New Zealand Massacre: The Hate That Australia Produced

Astute News

“We stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist,”Australian Prime MinisterScott Morrisontold a news conference, as his country grapples with the fact that one of its own murdered 50Muslim worshippers in neighboring New Zealand.

The kind of anti-Muslim views espoused by politicians and pundits are indistinguishable from those disseminated by violent far-right groups

While Morrison should be commended for calling out and identifying exactly who and what the Christchurch mosque mass murderer is – “a right wing, violent terrorist”– Australia’s political leader and his conservative party is responsible for the mainstreaming of the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric that once existed only in memes found in the far-right blogosphere.

Bearin mind that Morrison, as then opposition immigration spokesman in 2011, urged the shadow cabinet to leverage growing anxieties voters held about “Muslim immigration”,”Muslims in Australia”,and the “inability” of Muslims to integrate into the…

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India’s Ambassador To Russia Lied About Rejecting International Mediation

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Emirati Ambassador To India, and several unnamed US diplomatic sources all released statements around the same time disproving the Indian Ambassador to Russia’s previous on-the-record statement that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made, making one wonder whether New Delhi’s highest-ranking diplomat in Moscow lied as shamelessly as he did in a desperate attempt to “save face” for shockingly shooting down Russia’s mediation interest despite secretly accepting other countries’ diplomatic assistance in this respect instead.

America Cracks The Whip

The Indian Ambassador to Russia was just caught red-handed shamelessly lying to his host country after he went on record a few days after Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed his interest in having Russia mediate between India and Pakistan to shockingly shoot down the peacemaking proposal by what his government misleadingly portrays as its closest international partner, saying in no uncertain terms that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made. It’s now been revealed that Ambassador D. Bala Venkatesh Varma wasn’t telling the truth after Reuters released a report this weekend citing several unnamed US diplomatic sources who alleged that Washington intervened to crack the whip and get its new military-strategic ally to back down from its threat to launch missiles against Pakistan and escalate the unprovoked crisis with its neighbor to the dangerous level of risking a nuclear war.

India’s Secret Diplomacy Deliberately Snubbed Russia

Evidently, it seems that while the US probably greenlit India’s dramatic but ultimately fake “surgical strike” stunt against Pakistan in a bid to improve Modi’s reelection prospects and send negative fake news signals about the viability of CPEC, it didn’t approve of New Delhi responding to the epic humiliation of the Pakistan Air Force shooting down one of its counterpart’s “vintage” (but possibly upgraded) Russian jets by irresponsibly taking tensions to the next level, suggesting that Modi might have “gone rogue” from even his American handlers and seriously considered starting World War III for a brief moment. Before National Security Advisor Bolton’s reported intervention, it’s now known from the Emirati Ambassador to India that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed “had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Modi and the Pakistani PM Imran Khan” “on the day of the huge escalation”, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry officially said that it “pro-actively promoted peace talks” between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

All of this proves beyond any credible doubt that the Indian Ambassador to Russia was lying when he said in early March a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan’s release and the consequent de-escalation of the crisis that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made despite it now being known that New Delhi had secretly accepted other countries’ diplomatic assistance in this respect instead, even including its chief geopolitical rival China’s though stunningly not its “bhai” (“brother”) Russia’s. This suggests an attempt on the part of India’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) to deliberately snub Russia after Lavrov unintentionally “offended” them by challenging the ruling BJP’s self-assumed supremacist stance against Pakistan by treating the two countries as international equals by expressing an interest to mediate between them. Curiously, New Delhi seemingly didn’t care that others did this too and only singled out Russia.

Bhadrakumar’s Insight Into The Indian “Deep State”

The reason why it was “unforgivably offensive” for Russia to hold this implied position as opposed to any other country doing the same is because India assumed that it could “buy off” Russia’s support through multibillion-dollar arms deals and therefore get it to sacrifice its geostrategic interests in the global pivot state of Pakistan as a result. This isn’t just the author’s own interpretation but it also reflects the one that career diplomat, Indian “deep state” insider (especially regarding the attitude of his government’s multipolar-leaning faction towards Russia), and well-known columnist on international affairs Mr. M.K. Bhadrakumarrecently wrote in his article for The Tribune about “The big let-down”. This highly respected expert has an extensive track record of Russian-friendly analyses but suddenly switched his tune in the aftermath of “The Latest Kashmir Crisis Proving That India, Not Pakistan, Is The Real Rogue State” by lashing out against the Russian people for what he disrespectfully described as their “notorious avarice”:

