Fighting Trauma and Depression in the Face of Terrorism and War — Vision.org

7 08 2008

Source: Market watch

Help From Extended Family Relationships Is Often Not as Accessible as It Once Was

Last update: 3:06 a.m. EDT Aug. 6, 2008
PASADENA, CA, Aug 06, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — Vision.org writer Gina Stepp discusses the emotional and mental fallout of terrorist attacks that attempted to disrupt the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Monday morning, August 4th, 16 police were killed and16 others were injured in a border attack in the Xinjiang region of China, home to the largest Muslim population in China.
The attack comes on the heels of Sunday’s report by the United Kingdom’s Times Online that Spain is secretly gearing up to deal with threats of looming terrorism that may be faced by local tourist resorts during the busy August season. And while United States officials insist that Europe is much more susceptible to terrorist threats than America, the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center proved that the U.S. is not immune to danger.
Whether or not such assurances of American safety are true, the emotional and mental fallout is the same in the U.S. as elsewhere in the West. Families and communities feel they have more reason than ever to worry about the mental effects of trauma and depression. But do they? Some would argue that life was even harder for previous generations — those that struggled through the many and varied hardships of earlier times. But there is one additional factor that is often not considered in such arguments. Families are more likely to be scattered in modern times, and the relatively modern invention of the “nuclear family” has already given way in many cases to a more fragmented single-parent version. Help from extended family relationships is often not as accessible as it once was, and this weakening of society’s fabric contributes to the weakening of community and family resilience.
In other words, in Western society and culture people may be less resilient than ever in the face of trauma, while serious threats to well-being may actually have increased.
“Because of such considerations, communities would love to know how to prepare people for psychologically stressful events and to increase the potential for recovery,” says a new feature article from Vision, titled “Building Resilience in a Turbulent World.” “Researchers in the field of positive psychology, in turn, are busily working to find out what traits are shared by those people who demonstrate a greater capacity to cope, in the hope of helping others to become more resilient to stress, trauma and depression.”
Vision presents the latest research to help families build this kind of resilience, discussing the topic further a related Blog titled “Family Matters” at Vision Media.
Stepp notes that some people are born with a naturally positive outlook, and optimism is seen as a key factor in resilience, but she also points out that researchers now know that new experiences and supportive family relationships can literally change brain structure. This understanding has led psychologists to understand that optimism and resilience can be built, and that adults as well as children can, to some degree, be inoculated against depression. However, stresses Stepp, building resilience is nearly impossible outside of the protective influence of positive interpersonal relationships.
About Vision:
Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine,

visit their web site at http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/default.aspx.

Contact

Edwin Steppwww.vision.orgVision Media Productions476 S. Marengo AvenuePasadena, CA  91101Phone (24 hrs): 626 535-0444 ext 105
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Left wing Sepearatism, Terrorism : Watch

7 08 2008
Maoists blow up block office in Jharkhand
Press Trust of India, India – 41 minutes ago
Garwah (Jharkhand), Aug 7 (PTI) Maoists blew up the block office building at Dandai in Jharkhand’s Garwah district, police said today.

Maoists kill four in Chhattisgarh
Thaindian.com, Thailand – 23 hours ago
Raipur, Aug 6 (IANS) Maoist rebels killed four people in two separate attacks in Chhattisgarh, police said Wednesday. Insurgents killed two people in

Nandigram: CPM blames Trinamool-Maoist for fresh trouble
Zee News, India – 12 hours ago
Accusing Trinamool Congress and Maoists of launching attacks against CPI-M leaders at Nandigram where anti-SEZ protesters have locked horns with Left
No need to repay Rs 1.5b loan: Maoists tell farmers
Kantipur Online, Nepal – 5 Aug 2008
Some clients who used to pay interest regularly have also stopped after CPN (Maoist) became the largest party after the Constituent Assembly election.

Bike gang kills CPM leader in Nandigram
Calcutta Telegraph, India – 9 hours ago
The CPM has alleged that Niranjan’s murder was the handiwork of Maoists and the Trinamul Congress. “It is typical of Maoists to target CPM leaders and





Terrorism | Experts Split on Threat of Terrorism at Beijing Olympics

7 08 2008

Terrorism | Experts Split on Threat of Terrorism at Beijing Olympics

Source: DW

A deadly mortar attack in northwestern China has stirred up fear of attacks during the Olympic Games in Beijing. However, whether the Games are really in danger is a highly disputed matter.

