Scenes from the 2003 film “Control Factor”, Universal Studios. Plot deals with mind control, behavior modification, and psychotronic warfare
Icann oversees the structure of the net
The US government has relaxed its control over how the internet is run.
The US has signed a four-page “affirmation of commitments” with the net regulator Icann, giving the body autonomy for the first time.
Previous agreements gave the US close oversight of Icann – drawing criticism from other countries and groups.
The new agreement comes into effect on 1 October, exactly 40 years since the first two computers were connected on the prototype of the net.
“It’s a beautifully historic day,” Rod Beckstrom, Icann’s head, told BBC News.
By: Abrar Saeed
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani assured the annoyed FATA ministers, who had handed over their resignations to him Monday night, that on the return of President Asif Ali Zardari from his foreign tour, all their genuine demands including the replacement of the NWFP Governor would be met, source privy to the development disclosed.
The sources in the Government disclosed that the decision of replacing NWFP Governor Awanis Ghani was made much before the departure of President Zardari’s visit abroad and government was looking for some suitable replacement acceptable to all stakeholders including Awami National Party leading the NWFP Government.
These sources further disclosed that the new NWFP Governor would be installed in the first half of the next month and a few names were under consideration.
Premier Gilani had assured the FATA ministers who had handed over their resignations to him that all their demands would be met on return of President Asif Ali Zardari from abroad.
A source amongst the FATA MPs informed TheNation that besides removal of the Governor NWFP another major demand was regarding the launching of operation in South and North Waziristan agencies, which almost all the FATA members had opposed in their meetings with Governor NWFP and other concerned quarters.
The FATA members were of the view that instead of going for military offensive the matter should be resolved through negotiations and by empowering local Maliks and chieftains to form Lashkars to contain these miscreants; as according to them in this way they would achieve their targets without annoying general public in these areas.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the concerned authorities to expedite the implementation and completion of development projects particularly those relating to electrification and infrastructure development as adequate funds had already been released for this purpose. The remaining amount of Rs. 600 million should be utilised on priority basis, he added.
The Prime Minister also directed the Minister of State for Finance Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar to oversee and monitor the implementation of the developmental work in FATA and, to ensure better coordination, hold monthly meetings with the FATA Parliamentarians.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A terrible notion has been put forward by a British newspaper. It suggests officials in Washington may be planning drone strikes on Quetta – to target key militants who they believe are based there. The story suggests this idea was discussed with the Pakistani team that has been visiting the US. It has been met at home with shock. The spectre of aerial strikes over a major city is simply unthinkable. Perhaps this is a result of Islamabad’s failure to oppose the Predator strikes in our tribal areas. It is a well-established fact, for all the official denials, that the flights that have brought death to some militants – but also many innocent people – where tacitly backed by successive governments. According to reports in the western media, there was an agreement to make a lot of noise but do nothing in more concrete terms to stop the unmanned aircraft. It is this that seems to have led to the new and still more audacious proposal to take out targets in a heavily populated area.
Our interior minister has denied the presence of Afghan Taliban leadership, including Mullah Omar, in Quetta. The problem is that the government has little credibility. We must also ask what it has done itself to track down key militant figures who many believe remain in Pakistan. Had our own security forces apprehended some of them, the case for drone attacks might have been considerably weakened. Pakistan’s request that they be carried out as joint operations is in fact an acknowledgement that they have been successful. The strike that killed Baitullah Mehsud is a prime example of this. But the expanded use of drones presents an enormous risk to all of us. Some intelligence insiders say the Taliban have been deliberately moving leaders to cities to try and keep them safe. By doing so they put all of us at greater risk. The US must be told there can be no drone strikes over heavily populated areas. Pakistan must voice the strongest opposition to this and dissuade Washington from finalizing a strategy for which the people of the country would never forgive it and indeed their own government.
PESHAWAR: Supporting the military operation against Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam, a tribal elder on Tuesday asked the government to continue the military operation against militants and demanded compensation for the displaced people from Bara subdivision of Khyber Agency.
Addressing a press conference, Akbar Khan, an elder of Malikdinkhel tribe, said: “We want to get rid of Mangal Bagh and his merciless supporters who have played havoc with our lives.” He said that people of Bara were happy with the government initiative of launching military operation as they were fed up with Mangal Bagh and his ruthless policies. He alleged that Mangal Bagh slaughtered innocent people and forced the dwellers to grow beard and offer prayers at mosques regularly. “Islam is the religion of peace and such steps are earning a bad name for the religion,” he added.
The elder accused Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi of supporting Lashkar-e-Islam chief Mangal Bagh and his policies. He said the minister was equally responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Agency. He demanded of the government to make the operation target-specific and eliminate the militants as early as possible so that the people of the area could take a sigh of relief.
By Rahimullah Yusufzai
PESHAWAR: There has been no claim or evidence yet that Tahir Yuldachev, leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), died in a US drone strike in South Waziristan recently but a man claiming to be his bodyguard phoned the Radio Liberty in Prague on Tuesday to claim that the Uzbek commander was dead.
The caller, who spoke Uzbeki language and claimed he was calling from somewhere in Pakistan, maintained that Yuldachev was killed after the death of Baitullah Mahsud in a similar US missile attack. The man who phoned Radio Liberty refused to identify himself. He claimed to have served as bodyguard to Yuldachev, who is also known as Tahir Yuldash, for a year in the past and quit the IMU as he wasn’t happy with its policies.
The caller disclosed that an Uzbek militant, Abdur Rahman, had taken Yuldachev’s place as the new IMU head. He said Yuldachev failed to recover from head and leg injuries sustained by him in the missile attack.
There was no way to confirm the claim made by the identified caller. The IMU or its allied Uzbek militant group, Islamic Jehad Union, hasnít commented on this claim yet. They would be expected to deny the claim, though the militant groups in recent times have been arguing that such claims are made at the behest of their enemies to provoke some of the most wanted militants to come forward and show their presence so that they could be tracked down.
Yuldachev, stated to be in his late 30s, became the head of the IMU after the death of Juma Namagani in fighting against the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 or early 2002. There have been sightings of Yuldachev in South Waziristan, mostly in Wana area before he and his fellow Uzbeks were expelled by Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen following intensive fighting a couple of years ago. He and his fighters then shifted to parts of South Waziristan controlled by Baitullah Mahsud. Before moving to Waziristan, Yuldachev and his Uzbek militants were living in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and trying to destabilise Uzbekistan by sending fighters there across the Afghan-Uzbek and Afghan-Tajik border. Yuldachev has been producing videotapes to propagate the IMU cause against the government of President Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. In his messages, he has also been criticising the US for its alleged anti-Muslim policies and praising the al-Qaeda and Taliban for resisting the Western powers.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
WASHINGTON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said here on Monday that the US would make a “disastrous” mistake if it withdrew from Afghanistan and warned that a delay in sending more troops would be seen as a sign of weakness, the Washington Times reported.
Asked by reporters and editors at The Washington Times whether the US and its allies might be seen as weak because of the prolonged debate over whether to send more forces to Afghanistan, Musharraf said, “Yes, absolutely. … By this vacillation and lack of commitment to a victory and talking too much about casualties shows weakness in the resolve.”
He said al-Qaeda was less of a threat than the Taliban, which he said was growing in strength among ethnic Pashtuns who straddled the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We must win in Afghanistan,” Musharraf said, warning that otherwise it would become a haven again for al-Qaeda as it was before the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.
“Quitting is not an option,” he said. “We should not delay. Earlier the better.”
Musharraf said US commanders shouldn’t “pursue in areas” where they have the advantage but “draw them out” into areas where the US coalition has the upper hand.
The Taliban “move with bread and onions,” Musharraf said, and don’t require the elaborate logistical support that US troops do.
Musharraf conceded that insurgents cross the border but said that money and weapons were flowing primarily from Afghanistan into Pakistan, not the other way around.
Asked whether the ISI was still helping the Taliban in order to hedge against a US withdrawal and oppose Indian interests in Afghanistan, he denied it.
“I don’t think that is correct at all,” Musharraf said.
“ISI behaves as they are ordered by the government. They never go against government policy.”
He added, “If our attitude is that the army and ISI are the culprits, God save all of us.”
Asked about Pakistan’s previous support of the Taliban, Musharraf said that Pakistan had no other option after the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan but to recognize the Taliban because a rival movement, the Northern Alliance, was supported by India and other opponents of Pakistan. “Is it in our interest to be on the Taliban side now? No,” Musharraf said.
Musharraf also denied reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan sold nuclear weapons materials and designs to Iran, North Korea and Libya with the knowledge of the Pakistani government.
ISLAMABAD: US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson has said that the Afghan Taliban “Quetta Shura” is high on Washington’s list, reports The Washington Post.
According to report, US officials are expressing new concerns about the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mulla Omar and his council of lieutenants in Quetta.
But US officials acknowledge they know relatively little about the remote and arid Pakistani border region, have no capacity to strike there, and have few windows into the turbulent mix of Pakhtun tribal and religious politics that has turned the area into a sanctuary for the Taliban leaders, who are known collectively as the “Quetta Shura”.
“In the past, we focused on al-Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region,” Patterson said. “Now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list.” She also acknowledged that the United States is far less familiar with the vast desert region than with the northwestern tribal areas.
As Patterson put it, bluntly: “Our intelligence on Quetta is vastly less. We have no people there, no cross-border operations, no Predators.”
According to Pakistani analysts, the Taliban’s presence in the Quetta region is more discreet than it was earlier in the decade, when Omar fled there from US and Afghan military attacks. He was joined by thousands of fighters, who blended into ethnic Pakhtun neighbourhoods and refugee camps.
“Quetta is absolutely crucial to the Taliban today,” said Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban, in a telephone interview. “From there they get recruits, fuel and fertilizer for explosives, weapons, and food. Suicide bombers are trained on that side.
