Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obama sends US Special Operations Forces to 75 countries, up from 60 last year

The Times

President Obama has secretly sanctioned a huge increase in the number of US special forces carrying out search-and-destroy missions against al-Qaeda around the world, with American troops now operating in 75 countries.

The dramatic expansion in the use of special forces, which in their global span go far beyond the covert missions authorised by George W. Bush, reflects how aggressively the President is pursuing al-Qaeda behind his public rhetoric of global engagement and diplomacy.

When Mr Obama took office US special forces were operating in fewer than 60 countries. In the past 18 months he has ordered a big expansion in Yemen and the Horn of Africa — known areas of strong al-Qaeda activity — and elsewhere in the Middle East, central Asia and Africa.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Obama has also approved pre-emptive special forces strikes to disrupt terror plots, and has given the units powers and authority that was not granted by Mr Bush when he occupied the White House.

It also emerged yesterday that Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, has ordered the Pentagon to find savings of more than $100 billion (£68 billion) over the next five years to redistribute more funds for combat forces — including special operations units. Mr Gates has called on all departments to come up with proposals by July 31, and is initially demanding $7 billion in cuts and efficiencies for the 2012 fiscal year, and further cuts each year up to 2016.

The effort to provide more money for combat forces in Afghanistan and Iraq — including special operations units — is likely to lead to a clash with Congress, and also with the defence industry if favoured equipment programmes are scrapped.

The aggressive secret war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups has coincided with a surge in the number of US drone attacks in the lawless border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an al-Qaeda and Taleban haven, since Mr Obama took office.

Just weeks after he entered the White House, the number of missile strikes from the CIA-operated unmanned drones significantly increased, and the pattern has remained. In Iraq, US forces have killed 34 out of the top 42 al-Qaeda operatives in the past 90 days alone.

General Ray Odierno, the US commander in Baghdad, disclosed yesterday that special forces had penetrated the al-Qaeda headquarters in Mosul in northern Iraq, which had helped them to target key figures involved in financing and recruiting .

Mr Obama has asked for a 5.7 per cent increase in the Special Operations budget for the 2011 fiscal year — a total of $6.3 billion — on top of an additional $3.5 billion he requested this year.

Of about 13,000 US special forces deployed overseas, about 9,000 are evenly divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their use, and the increase in drone attacks, is a strategy that has been strongly advocated by Joe Biden, the Vice-President, but criticised by the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hundreds of civilians have died in special operations A report last week revealed that the top US commander in the Middle East had signed an order last September authorising a big expansion of clandestine military missions in the region, and also in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.

General David Petraeus signed the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Executive Order on September 30. In the three months that followed there was a surge of special operations troops into Yemen, where US operatives are now training local forces.

Since then, US military specialists working with Yemeni armed forces are said to have killed six out of 15 leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The raids followed reports linking the group to the murder of 13 Americans at Fort Hood, Texas, and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet.

The order also allowed for US special forces to enter Iran to gather intelligence for a possible future military strike if tensions over its alleged nuclear weapons programme escalate dramatically.

The seven-page document states that the surge is designed to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” al-Qaeda and other militant groups, and to “prepare the environment” for future military strikes by US and local forces.

• President Obama is reported to have chosen a US intelligence veteran, retired General James Clapper, as his new Director of National Intelligence. General Clapper, whose nomination comes at a time of mounting domestic terror threats, would replace Dennis Blair, who stepped down last month amid heavy criticism over a string of security lapses.

Under the radar

Nov 2002 Hellfire missile fired from a drone at a car in northwest Yemen kills six al-Qaeda fighters, including Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, aide to Osama bin Laden and the planner of the bomb attack on USS Cole

Jan 2006 Missile attack on village of Damadola, Pakistan, kills 18 Pakistani villagers — but not the target, al-Qaeda’s No2, Ayman al-Zawahiri

June 2006 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s top man in Iraq, killed along with 18 others when a house near Baghdad is bombed by US jets

Dec 2008 Six members of the Afghan police force killed in exchange of friendly fire with US special forces near the city of Qalat

Sep 2009 Four helicopter gunships open fire on a convoy in Barawe, Somalia, killing four Islamic insurgents, including Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, linked to al-Qaeda

Monday, June 28, 2010

Over 200,000 Narmada Dam oustees still to be rehabilitated; a crime that goes unpunished for 25 years.

To those who are opposed to the people's uprising in India; Even your safety valve tricks are not working here.

Its 25 long years lost in the lives of the poor in India though its 25 years of opportunity for the NGOs and 'Bachao' people to get some foreign funds. The so called peace lovers are asking the suffering people not to revolt. But read this article to know what's happening to those people who are protesting peacefully.

Over 200,000 Narmada Dam oustees still to be rehabilitated; a crime that goes unpunished for 25 years.

For 25 years now, they have struggled to get justice. In a peaceful and democratic manner, over 200,000 people displaced from the rising waters of the Narmada dams, have waited endlessly for a rehabilitation package, which is their legitimate right. Justice has been denied to them.

Yesterday, July 24, about 200 displaced people were present in the Gandhi Bhawan, in the heart of Bhopal city, to listen to the conclusions and recommendations of the three-member Independent People's Tribunal on displacements in the Narmada valley. Chaired by Justice (Retd.) A P Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi and Madras High Courts, I had the privilege and honour of being part of the panel. We had travelled through some of the affected areas in the Narmada valley in the first week of the month, and then spent some days putting it all together in the form of this report.

Twenty five years after the work for a series of dams on the mighty Narmada began, the displaced people, a majority of them being adivasis, have been treated worse than cattle by successive governments. Looking at their plight, and their lost years, and knowing that they will continue to be deprived of justice, I wonder why have these people not picked up arms? At a time when the UPA government is asking the naxalites in neighbouring Chhatisgarh State to give up arms and come to the negotiating table, I fail to understand why the government is not talking to those who never picked up the gun?

