങ്ങൾക്കോ വിശ്വാസങ്ങൾ എതിരാകുന്ന ഒന്നും ആവശ്യപ്പെടില്ല എന്ന്.

∙ അടുത്ത കാലത്തു മനസ്സിനെ വല്ലാതെ തൊട്ട എന്തെങ്കിലും ഒാർക്കാമോ.

ചാവക്കാട്ടുകാരനായ ചിന്നക്കൽ മൊഹസിൻ എന്ന സുഹൃത്ത് അടുത്ത കാലത്തു ഇവിടെ വന്നു. 40 വർഷം മുൻപു ഞാൻ വരുമ്പോൾ അദ്ദേഹം ഇവിടെ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. കുറെക്കാലം കാണുമായിരുന്നു. അദ്ദേഹത്തിനു എന്നെ കാണണം എന്നു പറഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ വീട്ടിലേക്കു ക്ഷണിച്ചു. ഭക്ഷണം കഴിച്ചു പിരിയാൻ നേരത്തു അദ്ദേഹം എന്നെ കെട്ടിപ്പിടിച്ചു കണ്ണിൽ വെള്ളം നിറച്ചുകൊണ്ടു പറഞ്ഞു, ‘യൂസഫ് ഭായ് നിങ്ങൾ പഴയ യൂസഫ്ഭായ്തന്നെയാണ്. എന്റെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ സന്തോഷവും അതാണ്. നിങ്ങൾ കോടീശ്വരനായതല്ല. വണ്ടിയിലേക്കു സാധനങ്ങൾ ചുമന്നു കയറ്റിക്കൊടുക്കുന്ന നിങ്ങളെ ‍ഞാൻ എത്രയോ ദിവസം കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. അന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്ന അതേ മനസ്സുതന്നെയാണു ഇന്നും നിങ്ങളുടേത്. ’

ഇതു കേട്ടപ്പോൾ എന്റെ കണ്ണും നിറഞ്ഞു. പഴയ കാലത്തുള്ളവർ എന്നെ അതേ മനസ്സോടെ കാണുന്നുവെന്നതും ഞാൻ മാറിയിട്ടില്ലെന്നതും വലിയ ബഹുമതിയായി തോന്നി. നമ്മുടെ ജീവിതത്തിൽ ബാക്കിയാകുന്നത് ഇതെല്ലാമാണ്. സമ്പാദ്യംകൊണ്ടുമാത്രം ജീവിതം തീരില്ലല്ലോ. എന്റെ ഉമ്മയിൽനിന്നും കാരണവന്മാരിൽനിന്നും കിട്ടിയ ഈ മനസ്സു കുട്ടികൾക്കും പേരക്കുട്ടികൾക്കും കൊടുക്കാനായാൽ അതായിരിക്കും ഞാൻ കൈമാറുന്ന ഏറ്റവും വലിയ സമ്പാദ്യം. യൂസഫലിക്കു അതിനു കഴിയണെ എന്നു ഞാൻ പ്രാർഥിക്കാറുണ്ട്. കഴിയുമായിരിക്കും.

∙പലപ്പോഴും ഒരു കോർപറേറ്റു മേധാവിക്കു ചേരില്ല എന്നുതോന്നുന്ന തിളങ്ങുന്ന നിറങ്ങളുള്ള ഷർട്ടും മുണ്ടും ധരിച്ചു താങ്കളെ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്.

സഹോദരാ, ഞാൻ കോർപറേറ്റു മേധാവിയല്ല. ഇതിന്റെ ടീം ക്യാപ്റ്റൻ മാത്രമാണ്. ഇത് 34,000 ജീവനക്കാർ ഒരുമിച്ചു നിൽക്കുന്നൊരു ടീമാണ്. എനിക്കു നിറമുള്ള ഷർട്ടുകൾ ഇഷ്ടമാണ്. നാട്ടിലെത്തുമ്പോൾ അത് ഇട്ടു നടക്കും. ഇവിടെ ചില പരിമിതികൾ ഉണ്ടല്ലോ. എന്റെ വസ്ത്രങ്ങൾ ഞാൻ മാത്രമാണു തിരഞ്ഞെടുക്കുക. യാത്രകൾക്കിടയിൽ ചെറുതും വലുതുമായ എല്ലാ കടകളിലും കയറി നോക്കും. ഒാരോ കടയും ഒരു പാഠപുസ്തകമാണ്. വില കൂടിയ ബ്രാൻഡു മാത്രമെ ഇടൂ എന്നില്ല. നാട്ടികയിലെ ഒരു കൊച്ചുകടയിൽ തൂങ്ങിക്കിടക്കുന്ന അവിടുത്തുകാരൻ തയ്ച്ച ഷർട്ടു കണ്ടാലും ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടാൽ വാങ്ങും.

(ലുലു ഗ്രൂപ്പിന്റെ ചീഫ് കമ്മ്യൂണിക്കേഷൻസ് ഒാഫിസർ വി. നന്ദകുമാറിന്റെ കൈകളിലേക്കു ചൂണ്ടി അദ്ദേഹം പറഞ്ഞു, നന്ദു കെട്ടിയിരിക്കുന്ന വാച്ച് ഞാൻ സമ്മാനിച്ചതാണ്. എന്റെ കയ്യിലുള്ള വാച്ചിനെക്കാൾ എത്രയോ വില കൂടിയതാണത്. എന്നെ വില ഒരിക്കലും മോഹിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. )

∙ വസ്ത്ര ധാരണ ശൈലിയിൽ ഭാര്യയ്ക്കു റോളില്ലെ.

ആർക്കുമില്ല. എനിക്ക് എല്ലാ ദിവസവും ടൈ കെട്ടിത്തരുന്നതു ഭാര്യയാണ്. ഇനിയും ടൈ കെട്ടാൻ ഞാൻ പഠിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. ഇടയ്ക്കിടെ പഠിക്കാൻ നോക്കും.

∙ ബിസിനസ്സിലും ഭാര്യയുടെ സാന്നിധ്യം കണ്ടിട്ടില്ല.

എന്റെ ഭാര്യ നല്ല വീട്ടമ്മയാണ്. കുട്ടികളെയും പേരക്കുട്ടികളെയും നോക്കി സുഖമായി ജീവിക്കുന്നു. എന്നെപ്പോലെ ഒരാൾ വൈകീട്ടു വീട്ടിലെത്തുമ്പോൾ വേണ്ടതു മനസമാധാനമാണ്. അതവിടെ ആവോളം ഉണ്ട്. അതിനു കാരണക്കാരി എന്റെ ഭാര്യയാണ്. അങ്ങിനെ പറയുമ്പോൾ ഈ ബിസിനസ് ഗ്രൂപ്പിന്റെ വളർച്ചയിൽ അവർക്കും പങ്കുണ്ട്. കുടുംബത്തിന്റെ കെട്ടുറപ്പും സന്തോഷവുമാണല്ലോ പലപ്പോഴും വിജയങ്ങളിലേക്കു വഴിയൊരുക്കുന്നത്.

∙ ലോകം മുഴുവൻ സഞ്ചരിക്കുന്നതിനിടയിൽ ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ട മൂന്നു സ്ഥലങ്ങൾ പറയാമോ

മക്ക, മദീന, നാട്ടിക. (നാട്ടികക്കാരനായ പ്രൈവറ്റ് സെക്രട്ടറിമാരിൽ ഒരാൾ പതുക്കെ ചിരിച്ചു. ലുലു ഗ്രൂപ്പിൽ നാട്ടികയിലെ 3000 കുടുംബങ്ങളിൽനിന്നുള്ളർ ജോലി ചെയ്യുന്നുണ്ട്. പുതിയവരെ കണ്ടെത്താനുള്ള ഇന്റർവ്യൂകളിലും നാട്ടികയ്ക്കു പ്രത്യേക കൗണ്ടറുണ്ട്. )

∙ഈ യാത്രകൾക്കിടയിൽ എത്രയോ പാർട്ടികളിൽ പങ്കെടുത്തിട്ടുണ്ടാകും. ചെറുപ്പത്തിൽ എങ്ങിനെ മദ്യപിക്കാതെ പിടിച്ചുനിന്നു.

മദ്യം സ്റ്റാറ്റസ് ഉയർത്തുമെന്നു കരുതിയാണു പലരും പാർട്ടിയിലും മറ്റും മദ്യപിക്കുന്നത്. അതു സ്വന്തം വ്യക്തിത്വം വിൽക്കലാണ്. ഏതു സ്ഥലത്തും അവനവനായി നിൽക്കാൻ പറ്റണം. അതൊരു ബിസിനസ് പാഠമാണ്. എന്റെ കുടുംബത്തിലെ ആരും മദ്യപിക്കുന്നതായി കണ്ടിട്ടില്ല. വീട്ടിൽനിന്നു കണ്ടു പഠിക്കാത്തൊരു കാര്യം ജീവിതത്തിൽ ശീലിക്കാനുള്ള സാധ്യത കുറവാണ്.

∙ അച്ഛനമ്മമാരെ ശ്രദ്ധിക്കാതിരിക്കുകയും അവർക്കു പണമയയ്ക്കുകയും ചെയ്യാത്ത ജീവനക്കാരെ ശാസിക്കുന്നതായി കേട്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. ജോലിക്കാരുടെ വ്യക്തി ജീവിതത്തിൽ ഇങ്ങിനെ ഇടപെടാമോ .

എന്റെ കൂടെ ജോലി ചെയ്യുന്ന ആരെയും ഞാൻ ജോലിക്കാരൻ എന്നു വിളിക്കാറില്ല. അവർ എനിക്കു സഹപ്രവർത്തകരാണ്. സ്വാഭാവികമായും അവരുടെ വ്യക്തി ജീവിതം നന്നാകേണ്ടതു ഈ സ്ഥാപനത്തിന്റെ കൂടെ ആവശ്യമാണ്. വീട്ടിലേക്കു പണമയക്കാത്തവരെ ഞാൻ ചീത്ത പറയാറില്ല. അങ്ങിനെ ചെയ്യുന്നുണ്ടെന്നു അച്ഛനമ്മമാർ പറഞ്ഞാൽ ഞാനവരെ വിളിച്ച് ഇന്നുതന്നെ പണമയക്കാൻ പറയും, നിർബന്ധിക്കും. എന്നിട്ടും അനുസരിച്ചില്ലെങ്കിൽ ‍ഞാൻതന്നെ അച്നമ്മമാരുടെ അക്കൗണ്ടിലേക്ക് എന്നാൽ കഴിയുന്ന തുക എല്ലാ മാസവും കൊടുക്കും. ഇതറിയുന്നതോടെ പലരും ഇവിടെ വന്നു കണ്ണീരോടെ തെറ്റു തിരുത്തിയതായി പറയും. ചിലർ ഞാനയച്ച പണം മടക്കിത്തരാൻ നോക്കും. എന്റെ സഹപ്രവർത്തകരുടെ കുടുംബത്തിൽ സമധാനാനമുണ്ടാകേണ്ടത് എല്ലാവരുടെയും ആവശ്യമാണ്. എന്റെ ഒാഫീസിൽ ലക്ഷങ്ങൾ ശമ്പളം വാങ്ങുന്ന ഉയർന്ന പദവിയിലുള്ളവരിൽ ഭൂരിഭാഗവും ഇവിടെ സെയ്ൽമാന്മാരായോ എക്സിക്യൂട്ടീവുകളായോ വന്നവരാണ്. പുറത്തുനിന്നു കൊണ്ടുവന്നവരല്ല. ഇതൊരു കുടുംബമാണ്. പേരക്കുട്ടി വളർന്ന് അച്ഛനും മുത്തഛനുമാകുന്നതുപോലെ.

