Monday, February 20, 2017

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More Bomb Threats Close Jewish Community Centers Across The Nation

By Matt Ferner

Jewish Community Centers were shaken by another wave of bomb threats, forcing evacuations in nine states Monday.
Eleven Jewish Community Centers received threatening calls Monday, said Marla Cohen, communications manager for JCCA, the Jewish Community Center Association. 
Law enforcement officials were investigating the threats and, as of late Monday, centers were being reopened after explosive devices were not found. 
For some of these organizations, it was not the first threat made in recent weeks. There have now been at least 67 incidents at 56 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states and one Canadian province since the start of 2017, Cohen told The Huffington Post.
Monday’s incidents are part a sharp rise in threats made against JCCs around the nation since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign, which was frequently criticized for winking at white nationalists and not forcefully condemning hate speech and extremism.
The far-right has become emboldened under Trump, and while the number of Americans who directly support hardened hate groups remains far lower than in earlier decades, the number of hate groups in America is rising, according to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate and extremism around the nation.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at SPLC, said that this series of bomb threats since the new year is “unprecedented.”
“I’ve been working at SPLC since 1999. I’ve never seen a string of attacks like this that are targeting the same kind of institution in the same kind of way. This is new,” Beirich said. 
She added that it remains unclear who is making these threats, if it’s one person or more, but it has rattled communities around the U.S.
“This threatens an entire community. It’s very scary,” Beirich said. “You’re terrorizing whole families and children. There are usually day care centers that serve an entire population in the area. These threats can make it impossible for those communities to function normally.”
Anti-Semitic hate crimes comprise the largest portion of religiously motivated attacks in the United States. But Trump has yet to address the issue. In news conferences last week, the president had multiple opportunities to address concerns over rising anti-Semitism, but each time he either downplayed or denied the rise. When a Jewish reporter asked Trump explicitly about the recent spike in bomb threats against JCCs, Trump cut him off, told him to sit down and told the reporter his question wasn’t fair and claimed to be the “least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters didn’t specifically address anti-Semitism, but did say in response to the latest bomb threats Monday, “Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom,” adding Trump has “made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”
The Anti-Defamation League said it was “deeply disturbed” by the latest wave of bomb threats this week and issued bomb threat guidance for all Jewish institutions.
“We are confident that JCCs around the country are taking the necessary security protections, and that law enforcement officials are making their investigation of these threats a high priority,” said ADL Chief Executive Jonathan A. Greenblatt in a statement. 
The FBI and Department of Justice have said they are “investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats” to JCCs. 



When Donald Trump gave a speech last Friday at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina – unveiling Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner” – he congratulated Boeing for building the plane “right here” in South Carolina.

It’s pure fantasy. I’ll let you know why in a moment.

Trump also used the occasion to tout his “America First” economics, stating “our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports and more on products made here in the U.S.A.” and “we want products made by our workers in our factories stamped by those four magnificent words, ‘Made in the U.S.A.’”

To achieve this goal Trump would impose “a very substantial penalty” on companies that fired their workers and moved to another country to make a product, and then tried to sell it back to America.

The carrot would be lower taxes and fewer regulations “that send our jobs to those other countries.”

Trump seems utterly ignorant about global competition – and about what’s really holding back American workers.

Start with Boeing’s Dreamliner itself. It’s not “made in the U.S.A..” It’s assembled in the United States. But most of it parts come from overseas. Those foreign parts total almost a third of the cost of the entire plane.  

For example:

The Italian firm Alenia Aeronautica makes the center fuselage and horizontal stabilizers.

The French firm Messier-Dowty makes the aircraft’s landing gears and doors.

The German firm Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik supplies the main cabin lighting.

The Swedish firm Saab Aerostructures makes the cargo access doors.

The Japanese company Jamco makes parts for the lavatories, flight deck interiors and galleys.

The French firm Thales makes its electrical power conversion system.

Thales selected GS Yuasa, a Japanese firm, in 2005 to supply it with the system’s lithium-ion batteries.

The British company Rolls Royce makes many of the engines.

A Canadian firm makes the moveable trailing edge of the wings.

Notably, these companies don’t pay their workers low wages. In fact, when you add in the value of health and pension benefits – either directly from these companies to their workers, or in the form of public benefits to which the companies contribute – most of these foreign workers get a better deal than do Boeing’s workers. (The average wage for Boeing production and maintenance workers in South Carolina is $20.59 per hour, or $42,827 a year.) They also get more paid vacation days.