They have support from the mosques and madrassas.” Michael Semple, a former UN official in Afghanistan now based in Islamabad, described the Quetta region’s refugee camps as “a great reserve army” for the Taliban. He said Pakhtun tribes in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s ethnic and spiritual base, have strong ties with those on the Pakistan side. “They are intermarried, they have Pakistani ID cards, and you can’t tell the difference,” Semple said. On the other hand, he said, reports of Taliban leaders living openly in Quetta, even attending weddings, are nonsense. “They are deeply suspicious of the Pakistanis, and they have their own agenda,” he said.
This is from NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday. Peter Kenyon talks to Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies about the ramifications of a military strike against Iran. Kenyon asks Inbar about potential blow back here. Here is Inbar’s response. Note: Inbar is not an extremist but a highly respected and credentialed Israel academic and expert on military strategy.
First Inbar addresses the west’s resistance to going to war.
“In Western Europe, they have a strategic culture which views military action as something anachronistic, a thing of the past. Maybe Obama administration has changed somewhat its tone, but I must say that in the Middle East, Obama is still viewed as very weak. And I don’t think that another Obama speech will impress very much the Iranian elite.”
Then he explains why the fear of terrorist attacks here is no reason not to attack Iran. We can learn to live with terrorism.
“Even 9/11 is something that America recuperated [from], you know, within a few months. The attacks on London, on Madrid, were things which those two countries were able to absorb relatively easily despite the tragedy in the loss of lives. Israel obviously has been subject to terrorism for so many years, and we have learned to live with it. So, terrorism is something that should not deter, you know, the West from attacking Iranian nuclear sites.”
In other words, to prevent Iran from developing a single bomb (Israel has 200, a rather intimidating deterrent) we should simply learn to live with more terrorism here. After all, “even 9/11 is something that America recuperated [from] within a few months.”
That is true. “America recuperated.” Just not the thousands of families who lost their sons, daughters, parents or siblings.
By: Kanchan Lakshman
The madrassa (religious seminary) has long been a principal component of the supply chain of Islamist extremism in Pakistan. Most much-publicised but altogether half-hearted attempts at fixing this problem have inevitably failed, substantially for want of any real commitment to reform. The Pakistani madrassa, consequently, continues to provide foot-soldiers for the jihad in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in India, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq and other theatres of Islamist extremism and terrorism across the world.
Successive Governments, both at the federal and provincial levels, have announced reforms of the madrassa system, to and bring them at par with the mainstream education system. These have, however, inevitably run into a dead-end, as they come up against opposition from the various organisations controlling the seminaries, as also because of the lack of any serious intent within the administration.
The Wafaq-ul-Madaris, Pakistan’s main confederacy of seminaries, which runs over 8,200 institutions, has been at the forefront of opposition to madrassa reform, along with the Tanzeemaat Madaris Deeniya and Tanzim-ul-Madaris Ahle Sunnat. The ulema (religious leaders) claim that the reform process is intended to curb the ‘independence and sovereignty’ of madrassas and is, consequently, not acceptable. A majority of the seminaries source funds from local businessmen, domestic and foreign religious foundations, charities and the Pakistani Diaspora. With financial independence and enormous social and political power, seminaries in Pakistan are entirely unwilling to accept any oversight by the Government.
Most of the officially estimated 15,148 seminaries (unofficial estimates range between 20,000 and 25,000, with some approximations going up to as much as 40,000) in Pakistan, with an enrolment of about 1.5 million students, have squarely rejected tentative reform proposals – essentially requiring the registration of madrassas and the maintenance of accounts, including records of domestic and foreign donors, as well as the teaching of ‘secular’ subjects as part of the curriculum – initiated by the Government in 2003. They maintain that the proposed reforms are a conspiracy to secularise or de-Islamize the education system at the behest of the United States.
Among the objectives of proposed reforms is to register, regularise and supervise the operation of madrassas within the ‘mainstream’ education system, and to introduce a more secular and modern curriculum. In the national capital Islamabad itself, however, at least 18 seminaries have, according to reports on September 10, 2009, outright refused to register themselves with the Government, claiming that they will cooperate only if they are contacted through the madrassa body, the Tanzim-ul-Madaris. Official sources told Dawn that 122 madaris or religious schools have, however, been registered with the capital’s District Administration. The Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, Amir Ali Khan, stated that he had directed the Auqaf Department to invite representatives of the 18 openly non-compliant religious schools for a meeting to persuade them to register, since there is no existing law through which the Government can force religious schools to do so. In fact this has been the story with many an attempt at seminary reform over the years. Absent a system of penalties, there is not much that the state can do. For the record, Jang reported on June 18, 2009, that the Government had discovered that there were 260 seminaries in Islamabad, out of which at least a dozen were altogether illegal.
Saleem H. Ali of the University of Vermont, in an empirical study of madrassas in Pakistan (under a grant from the United States Institute of Peace), conducted a survey of every single madrassa in one district of rural Punjab, Ahmedpur, and found that only 39 out of 363 surveyed madrassas were registered with the Government. This study also found evidence of a link between a large number of seminaries and sectarian violence, particularly in rural Punjab. Analysis of Police arrest data for sectarian attacks between Shias and Sunnis clearly shows that “sectarian activity in areas of greater madrassa density per population size was found to be higher, including incidents of violent unrest.” Furthermore, the number of madrassas has increased over a ten year period by around 30 per cent, and in some areas they are competing with Government and secular private schools for enrolment.
In the Punjab province, there is currently an impasse between the Auqaf and Education departments and administrators of five seminary bodies on the issue of constituting religious boards on the pattern of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. Office bearers of the five establishments, including Tanzim-ul-Madaris (Barelvi), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Deobandi), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Shia), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Ahle Hadith) and Rabita-ul-Madaris (Jamaat-e-Islami), are insisting that they be given the status of a secondary board to conduct exams by themselves and issue certificates/degrees equivalent to Matriculation/SSC (Secondary School Certificate) without any Government interference. The Government had offered to allow the seminaries to continue issuing their own certificates of religious education like Dars-e-Nizami, Hafiz Quran and Nazra, The Nation reported. However, the Government has demanded that students of these seminaries also study subjects like Mathematics, English and Pakistan Studies, and appear in the respective proposed boards for SSC at par with the students passing examinations in Government and recognised private schools. The Government has “also offered teachers’ employment in accordance with Government standardised scale in the three subjects along with computer labs. It has also agreed that the appointment of teachers will be made in consultation with the proposed religious boards.”
The consolidation of radical madaris, however, continues apace. A report in London’s The Telegraph stated that the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has acquired a 4.5-acre compound outside Bahawalpur city in Punjab province in addition to the madrassa named Usman-o-Ali inside the city. While the local authorities acknowledge that the group has “spread out of the city, they deny that the new acquisition is anything more than a cattle farm to supply milk to the Jaish seminarians.” The city, with a population of 408,395 (1998 Census) and counting, already has an estimated 1,000 seminaries. Bahawalpur, where the JeM is headquartered, has for years been “a centre for ideological indoctrination and terrorist planning due to its isolation.” Daily Times reported on September 14, 2009, that the group “openly runs an imposing madrassa, Usman-o-Ali, in the centre of the town, where it teaches its extremist interpretation of Islam to hundreds of children every year.” Jaish’s new compound, approximately five kilometres outside Bahawalpur at Chowk Azam, on the main road to Karachi, is much larger, The Telegraph has reported. It said there is evidence “it could contain underground bunkers or tunnels, adding that it has a fully-tiled swimming pool, stabling for over a dozen horses, an ornamental fountain and even swings and a slide for children – contradicting claims by the group and Pakistani officials that the facility is simply a small farm to keep cattle. On the inside walls, extremist inscriptions are painted, including a warning to “Hindus and Jews”, with a picture of Delhi’s historic Red Fort.” Unsurprisingly, the local administration (Bahawalpur also has a huge cantonment) has chosen to overlook the issue. Mushtaq Sukhera, the Regional Police Officer for Bahawalpur, while confirming that both facilities belong to the JeM, claimed that “there’s nothing over there except a few cows and horses… No militancy, no military training is being imparted to students (at Usman-o-Ali),” he said, adding, “There is no problem with militancy (in south Punjab), there’s no problem with Talibanisation. It’s just media hype.” Some security personnel, however, were quoted by Daily Times as stating that the new facility is a “second centre of terrorism” designed to complement the existing Jaish madrassa in the middle of Bahawalpur.
Having failed over the decades to strengthen the mainstream education system, Governments are now declaring that the madrassa system is doing great ‘social service’ by providing free education to more than 1.5 million students in Pakistan, articulating the dangerous viewpoint that there is no alternative to the seminary system, both in terms of its large reach across the country and the state’s own failure to generate adequate financial and other resources for a secular and modern education system.
The failure at reforming the seminary system and the state’s inability to have a secular pedagogy also has to do with Pakistan’s power structure. It is the feudal-cleric bloc which wields enormous power and patronage across the country and this bloc has an entrenched vested interest in persevering with an education system which supports extremism and militant violence. In addition, the articulation of Pakistan’s identity in terms of an exclusivist and dogmatic religious state has, over the years, consolidated the system of madrassa education.
In July 2009, the Pakistan Government informed the United States that it would not close the madrassa system of education in the country, and it has become a habit for regimes in Pakistan to whine about the lack of money for social sector reforms. However, there is now increasing evidence that Pakistan clearly lacks intent to reform a system of education that essentially teaches a brand of Islam which produces suicide bombers and militant youth. The Federal Government has virtually shelved a US-aided, multi-million dollar plan to reform seminaries considered nurseries of terrorism, as it has failed to garner the support of clerics. The Government had initiated the project in 2002 in an attempt to introduce a secular curriculum in the seminaries. The project sought to introduce computer skills, science, social studies and English into the predominantly religious curriculum at thousands of madrassas across Pakistan. “We had a huge budget of Rs. 5,759 million (USD 71 million) to provide madrassa students with formal education but we could not utilise it,” Education Ministry spokesman Atiqur Rehman disclosed. The Government has failed to meet the target of reforming around 8,000 seminaries within five years. “We reached 507 madrassas only, spending Rs. 333 million and the rest of the [money] – Rs. 5,426 million – has lapsed,” Rehman said. “The Interior Ministry held talks with various madrassas… but many of them refused to accept the Government’s intervention,” said Mufti Gulzar Ahmed Naeemi, a senior official of the Sunni clerics’ alliance, the Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat.