∙ കേരളത്തിലെ ചെറുപ്പക്കാർക്കു കൂടുതൽ തൊഴിലവസരം കിട്ടാൻ എന്തെങ്കിലും ……

വലിയ നിക്ഷേപമുണ്ടാകണം. ലുലു വലിയ നിക്ഷേപമല്ല. എനിക്കു പരിമിതികളുണ്ട്. പ്രധാനമന്ത്രി നരേന്ദ്ര മോഡി പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ച മെയ്ക്ക് ഇന്ത്യ, ഡിജിറ്റൽ ഇന്ത്യ തുടങ്ങിയ പദ്ധതികളിൽ നിക്ഷേപിക്കുന്നതു രാജ്യത്തെ വൻകിട കോർപറേറ്റുകളും ലോകത്തെ വൻകിടക്കാരുമാണ്. അവരുടെ മനസ്സിൽ ഇപ്പോൾ കേരളം ഇല്ല. അതുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട പരിപാടിയിൽ പ്രസംഗിച്ച 10 വൻകിട കോർപറേറ്റുകളിൽ ആരും കേരളത്തിൽനിന്നുള്ളവരല്ല. അവരുടെ പ്രസംഗത്തിൽ എവിടെയും അവർ കേരളത്തെ പരമാർശിച്ചതുപോലുമില്ല. അവർക്കിപ്പോൾ കേരളത്തിൽ പദ്ധതികളുമില്ല. രാജ്യം മുന്നോട്ടു പോകുമ്പോൾ കേരളം നിന്നിടത്തുതന്നെ നിൽക്കേണ്ടിവരും. അതുണ്ടാകാതിരിക്കമെങ്കിൽ കുത്തക എന്നു വിളിച്ചു അവരെ അധിക്ഷേപിക്കുന്നതു നിർത്തണം. ലോകം മുഴുവൻ അവർ നിക്ഷേപിക്കുമ്പോൾ ഇവിടെയുള്ള വിരലിൽ എണ്ണാവുന്ന ചിലർ എതിർത്തിട്ടു കാര്യമുണ്ടോ. അവർ നിക്ഷേപിക്കാതെ പോകും. അവർക്കൊന്നും നഷ്ടപ്പെടാനില്ല. എതിർക്കുന്നവർ കേരളത്തിലെ ചെറുപ്പക്കരുടെ ഭാവിയാണു തകർക്കുന്നത്. അവർ ഈ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരോടു ചെയ്യുന്നതു കൊടും ക്രൂരതയാണ്. നിക്ഷേപകർക്കു തോന്നണം ഇവിടെ വരണമെന്ന്. അപശബ്ദം കേട്ടാൽ അവർ വരുമോ. അവർക്കു സുരക്ഷിതമായ സ്ഥലമാണു വേണ്ടത്.

∙ കേരളം സുരക്ഷിതമല്ലെ.

കൊച്ചിയിലെ ലുലു ഐടിപാർക്കു പൂർത്തിയായാൽ 11,000 പേർക്കു ജോലി കിട്ടും. ഇതിലും വലിയപാർക്കുകൾ വന്നാൽ കേരളത്തിലെ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരിൽ ലക്ഷക്കണക്കിനു പേർക്കാണു ജോലി കിട്ടുക. അവർക്കു കിട്ടുന്ന കോടിക്കണക്കിനു രൂപയുടെ വിഹിതം ഇവിടെയുള്ള ഒാട്ടോക്കാർക്കും മീൻകച്ചവടക്കാർക്കും പച്ചക്കറി വിൽക്കുന്ന പാവം സ്ത്രീക്കുംവരെ കിട്ടും. കൊച്ചിയിലെക്കാൾ ചതുരശ്ര അടിക്കു 400 രൂപ കുറവാണു ബാംഗ്ളൂരിലെ നിർമ്മാണ ചിലവ്. ജനുവരിക്കു ശേഷം കൊച്ചിയിൽ ബന്ദും ഹർത്താലും സമരവുമായി 14 ദിവസം നിർമ്മാണം നടത്താനായില്ല. പാവപ്പെട്ട ആയിരങ്ങൾക്കു 14 ദിവസത്തെ കൂലി പോയി. അതായതു പകുതി മാസത്തെ ശമ്പളം. സമരം നടത്തിയവർക്കു ഒന്നും നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടില്ല. അവരുടെ കച്ചവടം സുഖമായി നടന്നു എന്നു മാത്രം. ഇരു കയ്യും നീട്ടി സ്വീകരിക്കാൻ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങൾ കാത്തുനിൽക്കെ ആരാണു ഇവിടത്തെ വിവാദങ്ങളിലേക്കു വരിക. റോഡും, കെട്ടിടവും വൈദ്യുതിയുമെല്ലാം ഇവിടെ വിവാദമാണ്. ഇടതു, വലതു സർക്കാരുകൾ നിക്ഷേപത്തെ സഹായിക്കാൻ തയ്യാറാണ്. അതുകൊണ്ടുമാത്രം കാര്യമായില്ലല്ലോ. സഹകരിക്കേണ്ടതു ജനമാണ്.

∙ കേരളത്തിലെ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരുടെ ഭാവി …..

കേരളത്തിലെ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരുടെ കാര്യത്തിൽ എനിക്കു വല്ലാത്ത ആശങ്കയുണ്ട്. കേരളം വിടുന്ന മിടുക്കന്മാർ ലോകത്തിന്റേയും രാജ്യത്തിന്റേയും മറ്റു ഭാഗത്തു പോയി ജോലി ചെയ്തു അവിടെ സ്ഥിരതാമസമാക്കുകയാണ്. പണ്ടത്തെപ്പോലെ കേരളത്തിലേക്കു മടങ്ങുന്നില്ല. അതുകൊണ്ടുതന്നെ അവരുടെ മിടുക്കരായ രണ്ടാം തലമുറ ഇവിടെ ഉണ്ടാകുന്നുമില്ല. 20 വർഷത്തിനുശേഷം ഇവരുടെ അഭാവമാണു എന്നെ പേടിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. വൻകിട കോർപറേറ്റുകളും കേരളത്തിലേക്കു വരണം. അവരെ രാജ്യം ക്ഷണിച്ചുകൊണ്ടുവരുന്ന നിർണ്ണായക സമയമാണിത്. നാം അവർ വരുമ്പോൾ കൊടിയേന്തി സ്വീകരിക്കരുത്. അവർക്ക് ഇവിടെ നിക്ഷേപിക്കണമെന്നു നിർബന്ധമില്ല. നമുക്കാണ് ആവശ്യം. നാം അവരോടും പറയണം, ഇതു എല്ലാംകൊണ്ടും സുന്ദരമായ ഭൂമിയാണെന്ന്. നമുക്കു രാജ്യസ്നേഹത്തിന്റ പതാകയുമായി അവരെ സ്വീകരിക്കാനാകണം. 3000കോടി നിക്ഷേപിക്കാൻ എത്തിയ യുസഫലി ചെറിയ ആൾ മാത്രമാണെന്നു കേരളത്തിലെ സമര ശബ്ദക്കാർ തിരിച്ചറിയണം. വരേണ്ടതു വലിയവരാണ്.

∙ ലുലുവിന്റെ സാന്നിധ്യം …..

ലുലു സെന്റർ വന്നതുകൊണ്ടുമാത്രമുണ്ടായ നേട്ടങ്ങളിലൊന്നു പറയാം. അവിടെ കണ്ട ജൈവപച്ചക്കറികൾ ലോകത്തിന്റെ പല ഭാഗത്തുനിന്നും എത്തിയ പലരുടെയും ശ്രദ്ധ ആകർഷിച്ചു. അവർ കർഷകരുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ടു കയറ്റുമതി തുടങ്ങി. കേരളത്തിലെ ജൈവ പച്ചക്കറികൃഷി കയറ്റുമതിയിൽ 40% വളർച്ചയുണ്ടായി. ഇതിൽ ചെറിയൊരു പങ്കു ലുലുവിനും ഉണ്ട്. ഈ രംഗത്തു കേരളത്തിനു വലിയ സാധ്യതയുണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ കാണാൻ നാം അവസരം കൊടുക്കേണ്ടെ. കേരളം കൃഷി ചെയ്യാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചാൽ മാർക്കറ്റുണ്ട്. അതു നമുക്കൊരുമിച്ചു കണ്ടെത്താം.

∙ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരോടു എന്തു പറയാനുണ്ട് .

നാടിനു വേണ്ടതു നല്ല പഠിപ്പുള്ള ചെറുപ്പക്കാരായ രാഷ്ട്രീയക്കാരെയാണ്. യൂറോപ്പിലെ പല രാജ്യങ്ങളിലും പ്രധാനമന്ത്രിമാരും മന്ത്രിമാരും 50 വയസ്സിൽ താഴെയുള്ളവരാണ്. അവർ നല്ല വിദ്യാഭ്യാസമുള്ളവരുമാണ്. പലരും സാമ്പത്തിക വിദഗ്ധരാണ്. അങ്ങിനെയുള്ള ചെറുപ്പക്കാരെ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിനു വേണം. രാഷ്ട്രീയം ജീവിതമാർഗ്ഗമാകരുത്. പാർട്ടികൾ ലോകത്തെ രാഷ്ട്രീയ പാർട്ടികളിൽ നടക്കുന്ന മാറ്റം മനസ്സിലാക്കണം. പ്രായമായർ ഉപദേശകൻ മാത്രമാകട്ടെ. തീരുമാനിക്കുന്നതു ചെറുപ്പക്കാരാകണം. രാഷ്ട്രീയം പഠിപ്പില്ലാത്തവരുടെയും അക്രമികളുടെയും വേദിയാകരുത്.

(അബുദാബി നഗരമിപ്പോൾ രാത്രിയുടെ ഭംഗിയിലാണ്. വെളിച്ച വിതാനത്തിനിടയിലൂടെ യൂസഫലിയുടെ കാർ നീങ്ങി. ഇവിടെ റമസാൻ മാസത്തിലെ നോമ്പുതുറയുടെ ആഘോഷമാണ്. അതിനിടയിലും രാജ കുടുംബത്തിന്റെ വ്യക്തിപരമായൊരു ചടങ്ങിൽ യൂസഫലി പങ്കെടുക്കും. രാഷ്ട്ര പിതാവും യുഎഇയുടെ ആദ്യ പ്രസിഡന്റുമായ ഷെയ്ഖ് സയ്യിദ് ബിൻ സുൽത്താൻ അൽ നഹിയാന്റെ ഒാർമ്മ ദിനമാണിന്ന്. അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ പേരിലുള്ള പള്ളി അബുദാബിയുടെ സ്വപ്ന സൗധമാണ്. രാജ്യം പഴയ രാഷ്ട്രപിതാവിന്റെ സ്മരണയ്ക്കു വേണ്ടി സമർപ്പിച്ച ആദരം. ലോകത്തെ വിശാലവും മനോഹരവുമായ പ്രാർഥനാലയങ്ങളിലൊന്നും ഇതാണ്. പ്രാർഥനക്കായി പതിനായരക്കണക്കിനാളുകൾ കാത്തുനിൽക്കുന്നു. ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാഭാഗത്തുനിന്നുള്ളവർ, ദേശീയനേതാക്കൾ, സ്ഥാനപതികൾ. പ്രത്യേക വഴിയിലൂടെ യൂസഫലി മുന്നോട്ടു പോയി. രാജ കുടുംബാംഗങ്ങളോടൊപ്പം മുൻ നിരയിൽ അദ്ദേഹത്തിനുള്ള സ്ഥലം ബാക്കിവച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. ഒരു ഇന്ത്യക്കാരന്റെ തല ഉയർന്നുപോകുന്ന നിമിഷം. ഈ പള്ളിയിലെ ഈദു നമസ്ക്കാരത്തിനു അരലക്ഷം പേരാണു പങ്കെടുക്കുക.