Narmada valley is not far away from Bhopal.

I bow my head before these poor and hapless for teaching us the true meaning ofahimsa. And yet, the nation has failed them. Every political party is responsible for this crime, a crime against humanity. Every bureaucrat who has been posted with the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), Narmada Control Authority (NCA)and the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) is guilty. They need to be simply hauled up and put in jail. Ministry for Environment & Forests, and Ministry for Water Resources and Planning Commission have been a willing partner to the crime.

I am saddened by what I saw, by what I heard. I can never forget the pain in the eyes of the women whom I met, the tears all dried up in the long drawn struggle for the past quarter of a century. We as a nation are responsible for inflicting these displaced people with so much of scorn and indifference that deep down in their hearts they know we (the fortunate) are not the people they fought to be independent for.

And yet they have not given up on hope.

Let me just read out a couple of paras from the report.

1. It is clearly established that the Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have violated the rights to life, livelihood and rehabilitation of thousands of oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project,guaranteed by the Constitution and re-affirmed by numerous international conventions ratified by India by causing illegal and unjustifiable displacement of adivasis, and other farmers.

2. We wish to state at the very outset that our Tribunal was shocked to note as to how the NCA and the NVDA have stated that there are '0 families' who are to be rehabilitated, when in fact, in every village, hundreds of people not only welcomed us, but demonstrated to us the full community life, with the houses in various mohullas, schools, panchayat, bhawans, temples, masjids, agricultural fields, trees etc and narrated not just their individual complaints but the overall situation and problems with adequate analysis.

3. The Supreme Court in its judgement of Mar 15, 2005, whereby it upheld the Narmada Award 1979 and reiterated that land based rehabilitation of project affected persons (PAF) along with provisions of house sites with requisite amenities must be completed one year before submergence. The judgement admitted the entitlements of minimum of 2 hectares of cultivable, irrigable and suitable agricultural land to all major sons and unmarried daughters of landholder PAFs.

4. As a consequence of the progressive Rehabilitation Policy, as a part of the Narmada Tribunal 1979 and protracted struggle by the people, about 10,500 adivasis families have been given land in lieu of the land submerged or acquired for the project in Maharashtra and Gujarat, but to this date not a single family has received acceptable agricultural land in Madhya Pradesh.

5. Madhya Pradesh government has expressed its inability to provide 'land for land' saying it has no surplus land for rehabilitation, and nor can it buy land for the oustees since the land prices have gone up in the recent past. But it expects the oustees to purchase suitable land with the compensation package being provided under 'Special Rehabilitation Grant' that replaces land allocation with a cash package. However, in case of Madhya Pradesh, the Writers and Publishers Limited, Indore, is nationally the 7th largest multi product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in terms of area, slated to come up on 4,050 hectares of land and has already received the "in principle" approval.The total land that this one single SEZ occupies is approximately the total land that would be required to rehabilitate most of the SSP oustees.

6. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan while addressing the Pravasi Bhartiya Sammelan in New Delhi, Jan 2010, had invited the NRIs with open arms to set up industrial units."Madhya Pradesh has no law and order problem, land is available in plenty, and clearances for setting up industrial units can achieved very fast."

So you can see. No limitation of land for industries and SEZ, but no intention of providing land to the oustees, even going to the extent of defying the Supreme Court orders. As an oustee asked us at the Public Hearing at Badwani on June 3: "Does the Supreme Court apply its contempt laws on the State governments also? Or is it only meant for lesser mortals like us?"

Indian People's Tribunal releases report on Narmada Projects

By Mahim Pratap Singh
The Hindu, June 25

The Indian People's Tribunal (IPT) released its report on issues of massive displacement, rehabilitation, environmental compliance and overall cost-benefits of the big dam projects like, Sardar Sarovar, Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar and Jobat, here on Thursday.

The report was released by A.P. Shah, the former Chief Justice of Delhi and Madras High Courts, and agricultural analyst, Devinder Sharma, in the presence of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader, Medha Patkar and other activists in Bhopal.

It was brought out following the public hearings conducted during a two-day visit to the affected areas of the Sardar Sarovar Project by Justice Shah, Devinder Sharma and Prof. Jaya Sagade, Vice Principal Indian Law Society, Pune.

Both Justice Shah and Mr. Sharma expressed shock and concern over the magnitude of “planned displacement and unplanned developmentin the valley”, including sustained non-compliance of environmental guidelines and violation of law.

The report observed that since there had been “serious non-compliance on the pari-passu implementation of rehabilitation and environmental measures, we have appealed to the Prime Minister to constitute a High Level Committee of Ministers, officials, experts and representatives of the people's movements to undertake a comprehensive review of all the projects, and take a decision not to further fund or carry forward the project-work until this process of review is complete”.

The Tribunal also noted the “grave consequences” of the badly plannedcanals, running though the agricultural fields in Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar.

Responding to the serious allegations of legal and human rights violations in the Jobat-dam area ,the Tribunal re-asserted the right to land-based rehabilitation of all those displaced, which is already guaranteed in the State Rehabilitation Policy of Madhya Pradesh and in the clearances granted to the projects by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

Welcoming the findings and recommendations by the Tribunal, Medha Patkar stated that the Report affirmed the seriousness of the issues that people have been continuously raising for all these years, with little response and concrete action from authorities, both at the Central and State.