According to Chinese authorities, the attack in the Muslim region of Xinjiang, which killed 16 police officers on Monday, Aug. 4, was carried out by terrorists. This is the second attack of this kind in Xinjiang in the past two weeks. Now the question is: How concerned should the world be of an attack during the Olympics.

Terrorism is the biggest threat during the Games, Rohan Gunaratna, one of Singapore’s most prominent terrorism experts, told the Chinese daily Straits Times.

Head of the the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang Technological University, Gunaratna said the Olympic Security Committee categorizes al Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Tibetan separatists and the Falun Gong sects as threats.

Gunaratna said he believes the ETIM poses the biggest threat. That group was blamed for Monday’s attack by the China Daily newspaper.

The Beijing fortress

A map showing the location of Kashgar in China.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The attack took place in the most western reaches of the country

Other political observers warned against lapsing into panic or dramatizing the danger to the Games in Beijing.

The Chinese capital can be compared to a fortress, and that the danger of an attack is therefore remote, according to East Asian expert Xuewu Gu. Xuewu added that the most dangerous groups are not in a position to stage an attack in Beijing because they are being forced to deal with the police outside the capital.

State in a state

Martin Wagener, an expert on violence in East Asia at Trier University, called Beijing a “true security state.”

Chinese police officers march in front of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Around 110,000 police officers and 34,000 soldiers have been enlisted to work security

The government has put 34,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army along with 110,000 police officers in place for security, Wagener said his research has shown. They will be backed up by fighter jets, helicopters and ships. There have also been some 300,000 security cameras installed, and up to 1.4 million people have reportedly volunteered to make sure nothing goes wrong.

“It will be very difficult to smuggle any sort of explosives into Beijing,” said Wagener.

The attack in Kashgar is not an uncommon occurrence. For years there have been both small and large attacks against the police and government buildings. Until now, however, they have not been reported on outside the country.

Xuewu said he expects the attacks to continue after the Olympics, because the groups’ causes will not fade away as international media leave China after the Games.

“Just the opposite,” he said. “There will still be problems because the injustice in China will just get bigger, and the relationship between the central government and the minorities will get worse.”

Selective disinformation

Wagener said he believes it is possible that the central government in Beijing has instrumented accidents, like the one in Kashgar, in order to justify their giant security apparatus.

When the Games are over they are likely to use it for other purposes, such as controlling separatist in Xinjiang, Tibet protesters, and the religious Falun Gong sects, Wagener said.

“This seems to be the central concern for the authorities,” he added.

Police pointing at a photographer taking photos of the attack site in Kashgar.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Local police tried to keep the story from getting out

The Chinese government seems to be carrying out a campaign of selective disinformation of the public. At least that’s what actions in Kashgar are pointing to. According to one reporter from AFP, independent reports of the attack were difficult to come by. The local authorities blocked Internet access on the day of the attack. The police tried to prohibit any news of the attack getting out, and even broke into the hotel room of an AFP photographer and forced him to delete photos of the attack site.

Two Japanese journalists, who wanted to report on the attack, were momentarily detained according to the Associated Press. Reporter Shinji Katsuta said that he was hit multiple times in the face. Authorities apologized later for the incident.

Martin Schrader (mrm)





How to lose a war against insurgency ?

7 08 2008

Praveen Swami

Source: The Hindu


Orissa faces defeat at the hands of increasingly powerful Maoist groups.

Its leaders don’t seem to care.


Under the benign gaze of a bright silver statue of Bhimrao Ambedkar, improbable numbers of passengers were being packed in a battered jeep for the ride home in forest hamlets. Neither a month of horrific violence nor the annual week-long general strike called by Maoist guerrillas to commemorate the martyrdom of their comrades deterred thousands of Chitrakonda’s Adivasi residents from showing up at the weekly market. Chitrakonda in Orissa seemed strangely cheerful f or a place which, this summer, witnessed some of the most horrific violence ever recorded in India’s Maoist insurgency. Across the road, from the market, the police station didn’t even have a guard.

In mid-July, a 100-kg landmine ripped through a specially designed mine-proof truck, killing 17 policemen near Motu, on the southern fringes of the violence-scarred district of Malkangiri. Earlier, 38 Andhra Pradesh police personnel died when a boat ferrying them across the Balimela Dam’s reservoir, just a few minutes drive from Chitrakonda, was ambushed. The panicked personnel ran to one side of the boat to escape, causing it to tip over, and all those on board were drowned. .

