CIA Supporting Terror Inside Pakistan

CIA Supporting Terror Inside Pakistan

  • A CIA helicopter evacuated top TTP leadership into Afghanistan before the start of Pakistani military operation
  • Terrorists from TTP enjoy safe havens inside Afghanistan with the help of CIA and RAW
  • Satellite mobile phones from a Gulf state were provided to the terrorists of TTP & Swat
  • CIA helped RAW establish a base in Afghanistan
  • No CIA drones ever attacked any of the TTP & Swat terrorists as they freely called BBC and western media
  • Nuristan province in Afghanistan has a base run by CIA, RAW & NDS providing full support to terrorists inside Pakistan
  • In 1995, Benazir Bhutto and Ashraf Jahangir Qazi purged 125 ISI officers to appease CIA

The proof about instances of covert US support to some hardened militant outfits and terrorist activities they carried out over the past few weeks and months, was presented to Panetta. It was indeed a startling revelation for the top US spy and a bold maneuver of Pakistan Army. General Pasha’s move surprised Panetta as the evidence presented was categorical in proving that the CIA officials provide assistance to perpetrators of some of the most serious and deadly attacks on offices and key persons in Pakistan’s security services. Here are the details of what transpired between ISI’s Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and CIA’s Leon Panetta.

By ZAHID MALIK in Pakistan Observer

Monday, 16 December, 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—After my four hour long informal interaction with US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke at the residence of US Ambassador on the rainy evening of April 6, 2009, I had in my comments mentioned that now the ISI was the immediate target of the US Establishment. This was no “breaking news”  as everyone who keeps an eye on the ongoing war on terror knew well that US was hell-bent on:

1.       Getting the Pakistan Army sucked into domestic turmoil in Swat, FATA and beyond Waziristan, and

2.      Reining in what the US calls “rogue elements” in the ISI

There are confirmed reports that to achieve its objectives the CIA hired the services of at least a dozen Afghan warlords inside Afghanistan and provided through them arms and finances to militants in FATA and Swat to carry out extensive death and destruction by devastating attacks in the country. It was like a double-edged sword not only to get the Army to launch attacks against Taliban on Pakistani side of the border but also to give a message to the ISI that the CIA can use the Pakistanis – Taliban of the TTP- against their own security forces.

It was in this background that after putting up with so much for so long, the prime intelligence agency of the country ultimately confronted the CIA Director Leon E. Panetta with some highly classified and irrefutable evidence. Panetta was startled when Director-General ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, a no-nonsense General, placed the facts before him in Islamabad on November 20, 2009.

The “deliberate leaks” after the meeting of the spy chiefs of the two countries spoke of the mind of the ISI and the armed forces of Pakistan. General Pasha had earlier conveyed the facts about the interference of CIA in acts of terrorism in Pakistan to the Government but realizing that either the message was not strongly conveyed to the Americans or it had no desired impact on them, finally put its foot down and expressed serious concerns over the CIA’s crude interference in the country’s internal matters.

The proof about instances of covert US support to some hardened militant outfits and terrorist activities they carried out over the past few weeks and months were presented to Panetta. It was indeed a startling revelation for the top US spy and a bold maneuver of Pakistan Army. General Pasha’s move surprised Panetta as the evidence presented was categorical in proving that the CIA officials provide assistance to perpetrators of some of the most serious and deadly attacks on offices and key persons in Pakistan’s security services. He was told that in view of the negative impact on Pakistan’s efforts in its ‘war on terror’ the CIA must stop such activities. The clarity with which the information was meant to be a loud message to Washington and CIA headquarters at Langley that if they wanted Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror; it must give up playing a double game. Pakistan has publicly expressed concerns over the freedom enjoyed by the Indian intelligence agency RAW is operating from Afghanistan. RAW is not only involved in acts of terrorism in the NWFP but also in Balochistan. India cannot undertake such wide-scale activities in this region without the approval and backing of the CIA. The question is: how did India develop such a huge presence in Kabul?

What has raised alarm bells in Islamabad is that Maulvi Fazlullah who escaped from Swat is living openly in Afghanistan under the protection of Afghan intelligence. The TTP leaders including Hakeemullah Mehsud have also being protected and allowed to operate from Afghanistan. All this could not happen without the knowledge of Americans.

There are reports that TTP leaders are provided satellite phones operated by a Gulf based Western company and they have been talking freely to BBC and other media organizations without any fear of being detected and targeted by drones or missiles. Then there are also credible reports that a helicopter that flew from Afghanistan before Oct. 17, when operation Rah-e-Nejat in South Waziristan was launched, evacuated the top leadership of the TTP from Waziristan to Afghanistan. The Americans also vacated some of the crucial posts along the border with South Waziristan in an apparent bid to provide safe passage to the fleeing Pakistani Taliban. The terrorists arrested in Pakistan during the operation told their interrogators about their links with the US and Indian agencies. There is credible information that full logistic and auxiliary support is still being provided to anti-Pakistan Taliban from Nuristan Province and several top officials from Afghan and Indian intelligence networks were seen active in the area.

So, it is CIA’s agenda to get the Pak Army and now the Air Force also spend itself in internal security operations and erode the morale and capabilities of ISI so that Pakistan’s nuclear assets could be targeted in one way or the other. The CIA’s new agenda started to be implemented as soon as the present Government took over. On many occasions since, Washington has been publicly blaming ISI for its links with some of the Taliban leaders including the Haqqani group. During the meeting with Prime Minister Gilani in Washington in August 2008, Director CIA presented him with a charge sheet against Pakistani intelligence agencies for their alleged involvement in Jihadi activities. In order to justify its intended interference in Balochistan, the CIA also raised the bogey of the presence of Taliban Shura in or around Quetta.

PPP’s History of Undermining ISI

The whole scenario became very grim as the Government appeared to have succumbed to American pressure to cut the ISI to size and make it a carpet lion. It was in this backdrop that a notification was issued in mysterious circumstances placing the ISI under the Interior Ministry; the notification was withdrawn the same day when the move backfired. It is no coincidence that during the two stints of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister, a perception developed that the PPP undermined the effectiveness of the ISI. That perception was also based on facts. On the instructions of the BB Government, Lt. Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi, the then DG ISI, purged 125 officers of the Agency [from the ranks of Major General to Colonel] who were identified to be “rogue elements” by the CIA. Now there is a strong perception that the present leadership is not presenting the interests and concerns of the state of Pakistan to its ‘Americans friends’ and is just raising issues in a casual manner. Perhaps that was the reason that the Army leadership had to make unusual public remarks in a press release, issued by the ISPR after the Corps Commanders meeting in October 2009, expressing serious concern over the Kerry-Lugar Bill saying that certain of its clauses were intrusive and against the national interests and were thus unacceptable. The Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar snubbed the Pakistan Army accusing it of ‘crossing the line’ bringing the differences into the open setting a new precedent and further undermining the state of Pakistan.

The crude interference by the CIA in Pakistan’s internal affairs has not gone well with the Establishment and infuriated the Pakistan Army. If the Americans did not stop its activities to help the Pakistani Taliban against the Army, cooperation with the US in the war in Afghanistan would come to an abrupt end. I am quite sure that if the Army says NO the whole nation will back it. It was owing to this reason that COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, while talking to newsmen on the occasion of rolling out of first JF-17 Thunder Aircraft at Kamra on November 24, declared that the US would have to take Pakistan into confidence and taking into consideration the armed forces know-how to defend the country.

This report was first published by Pakistan Observer on Dec. 7, 2009.

Nato fails to gain Russia aid in Afghanistan

[American/NATO refusal to enter into a non-aggression agreement with Russia has cost NATO the choppers it went begging Russia for.  What will be the overall cost to the Empire's plans, meaning how far will the repercussions go?  Will this upset American plans for its Northern Distribution Network, meant to compensate for the anticipated cut-off of supply routes through Pakistan?  The CIA's boys, the Pakistani Taliban may have already sealed America's fate in NWFP.  SEE: NATO chief opposes Russia's security pact proposal]

Nato fails to gain Russia aid in Afghanistan

Dmitry Medvedev, left, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Moscow, 16 December 2009

Mr Rasmussen said he had presented Moscow with ‘concrete proposals’

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has failed to gain any commitment from Russia to help win the war against the Taliban insurgency.

On Wednesday Mr Rasmussen asked Moscow to provide helicopters to Afghanistan and also requested Russian help in training the Afghan air force.

But he told the BBC he had received no positive response from the Kremlin.

Mr Rasmussen’s visit is the first by a Nato chief since relations chilled after last year’s Russian-Georgian war.

The three-day visit, which has included meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, signifies the alliance’s determination to strengthen ties with Moscow, analysts say.

Common ground

Mr Rasmussen said he had presented Russian leaders with a list of “concrete proposals” to help the Western alliance defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan – specifically requesting helicopters, helicopter training and spare parts.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left) talks to Sergei Lavrov

Mr Rasmussen said the two sides should look beyond their differences

“The Russians do realise that if we left Afghanistan behind and if Afghanistan once again became a safe haven for terrorism then they could suffer from it because terrorists would spread from Afghanistan through central Asia to Russia,” Mr Rasmussen told the BBC.

Helicopters are considered a crucial asset in the war against the Taliban, for their ability to move troops around and provide air support. Nato allies have found a shortage of helicopters one of the main handicaps in fighting the insurgency.

The Kremlin has said it wants Nato to win in Afghanistan and is willing to help. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that while differences remained between Moscow and Nato, both sides were trying “to normalise relations and bring them to a new level”.

But while many analysts agree it is not in Russia’s interests to see Nato fail in Afghanistan, Moscow is still deeply suspicious of the old Cold War alliance, says the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Moscow.

Giving helicopters to a US-backed regime in Kabul goes way beyond what the Kremlin is prepared to do, our correspondent adds.

Sensitive subject

Analysts say the atmosphere between the alliance and Moscow has improved recently. Earlier this month, the Nato-Russia Council convened for the first time since the Georgia conflict.

During this visit, issues such as missile defence, Iran and a joint review of new security challenges were expected to be on the agenda.

The expansion of Nato remains a sensitive issue between the two sides, with Russia firmly opposed to any move towards membership by Ukraine or Georgia.

Mr Rasmussen has previously said they would become Nato members as and when they satisfied the necessary criteria, but emphasised that Moscow should not see that as a threat.

NATO chief opposes Russia’s security pact proposal

NATO chief opposes Russia’s security pact proposal

MOSCOW
U.S. military vehicles of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) travel on a road in Siavashan village near Herat December 14, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

MOSCOW (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday he saw no need for a new security treaty proposed by Russia, rebuffing the Kremlin’s call for new defense arrangements in Europe.

After talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders, Rasmussen urged greater cooperation between NATO and Russia in Afghanistan, but showed no enthusiasm for Moscow’s treaty proposal.

“I don’t see a need for new treaties or new legally binding documents because we do have a framework already,” he told a news briefing in Moscow.

“We have already a lot of documents, so my point of departure is: ‘I don’t see a need for new treaties.’ But let me reiterate, we are of course prepared to discuss the ideas in the right forum,” said Rasmussen.

He said the 56-member state Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was such a forum.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev published a draft post-cold war security pact on November 29. He said it would replace NATO and other institutions and would restrict the ability of any country to use force unilaterally.

In Moscow on his first visit since taking office on August 1, the NATO chief repeatedly said recent rows should not prevent Russia and the military alliance from confronting a common security threat from Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Rasmussen conceded he had not received any firm offer of support from Moscow in response to his requests for Russia to provide Kabul with helicopters and training support, saying he had never expected to get a firm response this week.

DEEP SUSPICION

Moscow still views NATO, its Cold War adversary, with deep suspicion. Ties have been severely strained by last year’s war between Russia and Georgia and by U.S.-backed plans to invite more former Soviet states to join the alliance.

But Rasmussen, during a speech to students and diplomats in Moscow, urged both sides to stop viewing each other as threats.