The report recommended that the concerned state governments and the Centre purchase private land for rehabilitation . A comprehensive survey of all affected families must be undertaken in consultation with the Gram Sabha to ensure compliance with the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, and regulatory bodies and ministries like the MoEF , Narmada Control Authority and Grievance Redressal Authority must act strongly to ensure compliance with law and norms of the Projects, the tribunal said

Saturday, June 26, 2010

India Attempts to Influence Nepal Press by Withholding Newsprint

India holding back newsprint: Nepal dailies

The Hindu

Two of Nepal’s most respected newspapers, Kantipur and Kathmandu Post, may have to suspend publication soon if customs authorities in Kolkata refuse to release newsprint, which has been held back for “investigation.”

According to a report in Kathmandu Post, its consignments have been detained at the Kolkata port since May 27. One thousand tonnes of newsprint, imported from Canada and South Korea in 39 containers, have been held back, with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence saying they need to be “investigated.”

“No investigation, however, has been carried out despite repeated requests. Nor has Kantipur Publications been given a clear explanation for the continued delay, which has meant heavy demurrage and the possibility of the newsprint getting damaged,” the newspaper said.

In Kathmandu, the unprecedented stoppage of newsprint is being seen as an attempt to pressure the two newspapers to adopt a more favourable attitude to the Madhav Kumar Nepal government, which India is backing against the Maoists. Along with the delay in clearing newsprint supplies, the fact that major Indian companies have stopped advertising in both newspapers is also being seen as evidence of pressure tactics.

South Block officials deny any knowledge of the delay in customs clearance. “We are not aware of this… We don’t indulge in such cheap tactics,” a senior official told The Hindu.

On Wednesday, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu issued a statement: “Customs examination of transit consignments is a routine administrative measure and the imputation of motives in such a matter by two newspapers, which seek to lay claim to responsible journalism, is highly regrettable.”

But Kathmandu Post insists that this is the first time newsprint meant for Nepal’s publications has been held in an Indian port for “investigation.” “According to the Nepal-Indian transit treaty,” it adds, “no consignment in transit can be withheld without explanation.”

In its editorials, Kantipur has been asking Mr. Nepal to step down and has called for a national unity government, a stand the Indian embassy in Kathmandu believes is furthering the agenda of the Maoists. The newspaper also prominently covered the killings of Nepalis in recent ethnic clashes in Meghalaya. Indian officials felt that the reportage was distorted and exaggerated.

A South Block official acknowledged his being unhappy with the stance of the two newspapers. “Kathmandu Post and Kantipur have always written against us.” But he denied any knowledge of the delay in clearance of their newsprint.

Nepal: Lies Spread, Foreign Powers Involved in Deadlock

Dahal blames ‘foreign power’ for deadlock


KATHMANDU, June 20: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Monday that he is not making the party to decide to make himself the prime minister and complained that the media is misinterpreting his statements. He argued that his party is only staking claim over the leadership of the government as the largest political party in the parliament.

“Rumors that the Maoist party is trying its best to make him the prime minister have been spread,” he said, “All these rumors are false.”

Pressure has been mounted on Dahal at the ongoing Maoist politburo to bring forward another party leader as prime ministerial candidate if that leads to national consensus.

His rival for prime minister in the party, Dr Babaurm Bhattarai, has stated that he would not stake claim over the post of prime minister and urged other leaders to make “sacrifice” for the sake of peace process and new constitution.

Dahal stated that only the implementation of the three-point deal, struck ahead of the extension of Constituent Assembly (CA) term on May 28, would end the protracted political deadlock. He demanded that prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resign as per the deal.

“If the ruling parties want to be honest and sincere, solution will be found,” he said, “We are waiting to see if they will implement the agreement.”

Dahal revealed that the major political parties are holding talks to end the political deadlock, but claimed that the talks would not led to solutions as the root of the problem is in another country.

“Although it appears as if the deadlock is due to conflict among the political parties, but reality is that the deadlock is linked to foreign power. “The conflict is between the powers that want to see Nepal colonized and those who are for freeing it from the clutches of colonialism.”

Dahal also said that the ongoing Maoist politburo meeting is focused on finding a way-out of the political deadlock. The ongoing politburo meeting was postponed till Monday due to Dahal´s “busy schedule”.

Maoists to Intensify War on Multinationals in India

Sify Finance, June 24, 2010

Naxalites have decided to train their guns against Multinational Companies (MNCs) operating in India.

In a statement sent to select media houses today, the CPI-Maoists have declared that they would “rise up as a collective fist to drive out MNCs” from the country. The statement also reiterates that their mission is to wipe away the “treacherous rotten regimes” at the Centre and the states.

The Naxalites have said because mining activities by corporates have not benefitted the tribals it is justified to launch an armed struggle. However, government reports claim local leaders of the insurgent groups regularly extort hefty sums from miners to allow them to do business.

The tirade against the MNCs has come in the backdrop of the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict. Launching a scathing attack against the government and corporate India, Naxalite spokesperson Azad said, “We appeal to all democratic forces to unite, oppose and militantly resist the continuous sell-out of the country’s interests to imperialistsharks. Time is running out. Unless we act collectively against the disastrous policies of the traitorous UPA government and various state governments we cannot prevent the whole of India from becoming a Bhopal.”

The radical insurgents have also demanded that the assets of Dow Chemicals be confiscated and the “criminal” be forced to clean up toxic material from the Bhopal site. The banned outfit also took up another popular demand that the Dow be made to pay compensation to the 500,000 victims.

The outfit, blamed for the recent Jnaneshwari Express accident that took more than 180 lives, has expressed its “deepest anguish” at the plight faced by lakhs of people in Bhopal.

It claimed that the common man can never get justice from the “so-called courts of law or from the ruling-class parties whether it is the Congress, the BJP or the so-called Left.”