India’s National Informatics Centre, with a virtual grasp of reality, counts Motu and Balimela — where the ravaged hull of the sunken boat has now been salvaged and dragged ashore — as tourism draws. Not surprisingly, though, visitors aren’t queuing up to sample the region’s delights.

“Kandahar,” policemen call the forests around a bombed-out culvert on the road to village MV79 — home to Hindu refugees from East Pakistan, who were rehabilitated in this place without a name. On their way back from an operation near MV49, where they hoped to gather evidence linking a local politician to the CPI-Maoist, the tired police personnel — some of whom had served in the violence-scarred region for over two years on end — failed to execute a mine search before crossing the bridge. Now, besieged police personnel at Motu village, at the end of the road that runs south through the district to the confluence of the Sileru and Sabari rivers, have renamed the landmarks: “Peshawar,” “Khyber Pass,” “Kabul.”

Just why have things come to this? Put simply, the Orissa police are outmanned and outgunned. In addition to a strength of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of military-trained supporters active in villages, the CPI-Maoist is believed to have at least two companies of forces active in the area. Six months ago, the CPI-Maoist harvested over 1,100 rifles and machine guns in a raid on police stations and armouries in and around the town of Nayagarh. Ill-armed and poorly trained police guards did not even bother to put up a fight.

In what the former Punjab Director-General of Police K.P.S. Gill calls a “war of small commanders,” ground-level leadership is key. But while the Malkangiri police ought to have 49 sub-inspectors to command their constables, just 17 are in place. Where they should have three Deputy Superintendents, they have just one. Superintendent of Police Satish Gajabhiye is also the sole officer of his rank in place — a stark contrast with Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab which have waged successful counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns.

On ground, the Malkangiri police’s offensive counter-insurgency capabilities are pathetic. They have five SOG sections, each with 20 personnel, backed by six companies of ill-trained local police — a total of 700 men to operate in 5,791 square km of some of the most dense, mountainous tropical forests in India. Backing them are four companies of the Central Reserve Police Force — well under 500 men. Dantewada, across the border in Chhattisgarh, is twice as large as Malkangiri but has eight times as many CRPF personnel.

Back in 2001, well before the CPI-Maoist established itself in Orissa, the State sanctioned plans to create three new police stations in Malkangiri. But just one of them has become functional, that too on an ad hoc basis, without a proper building or housing for its staff. At least two police stations, Paparmetla and Jodambo, are unconnected by road, and have no reliable means of communication — not even electricity. In addition, the district’s criminal justice system has collapsed. Inadequate investigation and the complete absence of modern forensic resources, combined with the fact that judges and prosecutors are afraid of reprisals, have made securing convictions of CPI-Maoist leaders next to impossible.

Early this year, a Malkangiri court released Salven Mukta, a Chhattisgarh resident thought to be responsible for at least 49 killings in the course of the CPI-Maoist’s brutal war with Salwa Judum vigilantes. His rapid acquittal startled observers, who note that his trial in Chhattisgarh is still under way. Last year, the police in Malkangiri arrested Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee member Srinivas Sriramaloo, along with a senior commander from Chhattisgarh, Madvi Sukal. Sriramaloo is now in a Medak jail — but Sukal, who was fortunate enough to face trial in Malkangiri, was released. He has, the police in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa say, gone on to lead several attacks against the informers the CPI-Maoists believe were responsible for the arrests.

Cases like these are depressingly common. Sariam Dora, code-named Santosh, was released from prison in July 2007, and is now a member of the CPI-Maoist’s Malkangiri district leadership. Katam Mala, acquitted in 2008, and Sapan Bala, released a year earlier, are already back on the district police’s wanted list.

All of this is symptomatic of a wider malaise. Last year, official data obtained by The Hindu shows, Orissa had just 10,839 armed police personnel instead of the 14,891 who should have been in place. It had 252 officers ranking from Deputy Superintendent to Senior Superintendent instead of the 304 needed, and only 4,542 inspectors instead of the 5,933 sanctioned. In 2005, the State was 12,000 personnel short of the sanctioned strength — a sanctioned strength based, it bears mention, on the three decades-old population data and no suggestion that an insurgency was brewing.