“Let me make a very clear statement as Secretary General of NATO: NATO will never attack Russia. Never. And we don’t think Russia will attack us. We have stopped worrying about this and Russia should stop worrying about us as well.”

Rasmussen is trying to secure more support for the fight against the Taliban after U.S. President Barack Obama pledged 30,000 more troops.

“I believe that Afghanistan must be a centerpiece of our partnership in 2010,” he said in his speech.

“We need to look at what more we can do together to train the Afghans to secure their own country; to provide them the equipment they need to fight; to stem the flow of drugs into our schools and back-alleys; and to support the UN-mandated, NATO-led mission.”

Rasmussen said that by 2020, a common anti-missile shield could cover Russia and NATO countries. His optimism about future ties contrasts with years of conflict over previous U.S. plans to install missile interceptors in European countries.

“By 2020, cooperation between NATO and Russia on missile defense will have advanced to the point where we are able to link our systems to create a genuine missile shield in the Euro-Atlantic area. Which will not only protect us all against proliferation, but bind us together politically as well.”

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Charles Dick)

Zionist Piss Ant Threatens to Boycott Primary Benefactor

[The shitty little state that wants to rule the Middle East wants to rub British noses in it for embarrassing it over the Tzipi war crimes warrant.  This is great!  You guys in the British Isles really ought to show these arrogant little Khazars what a boycott really is.  I mean, how much kosher food, electronics and mind-control experts does England really need, anyway?]

Israeli MPs threaten boycott of British products

Tzipi Livni

JERUSALEM : Israeli MPs on Thursday threatened to call a boycott of British products unless London withdraws an advisory allowing retailers to state whether West Bank products were made by Palestinians or Jewish settlers.

So far, 40 of Israel’s 120 MPs have signed the petition which is to be sent to the British parliament, according to an aide to MP Ronit Tirosh of the centrist Kadima party.

Tirosh, leading the initiative, said the petition threatens “to call on Israelis to think twice before buying British products if the decision is not rescinded by the British government.”

She also called on officials to boycott British airlines.

“I urge official Israeli representatives to abstain from using British airlines as long as the British government treats Israel as though two states existed, one within the green line and another outside,” Tirosh said in reference to the border between the occupied West Bank and Israel.

She said parliamentary president Reuven Rivlin had expressed support for the petition.

Earlier this month the British government issued an advisory suggesting retailers could use labels distinguishing whether West Bank items are “Israeli settlement produce” or “Palestinian produce.”

The move infuriated the Israeli government, which said it would “encourage extremism among Palestinians.”

Tirosh likened the measure to the Nazi persecution of Jews. “We intend to protest anything that singles out Jews as this kind of method brings back very bad memories,” she told Israeli radio.

The international community considers the Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal and a major hurdle to peace efforts.

Relations between Britain and Israel soured further after an arrest warrant was issued against former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni for her role in the devastating military offensive in the Gaza Strip at the turn of the year.

But British officials expressed opposition to the warrant, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday told Livni over the telephone that she would “always be welcome” in Britain.

The arrest warrant was understood to have been issued by a London court at the weekend.

Steel walls cannot contain the struggle for freedom

Steel walls cannot contain the struggle for freedom

Hasan Abu Nimah,

16-egypt-wall.jpg
Photo documentation of a new wall being built on the Gaza-Egypt border. (Al-Masry Al-Youm English)

December 16, 2009

As if the siege of Gaza were not already bad enough, Israel and Egypt are working even harder to tighten the prison which holds Gaza’s 1.5 million people.

Egypt is building a steel wall along its 10-kilometer-long border with the Gaza Strip, according to recent media reports. This wall apparently extends not only above ground, but deep into the ground in an attempt to prevent Palestinians digging the tunnels that have become a lifeline for the territory.

As early as July 2008, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the US Army Corps of Engineers was consulting with Egypt on the project and recent reports say the US is still involved in this cruel plan to further isolate Gaza’s population and violate their rights as an occupied people under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It is well-known that Palestinian have dug hundreds of underground tunnels to counter the ongoing siege of Gaza and to import their basic necessities from Egypt as all of Gaza’s crossing points on the Egyptian and Israeli side have been routinely closed for almost three years.

Smuggling is normally illegal and shames and incriminates those who engage in it. Not in the case of Gaza though, where forcing a besieged population to act like moles and to dig deep underground to import in their needs from kerosene to cooking oil — also used as car fuel — to livestock, is actually an affront to the so-called civilized world, but more specifically to the Arab world which is acquiescing in the lethal blockade and humiliation imposed upon the Palestinians.

If siege is an act of aggression and war, then breaking out of it by any means is an act of self-defense and resistance. History records people’s struggle for liberation and independence from any form of repression or aggression as heroic and honorable. Every nation is proud of its past deeds and its successful struggle for its national goals, as well as its victories and its heroic achievements no matter how much war, violence, bloodshed, death and destruction were involved. Why should the Palestinians be constantly punished, from friend and foe alike, for simply seeking their dignity, liberation, usurped rights and freedom? Indeed, dozens of Palestinians have given their lives digging and operating the dangerous, but vital tunnels.

The Palestinians have long been condemned as “terrorists.” In comparison, the Israelis are the ones who are always, under all circumstances, act in “self-defense” against Palestinian “aggression.” For Israel and its apologists, the illegal eviction of the Palestinians from their homeland is not aggression or terrorism. The continued occupation of the West Bank, in its fifth decade now, is not aggression. The strangulating siege of Gaza is not aggression. The imprisonment of more than 10,000 Palestinians is not aggression. The occupation of Syrian lands since 1967 is not aggression. Daily incursions in Palestinian towns and villages to arrest or assassinate Palestinians are not aggression. Neither devastating wars causing thousands of civilian deaths, against Lebanon (2006), Gaza (2008/09) and air raids against Syria are forms of aggression. But retaliation or resistance to any of such acts is “terrorism.”

The pretext for the Gaza siege, Israeli, Egyptian, Arab or international is the alleged Hamas “coup” against the “legitimate” Palestinian Authority in Ramallah in June 2007, and the Hamas rockets fired at Israel. There is another Hamas “crime,” the holding of the lone Israeli prisoner of war.

Although it has been proven time and again that there was no Hamas coup; there was in fact an act by a legitimately elected authority to abort a coup. Hamas has also fired no rockets during the ceasefire that Israel violated in November 2008, and has once again operated a unilateral ceasefire even though Israel continues its attacks and invasions of Gaza.

But let it be assumed that Hamas deserves all this punishment and more, why should the other 1.5 million innocent people in Gaza be collectively punished with them?

Should people in Gaza just sit still and watch their children starve? Is it not a moral duty and existential necessity for all people to fight for their dignity and survival? Why should only the Palestinians be denied this right?

If it is true that Egypt is building the steel wall — Egypt has denied it despite repeated claims otherwise — it will indeed be a shameful measure intended to acquiesce to American and Israeli pressures.

To stop “smuggling” into Gaza there is a cheaper and an easier way than building more cruel and futile walls: open the Rafah crossing for food and domestic needs, building materials and energy supplies — not for rockets — and insist that Israel open the crossings on its side connecting Gaza to the rest of the country.

The excuses for Gaza may be rockets or tunnels, but in fact the tightening of the Gaza siege is part of a total effort by Israel to besiege the entire Palestinian population in the occupied territories. For more than 40 years, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been living under a tightening siege. First, their freedom to move in and out of the occupied territory has been severely curtailed and later — especially during the years of the so-called “peace process” — the occupier imposed internal barriers that have made it virtually impossible to pass from one town to the other without encountering one of the hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints that have rendered the West Bank a series of ghettos surrounded by expanding settlements. Finally there is the illegal apartheid wall — which brave, heroic Palestinians recently breached in several places demonstrating that no amount of concrete and steel can suppress the human desire for liberation.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and is republished with the author’s permission.

:: Article nr. 61128 sent on 16-dec-2009 19:54 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=61128

Link: electronicintifada.net/v2/article10948.shtml

What a Difference a Day Makes!

[Reversing the NRO seems to have given Zardari the power to tell Obama "No!"  Did Gen. Kayani trigger today's wave of Predators swarming over N. Waziristan by ruling-out Pakistani military operations there?   SEE: US Drone Swarm Kills 12 in North Waziristan]

Zardari resists US pressure to expand Fata operations

By Anwar Iqbal
Mr Zardari also urged the US president to speed up American military assistance to Pakistan and to intervene more forcefully with India for resolving bilateral disputes. — File Photo
Mr Zardari also urged the US president to speed up American military assistance to Pakistan and to intervene more forcefully with India for resolving bilateral disputes. — File Photo by AP

WASHINGTON: In a letter to Barack Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari has turned down the US request for expanding Pakistani military operations in Fata, according to The Washington Post.

Mr Zardari also urged the US president to speed up American military assistance to Pakistan and to intervene more forcefully with India for resolving bilateral disputes.

He wrote the letter in response to a letter Mr Obama sent last month, urging Islamabad to step up operations against militants.

Mr Zardari wrote that his government was determined to take action against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and allied insurgent groups attacking US forces in Afghanistan from the border areas in Pakistan. But, he said, Pakistan’s efforts would be based on its own timeline and operational needs.

The newspaper said on Wednesday that Pakistan’s military chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, reinforced this message on Monday when he told Gen David H. Petraeus, the head of the US Central Command, that the United States should not expect “a major operation in North Waziristan” in the coming months.

“The letters between the two leaders, while couched in diplomatic niceties and pledging mutual respect and increased cooperation against insurgents, reflect ongoing strains in a relationship that is crucial to both,” the Post observed.

The newspaper noted that Mr Zardari, with a weakening hold on power and under strong military and political pressure, was anxious not to be seen as kowtowing to US pressure.

The Post noted that both the military and the civilian government publicly deny cooperation with US attacks on insurgent targets inside Pakistan, launched from CIA-operated unmanned aircraft, and the US military’s use of two Pakistani air bases — Shamsi in Balochistan and Shahbaz in Sindh.

The report said that Mr Zardari did not mention India by name in his three-page letter to Mr Obama, but he made repeated reference to Pakistan’s core interests, unresolved historical conflicts and conventional imbalances. He called on Mr Obama to push Pakistan’s neighbours towards diplomatic rapprochement with Islamabad.

Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, Mr Zardari said, were based on the country’s own threat assessment and timetable. He noted that military operations in the Swat Valley alone had cost Pakistan $2.5 billion and said that Pakistan expected the United States to provide increased material support.

The daily noted that the long-term success of Mr Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy depended on Pakistan moving forcefully against “Taliban havens in Fata and Balochistan” as Islamabad did not allow US ground troops to operate inside the country.

The newspaper reported that in return for a three-fold increase in US assistance to Pakistan, Washington wanted Islamabad to launch an offensive against the Haqqani network of militants which the Americans said operated from North Waziristan.

Officials who discussed Gen Petraeus’s meeting with Gen Kayani in Islamabad told the Post that the US general expressed some irritation at Pakistan’s complaints against the United States but accepted what one US official called Gen Kayani’s explanation of “the limits of their forces in terms of capacity”.

Another US defence official told the newspaper that Pakistan was “already doing an extraordinary amount”. They were “a sovereign nation”, he said, and “all we can do is keep encouraging them to keep it up”.

Gen Kayani, the official said, expressed concern that stepped-up US operations in Afghanistan were pushing insurgents into Pakistan. He said that the military had begun raids into North Waziristan and was working with tribes in the area to expel Uzbek and Arab insurgents.

US Drone Swarm Kills 12 in North Waziristan

US drone strikes kill 12 in North Waziristan

MIRANSHAH: At least 12 people where killed when unmanned US aircrafts fired 10 missiles at a house in North Waziristan on Thursday.

According to sources, the US drones targeted some houses situated in Degan and Ambor Shaga areas off 25 kilometers from Miranshah, headquarter of North Waziristan.

Following the strikes, as people were heading toward the targeted house, 10 back-to-back missiles were fired, killing at least one dozen of people.