There is a school of thought in Pakistan which fervently believes that, since Government schools have not had any comparable measure of success with nation-building, and since there is also a severe ‘resource crunch’, madrassas, which purportedly fill a social void by offering free education and sustenance for the vast majority of the poor in the countryside, need to be engaged and also encouraged. The state appears to have no immediate interest in diminishing recruitment into the seminaries and has, on the contrary, decided to engage with the madrassa system, without any process of internal reform, to take advantage of its vast physical and financial infrastructure. That these schools are also the base of an intense radicalisation of impressionable minds is knowingly ignored.
For long considered a nursery for the global jihad, the madrassa system in Pakistan is closely linked to the country’s foreign policy objectives in Kashmir and Afghanistan, which have dominated the country’s historiography since its creation. Attempts to control or neutralize the growing threat from this supply line of extremism would undermine an entire spectrum of Islamists in their present positions of power, their memberships of the national Parliament and State Assemblies, and their influence across the countryside.
The failure of madrassa reform has also a great deal to do with fear. The feudal-clerical elite (with considerable help from state agencies) have captured a great deal of grass-root support and, more ominously, linkages – indeed controlling interests – in many of the jihadi groups. There is a latent threat that too hard a push release even greater terrorist violence than is already manifested across Pakistan.
The central problem of curricular reform has been ignored for decades in Pakistan. Instead of pluralistic interpretations of Islam, an exclusionary doctrine is taught in most of the seminaries. These doctrines, Mustafa Qadri opines, have developed to the extent that “today the more fundamentalist, puritanical views of Salafist Islam, while not inherently synonymous with extremism, are the most organised, vocal and hence powerful religious voices in Pakistani politics and society. They have historically been the greatest apologists for Taliban violence, especially during their rule in Afghanistan before September 2001.”
Seven years after its inception, the Madrassa Reform Project has been an unambiguous failure. While there is certainly resistance and even confrontation at the ground level, ambivalence and a reluctance to implement the reforms dominate the state’s agencies and initiatives. The collapse of the seminary reform project is a clear indication that the power of the extremist infrastructure across the country has not diminished in the post 9/11 era, and that the state lacks both the will and the capacity to dismantle this radical network.
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management; Assistant Editor, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution
CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA, TNN
Pakistan has been put on a US legislative terror watch.
Effectively implicating Pakistan in acts of terrorism in the region and across the world, including against India, US lawmakers have imposed stringent conditions on Pakistan (requiring monitoring of compliance by Washington) while okaying a five-year, $ 7.5 billion dole for Islamabad till 2014.
The conditions, which should settle some unease in New Delhi that the US is blind to terrorism affecting India, include six-monthly evaluations by Washington of efforts by Pakistan to A) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups in the FATA and settled areas; B) eliminate the safe havens of such forces in Pakistan; C) close terrorist camps, including those of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed; D) cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups; and (E) prevent attacks into neighboring countries.
Although there is no specific reference to India in keeping with Pakistan’s plea that any India-specific conditions would be humiliating, the so-called Kerry-Lugar bill leaves no doubt that Islamabad risks losing US aid if it keeps up its terror campaign against India. Underscoring the language in the entire bill is the premise that Pakistan has been using terrorism as state policy against India, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said recently.
Section 203 of the Senate Bill S. 1707 enjoins the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan has made progress on matters such as "ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighboring countries."
The Secretary of State also has to certify that Pakistan is stopping terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, dismantling terrorist bases of operations, including in Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets.
Muridke is widely known to be a terrorist pilgrim center with jihadis of all hues and vintage gathering there for congregations patronized by the Pakistani intelligence establishment. Quetta is where western agencies suspect Pakistan is harboring the Taliban shura headed by the one-eyed Mullah Omar.
The legislation has caused much disquiet in Pakistan, where there has been long-time denial of its practice of terrorism, despite telephone and intelligence intercepts implicating its top generals, including Pervez Musharraf and Parvez Ashfaq Kiyani, in terrorism. In more recent times, Pakistani military personnel and special forces’ commandos seconded to jihadi groups, such as Ilyas Kashmiri, have been killed in US drone strikes, exposing the nexus between the Pakistani military and terrorism, and US knowledge of the connection and its intent to act.
Proxies of Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment are now pillorying the Zardari-Gilani civilian government for submitting to excessive US scrutiny and oversight, saying it is ‘insulting’ and sends a wrong message to the world. In fact, according to some reports from Pakistan, the military itself is angry about the bill, which clearly seeks to extend Pakistani civilian control over the country, and has flagged it for discussion.
Section 302 of the bill enjoins the Secretary of State, in consultation with Secretary of Defense, to assess and report to Congress every six months whether "the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration."
Pakistan has not escaped US oversight of its nuclear proliferation activities either, although, in keeping with Islamabad’s sensitivities, there is no specific mention of A.Q.Khan. Section 203 (C) of the bill requires the Secretary of State to certify that the Government of Pakistan "is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks."
The Secretary is also required to provide a six-monthly assessment to Congress of "whether assistance provided to Pakistan has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, whether by the diversion of United States assistance or the reallocation of Pakistan’s financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programs and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons program."
Halutz — the first career air force officer to lead Israel’s military and a vocal proponent of the use of airpower — oversaw a three-pronged aerial strategy: saturation bombing of southern Lebanon; punitive airstrikes aimed at civilian areas in Beirut deemed to support Hizb Allah politically; and destruction of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and manufacturing base.
According to the Israeli government’s own official inquiry — which criticized the country’s leadership for its failure to win the war while remaining utterly silent on atrocities against Lebanese civilians — Halutz’s “personal involvement with decision making within the army and in coordination with the political echelon was dominant.”
Before describing these three policies in detail, it’s necessary to deal with the most common excuse for civilian casualties, namely that Hizb Allah fighters “hide behind” Lebanese civilians while attacking Israel, and that Israel’s army is a moral one that does everything possible to avoid hurting non-combatants.
“… if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.” -Dan Halutz, interview with Ha’aretz, 21 August 2002
Extensive onsite investigations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) found that the pattern of bombings and civilian casualties could not be dismissed as accidents nor excused by alleged “human shielding” by Hizb Allah fighters (though both AI and HRW have extensively criticized Hizb Allah as well). Both organizations concluded that Halutz’s forces were bombing without regard to whether they were hitting civilians or fighters, and in some instances targeted civilians and civilian objects directly, both of which are war crimes under international law.
These reports discredited Israel’s main excuse for these casualties, namely that they were the unfortunate but inevitable outcome of Hizb Allah fighters hiding amongst Lebanese civilians . HRW investigated over two dozen incidents that accounted for over 150 of the 500 deaths that had taken place at the time; in none of them was there evidence of Hizb Allah military activity nearby. As Peter Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director, wrote:
“Israel’s claims about pin-point strikes and proportionate responses are pure fantasy. As a researcher for Human Rights Watch, I’ve documented civilian deaths from bombing campaigns in Kosovo and Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. But these usually occur when there is some indication of military targeting … In Lebanon, it’s a different scene. Time after time, Israel has hit civilian homes and cars in the southern border zone, killing dozens of people with no evidence of any military objective. My notebook overflows with reports of civilian deaths.” [emphasis added]
Similarly, Mitch Prothero, an American journalist who has worked throughout the Middle East, pointed out that for a guerrilla organization such as Hizb Allah, hiding among its civilian constituents makes little political or military sense:
“… the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah ‘hiding within the civilian population’ clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don’t know what they’re talking about. Hezbollah doesn’t trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well — with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion.”
1. Turning the South into a Free-Fire Zone
“Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that.” -Dan Halutz, Ha’aretz, 14 July 2006
The towns and villages of southern Lebanon bore the brunt of Halutz’s bombing campaign, with the most notorious incident being the 30 July midnight bombing of a building in Qana that killed dozens of civilians in their sleep, more than half of them children. There was no evidence of fighting or Hizb Allah military activity in the area at the time (video below; warning, graphic images).
Apologists for Israeli policies often point out that Israeli forces warned Lebanese civilians by dropping leaflets from jets before leveling these villages, as if giving a warning is tantamount to a license to bomb. HRW executive director Ken Roth excoriated the policy, accusing Israel of turning south Lebanon into a “free-fire zone”:
“The IDF seemed to assume that, because it gave warnings to civilians to evacuate southern Lebanon, anyone who remained was a Hizbullah fighter. When the IDF saw a civilian home or vehicle that Hizbullah might use, it often bombed, even if, as in Kana, Srifa, Marwahin, or Aitaroun, there was no evidence that Hizbullah was in fact using the structure or vehicle at the time of attack. In weighing the military advantage of an attack against the civilian cost, the IDF seemed to assume no civilian cost, because all the ‘innocent’ civilians had supposedly fled. Through these calculations, the IDF effectively turned southern Lebanon into a free-fire zone.” [emphasis added]
Moreover, even those who heeded the IDF’s threats and fled faced the danger of being bombed on the roads, according to AI:
“Particularly disturbing is a leaflet of 7 August which announced that ‘any vehicle of any kind travelling south of the Litani river will be bombarded, on suspicion of transporting rockets, military equipment and terrorists.’ This flagrantly breaches the principle of distinction and the presumption of civilian status: an attack carried out in implementation of this threat would have been an indiscriminate attack and may also have been a direct attack on civilians.
