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The West supported state terrorism

Journalist and author Tasneem Khalil documents Western-backed state abuses in countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


Tasneem Khalil now lives in exile in Sweden, where he works as a journalist and runs the monthly International World Report magazine. The magazine delves into issues related to human rights – a topic that is often underreported in the major media. 7. In April, Khalil Tronsmo visited the bookstore in Oslo to launch the book Jallad – Death squads and terror in South Asia. "Jallad" means executioner in Hindi, Urdu and Bengali.

Critical to Western countries support. Boken Jallad also looks at international security cooperation between the United States, European countries and regimes that abduct, torture and kill opposites. Khalil focuses, among other things, on the little-known annual PASOC conference. PASOC is run by the US Department of Defense and will be a measure in the US global fight against terror. At the conference, leaders of special forces and paramilitary forces from South Asia meet American specialists. IN Jallad Khalil addresses how leaders of death squadrons from, for example, Indonesia and Bangladesh attend this annual conference.
"At conferences such as PASOC, military specialists in violence from around the world meet to discuss the latest techniques and strategies for repression – and this is described as anti-terrorism measures. This is just one example of how countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France transfer their tools and techniques of repression to client regimes in South Asia and the Middle East. "Several military leaders who have proven tortured and killed civilians have participated in PASOC," the author told Ny Tid.
"The United States has been supporting and financing the state terrorism machinery in Pakistan for a very long time. Britain has trained human rights oppressors in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The list goes on. "

The legacy of colonial rule. Jallad draws the lines from when European colonial powers ruled countries like India, and reveals how many of the same methods used by colonial powers are now used by the authorities of the former colonies. An example of the exercise of power is the use of state of emergency and breach of laws that safeguard freedom of expression, legal security and protection against imprisonment without law and judgment. "Those who took control of the colonial powers inherited an apparatus for oppression. Now they have upgraded and strengthened this to make it more efficient and brutal. In the book I write about a British commander named Reginald Dyer. He was behind a massacre in which many civilians, children and women were killed in India in 1919. He set aside laws that protected human rights. In my opinion, it is the ideological descendants of Reginald Dyer who rule in South Asia today, ”says Khalil.

Was himself abducted and tortured. Around Norway there are many people who can recognize what Tasneem Khalil documents and writes about, including many Tamil refugees. The author deals with the so-called "white vans" in Sri Lanka – cars used to kidnap, torture and kill opposition or people the authorities believe are connected to the Tamil tigers. Tasneem Khalil knows what he is talking about: As a journalist, he has worked for CNN, The Guardian, the Washington Post and the BBC. When he wrote about the abuses and killings committed by the military regime that seized power in his native Bangladesh in 2007, it was his turn. In the book he tells how he was picked up at home in front of the scared wife and their little son. With a blindfold, he was hanged and beaten with batons for several days in a dark basement.
“What happened to me affects the work I do. I can proudly say that I am one who has survived torture. At the same time, I am most concerned about those who did not survive – journalists such as Saleem Shahzad from Pakistan or Prageeth Eknaligoda from Sri Lanka. I came out of the torture chamber – they didn't. I'm trying to tell the stories they can't tell, "he says.

The situation is getting worse. The journalist has also worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch. From his home in peaceful Örebro in Sweden, he closely monitors what is happening in South Asia. He is troubled by what he believes is the increasing use of state repression and terrorism. “With the exception of Nepal, the situation has gotten worse in the countries I am writing about and focusing on. The situation is deteriorating at an alarming rate. ”
In Norway, there is a relatively large Tamil diaspora. What can you say about the situation in Sri Lanka today?
"The situation there is getting worse. The peace in Sri Lanka is like the peace in the grave. Rapid militarization is taking place, and Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalism has changed the entire state and apparatus of Sri Lanka. Tamils ​​are still the target of terrorism and oppression, ”says the author. In the book, he writes about how a former officer from Sri Lanka who sought asylum in England revealed the use of torture, abduction, rape, murder and the use of the so-called white vans.

"Support grassroots movements." A separate chapter in the book is about what Khalil calls an international system of state terror. Here he highlights how the five veto powers in the UN Security Council have supported regimes that violate human rights. The author focuses on arms exports, training of soldiers and specialists, information sharing and direct money support.
The book shows human rights violations and extrajudicial imprisonment and murder. What can ordinary Norwegian citizens do about this?
"Norwegians can support grassroots movements in South Asia, and they can work more closely with human rights activists and journalists living in exile in Norway. One of the most influential groups of Norwegian politicians is the Norwegian Nobel Committee. They may consider giving the Peace Prize to people like Irom Chanu Sharmila from Manipur or Parvez Imroz from Kashmir. It would strengthen the Indian people's fight against militarization and state terror something absolutely enormous, ”says Tasneem Khalil.

Øystein Windstad
Øystein Windstad
Former journalist at Ny Tid.

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