Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

What would make you flee to Iran?

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Exactly, desperation. And that’s precisely why there are one million refugees there. They have escaped war torn Afghanistan and Iraq for the relative safety of Iran.

UNHCR, refugees, EU, economic migrants, Europol,

That refugees are not a threat, but are people who are threatened is frequently forgotten because of constant headlines about criminal immigrants.

Contrary to popular belief the majority of refugees are not in the West, according to UNHCR‘s 2010 Global Trends report. A staggering 80% have taken refuge in developing countries. Notably in Pakistan, Iran and Syria that account for 1.9 million, 1.1 million and 1 million respectively.

In Europe, you wrongly get the impression that the majority of refugees are here. But they are economic migrants, which is very different. Their arrival in Europe is often facilitated by human traffickers aiming to profit from the transport of migrants and also their criminal exploitation upon arrival in the EU.

How many refugees can pay people smugglers $10,000 to get to Europe?

From what I understand it costs $10,000 per person to be smuggled from Iraq or Afghanistan to Europe. Only a handful of refugees are able to pay such prices. And many people smugglers recruit their clients on the internet. How many refugees in the camps are surfing the net?

Instead it’s economic migrants who get into debt with criminal gangs thinking they will earn a fortune in Europe, which of course they don’t. To pay off their debts they hence end up, willingly or not, working for criminal gangs in all kinds of illegal activities. Anything from begging and benefit fraud to murder.

Criminals giving refugees a bad name

Europe has for a long time been happy to give refugees a new life here. But due to the problems of criminal activity by a section of economic migrants, more and more Europeans are turning against immigration. So much so that anti immigrant parties have been elected to parliament in many EU countries. That even immigrants who have been here a long time vote for such parties says a lot about how criminal gangs are exploiting the open borders in Europe.

Genuine refugees are not a threat

That refugees are not a threat, but are people who are themselves threatened is forgotten because of constant headlines about what criminal immigrants are up to.

Handle asylum applications swiftly

Asylum-seekers judged through proper procedures not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their home countries. So speeding up such procedures would ironically be a way of helping real refugees desparately in need of asylum.

Deport criminals

Some Europeans deport immigrants convicted of a crime and some don’t. In order to help the millions of refugees that genuinely need asylum, isn’t it time for all EU countries to start deporting such criminals? In Northern Europe they don’t care if they end up in jail since the sentences are low and mild and they even get a TV in their cell. Very different from prison back home.

Who are the people smugglers?

According to Europol, the most widely reported organised crime groups involved in the facilitation of illegal immigration are of Chinese, Turkish, Albanian, Indian, Iraqi, Roma and  Russian origin. Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Pakistani, and some West African groups are said to be among the most capable, managing all successive phases of illegal immigration from source to destination countries. That’s not to say that some ethnic Europeans are not involved, but mainly the gangs are of the same ethnic groups as the refugees that are suffering as a result of their activities.

Flying in their victims

Some EU countries have already started to have border controls on land and they are working. So according to Europol,organised air smuggling is an emerging trend.

Criminal groups issue flight tickets to illegal immigrants who make asylum requests upon arrival, or attempt to pass through security checks with counterfeit or forged documents, or genuine documents issued to ‘lookalikes’.

An Iraqi criminal group in Sweden was for instance identified as the owner of an airline that facilitated its people smuggling activities.

How about putting economic migration on hold?

With Europe struggling with the Euro crisis and recession, maybe it would be a good idea to temporarily only allow economic migration for people who already have secured a job? That would be a huge blow to people smugglers and make Europe accept more genuine refugees.

Exploiting Europe’s generosity

Frequently criminal immigrants, resident in the EU, facilitate the last step of the migrants’ journey, in some cases collecting final instalments of transportation fees, and are in an ideal position to profit from newly arrived migrants.

It’s really terrible that criminals are poisoning Westerners against refugees when we should instead reach out a helping hand and welcome them here. But due to the problems caused by people smugglers and their gangs, Europe is reluctant to take more refugees. What do you think can be done to stop those criminals? Let’s face it, they are ruining the lives of genuine refugees who need and should be given asylum in the West. Or maybe you believe having open borders is more important than giving refugees a safe heaven? Should we just leave genuine refugees to rot in camps so that economic migrants can be exploited by criminal gangs?

Photo: Al Jazeera English – Flickr

What would have been gained by capturing Osama bin Laden alive?

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Can’t help wondering why two UN Human Rights watchdogs and the Archbishop of Canterbury seem to believe the world would have been a better place if “Geronimo” had been captured alive?

Osama bin Laden, raid, trial, international, terrorism, Al Queda, United States, Abbottabad, Pakistan, Navy Seals

Would it have been possible to treat Osama bin Laden the same way as any other human being and consider him innocent until proven guilty?

Would it? In theory, yes. We all agree that all human beings deserve a fair trial and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. If it had been a minor Al Queda leader most likely he would have been captured alive. But there’s an exception to every rule, and to this one Osama bin Laden probably is.

Are you presumed innocent after repeatedly pleading guilty?

He has voluntarily declared himself guilty numerous times, not only to 9/11 but several other terrorist attacks around the world. Can he then be presumed innocent? He was even proud of what he had done and boasted about it. In fact, even encouraged his followers to kill innocent people to further his own interest.

Would he have allowed the Americans to capture him alive?

Bin Laden was an intelligent man. So clever he was able to be in hiding for at least five years in a house 500 meters from Pakistan’s military academy. Have actually been to Abbottabad and it seems to me the place was chosen since it’s next to Kashmir and India, which could have come in handy for him.

Seriously doubt a man as proud and vain as he was would have allowed himself to be captured and become a trophy for the hated Americans. He carefully created his image and I seriously doubt that’s the way he intended to end his life. In the presumable absence of a cyanide capsule, he knew that just one threatening gesture would have made the Navy Seals kill him.