… At any rate, escaping was no guarantee of safety. Israeli forces attacked civilians who had left their villages and were travelling north in response to instructions from the Israeli military authorities, delivered through air-dropped leaflets and other means. Israel has provided no adequate explanation for specific instances of the killing of unarmed civilians in such circumstances.” [emphasis added]
Israeli jets and drones rocketed civilians vehicles fleeing northward, including ambulances. In one of the better-known cases, Israeli aircraft on 23 July attacked two clearly marked Lebanese Red Crescent ambulances that were carrying civilian victims of a previous airstrike, wounding six medical workers and further injuring the three patients, one of whom, Ahmed Fawaz (picture below), lost his leg:
“Army chief of staff Dan Halutz has given the order to the air force to destroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) in response to every rocket fired on Haifa” -senior air force officer, quoted by Israeli Army Radio
Haret Hreik (in the Dahiya district) is a large, densely populated, predominantly Shi’i, neighborhood in southern Beirut that was repeatedly bombed by Halutz’s forces during the war. Haret Hreik was far from the front lines but singled out for reprisals by Israel because of its inhabitants’ alleged political support for Hizb Allah. Analysis of satellite imagery taken before and after the war [download here -- warning: large file] shows that at least 178 buildings — most of them multi-story structures — were destroyed in the neighborhood during the war.
“If the [captured Israeli] soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.” -Dan Halutz, interview with Channel 10, 12 July 2006
According to one Israeli analyst and former paratrooper, “From the first day of the campaign, Halutz advocated attacking infrastructure beyond southern Lebanon to pressure the Lebanese government to counter Hezbollah.” During the war, Israeli jets systematically bombed Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, including 3 airports; 14 power generation stations; 120 water pumping, storage, and purification facilities; 52 medical buildings, including 2 hospitals; and a sewage treatment plant. Some 127 factories, 80 bridges, and 94 roads were partially or completely destroyed. Lebanese officials estimated that the war cost some $US 3.5 billion worth of damage, a massive toll on the country’s economy.
The destruction of infrastructure – especially roads and bridges – also made it extremely difficult for civilians to flee bombing raids, for ambulances to evacuate the wounded, and for aid to reach trapped populations.
AI’s Executive Deputy Secretary General Kate Gilmore described attacks on Lebanese infrastructure as “war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of power and water plants, as well as the transport infrastructure vital for food and other humanitarian relief, was deliberate and an integral part of a military strategy” (AI’s full study of infrastructure attacks is available here).
The most common excuse for these attacks, in addition to notions of unfortunate error and alleged Hizb Allah shielding, was the “dual use” argument: that since a particular object could hypothetically be used by Hizb Allah, its destruction was therefore militarily necessary and justified. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon pointed out the absurdity of this argument in its report:
“Israel justified its attacks on the civilian infrastructure by arguing its hypothetical use by Hezbollah. The Commission appreciates that some infrastructure may have had ‘dual use’ but this argument cannot be put forward for each individual object directly hit during this conflict. By using this argument, IDF effectively changed the status of all civilian objects by alleging that they might be used by Hezbollah. Further, the Commission is convinced that damage inflicted on some infrastructure was done for the sake of destruction.” [emphasis added]
One of the most infamous incidents was the bombing of the Jiyyeh power station 30km south of Beirut on 13 and 15 July, creating a massive oil slick polluting over 170km of Lebanon’s coastline that will require at least a decade to clean up. The extent of the spill can be seen in this satellite image:
By: Peter Chamberlin
We are faced with the ever-present and ever-growing problems presented by the state of Israel. The entire world has been given the most sinister ultimatum of all time (and
Barack Obama is fully supporting it)—we either make Israeli interests the paramount issue concerning the world today, or else Israel will single-handedly start World War III.
If we do not take military actions to preserve Israel’s outlaw nuclear edge in the Middle East, then, according to Israel’s supreme leader, Israel will use those nuclear weapons upon Iran (Israel can only do the job with nukes). If the leadership of the world does not alleviate Israeli leaders’ greatest fears through limited, though intense military actions, then Israel will unleash WWIII in the Middle East, effectively destroying the oil-based international order.
The new American leadership is the most craven, sniveling, and condescending to Israeli demands, of all previous administrations. Never before has an American administration had to publicly reverse itself because of demands openly made upon it by the Zionist state, concerning illegal settlements and other ethnic cleansing measures. To then be forced to announce to the world the reversal of the defense and arms control strategy of the previous administration, to make protecting Israel more important than protecting Europe, is a stinging indictment of Obama Administration loyalties.
The missiles were never really there because of Iran, merely a tool to antagonize Putin. By reversing the Bush deployment policy for ABM systems (allegedly intended to protect Europe from Iranian missiles), moving those missiles which represented no real threat to Iran, to positions between Israel and Iran (on ships in the Persian Gulf and from missiles based on Arab soil), the only superpower was humiliated before the world, while billions of American defense dollars were shifted to investing in protecting the world from the actions of the shitty little mad dog state.
The US military is helping making Israel immune from rocket and missile attack, while there are no such defenses for the either the United States or the European Union. If Israel were really either an island of “democracy” or an outpost of freedom in the Middle East, then it might merit such unprecedented world protection—but it is neither.
In point of fact, the Zionist state is the opposite of both of those ideals. Ruled by a small ruthless minority, the “state,” which has stolen every square inch of property from a powerless unarmed populace, proceeds to destroy every conceivable avenue of change for the better, even that of peaceful coexistence, in order to follow a similar path calculated for gain and furtherance of the secret goal. That goal is the establishment of “Greater Israel,” an un-Biblical concept, used to claim Biblical “divine right” allegedly promised to the real descendents of Abraham.
The Obama Administration represents nothing short of a “gold mine” for Israel, because of the great policy changes that are being made in their favor. We are seeing the pay-off from the heavy Zionist stacking within the Obama Administration that exceeds the record number of Zionists in the previous two administrations. Bush had become an obstacle to Israeli designs in the region, simply because they would take no action against Iran, the only obstacle to complete Israeli domination of the region.
Obama has served his Zionist overlords very well. Obama’s theatric ultimatums to Iran have distracted the world from the building international pressure that was being generated for war crimes investigations by public reactions to the fascist war of ethnic cleansing in Gaza. The “Cast Iron” campaign of terror was giving substance to legitimate comparisons being made between the fascist Israeli actions and those of the Nazis, leading also, to the Goldstone Report on war crimes in Gaza. The war against Iran, which the Israelis are demanding, can only be avoided by a total confrontation of those demands.
Over the years, the American people have stood in silent witness, as this Constitutional Republic has been slowly reshaped into a police state by the subversive financial powers. The population has been conditioned through a series of psyops, staged dramas, intended to accept familiarize the people with the encapsulated plotline. We have been encouraged to believe in the inevitability of a militarized world. Every medium screams that Brave New World is an inevitability, never mentioning that those who are sounding the warning are the same ones who are planning it all.
Since the days of WWI, powerful forces within the United States and Europe have created war as an instrument for social change. The people could be convinced into accepting all sorts of bad things in the name of “self-defense.” Wall St. financiers first bankrolled the Bolsheviks of Russia, repeating the same successful formula a few years later by funding the National Socialists of Germany. The “Islamist militants” are merely the latest model of America’s perennial pre-fabricated enemy. The “Islamist” psyop serves the interests of the Zionist world financiers today and no one else.
The problem with Israel is that the Zionist leaders there have taken the lead role in the psyop and they don’t intend to let anyone else call the shots. In this respect, Israel is in partial rebellion to its master, the American ruling class. The Mossad hand in the creation of the international “Islamist” network gives them an inside track to effect the outcome of planned terror events. Israeli agents, stationed strategically throughout American government, the press, academia and the military, maintain their chokehold on America. America will serve one last time, as Israel’s attack dog, until the once proud Nation strangles on its own vomit and wallows in its own feces, as it struggles for life, dangling at the end of the chain over the side of the cliff, after it has outlived its usefulness.
The parasitic Zionist bankers and the system that they have used to drain the life from this Nation and the world, fully intend to use the full power of the massive military-industrial complex that they have created to seal the global arrangement that they have also created. World War III, just like the two world wars before it, were unnecessary, planned events. Americans never catch-on, because they are too trusting, our fatal weakness.
After the dust settles from the next unnecessary planned world war, the inhuman bankers will have a stranglehold on food production for the surviving remnant, with their genetically modified seeds and industrial farms. They will have the same death grip on all fuel and shipping resources, in addition to control of the world bank and the world government.
Government action is already in play in the former American Congress to cause all of this. Israeli-owned senators and representatives have already given the president the necessary emergency powers to enact the destruction of the Republic. They have legislation waiting until Obama’s Iranian ultimatum passes in October, to carry-out the necessary military strangulation of Iran, as well as the major military actions planned to pursue the imaginary enemy “al Qaida.” That will start the ball rolling. “Hate crime” legislation will then pass swiftly, as part of the next escalation of emergency powers, beginning with a broad suspension of all civil rights under “Patriot Act III.”
The only thing that will prevent all of this is millions of bodies in the streets, either dead ones, or alive ones. We really are “the change that we have been waiting for.” If we don’t pour into the streets now, while we are still somewhat free, we will have to do it later with our Second Amendment rights in our hands.
There will be a second revolution in America, a revolution against a different hidden, colonial power. We have the privilege of shaping that revolution into something that the survivors can all be proud of, instead of one that none can take pride in. If we cannot unseat the Zionists within our own government in a peaceful national protest against where they are taking us against our will, then whoever comes after our time will make no such distinctions between the political Zionists and the Jewish-American community which they have historically abused in order to maintain their illegitimate criminal power.
Our only remaining decision in the matter is what form that revolution will take. If we fail to make a peaceful revolution now, then the option will be taken from our hands by the real “anti-Semites” who are sure to follow.