രണ്ടു മണിക്കൂറിനു ശേഷം യൂസഫലിയുടെ വിമാനം അബുദാബിക്കു മുകളിലൂടെ പറന്നു. ഖത്തർ രാജകുടുംബത്തിന്റ നോമ്പുതുറക്കു ശേഷമുള്ള വിരുന്നിലെ അതിഥികളിൽ ഒരാൾ യൂസഫലിയാണ്. താഴെ വൈദ്യുത വിളക്കുകളുടെ പ്രഭയിൽ വർണ്ണചിത്രംപോലെ അബുദാബി. എണ്ണയുടെ സമൃദ്ധിയിൽ രാജ്യം വെട്ടിത്തിളങ്ങുകയാണ്. കോടാനുകോടി വൈദ്യുത വിളക്കുകളുടെ പ്രപഞ്ചം. വജ്ര നെക ്ലസ്സുപോലെ താഴെ റോഡുകൾ. വിമാനത്തിന്റെ ചില്ലുജനാലകൾക്കപ്പുറത്തെ ഇരുട്ടിൽ ഇപ്പോൾ നക്ഷത്രങ്ങളേയും ചന്ദ്രനേയും കാണാം. പുതിയ ഷർട്ടിൽനിന്നും വിട്ടുനിന്ന കോടി നൂൽ പൊട്ടിച്ചു കളയുമ്പോൾ യൂസഫലി പറഞ്ഞു, ‘പെരുന്നാളിന് ഉമ്മ എനിക്കു പുതിയ കുപ്പായം എടുത്തുവയ്ക്കുമായിരുന്നു. ’ 

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

Billboards aim to spread understanding of Islam

Billboards aim to spread understanding of Islam

The Islamic Circle of North America paid for three billboards in Tampa Bay, two in Tampa and one in Clearwater, encouraging people to become educated about Islam. [Photo courtesy of Islamic Circle of North America]

The Islamic Circle of North America paid for three billboards in Tampa Bay, two in Tampa and one in Clearwater, encouraging people to become educated about Islam. [Photo courtesy of Islamic Circle of North America]

TAMPA — The timing of the billboards could not have been better.

Over the last month, in three locations around Tampa Bay, the Islamic Circle of North America has plastered its name and message on big blue signs beside this number: 877-WHY-ISLAM.

The signs are part of a larger campaign that has placed 135 billboards alongside highways nationwide, but their appearance here came a critical time for Muslim leaders as they tried to steer the conversation about Islam toward education and tolerance, and away from hate and misinformation.

And since the signs went up, calls to the advocacy group’s information hotline have increased by 300 percent, officials say.

Those dialing 877-WHY-ISLAM ask a whole swath of questions.

What do Muslims think of Jesus?

Do women have rights in the Islamic faith?

And why hasn’t anyone denounced those terrorists?

“While on the phone, we usually just ask them to Google it,” ICNA volunteer and campaign coordinator Ferhan Parvaize said of that last question.

Callers are surprised to find that, in fact, plenty of Muslim leaders have spoken against the attacks in Paris and California, carried out by extremists pledging allegiance to the terror group the Islamic State.

“The main goal is the education piece of it,” Parvaize said. “Because of Islamophobia, we’ve become the talk of the mainstream.”

On Nov. 13, the day of the deadly Paris attacks that killed 130 people, two Pinellas County mosques received threatening voicemails from a caller who said he would firebomb the locations and kill everyone on site. In the weeks that followed, organizations like the Florida Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations fielded hundreds of calls from concerned Muslims who feared for their safety.

In December, two Muslim women reported being targets of possible hate crimes outside mosques in Tampa.

Naeem Baig, ICNA president, said the rhetoric coming from some politicians as the presidential election approaches has only complicated their efforts.

Only six to 10 percent of the calls are negative, ICNA estimated. More than 50,000 people have requested copies of the Quran.

Two of the billboards tower in Tampa, one on E. 40th Street E and another on E. 50th Street. In Pinellas County, the third board stands on U.S. 19 south of 150th Avenue.

Parvaize, the campaign coordinator, worked with the Islamic societies in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to coordinate the billboards.

The idea for the campaign, which focuses more specifically on the prophet Muhammad, began about a year ago, soon after the fatal terrorist attack on the staff of the Parisian satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. It had published a controversial cartoon featuring Muhammad.

In 2016, ICNA plans to focus its educational efforts on informing people about the Quran.

“We are part of this society, we are part of the larger community, and American Muslims are professionals, doctors, athletes, they are all over,” Baig said. “They are part of the American fabric. They add this color, this beauty, to American society and culture.”

Contact Katie Mettler at kmettler@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.

Billboards aim to spread understanding of Islam 01/06/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 1:50pm] 

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

The Biologic Clock of Aging

The Biologic Clock of Aging

 

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Biologic clock of aging (123RF)

What we have learned about the biologic clock of aging goes beyond satisfying the curiosity of how long we are destined to live


In a previous post, “How is Your Biologic Clock Ticking?,” we discussed the two types of biological clocks that govern our daily lives. There are the ones that are present in most cells, whose periodicity is about 12.2 hours. And, there is the one located in the brain that rides herd over them, forcing them to conform to a 12 hour period of wake/sleep, through the action of the hormone melatonin.

Scientists have long suspected that there must be another clock—one that determines not our daily life, but our overall longevity

Scientists have long suspected that there must be another clock—one that determines not our daily life, but our overalllongevity. Where would be a likely location for such a clock? The “obvious” answer would be in our DNA. After all, it is common knowledge that if you selected your parents wisely, you are almost guaranteed to live to the same ripe old age that they did. And, if you maintained a healthier lifestyle than they had, you may even be able to exceed it.

The boomer generation, the post-war wave of kids who grew up having it all (and demanding even more), expect to live the good life as long as biology would allow—and perhaps even more. Scientists, many of them boomers themselves, have been eager to oblige.

 

Telomeres – the chromosome stabilizers

Chromosome with telomeres (in green). (Photo by Joseph M. Raffaele MD, used with his permission)
Chromosome with telomeres (in green). (Photo by Joseph M. Raffaele MD (PhysioAge Medical Group) used with his permission)

TTAGGG. No, this is not a stuttering finger trying to print TAG, neither is it a typo. This is a sequence of thenucleotides thymine, adenine, and guanine (or T, A, G respectively)At both ends of each chromosome this sequence repeats itself about 2500 times, forming caps that keep the structure of the chromosome stable. You can think of it as analogous to the metal cap at the end of a shoelace.

When cells divide, their chromosomes undergo duplication so that each daughter cell gets the full complement of genes of its mother-cell. The only one catch? The telomeres don’t duplicate. This results in the telomeres getting shorter with each cell division. Eventually, when they get short to the point that the stability of the chromosome is compromised, cell division stops. This occurs in order to protect the organism from the metabolic and genetic chaos of unraveled chromosomes.

This explains why every cell can undergo only a certain number of divisions before entering a phase of senescence. With time, senescent cells accumulate mutations and lose most of its normal functions, eventually dying.

Since we are basically the sum of our cells, you can see how the process of telomere shortening translates into life-shortening. Stated differently, telomeres determine our longevity.

Indeed, certain diseases characteristic of aging, such as autoimmune diseases, are associated with truncated telomeres. Cancer incidence also rises with age. But here, the opposite thing happens. The telomeres don’t truncate; they actually elongate due to the activity of an enzyme called telomerase, thus keeping the cancer cell essentially immortal, which is the very essence of cancer.

 

The longevity clock

It appears almost inevitable that telomere length and its rate of shortening would predict longevity, right? Indeed, many studies looked into this tantalizing possibility. Just imagine. If we could control the enzyme that lengthens it, telomerase, we could prolong life, or at the very least avoid the diseases that make aging an unappealing prospect.

Like everything in nature, nothing is as it seems. There are always ‘confounding factors’, or as Donald Rumsfeld of Iraq war infamy might say, “the unknown unknowns.”

The evidence suggesting telomere length as a biomarker of aging in humans is equivocal

The evidence suggesting telomere length as a biomarker of aging in humans is equivocal. Indeed, the correlation between age and the length of telomeres is less than 0.5. More and more, researchers in the field developed a consensus that a single biomarker of aging doesn’t exist. If a biomarker exists at all, it must be multifactorial. That’s where things have stood since the discovery of the telomeres in 1978. [Historical note: Elizabeth BlackburnCarol Greider, and Jack Szostakwere awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.]

 

The Gilgamesh project

An unusual article appeared in the April 8, 2014 issue of the usually dry, “just the facts, ma’m” journal Nature. It describes, in entertaining personal detail, the discovery of a marker of aging that really works. Here’s the story:

Steve Horvath, PhD, ScD, Professor, Human Genetics & Biostatistics, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Steve Horvath, PhD, ScD, Professor, Human Genetics & Biostatistics, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

Three German teenagers, Steve Horvath, his identical twin Markus and their friend Jörg Zimmermann formed ‘the Gilgamesh project’, which involved regular meetings where the three discussed mathematics, physics and philosophy. The inspiration for the name, Horvath says, was the ancient Sumerian epic in which a king of Uruk searches for a plant that can restore youth. Fittingly, talks at their meetings often turned to ideas for how science might extend lifespan. Now, how more nerdy can you get?

The only one who remained faithful to the Gilgamesh project was Horvath. He supplemented his PhD in mathematics with a doctorate in biostatistics. In 2000, this led to a position in the genetics department at UCLA.

Now, an untenured assistant professor cannot undertake such a risky project as discovering a longevity clock, since failure rarely leads to tenure. But in 2006, after working and publishing on other projects, Horvath received tenure. It was now safe for him to embark on the Gilgamesh project again.

 

The astounding discovery

Horvath reasoned that environmental influences play a major role in the rate of our aging

Horvath reasoned that environmental influences play a major role in the rate of our aging. These factors vary widely and can range from hormonal and dietary, to stress, lifestyle and even pollution.

They exert their influence through chemical and structural modifications made to the genome without altering the DNA sequence. The changes are made by adding a methyl group to the nucleotide sequence CpG (C and G are nucleic acid bases cytosine and guanine; the p stands for the phosphate group that connects them).

These methylation reactions are called epigenetic modifications. As cells age, the pattern of epigenetic alterations shifts, and some of the changes seem to mark time. To determine a person’s age, Horvath explored data for hundreds of far-flung positions on DNA from a sample of cells and noted how often those positions are methylated.

It sounds simple until you realize that a typical human genome contains more than 28 million CpG sites. How do you even begin to tackle such an improbable task?

As in many breakthroughs in science, lady luck came to the rescue. Horvath found successwith a simple statistical model, which looked at how many cells in a drop of saliva have DNA methylated at just two particular CpG sites.

The index roughly paralleled participants’ ages with a correlation of 0.85, or 85%, and an average accuracy of about five years. As if this was not incredible enough—such an accurate prediction based on 2 CpG sites only—Horvath looked at even more sites and increased the predictive power of his method. But his manuscripts were rejected, because“they were too good to be true.”

By December 2012, his methylation database spanned 51 types of non-cancerous tissue and cells, plus 20 kinds of cancer. The age estimator had grown to include 353 CpG sites. And the accuracy? An astounding 99.5% (or a correlation of 0.995). Bear in mind that, normally, biomarkers have a correlation of 0.6 -0.7, and the telomere hypothesis had a correlation of less than 0.5.

The clock’s median error was 3.6 years, meaning that it could guess the age of half the donors to within 43 months for a broad selection of tissues. That accuracy improves to 2.7 years for saliva alone, 1.9 years for certain types of white blood cells, and 1.5 years for the brain cortex. The clock shows stem cells removed from embryos to be extremely young and the brains of centenarians to be about 100.

Horvath’s paper was finally published in 2013. It unleashed a veritable avalanche ofconfirmatory studies.

 

Why is it important?

Horvath’s method has many potential applications. Criminal investigators, for example, might find an epigenetic clock handy for establishing the age of a victim or an assailant by analysing any biological residues left behind.

But the most interesting use of the clock will be to detect ‘age acceleration’—discrepancies between a person’s epigenetic and chronological ages, either overall or in one particular part of their body.

Such discrepancies could be signs that something is awry. For instance, analyzing methylation data collected on more than 2,100 men and women aged 40 to 92 as part of the Framingham Heart Study, the researchers concluded that for every five-year increase in age acceleration, the risk of dying from any cause during the study jumped by 15%.