These nations also provide most young people with excellent educations and technical training. They continuously upgrade the skills of their workers. And they offer universally-available health care.

To pay for all this, these countries also impose higher tax rates on their corporations and wealthy individuals than does the United States. And their health, safety, environmental, and labor regulations are stricter.

Not incidentally, they have stronger unions.

So why is so much of Boeing’s Dreamliner coming from these high-wage, high-tax, high-cost places?

Because the parts made by workers in these countries are better, last longer, and are more reliable than parts made anywhere else.

There’s a lesson here.

The way to make the American workforce more competitive isn’t to put economic walls around America. It’s to invest more and invest better in the education and skills of Americans, in on-the-job training, in a healthcare system that reaches more of us and makes sure we stay healthy. And to give workers a say in their companies through strong unions.

In other words, we get a first-class workforce by investing in the productive capacities of Americans  – and rewarding them with high wages.

It’s the exact opposite of what Trump is proposing.

By the way, the first delivery of the Dreamliner is scheduled to take place next year – to Singapore Airlines. Current orders for it include Air France, British Airways, and Mexico’s flag carrier, Aeromexico.

Boeing is also looking to China to buy as much as $1 trillion worth of its commercial airplanes over the next two decades, including wide-body jets like the 787 Dreamliner. China already accounts for a fifth of Boeing’s sales.

But if Trump succeeds in putting an economic wall around America, these other nation’s airlines may have second thoughts about buying from Boeing. They might choose an airplane from a country more open to their own exports – say, Europe’s Airbus.

Trump’s “America First” economics is pure demagoguery. Xenophobic grandstanding doesn’t boost the competitiveness of American workers. Nor does it boost American-based companies.

At most, it boosts Trump.

Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers AftershockThe Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently,Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All.

Demonstrators in Los Angeles 'Not My President' protest on Presidents' Day

Video - #TheResistance #NOTMYPRESIDENTSDAY - PRESIDENT DAY PROTEST NEWS ‘Not My President’s Day’ in NYC, D.C. and L.A.protests

Thousands of Americans Turn Holiday into 'Not My Presidents' Day' Protest

On the holiday originally dedicated to America's founding president, thousands of Americans once again rallied against the one they've got now, dubbing the day "Not My Presidents' Day."
In New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and, of course, Washington, DC, plus dozens of other cities, crowds of hundreds and thousands gathered to rebuke Donald Trump, the president of just one month who has managed to drive protesters into the streets every single weekend.
"Donald Trump stands against the progress we have worked hard to enact," a statement on the Facebook page of the Los Angeles rally organizers' said. "He does not represent our interests. He was voted in by a minority of the American public but governs as if there's no resistance. But there is — and on February 20th, we will honor previous presidents by exercising our constitutional right to assemble and peacefully protest everything Donald Trump stands for." ​
Thirteen thousand gathered in Columbus Circle outside the Trump Hotel to begin the protest in New York, according to reports.
"We want to show how displeased we are," Andy Frears, 47, told AM New York. "I think the constant presence has a cumulative effect."
It was the fifth straight day of protests against Trump in New York, where the president has galvanized everyone from taxi drivers to Yemeni bodega workers into showing him how they feel.
"I'm really concerned for where our country is headed," Sayief Leshaw, 22, told NBC in New York. "We've sold out to corporate interests, and Donald Trump's policies are downright offensive." Luis Llobera, his wife and seven-month-old son traveled from elsewhere in New York to attend the protest in New York City, Reuters reports.

"We are not American citizens, but our son is," he said. "We want to make sure our son has a government that is right and good."
Olga Lexell, one of the 20 or so people who helped organize the main protests in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, which drew the largest crowds, said that while these rallies didn't have a specific message — immigration, women's rights or other causes people have demonstrated for recently — the idea was to show Trump that there is indeed opposition in the country. "A lot of people are angry because he lost the popular vote and is ruling like somebody who won by a landslide," Lexell told KTLA in Los Angeles. Thousands joined her in the afternoon march
Gayle Fleming, 69, was one of hundreds protesting in Washington. She said the demonstrations reminded her of those that rocked the country during the Vietnam War.
"What I'm seeing, especially being as old as I am, is the amazing interest of people who have never been activists," she told NBC. "This does inspire us. It's the silver lining in the middle of all this horrible stuff."

