|Asia News Digest
India, Inc. Seeks Role in Civilian Nuclear Energy
While the U.S.-India nuclear agreement is still held up in the U.S. Congress, India's top business houses, led by Ratan Tata of the Tata Sons, Anil Ambani of Reliance Industries, and the Larsen & Toubro firm, have written letters to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a full-fledged participation in India's enhanced nuclear program, DNA-India reported Sept. 10.
Despite enthusiasm expressed by the Manmohan Singh government on private participation, industry sources acknowledge the hurdles ahead. Among the decisions that the government will have to take include the parameters of private participation, the rules for foreign investment, and the location of future nuclear power plants,
While the government's projection of fresh nuclear power by 2020 is 20,000 MW, industry sources claim that the government is now talking about twice the amount if private participation works out favorably.
Expert: Waziristan 'Fully Operational al-Qaeda Base'
Waziristan, the mountainous area in northwest Pakistan, is becoming a new terrorist training zone, Pakistani terrorist expert Ahmed Rashid stated in a Washington Post op-ed Sept. 11. Rashid, the author of well-respected books on the Taliban and militant Islam in Central Asia, called the Pakistani deal with the tribal leaders in South Waziristan, agreeing to withdraw army troops, a "significant victory against the army of Pakistan," adding that the region "is now a fully operational al-Qaeda base area offering a wide range of services, facilities and military; and explosives training for extremists around the world planning attacks. Waziristan is now a regional magnet." Rashid notes that the Pakistani Army has lost 800 soldiers fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked forces in the region, and decided to leave. EIR recently reported that Pakistan is also hard pressed to beef up troop presence in Baluchistan, on the Iran border, which is exploding after the murder of a tribal chief there.
Philippines General, 'The Butcher,' To Run Security Council
The Philippine Army general known for running death squads against "leftists," held a Nuremberg-style rally at his resignation ceremony from the militaryas he moves on to run the National Security Council "anti-insurgency" operations. The ceremony for Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. was turned into a high-profile rally for continuing the bloody Operation CondorPhilippine style. Signs at the event praised Palparon as a hero and a "martyr of democracy," while directing hate at members of Congress from the leftist groupings which are considered "front groups" for the Communist Party and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).
In his speech, Palparan dismissed claims he was a "butcher." (Human rights groups list some 700 political executions; the Inquirer says it can verify 250 under the Arroyo government.)
In July, Palparon admitted that he has encouraged people to take up arms for revenge against the NPA, making clear that the legitimate political groupings on the left are open targets as well.
The rally broke several codes of protocol, but the Army leadership both allowed the breaches in protocol, and even put up several "extras" for the occasion such as tight security that surpassed even that for retiring military chiefs of staff.
The Inquirer ran an editorial Sept. 12 titled "Perverse," denouncing President Arroyo's appointment of Palparon to the counterinsurgency post, and documenting the civilian murders which took place under every one of his posts as a commander.
Indonesian Lawmaker Supports Iran's Nuclear Program
The Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament told a Washington audience Sept. 14 that that body absolutely supports Iran's right to the full nuclear cycle. Speaking to a U.S./Indonesia Society meeting, Agung Laksono, who is also the Vice President of Golkar, one of the nation's largest political parties, was asked by EIR to comment on the Lebanon war and the threat of a war on Iran. He said that the Parliament "unanimously condemned the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] destruction of Lebanon," and that the peacekeepers being sent to Lebanon (including 1,000 from Indonesia) "must not disarm any party to the conflict."
On Iran, the Speaker defended the right of sovereign nations to a full nuclear cycle. He added that he had met the Iranian President and the Speaker of their legislative body, and that he was certain that they intended to cooperate, but not under coercion, and that they will allow full IAEA oversight over their nuclear programs. He said Ayatollah Khomeini had stated that producing nuclear weapons was "illegal and sinful," and that the Iranians today concur.
U.S. State Dept. Intervenes in the Philippines
The U.S. State Department has intervened in support of the Philippines Senate against the dictatorial policies of the Arroyo Administration, according to Philippines news reports Sept. 12. Former Philippines Agricultural Undersecretary Joc-Joc Bolante was arrested in the U.S. when he fled the Philippines while under investigation for diverting agricultural funds to use on behalf of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's re-election campaign. He had been served with an arrest warrant by the Senate after refusing to appear as called to testify before a Senate Committee. When he fled the country, the U.S. lifted Bolante's visa without his knowledge, and arrested him in Los Angeles on July 7 for travelling without a visa. It was learned on July 8 that the lifting of the visa and the arrest of Bolante came at the behest of the Philippine Senate.
The implications of this move are far-reaching. Arroyo is trying to eliminate the Senate altogether by changing to a parliamentary system, doing away with the "checks and balances" of the constitutional order.
The Philippine Senate is now calling on the U.S. to extradite Bolante back to their custody.