Researchers are also comparing the ages of different tissues from the same individual, in the hope of identifying more accurate, less invasive ways to diagnose disease or gauge the risk of future illness. Last year, Ideker and his collaborators reported that the epigenetic ages of breast, kidney, lung and skin cancers were 40% older, on average, than the patients from which they were removed.

Distortions in epigenetic age seem to parallel other diseases more closely. Horvath saysthat recent work has found that people with HIV who have detectable viral loads appear older, epigenetically, than healthy people or those with HIV who have suppressed the virus.

Another study, not yet published, observes that some tissues show significant age acceleration in morbidly obese people. In the coming months, Horvath will be mining the vast Women’s Health Initiative database for more links. The database includes thousands of methylation profiles gathered as part of this 20-year, 160,000-person study spearheaded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

 

A tour de force

This tour de force was accomplished by analysis of ‘big data’, using statistical methods. The investigator is not even a trained biologist, rather he is a double PhD in math and statistics.

What has been accomplished goes beyond satisfying the curiosity of how long we are destined to live. It promises to develop into a platform that will rapidly decipher the mechanisms of diseases, their environmental causes, and their potential therapy. Three for the price of one. Amazing!

 

70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families to be eligible for Rs 20 lakh under PM’s package

70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families to be eligible for Rs 20 lakh under PM’s package

6,000 families who had sold their property in the Valley after 1997 were not eligible for this incentive.

Nearly 70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families,who migrated from their native places in the wake of militancy since 1989,will now be eligible for Rs 20 lakh each under Prime Minister package for construction or re-construction of their houses in the Valley,irrespective of as to when they have sold their property there.

This followed state cabinet nod to the proposed amendments in the PM package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley. The cabinet met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

 

“The proposed amendments will allow all migrant families who return to Valley avail incentive for construction/reconstruction of houses available under the package irrespective of the fact as to whether they have sold their properties before or after an official spokesman here said.

The package initially had a provision of Rs seven lakh for construction or reconstruction of house to every Kashmiri migrant family who returned to Valley. Recently,this amount was raised to Rs 20 lakh,sources said.

The cabinet also authorized all the Deputy Commissioners in Kashmir Valley to identify government land for setting up of clusters for such families who would construct houses either themselves or through group housing societies. In case of non-availability of government land,the Deputy Commissioners shall identify land for acquisition,it ordered,adding that the land to be acquired for the construction of individual houses or for group housing societies shall be identified at such places where there is no dislocation of the local population.

The revised cost estimates for the acquisition of land and the construction of houses for those migrants who have sold their properties after 1997 shall be worked out and included in the revised package for being sent to the Government of India,the official spokesman said. The state government will approach the Union Government of India for incorporating the land acquisition component in the package and release of funds thereof,he added.

At present,only those migrant families were entitled for this money who still had a property in the Valley,or who had sold it before 1997 when J&K Migrant Immoveable Property (Preservation,Protection and Restraint on Distress Sales) Act came into existence. Nearly 6,000 families who had sold their property in the Valley after 1997 were not eligible for this incentive.

However,no Kashmiri migrant family has so far come forward expressing its willingness to return to the Valley and avail the incentive available under the PM’s package to them,said Vinod Pandit of All Parties Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC). He said that the relief amount was too meager to lure Kashmiri Pandits return and re-settle in Valley permanently.

Ashwani Charangoo of Panun Kashmir said that the migrant community was not prepared to return to the Valley until the fulfillment of its geo-political aspirations which included carving out of an area with Union Territory status for Pandits within the Valley. He also asked the Centre not to accept state government’s revised proposal as in the absence of any takers from migrant community,its functionaries will be only be diverting these funds to fill their own coffers=– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/70-000-kashmiri-pandit-families-to-be-eligible-for-rs-20-lakh-under-pms-package/#sthash.d7r7paUj.dpuf

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

WHAT THE DRONE DOES

01.

THE ASSASSINATION COMPLEX

SECRET MILITARY DOCUMENTS EXPOSE THE INNER WORKINGS OF OBAMA’S DRONE WARS

ARTICLE №1 OF 8THE DRONE PAPERS

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

DRONES ARE A TOOL, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is “near certainty” that the intended target will be eliminated. Those terms, however, appear to have been bluntlyredefined to bear almost no resemblance to their commonly understood meanings.

The first drone strike outside of a declared war zone was conducted more than 12 years ago, yet it was not until May 2013 that the White House released a set of standards and procedures for conducting such strikes. Those guidelines offered little specificity, asserting that the U.S. would only conduct a lethal strike outside of an “area of active hostilities” if a target represents a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” without providing any sense of the internal process used to determine whether a suspect should be killed without being indicted or tried. The implicit message on drone strikes from the Obama administration has been one oftrust, but don’t verify.

Photo: The Intercept

Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 2/13
Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 5/13
Document
OPERATION HAYMAKER
Document
GEOLOCATION-WATCHLIST
The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”

The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Interceptbecause he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.

“We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”

The Pentagon, White House, and Special Operations Command all declined to comment. A Defense Department spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on the details of classified reports.”

The CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operate parallel drone-based assassination programs, and the secret documents should be viewed in the context of an intense internal turf warover which entity should have supremacy in those operations. Two sets of slides focus on the military’s high-value targeting campaign in Somalia and Yemen as it existed between 2011 and 2013, specifically the operations of a secretive unit, Task Force 48-4.

Additional documents on high-value kill/capture operations in Afghanistan buttress previous accounts of how the Obama administration masks the true number of civilians killed in drone strikes by categorizing unidentified people killed in a strike as enemies, even if they were not the intended targets. The slides also paint a picture of a campaign in Afghanistan aimed not only at eliminating al Qaeda and Taliban operatives, but also at taking out members of other local armed groups.

One top-secret document shows how the terror “watchlist” appears in the terminals of personnel conducting drone operations, linking unique codes associated with cellphone SIM cards and handsets to specific individuals in order to geolocate them.

 

A top-secret document shows how the watchlist looks on internal systems used by drone operators.

 

The costs to intelligence gathering when suspected terrorists are killed rather than captured are outlined in the slides pertaining to Yemen and Somalia, which are part of a 2013 study conducted by a Pentagon entity, the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force. The ISR study lamented the limitations of the drone program, arguing for more advanced drones and other surveillance aircraft and the expanded use of naval vessels to extend the reach of surveillance operations necessary for targeted strikes. It also contemplated the establishment of new “politically challenging” airfields and recommended capturing and interrogating more suspected terrorists rather than killing them in drone strikes.

The ISR Task Force at the time was under the control of Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Vickers, a fierce proponent of drone strikes and a legendary paramilitary figure, had long pushed for a significant increase in the military’s use of special operations forces. The ISR Task Force is viewed by key lawmakers as an advocate for more surveillance platforms like drones.

The ISR study also reveals new details about the case of a British citizen, Bilal el-Berjawi, who was stripped of his citizenship before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012. British and American intelligence had Berjawi under surveillance for several years as he traveled back and forth between the U.K. and East Africa, yet did not capture him. Instead, the U.S. hunted him down and killed him in Somalia.

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront.

Read more
FIND, FIX, FINISH
These secret slides help provide historical context to Washington’s ongoing wars, and are especially relevant today as the U.S. military intensifies its drone strikes and covert actions against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Those campaigns, like the ones detailed in these documents, are unconventional wars that employ special operations forces at the tip of the spear.

The “find, fix, finish” doctrine that has fueled America’s post-9/11 borderless war is being refined and institutionalized. Whether through the use of drones, night raids, or new platforms yet to be unleashed, these documents lay bare the normalization of assassination as a central component of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

“The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don’t like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It’s a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war, without having to have the massive ground invasion mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said. “But at this point, they have become so addicted to this machine, to this way of doing business, that it seems like it’s going to become harder and harder to pull them away from it the longer they’re allowed to continue operating in this way.”

The articles in The Drone Papers were produced by a team of reporters and researchers from The Intercept that has spent months analyzing the documents. The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program. This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy. The public has a right to see these documents not only to engage in an informed debate about the future of U.S. wars, both overt and covert, but also to understand the circumstances under which the U.S. government arrogates to itself the right to sentence individuals to death without the established checks and balances of arrest, trial, and appeal.


Among the key revelations in this series:

HOW THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZES TARGETS FOR ASSASSINATION

Read more
KILL CHAIN
It has been widely reported that President Obama directly approves high-value targets for inclusion on the kill list, but the secret ISR study provides new insight into the kill chain, including a detailed chart stretching from electronic and human intelligence gathering all the way to the president’s desk. The same month the ISR study was circulated — May 2013 — Obama signed the policy guidance on the use of force in counterterrorism operations overseas. A senior administration official, who declined to comment on the classified documents, told The Intercept that “those guidelines remain in effect today.”

U.S. intelligence personnel collect information on potential targets, as The Intercept has previously reported, drawn from government watchlists and the work of intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies. At the time of the study, when someone was destined for the kill list, intelligence analysts created a portrait of a suspect and the threat that person posed, pulling it together “in a condensed format known as a ‘baseball card.’” That information was then bundled with operational information and packaged in a “target information folder” to be “staffed up to higher echelons” for action. On average, it took 58 days for the president to sign off on a target, one slide indicates. At that point, U.S. forces had 60 days to carry out the strike. The documents include two case studies that are partially based on information detailed on baseball cards.

The system for creating baseball cards and targeting packages, according to the source, depends largely on intelligence intercepts and a multi-layered system of fallible, human interpretation. “It isn’t a surefire method,” he said. “You’re relying on the fact that you do have all these very powerful machines, capable of collecting extraordinary amounts of data and information,” which can lead personnel involved in targeted killings to believe they have “godlike powers.”

ASSASSINATIONS DEPEND ON UNRELIABLE INTELLIGENCE AND HURT INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

Read more
FIRING BLIND
In undeclared war zones, the U.S. military has become overly reliant on signals intelligence, or SIGINT, to identify and ultimately hunt down and kill people. The documents acknowledge that using metadata from phones and computers, as well as communications intercepts, is an inferior method of finding and finishing targeted people. They described SIGINT capabilities in these unconventional battlefields as “poor” and “limited.” Yet such collection, much of it provided by foreign partners, accounted for more than half the intelligence used to track potential kills in Yemen and Somalia. The ISR study characterized these failings as a technical hindrance to efficient operations, omitting the fact that faulty intelligence has led to the killing of innocent people, includingU.S. citizens, in drone strikes.

The source underscored the unreliability of metadata, most often from phone and computer communications intercepts. These sources of information, identified by so-called selectors such as a phone number or email address, are the primary tools used by the military to find, fix, and finish its targets. “It requires an enormous amount of faith in the technology that you’re using,” the source said. “There’s countless instances where I’ve come across intelligence that was faulty.” This, he said, is a primary factor in the killing of civilians. “It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people. And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time.”

Within the special operations community, the source said, the internal view of the people being hunted by the U.S. for possible death by drone strike is: “They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.” This practice, he said, contributes to “dehumanizing the people before you’ve even encountered the moral question of ‘is this a legitimate kill or not?’”

By the ISR study’s own admission, killing suspected terrorists, even if they are “legitimate” targets, further hampers intelligence gathering. The secret study states bluntly: “Kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available.” A chart shows that special operations actions in the Horn of Africa resulted in captures just 25 percent of the time, indicating a heavy tilt toward lethal strikes.

STRIKES OFTEN KILL MANY MORE THAN THE INTENDED TARGET

Read more
MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH
The White House and Pentagon boast that the targeted killing program is precise and that civilian deaths are minimal. However, documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate. … So it’s a phenomenal gamble.”

THE MILITARY LABELS UNKNOWNPEOPLE IT KILLS AS “ENEMIES KILLED IN ACTION”

Read more
MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH
The documents show that the military designated people it killed in targeted strikes as EKIA — “enemy killed in action” — even if they were not the intended targets of the strike. Unless evidence posthumously emerged to prove the males killed were not terrorists or “unlawful enemy combatants,” EKIA remained their designation, according to the source. That process, he said, “is insane. But we’ve made ourselves comfortable with that. The intelligence community, JSOC, the CIA, and everybody that helps support and prop up these programs, they’re comfortable with that idea.”