“What comes as a total surprise is in regard of the Russian attitude. Moscow’s mediation offer is not the point here, but its demonstrative attempt to be ‘neutral’. The mega multi-billion dollar arms deals that the Modi government presented to Russian vendors, defying the threat of US sanctions, have apparently not placated the Kremlin. Curiously, the Kremlin-funded news channel RT featured a half-hour interview only last week with former Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar fulminating against Modi, Indian media and politics, and Hindutva meta-nationalism. Why are Russians so mighty upset? It must have something to do with money. Is it about Essar Steel not going to the Russian bidder? Or, about Saudi Aramco likely trumping Gazprom in the race for the highly lucrative Indian retail energy market? Or, about some pending arms deal? No matter the notorious Russian avarice, Moscow’s choice to ‘balance’ between India and Pakistan when Delhi needed its support most is the unkindest cut of all.”

Mr. Bhadrakumar’s ad hominem attack against the same people with whom he spent a large portion of his entire career building bridges was apparently triggered by his “total surprise in regard” to “[Russia’s] demonstrative attempt to be ‘neutral’” in spite of “the mega multi-billion dollar arms deals that the Modi government presented to Russian vendors”, which actually shouldn’t have been unexpected at all for a man who served in Russia for slightly less than half as many years as I am old had he been following the many articles that I’ve written about this topic and which I compiled in my recent piece about how “Russia Officially Returns To South Asia By Offering To Host Indo-Pak Peace Talks” that was released a full half-month before his “big let-down” article. It’s not that Mr. Bhadrakumar isn’t aware of my work either since he wrongly speculated about the intention of one of my older pieces, which I clarified last year.

“The Unkindest Cut Of All”

Mr. Oleg Barabanov – a programme director at the Valdai Club (Russia’s most prestigious think tank), a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO, which is run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and a professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences – raised a very relevant point earlier this month in his recent analysis about “Russia and the Search for Balance Between India and Pakistan” when he wrote that “Sometimes the Indian expert community expresses mistrust of Russia because of what they consider the excessively close Russia-China partnership, as a result of which Russia is losing its independent political image in India. Obviously, viewing Russia exclusively through the prism of Indo-Chinese divergences does not promote trust. Thus, US policy in the region (and probably the potential Indo-US link) serves as an additional external impetus for Russia-Pakistan dialogue.” As Mr. Bhadrakumar’s words prove, Mr. Barabanov was entirely right, but even more so than he could have imagined.

Bearing in mind the Valdai Club expert’s piercing insight into one of the many recent US-encouraged problems plaguing Russian-Indian relations and recalling how “Russia Regards The ‘Indo-Pacific Region’ As An ‘Artificially Imposed’ Pro-US Concept” to “contain” China, “the unkindest cut of all” (to channel Mr.Bhadrakumar) is that the Indian Ambassador to Russia shamelessly lied to his host country about the apparent absence of any previous mediation proposals when shooting own Moscow’s own informal one despite having already secretly relied upon the diplomatic services of the US, the UAE, and even India’s chief geopolitical rival China. There couldn’t be any stronger signal from India to Russia that their Soviet-era “brotherhood” is over and that their strategic partnership is now purely transactional after losing the “romantic allure” that it once held for decades in the minds of both of their “deep states” (contrary to whatever “feel-good” rhetoric they might each espouse during this “sensitive” time).

Concluding Thoughts

There’s no doubt that India will continue to be one of Russia’s priority partners for the indefinite future by virtue of its enormous market size and the billions of dollars’ worth of military deals that they agreed to in the past six months alone, but the mutual trust that they enjoyed during the Old Cold War days of “Rusi-Hindi Bhai Bhai” (“Russians and Indians are brothers”) is forever lost after New Delhi succumbed to the pressure of its new American patron by deliberating snubbing Russia from the international mediation process with Pakistan. Even worse, the Indian Ambassador to Russia flat-out lied about the secret diplomatic assistance that his country received from others in this respect, with it later being revealed that even India’s chief geopolitical rival China played a role in the same process that New Delhi denied its “bhai” Moscow a chance to participate in. In response, Russia is expected to “recalibrate” its regional “balancing” strategy in the direction of its newfound Pakistani strategic partner.

Calling The Christchurch Terrorist a “Troll” is Unconscious Islamophobia

By Adam Garrie
Source

If people think that terrorists like Daesh and al-Qaeda do not have various internal code words and even unique dialects understood only by fellow extremists – think again. If people think that terrorist groups operating in Iraq and Syria do not use internet memes, videos and online discussion threads to promote their brand of hatred among the young – think again. If people furthermore do not think that Daesh and al-Qaeda thrive by manipulating a perverse shadow pop culture – think again.

