Kunal Mukhopadhyay

The largest scam in the history of 21st century.

In Blogging, Globalization, Politics on November 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

So now Scania is also accused of oil-for-food kickbacks. Volvo was already implicated earlier. I remember reading a while ago that many French industries also traded regularly with Saddam while the alleged “embargo” was still in place. Ha! Blithering opportunists.

While Saddam enjoyed the luxurious spoils of being pampered by the selfishly opportunistic companies in Europe and the US, sadly, the common mass suffered from the embargo imposed on Iraq. Medical equipment like X-ray machines were hard to get by but one could easily find a laser guided weapon in the country.

I recently was talking to a taxi driver in Stockholm, originally from Iran who narrated the practical hardships caused due to the current embargo on Iran. It was ridiculous to hear what transpires in this world in the name of justice and democracy. For example – Iran Air aircrafts are not allowed to fuel in Sweden due to the embargo. Specifically – Iran Air does not fuel at Stockholm due to the embargo. But apparently, there is a loophole in the rules/embargo that allows the aircraft to fly down to Gothenburg and re-fuel from a private company before returning to Iran. Or alternately stop-over at Geneva where Iran Air can fuel with no obstacles.

So guess who really feels the brunt of it at the end of the day? Yup – the poor passengers who need to sit and wait while the aircraft fuels up. Ordinarily the flight takes 4 hours from Stockholm to Teheran. With the detour it can take up to eight hours. And here’s the killer line – there are several European airlines that fly to Teheran.

The UN Independent Inquiry Committee set up in 2004 found enough, if not pretty damning, evidence to make any decent human being with any moral conscience to stand up and cry foul. Here is the UN_report_summary.

This may not be the first instance in history of such a scam. But I wonder if it isn’t the worst it terms of the number of nations and companies involved.

Truly a shame for the 20th AND the 21st century.

Afghanistan – a tale of sorrow and victory?

In Politics, USA on November 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

(An old post that ended up in the drafts folder)

Last night I watched the movie, “The Kite Runner”. My heart wept – for Afghanistan.

While in middleschool I remember reading a story titled Kabuliwallah (The man from Kabul). My mother also used to tell the story of a real-life Afghani man who used to come by her street every year peddling dried fruits, having walked(?) from Afghanistan. Just like in the story, one year he didn’t come and then as my mother and siblings grew older and the things of the past became just memories, so did the Afghani. But I wondered – what became of him?

There is a line in the book/movie – “No foreigner has been able to besiege Afghanistan”. When I pondered on it, I realized that the although the current ISAF/US troops presence may be viewed as “friendly” or to some as “liberators”, to the indiginous population of Aghanistan they are still foreigners in their land. They too shall be defeated…..the definition of “defeat” being subjective.

EU sanction against Iran

In Carl Bildt on November 11, 2010 at 9:15 am

(I wrote this blog a while ago and it got lost in the drafts folder)

Speaking in Brussels, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the EU was pursuing “a double-track policy” towards Iran.

“I have yet to meet anyone who thinks that this issue is going to be sorted out by sanctions… alone. So I think that we’ll have to look at the different ways in which we can strengthen and emphasise the diplomatic track and there are, I hope, some possibilities along that road.”

I hope so too Carl, I hope so too.