Last year, Orissa hired 6,000 cadets to fill the gap. It turned out, though, that its police training centre could process just 300 students at a time. Training was slashed from 12 months to six months— at which rate it would have taken a decade to complete the process — and meanwhile, untrained personnel were assigned to police stations. Earlier this year, the recruitments themselves were quashed, after credible allegations of corruption surfaced.

Bibhu Prasad Routray, a leading expert on Orissa’s Maoist insurgency, notes that while the State needs around 1,000 police stations, it has just 482. Most of these have neither proper infrastructure nor manpower. Even armed police contingents, which ought to constitute the cutting edge of the Orissa police’s counter-insurgency operations, are grossly underequipped. “For example,” Mr. Routray wrote earlier this year, “the 4th Battalion of the Orissa Armed Police located at Rourkela, close to the Orissa-Jharkhand border, stationed on a 143-acre plot of land, does not even have a boundary wall. The suggestion to erect a wall to protect the facility was made way back in November 2006. The battalion authorities are still awaiting approval of the Police Headquarters, after four subsequent reminders.”

Crack counter-insurgency force

Orissa is now focussing its energies on creating a crack counter-insurgency force, the Special Operations Group, modelled on Andhra Pradesh’s successful anti-naxalite police, the Greyhounds. It is unclear, though, whether what some critics call the ‘Rambo Model of Police Reform’ will work.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Greyhounds successes came in the context of thoroughgoing institutional reform of the police. Police stations were fortified to protect them from attack; incentives were introduced for the police to serve in troubled areas; and a massive programme of grass roots hiring was initiated. Critically, police intelligence was upgraded. Today’s Andhra Pradesh’s Special Intelligence Bureau has more direct-recruit Indian Police Service officers of the rank of SP than the Operations Directorate of the Intelligence Bureau, which handles all nationwide counter-terrorism intelligence. CPI-Maoist leaders have publicly acknowledged that the SIB’s intelligence capabilities were central to breaking the back of its campaign in Andhra Pradesh.

Just across the border in Chhattisgarh, there is evidence of how dangerous seeking shortcuts — instead of implementing proper police reforms — can be. Faced with a situation similar to that in Malkangiri, the State threw its weight behind the Salwa Judum militia. Not surprisingly, better-off Adivasi groups of Chhattisgarh dominated the vigilante organisation. Salwa Judum used to settle vendettas and feuds with the poorest tribes like the Koyas, who today make up the backbone of the CPI-Maoist in Malkangiri.

It will take more than policing, of course, to address the Maoist insurgency. As long as Malkangiri Adivasis continue to be excluded from economic development and are subjected to social discrimination, the conditions for violent protests will continue to exist.

Malkangiri, as the work of the eminent historian Biswamoy Pati teaches us, has a long history of rebellion. Back in 1879, the Koya rebels led by Tomma Dora rose in revolt against the authorities to protest slave labour and forcible extraction of supplies for the government. The rebels captured the Motu police station, and even annihilated a military detachment sent from Hyderabad to put down the uprising. In 1920-24, Adivasi unrest lent momentum to an uprising led by Alluri Sitarama Raju. And in 1942, Laxman Naiko led a massive movement for justice that is still in popular memory.

Orissa needs to provide justice if the Maoists in Malkangiri are to be defeated. But the fact is that Orissa has been evicted from Malkangiri, leaving the State government with no instrument with which it might deliver development and progress. Orissa’s political leadership seems to have neither the will nor the vision to win this war.





Terrorism single biggest threat to S. Asia: Manmohan

3 08 2008

Terrorism single biggest threat to S. Asia: Manmohan Muralidhar Reddy and Sandeep Dikshit
Source : The hindu

‘Cannot afford to lose battle against the ideologies of hatred’

Stress on rapid integration along the lines of the ASEAN, says Prime Minister

Terrorism getting “institutionalised nurturing and support” in Pakistan: Hamid Karzai


COLOMBO: Terrorism was the dominant theme of speeches by the SAARC heads of state on the opening day of the summit here on Saturday. All the eight leaders were of the view that unless terrorism was defeated in all its forms and manifestations peace, progress and development of the region would be affected.

Regretting that South Asia had not moved as fast as one would have wished, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh identified terrorism as the “single biggest threat” to stability and progress. “We cannot afford to lose the battle against the ideologies of hatred, fanaticism and against all those who seek to destroy our social fabric,” said Dr. Singh, while pointing out that “we have only to see the rapid integration within Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its emergence as an important bloc in Asia to understand the opportunities that beckon.”