Blaming the Congress as well as the BJP for the crimes committed by “MNC sharks like the Union Carbide”, Azad targeted the government for rolling out the “red carpet, signing up MoUs, granting extraordinary concessions like free land, water, power, tax holidays and ban legitimate trade union activities.”

Sanhati publishes Letters of CPI (Maoist) and Chidambaram to Swami Agnivesh regarding the Possibility of a Dialogue

Sanhati, 25 June 2010

[Ever since Operation Green Hunt was launched, there have been efforts by different sections of the civil society to enable a dialogue between the Indian government and the CPI(Maoist). Though several unsuccessful attempts for dialogue have been made, what is striking is that different government officials and ministers have continuously dismissed any positive response from the CPI(Maoist), as empty posturing or attempts to gain time for regrouping. In the midst of all this, Operation Green Hunt has of course continued, bringing misery to the lives of the people in the east-central forested regions of the country.

However, recently, a fresh initiative for peace and justice has come forth with attempts by Swami Agnivesh to bring both sides to the negotiation table. In this regard, the Home Minister P. Chidambaram had written a letter to Swami Agnivesh laying down the conditions from the government’s side for the talks. Although the letter was supposedly confidential, it was leaked to the press, apparently from the home ministry, to seemingly portray a picture of sincerity on the part of the government.

It turns out that, more than a week back, the CPI (Maoist) had responded to this initiative by writing their own letter to Swami Agnivesh, which described the suitable conditions from their side for joining the talks. However, quite mysteriously, there was no discussion in the media regarding the Maoist response and there were rumours that the government was attempting to suppress it. With apprehensions that this initiative would also loose steam, the CPI (Maoist) letter has also now reached different sections of the media.

From the very inception of Operation Green Hunt, we have been continuously involved in various initiatives to end the armed offensive by the state. We have also tried to provide a platform for discussions regarding the possible negotiations between the State and CPI(Maoist). In continuation of this process, we are publishing here the two letters (i) written by the Home Minister to Swami Agnivesh (ii) written by the CPI(Maoist) representative to Swami Agnivesh, so that there is clarity regarding the issues involved in beginning the dialogue between the two sides. - Ed ]


Letter from Azad, spokesperson of CPI(Maoist), to Swami Agnivesh

Click here to read the letter in pdf format

May 31, 2010

Regarding the proposal for talks made by Mr. P. Chidambaram in his letter to Swami Agnivesh

Dear Swami Agniveshji,

We heard that you and other democratic intellectuals had gone on a peace march in Dantewada in the first week of May 2010 braving the disruption organized by the goons of the BJP and Congress. You might have realized how the state government and the Centre are determined to sabotage any attempt to bring peace to the region and to prevent anyone from making efforts in that direction. We appreciate the efforts of well-meaning intellectuals and social activists like you to bring peace to the region. We also appreciate the efforts made by you to convince the Union Government to come forward for a cease-fire and dialogue with our Party which had prompted the Union Home Minister to state the Government’s position on the issue.

We had gone through the letter written to you by the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram dated May 11, 2010 which mentions the Government’s position on the peace process and its offer for talks with the CPI(Maoist). The essence of his letter is that “the CPI(Maoist) should announce they will abjure violence” and specify a date from which they will not indulge in violent activities; should “stop all violent activities” from that date for 72 hours, and that the security forces will not conduct any operations against the CPI(Maoist); that “talks” would begin “sometime during the period of 72 hours when there is no violence”; and that the CPI(Maoist) should “continue to maintain its position of no violence until the talks are concluded.”

We had already stated publicly our Party’s position on cease-fire and talks with the government several times in the past. We wish to reiterate our Party’s position once again in light of the proposals made by Mr. Chidambaram in his letter sent to you.

Firstly we hold the opinion that the cease-fire should be mutual. You are well aware of the continuous persecution of ordinary innocent people by the security forces in all the regions where the latter are deployed as part of the Operation Green Hunt. Not a day passes without an incident of murder, rape, abduction, torture of the adivasis and destruction of their property or stealing their belongings by these so-called security forces. How can the people or the Party and its various wings get confidence that the Government is serious in its intent for peace when it allows its forces to indulge in heinous atrocities on innocent unarmed people, when the government itself allows the suspension of all basic democratic rights of the citizens and consigns their own Constitution to the dust-bin? In such a situation it is necessary on the part of the government to prove its seriousness regarding the peace process by first halting its operations against innocent unarmed people and unequivocally stating that it is ready to observe cease-fire simultaneously with the CPI(Maoist) starting with a specified date. The practical measure to really ensure peace is the declaration of mutual cease-fire for a definite period, say, 2 or 3 months, to start with. Insisting that the CPI(Maoist) should declare that it will abjure violence is an unsound and unreasonable proposal. It implies that the Maoists are indulging in violence while the Government and its security forces have been fighting for peace. The facts actually are vice versa.

It is the paramilitary, police, private vigilante gangs sponsored by the government that are unleashing violence on the people on an hourly basis and the people are compelled to retaliate for their own survival. The Party and the PLGA too are compelled to undertake counter-offensive operations in their self-defence and in defence of the people. Hence it is the Government that has to instill confidence among the people and the Party cadres about its seriousness by first halting its offensive operations and attacks on the people instead of asking the Maoists to unilaterally declare that they will abjure violence.