A Pentagon source told us recently that the issue that literally keeps senior military people up at night is the prospect of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program.
In recent months, the rhetoric coming from high-level Israeli military and political officials in meetings with U.S. officials has become increasingly hawkish as Israel sees a narrowing window of opportunity to inflict enough damage to slow Iran’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon and at a small enough cost.
The Obama administration has been frantically cobbling together a package of incentives to try and convince the Israelis to keep their bombers out of Iranian air space. Placing a ring of anti-ballistic missiles at sea in the Persian Gulf and at sites on the Arabian Peninsula is a key part of that effort, the source tells us.
Because of Arab sensitivities, the U.S. cannot come out and say that anti-ballistic missiles placed on Arab territory are meant to protect Israel. But they will do just that.
Obama administration military officials do not see Russia as a threat. In public statements, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who spent many years eyeballing the Soviet threat from his perch at the CIA, has repeatedly downplayed Russian military capabilities, almost to the point of outright mockery. He sees a more real and immediate threat, as he said at his press conference yesterday: “The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran’s short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected.”
Strategy is all about making smart choices with limited resources. The immediate threat to U.S. interests is the regionally destabilizing fallout of an Israeli strike against Iran and all that would imply for the U.S. wars in two countries that abut Iran. Hence, the shift in missile defense from defend Europe to defend Israel and Arab Gulf allies. Much of the official language out of the White House and DoD will seek to mollify the offended parties in Eastern Europe. Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, and Ellen Tauscher, the undersecretary of state for arms control, are in Europe talking to U.S. allies.
Behind the scenes, near term deployments will focus on boosting missile defense capabilities in the Gulf. The first phase of the missile defense aimed at deterring Israel will be based at sea, and has already started. As Gates said: “We will deploy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors, which provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.” He said that Aegis ships are already in the Gulf; an Aegis cruiser can carry around 100 SM-3 missiles.
There will also be a land-based component. As Gen. David Petraeus writes today in the The Times: “Iran constitutes the main state-based threat to stability in the region. The impact of its malign activities and harsh rhetoric are felt throughout the Arabian Peninsula, making it, ironically, the best recruiter with prospective partners. We now have eight Patriot missile batteries spread across countries on the western side of the Gulf, where two years ago we had far, far fewer.”
Patriot is a point defense system. Sources tell us that DoD is trying to get Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries to the United Arab Emirates, but Lockheed Martin can’t build them fast enough for the Army, let alone for overseas sales. THAAD is just completing its testing and is beginning initial fielding of two batteries with the Army. One of the Army’s powerful X-band radars is currently deployed in Israel’s Negev desert. Under development is a capability to tie X-band radars to the Navy’s SM-3 interceptor missiles.
As Gen. Cartwright said yesterday, the land-based version of SM-3, that has been used in testing, is already a go. “We’ll put together the system in a deployable configuration so that we can move it forward to places like Europe.” Note that he said “like” Europe. Also, while the first THAAD battery is scheduled to deploy to Europe, don’t be surprised if that battery is diverted to a U.S. base in the Gulf, such as in Qatar or even Israel.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the U.S. may leave missile defense systems in Israel following the “Juniper Cobra” joint missile drills scheduled for next month. It will be the largest joint exercise between the two countries and will include tests of the Israeli Arrow 2 system, THAAD and Aegis.
As we’ve written here before, the Pentagon, as will be evident in the forthcoming QDR review, is very much focused on “high end asymmetric threats”; specifically, how to counter the increasingly capable ballistic missile arsenals of countries such as Iran. Lost in the fevered criticism of the administration from more conservative circles is the importance of these steps in addressing real threats to U.S. security interests and those of its ally Israel.
By ISHTIAQ MEHSUD, Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mehsud, Associated Press Writer – 44 mins ago
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A missile killed six Taliban fighters in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, intelligence officials said, apparently the latest strike in a covert U.S. program that American officials are considering intensifying.
U.S. drones have carried out more than 70 missile attacks in the north over the last year, but the strikes are rarely acknowledged by Washington. The United States says the mountainous tribal belt along the border is a base for militant attacks on American and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan and a stronghold of al-Qaida’s senior leadership.
An unmanned U.S. drone targeted a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal region and killed six insurgents, including two Uzbek fighters, and wounded six others, two Pakistani intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The missile attack occurred in Sararogha village, the base of former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in an Aug. 5 strike by an American drone.
South Waziristan is an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has seen a spike in violence in recent days, including suicide attacks and rocket and mortar exchanges between militants and the Pakistani army. The army has moved into other areas in the northwest over the last year, but has so far avoided major operations in Waziristan.
The U.S. missile attacks have killed several al-Qaida and Taliban commanders as well as civilians. The Pakistani government routinely protests the attacks, but they are widely believed to take place with the sanction of Pakistani security agencies.
Washington says defeating the militants in Pakistan is vital for stabilizing Afghanistan, where violence is raging eight years after the U.S-led invasion to topple the Taliban. The U.S. believes much of the Afghan insurgency is directed by militants in safe havens across the border.
U.S. officials have said they are considering a strategy of intensified unmanned drone attacks against al-Qaida and Taliban targets on the Pakistani side of the border, as an alternative to sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Any significant increase, however, could trigger protests in Pakistan and hurt ties between Washington and Islamabad.
UNITED Nations investigators are preparing to question former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, amid mounting doubts over official versions of how she died and claims of a cover-up.
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals today evidence that a bullet – probably sniper fire from a high-velocity rifle – killed the former prime minister.
The Musharraf regime said a “bump on the head” resulting from a Taliban or al-Qa’ida suicide bomber killed Bhutto on December 27, 2007, shortly before an election she was expected to win.
This evidence contradicts the regime’s claim that the murder was the work of the Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US unmanned drone attack.
There is no history of the militants using sniper fire – or even regular gunfire – in any of the hundreds of suicide attacks they have mounted in Pakistan.
Also revealed in The Weekend Australian Magazine is detail of the cover-up that followed Bhutto’s murder. The crime scene in Liaquat Bagh, a park in Rawalpindi, was washed with high-pressure hoses within 45 minutes of the blast, destroying almost all forensic evidence.
Naheed Khan, Bhutto’s political secretary for 23 years, who cradled her head as she died, told The Weekend Australian Magazine: “There were bullets coming from different directions. There are lots of high buildings overlooking the area. This was a typical intelligence (agency) operation.”
Ms Khan’s husband, senator Safdar Abbasi, who is also a doctor, was in the Toyota Landcruiser when Bhutto was attacked. “The way she died – her instant death – suggests very sharp sniper fire. A typical intelligence (agency) operation.”
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals that, despite the law in Pakistan mandating autopsies in all cases of murder, and doctors attending Bhutto telling police that one should be carried out, none was performed on her or others who died in Liaquat Bagh.
Within hours, her body had been flown to Sindh province for burial, without a full forensic examination.
There is no suggestion of any involvement by Mr Musharraf in her murder. But the UN investigators want to question the former general. Given the authority he wielded in Pakistan, including over the army and its agencies, Mr Musharraf, 66, is thought to be in a better position than most to cast light on events surrounding the assassination.
At his apartment off London’s Edgeware Road, living under the protection of the British government, Mr Musharraf has appeared untroubled by demands to bring him back to Pakistan. He has played bridge with friends and eaten out during the holy month of Ramadan.
An internationally brokered secret deal allowed Mr Musharraf to step down and assured his future security.
After long delays in getting Security Council approval for its mission, the UN investigators started looking into Bhutto’s death in July and are expected to report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this year.
The investigators are reported to be preparing to talk to people in London and Washington, including CNN presenter Wolf Blitzer. On October 20, 2007, Bhutto sent Blitzer an email, through a friend, reading: “If it is God’s will, nothing will happen to me. But if anything happened to me, I would hold Pervez Musharraf responsible.”
Investigations into Bhutto’s killing are the subject of controversy in Pakistan.
By: Peter Chamberlin
The war against our minds has many dark levels, all of which attempt to hide truth which is not sanctioned by the police state, replacing it with a new fabricated “official version” of events. The state/corporate controlled media informs us of what we are to think, while multiple forms of coercion, bribery and intimidation are used to reinforce the government’s ideas and convince people to accept them as their own.
Each political protest that attempts to open people’s eyes to the world of untruths which constantly inundates us, exposes the silent majority to more and more of the police state tactics that the ruling elite has gathered together, to use as it wages war against the American public by less than deadly means. In addition to rubber bullets and flash grenades, the police state brought-out acoustic weapons to herd protestors at the recent G20 Summit in Pittsburgh:
Electromagnetic weapons were used by the Honduran military on Pres. Zelaya, who is holed-up in the Brazilian Embassy:
Pain rays have been used in Iraq (witnesses report that other more exotic lethal weapons were used there, some of which could allegedly melt human flesh, even large vehicles):
The weapons pictured above are just some of the known weapons at the tip of the iceberg of electromagnetic weaponry, ranging from the near-lethal, to those capable of causing mass death. All of these weapons were developed by the military-industrial complex for crowd control. This says nothing about the even more exotic weapons that have been kept hidden and the next class of electromagnetic weaponry, another level higher in magnitude, intended for use over broad areas, perhaps even hemispheric in reach.
The threat from such massive weaponry is so great that the EU has called for their regulation. In October 2000, Congressman Denis J. Kucinich introduced in the House of Representatives a bill, calling for a ban of space based weapons.
In this bill, the definition of a weapons system included:
“any other unacknowledged or as yet undeveloped means inflicting death or injury on, or damaging or destroying, a person (or the biological life, bodily health, mental health, or physical and economic well-being of a person)… through the use of land-based, sea- based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations“(15).
On a personal and more probable level, since, hopefully, most of us won’t be directly attacked by the police state:
There is the standard taser,
The long-range taser
The multi-shot taser.
And the really long-range taser.