Of course, most people realise that Daesh and al-Qaeda are as much about black web based propaganda as they are about committing acts of mass terrorism and as such, Daesh and al-Qaeda supporters are never called “trolls”, “shitposters” or purveyors of “irony”.

And yet, the white supremacist, anti-Muslim terrorist of Christchurch infamy has been described in  mainstream liberal western media as someone being “ironic”, being a “troll” and being a “shitposter”. All of these terms tend to refer to those who use an online presence to either exaggerate their own beliefs or parody the extreme beliefs of others in order to get an emotional reaction from those who do not realise that crude satire, morose hyperbole and elementary pranksterism are at play.

But no actual comedians (however crude) can be considered terrorists, even if they push the boundaries of free speech in order to make provocative points. And yet, the terrorist in Christchurch was no “troll” or  comical figure – he was a died in the wool terrorist, a cold blooded killer of the variety that in a different ideological context would have been a killer in the ranks of terror groups like Daesh, FETO and al-Qaeda.

Even if the Christchurch terrorist was being sarcastic during parts of his manifesto, this only goes to prove his a priori shamelessness which itself is substantiated by his ex post facto lack of remorse as has been documented by lawyers in New Zealand. This does not make him a social media troll but places him among the ranks of serial killers and Daesh terrorists who believe that their acts of violence elevate them to the level of holy figures when in reality they are nothing but wicked mass murderers.

While it could have been expected that those on the neo-fascist right would try and whitewash the Christchurch terrorist as a “troll” or a “shitposter”, the fact that so-called respectable media personalities have also done so, demonstrates that even among people who would publicly reject Islamophobia if given the chance, an unconscious Islamophobia is so pervasive in western societies that seemingly “mainstream” figures are de facto minimising the terrorist’s crime. They are doing so by relating the terrorist to crude online comedy. By contrast, the ridiculous things that Daesh supporters say online are uniformly labelled terrorist propaganda rather than “shitposting” or “trolling”.

While the western far-right have reacted predictably to the atrocity in Christchurch, liberals continue to get away with closet Islamophobia by providing a pseudo-intellectual explanation for terrorism that is nothing more than a verbose version of the extremism vocalised by the likes of self-described right wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who wasted no time in trying to minimise the terrorist atrocity. The difference between mainstream liberals and self-identified trolls of the far-right is merely in the subtlety of the language that is deployed. The overall message from both the western far-right and from liberals is that white anti-Islamic terrorists deserve being copiously analysed and therefore justified through either conscious or unconscious subterfuge, whilst those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam (Daesh for example) deserve unqualified condemnation.

The reality is that all terrorism deserves only condemnation. The ideologies behind terror attacks might be useful at galvanising and recruiting useful idiots to commit horrific acts, but any decent member of any society ought to realise that terrorism has no religion, no race, no ethnicity and no singular ideology other than a generic ideology which permits and validates violence against innocent people.

Liberals in the west continue to expose themselves as unconsciously sympathetic to the same factions that are openly praised by the western fascist fringe. In the same way that a hyena is to be less feared than a snake, liberals have once again demonstrated that when it comes to normalising Islamophobia, they are the undisputed champions of hatred.

Hindutva And Fascist White Nationalism: A Match Made in Hell

By Adam Garrie
Source

In 2011, the fascist Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb in central Oslo before travelling to Utøya island where he opened fire on children on a camping holiday. Overall, Breivik murdered 77 people whilst he injured over 300. While Breivik has been behind bars since committing the atrocities of 2011, his name has been back in the news after the terrorist behind the barbaric attacks on two New Zealand mosques claims that Breivik (through his proxies) offered his support for the atrocities in Christchurch.

In many respects, the Australian terrorist of Christchurch infamy acted in a manner that sought to copy the methods and mentality of Breivik. This including the drafting of a political manifesto that was published online just before the beginning of the attack.

Going back to 2011, it is helpful to remember that in addition to citing figures from European history as inspirations for his attack, Breivik also extolled what he thought to be the virtues of the Hindutva ideology.  But far from distancing himself from Breivik, former BJP Indian parliamentarian B.P. Singhal openly revelled in Breivik’s anti-Islamic cause. In 2011, Singhal stated:

“I was with the shooter in his objective, but not in his method. If you want to attract the nation’s attention, surely you need to do something drastic and dramatic, but not killing people”.

Whilst Singhal’s qualified support for Breivik is both disturbing and distasteful, Singhal then went on to qualify his initial qualified remarks by apparently justifying violence against Muslims. According to Singhal, the Holy Quran is “violent” and as such, sometimes “violence must be fought with violence”.