Even more amusing is the time period of 72 hours which means just nothing. Such a short period cannot prove the seriousness on either side. Even a minor incident on either side can be picked up to prove the violation by the other side. A relatively longer period is necessary if we wish to really bring peace. It is only after a period of peace and the creation of a conducive atmosphere that talks can be held. Our Party is very serious about bringing about peace especially at the present juncture when lakhs of adivasis had fled, and are fleeing, their homes; when lakhs of adivasis are facing chronic conditions of hunger and famine due to their ouster from their lands and forcible closure of the weekly bazaars by the police and administration; when the adivasis are haunted by the threat of death any day by the most savage paramilitary, police, SPOs and private vigilante gangs. One should not be swayed by victories and defeats at this critical juncture in the life of the adivasi community in our country but try to create conditions whereby their survival is ensured.

You are also aware of the difficulties involved for an underground party that is proscribed by the government to proceed for talks. Hence we had proposed the release of political prisoners from the jails. At the outset the Government can take the initiative to release at least some of our Party leaders so as to facilitate talks with them. Without referring to any of these proposals made by our Party, Mr. Chidambaram proposes that “talks will begin sometime during the period of 72 hours when there is no violence.” He also says that he expects that the CPI(Maoist) will “continue to maintain its position of ‘no violence’ until the talks are concluded.”

The above-mentioned proposal by Mr. Chidambaram, though it might appear apparently as genuine, actually lacks seriousness and is intended only to satisfy people like you who have been insisting on peace. His insistence on a 72-hour-period of peace on the part of the CPI (Maoist) and to hold talks during this period is like a joke. It only shows how Mr. Chidambaram lacks seriousness on the issue and wants to somehow complete the formality of talks, if at all they materialize, in order to satisfy the civil society. If the government is serious it should speak in terms of mutual cease-fire, for a longer period of time, and spell out the government’s stand on fulfilling the minimum requisites like release of leaders and lifting the ban on the CPI(Maoist) and the mass organisations. Its duplicity is also seen in its hectic preparations for stepping up its brutal armed offensive even as it speaks the language of peace and talks. Do you really believe that Mr. Chidambaram is earnest in proposing for talks when there are reports of how the central government is equipping its forces with several more choppers and preparing the Indian Army too for the war on people?

To sum up, our Party desires peace sincerely in the interests of the lakhs of adivasis who are being cruelly crushed under the jack-boots of the forces sent by the Indian State and the people of our country at large. However, to ensure the establishment of peace there should be cease-fire or cessation of hostilities by both sides simultaneously instead of asking one side to abjure violence. If the government is really serious about reducing levels of violence then it should immediately lift the ban on the party and mass organisations so as to facilitate them to take up open forms of struggle. If the government is serious about holding talks it should initiate measures to release Party leaders as a prelude to the release of political prisoners and most importantly, it should stop all its efforts to escalate the war including the measure of calling back all the paramilitary forces deployed in the war zones.

Once again we appreciate the efforts made by you and many others who earnestly desire to bring peace.

We hope that you will pursue your mission of bringing peace taking into consideration the suggestions mentioned by us in this letter. We look forward to positive results for your well-meaning efforts.

With regards,

Azad, Spokesperson, Central Committee, CPI (Maoist)


Letter from the Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, to Swami Agnivesh

Click here to read the letter in pdf format

May 11, 2010

Dear Swami Agniveshji,

I learned that you led a group of social activists on a peace march from Raipur to Dantewada between May 6-8 2010. I have also learned that you advocated a cessation of violence for 72 hrs “by either side before continuing the peace process”. I congratulate you and thank you for your efforts.

While I respect your views and urge you to continue to help find a solution, I would like to clarify the Government’s position for your kind consideration :

(1) The CPI(Maoist) should announce that they will abjure violence. To start with, they could say that they will not indulge in any violent activities beginning a specific date, say, June 1 2010. (This is only an example and it could be an earlier date too.)

(2) Once the announcement is made, the Central Government will consult the Chief Ministers of the affected States and prepare a response well before the specified date. The response will include an invitation to the CPI(Maoist) to hold talks.

(3) On the specified date (say, June 1), we would expect that the CPI(Maoist) will stop all violent activities. We would closely observe whether the CPI(Maoist) will maintain the position of “no violence” for 72 hours. It goes without saying that, during the said period of 72 hours, the security forces will not conduct any operations against the CPI(Maoist).

(4) It is our hope that talks will begin during the period of 72 hours when there is “no violence”.

(5) Once the talk begins, we would expect that the CPI(Maoist) will continue to maintain its position of “no violence” until the talks are concluded.

I would appreciate if you could kindly keep the contents of this letter confidential. This is in line with what I told you when you met me a few days ago. However, I would encourage you to reach out to the CPI(Maoist) and persuade them to accept the Government’s offer for talks, the sole condition being that the CPI(Maoist) should abjure violence.

With regards, Yours sincerely Sd/- P. Chidambaram Home Minister New Delhi, India

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do not renew POSCO MOU - sign petition

Fom Shalini Gera

Dear all,

The POSCO- Orissa govt MoU is set to expire today, exactly five years after it was first signed. This MoU, which basically restricts the government's role to that of a mere "facilitator" for the project and an agency for land acquisition, is highly unethical and should not have been signed in the first place. Five years later, having witnessing the state's brutal repression of the local opposition to this project, and how the state has repeatedly flouted its own laws and policies regarding forest rights and enviromental protections, we must demand that this MoU not be renewed.


a) Sign the following peitition by visiting:

b) Forward this petition to other groups and individuals

c) If you represent an organization who wants to endorse this petition, please email Mining Zone People's Solidarity Group at

To: Mr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India; Mr. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa; Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests; Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council

We write to express our concern at several violations of legal process in the approval of the POSCO project in Orissa, some of which we address below:

1. The Orissa government has violated the Forest Rights Act and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has chosen to ignore this illegal behavior.