'Not My President's Day' protesters rally to oppose Trump

By Eric Levenson
Another week, another series of demonstrations by opponents of President Donald Trump.
Protesters in cities across the country took to the streets on Monday for "Not My President's Day" rallies with a strong anti-Trump message. Olga Lexell, who was one of about 20 people who helped organize the events in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, said they were intended to show Trump there was widespread opposition to his policies and "ridiculous" executive orders.
"A lot of people are angry because he lost the popular vote and is ruling like somebody who won by a landslide," Lexell said. In New York's Columbus Circle, protesters held signs with a simple message -- the word "No!" in different languages. In addition, merchants sold T-shirts reading "Not My President" above smaller text reading "Elected but not chosen." "In the name of humanity, fascist America -- No! No! No! No! No!," they chanted.
The rallies on Monday came amid what has been a fierce backlash from liberal grassroots groups to the Trump administration. That opposition has been voiced on a broad range of issues, including women's reproductive rights, immigration, and climate change.
New Jersey resident Janell Kastner joined the New York rally to protest the "gross incompetence" of President Trump, she said. She said she hopes the protest "further unifies those of us who do not adhere to Donald Trump's apparent lack of moral standing."
Rachel McPhee, another rally attendee, told CNN that she hoped "that people keep coming together to resist this administration and to show Donald Trump how much opposition he has, as he did not win the popular vote and isn't representative of our whole country." The protests took place in several dozen cities, according to the Not My President's Day Facebook page.
In Los Angeles, protesters gathered and held signs at City Hall, chanting "No ban, no wall!"
And in Atlanta, protesters included college students like Alyssa McNerney, who said she came out to highlight Republican party's hypocrisy.
Rallies aim to 'keep momentum'
Lexell said the rallies were an attempt to "keep the momentum" between the widely attended Women's March last month and the upcoming Tax Day March on April 15. Historically, protests against new presidents are not unusual, said David Meyer, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of "The Politics of Protest."
"What is unusual is the vigor, speed, size, and number of issues that they're challenging Trump on," Meyer said. "To have a sustained (protest), every weekend, every couple of days, and it's a different issue -- I've never seen anything like this before." Monday's marches, and other similar rallies, do not have a clear and concise policy proposal, but Meyer said they still had a unifying message to the White House: "No"
"To fixate on a single coherent agenda is something that social movements aren't really good at," Meyer said. "It doesn't really matter that much, as long as there's some kind of message that comes out. ... Campaigns focused so far on "No" have done that." Lexell said she thought the "No" message has already had an impact, and pointed to Republican politicians who have pushed back against Trump. "I feel like we are getting that done," she said. "I feel like this whole movement in general has been successful."

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China - Op-Ed: Trump administration should fully embrace a new model of major country relations

By Curtis Stone
At the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC), a major global forum for the discussion of security policy, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi gave a keynote speech about adhering to the concept of cooperation and making the right choice. During his speech, Wang talked about the importance of strengthening cooperation between major powers; particularly China and the U.S., saying that bilateral relations between the two countries are one of the most important in the world. Given that importance, the U.S. should do all it can to work with China as a partner on the world stage to build a new model of relations.
It is in the interest of the U.S. to embrace a new model of major country relations, and abandon the old model that places fear and competition over trust and cooperation. At a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bonn, Germany, shortly before Wang Yi’s speech at MSC, Wang and his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson met on the sidelines, and they both agreed that bilateral relations should be strengthened. At both meetings, China signaled its readiness to work with the new administration on moving the bilateral relationship forward in a new direction that features “no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.” There is no strong evidence to support the assumption made by some scholars that the new model is a “trap.” The new model proposal is a reasonable solution to a difficult problem in international relations.
The Trump Administration should reject the argument that China’s vision for a new model of relations is merely a power play intended to gain position on the international stage. The concept is a rational starting point for major powers including China and the U.S. to build a peaceful and stable world order. In March 2014, Former U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the potential of the concept for future peace and prosperity. “President Xi and I are both committed to continuing to strengthen and build a new model of relations between our countries,” Obama said. Today, the China-U.S. relationship is at a crossroads, and the Trump Administration must choose between cooperation and competition. It is in America’s national interest to move the bilateral relationship forward in a promising direction by fully embracing the concept of a new model of major power relations.
Security should be inclusive, not exclusive. Fu Ying, Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, stressed at a sub-forum of the MSC that tension in the Asia-Pacific has been rising over the years in part because there is concern on the U.S. side that China is competing with it for leadership in the region. In fact, the U.S. just recently deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea for “routine patrols.” At the heart of the debate is the question of exclusive or inclusive security, Fu said. For the U.S., military alliances are the linchpin of security and stability in the region. However, this old-model approach fails to take into consideration the security of all regional partners by making the U.S. and its allies secure at the cost of non-allies. “When everybody feels secure, then there is security,” Fu said.
There is a powerful assumption in international relations that a rising power and an existing power are in some manner destined for conflict, and there are historical cases that support this claim. But it is wrong and dangerous to assume that relations between major countries are based on some immutable law of physics. To avoid the Thucydides Trap and advance the national interest, the U.S. will need to fully embrace the concept of a new model of major country relations, which places cooperation over competition and is the right choice.