My point in all of these examples is to highlight just how much research has actually gone into giving both the military and law enforcement a whole new range of weaponry, to create an entirely new class of violent tactics to use in enforcing crowd control and to persuade resisters to concede to the demands of authority. This has empowered government to openly wage war against its own population without violating international law or being charged with war crimes. Non-lethal weaponry allows the state to physically attack Americans without crossing the line to gunplay, thus side-stepping the Second Amendment and the issue of armed self-defense.
Government warfare against the population is structured much like regular warfare, meaning that enforcement operations are preceded by a period of softening-up the target, using psychological warfare tactics, fighting an informational war. The softening-up process has been underway in America since WWII. Just like in real warfare, the first line of offense is to find or plant sympathetic voices in the local media to serve as the primary instrument for the waging of this form of information warfare, where false ideas are introduced and truth about real intentions is discredited.
The government-controlled media pretends that there is no information war, as they work tirelessly to condition the people to accept the non-lethal warfare directed against us. Movies, TV shows, books and every conceivable method of mass-communication is used to downplay the criminal use of techniques designed for warfare against the civilian population.
The militarization of American police forces and their adaptation to the new low-level warfare techniques is spoon-fed to us, mixed-in with the usual themes of “terrorism” and other fear factors, hoping to intimidate any potential resistance movement before it even begins—stifling the idea itself. That’s the entire mission of the war against the people, in a nutshell, to stifle all unacceptable ideas within the mind itself, before trouble arises from them.
This is a war against all free minds, against all free thought. All thought must be of the government-approved variety. The idea is to replace all unacceptable thinking, acceptable falsehoods must replace reality-based thoughts.
By common consent, the entire “civilized” world operates on the American version of events. Countries that don’t accept the American version of events are ostracized. Going against the flow, as determined by American interests, is a certain formula for losing valuable foreign aid and inviting heat of the more aggressive kind. Individuals who refuse to accept the official version of events are branded as radicals and extremists. Extremist nations and individuals find themselves facing the full wrath of the police state whenever they contradict the official line, asgiven each night by the controlled press.
The universal psyop goes much deeper than debilitating weapons and the informational war, extending into the populace on a deeply personal subterranean level. The phenomenon called “mass-stalking” refers to psychological conditioning (brainwashing) aimed at specifically targeted individuals, even to entire families, using the time-tested methods.
The targets for this stalking are determined on the basis of intellectual testing and psychological profiling, which is conducted at all the elementary schools in the United States. With the results obtained by these tests, the herding process of American children begins. Much like the selective breeding process applied to animal husbandry, some of the human livestock will be separated for special care, while others will be separated from the herd and marked for disposal by the hired hands.
By comparing the results of these intelligence tests to standardized psychological tests, gifted individuals and those with psychological weaknesses are identified, in order to acquire test subjects for both reasons, to further development strategies or for more extensive manipulative techniques. The results of this testing follow each of the test subjects throughout their juvenile and adult years. The gifted are set on paths to develop their fullest potentials, while the others who are destined to be society’s outcasts, are set on pathways to lifetimes of pure hell.
The object of the mass-stalking is mass-experimentation in enforced behavior. Using the most bizarre and effective methods devised by government scientists, unsuspecting individuals are involuntarily subjected to systematic torture, to either cause, or take advantage of split-personality disorders. The purpose of this cruelty remains unclear—whether it is just another way to advance total state power, or simply a messy sadistic disposal system run by thugs who might otherwise work in slaughter houses, throwing live poultry against walls.
Beginning in their youth, these individual victims of these sadists are systematically subjected to the most disgusting forms of violent, sexual, chemical and electromagnetic torture, in order to destroy their young minds, by splitting and fragmenting them. Many of these victims were abducted and tortured, others subjected to traumatic sexual and violent events, intended to force susceptible young minds into retreating within themselves, where they would split-off the personality associated with the unacceptable memory and submerge them and the memories associated with them.
The mass-stalking program grew out of the mkultra experiments and the mass-testing based experimentation previously done on American troops for WWII and Korea, intended to separate and develop potential leaders and those who were deemed to be “inadequate soldiers.” This mass-conditioning program was the prototype for the nationwide program which was to follow.
The secret programs carried-out in hospitals, universities and military bases, which relied upon the crude electro-shock methods of deprogramming, were the forerunners for later, more sophisticated, electromagnetic based memory erasure and stimulation. Wireless transmission made the entire populace potential subjects for these tests.
These scientific programs for establishing government control over maverick free thinkers are very effective at preempting and suppressing potential resistance. For those who are not so easily swayed by all this impressive technology or the cruelty of the government’s trained technicians, we know that FEMA camps await to be filled by someone.
Diehard resisters face formidable technical obstacles to their efforts to wake-up the sleeping sheeple and reach-out to those who have just given-up. The task before us is to find ways to get past the personal defensive psychological barriers that have been erected to even listening to another opinion that contradicts their own. This has been the primary problem that we have faced in raising an effective resistance. We have not really had a chance to convince an open-minded audience that they believed in multiple lies. How do you persuade people that their own belief system is based on pure deception? How do you open people’s eyes and ears without first crossing pre-set boundaries of biases and preconceptions, inadvertently increasing their resistance to the truth?
The United States of America is a nation that has been heavily indoctrinated for over sixty years with false ideas about American benevolence in the world. To convince an “average Joe” that this, the core of all his other beliefs, is false, is a monumental task in itself. Yet, this is the central problem we face today, beyond the electronic/propaganda fence that has been erected to contain us. If we could break through this one barrier, then there might not be a need for street confrontations. All else might just fall in place.
Resistance begins and ends within the mind. The police state knows this. When they say euphemistically, that it is a war for “hearts and minds,” this is what they mean—a battle to kill-off ideas of resistance. The Master State is attempting to preempt future resistance by anticipating who will be in the resistance, so that their rebellious minds might be swept clean of such unacceptable thinking, before trouble comes from it.
Resistance to the idea of the all-powerful state is all that prevents the rising-up of the global dictatorship. Many plans are afoot now to bring this new order about. Full implementation of the plan will bring-about a massive planetary kill-off, where multiple animal and plant species will disappear, along with a billion or more human beings. Silence in the face of such inhuman plans is a deadly surrender of apocalyptic proportions.
ZAGREB, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Croatia said on Monday it had frozen all activities related to building an international oil pipeline linking the Caspian basin and Italy because the project appeared to have run out of steam.
Croatia told its partners in July it had frozen the project pending the government’s new guidelines, but this had not been made public until now.
Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Italy agreed in 2007 to build the Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP) to bring crude from the Caspian basin via the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta to Trieste in Italy.
First projections said the pipeline could be operational in 2012, but the target date was then moved to 2015.
“The Croatian oil pipeline operator (JANAF) has for years been engaged and willing to seek, together with partners, investors and partners who will use the pipeline. Unfortunately, there has been no progress in the project in recent years,” JANAF, said in a written statement to Reuters.
Janaf is 75 percent owned by the state, its energy companies and other agencies. It has a big portion of the Croatian transport facilities for PEOP already in place.
“We do not think the project can yield benefits without active participation of Italian companies, as Italy is crucial for transport of crude towards the EU markets. Without it, there is no need for PEOP,” the statement said.
JANAF also said Slovenia’s refusal to take part would mean higher costs, as the pipeline would have to be laid under the sea in the northern Adriatic to bypass Slovenia, which voiced concern that PEOP could threaten its sensitive karst terrain.
“Also, there are some other competitive projects for Caspian crude that have already kicked off, like the Burgas-Aleksandropoulis pipeline,” the statement said, referring to the “Balkan oil pipeline.”
“All of this necessitates a reconsideration of the PEOP and we have frozen our activities until the government defines its position in the new circumstances,” it added.
PEOP is one of several international pipeline projects the European Union wants to see in place to diversify supply routes.
The costs for 1,400-km long PEOP, with envisaged annual capacity at 1.2-1.8 million barrels per day, are estimated at between $2 billion and $3.5 billion. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; edited by Zoran Radosavljevic and James Jukwey)
Street leading to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s Lahore home. It is unclear if Saeed is under house arrest
One reason why Pakistan doesn’t appear to be sincere in its action against Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Sayeed is slowly emerging.
It’s been learnt here that some of the LeT’s top commanders, spearheading its violent campaign in India, have now joined the Pak Army’s campaign against the Taliban.
Sources said they have been moved from Punjab in Pakistan to set up and lead Army-sponsored armed “village defence committees” in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP).
Sources said LeT commanders Sad Baba, Asad Khan, Bilal, Gazi Sultan and Huzefa have moved to NWFP where the Pak Army is encouraging local tribesmen and their elders to form armed groups to fight the Taliban.
Local tribesmen are said to have told the Pak Army not to deploy its forces because their presence helps build support for the Taliban. Hence, the committees.
This anti-Taliban resistance has a parallel with the “Sunni awakening” in Iraq, where tribesmen took on al-Qaeda militants in Anbar province and elsewhere.
The village defence groups rely on tribal customs and widespread ownership of guns to raise traditional private armies — interestingly, these are also called Lashkars — each with hundreds of volunteers from local tribes.
These armies, launched last autumn, are not aimed at preventing individual acts of terrorism — suicide bombings etc — but to create a local defence system that prevents the Taliban from setting up an “extremist mini-state” in the lawless north-west.
Such Lashkars have already been established in Bajaur, Dir and Buner in NWFP.
The biggest anti-Taliban Lashkar had been set up by Sulthankeil tribe in Khall town with 10,000 local recruits who came along with their weapons.
Sources reveal that the LeT’s support for setting up and leading these tribal groups has two main reasons. One, the LeT belongs to a different ideological sect, theologically opposed to the Taliban and an armed rebellion against the Pak army.
Two, LeT’s commanders are experienced in guerilla warfare and most of them have been operating in Kashmir or directing terror acts in various cities across India.