But far from being an aberration, Singhal’s support for a fascist European killer follows on from a long line of Hindutva politicians and theorists who openly praised Adolf Hitler and other extreme European leaders. Hindutva’s founding father Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an unabashed admirer of both Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and fascist Italy’s Benito Mussolini. Beyond this, Savarkar blamedEuropean Jewry for the Holocaust and went on to compare his own views on south Asian Muslims with Hitler’s views on European Jews.

At one point, Savarkar stated that Indian Muslims should be treated in the way that African Americans were treated in the United States during the Jim Crow Era, even though this racist remark was mild compared to his desire to create a Hindutva empire that would see Pakistan (West and East as it was at the time) wiped off the map.

With the revival of Hindutva extremism under the BJP government of Narendra Modi, a fascination with Hitler and European fascism in India has likewise been documented by foreign observers. As recently as 2017, even the BBC recognised that neo-fascists in Europe and North America were reviving the concept that Hindutva extremism and white supremacist extremism should cooperate in order to fulfil various socially exclusive goals. In particular, the BBC noted how 21st century western fascists have come to admire the European born Hindu convert and promoter of Hindutva ideology Savitri Devi as a figure of inspiration.

Just months ago, Qatari broadcaster and news outlet al-Jazeera observed that based on both pre-Hitler theories on how central Europeans were related to ancient Indo-Aryans and also due to a shared contemporary hatred of Muslim people and the religion of Islam, the world had witnessed a burgeoning growth in a political and ideological alliance between western fascists and Hindutva extremists in India and beyond.

But the story does not end there. Through the power of the internet, it is now possible for western fascists to watch English language Hindutva television programmes on a 24/7 basis. While there is plenty of western pro-fascist material to occupy the time of western extremists, because Indian media tends to give extremist views a veneer of respectability that is otherwise missing in much of Europe and North America, Hindutva propaganda is in many respects the perfect way for western fascists to both gain inspiration and to further internationalise their cause.

Thus far, Turkey’s broadcaster TRT World has been helpful in offering the wider world a critical glimpse of the hateful rhetoric that spews continually from pro-BJP platforms as well as in film.

The growing ties between the western fascist revival and India’s increasingly prominent Hindutva socio-political movement continue to receive only marginal attention. And yet, while the BJP’s militant wing RSS continue to promote violence in India, Europe and the west as a whole are sleepwalking into an era in which a western version of RSS may well be right around the corner.

If people throughout the world are genuinely concerned with ebbing the flow of extremism, the Hindutva-Fascist axis must be both named and shamed.

Pakistan Must Learn to be More Assertive Against Aggressive Neighbours While Maintaining Warm Relations With Global Superpowers — Eurasia Future

Pakistan was born with the geographical misfortune to live between two countries who since their inception have harboured expansionist tendencies against Pakistan’s legally defined territory. India succeeded in first occupying parts of Kashmir which if given their UN mandated right to vote for their national self-determination, would almost certainly vote […] The post Pakistan Must…

via Pakistan Must Learn to be More Assertive Against Aggressive Neighbours While Maintaining Warm Relations With Global Superpowers — Eurasia Future

America Has Gone Full Circle in Afghanistan

By Adam Garrie
Source

America’s Special Representative for Afghan affairs,  Zalmay Khalilzad has announced that a preliminary draft agreement between the Afghan Taliban and Washington has been reached. Although it is clear that nothing has been finalised as of yet, this week’s announcement is the most throughout to-date when it comes to understanding America’s position vis-a-vis the Taliban.  Khalilzad said the following:

Just finished a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in Doha. The conditions for peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides. Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. In January talks, we “agreed in principle” on these four elements. We’re now “agreed in draft” on the first two.

When the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counter-terrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.

My next step is discussions in Washington and consultations with other partners. We will meet again soon, and there is no final agreement until everything is agreed”. 

Whilst Khalizad’s statement ping-pongs between clarity and State Department jargon, several things become clear upon reading the text.

First of all, the United States appears more serious about leaving Afghanistan than Syria. This is to say that the US appears to be on the verge of solidifying a timeline for withdrawal that is being agreed upon through cooperation with Afghanistan’s strongest indigenous military force, the Taliban.

Secondly, based on what Khalilzad said has been accomplished when contrasted with what he said has yet to be accomplished, he has (perhaps unintentionally) alluded to the fact that it is now easier for the US and Taliban to agree on a framework for the future than it is for the US and the Kabul regime to do so. This is the case because Khalilzad indicated that of the four goals that must be achieved to finalise a peace deal, the two that have been agreed upon at the highest level thus far, are those which only require cooperation between American officials and Taliban officials. Counter-terrorism assurances and troop withdrawal in this context means that the Taliban will commit themselves to fighting various terror groups (they are already fighting Daesh for example), whilst the Taliban will work with the US to assure an orderly withdrawal of American troops.