The FRA, which came into force in January 2008, acknowledges the rights of all "forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes" (Section 2(c)) as well as "other traditional forest dwellers" who have for at least seventy-five years prior to December 13, 2005 "primarily resided in" and "depend on the forests or forest land for bona fide livelihood needs" (Section 2(o)). Application of the FRA is mandatory for the POSCO project because approximately three-fourths of the 4,000 acres sanctioned for the POSCO steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district is officially classified as forest land. Cultivation on this land has been the primary source of livelihood of local forest dwellers, most of whom have lived here for generations.

Section 4(5) of the FRA mandates that "no member of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition (of rights) and verification procedure is complete”, and section 5 of the Act empowers Gram Sabhas to protect the forests and to "regulate access to community forest resources." Within three months after the notification of the FRA, the Gram Sabha of Dhinkia (one of the villages affected by the project), acting under the provisions of Section 6(1) of the FRA, passed a resolution inviting claims for individual and community property rights. Section 6(3) of the FRA requires the state government to constitute a sub-divisional level committee to examine the Gram Sabha resolution and enable a final decision, but the law was violated at this stage by the refusal of the sub-divisional officer to accept the claims filed by the Dhinkia Gram Sabha.

The MoEF initially followed the law and issued a circular in August 2009 to the effect that diversion of forest land for the POSCO project would have to wait until after the rights of the forest dwellers had been recognized and would still require approval by the relevant Gram Sabhas. However, in December 2009, the MoEF granted a conditional final clearance even though it was clear that the requirements of the law were not being met! Given that the Orissa government has routinely used violent force and coercion against its own citizens to clear the way for its “development” projects, the farcical MoEF clearance was essentially an invitation to the state government to use all the repressive means at its disposal to push people out of the way of the corporate giant wishing to exploit the state's resources.

2. The environmental clearance of the POSCO project is deeply flawed.

The POSCO project consists of three main parts -- a steel plant, a captive port at Paradeep and mining operations. However, POSCO applied for environmental clearance of the steel plant and the port separately, perhaps seeking to downplay the ecological impact of the entire project. The MoEF went along with the POSCO ruse and granted a conditional final clearance for the steel plant while also approving the captive port at Paradeep. The approval of the port was based on a highly flawed environmental impact assessment study (EIA) commissioned by the MoEF. The EIA fails to reliably estimate the port’s impact on air and surface water quality, nor does it address the cumulative impact of the steel plant and the port on people and the local ecosystem. Also missed in the EIA is the impact on livelihoods of the local people engaged in farming and fishing who lose their lands and access to the Jatadhari river mouth. The closure of the river mouth would make the region very vulnerable to flooding, another aspect that has been ignored in the EIA.

3. The Orissa government has unleashed large-scale violence to push through the POSCO project.

The POSCO project has faced serious resistance from the affected people ever since its Indian subsidiary signed an MoU with the Orissa government. Despite the grave livelihood threat that the project posed, opposition to the project has stayed well within the parameters of the law. However, the state has hardly functioned as a representative of the people and a custodian of its rights, and has worked more or less as a POSCO agent. In the process, it has torn the FRA to shreds and ridden roughshod over fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution such as the right to life and freedom from torture. The numerous instances of rights violations reported against the police include beatings, arrests, shootings and torture of (suspected) anti-POSCO protestors as well as filing of false cases against them to limit their movement.

Earlier this year, Nuagaon, Dhinkia and Govindpur Gram Sabhas passed resolutions reasserting their rights under the FRA and rejecting the diversion of forest land – their primary source of livelihood – for the POSCO project. However, the environment ministry is yet to withdraw its conditional clearance, which, if not outrightly illegal certainly contravenes the spirit of the FRA. We strongly urge you to ensure proper implementation of the FRA and put into action your oft-stated goal of participatory and inclusive development. Toward this end, we also urge you to not renew the POSCO MoU when it expires on June 22, 2010.



Produce Mr. Varanasi Subramanyam, a Central Committee member of CPI (Maoist) before a court of law immediately! Ensure all provisions for his immunity


185/3, Fourth Floor, Zakir Nagar, New Delhi—25


As per the information that is available from the civil rights activists and concerned citizens the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners demands the immediate production of Mr. Varanasi Subramanyam, a Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) party, before a court of law. Since the evening of 16.06.2010 it is reported that he has remained without any trace of his whereabouts. Further there is information as per the statement of revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao that he missed an appointment at Badayun Western UP on the 17 June 2010 evening. And every effort to get in touch with Mr. Varanasi Subramnayam on the 18, 19 and 20 of June 2010 has failed.

Given the track record of the Central Intelligence and AP Special Intelligence agencies we at the CRPP are concerned for the life of Mr. Varanasi Subramanyam as there is a real threat that he may be eliminated. We strongly demand that he be produced before a court of law and allowed access to a lawyer of his choice. Only this can guarantee his right to be immune to mental and physical torture.

We also attach the statement issued by Vara Vara Rao on 20.06.10.

In Solidarity,

Gurusharan Singh


Amit Bhattacharyya

Secretary General

SAR Geelani

Working President

Rona Wilson

Secretary Public Relations

Statement from Varavara Rao

Produce Varanasi Subramanyam a Central Committee member of the
CPI (Maoist) Party before a court of law immediately!

The Central and State governments are responsible for his life!

With great concern let me bring to the notice of the media the news that I received from the CPI (Maoist) party about the disappearance of Varanasi Subramanyam one of their Central Committee members since the evening of 16.06.2010 after 7 pm. Since then Varanasi Subramanyam has remained incommunicado with the rest of the party. He was supposed to be there in Badayun in Western UP on the 17.06.2010 in the evening.