According to the reports reaching here, five to six unmanned aircrafts were still hovering over North Waziristan.

It may be reminded here that two people were killed when a US drone hit the house of a tribesman in Datta Kheil Kay village early on Thursday.

Veterans Group Calls on Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq

Veterans Group Calls on Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq

Dahr Jamail

t r u t h o u t, December 16, 2009

In response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on December 1 to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organization March Forward!, comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy.

“March Forward! calls on all service members to refuse orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq,” reads a press release from the group from December 3. “We offer our unconditional support and solidarity. Join us in the fight to ensure that no more soldiers or civilians lose their lives in these criminal wars.”

Michael Prysner, a former corporal in the Army who served from 2001-2005 and a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, co-founded the group with another Iraq war veteran, James Circello.

Truthout asked Prysner how he responds to those who believe a soldier should always follow orders, no matter what.

“In my experience the majority of people joining the military today join out of necessity, like money, jobs, help for their family, etc., so most don’t join for ideological or patriotic reasons. Most are driven into the military by economic conditions. We see this playing out now, as people are joining in droves because of the economy.”

Prysner added, “Yes, people do sign a contract to follow orders, but those orders are wrong and unlawful. We want to educate people to the fact that these are immoral orders, and they [soldiers] are being used as muscle for corporations, to colonize the developing world, and it’s not legitimate. People who join and take this oath seriously who think they are in [the military] to defend the US, this is not what we are being used for in the military today.”

Prysner has written about his experience in Iraq, “… there was no computer screen separating me from the suffering civilian population. I spent 12 months in Iraq, doing everything from prisoner interrogations, to ground surveillance missions, to home raids. It was my firsthand experiences in Iraq that radicalized me. I believed I was going to Iraq to help liberate and better the lives of an oppressed people, but I soon realized that my purpose in Iraq was to be the oppressor, and to clear the way for US corporations with no regard for human life.”

After he separated from the Army in 2005, Prysner “understood that the occupation I was a part of was a crime against humanity. I understood that illegal conquering of Iraq was for profit, carried out by a system that serves a tiny class of super-rich whose endless drive for wealth is at the expense of working people in the United States and abroad.”

According to Prysner, the lessons he learned from being part of the US occupation of Iraq taught him that, “I still had the same drive to fight for freedom, justice and equality as I did when I joined, and I understood that fighting for those things meant fighting against the US government, not on behalf of it.”

To those who call him and his organization “anti-American” and/or “unpatriotic,” Prysner has this to say:

“I would say that I have more in common with my sisters and brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan than I do with these people in DC who’ve sent us to war. If that’s unpatriotic, then yes, I am. But patriotism and racism are the only things the military has to fall back on to convince people to do the things we are being asked to do today.”

March Forward! was founded in 2008, and the aim of the organization is “to unite all those who have served and who currently serve in the US military, and who want to stand up for our rights and for that which is right.”

“We are new and growing,” Prysner explained. “We have seen somewhat consistent growth, and we’re expecting this to accelerate now.”

The group’s statement from December 3 adds, “On December 1, we got a clear order from President Obama. For many more years, we will be sent to kill, to die, to be maimed and wounded, in a war where ‘victory’ is impossible, against a people who are not our enemies. For over eight years, we have come home in coffins, in wheelchairs, with our skin burned and with our days and nights haunted by the trauma of war. We return home to a VA whose services are so inadequate that active duty soldiers who succumb to suicide outnumber those killed in combat.”

James Circello is a former Army sergeant and veteran of the US occupation of Iraq. Circello, who joined the military in 2001, describes his experience in Iraq as follows:

“During the occupation of Iraq, the truth about what the United States government has done to the country of Iraq became more apparent. Open wastewater flowed through neighborhood streets where children played soccer. Families were thrown out of their homes with simple accusations from others. Vehicles were taken on sight by the military if individuals couldn’t provide proper documents claiming they own the vehicle. These events and others helped in strengthening my opposition to the so-called ‘War on Terror.’”

In April 2007, Circello left his base in Vicenza, Italy, and went absent without leave (AWOL) in protest of US policy in the Middle East. In November 2007, he turned himself in to the military at Fort Knox and was discharged within three days.

Circello has remained very active with his work against US Foreign Policy, having worked with Iraq Veterans Against the War and the group Courage to Resist before joining March Forward!.

Circello’s decision to go AWOL was his way of refusing to deploy to Afghanistan.

I had been fighting myself internally after my time in Iraq, about whether to deploy again,” he explained to Truthout, “I ended up back in my old unit that was preparing to deploy, so at that moment I took it into my hands, and decided I wasn’t going to go kill Afghans that had done nothing to me, or the American people. It was a defining moment for me.”

According to Pentagon figures, since October 2001, more than 50,000 soldiers from all branches of the military have gone AWOL.

John Raughter is the communications director for the American Legion, an organization that describes itself as “a patriotic, war-time veterans organization, devoted to mutual helpfulness,” according to its web site.

Raughter is clear about his stance on the rights of soldiers. “We have an all-volunteer force,” he explained to Truthout, “These are not draftees. They swore an oath to obey the orders of the Commander in Chief.”

According to Raughter, the American Legion does not, in any way, support AWOL soldiers or those who refuse to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. “Within reason, the military should be able to enforce obedience. Obedience and order are critical for the military to do its mission. People can’t pick and choose which orders to obey and which not to [obey]. If it’s a lawful order, they are obliged to obey.”

Yet the oath enlisted soldiers must take before being deployed, reads:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, is the co-author of “Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent” with Kathleen Gilberd. In the book, they write, “Rules of Engagement limit forms of combat, levels of force, and legitimate enemy targets, defining what is legal in warfare and what is not. (They’re also) defined by an established body of international (and US) law that leaves no ambiguity.”

Cohn and Gilberd argue that every US war since WWII has been illegal. Article 51 of the UN Charter only permits the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member … until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”

In addition, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 (the war powers clause) of the US Constitution authorizes only both houses of Congress, not the president, to declare war. Nonetheless, that process has been followed only five times in our history and last used on December 8, 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Nevertheless, Raughter believes soldiers who are dissenting against the occupations should have never joined the ranks. “If they are ethically opposed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would say that most of these people have enlisted or reenlisted since the beginning of the war. These wars were occurring when they made this oath of enlistment. It should have come to their minds.”

Circello’s response to those who refer to their tactic of encouraging soldiers to refuse deployment orders as being “unpatriotic or un-American?

“This is a tactic of demonization and we reject it,” he explained, “The corporations profiting in these wars don’t care about America or the American people. Is providing mercenaries to kill innocent people overseas, and bombs to kill innocent people, is that American and patriotic? The people who use these terms are demagogues. We can’t forget that America was a land of institutionalized slavery, slavery was American, and folks like Dr. Martin Luther King, when they stood up to racism were called un-American … so the same thing happens today. When you protest war, or call on soldiers to desert based on their own interest, you are called un-American.”

Prysner and Circello’s organization has stated, “March Forward! supports the right of all service members to refuse illegal and immoral orders. Orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq are just that: illegal and immoral. We have no reason to fight in these wars, and we have every right to refuse to be a part of them.”

:: Article nr. 61138 sent on 16-dec-2009 21:29 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=61138

March Forward header (pagewrapper)
March Forward!

The newsletter of March Forward! is written and published by veterans and active-duty service members.

The staff for the March 2009 issue of the newsletter includes:

John Acevedo
Specialist, U.S. Army
1999-2003
Los Angeles, CA

James Circello
Sergeant, U.S. Army
2001-2008, AWOL April-Nov 2007
“Operation: Iraqi Freedom” veteran
Washington, D.C.

Bill Hackwell
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
1967-1970
Vietnam War veteran (’68-’69)
San Francisco, CA

Priscilla Lounds
Specialist, U.S. Army
1986-1989
New London, CT

Eric Murillo
Sergeant, U.S. Army
1994-1996 and 1999-2006
El Paso, TX

Eddie Pages
Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
1998-2002 and 2004-2008
New York City, NY

Michael Prysner
Corporal, U.S. Army
2001-2005
“Operation: Iraqi Freedom” veteran
Los Angeles, CA

Forrest Schmidt
Specialist, U.S. Army National Guard
1994-2000, AWOL 1997-2000
San Francisco, CA

Matt Wedemeyer
Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
2000-present
Washington, D.C.

March Forward! is an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). Along with others in the Coalition, we are organizing against the Iraq and Afghanistan war while fighting for social and economic justice at home—including the struggle against racism and all forms of discrimination and bigotry. March Forward! operates based on the belief that real change comes through struggle and mass action.In 2008, veterans and active-duty service members who had been seasoned activists and leaders in the movement against the Iraq war joined together to form March Forward! Our aim is to unite all those who have served and who currently serve in the U.S. military, and who want to stand up for our rights and for that which is right!

March Forward! was formed because of the pressingissues facing veterans and service members: the forced participation in these horrible imperialist wars, as well as economic hardship, sexism, racism, homophobia, inadequate care, and a lack of access to resources before, during and after military service. These issues can only be resolved through grassroots organizing and unified action by veterans and service members in alliance with others across the country: unions, civil rights and anti-war organizations, and student and youth activists. These issues affect working-class veterans and service members, and all people in the United States who do not profit from the Pentagon’s wars.

March Forward! members are also active supportersand/or members of other progressive veterans’ organizations, including Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. We are actively building a multinational, multigenerational group of veterans and service members who will stand up and fight back against the injustice perpetrated by the Pentagon against our sisters and brothers throughout the developing world, against working and poor people in the United States, and against those still serving in the U.S. military.

Click Here to Join March Forward!

You can email us at info@marchforward.org
or call the National Office at (202) 265-1948 for more information.

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EU Orders Painful Economic Shock Therapy for Greece, Other Patient-States Line-up

[No relief planned for the people, as government prepares severe austerity measures despite explosive, simmering social tensions.  This is the first visible sign of what is to come for us all, as the collapsing world economy ushers in massive social cuts to maintain record levels of military expenditures.  We are about to witness a military solution to the world's economic travails.  The sad part is not that our leaders did not see all of this coming long ago, but that they clearly foresaw all of this, in fact, they planned on it.]

Shock therapy for Greece

By Marius Heuser
17 December 2009

Some of the measures will be “painful” and “we will have do without pleasantries,” declared Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou. This was the grim message delivered by the head of government in a televised address to the Greek population on Monday.

Under orders from the European Union, the Greek government plans to announce a “shock therapy” budget next month aimed at reducing the country’s soaring budget deficit. Papandreous’ declaration that in the course of the next three months his government will implement measures which have been postponed for decades puts his regime on a collision course with the working class.

Greece faces the threat of sovereign default, with a budget deficit expected to amount to 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), more than four times the deficit-to-GDP ratio allowed under the European Union stability pact for member states.

It is, however, only the most immediately threatened of a number of Eurozone states that are plunging into bankruptcy as a result of the world economic crisis and the massive indebtedness assumed by governments to bail out their banking systems. Greece is just “the tip of the iceberg,” said Norbert Barthle, budget spokesman for the ruling Christian Democratic Union of Germany.

In a front-page article headlined “Debt Fears Rattle Europe,” the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday wrote: “Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, a group traders have disparagingly dubbed ‘PIIGS,” all have huge budget deficit and very low growth prospects, which means their debt is on course to rise further, fast.”

The spreading crisis now centered in Greece has already led to a sharp fall in the value of the euro on international currency markets, and threatens to undermine the European currency.

In his Monday speech, Papandreou pledged to cut the country’s budget deficit to below 3 percent in four years. “We must change or sink,” he said.

In order to meet the dictates of the European Union, the government is intent on reducing the budget deficit to 7 percent in 2011, 5 percent in 2012 and under three percent in 2013. Papandreou has already announced that he intends to slash public expenditure by around 10 percent.

In addition he plans to go ahead with the privatization of state-owned enterprises, radically cut pension provisions and wipe out a large number of public service jobs. He has further announced a freeze on public service workers’ salaries.