“Terrorists and extremists know no borders. The recent attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad are gruesome reminders of the barbarity that still finds a place here in South Asia. We must act jointly and with determination to fight this scourge. We must defend the values of pluralism, peaceful coexistence and the rule of law,” he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who opened his address with an apology to India for the attack on its Indian embassy in Kabul, charged that terrorism was getting “institutionalised nurturing and support” in Pakistan.

“Wildfires of terrorism are spreading across the region,” he said, adding that “these terrorist attacks are a rapidly growing threat, not just to Afghanistan or India, but for the entire SAARC region.”

“No amount of outrage and condemnation can suffice to express the anger and frustration we all feel when faced with such mindless brutality and violence. In Pakistan, terrorism and its sanctuaries are gaining a deeper grip as demonstrated by the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa highlighted the need to strengthen regional legal mechanisms and intensify intelligence sharing to boost South Asia’s collective prosperity, peace and stability. Sri Lanka had seen the benefits of such cooperation in combating terrorism and Mr. Rajapaksa hoped terrorism in the region would be wiped out sooner than anticipated.

Fangs of terrorism

“The deadly fangs of terrorism are spreading across the region. They threaten to disrupt peace and stability. We must combat this menace of terrorism across the broadest possible spectrum,” said the Head of Government and Chief Adviser of Bangladesh Fakhruddin Ahmed.

“Terrorism has perpetrated brutal attacks in every part of the world. We condemn the heinous terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan in recent times, which caused unnecessary loss of valuable lives and property,” he added.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley “unequivocally condemned these senseless and reprehensible acts of violence regardless of how sublime, noble and even desperate a cause may be.”

Pakistan joined other countries in condemning the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, with its Prime Minister, Makhdoom Raza Gilani, observing that terrorism had “shattered the entire value system of peoples and interferes with socio-economic development.”

Pointing out that Pakistan too had suffered from terrorism and lost the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in one such attack, Mr. Gilani said all countries need to fight terrorism “individually as well as collectively.”

He hoped the coming meetings of SAARC police chiefs and Home Ministers in Islamabad would focus on strengthening regional cooperation against terrorism.





UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.





Melsunka: A haven for Naxals

31 07 2008

source: New Indian Express
Tuesday November 27 2007 08:41 IST

Manjunath Hegde

SHIMOGA: Melsunka village in Hosnagar taluk has neither road connectivity nor power supply, but people still stay here as KPCL paid them compensation in instalments after the village became a restricted area in the backwater of Mani Dam of Varahi Power Project.

Away from the civilian world, lack of facilities and impenetrable rainforests have made this village an ideal hub for Naxalites. It is feared that the youth here are slowly turning towards Naxal ideology.

Melsunka village of Sulgodu GP in Hosnagar taluk has 87 families and they have to walk 18 kms to Yadur to buy something.

They are cut off from the outer world. The only entry to the area is through Mani Dam, with permission from KPCL.Villagers of Kumribailu, Ultiga and Melsunka depend on forest products like bamboo and a few are engaged in agriculture.

After the entry of Naxalites, villagers say that the Forest Department personnel have stopped harassing them. A village without any civic amenities, Melsunka has become a favourite hide-out for the Naxalites. Whenever there is a fight between the policemen and the Naxalites in Amasebailu area of Udupi district, it is said that the Naxals rush to Melsunka region which is just a one-hour walk away through the ghat section. Whenever the police head for the village, Naxals disappear into the forests.

It may be recalled that a pamphlet was recovered from a camp deserted by Naxalites near Amasebailu, which showed that they had plans to blast Mani Dam, which is very near to Melsunka.

However, Hosnagar CIP SK Prahlada said no untoward incidents were reported from the area so far. Residents of this hamlet do not say a word either against policemen or favouring Naxalites. Alarmingly, a couple of Naxalites including Parvati, who was killed in Idu encounter, were from this village. Police say that the Naxal team wandering in the surroundings of Melsunka is ‘Varahi Dalam’, and they often visit Melsunka whenever they need grain and vegetables.

Interestingly, the village which had roads and electricity 30 years ago, has nothing but backwater and forests everywhere today. The youth here get offers from Naxals to join their group.