The second too principles, “intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire”, require not only the consent and cooperation of the Taliban, but also that of the current Kabul regime, in order to be fulfilled. Therefore, without saying so directly, Khalizad has tacitly admitted that the US is further along in its agreements that only require discussions between American and Taliban officials than it is with discussions that involve American officials, the regime, the Taliban and other smaller factions.

This about face from the US should not surprise Afghanistan’s putative leader Ashraf Ghani. The US is infamous for being a friend one day and an enemy the next, when it comes to international relations. As Ghani remains a figurehead who even with US assistance cannot control a majority of Afghan territory, the US looks as though it is on the verge of dumping its bad investment in favour of working with a reformed Taliban that might actually be able to get things done in the country.

By working with a reformed Taliban rather than a de facto illegitimate, albeit UN recognised Ganhi regime, the US would be able to save both money and save the lives of US troops, whilst still ostensibly retaining the right to exploit some Afghan resources, whilst maintaining the presence of some American mercenaries to guard US economic interests in the country. The fact that this would happen under a government that leans heavily towards the Taliban, does in fact make it clear that both sides are willing to compromise and that for Taliban officials, removing an illegitimate government and removing uniformed US troops is now more important than a blanket extrication of American economic interests from the country. The comparative rapidity with which the US became a key economic partner of Vietnam after the Cold War is a clear model for the kind of US-Afghan relationship that could well be on the horizon. If indeed the US retains economic ties with a Taliban led Afghanistan, it would perhaps be the greatest geo-economic surprise since American Presidents have embraced a Vietnamese government whose founding father is the anti-American fighter Ho Chi Minh. That being said, whilst Afghanistan remains a more difficult place in which to do business than Vietnam was in the late 1970s, the prospect for sustained economic ties looks more and more likely in respect of the US and an Afghanistan led by a new generation of Taliban.

Furthermore, as the kind of peace process that Khalilzad has said is progressing in a positive manner, is that which Pakistan has advocated for over a decade, a proper peace in Afghanistan could help to ease Pakistan-US tensions at a time when the US is leaning heavily towards India, but still seeks to retain what is left of its partnership with Pakistan. In this sense, whilst the US is more comfortable playing zero-sum games in foreign affairs, when it comes to Pakistan, the US won’t be willing to see Islamabad fully exit from the US sphere of influence and as such, by settling Afghanistan’s crisis in a manner consistent with Pakistan’s long held views, this will eliminate at least one point of contention between Washington and Islamabad. As such, the US may well be trying to engage in some sort of balancing act in the region that leans towards India, but one which is not yet willing to see Pakistan fully alienated.

In this sense, the agreement of which Khalilzad has spoken could potentially be a major win-win. China, Russia and Pakistan are now on the same page when it comes to an all parties peace settlement and ceasefire that mandates an orderly withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Even Iran is largely in this camp now that the Taliban have assured Tehran that a new Taliban government will neither be anti-Iranian nor anti-Afghan Shi’a. For Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, it goes without saying that a stable Afghanistan is in their interests.

Finally, while India does not border Afghanistan, New Delhi has for decades sought strong relations with Kabul as part of a wider Indian desire to encircle Pakistan. This has been especially true since the war of 1971 between India and Pakistan. Just as it is increasingly likely that a new Taliban government will work with some US business firms after a formal US troop withdrawal, the same is true of Indian firms. The difference is that without US troops or those from the current regime there to protect Indian assets, India might find that investing in Afghanistan is more effort than it is wroth. In many ways, some in India are already reaching this conclusion.

In this sense, while India’s plans to encircle Pakistan may be on the verge of being thwarted, for all other parties involved, including the US and Taliban, this new reality is increasingly looking like a win-win conclusion to a war that should have never been fought in the first place. Now that American and Taliban officials are shaking hands and making agreements, many will begin to question the wisdom of a war which began in 2001 for the stated purpose of removing the Taliban from power…only to see the US help to re-legitimise the Taliban eight years later.

Afghanistan Must be Held Responsible For Committing an Act of State Terrorism Against Civilians — Eurasia Future

Eight Pakistani labourers have been murdered in cold blood by Afghan security forces near the border between the two countries. Pakistan condemns the killing of eight innocent Pakistani tribesmen, in Paktika, Afghanistan, by Afghan security forces. — Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) March 11, 2019 Whilst Pakistan has condemned the attack, […] The post Afghanistan Must…

via Afghanistan Must be Held Responsible For Committing an Act of State Terrorism Against Civilians — Eurasia Future

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