In Greece, a quarter of the work force is employed in the public sector and the anticipated job cuts will run into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. The government has declared that only a fifth of empty positions will be filled next year.

However, the prime minister on Monday failed to provide specifics on cuts in pensions and other social benefits, and the financial markets reacted negatively, driving the yield on Greek government bonds even higher. Shares on the Greek stock market fell sharply Monday and Tuesday.

A Brown Brothers analyst said of Papandreou’s speech, “It does not appear that he has provided much insight into how he will reduce Greece’s heavy debt burden.”

The response of American finance capital was summed up by Standard & Poor’s announcement Wednesday that it had downgraded Greece’s credit rating from AAA- to BBB+, stating that “measures the government has announced to reduce its deficit are unlikely to stem its rising debt burden.”

There are already signs of growing resistance from the working class and youth in advance of the social democratic PASOK government’s announcement of its austerity budget. Teachers, who will bear the brunt of cuts in the public sector, struck on Wednesday, and some major unions have called a one-day general strike for Thursday.

On December 6, more than 10,000 people, predominantly youth, demonstrated in Athens against police violence to mark the one-year anniversary of the police killing of the 15-year-old student Alexis Grigoropoulos. That event sparked more than a week of mass protests which played a major role in the recent electoral defeat of the conservative government of Kostas Karamanlis and its replacement by the PASOK government of Papandreou.

Implementing a policy of “zero tolerance,” some 10,000 police were mobilized for the December 6 demonstration in Athens. Police attacked the protest and arrested mover 200 demonstrators.

Greece’s total debt burden is estimated at €300 billion and is projected to rise in 2010 to 120 percent of GDP. The country is, moreover, plagued by rampant corruption and the plundering of its finances by the ruling elite.

The government’s austerity plans will have particularly severe repercussions for the country’s youth. Youth unemployment in Greece was already at 22.1 percent in 2008, exceeded in the European Union only by Italy and Spain. An additional effect of the job cuts in public service will be further downward pressure on wages.

Papandreou has announced no concrete proposals regarding expenditure for education, but in order to achieve his ten percent cut in budget outlays, further cuts to Greece’s already under-financed and crumbling education system are inevitable. Currently, the Greek state invests just 2.5 percent of its annual budget on education.

In an attempt to placate and contain social opposition, Papandreou included in his speech on Monday a handful of proposals to tax the wealthy. No bonuses are to be paid out to executives of state-owned banks next year, he said, and a tax is to be imposed on bonuses paid by private banks. In addition, he announced plans to increase the inheritance tax and implement a more progressive tax system.

These vague promises are above all aimed at enabling the trade unions, the nominally “leftist” alliance SYRIZA, and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) to collaborate in imposing his austerity measures. These organizations have played a central role in implementing cuts in the past. This is why Papandreou met on Tuesday with the leaderships of all of the country’s leading parties to discuss “the struggle against corruption.”

The initial reaction by representatives from the SYRIZA alliance and the KKE was reserved. As far as these organizations and the unions are concerned, the one-day general strike on Thursday is designed to let off steam and contain popular opposition within the bounds of protest and pressure on the PASOK government.

The perspective of these organizations is based on providing a left cover for the right-wing policy of PASOK. In the recent election campaign, all of these organizations declared that a PASOK-led government represented a lesser evil, and even indicated a willingness to enter into a coalition with PASOK.

In reality, the previous conservative government called for new elections in October because it was unable to implement the demands of the European Union and the financial markets in the face of popular resistance. The ruling elite concluded that this task had to be handed over to PASOK, in cooperation with trade unions and petty-bourgeois parties.

Leading political circles in Europe and sections of the business press are demanding that the European Union bureaucracy assume direct control of the Greek economy should the government prove incapable of stemming the debt crisis.

Papandreous’ speech on Monday was a direct response to the EU summit held last Thursday. European Union Economic and Currency Commissioner Joaquín Almunia greeted the prime minister’s speech as a step in the right direction. However, he added, the government in Athens had to lay out concrete steps in January to guarantee the European Union Commission that it is determined to realise “the rapid consolidation of public finances.”

Hacking the Drones of Death

Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

$26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected

By SIOBHAN GORMANYOCHI J. DREAZEN and AUGUST COLE

WASHINGTON — Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.

U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America’s enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.

U.S. Air ForceU.S. enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan have used off-the-shelf programs to intercept video feeds from Predator unmanned aircraft.

U.S. enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan have used off-the-shelf programs to intercept video feeds from Predator unmanned aircraft.

U.S. enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan have used off-the-shelf programs to intercept video feeds from Predator unmanned aircraft.

The drone intercepts mark the emergence of a shadow cyber war within the U.S.-led conflicts overseas. They also point to a potentially serious vulnerability in Washington’s growing network of unmanned drones, which have become the American weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Obama administration has come to rely heavily on the unmanned drones because they allow the U.S. to safely monitor and stalk insurgent targets in areas where sending American troops would be either politically untenable or too risky.

The stolen video feeds also indicate that U.S. adversaries continue to find simple ways of counteracting sophisticated American military technologies.

U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered the problem late last year when they apprehended a Shiite militant whose laptop contained files of intercepted drone video feeds. In July, the U.S. military found pirated drone video feeds on other militant laptops, leading some officials to conclude that militant groups trained and funded by Iran were regularly intercepting feeds.

In the summer 2009 incident, the military found “days and days and hours and hours of proof” that the feeds were being intercepted and shared with multiple extremist groups, the person said. “It is part of their kit now.”

A senior defense official said that James Clapper, the Pentagon’s intelligence chief, assessed the Iraq intercepts at the direction of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and concluded they represented a shortcoming to the security of the drone network.

“There did appear to be a vulnerability,” the defense official said. “There’s been no harm done to troops or missions compromised as a result of it, but there’s an issue that we can take care of and we’re doing so.”

Senior military and intelligence officials said the U.S. was working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but said it wasn’t yet clear if the problem had been completely resolved.

Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.

The Pentagon is deploying record numbers of drones to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration’s troop surge there. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who oversees the Air Force’s unmanned aviation program, said some of the drones would employ a sophisticated new camera system called “Gorgon Stare,” which allows a single aerial vehicle to transmit back at least 10 separate video feeds simultaneously.

Gen. Deptula, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said there were inherent risks to using drones since they are remotely controlled and need to send and receive video and other data over great distances. “Those kinds of things are subject to listening and exploitation,” he said, adding the military was trying to solve the problems by better encrypting the drones’ feeds.

The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn’t know how to exploit it, the officials said.

Last December, U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered copies of Predator drone feeds on a laptop belonging to a Shiite militant, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter. “There was evidence this was not a one-time deal,” this person said. The U.S. accuses Iran of providing weapons, money and training to Shiite fighters in Iraq, a charge that Tehran has long denied.

The militants use programs such as SkyGrabber, from Russian company SkySoftware. Andrew Solonikov, one of the software’s developers, said he was unaware that his software could be used to intercept drone feeds. “It was developed to intercept music, photos, video, programs and other content that other users download from the Internet — no military data or other commercial data, only free legal content,” he said by email from Russia.

Officials stepped up efforts to prevent insurgents from intercepting video feeds after the July incident. The difficulty, officials said, is that adding encryption to a network that is more than a decade old involves more than placing a new piece of equipment on individual drones. Instead, many components of the network linking the drones to their operators in the U.S., Afghanistan or Pakistan have to be upgraded to handle the changes. Additional concerns remain about the vulnerability of the communications signals to electronic jamming, though there’s no evidence that has occurred, said people familiar with reports on the matter.

Predator drones are built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego. Some of its communications technology is proprietary, so widely used encryption systems aren’t readily compatible, said people familiar with the matter.

In an email, a spokeswoman said that for security reasons, the company couldn’t comment on “specific data link capabilities and limitations.”

Fixing the security gap would have caused delays, according to current and former military officials. It would have added to the Predator’s price. Some officials worried that adding encryption would make it harder to quickly share time-sensitive data within the U.S. military, and with allies.

“There’s a balance between pragmatics and sophistication,” said Mike Wynne, Air Force Secretary from 2005 to 2008.

The Air Force has staked its future on unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones account for 36% of the planes in the service’s proposed 2010 budget.

Today, the Air Force is buying hundreds of Reaper drones, a newer model, whose video feeds could be intercepted in much the same way as with the Predators, according to people familiar with the matter. A Reaper costs between $10 million and $12 million each and is faster and better armed than the Predator. General Atomics expects the Air Force to buy as many as 375 Reapers.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com, Yochi J. Dreazen atyochi.dreazen@wsj.com and August Cole at august.cole@dowjones.com

The Lashkar-e-Taiba Was from the Outset Clearly a U.S. Enterprise

[Thanks to Aangirfan for locating the following remarkable report from "The Hindu" news service.  It is highly relevant to the ongoing reporting on the David Headley case and the Pakistani terror group Lashkar e-Taiba.  It reads like it is today's news.  This trail of evidence links the CIA to LET and Hafez Mohammad Sayeed, the leader of the Daniel Pearl kidnapping and so many other attacks.  I think that the bottom is falling out from under the CIA and ISI denials of complicity in a lot of terror.  Everything seems to lead to Mumbai.]

Vol. 16 :: No. 05 :: Feb. 27 – Mar. 12, 1999


TERRORISM

A terrorist plot unearthed

The interrogation of a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist, trained in United States-sponsored camps from the Cold War era, points to a plot to bomb U.S. consulates in Chennai and Calcutta.

PRAVEEN SWAMI
in New Delhi

TWO decades after the United States began its war in Afghanistan, the chickens are coming home to roost. On January 7, acting on the basis of an intelligence tip-off, the Delhi Police arrested a Bangladesh national, Syed Abu Nasir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba activist alleged to have been supervising an operation to bomb the U.S. Consulates in Chennai and Calcutta. Information on Nasir’s arrest was at first treated with disdain by the U.S. Government, which believed that it was part of an Indian smear campaign against Pakistan. But subsequent investigation has led to disturbing evidence that Nasir’s tale is true – and that the U.S. has no one to blame but itself for the war that Pakistan-based Islamic groups are now waging against it.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) psychologist Frederick Gonnel was the first U.S. official to interrogate Nasir. Gonnel arrived in New Delhi in early January with an array of lie-detection equipment. Such equipment works on what might be described as the Pinocchio Principle – the assumption that the act of speaking a falsehood is reflected in measurable physical reactions. India possesses lie-detection equipment, but its use here has been minimal since few police officials believe that the method has any investigative value. In the U.S., by contrast, both official investigative agencies and major corporations place considerable value in such polygraph tests.

Gonnel carried out three separate sets of tests on Nasir, two in New Delhi and one in Chennai. Just what he asked the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative is not known. Officials who saw the equipment, however, told Frontline that it measured not only pulse rates and other traditional indicators, but also eyebrow movements and even small changes in facial expressions. At each session Gonnel used a detailed questionnaire, in which queries about Nasir’s mission were interspersed with a set of control questions.

The U.S. was initially dismissive about the Indian claims, letting it be known that it believed that the bombing plot was a fabrication. A January 20 report in The Washington Post quoted U.S. State Department officials as saying that Nasir had walked into the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in December 1998 offering information on threats to the security of the U.S. Nasir’s information, they said, was simply not credible. The officials also told The Washington Post that Nasir had been picked up by the Delhi Police shortly after his visit to the Embassy, implying that the Lashkar-e-Taibarecruit had been held in illegal custody until his arrest was announced on January 7.

BUT what Gonnel found shook the U.S. intelligence apparatus. The psychologist’s three rounds of tests led him to conclude that Nasir had indeed told the truth about his role in a plot to blow up the Consulates in Chennai and Calcutta. By the third week of January, a special counter-terrorist team of the U.S. was in New Delhi to interrogate Nasir. Kevin Huska, Karl Wighalm and Frederick Wong identified themselves to Indian officials as FBI officers. A fourth U.S. official, Mark Rossini, offered no information on his post, which led Indian officials to believe that he was a Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) operative. This group of four was conducted to interrogations by Embassy security staffer Albert Djong.