The source described official U.S. government statements minimizing the number of civilian casualties inflicted by drone strikes as “exaggerating at best, if not outright lies.”

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TARGETED FOR DRONE STRIKES AND OTHER FINISHING OPERATIONS

Read more
KILL CHAIN
According to one secret slide, as of June 2012, there were 16 people in Yemen whom President Obama had authorized U.S. special operations forces to assassinate. In Somalia, there were four. The statistics contained in the documents appear to refer only to targets approved under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, not CIA operations. In 2012 alone, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were more than 200 people killed in operations in Yemen and between four and eight in Somalia.

HOW GEOGRAPHY SHAPES THE ASSASSINATION CAMPAIGN

Read more
FIRING BLIND
In Afghanistan and Iraq, the pace of U.S. strikes was much quicker than in Yemen and Somalia. This appears due, in large part, to the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were declared war zones, and in Iraq the U.S. was able to launch attacks from bases closer to the targeted people. By contrast, in Somalia and Yemen, undeclared war zones where strikes were justified under tighter restrictions, U.S. attack planners described a serpentine bureaucracy for obtaining approval for assassination. The secret study states that the number of high-value targeting operations in these countries was “significantly lower than previously seen in Iraq and Afghanistan” because of these “constraining factors.”

Even after the president approved a target in Yemen or Somalia, the great distance between drone bases and targets created significant challenges for U.S. forces — a problem referred to in the documents as the “tyranny of distance.” In Iraq, more than 80 percent of “finishing operations” were conducted within 150 kilometers of an air base. In Yemen, the average distance was about 450 kilometers and in Somalia it was more than 1,000 kilometers. On average, one document states, it took the U.S. six years to develop a target in Somalia, but just 8.3 months to kill the target once the president had approved his addition to the kill list.

INCONSISTENCIES WITH WHITE HOUSE STATEMENTS ABOUT TARGETED KILLING

Read more
KILL CHAIN
The White House’s publicly available policy standards state that lethal force will be launched only against targets who pose a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.” In the documents, however, there is only one explicit mention of a specific criterion: that a person “presents a threat to U.S. interest or personnel.” While such a rationale may make sense in the context of a declared war in which U.S. personnel are on the ground in large numbers, such as in Afghanistan, that standard is so vague as to be virtually meaningless in countries like Yemen and Somalia, where very few U.S. personnel operate.

While many of the documents provided to The Intercept contain explicit internal recommendations for improving unconventional U.S. warfare, the source said that what’s implicit is even more significant. The mentality reflected in the documents on the assassination programs is: “This process can work. We can work out the kinks. We can excuse the mistakes. And eventually we will get it down to the point where we don’t have to continuously come back … and explain why a bunch of innocent people got killed.”

The architects of what amounts to a global assassination campaign do not appear concerned with either its enduring impact or its moral implications. “All you have to do is take a look at the world and what it’s become, and the ineptitude of our Congress, the power grab of the executive branch over the past decade,” the source said. “It’s never considered: Is what we’re doing going to ensure the safety of our moral integrity? Of not just our moral integrity, but the lives and humanity of the people that are going to have to live with this the most?”

Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Jeremy Scahilljeremy.scahill@​theintercept.com@jeremyscahill

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

HOW THE DRONES KILL INNOCENTS IN AFGHANISTAN

THE ASSASSINATION COMPLEX

SECRET MILITARY DOCUMENTS EXPOSE THE INNER WORKINGS OF OBAMA’S DRONE WARS

ARTICLE №1 OF 8THE DRONE PAPERS

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

DRONES ARE A TOOL, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is “near certainty” that the intended target will be eliminated. Those terms, however, appear to have been bluntlyredefined to bear almost no resemblance to their commonly understood meanings.

The first drone strike outside of a declared war zone was conducted more than 12 years ago, yet it was not until May 2013 that the White House released a set of standards and procedures for conducting such strikes. Those guidelines offered little specificity, asserting that the U.S. would only conduct a lethal strike outside of an “area of active hostilities” if a target represents a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” without providing any sense of the internal process used to determine whether a suspect should be killed without being indicted or tried. The implicit message on drone strikes from the Obama administration has been one oftrust, but don’t verify.

Photo: The Intercept

Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 2/13
Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 5/13
Document
OPERATION HAYMAKER
Document
GEOLOCATION-WATCHLIST
The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”

The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Interceptbecause he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.

“We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”

The Pentagon, White House, and Special Operations Command all declined to comment. A Defense Department spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on the details of classified reports.”

The CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operate parallel drone-based assassination programs, and the secret documents should be viewed in the context of an intense internal turf warover which entity should have supremacy in those operations. Two sets of slides focus on the military’s high-value targeting campaign in Somalia and Yemen as it existed between 2011 and 2013, specifically the operations of a secretive unit, Task Force 48-4.

Additional documents on high-value kill/capture operations in Afghanistan buttress previous accounts of how the Obama administration masks the true number of civilians killed in drone strikes by categorizing unidentified people killed in a strike as enemies, even if they were not the intended targets. The slides also paint a picture of a campaign in Afghanistan aimed not only at eliminating al Qaeda and Taliban operatives, but also at taking out members of other local armed groups.

One top-secret document shows how the terror “watchlist” appears in the terminals of personnel conducting drone operations, linking unique codes associated with cellphone SIM cards and handsets to specific individuals in order to geolocate them.

 

A top-secret document shows how the watchlist looks on internal systems used by drone operators.

 

The costs to intelligence gathering when suspected terrorists are killed rather than captured are outlined in the slides pertaining to Yemen and Somalia, which are part of a 2013 study conducted by a Pentagon entity, the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force. The ISR study lamented the limitations of the drone program, arguing for more advanced drones and other surveillance aircraft and the expanded use of naval vessels to extend the reach of surveillance operations necessary for targeted strikes. It also contemplated the establishment of new “politically challenging” airfields and recommended capturing and interrogating more suspected terrorists rather than killing them in drone strikes.

The ISR Task Force at the time was under the control of Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Vickers, a fierce proponent of drone strikes and a legendary paramilitary figure, had long pushed for a significant increase in the military’s use of special operations forces. The ISR Task Force is viewed by key lawmakers as an advocate for more surveillance platforms like drones.

The ISR study also reveals new details about the case of a British citizen, Bilal el-Berjawi, who was stripped of his citizenship before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012. British and American intelligence had Berjawi under surveillance for several years as he traveled back and forth between the U.K. and East Africa, yet did not capture him. Instead, the U.S. hunted him down and killed him in Somalia.

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront.

Read more
FIND, FIX, FINISH
These secret slides help provide historical context to Washington’s ongoing wars, and are especially relevant today as the U.S. military intensifies its drone strikes and covert actions against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Those campaigns, like the ones detailed in these documents, are unconventional wars that employ special operations forces at the tip of the spear.

The “find, fix, finish” doctrine that has fueled America’s post-9/11 borderless war is being refined and institutionalized. Whether through the use of drones, night raids, or new platforms yet to be unleashed, these documents lay bare the normalization of assassination as a central component of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

“The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don’t like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It’s a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war, without having to have the massive ground invasion mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said. “But at this point, they have become so addicted to this machine, to this way of doing business, that it seems like it’s going to become harder and harder to pull them away from it the longer they’re allowed to continue operating in this way.”

The articles in The Drone Papers were produced by a team of reporters and researchers from The Intercept that has spent months analyzing the documents. The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program. This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy. The public has a right to see these documents not only to engage in an informed debate about the future of U.S. wars, both overt and covert, but also to understand the circumstances under which the U.S. government arrogates to itself the right to sentence individuals to death without the established checks and balances of arrest, trial, and appeal.


Among the key revelations in this series:

HOW THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZES TARGETS FOR ASSASSINATION

Read more
KILL CHAIN
It has been widely reported that President Obama directly approves high-value targets for inclusion on the kill list, but the secret ISR study provides new insight into the kill chain, including a detailed chart stretching from electronic and human intelligence gathering all the way to the president’s desk. The same month the ISR study was circulated — May 2013 — Obama signed the policy guidance on the use of force in counterterrorism operations overseas. A senior administration official, who declined to comment on the classified documents, told The Intercept that “those guidelines remain in effect today.”

U.S. intelligence personnel collect information on potential targets, as The Intercept has previously reported, drawn from government watchlists and the work of intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies. At the time of the study, when someone was destined for the kill list, intelligence analysts created a portrait of a suspect and the threat that person posed, pulling it together “in a condensed format known as a ‘baseball card.’” That information was then bundled with operational information and packaged in a “target information folder” to be “staffed up to higher echelons” for action. On average, it took 58 days for the president to sign off on a target, one slide indicates. At that point, U.S. forces had 60 days to carry out the strike. The documents include two case studies that are partially based on information detailed on baseball cards.

The system for creating baseball cards and targeting packages, according to the source, depends largely on intelligence intercepts and a multi-layered system of fallible, human interpretation. “It isn’t a surefire method,” he said. “You’re relying on the fact that you do have all these very powerful machines, capable of collecting extraordinary amounts of data and information,” which can lead personnel involved in targeted killings to believe they have “godlike powers.”

ASSASSINATIONS DEPEND ON UNRELIABLE INTELLIGENCE AND HURT INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

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FIRING BLIND
In undeclared war zones, the U.S. military has become overly reliant on signals intelligence, or SIGINT, to identify and ultimately hunt down and kill people. The documents acknowledge that using metadata from phones and computers, as well as communications intercepts, is an inferior method of finding and finishing targeted people. They described SIGINT capabilities in these unconventional battlefields as “poor” and “limited.” Yet such collection, much of it provided by foreign partners, accounted for more than half the intelligence used to track potential kills in Yemen and Somalia. The ISR study characterized these failings as a technical hindrance to efficient operations, omitting the fact that faulty intelligence has led to the killing of innocent people, includingU.S. citizens, in drone strikes.

The source underscored the unreliability of metadata, most often from phone and computer communications intercepts. These sources of information, identified by so-called selectors such as a phone number or email address, are the primary tools used by the military to find, fix, and finish its targets. “It requires an enormous amount of faith in the technology that you’re using,” the source said. “There’s countless instances where I’ve come across intelligence that was faulty.” This, he said, is a primary factor in the killing of civilians. “It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people. And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time.”

Within the special operations community, the source said, the internal view of the people being hunted by the U.S. for possible death by drone strike is: “They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.” This practice, he said, contributes to “dehumanizing the people before you’ve even encountered the moral question of ‘is this a legitimate kill or not?’”

By the ISR study’s own admission, killing suspected terrorists, even if they are “legitimate” targets, further hampers intelligence gathering. The secret study states bluntly: “Kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available.” A chart shows that special operations actions in the Horn of Africa resulted in captures just 25 percent of the time, indicating a heavy tilt toward lethal strikes.

STRIKES OFTEN KILL MANY MORE THAN THE INTENDED TARGET

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MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH
The White House and Pentagon boast that the targeted killing program is precise and that civilian deaths are minimal. However, documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate. … So it’s a phenomenal gamble.”

THE MILITARY LABELS UNKNOWNPEOPLE IT KILLS AS “ENEMIES KILLED IN ACTION”

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MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH
The documents show that the military designated people it killed in targeted strikes as EKIA — “enemy killed in action” — even if they were not the intended targets of the strike. Unless evidence posthumously emerged to prove the males killed were not terrorists or “unlawful enemy combatants,” EKIA remained their designation, according to the source. That process, he said, “is insane. But we’ve made ourselves comfortable with that. The intelligence community, JSOC, the CIA, and everybody that helps support and prop up these programs, they’re comfortable with that idea.”

The source described official U.S. government statements minimizing the number of civilian casualties inflicted by drone strikes as “exaggerating at best, if not outright lies.”