Security agencies monitoring Lashkar operations have found that the geographical location of many of these LeT commanders is being concealed via “spoofing” of their satphones.
“When a satellite phone is spoofed, it means its Lat (latitude)-Long (Longitude) is misrepresented by highly sophisticated sensors thus preventing surveillance,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
The official alleged that there were instances where the service provider was “giving inaccurate information.”
“We worked on two numbers, one belonging to an LeT commander and another used by a Hizbul man. Both were spoofed and in both cases we knew the actual location of the users. The service provider gave us the correct information about the Hizbul man while it misled us on information about the phone used by the LeT.”
The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Sayeed, has ordered his commanders to move to the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). The local tribesmen seem to be wary of the Pakistani Army’s presence in the area, which has helped build up support for the Taliban. Hence, the elders in the area have invited the LeT commanders to take over the fight and campaign from the army.
Small armies or groups are being formed in villages as a defence mechanism against the Taliban to stop the organisation from gaining more power over the NWFP. Interestingly, these groups, comprising of villagers are also called Lashkars. They are trained in arms but refrain from suicide bombings that the LeT is known for.
These lashkars are being organised in areas like Dir and Buner in the NWFP. Khall has the largest group of Lashkars, amounting to 10,000 local people. The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
However, the intervention of LeT may not be a very good sign for India. LeT is known as a terrorist organisation and has been banned in many states like India, Russia, UK, US and Australia. Pakistan has also officially denounced LeT. The body has also come under the radar for many terrorists activities in India. Lashkar men have been accused of heightening tensions between India and Pakistan.
The main objective behind LeT’s formation was Kashmir Jihad. It has done everything possible to make things difficult for India, from guerrilla warfare to suicide bombings. India has alleged that Lashkar men have infiltrated the border many a times, to train Kashmiri youth to fight for Jihad.
Hence the amount of control that the organisation would gain in NWFP province is unsettling for India. With the support given to local tribesmen, it is likely that the locals in the area might slowly fall to Jihadist ideology and become new warriors in the fight against India.
The organisation is known for recruiting and training men and women to fight with modern arms and tactics. Once the Taliban is flushed out, their attention will once again turn to India. NWFP has witnessed anarchy for ages. Its economy, education and employment rates are abysmal. Hence it is easy for the LeT men to indoctrinate the youth from here into their outfit. The growing popularity of the organisation among the local men is dangerous for India.
In spite of banning the organisation in international forums, the fact that Pakistani military is taking the support of LeT chiefs in another matter of concern. Pakistan needs to learn lessons from the past. The Mujahideen and the Taliban were once formed and trained by Pakistan to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now the Taliban are set to take over in many of its regions. If today, the Pakistan army helps the LeT men to breed in their soil, it wouldn’t be long before another conflict erupts between the state and LeT.
WANA: Tribesmen continue to migrate from various areas of South Waziristan in fear of an apprehending operation here.
According to sources a large number of tribesmen is taking refuge – leaving their houses in Luddha, Posh Ziarat and other adjacent areas – in various parts of Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and North Waziristan after Security Forces announced directives to vacate the area from a local radio station.
Political official said people have been advised to vacate these areas as action against terrorist has become inevitable in Maken and Mehsud.
By Ben Farmer in Kabul and Javed Siddiq in Islamabad
Published: 5:42PM BST 27 Sep 2009
Washington has long been frustrated at Islamabad’s reluctance to target the Afghan Taliban’s ruling council, the Quetta Shura, which is accused of directing large parts of the insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.
State department and intelligence officials delivered the ultimatum to Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, last week as he visited the US for the United Nations’ security council sessions and the G20 economic summit.
Pakistan’s government has argued the Quetta Shura, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, does not harm Pakistan. It has said that dealing with other militants such as those in the Swat valley was a higher priority.
But last week Anne Patterson, America’s ambassador to Islamabad, told the Daily Telegraph that the offensive in Swat was not targeting the insurgents posing the greatest danger to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
An official at the Pakistani interior ministry told the Daily Telegraph: “The Americans said we have been raising this issue with you time and again. These elements are attacking Nato forces in southern Afghanistan, especially in Helmand. The Americans said ‘If you don’t take action, we will.’”
Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, said the US had so far been unable to provide detailed intelligence to target the Quetta Shura. He said: “We need real-time intelligence. The Americans have never told us any location.”
US unmanned drone strikes have so far been confined to Pakistan’s federally administrated tribal border regions where Islamabad holds little sway. But attacks in or around Quetta, in Baluchistan, would strike deep into the Pakistan government’s territory and are likely to cause a huge outcry in the country.
Details of the shift in strategy emerged as Barack Obama, the US president, continued to reconsider his strategy for tackling the growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Gen James L. Jones, Mr Obama’s national security adviser, said no deadline had been set for responding to an urgent request for up to 40,000 new troops from the senior Nato commander in Afghanistan.
Gen Stanley McChrystal made the request after delivering a strategic assessment which labelled the situation serious and deteriorating.
Polls show growing US opposition to the war in Afghanistan and several senior democrats have spoken out against sending more troops. Mr Obama said he was a “sceptical audience” to the request.
Joe Biden, US vice president, has argued that Washington should abandon ambitious military proposals and concentrate on more limited operations against al-Qaeda using drones and special forces.
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, denied a rift between the White House and Pentagon over the troop request and said Gen McChrystal was happy for the strategy to be decided before the troop request was considered. Mr Gates rejected calls to set a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan and said failure in Afghanistan “would be a huge setback for the United States”.
Separately, the Afghan minister for energy and water has survived an assassination attempt when a car bomb exploded, killing at least four civilians and leaving 17 wounded.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Ismail Khan, who is one of Afghanistan’s key political figures. The bomb exploded in the north western city of Herat as the former warlord’s convoy was passing, leaving twisted wreckage littering the tree-lined road.
The tribe have collectively decided that there won’t be any Taliban on their soil. The Taliban have been driven out of the Salarzai area. The Salarzai lashkar, mostly made up of labourers and peasants, has successfully kept the Salazai area free of the Taliban.Tens of Salarzail lashkar leaders have been target-killed. The Salarzai leaders informed me they hold the ISI responsible for the targeted killings. “The Taliban are just a facade. The real force is the ISI punishing us for our anti-Taliban struggle,” said one of the leaders.
The leaders said that Mamond Taliban headquarters used to be in Damadola, which is a few kilometres from the FC fort in Bajaur. The Mamond Taliban used to bomb Salarzai villages. The Salarzai tribal elders requested the Political Agent, the authorities of the FC [Frontier Corps] and the Pakistani army to stop the Mamond Taliban. None of these offered any help. Finally the Salarzai lashkar took positions on the mountains and for two hours heavily bombarded the surrounding villages of the Mamond Taliban. At that point the political agent and a colonel of the army asked the Salarzai lashkar to stop the bombing. They gave the same old logic: who will fight the NATO forces from across the Afghan border if you eliminate the Taliban? [emphasis added]
Following such encounters with the state authorities, the Salarzais decided to fire at any forces entering their area: be it the Taliban, Al Qaeda, the army or the US or NATO.
According to the tribal leaders, the military was ordered to shell anti-Taliban villages:
The Salarzai leaders also informed me that last year the army deliberately fired at those villages in Bajaur that were known to be staunchly anti-Taliban. They said one of their colleagues called Maj Gen Alam Khattak to ask him to stop the bombing of his village. “Major General Sahib! I will start a vendetta with you if you did not halt the bombing of my village immediately. I will make sure to kill you and your family at the first available opportunity,” they quoted one of their colleagues as saying. The major general asked him to meet Col Sajjad who was bombing the anti-Taliban villages from his base in Timergara. That colleague saw a big Bajaur map affixed on the wall in the office of Col Sajjad. The map had several encircled villages. Col Sajjad informed him that the map had been handed over to him by his commanders with the order to bomb all the encircled villages. “Our colleague’s blood boiled with anger: none of the villages had Taliban in them,” said the Salarzai leaders…On the other hand, those Salarzai villages that had Taliban were not marked on the map or bombed by the army.
This does not appear to be an isolated incident. Back in the spring of this year, a lashkar in Upper Dir battled the Taliban after a suicide attack leveled a mosque. The members of the lashkar were infuriated when the military targeted the villages with artillery, and they demanded that the military stop the shelling. The lashkar then refused help from the military.
Couple this report with yesterday’s report that more jihadi terror camps focusing on the fight against India have opened, and it is clear that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services remain compromised and that they have refused to abandon the notion of keeping the Taliban and other terror groups in reserve against India as well as a hedge against a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. And not only that, elements in Pakistan’s military and the ISI are also actively aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan: “Who will fight the NATO forces from across the Afghan border if you eliminate the Taliban?” the colonel and the political agent in Bajaur asked.
The report also shows that some of the more rosy analyses of Pakistan’s counterinsurgency prowess are flawed. If you assume that the military merely made a mistake and shelled the wrong towns, the act of indiscriminately shelling towns is just what a military should not do when fighting an insurgency.
A Loose Coalition Of Pro-American Politicians, Writers, Academics To Promote US Goals, Isolate Pak Military
Forget US diplomacy with the Pakistani government. The Americans are now setting the policy agenda in Pakistan in direct talks with Pakistani political parties. To ensure privacy, these talks are being held in Washington, away from prying eyes and ears in Pakistan. Pakistani politicians, writers and some academicians are being recruited to promote US policies and isolate the Pakistani military and intelligence. This is how a superpower occupies a nuclear-armed nation.
Face Of An American Bully In Islamabad:
Is it our country or yours, Madam Ambassador?
By Ahmed Quraishi
Sunday, 27 September 2009.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US political and military officials go on the offensive inside Pakistan, boldly confronting critics and seeking to build a coalition of pro-American supporters across Pakistani politics, media and the academia. The goal is to create a domestic counter to the entrenched Pakistani policymaking establishment [read 'the military'] that is resisting American efforts to force Pakistan to become a voluntary full-fledged second theater of war after Afghanistan.