There also he missed the appointment. The CPI (Maoist) party is concerned that there is threat to his life as he might have been arrested by the police. While sharing the concern of the CPI (Maoist) party I strongly demand that State with Home Minister Chidambaram should act responsibly like a country that respects its laws and produce him before a court of law as he has gone missing since the evening of 16 June 2010.

I was informed that he was not traceable on 17, 18 and 19 June despite many efforts by his comrades.

The arrest of Varanasi Subramanyam has been a joint operation of the Central Intelligence Bureau and the AP SIB. Varanasi Subramanyam aged 55 years who is popular among the oppressed masses as , Srikant, Aman, Saroj, Vikas hails from Malkapuram in Prakasham District.

As a student he read law in the University of Andhra. During his student days, inspired by the revolutionary peasant struggles of Shrikakulam and Telangana he joined the Radical Students’ Union (RSU). Later he rose to become the president of RSU.

After reading his law he also practiced as an advocate in the Visakhapatnam bar under Rachakonda Viswanatha Shastri, the popular Telugu writer known as Raavi Shastri.

But he was not someone who would be content with a life as a lawyer. His unflinching commitment for the cause of the poor made him reach out to the coal miners of Singareni. Little wonder he soon became a popular leader of the working class. The trade union that he organized under the banner Singareni Karmika Samakhya attracted hundreds of thousands of coal miners that it soon earned the wrath of the state. Soon a ban was imposed on this organization along with the then CPI (ML) (People’s War). He then shifted to North India.

The inordinate delay in producing Varanasi Subramanyam before the court is a blatant violation of his right to a lawyer of his choice, immunity against torture and worse a real threat to his life as the Andhra Pradesh police has been with impunity killing all the leaders of the CPI (Maoist) party hailing from the state.

I further call upon the central and state governments especially the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to act like statesmen when they are talking about a possible dialogue with the CPI (Maoist) party. It would end like yet another exercise of duplicity and hypocrisy if P. Chidambaram goes ahead with his brutal repression campaign against the CPI (Maoist) party and at the same time claim that he is serious about talks. He should use his office to ensure that Varanasi Subramanyam is produced before a court of law immediately.

Varavara Rao

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maoist Development Projects in West Bengal

Chhotomoni Mahato (65), who earns her keep by plucking saal leaves in Patri village of West Midnapore, contributed Rs 10 to a Maoist-backed organisation to dig a pond in the area.

Those employed in various jobs in the locality are asked to stump up 20-25 per cent of their income for similar so-called development projects.

This is the Lalgarh area, 160 km west of Kolkata, deep inside West Midnapore district. Maybe extortion, but the Maoists have taken over the civic services, the law and order machinery, and even the judicial services in the area.

It is a “secret state” that seems to have survived the onslaught of 5,000 personnel of the Centre-state combined forces for the past one year.

In June last year, Hindustan Times went to discover this state within a state, carefully shielded from the public eye, emerging in different parts of West Midnapore.

The picture hasn’t changed.

In Kalsibhanga village, members of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) have created an irrigation canal that is 1,200 feet long, 5 feet wide, and also 5 feet deep.

The canal is connected with a pond that is 10 bigha (10 bighas = 144,000 square feet) in area. “This monsoon, we expect the surrounding farmland to get the needed irrigation through this canal. It will definitely increase rice production,” Manoj Mahato, PCAPA central committee member, told HT.

Inspector General (Western Range) of Police Zulfikar Hasan said: “We are aware that the PCAPA is running health centres. We have closed some of them.”

While there are allegations of extortion from local contractors, traders and service holders, the rebels say the contribution of funds and labour from people is voluntary.

The rebels have built and repaired roads of 50 km in some villages of the Jhargram sub-division.

The PCAPA claims to have dug about 200 wells, besides renovating around 1,000 existing ones, in their areas of domination, which spreads over 27 police stations in the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

“The CPI(M)-led government in West Bengal never carried out development in this area,” said Lalmohan Mahato.

He had been a CPI(M) member before quitting the party in early 2009, in protest against corruption.

In Rameshwarpur village under the Bhimpur panchayat, the rebels run a health centre that offers service for 12 hours in the day. There are two doctors here though there are nine untrained persons who offer medical consultancy.

“This centre treats about 100 patients every day,” said Mahato.

The centre was in a government building that housed an anganwadi unit (mother- and child-care centre) before the rebels took it over more than a year ago.

There are 35 such health centres in the entire district. Rameshwarpur functions as headquarters for health services and medicines are dispatched from here.

In April 2010 the combined forces raided this centre and seized medicines, which was a temporary setback for the Maoist dispensation. “The forces took away medicines worth Rs 40,000 and smashed the almirahs,” said Haripada Mahato, in charge of the Rameswarpur health centre.

However, West Bengal CPI(M) State Secretariat member Robin Deb said the government had no objection to health centres, which are good for people. But if arms and ammunition is stored in them, the security forces must intervene.

The rebels are building a six-bed hospital next to the Rameswarpur health centre. “The basement has been built. It will be functional in two months,” Haripada Mahato said.

“Are they really building a hospital there?” asked an incredulous Aneesh Sarkar, deputy superintendent of police (operations), West Midnapore.

He is in the dark about it.

Bus 174

When people from the margins turn themselves into bombs and mines and point their guns towards us, we wonder. "why me? i'm innocent" We say. But are we that innocent? we who sitting in our comfort zones. Aren't we responsible for everything? Can we wash off our hands that easily after depriving them off their dignity. The insulted and the injured...How else can they respond

If we dont understand yet we have to watch this documentary Bus 174 by Jose Padilha. Based on a real incident that took place in Brazil, this documentary shows TV footages and surveillance camera visuals mostly.

Those who are interested to watch this documentary may watch it here...