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TARGETED FOR DRONE STRIKES AND OTHER FINISHING OPERATIONS

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KILL CHAIN
According to one secret slide, as of June 2012, there were 16 people in Yemen whom President Obama had authorized U.S. special operations forces to assassinate. In Somalia, there were four. The statistics contained in the documents appear to refer only to targets approved under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, not CIA operations. In 2012 alone, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were more than 200 people killed in operations in Yemen and between four and eight in Somalia.

HOW GEOGRAPHY SHAPES THE ASSASSINATION CAMPAIGN

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FIRING BLIND
In Afghanistan and Iraq, the pace of U.S. strikes was much quicker than in Yemen and Somalia. This appears due, in large part, to the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were declared war zones, and in Iraq the U.S. was able to launch attacks from bases closer to the targeted people. By contrast, in Somalia and Yemen, undeclared war zones where strikes were justified under tighter restrictions, U.S. attack planners described a serpentine bureaucracy for obtaining approval for assassination. The secret study states that the number of high-value targeting operations in these countries was “significantly lower than previously seen in Iraq and Afghanistan” because of these “constraining factors.”

Even after the president approved a target in Yemen or Somalia, the great distance between drone bases and targets created significant challenges for U.S. forces — a problem referred to in the documents as the “tyranny of distance.” In Iraq, more than 80 percent of “finishing operations” were conducted within 150 kilometers of an air base. In Yemen, the average distance was about 450 kilometers and in Somalia it was more than 1,000 kilometers. On average, one document states, it took the U.S. six years to develop a target in Somalia, but just 8.3 months to kill the target once the president had approved his addition to the kill list.

INCONSISTENCIES WITH WHITE HOUSE STATEMENTS ABOUT TARGETED KILLING

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KILL CHAIN
The White House’s publicly available policy standards state that lethal force will be launched only against targets who pose a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.” In the documents, however, there is only one explicit mention of a specific criterion: that a person “presents a threat to U.S. interest or personnel.” While such a rationale may make sense in the context of a declared war in which U.S. personnel are on the ground in large numbers, such as in Afghanistan, that standard is so vague as to be virtually meaningless in countries like Yemen and Somalia, where very few U.S. personnel operate.

While many of the documents provided to The Intercept contain explicit internal recommendations for improving unconventional U.S. warfare, the source said that what’s implicit is even more significant. The mentality reflected in the documents on the assassination programs is: “This process can work. We can work out the kinks. We can excuse the mistakes. And eventually we will get it down to the point where we don’t have to continuously come back … and explain why a bunch of innocent people got killed.”

The architects of what amounts to a global assassination campaign do not appear concerned with either its enduring impact or its moral implications. “All you have to do is take a look at the world and what it’s become, and the ineptitude of our Congress, the power grab of the executive branch over the past decade,” the source said. “It’s never considered: Is what we’re doing going to ensure the safety of our moral integrity? Of not just our moral integrity, but the lives and humanity of the people that are going to have to live with this the most?”

Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Jeremy Scahilljeremy.scahill@​theintercept.com@jeremyscahill

˅  

http://iqsoft.co.in/3xiquvtv.html

BUMBLING IDIOTS KILL INNOCENTS IN AFGHANISTAN

MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES AND STRATEGIC FAILURES IN AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR

ARTICLE №5 OF 8THE DRONE PAPERS

From 2011 to 2013, the most elite forces in the U.S. military, supported by the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community, set out to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that remained hidden among the soaring peaks and plunging valleys of the Hindu Kush, along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan. Dubbed Operation Haymaker, the campaign has been described as a potential model for the future of American warfare: special operations units, partnered with embedded intelligence elements running a network of informants, pinpointing members of violent organizations, then drawing up plans to eliminate those targets from the battlefield, either by capturing or killing them.

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY DOCUMENTS obtained by The Intercept, detailing the purpose and achievements of the Haymaker campaign, indicate that the American forces involved in the operations had, at least on paper, all of the components they needed to succeed. After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, a robust network of intelligence sources — including informants on the ground — had been established in parts of the historically rebellious, geographically imposing provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. The operators leading the campaign included some of the most highly trained military units at the Obama administration’s disposal, and they were supported by the world’s most powerful electronic surveillance agencies, equipped with technology that allowed for unmatched tracking of wanted individuals.

Despite all these advantages, the military’s own analysis demonstrates that the Haymaker campaign was in many respects a failure. The vast majority of those killed in airstrikes were not the direct targets. Nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda’s operations in the region. When contacted by The Intercept with a series of questions regarding the Haymaker missions, the United States Special Operations Command in Afghanistan declined to comment on the grounds that the campaign — though now finished — remains classified.

The secret documents obtained by The Intercept include detailed slides pertaining to Haymaker and other operations in the restive border regions of Afghanistan, including images, names, and affiliations of alleged militants killed or captured as a result of the missions; examples of the intelligence submitted to trigger lethal operations; and a “story board” of a completed drone strike. The targets identified in the slides as killed or detained represent a range of militant groups, including alleged members of the Taliban and al Qaeda — but also local forces with no international terrorism ambitions, groups that took up arms against the U.S after American airstrikes brought the war to their doorsteps.

An additional slide included in the materials charts mission statistics from September 2011 to September 2012 for Task Force 3-10, which was responsible for special operations across Afghanistan, breaking down in rare detail the more than 2,000 missions conducted by elite U.S. forces in the country over the course of a year.

Together, the materials offer an unprecedented glimpse into the kind of killing that has come to define the war on terror, underscoring the inherent limitations, and human cost, of those operations. With the Obama administration publicly committed to continuing campaigns like Haymaker — special operations missions focused on hunting down specific individuals, not only in Afghanistan but in nations around the world — the documents raise profound questions over the legacy of the longest foreign war in American history and its influence on conflicts to come.

 

A village security force commander and coalition special operations forces identify insurgent fighting positions during a daylong firefight in Nuristan province, Afghanistan, April 12, 2012.

 

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

THE FREQUENCY WITH which “targeted killing” operations hit unnamed bystanders is among the more striking takeaways from the Haymaker slides. The documents show that during a five-month stretch of the campaign, nearly nine out of 10 people who died in airstrikes were not the Americans’ direct targets. By February 2013, Haymaker airstrikes had resulted in no more than 35 “jackpots,” a term used to signal the neutralization of a specific targeted individual, while more than 200 people were declared EKIA — “enemy killed in action.”

 

A summary of operations conducted from January 2012 through February 2013 as part of Operation Haymaker, a U.S. military campaign in northeastern Afghanistan aimed at rooting out elements of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

 

In the complex world of remote killing in remote locations, labeling the dead as “enemies” until proven otherwise is commonplace, said an intelligence community source with experience working on high-value targeting missions in Afghanistan, who provided the documents on the Haymaker campaign. The process often depends on assumptions or best guesses in provinces like Kunar or Nuristan, the source said, particularly if the dead include “military-age males,” or MAMs, in military parlance. “If there is no evidence that proves a person killed in a strike was either not a MAM, or was a MAM but not an unlawful enemy combatant, then there is no question,” he said. “They label them EKIA.” In the case of airstrikes in a campaign like Haymaker, the source added, missiles could be fired from a variety of aircraft. “But nine times out of 10 it’s a drone strike.”

The source is deeply suspicious of those airstrikes — the ones ostensibly based on hard evidence and intended to kill specific individuals — which end up taking numerous lives. Certainty about the death of a direct target often requires more than simply waiting for the smoke to clear. Confirming a chosen target was indeed killed can include days of monitoring signals intelligence and communication with sources on the ground, none of which is perfect 100 percent of the time. Firing a missile at a target in a group of people, the source said, requires “an even greater leap of faith” — a leap that he believes often treats physical proximity as evidence.

The documents include slides focused specifically on Haymaker operations from January 2012 to February 2013, distinguishing between raids, described as “enabled” and “combined” operations, and airstrikes, which are described as “kinetic strikes.” In both cases, raids and airstrikes, the source said the target was always an individual person. “Every mission that’s triggered begins as an objective to find one person for whatever reason,” the source said, adding, “Every jackpot is one person off the list.”

According to the documents, raids performed on the ground during Haymaker were far less lethal than airstrikes and led to the capture of scores of individuals. Research by Larry Lewis, formerly a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, supports that conclusion. Lewis spent years studying U.S. operations in Afghanistan, including raids, airstrikes, and jackpots, all with an eye to understanding why civilian casualties happen and how to better prevent them. His contract work for the U.S. military, much of it classified, included a focus on civilian casualties and informed tactical directives issued by the top generals guiding the war. During his years of research, what Lewis uncovered in his examination of U.S. airstrikes, particularly those delivered by machines thought to be the most precise in the Pentagon’s arsenal, was dramatic. He found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than conventional aircraft.

“We assume that they’re surgical but they’re not,” Lewis said in an interview. “Certainly in Afghanistan, in the time frame I looked at, the rate of civilian casualties was significantly higher for unmanned vehicles than it was for manned aircraft airstrikes. And that was a lot higher than raids.”

The limited point of view of the drone’s camera, what Lewis describes as the “soda straw effect,” together with the globally dispersed operational network that supports drone strikes, can lead to mistakes, he argues, including the loss of innocent lives. The materials obtained by The Interceptmake just one explicit mention of civilian casualties, in the Task Force 3-10 mission statistics from September 2011 through September 2012. Thedocument reveals the U.S. conducted more than 1,800 “night ops” at a time when President Hamid Karzai was calling for an end to American involvement in controversial night raids. Of those operations — which resulted in 1,239 targets captured or killed and 709 “associates” of targets captured or killed — the military reported “shots fired” in less than 9 percent of its missions, with a total of 14 civilian casualty “events” for the year.

 

A breakdown of 2011 to 2012 mission statistics for Task Force 3-10, a U.S. special operations task force responsible for missions in Afghanistan at the time.

 

“The 14 civilian casualties is highly suspect,” said the source, who reviewed after-action reports on raids and other operations in Afghanistan. “I know the actual number is much higher,” he added. “But they make the numbers themselves so they can get away with writing off most of the kills as legitimate.”

The Haymaker documents reveal little about whether the deaths reflected in the materials were “legitimate” or not. They do, however, offer an illustrative window into how the killing has been done in the past — and how it may be done in the future.

U.S. Special Operations personnel take cover to avoid flying debris as they prepare to board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a mission in Kunar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2012. The Soldiers were conducting reconnaissance for a future village stability platform, a site Afghan forces and coalition Special Operations Forces will use to live and work with villagers. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clayton Weiss, U.S. Navy/Released)

 

U.S. special operations personnel prepare to board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a mission in Kunar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2012.

 

 

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

THE REQUEST WAS UNAMBIGUOUS.Dated October 30, 2012, and stamped with the seal of the United States Central Command, the title read, “Request for Kinetic Strike Approval.” The “desired results” listed at the top of the documentincluded just three words: “Kill Qari Munib.”

Munib, whose objective name was “Lethal Burwyn,” was described as a Taliban subcommander operating in the Pech district of Kunar province. He allegedly exercised command and control over a specific portion of the organization, was responsible for numerous attacks on both coalition and Afghan security forces, and communicated with Taliban officials in Pakistan. Specifically, the request reported, Munib had been implicated in recent plots to carry out improvised explosives attacks.

 

A 2012 U.S. military request for an airstrike targeting Qari Munib, an alleged Taliban subcommander operating in northeastern Afghanistan.

 

The Americans considered the consequences of taking Munib’s life, including media coverage, possible political fallout, and potential “population blowback.” In all three categories, it was determined that negative repercussions were “unlikely,” and that Munib’s death would “decrease attacks on” coalition and Afghan forces. Going through with the operation, the request asserted, would require a signals intelligence “correlation,” followed by a full motion video lock, visual identification within 24 hours of the strike, and a “low” probability of collateral damage. Two maps were featured in the document intended to seal Munib’s fate, one of which included coordinates of his last known location. In the bottom right hand corner of the document was a bar, numbered one to 10, and fading in color from red to green. It was titled “Confidence Level.” A red triangle sat between the numbers nine and 10.