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Le Pen says Assad only choice in the face of Islamic State's threat

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the only possible choice in the face of the Islamic State (IS) threat, leader of France’s National Front Marine Le Pen said at a press conference in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut.

"Since we can’t let the IS to take power, there is no alternative to Assad," she stressed. According to Le Pen, "Assad seems credible and he is the preferable choice for France."
Le Pen, who is currently on a visit to Beirut, made this statement following her meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri. During the meeting, Hariri, leader of the country’s Sunni Muslims, called upon the West "not to equate Islam and terrorism." "Most Muslims stick to moderate approaches," he said.

Before that, Le Pen held a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun. "We had a very substantial talk," Le Pen told reporters. 

"France and Lebanon have been bound by friendship and partnership for many years but we need to strengthen bilateral relations."

Le Pen also said that during the meeting, the Syrian refugees issue had been discussed which was a hard burden for Lebanon. She emphasized the need to provide more aid to Lebanon that had sheltered over 1,500,000 Syrians, in order to prevent them from moving to Europe. "We have also discussed the war on terror and come to the conclusion that Paris and Beirut need to cooperate to combat radical Islam," Marine Le Pen added.
Le Pen’s Lebanese trip is part of her presidential election campaign. Le Pen had been repeatedly raising her voice in support of Christians residing in the Middle East.


‘Money, greed drive West support for S Arabia’

The United Kingdom is known to have been a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, a country which has been waging a bloody military aggression against its southern neighbor Yemen. Only recently, a newly-revealed report indicated that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had issued explicit directives, calling on the government to continue supplying the Persian Gulf monarchy with deadly weapons. Press TV has asked two experts why they believe the British government has refused to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia which has been blamed for massive human losses and the utter decimation of infrastructure in Yemen.
Naseer al-Omari, author and political commentator from New York, believes that British and American authorities are supportive of dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, to ensure their own interests in the region.
“Money and greed” are two factors driving London and Washington’s support for repressive regimes in the region, Omari said.
Washington and London are playing the game of selling arms to Saudi Arabia and encouraging Arabs and Muslims “to kill each other” as a way of drawing the oil money into their own economies, he analyzed.
“These [Western] democracies are causing and contributing to the ills and problems that are happening in the Middle East,” the expert added.
In an attempt to push for selling more arms to Riyadh, Secretary Johnson played down the Saudi airstrikes that killed 140 Yemeni people at a funeral in Sana’a in October 2016, by asserting that Saudi rulers are “committed to taking action to address failures or individual incidents.”
Omari described as hypocritical efforts by government officials “to justify Arabs killing Arabs.”
He further recalled that during a visit to Saudi Arabia, CIA director Mike Pompeo had reassured the ruling Al Saud family that the United States would stand beside the dictatorial regime even though it has been spreading terrorism in the region, in the United States and across Europe.
He, however, warned that terrorism and extremism would eventually find their way into Western countries with the spread of conflicts in the Middle East.
The Western governments have no shame, because they blame Muslims and Arabs for terrorism, he said, while they themselves are contributing to terrorism by supporting dictatorial and authoritarian regimes in the region.
The analyst advised Britons not to accept “this violation that the UK government just committed by ignoring the atrocities that have been committed by the Saudi royal family to kill [Yemeni civilians] in funeral homes and schools.”
Two thirds of Britons believe that the UK government should not be supporting Saudi Arabia with weapons, which always wind up killing innocent people, Omari said.
Yemenis recover the bodies of people from the rubble at a detention center hit by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in al-Zaidia district of the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, on October 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP) 