The disdain U.S. officials had shown for Nasir’s story in December now dissolved into alarm. For one, Nasir had information that no casual observer would possess. He knew that only one vehicle other than those of the Consulate had regular access to the Consulate in Chennai. This was a Bank of America car that came to pick up cash collected from visa applicants in the course of the day. Nasir also spoke about a service lane that divided the Consulate offices in Calcutta from a residential area, where a security oversight meant that vehicles could be parked unchecked. A medium-sized explosive device planted in the lane, he pointed out, would wipe out buildings in a 100-metre radius.

S. THANTHONI
The U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the Anna Flyover overlooking it.

Even more disturbing was the fact that Nasir’s account of the plot bore alarming similarities to those that led to the explosions at the U.S. Embassies in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi last year. Nasir’s cell had made videotapes of the physical environment of the two Consulates, and of the patterns of activity around them. It is unclear why these details of his story were overlooked when he visited the U.S. Embassy in December. Nasir claimed before Indian intelligence officials that his decision to offer information on the plot was driven by a growing Bangladeshi nationalist resentment against Pakistan. This sudden ideological volte-face, however, is more than a little implausible; some officials believe that he acted in anticipation of monetary gain.

Nasir’s story is embarrassing to the U.S. security establishment. A literature graduate from Chittagong University, Nasir first made contact with the Islamic Right when he began working for the International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO) in 1991. The Saudi Arabia-based IIRO is engaged in charitable work in strife-torn areas such as Bosnia. It has also been closely associated with the billionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden. Transferred to the IIRO office in Bangkok and then to Lahore, Nasir made contact with the Lashkar-e-Taiba establishment, including its operations commander for terrorist activity in India Azam Cheema, field commander Abdul Karim ‘Tunda’, and supreme religious leader and head of its patron body, the Markaz Dawa wal’Irshad, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed.

By 1994, Nasir was involved with the Lashkar-e-Taiba deeply enough to volunteer for an arms training course in Kunnad, Afghanistan. That camp and the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s sprawling base camp on 80 hectares in Muridke near Lahore were both in essence U.S. creations. The Kunnad camp had been a forward base to train Afghan terrorist groups that are engaged in the U.S.’ war against the socialist regime in Kabul. The Murdike complex was built with official patronage on land donated by former Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq in 1987. The construction of the complex was one of the first major CIA-backed moves to create a base for operations against the Soviet Union-supported Gove-rnment in Afghanistan. If figures like bin Laden had no direct CIA links, theLashkar-e-Taiba was from the outset clearly a U.S. enterprise.

Shortly after his training, Nasir was contacted for the first time by officials of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). One Brigadier Malik and one Colonel Farooq, he told his interrogators, had tasked him to cross the India-Bangladesh border and gather information on the establishments of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command around Siliguri. The names of both Malik and Farooq have figured repeatedly in the course of the interrogation of terrorists who were active in Jammu and Kashmir; they have also referred to a group of officials in the ISI’s ‘Raja’ and ‘Chaudhury’ units, which manage all India-related operations. Nasir set up home in Siliguri under the alias Robi Bose and began forwarding reports to a Dubai address. While he is not believed to have discovered anything particularly sensitive, Nasir proved his competence. He returned to Bangladesh in August 1998 in preparation for a new posting in Calcutta where he was instructed to monitor the Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William. Nasir travelled by road to Kathmandu and then to Lahore and Dhaka on a Bangladesh passport.

That last visit was to prove fateful. In the middle of September 1998, Nasir says, he was called to a meeting by Cheema. Sayeed was present there, along with the IIRO’s Asia chairman, Sheikh Ahmad al-Ganidi. Cheema instructed Nasir to arrange safe passage across the Bangladesh border for six Lashkar-e-Taiba agents. These were Mustafa, Ibrahim al-Hazara, Ismail and Zainul Abedin from Egypt, a Sudanese national named Lui, and a Myanmarese national from the Arakan area, Hafiz Mohammad Saleh. Getting across the border proved easy. The group stayed for a month in Calcutta, and then proceeded to Chennai. Nasir then left for a brief trip to New Delhi, where he was arrested.

Nasir’s story offers insights into the working of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. For one, if his account of the meeting in Dhaka is true, it is interesting that the organisation chose Bangladesh rather than Pakistan as the venue. Nor were any ISI officials present at the meeting; indeed, Cheema’s instructions flew in the face of what Nasir had been told to do by his intelligence handlers. These facts suggest that the bombing plot was organised independently by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, perhaps without the institutional knowledge of the ISI. Clearly, despite its organic linkages with Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus, the Lashkar-e-Taiba was now shaping its own agenda rather than being told what it could and could not do.

BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
Syed Abu Nasir, who allegedly supervised an operation to bomb U.S. consulates in Chennai and Calcutta.

Little is known about what the six Lashkar agents who were given the task of carrying out the consulate bombings are now doing. Akhlaq Ahmad Khan, Ghulam Mohammad and Abdullah Sulfi, who organised the group’s cross-border movement and stay in Calcutta, have, however, been arrested. Sulfi and Khan are known to have been previously involved in moving Jammu and Kashmir-based terrorists across border. For its part, the U.S. Government itself is maintaining a stoic silence. A spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, Donna Reginsky, told Frontline that her Government “is in possession of information, which it is in the process of evaluating”. Asked if the U.S. still believed Nasir’s story was a fabrication, she offered no comment.

The reasons for the U.S. silence are not difficult to comprehend. Its most bitter enemies were not too long ago its best friends. The Markaz Dawa wal’Irshad leader Sayeed, who condemned the U.S.’ bombing of Iraq in December, was responsible for sending hundreds of volunteers to fight the U.S.’ war in Afghanistan. He received overt U.S. patronage, in that enterprise. The fundamentalism the U.S. now condemns was politics that it encouraged enthusiastically through the 1980s, with senior U.S. politicians routinely describing the fascist clerics of Afghanistan as freedom fighters. To admit that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is now ready to join in a terrorist campaign against the U.S. would involve a painful engagement with the past.

“It’s a bit like your own dog barking at you,” says an Indian intelligence official wryly. “No one will believe that the dog has decided it doesn’t like you anymore – until it actually bites.”

Figures like the Markaz’s Sayeed are the U.S.’ own Bhindranwales. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent declarations suggest that he is considerably more sensitive to the issues than the U.S. strategy establishment. Sharif has been attempting, albeit ineffectually, to rein in the religious Right’s terrorist operations which have transcended any meaningful state control. The U.S., despite its polemic, remains more ambivalent. At least some persons incharge of policy continue to advocate a policy of rapprochement with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and, by extension, with chauvinist groups in Pakistan. They could discover that the U.S., as much as anyone in South Asia, will finally have to pay the price.

INDIA’S CONGRESS PARTY IN BED WITH THE CIA?

INDIA’S CONGRESS PARTY IN BED WITH THE CIA?

Will the Indian government blame the USA for the Mumbai bombings of 2008?The government of India, which is led by the Congress Party, is reportedly anxious to keep in with the USA.

Many of the key people within the Indian military, police and parliament may be assets of the CIA.

Former Prime Minister Morarji Desai faced allegation of being a CIA agent.

“Some international think tanks believe that some of the Indian Members of the parliament are on monthly payrolls of the CIA and European intelligence agencies.” (IndiaDaily – Congress party confident to get support from sleeping …)

The Indian government blames the Lashkar-e-Taiba for the Mumbai bombings of 2008.

Lashkar “was from the outset clearly a U.S. enterprise.” ( Cached)

In the book entitled Ce que je n’ai pas pu dire (The Things I Would Not Utter), Jean-Louis Bruguiere says the CIA was aware that Pakistani army trainers worked with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani group reportedly responsible for a series of strikes in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Willy “Brigitte said that CIA operatives in the Punjab, where the training camp was located, had struck a tacit deal with the camp operators, whereby they would be allowed to continue their training…” (Cached )

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. Reuters Photo/Jason Reed

At the last general election in India, the Congress party defied exit polls and analysts’ predictions by winning a clear victory. Did the CIA rig the election? (India’s Congress party heads for surprise election victory World …)

CIA boss Leon Panetta keeps in close touch with Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.

In November 2009, Obama said that he had reaffirmed to Indian Prime Minister Singh his administration’s “commitment to fully implement the US-India civil nuclear agreement” which he said would “increase American exports and create jobs in both countries.”

Dr. Manmohan Singh said “our strategic partnership should facilitate transfer of high technologies to India.” (US India nuclear deal – The real reasons )

~

DID US SPECIAL FORCES CARRY OUT THE MUMBAI ATTACKS…

MUMBAI SUSPECT DAVID HEADLEY INTRODUCED HIMSELF AS…

US India nuclear deal – The real reasons

[This article really nails it, when laying-out the real reasons for the American/India nuke deal and what it means for Asia.  India is anticipated to serve as America's economic Asian anchor, a role filled by China in the past.  Where China provided the financial assets and cheap material goods needed to keep the American economy going on its debt-financed "globalism" drive, it is hoped that Indian prosperity and cheap labor (for the final round of outsourcing) can serve as an economic lifeline for the next chaotic decade of conquest.  India will serve as an American proxy force in the subcontinent, for which it will receive American thermonuclear technology.  India will be expected to take the heat for the nuclear testing that is planned for our next generation of replacement warheads.  If the US really does "exit" Afghanistan it will be leaving it in Indian hands.]

US India nuclear deal – The real reasons

The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on an Official visit to USA on Tuesday held discussions with the US president Barack Obama regarding the remaining formalities towards the implementation of 2005 US-India nuclear cooperation deal.

Mr. Obama said that he had reaffirmed to the Prime Minister his administration’s “commitment to fully implement the US-India civil nuclear agreement” which he said would “increase American exports and create jobs in both countries.

In his remarks at the press conference, Dr. Manmohan Singh said “our strategic partnership should facilitate transfer of high technologies to India”.

Both the leaders by their pin pointed remarks have rightfully indicated the mutual benefit of the Nuclear treaty. While the treaty helps India to meet its long term energy needs, it also benefits USA creating opportunity to invest in the $150 billion market potential in Indian Energy sector. Economists are optimistic that this can be a catalyst to stabilize the US economy and thus the world economy too.

The benefits are highlighted to cool down the vocal critics in USA who advocate Non Proliferation of Nuclear weapons and pacify those in India who are  concerned about Sovereignty of the Indian nation.

It is argued that Non Proliferation is ensured since the treaty effectively differentiates between civil and military nuclear installations; the cooperation between USA (the signatory to NPT) and India (still preferring to stay outside NPT) in civil nuclear installations does not amount to proliferation. This is the message conveyed to the US Congressmen who oppose the treaty.

But can Indians believe that India has fallen to the dictates of USA just for the pressing energy needs of the growing population? The terms used by Dr Singh “strategic partnership” and “technology transfer” assume greater significance.

We have to see what is in between the lines and what is untold. The Indian democracy provides liberty to ruling party and their selected bureaucrats not to reveal some information under the pretext of national security. Particularly when the Prime Minister has a choice to appoint a close friend as National Security Adviser giving priority to confidentiality rather than merit, it does provide provisions for the nation to be misled along with the Prime minister.

In 1998 India tested (Pokhran II) a thermo-nuclear device which was hailed as grand success by the then BJP Government. But recently former DRDO Scientist associated with the nuclear test Dr. K. Santhanam opened a controversy by revealing that the test yield was only 20 to 25 kt against the target of 45 kt and no crater was formed at the site of the test. That means Pokhran II was only partially successful.