Less than a week after the briefing was completed, the kill mission was underway. Signals intelligence had been picked up from a compound where Munib was known to sleep, according to a storyboard detailing the operation. Images relayed from the scene revealed the presence of five military-age males in the area. Floating above the site, an MQ-9 Reaper drone, known as “Skyraider,” captured the image of a man dressed in a drab, flowing robe, with a white cap on his head, casting a long shadow in the dirt. According to the storyboard, the image was “correlated” to signals intelligence linked to Munib.

Skyraider loitered above as the man, joined by two others, walked up a ridgeline before heading back into the compound. The figure again emerged from the building. The drone’s camera registered a positive identification. Skyraider “engaged.” A screen grab from the scene shows a cloud of smoke where the individual had been. Task force personnel watched as a group of people collected the target’s remains.

“RESULTS: JP — Pending EKIA, 1 x TOTAL EKIA,” the storyboard reported. An enemy had been killed in action. Confirmation that he was indeed Munib, the jackpot, or JP, was still pending.

 

A storyboard detailing a 2012 U.S. drone strike targeting Qari Munib, an alleged Taliban subcommander.

 

On Friday, November 9, 2012, NATO issued one of its standard updates on missions around the country, including two short lines about an operation carried out the day before in eastern Afghanistan. “An Afghan and coalition security force killed Taliban leader Qari Munib during a security operation in Kunar province Thursday,” the statement read. “Qari Munib was responsible for directing attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and coordinating the movement of weapons and ammunition for the attacks.”

The announcement appeared five days after the drone strike described in the intelligence community storyboard, which made no mention of Afghan forces involved in the operation. Was Munib killed in a unilateral U.S. drone strike, later obfuscated by NATO? Or did the drone strike fail to jackpot, resulting in a subsequent joint operation that succeeded in eliminating him? If so, who was it that Skyraider engaged that day? Whose body parts did the American analysts watch the first responders collect?

Those questions remain unanswered. A more fundamental question suggests itself, however. How did the most powerful military in history come to devote its elite forces and advanced technology to the hunt for a man like Qari Munib — a mid-level Taliban figure in a remote corner of the planet, half a world away from the White House and ground zero in Manhattan, more than 11 years after the September 11 attacks?

 

WHEN THE AMERICANS set out to kill Qari Munib with a drone in 2012, an intelligence document purporting to lay out his bona fides as a target listed local insurgency figures alongside regional actors. In a graphic titled “Link Analysis,” Munib’s name appears under a generic cartoon of an Afghan male, surrounded by six other headshots. Half of them are described as “Salafists,” a conservative faction that has existed in Kunar for decades and, for a period, resisted Taliban presence in the province.

One of the Salafists pictured was Haji Matin, a timber trader from the Korengal Valley. In the early years of the war, one of Matin’s business rivals wrongly fingered him as a militant to the Americans. U.S. forces responded by bombing Matin’s home. While Matin survived, several members of his family were killed. The Americans then appropriated one of his lumberyards as an outpost, thus turning one of the most powerful men in the area into a formidable insurgent leader. The transformation of men like Matin and the Salafists, once locally minded powerbrokers, into anti-U.S. fighters, was hardly unique.

 

A “Link Analysis” purporting to detail alleged Taliban subcommander Qari Munib’s ties to other militant figures.

 

“When viewed from absolutely the wrong metric, the Americans were very successful at hunting people,” said Matt Trevithick, a researcher who in 2014 made more than a dozen unembedded trips to some of Kunar’s most remote areas in an effort to understand the province, and American actions there, through the eyes of its residents. The problem, he said, is that savvy, opportunistic strongmen maneuvered to draw U.S. forces into local conflicts, a dynamic that played out again and again throughout the war. “We knew nothing about who we were shooting at — specifically in Kunar,” Trevithick said. He understands the frustration of conventional U.S. forces who were dropped in places like Kunar. “I don’t blame them,” he said. “They’re put in an impossible situation themselves. But what happens is everyone starts looking like the enemy. And that means you start shooting. And that means people actually do become the enemy.”

In September 2010, nine years after the terrorist attacks in New York City, the U.S. military and coalition forces were working their way through a list of 744 people slated for death or capture in Afghanistan. According to the so-called Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL), provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Kunar, with 44 targets, had the third-highest total in the country. Few of the Kunar targets represented core al Qaeda-linked figures, and many were associated with local groups like the Salafists, whose listed offenses typically included attacks on Western and Afghan government forces in the province. The targets on the 2010 list were prioritized with rankings of one to four, in terms their significance, with one being the most significant. In Kunar, a single target rose to the level of priority one, while more than 80 percent were designated priority three. Seven of the JPEL targets appear in the Haymaker slides, though just three had been linked to al Qaeda. Regardless of their associations, the U.S. ultimately devoted the same resources to picking off locally affiliated militants as it did to the campaign against the group responsible for 9/11.

After nearly a decade of war, thousands of operations, and thousands of deaths, some within the special operations community began to question the quality of the United States’ targets in Afghanistan. “By 2010, guys were going after street thugs,” a former SEAL Team 6 officer told the New York Times recently. “The most highly trained force in the world, chasing after street thugs.” Concerns that the U.S. was devoting tremendous resources to kill off a never-ending stream of nobodies did little to halt the momentum.

Uniformed and civilian cyber and military intelligence specialists monitor Army networks in the Cyber Mission Unit’s Cyber Operations Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. (Photo by Michael L. Lewis)

 

Cyber and military intelligence specialists monitor Army networks in the Cyber Mission Unit’s Cyber Operations Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

 

 

Photo: U.S. Army Cyber Command

THE SECRET DOCUMENTS obtained by The Intercept, which include a slide on “Manhunting Basics,” reflect the combination of U.S. military personnel and spies who have hunted targets along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan for years. According to one of the slides, the Haymaker “functional teams” included the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the NSA, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The Air Force’s uniquely designed 11th Intelligence Squadron also played a role. The Florida-based squadron was reactivated in August 2006 for the express purpose of supporting “find, fix, finish” operations to capture or kill targets through analysis of aerial intelligence.

 

A slide detailing Operation Haymaker’s “functional teams,” which included personnel from a range of U.S. military units and intelligence agencies.

 

The drone operations that supported campaigns like Haymaker also included personnel stationed at Camp Alpha, a secure facility at Bagram populated by teams from the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), as well as contractors manning stations at U.S. bases like Fort Gordon, a lesser-known though crucial node in the war on terror that supports tactical NSA operations abroad from Augusta, Georgia. The hunting and killing operations relied on advanced technology to zero in on targets, including the cellphone geolocation system known as GILGAMESH. As The Intercept reported in 2014, the GILGAMESH system employs a simulated cellphone tower to identify and locate targeted SIM cards.

 

A slide on “Manhunting Basics” takes a lighthearted approach to the core mission of the Haymaker campaign: finding and killing specific individuals.

 

 

ABI = Activity Based Intelligence; F3EA = Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze; HUMINT = Human Intelligence; IMINT = Imagery Intelligence; IPB = Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace; SIGINT = Signals Intelligence; SNA= Social Network Analysis

While signals intelligence and electronic surveillance clearly contributed to Haymaker’s kinetic operations — like the drone strike that targeted Qari Munib — there was evidently more to the missions than advanced technology. Unlike some other arenas in which the war on terror has touched down — Yemen or Somalia, for example — the documents point to the robust presence of U.S. intelligence agencies and human sources on the ground in northeastern Afghanistan. In Nuristan’s Waygal district, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA had “myriad complementary sources,” a slide laying out “targeting criteria” in the district noted, “some of whom may be able to trigger our operations.” A third of the “active targets” in Waygal had “good selectors” — phones the Americans could target in the run-up to a raid or airstrike — and the NSA had “taken on [signals intelligence] development in Waygal, greatly enhancing our understanding of the [signals intelligence] environment.”

 

A slide reporting a robust presence of human intelligence sources (HUMINT or HI) in the district of Waygal, a “historic” al Qaeda sanctuary in northeastern Afghanistan.

 

According to the slide, Waygal, described as a “historic” al Qaeda sanctuary, included more than a half-dozen NAIs, “named areas of interest,” the identification of which was attributed to similarly “historic” levels of human and signals intelligence cultivation, as well as surveillance provided by drones scanning the district. There were “over a dozen active targets” in three villages, the slide said, adding that most of the targets were already on a targeting list, or “easily could be.” “The targets there are not only senior-level Taliban facilitators and hosts, but Arabs themselves,” the slide noted, underscoring the presence of suspected foreign fighters in the district. “Elimination of these targets,” it continued, “will provide demonstrable measures of success.”

The documents indicate that U.S. forces launched just one airstrike as part of the Haymaker campaign in the early months of 2012, killing two people. In May 2012, however, the tempo of operations picked up dramatically, an increase that coincided with a strategic shift in Afghanistan emanating from the White House. As the military’s focus shifted to hunting down specific targets from 2011 to 2012, drone strikes in Afghanistan increased by 72 percent.

Over the course of five months, stretching through the summer of 2012, Haymaker operations included 27 raids and 27 airstrikes. The raids resulted in the capture of 61 people, 13 of them jackpots, the actual targets of the missions. A total of two people were reportedly killed in these ground operations. In the airstrikes, meanwhile, a total of 155 people were killed and labeled as enemies killed in action, according to a table presented in the documents. Just 19 were jackpots. The table does not say whether the jackpots are reflected in the EKIA total. It does, however, appear to present a success rate: the number of jackpots divided by the number of missions. In the case of raids, a figure of 48 percent is presented; for airstrikes it’s 70 percent.

 

A comparison of raids (described as “enabled ops”) and airstrikes (described as “kinetic strikes”) reveals significant differences in the total number of prisoners taken versus individuals killed during an intensified period of Haymaker operations.

 

 

EKIA = Enemy Killed in Action; JP = Jackpot.

The scores of unnamed people killed in the hunt for jackpots, and the intelligence opportunities lost by failing to capture targets alive, do not appear to factor into the calculation. The apparent success rate, in other words, depends solely on killing jackpots, and ignores the strategic — and human — consequences of killing large numbers of bystanders.

While the source conceded there could be scenarios in which women and children killed in an airstrike are labeled as EKIA, in the case of the Haymaker strikes he believed it was “more likely” that the dead included “groups of men or teenaged boys” killed because “the intel says the guy JSOC is going after may be in that group of men.” In the event that a target is identified in such a group, he said, “They’ll go through with the strike.”

The materials also include a chart revealing that airstrikes killed 219 people over a 14-month period in 2012 and 2013, resulting in at least 35 jackpots. The document includes thumbnail images of individuals, representing a range of groups, who were captured or killed during Haymaker — in total 30 men, 24 of them stamped EKIA, five detained, and one wounded in action. The deaths of just over half the individuals were noted in NATO’s press releases or media reports.

 

THE HAYMAKER FILES also point to the psychological impact of living under the constant threat of death from above — an effect human rights workers havedocumented among civilians living in areas populated by militants. A quote attributed to a Taliban detainee identified as “Ahmad,” aka “Objective Brandywine,” features prominently on three of thedocuments. “Hands down, the scariest/most intimidating message for the Taliban, at any level, from fighter to Taliban senior leadership, is anything to do with drones or aerial bombings,” Ahmad purportedly said. “The Taliban has no way to defend against them and they are certain to end in absolute destruction of whatever their target is.”

 

A quote attributed to an alleged Taliban detainee describes the psychological impact of living under the threat of U.S. airstrikes.

 

Still, the documents’ assessment of Haymaker’s effectiveness was frank. A slide detailing the campaign’s “effects” from January 2012 through February 2013 included an assessment of “Objectives & Measures of Effectiveness.” The results were not good. Disruptions in al Qaeda’s view of northeastern Afghanistan as a safe haven and the loss of “key” al Qaeda members and enablers in the region were deemed “marginal.” Meanwhile, a comparison of Haymaker 1.0 (August 2011) with Haymaker 2.0 (February 2013) noted that al Qaeda faced “little to no local opposition” and enjoyed “relatively free movement” to and from Pakistan. Kinetic strikes, the slide reported, “successfully killed one [al Qaeda] target per year,” allowing the organization to “easily” reconstitute.