Signs of the new American aggressiveness abound from increased willingness of US diplomats in Pakistan to confront their local critics, to sweet-talking Pakistani politicians, media and academicians into openly promoting the US agenda through sponsored visits to Washington and Florida.
This is similar to a Plan B: using local actors to force change from within. Plan A, which was focused on coercive diplomacy and threats of sending boots on the ground into Pakistan, failed to yield results over the past months.
In essence, the United States is covertly raising an army of special agents and soldiers on Pakistani soil, with the help of local Pakistani accomplices, but without the full knowledge of the Pakistani military to avoid a confrontation.
This counteroffensive began with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson’s attempt to intimidate a Pakistani columnist and a known critic of US policies. Ms. Patterson did not seek a public debate to counter criticism. Instead, she resorted to backchannel contacts to have the writer blocked. In so doing, Ms. Patterson unwittingly broke a new barrier for US influence, creating precedence for how the US embassy deals with the Pakistani media. This is something that the Ambassador’s counterparts could never imagine pulling off in places like Moscow, Ankara, or Cairo.
Buoyed by this, the Ambassador went on the offensive. This month, she held a press conference, released a long policy statement, and met Prime Minister Gilani to reassure him after reports suggested her government did not trust Islamabad with the expected aid money. She also appeared on primetime television, carefully choosing a nonaggressive TV talk show as a platform to address Pakistanis glued to their sets in peak evening hours.
Pakistan’s ‘New Capital’: The gigantic expansion of the US embassy in Islamabad. The US ambassador [left] kicking off her counteroffensive on Sept. 19, telling her Pakistani host she intervened to stop a columnist from writing against her government and affirmed she will do this again because criticism endangers the lives of US citizens in Pakistan.
The television appearance coincided with an interview she gave to a US news service accusing Pakistan of refusing to join the US in eliminating one of the Afghan local parties – the Afghan Taliban – whom her own government and military failed to wipe out in Afghanistan in eight years of war. The statement played on the usual American accusations, backed by no evidence, that seek to explain the growing disenchantment of the Afghan people with the failed American occupation of their country by linking it to alleged Pakistani sanctuaries and covert support.
But hours before her television appearance, on Sept. 19, Pakistani police raided the Islamabad offices of Inter-Risk, a Pakistani security firm representing American defense contractor DynCorp, where a huge quantity of illegal sophisticated weapons was confiscated. According to one news report, the Pakistani owner of the firm, retired Captain Ali Jaffar Zaidi, escaped from his house hours before the police arrived. A Pakistani journalist, Umar Cheema, who works for The News, confirmed in a published statement that Mr. Zaidi told him a day before the raid that “the US embassy in Islamabad had ordered the import of around 140 AK-47 Rifles and other prohibited weapons in the name of Inter-Risk” and that “the payment for the weapons would be made by the embassy.”
[The News reports today that the government has "disbanded" Inter-Risk, voiding its contract with both the US embassy and with DynCorp. The company director Capt. Zaidi remains at large.]
In other words, Pakistani security authorities have found American and Pakistani citizens working for the US embassy involved in suspicious activities.
What Really Happened?
US ambassador Anne Patterson used her goodwill to seek the personal intervention of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik to obtain licenses for prohibited weapons.
Sixty-one pieces of sophisticated weapons were seized by the police at the Inter-Risk/DynCorp facility.
The question is: Why did the Pakistani police confiscate the weapons if they were duly licensed by the government?
The only logical answer is that the licensing procedure, which includes clearance from the country’s intelligence and security departments, was not followed.
Apparently, Washington’s staunch allies inside Pakistan’s elected government helped their friends with advanced weapons into the country without the knowledge of important national security departments of the government.
This raises serious questions because of several reports recently that implicate Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, in issuing a large number of visas to US citizens without proper clearance from Islamabad. Since US tourists are not exactly flocking to Pakistan, Amb. Haqqani is suspected of having facilitated private US security agents to enter Pakistan. A spate of recent reports have exposed the presence of private American security firms on Pakistani soil.
When the country’s security departments finally paid attention to Ambassador Haqqani’s indiscretions, the ambassador, who is a former journalist, is suspected of leaking a protest letter he wrote to his country’s intelligence chief, apparently attempting to clear his name before his American friends. Of all places, the letter, which is a classified government communication, surfaced in New Delhi, on the screen of an Indian television news channel.
Ambassador Haqqani’s letter secret that blasts the ISI surfaces in New Delhi. Pakistanis joke that Mr. Haqqani is ‘the US ambassador to the United States, stationed at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC.’
PATTERSON’S LIE EXPOSED
On Sept. 30, Mr. Ansar Abbasi of The News published the full content of a letter written by Ambassador Patterson to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, dated March 30, seeking his “intervention” to grant Inter-Risk and DynCorp “the requisite prohibited bore arms licenses to operate in the territorial limits of Pakistan and as soon as possible.”
The letter creates a new dent in the US embassy’s counteroffensive that seeks to downplay the presence of private US security firms in the country. A Web news portal, PakNationalists/AhmedQuraishi.com released fresh evidence this month showing the infamous US security firm formerly known as Blackwater recruiting military-trained agents fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.
A screen shot from the secure server of BlackwaterUSA.com that shows the American defense contracter hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents to serve in Pakistan, where the pro-US government and the US ambassador are vehemently denying the presence of American mercenaries on Pakistani soil.
To quell the controversy, Ambassador Patterson went on record confirming that five million US dollars will be spent by her government to build new living quarters for US Marines within the embassy compound in Islamabad. But the number of marines utilizing this facility will not exceed 20, she assured Pakistanis recently.
The Sept. 19 raid, however, proves there will be a far larger number of armed Americans on Pakistani soil eventually than the figure given by Ambassador Patterson.
US MERCENERARIES IN PAKISTAN?
The strong denials of US officials on the presence of private US security firms in Pakistan do no tally with the circumstantial evidence. At least three verified incidents have been reported in Islamabad alone over the past few weeks that involve armed US individuals in civilian dresses. In two incidents, Pakistani police officers arrested and then released armed civilian Americans after intervention from the US embassy. In one incident, a Pakistani citizen reported being assaulted by armed Americans in civilian clothes. Police officers refused to register a complaint against the Americans for fear of being reprimanded in case of intervention by the US embassy.
US DOLLARS RECRUITING PAKISTANIS
TO WORK AGAINST PAKISTANI MILITARY
Private US security agents sneaking into Pakistan is one level of the current US engagement with Pakistan. Another level is political and seeks to isolate the Pakistani policymaking establishment, and especially the Pakistani military and the country’s powerful intelligence agencies, from within, after months of incessant one-sided US media campaign demonizing the country’s military and intelligence services.
On the political front, Washington’s Pakistan handlers have launched a new bout of US meddling in domestic Pakistani politics. The US government has put into high gear its contacts with Pakistani political parties. Washington is now conducting direct diplomacy with these parties.
A high level delegation of MQM, which controls the port city of Karachi, the starting point of US and NATO supplies headed for Afghanistan, is in Washington meeting US political and military officials.
A similar exercise is planned with the ANP, the small ex-Soviet communist ally currently governing the NWFP, the Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan.
Both parties came to power thanks to former President Musharraf’s secret ‘deal’ brokered by Vice President Dick Cheney and his State Department officials in 2007. The deal sought to create a pro-American ruling coalition in the country that would ensure that the Pakistani military is aligned with the US strategic goals in the region.
The Americans are trying to accentuate what they see as pro-Indian, pro-American strains within the two parties.
Washington began this program quietly in 2007 after getting a green signal from President Musharraf to increase US involvement in Pakistani politics. There are reports that nazims of several districts in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP were invited to Washington to meet US government and military officials over the past thirty months. But these were very low key visits. In fact, they were so secretive that ANP chief Asfandyar Wali refused in early 2008 to confirm or deny a visit he made to Washington after the Feb. 2008 elections in Pakistan. In contrast, no effort was made this time to downplay the current visits by MQM and ANP delegations to Washington and their meetings with US and NATO officials. And as in all of these covert visits, the federal Pakistani government, the Foreign Office and the country’s security departments are not privy to what is being discussed between US officials and the leaders of the two Pakistani political parties on US soil. In fact, US officials arranged the meetings on US soil precisely in order to circumvent the Pakistani government.
While there is no immediate evidence that Pakistan should be alarmed by Washington’s direct diplomacy with Pakistani political parties outside Pakistan’s territory, Islamabad needs to be wary of strong strains within Washington’s policy establishment that have been focusing on exploiting Pakistan’s ethnic and linguistic fissures in order to support its so-called ‘Af-Pak’ agenda.
A lot of work has been done over the past three years in several Washington think tanks on Pakistan’s linguistic and ethnic fissures and how these can be exploited by Washington to weaken Islamabad and force it to follow the US agenda in Afghanistan and the region.
During Pakistan’s worst domestic instability in 2007, mainstream US media outlets were leaking policy and intelligence reports focusing on alleged separatism in several Pakistani regions. This week, some of the most ardent American supporters of separatism inside Pakistan – the usual suspects from the US think-tank circuit – came together in Washington to launch a political action committee that seeks independent status for a Pakistani province, Sindh. The ceremony for the launch of the ‘Sindhi American Political Action Committee’ was addressed by Selig Harrison and Marvin Weinbaum, two think-tank types with extensive links to the US intelligence community and both advocates of engagement with Pakistani separatists as a leverage against Islamabad.
The new American confidence in openly meddling in Pakistani politics should raise alarm bells in the Pakistani capital. This is the strongest sign yet of how weak the federal Pakistani government, and in turn Pakistan itself, appears to outsiders.
The weakness of Pakistan’s ruling elite is inviting American hounding at a time when the American bully is on the retreat elsewhere.
A condensed version of this report was published by The Nation of Lahore on Saturday.