Unable to digest the revelation of truth, the National Security Adviser M.K.Narayanan tried to clarify that the Atomic Energy Commission was satisfied with the tests. Mr Narayanan asserted that

“As the NSA, I know what the DRDO is supposed to do and what it knows. I think he ( Dr. K.Santhanam) is not merely exaggerating, I think he is talking something which is horrific”

What M.K.Narayanan added was more horrific,

“We have thermonuclear capabilities. I am absolutely sure. We are very clear on this point. If you hit a city with one of these you are talking about 50,000 to 1,00,000 deaths,”

Mr Narayanan’s remarks lacked diplomacy or eloquence by mentioning the killing of thousands of people. Mr Narayanan also resorted to personal attack on the scientist and called Dr. Santhanam as a Maverick.

Santhanam retaliated ,

“I am a person from a nuclear background, who spent close to 16 years in Trombay, published articles in various journals. I was doing strategic analysis long before I came to Delhi. I may not be known to Narayanan but, if anything, I will add that Narayanan is a babe in the woods on nuclear matters. His career has been that of a cop and a spook.”

This was a public debate held in September 2009 which enlightened the media and public about the India’s nuclear capability. If we analyse the behavior of M.K.Narayanan in the Sri Lankan issue in which India supported Srilankan military in killing thousands of Tamils but denied any such support, we have strong reasons not to believe his words. After Pokhran II India proved to be a weak Nuclear force not enough to achieve a strategic balance with China. The signing of the nuclear pact with USA gives reason to believe that we are lagging behind in this field and need external support to get to where we want to be.

MK Narayanan employs the old method of hiding a full pumpkin in a rice serving  (The Tamil saying – Muzhu poosanikkai..). The Indian people seek a honest assessment of our strength and the strength of our enemy in issues of National security. We as a nation should be cognizant of our weakness which is the first step to achieving greater and adequate strength.

It is in this context that the 2005 US-India nuclear cooperation deal should be seen. India might have lost the hopes of attaining a credible nuclear deterrence in the near future and is compelled to have some cooperation with the countries having sophisticated technology for “transfer of technology”

China has developed close relationship with Pakistan in various areas including establishment of nuclear plant facilities. China has been succesful in building military facilities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and now in Sri Lanka. Such partnerships goes against the Indian security and therefore the treaty with USA is inevitable since it ensures a “strategic partnership” with a nation more powerful than China. India’s long time ally Nepal is in crossroads with the recent domestic changes. India also alienated the Tamil population that favoured secession from Sri Lanka ruining any possible influence in the region to gain a geo politcal advantage in the south.

Although the nuclear treaty is said to be applicable to Civilian Nuclear Installations, the Scientists who are going to implement Western technology shall be Indians and it may be impossible to prevent the transfer of the nuclear “Know-how” aiding indigenous nuclear technology in future at least to cater for the defense against China.

India can be assured of getting this deal done, since it is the economy that matters for USA, not the proliferation.

What is rarer to get than a Friendship
And a Stronger Shield against a Foe

( ThiruValluvar 781 )

If “Al Qaida” Existed Would They Waste American Sleeper Cells Attacking India?

[The claim that LET (Lashkar e-Taiba) is an active part of the mythical organization "al Qaida" is put to the lie by the Headley case.  If "the base" is really in charge of international terrorism, then they would naturally have vetoed wasting hard to develop American sleeper agents in foreign operations that focused on foreign targets.  One day soon we will prove beyond any doubt that "al Qaida" is CIA.]

Headley: A Quadruple Agent

By B. Raman

Please refer to my article of December 15, 2009, titled “ Headley’s Case Figures in Senate Committee” available athttp://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3549.html.

2. A reader in the US has drawn my attention to some other references to the Headley case in the transcript of the Committee hearing. I had missed these references in my earlier article. These are annexed.

3. While forwarding these references, the reader has also made the following observations. I am not in a position to comment on his observations:

a) There have been multiple classified hearings prior to recent public revelations wherein Headley was discussed. I base this on the highlighted comment made by Senator Lieberman and by looking at the committee’s calendar. It would be reasonable to infer that at least some key government elements in the US were aware of Headley’s actions for a while now

(b) Also based on the same discussion, it appears that the relevant US agencies were possibly downplaying Headley’s actions as only a threat outside of the US as opposed to threats to the US directly.

(c) If a well informed person like Senator Lieberman can publicly raise questions on how long Headley was being allowed to operate from the US, then so should Indian authorities.

4.  In my article of November 10, 2009, titled “ FBI Affidavit Against Headley: References to India” available at  http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers35/paper3496.html I had extracted references to India from the affidavits filed by the FBI in the Chicago court. The significant extracts are again re-produced below:

On July 3, 2009, Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A sent HEADLEY an email in which Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A said, “i need to see you for some new investment plans.”

On July 8, 2009, HEADLEY sent Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A an email which stated, in part: “What do you want me to do? Where are you interested in making investments?”

In another email on July 8, 2009, HEADLEY told Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A that “I think when we get a chance we should revisit our last location again and say hi to Rahul. “Following his arrest, HEADLEY acknowledged that, in this email, “Rahul” refers to a prominent Indian actor with the first name “Rahul.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A replied to the above email on July 8, 2009 and told HEADLEY in an email that “to see Rahul is a good idea coz have some work for you over there too. Matters are good enough to move forward….”

On July 9, 2009, HEADLEY responded: “When you say “move forward” do you mean in the North direction or towards Rahul? Also in the future if we need to meet to discuss anything, do I have to come all the way over there or can we meet somewhere in the middle like Africa or Middle East?”

The same day, Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A responded that “I mean towards Rahul.”

On July 10, 2009, HEADLEY sent an email to Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A in which he stated: “I would like to know a few things if you can tell me:1) What is the status with the Northern project, is it still postponed indefinitely? 2) The visit to Rahul’s place, is it for checking out real estate property like before, or something different and if so tell me what you can please. Also is it exactly in Rahul’s city or different one? 3) How long do you think I will need to stay at Rahul’s place to complete this task? 4) Will I have to stay there continuously for a while, or back and forth like before?”

Based on my (FBI agent’s) review of this and other communications, I believe that HEADLEY had inquired of Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A whether the Denmark project was on hold, and whether the visit to India that Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveilling targets for a new terrorist attack.

Later on July 10, 2009, Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A responded to HEADLEY’s email, stating, in part, that: “There are some investment plans with me, not exactly at Rahul’s city but near that. Rest we can decide when meet according to your ease”.

In an email to Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A on July 16, 2009, HEADLEY stated, in part: “One very important thing I need to know please is that how long do you need me for, meaning how long should it take me to finish my work, in your opinion. And is it really urgent? Before it seemed that the Northern Project was really urgent.”

After Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A responded on July 18, 2009, that “it may take somewhere between 2 to 4 weeks,” HEADLEY replied on July 19, 2009, that “I think I can manage it,” and that he would be available in October. He closed his email by asking “Is the Northern Investment definitely postponed for now?”

Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A and HEADLEY continued to exchange emails through late August 2009, when HEADLEY told Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A that he “will be there end of next month.”

I (FBI agent) understand these emails to reflect that beginning in July 2009, Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A was placing a higher priority on using HEADLEY to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark.

5. By studying these extracts submitted by the FBI along with other FBI documents submitted by the FBI to the court and US media reports about Headley’s links with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),one can make the following assessment:

a. Headley was not a double agent, but a quadruple agent. He initially started working for the DEA around 1998. Even if one presumes that initially the FBI and the CIA were not aware of this, they should have become aware of this by 2004 when the National Counter-Terrorism Centre with a common charter and a common data-base was set up by the Bush Administration under the newly-created post of Director National Intelligence (DNI).

b. He started working for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) sometime in 2005. It is not clear whether he joined the LET at his own instance or at the instance of the FBI or the CIA or both in order to penetrate it. He was already visiting Pakistan at the instance of the DEA since 1998. Since 2006, he started visiting India too. The DEA and the FBI would have been aware of his visits since every time a conscious agent of an agency travels abroad his passport is scrutinized by the controlling agency on his return. This is a security precaution followed by all intelligence agencies.

c. He started working for the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri towards the end of 2008 and agreed to visit Copenhagen to collect operational information for a possible terrorist attack. This was probably not at the instance of the FBI, which came to know accidentally of Headley volunteering himself to undertake a task in Copenhagen   while monitoring the chat room of the old students of the Army Cadet School at Hasan Abdal. Both Headley and Rana studied in the school. The FBI put Headley under electronic surveillance after obtaining orders of a relevant court.

d. While doing the electronic surveillance to monitor his involvement in the Northern or Copenhagen or Micky Mouse project for the 313 Brigade, the FBI came across a series of E-mail intercepts in July and August, 2009, which showed that Headley had helped the LET in preparing itself for the 26/11 terrorist strikes and had agreed to help the LET in carrying out another terrorist strike in India for which he was to visit India. The FBI started monitoring the meetings and conversations of Headley and Rana and recorded their conversation of September 7, 2009, in a car which clearly indicated their involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strike.

e. The communications between Headley and his LET handler intercepted by the FBI in July and August also indicated that he was planning to visit India in October to prepare the ground for another terrorist strike. The FBI had two options—either allow him to go to India, alert the Indian intelligence and keep him under surveillance or arrest him before he left for Pakistan and India. If he had been allowed to go to India, watched there and arrested by the Indian intelligence, his past contacts with the US agencies and his role in 26/11 would have come to the notice of the Indian authorities. There is no evidence so far to show that till July 2009 the FBI was aware of his active role in 26/11. They were probably only aware of his frequent visits to Pakistan and India on behalf of the DEA operations. The FBI arrested him when he was about to leave for Pakistan and India on October 3.

f. He was also in touch with serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army.

6. Headley’s case reflects poorly not only on the US agencies, but also on the Indian agencies. The ease with which he and Rana allegedly obtained multiple-entry business visas from Indian consular authorities despite their Pakistani origin and with which they repeatedly visited India without any alarm bell ringing in our airport immigration control shows shockingly lax immigration controls. Rana was a Canadian citizen living and working in Chicago. Was the clearance of the Indian High Commission in Ottawa obtained before issuing him a visa? Did Headley obtain the clearance of the Governments of Maharashtra and India before opening an immigration consultancy office in Mumbai? Did he inform the Income-Tax authorities? Did he obtain an income-tax clearance certificate before leaving India after each stay?

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:seventyone2@gmail.com)

Blowback From America’s Mercenary Army–Ret. Generals Make More Than Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a high-level review of the military’s senior mentor programs.
By Tom Vanden Brook and Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a high-level review of the military’s senior mentor programs, including whether retired officers hired as advisers are overpaid and whether their private work for contractors poses a conflict of interest, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Gates “has real concerns about the levels of compensation, and the potential for conflict of interest” in the mentor programs, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

Retired officers working as senior mentors “should be motivated to do so out of service” and not monetary gain, Morrell said.

Those developments follow a USA TODAY investigation that showed how retired admirals and generals help run classified war games that examine strategies and weapons systems, even as they consult for defense contactors with an interest in the military’s needs. Some retired officers earn hundreds of dollars an hour as mentors, while earning more from defense companies and collecting pensions of as much as $220,000 a year.

The Pentagon review of senior mentor programs started after USA TODAY published its first story on Nov. 18. Morrell said Gates was concerned by the review’s initial findings.

MILITARY MENTORS: 158 paid well for advice

Gates asked Deputy Secretary William Lynn to lead the new probe. Lynn, a former top lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, received a waiver to take his job because President Obama limited the number of lobbyists who could join his administration.

Much of the compensation paid to mentors is hidden from public view, but in one case, the Army paid retired general Dan McNeill $281,625 for his work from December 2008 through August 2009, federal records show. Gates earns $197,600 a year for overseeing the nation’s military.

Morrell originally said Gates considered mentor pay to be “obscene.” Morrell later called USA TODAY to say that he had overstated the secretary’s view. Gates, he said, wanted to convey that he had deep concerns about how much mentors are paid.

Since the retired officers are hired as contractors or subcontractors, they are not subject to ethics and disclosure rules about their activities that would apply if they were hired as temporary employees.