 

A slide reveals the Haymaker campaign’s limited strategic achievements.

 

By 2013, Haymaker was amassing a significant body count but making little headway against al Qaeda forces in the region. According to the “Success Criteria” slide, “sporadic reporting of concern over [the] viability” of northeastern Afghanistan as a safe haven had been “overshadowed” by the group’s senior leadership discussing the establishment of a “post-2014 sanctuary.” Individuals continued to return to Pakistan to support operations in and outside of Afghanistan, the slide asserted. While “nascent developments in some valleys” indicated that locals were “tiring” of al Qaeda’s efforts to “root out spies as a perceived method to stopping strikes,” the strikes and raids themselves had “succeeded in killing/capturing few [al Qaeda] targets.” As slides detailing its effectiveness noted, Haymaker’s impact on al Qaeda and Taliban enablers in Kunar and Nuristan was “considered temporary without a long-term, persistent campaign.”

 

A wounded Afghan boy receives treatment at a hospital in Kunar province on Feb. 13, 2013, after a NATO airstrike killed 10 civilians.

 

 

Photo: Namatullah Karyab/AFP/Getty Images

 

ON FEBRUARY 18, 2013, while Haymaker was still underway, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree: Afghan military forces were barred from calling in U.S. airstrikes for support on missions. The order followed an operation in Kunar in which NATO and Afghan forces were blamed for the deaths of 10 civilians — including one man, four women, and five children. In 2012, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan had documented a number of other incidents involving civilian deaths resulting from U.S. operations, including a raid that left seven civilians dead, an “aerial attack” that killed seven children and one adult, and a drone strike targeting “two insurgents” that killed a teenage girl.

The most recent date included in the Haymaker materials is February 28, 2013. Whether the date marked the end of the campaign is unclear. What does seem clear, however, is that Haymaker coincided with an increase in drone strikes and civilian casualties across Afghanistan. By the end of 2013, the U.N. reported the number of civilian casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan had tripled from 2012, with “almost one-third of the civilian deaths from aerial operations” reported in Kunar, the heart of the Haymaker campaign. Records of condolence payments disbursed by the U.S. military, obtained by The Intercept, show more than $118,000 distributed in 45 disbursements to Kunar in fiscal years 2011 through 2013. In addition to numerous injuries, the payments also cover the deaths of 27 people, including at least four children. The records do not indicate whether the incidents were linked to the Haymaker campaign or whether they were the result of mistaken ground raids or airstrikes.

Until recently, the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan had largely receded from public conversations in the U.S. This month, an American airstrike on a hospital run by the international organization Médecins Sans Frontières, offered a forceful reminder that the war, despite the Obama administration’s declaration in 2014, is far from over. Unleashed in the early morning hours of October 3, in the province of Kunduz, the U.S. attack killed at least a dozen members of the humanitarian group’s medical staff and 10 patients, including three children. A nurse on the scene recalled seeing six victims in the intensive care unit ablaze in their beds. “There are no words for how terrible it was,” the nurse said. MSF denounced the strike as a war crime and demanded an independent investigation.

The Kunduz attack underscored an ugly reality: After nearly a decade and a half of war, more than 2,300 American lives lost, and an estimated 26,000 Afghan civilians killed, the nature of combat in Afghanistan is entering a new, potentially bloodier, phase. In August, the United Nations reportedthat civilian casualties in Afghanistan “are projected to equal or exceed the record high numbers documented last year.” While most civilian casualties in the first half of 2015 were attributed to “anti-government” forces, 27 deaths and 22 injuries were attributed to airstrikes “by international military forces,” a 23 percent increase over last year, most of them, unlike the air raid in Kunduz, carried out by drones.

Despite the rise in civilian casualties and the well-documented failure of drone strikes to achieve the military’s broader objectives, there is every indication that unmanned airstrikes will play an increasing role in U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan, as they have in war zones across the world. Less than two weeks after the U.N. issued its report, Foreign Policyrevealed that JSOC has drastically reduced the number of night raids it conducts in Afghanistan, while dramatically increasing its reliance on airstrikes, and is currently “on pace to double the rate at which it kills ‘high-value individuals’ using kinetic strikes, compared to how many it was killing that way five years ago.”

Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan remains an active area of focus for the remaining U.S. special operations forces in the country. The Pech Valley, once a hotspot during the Haymaker campaign, continues to host a constellation of armed groups. Al Qaeda, the organization used to justify both the invasion of Afghanistan and the Haymaker campaign, reportedly enjoys a more pronounced presence in the valley than ever. “The al Qaeda presence there now,” according to a report by the United States Institute for Peace, “is larger than when U.S. counterterrorism forces arrived in 2002.”

With JSOC and the CIA running a new drone war in Iraq and Syria, much of Haymaker’s strategic legacy lives on. Such campaigns, with their tenuous strategic impacts and significant death tolls, should serve as a reminder of the dangers fallible lethal systems pose, the intelligence community source said. “This isn’t to say that the drone program is a complete wash and it’s never once succeeded in carrying out its stated purpose,” he pointed out. “It certainly has.” But even the operations military commanders would point to as successes, he argued, can have unseen impacts, particularly in the remote communities where U.S. missiles so often rain down. “I would like to think that what we were doing was in some way trying to help Afghans,” the source explained, but the notion “that what we were part of was actually defending the homeland or in any way to the benefit of the American public” evaporated long ago. “There’s no illusion of that that exists in Afghanistan,” he said. “It hasn’t existed for many years.”

Top Photo: Ed Darack/Getty Images

Additional reporting:  Jeremy Scahill Research:  Margot Williams

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Ryan Devereauxryan.devereaux@​theintercept.com@rdevro

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Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people.

The long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee andunyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant to learn of this surveillance:

 

 

In January 2014, I debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking. “Spying is a matter of fact,” he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported, Hoekstra “laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information” — referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, “Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans.”

But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime of spying on him and his friends.

This pattern — whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on — is one that has repeated itself over and over. It has been seen many times as part of the Snowden revelations, but also well before that.

In 2005, the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration ordered the NSA to spy on the telephone calls of Americans without the warrants required by law, and the paper ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for doing so. The politician who did more than anyone to suffocate that scandal and ensure there were no consequences was then-Congresswoman Jane Harman, the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee.

 

Jane Harman

 

Former Congresswoman Jane Harman, D-Calif., in 2010.

 

 

Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke/AP

In the wake of that NSA scandal, Harman went on every TV show she could find and categorically defended Bush’s warrantless NSA program as “both legal and necessary,” as well as “essential to U.S. national security.” Worse, she railed against the“despicable” whistleblower (Thomas Tamm) who disclosed this crime and even suggested that thenewspaper that reported it should have been criminally investigated (but not, of course, the lawbreaking government officials who ordered the spying). Because she was the leading House Democrat on the issue of the NSA, her steadfast support for the Bush/Cheney secret warrantless surveillance program and the NSA generally created the impression that support for this program was bipartisan.

 

But in 2009 — a mere four years later — Jane Harman did a 180-degree reversal. That’s because it was revealed that her own private conversations had been eavesdropped on by the NSA. Specifically, CQ’s Jeff Stein reported that an NSA wiretap caught Harman “telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage charges against two officials of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in exchange for the agent’s agreement to lobby Nancy Pelosi to name Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee.” Harman vehemently denied that she sought this quid pro quo, but she was so furious that she herself(rather than just ordinary citizens) had been eavesdropped on by the NSA that — just like Pete Hoekstra did yesterday — she transformed overnight into an aggressive and eloquent defender of privacy rights, and demanded investigations of the spying agency that for so long she had defended:

 I call it an abuse of power in the letter I wrote [Attorney General Eric Holder] this morning. … I’m just very disappointed that my country — I’m an American citizen just like you are — could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years. I’m one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back. I’m thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they’re innocent Americans.

The stalwart defender of NSA spying learned that her own conversations had been monitored and she instantly began sounding like an ACLU lawyer, or Edward Snowden. Isn’t that amazing?

The same thing happened when Dianne Feinstein — one of the few members of Congress who could compete with Hoekstra and Harman for the title of Most Subservient Defender of the Intelligence Community (“I can honestly say I don’t know a bigger booster of the CIA than Senator Feinstein,” said her colleague Sen. Martin Heinrich) — learned in 2014 that she and her torture-investigating Senate Committee had been spied on by the CIA. Feinstein — who, until then, had never met an NSA mass surveillance program she didn’t adore — was utterly filled with rage over this discovery, arguing that “the CIA’s search of the staff’s computers might well have violated … the Fourth Amendment.” The Fourth Amendment!She further pronounced that she had “grave concerns” that the CIA snooping may also have “violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”

During the Snowden reporting, it was common to see foreign governments react with indifference — until they learned that they themselves, rather than just their unnotable subjects, were subject to spying. The first reports we did in both Germany and Brazil were about mass surveillance aimed at hundreds of millions of innocent people in those countries’ populations, and both the Merkel and Rousseff governments reacted with the most cursory, vacant objections: It was obvious they really couldn’t have cared less. But when both leaders discovered that they had been personallytargeted, that was when real outrage poured forth, and serious damage to diplomatic relations with the U.S. was inflicted.

So now, with yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle oflarge numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for, and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Now they’ve learned that they themselves, or the officials of the foreign country they most love, have been caught up in this surveillance dragnet, and they can hardly contain their indignation. Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy, rather than just yours, that is invaded.

What happened to all the dismissive lectures about how if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide? Is that still applicable? Or is it that these members of the U.S. Congress who conspired with Netanyahu and AIPAC over how to sabotage the U.S. government’s Iran Deal feel they did do something wrong and are angry about having been monitored for that reason?

I’ve always argued that on the spectrum of spying stories, revelations about targeting foreign leaders is the least important, since that is the most justifiable type of espionage. Whether the U.S. should be surveilling the private conversations of officials of allied democracies is certainly worth debating, but, as I argued in my 2014 book, those “revelations … are less significant than the agency’s warrantless mass surveillance of whole populations” since “countries have spied on heads of state for centuries, including allies.”

But here, the NSA did not merely listen to the conversations of Netanyahu and his top aides, but also members of the U.S. Congress as they spoke with him. And not for the first time: “In one previously undisclosed episode, the NSA tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant,” the New York Times reported in 2009.

The NSA justifies such warrantless eavesdropping on Americans as “incidental collection.” That is the term used when it spies on the conversations of American citizens without warrants, but claims those Americans weren’t “targeted,” but rather just so happened to be speaking to one of the agency’s foreign targets (warrants are needed only to target U.S. persons, not foreign nationals outside of the U.S.).

This claim of “incidental collection” has always been deceitful, designed to mask the fact that the NSA does indeed frequently spy on the conversations of American citizens without warrants of any kind. Indeed, as I detailed here, the 2008 FISA law enacted by Congress had as one of its principal, explicit purposes allowing the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans’ conversationswithout warrants of any kind. “The principal purpose of the 2008 law was to make it possible for the government to collect Americans’ international communications — and to collect those communications without reference to whether any party to those communications was doing anything illegal,” the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer said.  “And a lot of the government’s advocacy is meant to obscure this fact, but it’s a crucial one: The government doesn’t need to ‘target’ Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications.”

Whatever one’s views on that might be — i.e., even if you’re someone who is convinced that there’s nothing wrong with the NSA eavesdropping on the private communications even of American citizens, even members of Congress, without warrants — this sudden, self-interested embrace of the value of privacy should be revolting indeed. Warrantless eavesdropping on people who have done nothing wrong — the largest system of suspicionless mass surveillance ever created — is inherently abusive and unjustified, and one shouldn’t need a report that this was done to the Benjamin Netanyahus and Pete Hoekstras of the world to realize that.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Glenn Greenwaldglenn.greenwald@​theintercept.com@ggreenwald

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