Richard Millet, a journalist and political commentator from London, however argued that “Saudi Arabia is a long-time ally of the United Kingdom,” and that British officials “trust” Riyadh in not using the UK-made weapons against civilians in Yemen.
Millet further added that the UK is worried about the way Saudis are using weapons against Yemen, noting that the Saudi kingdom needs to carry out investigations in this regard.
He also said British authorities are concerned about the consequences of banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia, because such a decision could cause more instability in the Middle East.
Millet argued that the British government does not want to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, because there is “potential imbalance” between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the region.
The journalist is of the opinion that the two sides involved in the Yemen war are indeed Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Iranian officials and Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement have repeatedly denied any military cooperation, while Tehran has said it is concerned about the Yemeni population living under nonstop Saudi bombardments.
The Saudi military aggression against Yemen has been a money-spinning project for the United Kingdom which has licensed over £3.3 billion worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the war in March 2015.

Saudi arms imports triple amid Yemen campaign, US & Europe top suppliers to Mid East – report

Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military intervention in Yemen, is the world’s second-largest arms importer, according to a new report. Riyadh’s arms imports increased 212 percent compared with 2007–11, with the US remaining the world’s top weapons exporter. Between 2007–2011 and 2012–2016 arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 86 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.
India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2012–2016, accounting for 13 percent of the global total, the study said.
“Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities,” Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program, said.
“Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions,” he added. With a one-third share of global arms exports, the USA was the top arms exporter in 2012– 16. Its arms exports increased by 21 percent compared with 2007–2011.
Almost half of US arms exports went to the Middle East, SIPRI said, adding that arms imports by Qatar went up by 245 percent.
“The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world—significantly more than any other supplier state,” Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program, said.
“Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defense systems account for a significant share of US arms exports.” Saudi Arabia’s defense expenditure grew by 5.7 percent to $87.2 billion in 2015, making it the world’s third-largest spender at the time, according to a SIPRI report from April.
During Barack Obama’s two terms as president, the US offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion worth of arms in 42 separate deals, the Center for International Policy, a US-based anti-war think tank reported in September. It estimated that US arms offers to Saudi Arabia were more than any US administration in the history of the US-Saudi relationship.
In December, the White House blocked the transfer of some weaponry to Saudi Arabia, over concerns about the civilian death toll from the kingdom's bombing campaign in Yemen. "We have made clear that US security cooperation is not a blank check," a senior administration official told AFP. "Consequently, we have decided to not move forward with some foreign military sales (FMS) cases for munitions."
"This reflects our continued, strong concerns with the flaws in the coalition's targeting practices and overall prosecution of the air campaign in Yemen," he added. Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist, told RT earlier in February that “the Obama administration has been essentially tied to the Saudi interests in Yemen, as they have been in Syria to a great extent of the past by the degree to which the permanent government in the US – the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA – all have very, very close relations with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia.
“These war powers in the US are very unwilling to have any US policy that would criticize, much less take away, support for the Saudi war so that these arrangements can continue. I am very much afraid that the Trump administration will be subject to the same logic, the same political forces that have kept the Obama administration from taking any responsibility for what is going on in Yemen,” he said. The death toll in the Yemeni conflict has surpassed 10,000 people, and almost 40,000 people have been wounded, a senior UN official said in January.
The British government refused to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia in November, rejecting calls from two parliamentary committees and human rights groups. According to Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Britain licensed £3.3 billion (US$4.1 billion) of arms sales to Riyadh during the first 12 months of the Yemen war. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in October that since the start of the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, which began on March 26, 2015, the Saudi coalition, “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes,” with other human rights organizations and the UN having “documented dozens more.”
Since the beginning of the conflict, there have been multiple reports of Saudi jets targeting schools, hospitals, marketplaces and other civilian buildings.
Airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab states in Yemen are responsible for the majority of civilians killed in the ongoing conflict, the UN found in August, while calling for an international investigation into the coalition’s violations there.

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Pakistan Taking ‘First Logical Steps’ Against Hafiz Saeed, Says India

India’s response came after the 28/11 mastermind was added to the fourth schedule of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, placing limits on his movement.