Congress has also begun its own inquiries. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is leading a Senate oversight committee investigation, wrote Gates last month asking that the Pentagon give her subcommittee records relating to senior mentors by Dec. 22. “There’s a veil of secrecy here that should not be tolerated,” McCaskill said Wednesday.

Avoiding Insurance Industry Collapse By Forcing the People to Buy Their Scam

[Just as it saved the usury industry for our financial overlords by nationalizing it, government is now saving the "insurance" industry scammers in the same manner.  Nationalizing health care under a pay for profit program saves the "snake oil" peddlers who are selling the people a grand scheme, marketed as a service, by guaranteeing continued profits for the corporate parasites.]

Stealth NationalizationHow government programs are saving insurance companies from disaster.

By Daniel GrossPosted Friday, July 31, 2009, at 3:20 PM ET

Business man reading report.Job losses mean declines in insurance enrollment”The truth is, we have a system today that works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn’t always work well for you,” President Barack Obama said recently, making his case for health care reform. But it turns out the current arrangement, through which employers are supposed to buy coverage from large insurance firms and enlist their employees to cover the costs, isn’t working so well for the insurance industry, either. In fact, the system by which insurance coverage is tied to payroll jobs is a huge problem—especially in a period when Americans are less likely to have payroll jobs than they have been in the recent past and when employers are less likely to cover the costs of that insurance. A look at the earnings reports and stock prices of big insurance companies reveals that tying insurance to employment probably isn’t a good idea, after all—unless the employer happens to be the government.

Since December 2007, the U.S. economy has lost 6.5 million payroll jobs, or about 4.7 percent of the total. The economy is likely to lose at least 1 million more by the end of this year. When people lose jobs, they frequently lose their insurance. (COBRA allows former employees to continue purchasing insurance for a period of time, but the costs are frequently prohibitive.) So large insurers have been losing millions of members. A chart in a recent Wall Street Journal article shows that seven large insurers have collectively lost 4.34 million members in their “commercial risk” plans since December 2007. (“Commercial risk” or “risk-based membership” generally refers to people whom insurance companies insure directly.)

Look through the earnings reports, and a consistent story emerges. At Cigna, aggregate medical membership has fallen from 12.07 million in the second quarter of 2008 to 11.2 million in the 2009 second quarter, off 7 percent. For 2009, it expects membership to decline by as much as 5.5 percent. WellPoint recently reported that the number of lives it insures has fallen from 35.4 million in the first quarter of 2008 to 34.2 million as of June 30, 2009—a loss of 1.2 million members in 15 months. In the second quarter, when it lost 338,000 members, “the decline in membership occurred almost entirely in the Commercial segment, reflecting continued employer workforce reductions.” UnitedHealth has seen its risk-based membership fall from 10.5 million in June 2008 to 9.65 million in June 2009, off nearly 8 percent. At HealthNet, in the first quarter, “commercial risk enrollment decreased by 214,000 members, or 9.8 percent, to approximately 2.0 million members as of March 31, 2009 compared with March 31, 2008.” Since December 2007, Coventry Health Carehas lost about 10 percent of the members of its commercial risk plans.

U.S. says Pakistan harassing diplomats, denying visas

[SEE:  Lahore High Court Moved to Disarm U.S. Diplomats, Marines]

U.S. says Pakistan harassing diplomats, denying visas

Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what U.S. officials in Islamabad describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats, fraying relations at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida.

By JANE PERLEZ and ERIC SCHMITT

ISLAMABAD — Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what U.S. officials in Islamabad describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats, fraying relations at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida.

The campaign includes the refusal to extend or approve visas for more than 100 U.S. officials and the frequent searches of U.S. diplomatic vehicles in major cities, said an American official.

The problems affected military attachés, CIA officers, development experts, junior-level diplomats and others, a senior U.S. diplomat said. As a result, some U.S. aid programs to Pakistan, which President Obama has called a critical ally, are “grinding to a halt,” the diplomat said.

U.S. helicopters used by Pakistan to fight extremists can no longer be serviced because visas for 14 U.S. mechanics have not been approved, the diplomat said. Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for its counterterrorism operations were suspended because embassy accountants had to leave the country.

“There’s an incredible disconnect between what they want of us and the fact we can’t get the visas,” the diplomat said.

Pakistani officials acknowledged the situation but said the menacing atmosphere resulted from U.S. arrogance and provocations, such as taking photographs in sensitive areas, and a lack of understanding of how divided Pakistanis were about the alliance with the United States.

U.S. and Pakistani officials declined to be identified because of their senior positions and the desire not to further inflame tensions.

The campaign comes after months of rising anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and complaints by the military that the government of President Asif Ali Zardari has grown too dependent on a new $7.5 billion, five-year aid plan from the United States.

It also appears to be an attempt to blunt the planned expansion of the U.S. Embassy to 800 Americans from 500 in the next 18 months, growth U.S. officials say is necessary to channel the expanded American assistance.

“They don’t want more Americans here,” another U.S. diplomat said. “They’re not sure what the Americans are doing. It’s pretty pervasive.”

The harassment has grown so frequent that U.S. officials said they regarded it as a concerted effort by parts of the military and intelligence services that have grown resentful of U.S. demands to step up the war against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Although the United States has been sending large amounts of military aid to the Pakistani army, and helping its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the campaign shows the ambivalence, even “hatred” toward the United States in those quarters, the U.S. official said.

A Pakistani security official, who has kept a tally of many of the incidents, was not sympathetic, saying the Americans had brought the problems on themselves.

“Unfortunately, the Americans are arrogant,” the Pakistani security official said. “They think of themselves as omnipotent. That’s how they come across.”

For instance, he said, the Pakistani police were not harassing U.S. diplomats as they drove up to checkpoints, but rather were responding to provocations by U.S. officials.

He cited a recent report in some Pakistani newspapers that a U.S. diplomat had been taking photographs in a military area of the city of Lahore.

The reports were false, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said. The so-called diplomat was a technical-support officer who was not carrying a camera, the spokesman said.

At least 135 U.S. diplomats have been refused extensions on their visas, the senior American diplomat said, leaving some sections of the embassy operating at 60 percent of capacity.

One of the most harmful consequences, the diplomat said, is the scaling back of helicopter missions by the Frontier Corps paramilitary troops fighting the Taliban in the tribal areas because of a lack of trained U.S. mechanics.

Much of the heightened suspicions about U.S. diplomats appear linked to persistent stories in the Pakistani media about the presence of U.S. security company Blackwater, now called Xe Services, in Pakistan.

The embassy has denied Xe operates in Pakistan. And The Associated Press reported last week that CIA Director Leon Panetta canceled a contract for Xe workers to arm drones earlier this year.

America’s Faltering Military/Mercenary Army

Why the world’s largest military machine is unable

to defeat the resistance in Afghanistan

The U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Just how powerful is the U.S. military today?


Sara Flounders

Why is the largest military machine on this planet unable to defeat the resistance in Afghanistan, in a war that has lasted longer than World War II or Vietnam ?
Afghanistan ranks among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world today. It has one of the shortest life expectancy rates, highest infant mortality rates and the lowest rates of literacy.
The total U.S. military budget has more than doubled from the beginning of this war in 2001 to the $680 billion budget signed by President Barack Obama Oct. 28. The U.S. military budget today is larger than the military budgets of the rest of the world combined. The U.S. arsenal has the most advanced high-tech weapons.
The funds and troop commitment to Afghanistan have grown with every year of occupation. Last January another 20,000 troops were sent; now there is intense pressure on President Obama to add an additional 40,000 troops. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. More than three times as many forces are currently in Afghanistan when NATO forces and military contractors are counted.
Eight years ago, after an initial massive air bombardment and a quick, brutal invasion, every voice in the media was effusive with assurances that Afghanistan would be quickly transformed and modernized, and the women of Afghanistan liberated. There were assurances of schools, roads, potable water, health care, thriving industry and Western-style democracy. A new Marshall Plan was in store.

Was it only due to racist and callous disregard that none of this happened?


[Right: Soldier of Blackwater aka Xe Army. The US military is investigating a group of military contractors who shot and wounded two Afghan civilians in Kabul. A senior source in the contracting industry said that, while off duty, the four contractors were drinking before the accident.
In Iraq , how could conditions be worse than during the 13 years of starvation sanctions the U.S. imposed after the 1991 war? Today more than a third of the population has died, is disabled, internally displaced and/or refugees. Fear, violence against women and sectarian divisions have shredded the fabric of society.

Previously a broad current in Pakistan looked to the West for development funds and modernization. Now they are embittered and outraged at U.S. arrogance after whole provinces were forcibly evacuated and bombarded in the hunt for Al Qaeda.

U.S. occupation forces are actually incapable of carrying out a modernization program. They are capable only of massive destruction, daily insults and atrocities. That is why the U.S. is unable to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan or Iraq . That is what fuels the resistance.
Today every effort meant to demonstrate the power and strength of U.S. imperialism instead confirms its growing weakness and its systemic inability to be a force for human progress on any level.

COLLABORATORS AND WARLORDS

Part of U.S. imperialism’s problem is that its occupation forces are required to rely on the most corrupt, venal and discredited warlords. The only interest these competing military thugs have is in pocketing funds for reconstruction and development. Entire government ministries, their payrolls and their projects have been found to be total fiction. Billions allocated for schools, water and road construction have gone directly into the warlords’ pockets. Hundreds of news articles, congressional inquiries and U.N. reports have exposed just how all-pervasive corruption is.
In Iraq the U.S. occupation depends on the same type of corrupt collaborators. For example, a BBC investigation reported that $23 billion had been lost, stolen or not properly accounted for in Iraq . A U.S. gag order prevented discussion of the allegations. (June 10, 2008)
[Left: Hazem al-Shalaan, Defense Minister from June 2004 until May 2005 under the Iraqi Interim Government of Ayad Allawi. A collaborator of the US Occupation Force in Iraq, ho along with his associates siphoned off $1.2 billion out of Irqai defense ministry funds].
Part of the BBC search for the missing billions focused on Hazem al-Shalaan, who lived in London until he was appointed minister of defense in 2004. He and his associates siphoned an estimated $1.2 billion out of the Iraqi defense ministry.
But the deeper and more intractable problem is not the local corrupt collaborators. It is the very structure of the Pentagon and the U.S. government. It is a problem that Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general in Afghanistan , or President Obama cannot change or solve.

It is the problem of an imperialist military built solely to serve the profit system.

CONTRACTOR INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

All U.S. aid, both military and what is labeled civilian, is funneled through thousands and thousands of contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors. None of these U.S. corporate middlemen are even slightly interested in the development of Afghanistan or Iraq . Their only immediate aim is to turn a hefty superprofit as quickly as possible, with as much skim and double billing as possible. For a fee they will provide everything from hired guns, such as Blackwater mercenaries, to food service workers, mechanics, maintenance workers and long-distance truck drivers.
These hired hands also do jobs not connected to servicing the occupation. All reconstruction and infrastructure projects of water purification, sewage treatment, electrical generation, health clinics and road clearance are parceled out piecemeal. Whether these projects ever open or function properly is of little interest or concern. Billing is all that counts.
In past wars, most of these jobs were carried out by the U.S. military. The ratio of contractors to active-duty troops is now more than 1-to-1 in both Iraq and Afghanistan . During the Vietnam War it was 1-to-6.
In 2007 the Associated Press put the number in Iraq alone at 180,000: The United States has assembled an imposing industrial army in Iraq that is larger than its uniformed fighting force and is responsible for such a broad swath of responsibilities that the military might not be able to operate without its private-sector partners. (Sept. 20, 2007)
The total was 190,000 by August 2008. (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 18, 2008)
Some corporations have become synonymous with war profiteering, such as Halliburton, Bechtel and Blackwater in Iraq , and Louis Berger Group, BearingPoint and DynCorp International in Afghanistan .