Where would the trial have taken place?

Where could Osama bin Laden have been held awaiting trial? A whole army of suicide bombers would have volunteered to take revenge and thousands and thousands of innocent people would have died as a result.

Am sure the Americans decided against having the trial in the US for security reasons and he could not have been tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague since its jurisdiction only runs from 2002. And trying him before a military commission in Guantanamo would render the validity dubious.

So where could the trial have taken place in order to please both Western civilians and adherents of Sharia law?

Who would have been prepared to work on his trial?

The prosecutor, judge and jury’s days would be numbered. They and their families would never be safe again and need to be provided with fake identities. So it would have had to be people willing to risk their lives, or die, in order to convict “Geronimo”.

And they would all have had to be men since religious fanatics like Osama bin Laden refuse to be anywhere near women who are not family. The joke in Saudi Arabia was that it was a good idea to marry such a man since he wouldn’t even look at another woman.

Why would Osama have spilled his guts?

It would definitely have been interesting if “Geronimo” had been put on trial and told the truth under oath.

But would he have done that? Definitely not. He would not have given away any information worth having. Probably instead gone on a hunger strike and done everything in his power to convey a picture of him as a martyr and further his cause as much as possible. The information gathered during the raid is probably of more interest than what he would have revealed in a trial.

Would a civilian US court have found him guilty?

If he had been found guilty he would have faced the death penalty. If so he would instead of being shot have been given a lethal injection.

But would he have been found guilty? It would have been difficult for a civilian court to reach a verdict that he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The fact that he, and his followers know he is and that he has actually pleaded guilty may not have been enough to reach such a verdict. A clever lawyer would probably have been able to work wonders for him.

Putting him on trial would have given Al Queda the enormous boost it needs. After all its followers are supporters of Osama bin Laden’s and not the network as such. And what would the world have gained from strengthening Al Queda?

Am against the death penalty, but when I lived in Riyadh I understood that the ways the Saudis deal with terrorist is the only way to handle such fanatics. They will never walk the streets again unless they are reformed. And they know that if they are up to no good again they will follow convicted terrorists to chop-chop square. It’s interesting to note that the Saudis are actually successful in making followers of Osama bin Laden’s see their errors and change for good.

We don’t need a revived Al Queda

Putting him on trial would have made him even more of a martyr than he already is to his followers. And Al Queda would have been strengthened. It’s bad enough that they have stated they will avenge his death. But the carnage would have been much greater if he had become a cult figure awaiting trial. Thousands and thousands of innocent people would have died as a result of giving him a fair Western trial.

Am against targeted killings. But was there really much of a choice in the case of Osama bin Laden? What do you think? Would bin Laden have allowed the Americans to capture him alive? Where could his trial have taken place? Is it likely that he would have told the truth under oath? Would he have been found guilty in a civilian US court? How many innocent people would have died as a result of trying him? Would Al Queda have been given a huge boost by a bin Laden trial? Or should he simply have been left in peace in Abbottabad planning further terrorist attacks? Would anything positive really have come out of capturing him alive? And would it have made the world a better place place for all, not just for Al Queda?

(photo: Flickr – Adam Jones, Ph.D.)

WikiLeaks – what a public relations coup!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

What was new about the “WikiLeak scoop” a few days ago? Anybody following international news have heard about alleged Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan from US officials.

Anybody following international news have heard about alleged Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan from Hillary Clinton and other US officials.

Last week Hillary Clinton actually said there must be someone in the Pakistani government that knows Osama bin Laden’s wheeabouts. Can you get more blunt than that?

So what was the point of making the trove of 90,000 classified military documents public? The only reason they got so much attention was by only released them to The New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel. They were no scope and I don’t understand why they caused so much consternation? The only difference they make is that now some Afghans lives are in danger.

WIkiLeaks goal in disclosing secret documents is to reveal “unethical behavior” by governments and corporations. Catch is since it was founded in 2006 it has only been able to disclose secrets from Western countries.

But what about secrets from inside the ISI or Pakistani government? If the 90,000 documents were from inside the ISI they would have been truly sensational. Or if WikiLeaks published classified information from say, the Iranian, North Korean, Russian or Chinese government.

But chances of that ever happen are next to none. Who inside such regimes would dare to take the risk? Pity since that kind of information would make WikiLeaks a worth while organisation. As it is they provide one sided information from the West without being able to deliver information that would really make a difference.

What does WikiLeaks want to accomplish?

Part of me likes what they are doing, but since they will only be able to reveal secrets from the West I don’t think they have a mission to fulfil. At least not if they continue leaking “scoops” that are common knowledge.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are a bit of a question mark. He says he’s a journalist but according to the New York Times he is not. They call him an activist but to what end isn’t clear. If it is his desire to promote peace I don’t think he has accomplished anything so far.

So what did he accomplish by bringing his organization into the debate on Afghanistan? WikiLeaks had to close some time ago due to lack of funding so presumably the aim was to get sponsors? Or just become famous? Some people go to extremes for fame and glory.

The pr coup he achieved was brilliant. He is now a household name and so is Wikileaks. Just a pity that by showing little regard for the hard moral choices and dearth of good policy options facing decision-makers, he is as reckless and destructive as soldier or soldiers who leaked the documents in the first place.

All WikiLeaks has achieved so far is, putting Afghans who provided leaks to the US in danger as well as – again – show us that technology has diminished our control over what the world knows. So now WikiLeaks needs to step up to the plate and deliver scoops of classified information from inside totalitarian states. That would justify their existence. If not, what can such an organisations accomplish?

(Photo: US Department of State – Flickr)