After Pakistan “proscribed” Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader Hafiz Saeed under its Anti-Terrorism Act, India said that “effective” action against the 26/11 mastermind was a “logical first step” towards getting justice and combatting terrorism.
On Friday, Pakistan’s Punjab province added Saeed and four other aides to the fourth schedule of the act, which led to them to be “proscribed” for the first time since a UN Security Council panel listed him as an international terrorist on December 10, 2008.
This development follows the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed on January 30. At that time, JuD and its charitable subsidiary, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) were in the second schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Saeed was also put on the exit control list.
India’s response at that time of the house arrest was that Saeed had been arrested before and released within a few months several times before, therefore only a “credible crackdown” would be “proof of Pakistan’s sincerity”.
When Saeed had applied for removal of his name from the exit control list, India said that it was a matter between the JuD and his “handlers” in Pakistan.
Therefore, the Indian reaction on Monday to the addition of Saeed to the fourth schedule seems to be tonally more positive.
“Hafiz Saeed is an international terrorist, the mastermind of Mumbai terrorist attack and responsible for unleashing wave of terrorism against Pakistan’s neighbours through Lashkar-e-Toiba/Jamaat-ud-Daawa and their affiliates. Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues  is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
An individual listed under fourth schedule would have to take permission from the authorities to leave his permanent residence and keep the police informed about his engagements during travels.
According to Dawn, the Pakistan interior ministry told Punjab police’s counter-terrorism department that the five members are “active members of the Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat” and directed them “move and take necessary action”.
The action against Saeed was apparently a result of pressure from the US and other countries to take immediate steps after an adverse report from the Asia Pacific Group on money laundering which had raised objections over JuD’s financial transactions.
Pakistan had been warned that if no substantial action was taken, it would be referred by Financial Action Task Force to the International Cooperation Review Group process, which reviews and issues public warnings about the risk of financial transactions with identified countries.
Indian officials believed that action against Saeed was a reflection of the new confidence of the Nawaz Sharif government, after the new army chief Qamar Ahmed Bajwa took over, giving a bit more leeway to civilian government to pursue their reconciliation with New Delhi.


Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed can pose a serious threat to the society. This was said by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif at the Munich Security Conference, reported BBC.

Hafiz Saeed was detained under fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) on January 30. He was arrested in the larger interest of the country, Asif held.
“Terrorism is not synonymous to any religion. Terrorists aren’t Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. They are terrorists, they are criminals,” said Asif while addressing the audience.
In a panel discussion on countering extremism and terrorism, the minister said more than ninety percent of individuals killed by terrorists are Muslims.
Strongly opposing the term ‘Islamic terrorism,’ Asif said: “I have heard the term “Islamic terrorism” maybe a dozen times since morning, President Trump uses it frequently and this is fuelling Islamophobia because terrorism is being branded as Islamic terrorism.”
The minister stated the fight against terrorism is a common fight for mankind and humanity, and Pakistan expects and hopes that its brothers across the border from Afghanistan will cooperate to counter this threat.
In a statement harshly criticising the United State’s policies, Asif said Pakistan is determined to fight terrorism: “Let me assure the world community that Pakistan is a frontline state in this war and it will continue to fulfil its obligations to its own people and the international community but if the West’s policies are going to be isolationist it won’t help the fight against terrorism, only fuel it.”
Discussing the armed forces’ performance, the minister admitted that Pakistan made mistakes in the past but continued to say that the country’s armed forces did a commendable job in the past three years.