Critique of Nonviolent Politics

Peace has often been a ploy. A ploy to tame the people. Whenever the oppressed people tried to break free of their chains the oppressor cried out. "peace, peace...non violence..." They gave awards, Nobels and continued their oppression.

In India Gandhi used this trick with great dexterity and succeeded in cornering Ambedkar and his people. And even now Gandhi's disciples apply this weapon of peace very effectively. When the Adivasis and Dalits of India put up a great fight, the Brahmins dust off Gandhi and advise the oppressed to give up their violence. But these advocates of nonviolence never ask the oppressors to give up their violence; violence that forced more than 200000 farmers in India to end their lives; violence that kills through diseases and malnutrition. In fact the Gandhians never feel this as violence.

Here in this book Howard Ryan deals with this topic of nonviolence. It was written a few years back and its not about the new found love of some of our intellectuals for Gandhi. However this work remains relevant even now.

Those who are interested may read it. The link is here


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

International Call : Support People's War In India

The following statement was issued jointly by some major communist parties

In India an impetuous people's war against the Indian bourgeoisie and the imperialism is developing and spreading more and more in nearly one third of the districts of the country. It is not simply a guerilla waged by few thousands of fighters, coming from the castes and tribal areas of the country. It is a real people's war,led by the Party of the proletariat of India,the Communist Party of India (Maoist), in which are involved - or is supported by - millions of poor peasants, women, "untouchables," fighting to free themselves and it has already took big areas throughout a dozen of states of the Indian Federation.

The people's war began where the root of the riot, the poverty, the tribal and capitalistic exploitation, the caste oppression, the plundering of the natural resources were deeper and therefore the contradictions brought by the Indian capitalism ruled by the imperialism were sharper. Today this people's war is winning masses of young people, students, democratic and revolutionary intellectuals also in the cities and gains attention and support over the world.

Against the people's war, the Indian State,supported by the imperialists, launched a giant repressive offensive called "Green Hunt," a real manhunt that hits the poor masses in India as animals to exterminate. The Indian State launched an internal military offensive against the people, waged by hi-tech-armed troops,police units and paramilitary militias, in order to spread terror and genocide in the villages, with raids, crop destroying, massive rapes and killings, selective murders, mass detentions and disappearing - like the recent genocide offensive occurred in Sri Lanka against the Tamil people and liberation movement.

All this with the illusion to drown in blood the struggle of the people for their liberation, with the silent/consent of the imperialist governments of US, Europe, Russia, and their mass-media. The crimes of the Indian State found the internal opposition of a wide front of intellectuals - including the prominent bepresentative of the world anti-globalization movement, the writer Arundhati Roy. And in all countries of the world political activists denounced those crimes and mobilized to stop "Green Hunt."

A world campaign of information and solidarity has been launched by ICAWPI (International Campaign Against War on the People in India).But we need more than the condemnation of the crimes of the counter-revolution in India. The masses led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are writing a historical chapter of the class clash in the world between, on one side,the imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisies and, on the other side, the proletariat and the people of the world. The development of the people's war in India is a new proof that the revolution is the main tendency in the world today.

It shows again that Maoism, the Marxism-Leninism of our era, is the command and guide of the world revolution against the imperialism in crisis.

The vanguard proletarians must understand that the advance of the people's war in India seriously questions the strength balance, not only in the South-Asian region but also on a world scale. That is why we, Maoist and revolutionary parties and organizations, launch a big campaign of support and call to form an International Committee of Support to organize conferences, meetings, demonstrations in various countries, particularly in the heart of the imperialist beast.

With people's war in India towards the victory!

Maoist Communist Party - France
Maoist Communist Party - Italy
Maoist Communist Party - Turkey/North Kurdistan
Revolutionary Communist Party - Canada
Communist Party of India (ML) Naxalbari

Monday, June 14, 2010

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan

A bleak Ghazni Province seems to offer little, but a Pentagon study says it may have among the world’s largest deposits of lithium

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.

American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.

So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.

“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”

With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”

The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.

The Pentagon task force has already started trying to help the Afghans set up a system to deal with mineral development. International accounting firms that have expertise in mining contracts have been hired to consult with the Afghan Ministry of Mines, and technical data is being prepared to turn over to multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors. The Pentagon is helping Afghan officials arrange to start seeking bids on mineral rights by next fall, officials said.

“The Ministry of Mines is not ready to handle this,” Mr. Brinkley said. “We are trying to help them get ready.”

Like much of the recent history of the country, the story of the discovery of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is one of missed opportunities and the distractions of war.

In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

“There were maps, but the development did not take place, because you had 30 to 35 years of war,” said Ahmad Hujabre, an Afghan engineer who worked for the Ministry of Mines in the 1970s.

Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing.

But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. In 2009, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq was transferred to Afghanistan, and came upon the geological data. Until then, no one besides the geologists had bothered to look at the information — and no one had sought to translate the technical data to measure the potential economic value of the mineral deposits.

Soon, the Pentagon business development task force brought in teams of American mining experts to validate the survey’s findings, and then briefed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gatesand Mr. Karzai.

So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, and the quantities are large enough to make Afghanistan a major world producer of both, United States officials said. Other finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan.

Just this month, American geologists working with the Pentagon team have been conducting ground surveys on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where they believe there are large deposits of lithium. Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni Province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large of those of Bolivia, which now has the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

For the geologists who are now scouring some of the most remote stretches of Afghanistan to complete the technical studies necessary before the international bidding process is begun, there is a growing sense that they are in the midst of one of the great discoveries of their careers.

“On the ground, it’s very, very, promising,” Mr. Medlin said. “Actually, it’s pretty amazing.”