Pakistan - The knee-jerk nation

Syed Talat Hussain
We responded to the heart-wrenching attack in Sehwan Sharif the way we always respond to carnage: high on emotion, expansive in national grief. And this is a good thing. At least we still feel each other’s pain and retain enough humanity to cry for our lost brothers, sisters and children.
But emotions make a weak base for policy and that is something we have not understood even after having been through the familiar cycle of loss, shock, emotion and reaction. This is where our response to the events of the recent wave of terrorist attacks has been devoid of substance and thought.
To begin with, the whole debate has again been hijacked by the tired argument about implementation of the National Action Plan. Admitted, the plan (more a roadmap) is an important pointer to and assessment criterion of the way governments have carried out basic reforms for countering the menace of terrorism. Admitted also that there are gaping holes in its implementation. Yet, increasingly this has become an excuse to hide the incompetence and non-performance of the existing institutions.
For each point of the National Action Plan – from madressah reform to intelligence-sharing to dealing with proscribed organisations – there are dedicated ministries and relevant departments. For pre-emption of terrorism and keeping a keen eye on their future plans there are intelligence agencies with large budgets and an incredible range of powers (many extrajudicial) to scuttle dangerous plots. NAP’s non-implementation does not hinder anyone from carrying out their responsibilities.
Even the requirement of special courts is a hoax and a distraction. Consider what has happened in the wake of the Sehwan Sharif tragedy. In less than 24 hours, officials have claimed with great pride that a hundred terrorists have been killed. There was no due process of law. No trial. No questions asked. No answers given.
Perhaps many of them deserved the fate they fell to. Perhaps no due process time was available. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is that the state could kill at will when it came to that point of desperate action. No special arrangements were needed. No great debate in parliament was involved.
This emphasises the reality that is so often ignored in our reaction to mega tragedies. We cannot wait for a perfect plan to emerge before taking action. And if action is not being taken to prevent terrorism then the existing system must be held accountable regardless of whether or not we have NAP in place.
Also, the myth that special powers are needed to tide over the challenge of this new phase of terrorism is only that – a myth – and nothing more. By our own account, much of this terrorism continues to flow from the area bordering Afghanistan. From the northern areas to the Taftan border, the arc of trouble is under total control of state authorities. Fata and Balochistan are areas where all state institutions have maximum powers. Actions taken there are not even brought into judicial review (some because of constitutional reasons and some because of the practical-mindedness of our honourable judges). Should we then not ask why and how terrorists move from Afghanistan via this belt and make it to the heartland and cause such devastation?
There is supreme irony in the fact that, when faced with allegations from Afghanistan about groups moving from the border region to carry out terrorism in the country, we have always raised the point about the long distance involved between the alleged point of departure of the terrorist and the venue of his heinous action. We need to now ask ourselves the same question about hideouts in Afghanistan fanning out terrorists all across our country. What is it that we need to make their travel impossible? Rephrase the question: What more do institutions need in terms of power and resources to prevent these terrorists from travelling such a long way into our main cities? Probably very little. Probably nothing.
No less disconcerting is the desire for quick-fixes that has again become evident after last week’s events. The emotional content of our response to the killing and mayhem at Sehwan Sharif has been overloaded in measures like closing the border and summoning Afghan diplomats and handing them lists of terrorists that we want them to nab, neutralise and give up. Much of this was done in haste and now we are stuck with the problem of following up on our threats of direct action.
It is understandable why a slew of actions had to be taken: the public needed to be assured that something is being done. Yet the cost of this assurance is heavy. We have squarely focused on terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan (which do exist) but in a manner that had driven our policy up the narrow lane. What do we do now that Afghanistan has said “nothing-doing” on the list we handed over to them? The Americans will not be of any help. The Indian design being executed through Kabul cannot but be with the connivance and approval of Washington’s deep state. Why would they play an honest broker between us and Kabul when India’s influence and ingress has been allowed to expand on their watch? So we are stuck. That should not have happened. A good strategy opens up options instead of narrowing them down.
Another disconcerting aspect of the events after the week of carnage is the mindboggling campaign based on silly comparisons between Raheel Sharif and the present army chief – as if everything else about terrorism in this country has been figured out and only this side of the issue needs fixing. Crawling out of the woodworks are pen-pushers manufacturing stories about the imagined bliss of the Raheel years. We do not know what purpose such falsehoods serve other than re-inflating the personal folklore of Gen Raheel, which we know was more fiction than fact.
If history could be recorded honestly and truthfully, we could prove through data and statistics that the half-done work during his tenure is what is catching up with this nation now. If debate on the facts of his tenure had not been stifled in the name of national interest, we would have been better-positioned to take stock of the reality of our success against terrorism.
But that did not happen. What happened instead was total compliance of the worst order to whatever was dished out by official quarters. That was bad enough. Worse is the sad attempt to reignite that controversial era as if that is something to go by and follow. This is folly and must be avoided at all costs.
We have reached a point where we cannot afford to make mistakes – emotional, policy and that of debate. We need to get our act together. And we need to do it now. The hour of terror is upon us. The enemy will create waves of attacks and each could be more lethal than the last. Every institution needs to pull in the same direction. We have enough national resources and resolve to defeat the plot. If we can’t, it is only our own fault – and not of our stars or the brilliance of the plotters.