Every part of the U.S. occupation has been contracted out at the highest rate of profit, with no coordination, no oversight, almost no public bids. Few of the desperately needed supplies reach the dislocated population
There are now so many pigs at the trough that U.S. forces are no longer able to carry out the broader policy objectives of the U.S. ruling class. The U.S military has even lost count, by tens of thousands, of the numbers of contractors, where they are or what they are doing except being paid.

LOSING COUNT OF MERCENARIES

The danger of an empire becoming dependent on mercenary forces to fight unpopular wars has been understood since the days of the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago.
A bipartisan Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting was created last year to examine government contracting for reconstruction, logistics and security operations and to recommend reforms. However, Michael Thibault, co-chair of the commission, explained at a Nov. 2 hearing that there is no single source for a clear, complete and accurate picture of contractor numbers, locations, contracts and cost. (AFP, Nov. 2)
[Thibault said] the Pentagon in April counted about 160,000 contractors mainly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, but Central Command recorded more than 242,000 contractors a month earlier. The stunning difference of 82,000 contractors was based on very different counts in Afghanistan . The difference alone is far greater than the 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Thibault continued: How can contractors be properly managed if we are not sure how many there are, where they are and what are they doing? The lack of an accurate count invites waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money and undermines the achievement of U.S. mission objectives. The Nov. 2 Federal Times reported that Tibault also asked: How can we assure taxpayers that they are not paying for ghost employees?
This has become an unsolvable contradiction in imperialist wars for profit, markets and imperialist domination. Bourgeois academics, think tanks and policy analysts are becoming increasingly concerned.
Thomas Friedman, syndicated columnist and multimillionaire who is deeply committed to the long-term interests of U.S. imperialism, describes the dangers of a contractor-industrial-complex in Washington that has an economic interest in foreign expeditions. (New York Times, Nov. 3)

OUTSOURCING WAR

Friedman hastens to explain that he is not against outsourcing. His concern is the pattern of outsourcing key tasks, with money and instructions changing hands multiple times in a foreign country. That only invites abuse and corruption. Friedman quoted Allison Stanger, author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy, who told him: Contractors provide security for key personnel and sites, including our embassies; feed, clothe and house our troops; train army and police units; and even oversee other contractors. Without a multinational contractor force to fill the gap, we would need a draft to execute these twin interventions.
That is the real reason for the contracted military forces. The Pentagon does not have enough soldiers, and they don’t have enough collaborators or allies to fight their wars.
According to the Congressional Research Service, contractors in 2009 account for 48 percent of the Department of Defense workforce in Iraq and 57 percent in Afghanistan . Thousands of other contractors work for corporate-funded charities and numerous government agencies. The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development make even more extensive use of them; 80 percent of the State Department budget is for contractors and grants.
Contractors are supposedly not combat troops, although almost 1,800 U.S. contractors have been killed since 9/11. (U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 30) Of course there are no records on the thousands of Afghans and Iraqis killed working for U.S. corporate contractors, or the many thousands of peoples from other oppressed nations who are shipped in to handle the most dangerous jobs.
Contracting is a way of hiding not only the casualties, but also the actual size of the U.S. occupation force. Fearful of domestic opposition, the government intentionally lists the figures for the total number of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as far less than the real numbers.

A SYSTEM RUN ON COST OVERRUNS

Cost overruns and war profiteering are hardly limited to Iraq , Afghanistan or active theaters of war. They are the very fabric of the U.S. war machine and the underpinning of the U.S. economy.
When President Obama signed the largest military budget in history Oct. 28 he stated: The Government Accountability Office, the GAO, has looked into 96 major defense projects from the last year, and found cost overruns that totaled $296 billion. This was on a total 2009 military budget of $651 billion. So almost half of the billions of dollars handed over to military corporations are cost overruns!
This is at a time when millions of workers face long-term systemic unemployment and massive foreclosures.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have now cost more than $1 trillion. The feeble health care reform bill that squeaked through the House, and might not survive Senate revisions next year, is scheduled to cost $1.1 trillion over a 10-year period.
The bloated, increasingly dysfunctional, for-profit U.S. military machine is unable to solve the problems or rebuild the infrastructure in Afghanistan or Iraq , and it is unable to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure in the U.S. It is unable to meet the needs of people anywhere.
It is absorbing the greatest share of the planet’s resources and a majority of the U.S. national budget. This unsustainable combination will sooner or later give rise to new resistance here and around the world.
Sara Flounders is a national co-director of the anti-war group International ANSWER
Source :Text: www.globalresearch.ca Title Image: Sana News

An imperialist American government

An imperialist American government

By William Reed

In a defining decision, Barack Obama has accepted responsibility for the War in Afghanistan, announcing deployment of 30,000 additional troops in the hopes of bringing the deteriorating war, in its ninth year there, to an acceptable conclusion.

Snookered by establishment powers, President Obama ignores the truth and has embarked on a fool’s errand. The U.S. cannot “win” in Afghanistan. It has a history of being “graveyard of empires”. America was already losing when Obama took office. President Obama backed into the realm of empire in March 2009 and ordered 30,000 troops there. But, rather than reverse outcomes, U.S. and NATO forces lost even more ground. The entrenched military/industrial complex is all around Obama and behind the beguiling that got him to order troop levels in Afghanistan to an all-time high. Obama’s obedience to policies extending American authority and economic and political hegemony follows a pattern of American Presidents’ acquiescence to a ruling class agenda for endless war and ongoing repression. No matter who, every President of the United States is committed to open-ended deployment in Afghanistan and unbending alliance with Israel .

Obedient to established structures, Obama is in league with policies to allow America to carry out capitalist globalization at gunpoint. The imperial powers’ mindset Barack has bought into allows for policing to the ends of the earth. For the multi-trillion dollar American military/industrial/complex there is always another enemy, and threat. Obama’s agenda seems eerily similar to core elements of a doctrine articulated in the Bush National Security Strategy (2002) which declared American-defined “values of freedom are right and true for every person, in every society” … and that an overarching goal of U.S. policy is creating “a balance of power that favors freedom,” and the spread of “free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.” Obama is now on-board to make cases for America’s military superiority and right to wage preemptive war. Fifty-percent of Americans oppose escalating war in Afghanistan. But, the Generals, Admirals, armaments executives, and now the White House, are unwilling to accept responsibility for a military setback. Bush and Cheney ordered the invasion thinking it would be easy going. They were going to wipe out the governments in Iran, Syria and North Korea. Bush and Cheney’s colonial-like fantasy, now held by Obama, is nourished by “great nation” arrogance and a caste of corrupt politicians in Congress. Afghans perceive the occupation as a colonial-takeover of their country. After eight years of war, more Afghan armed insurgent groups now exist in response to America’s invasion and they control large parts of the country.

Under Obama, the institutions of militarism, war and empire remain intact. His new plan for empire calls for more bombing and drone attacks, and “Afghanization” – the building up of a puppet Afghan army trained and led by U.S. commanders. This follows his escalation of illegal bombings in Pakistan. This war has gone very badly. How many more will have to die for the U.S. to avoid the appearance of defeat? The American Empire is deep in a domestic economic crisis. As Americans suffer from unemployment, foreclosures and evictions; the current cost of the wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq is running at over $225 billion per year or $1.2 billion every two days. The powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey says sending more troops would be a mistake that could “wipe out every initiative we have to rebuild our own economy…There ain’t going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan”.

The “Empire” continues, prolonging the plight of the African-American population. At this stage, Blacks are no better off than they were under Bush. Blacks got nothing from “Stimulus” programs. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is right in criticizing Obama for not doing enough to help African-Americans in the economy. Speaking for the CBC, Maxine Waters said “We can no longer afford for our public policy to be defined by the worldview of Wall Street”.

Osama bin Laden, a myth or reality

Osama bin Laden, a myth or reality

Asif Haroon Raja

It may be recalled that when the US and its allies decided to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 on a flimsy excuse of getting hold of Osama bin Laden and dismantling Al-Qaeda to avenge terrorist attacks allegedly masterminded by Osama, in that timeframe Al-Qaeda was an unknown entity. If nabbing or killing blue-eyed boy of CIA Osama and his few hundred ill-organised and ill-equipped followers from different countries was the real purpose, there was absolutely no reason for carrying out grand mobilisation and invading Afghanistan. Either proof of his involvement should have been furnished to Mullah Omar as asked by him to justify handing over his guest, or his rational suggestion of putting Osama on trial in a neutral country heeded to.

However, the US tried to kill a fly with a huge hammer, which still managed to fly away. The real purpose of invasion was to topple Taliban regime that had disagreed with unjust terms and conditions of US oil and gas tycoons wanting to pipe down energy resources from Central Asia to European and US markets via Afghanistan and Pakistan. Eager to give practical shape to its New World Order, the US wanted to convert Afghanistan into a permanent military base wherefrom it could monitor regional countries of its interest.

Having learnt that the entire Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership including Osama had taken shelter in caves and tunnels of Tora Bora mountain range, the US military should have encircled the plausible sites to prevent their escape and then a combing operation launched. Afghan-Pakistan border should have been effectively sealed. No such thing was done since US higher ups showed disinterest when they were informed about Osama’s presence in Tora Bora. The US military took the easy route of ceaseless pounding from air hoping that the inmates would be smoked out. Taking advantage of smoke screen created as a result of reckless bombing and inhibition of allied forces, the whole lot including Osama and Mulla Omar slipped out. Not a single Al-Qaeda or Taliban leader could be arrested. It was a huge intelligence and military failure but the matter was hushed up. It is widely believed the US military deliberately allowed Osama and others to escape to Pakistan to justify continued occupation of Afghanistan and to subsequently put the bridle around Pakistan. Once he escaped, he was made into a Frankenstein monster that vanished into thin air. Ever since Osama escaped from Afghanistan on 16 December 2001, the US officials are indulging in meaningless conjectures. At no stage they admitted their failure to nab him. The US Senate has come out with an unconvincing explanation that former Defence Secretary Rumsfeld rejected calls for reinforcements when Osama was within grasping reach. It is a childish excuse to cover up an oversight for which the US and Pakistan are paying dearly.

It wants to put across that the US military had the capability but was denied. Having miserably failed to perform its primary task, the US was left with no choice but to cover up its embarrassment by pressurising Pakistan to do what it could not do. Had Pakistan not helped in arresting over 600 Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives including some high profile leaders, US scorecard would have been blank. Instead of appreciating its efforts and sacrifices it rendered, the US started mistrusting Pakistan Army and the ISI and indulged in immoral blame game alleging that it was soft towards Afghan Taliban. These cheap tactics were employed to hide their failures and conceal launching of covert operations against Pakistan for the fulfilment of its multiple objectives. Endless sensational stories about whereabouts of Osama and his exploits were fed to the media to keep him alive and to keep American public distracted and placated. It was also reported that Osama was suffering from diabetes and acute kidneys problem and required frequent dialysis. Reports of his death were also circulated. The more he was demonised in the western world more he got popular in the Muslim world and attained the status of a hero. A worldwide massive manhunt backed by high-tech electronic and satellite means was launched and the earth combed from one end to the other. All mobile and line phones, internet, foot and vehicular movements were monitored and houses pierced through geo-stationery satellites but he remained untraced. Having scanned all nooks and corners of the world, the US came to the conclusion in 2008 that Osama and other top leaders of Al-Qaeda were hiding somewhere along Pak-Afghan border belt. Services of reputed Scotland Yard were hired, head money raised to $50 million and network of informers engaged to track down most wanted man.

When all efforts failed and feelings of impotent rage intensified, they found some solace in making Pakistan a convenient scapegoat and alleging that Osama was hiding somewhere in FATA. Under this plea, the US military became aggressive and repeatedly expressed its desire to move into FATA to stalk the most prized prey. The US then modified its stance and stated that FATA was the most dangerous place on earth which was a breeding ground for terrorists and suicide bombers and a launching pad for cross border terrorism into Afghanistan. A little later the story was made juicier by declaring FATA as the main base of Al-Qaeda and from where possible attack on US homeland could emanate. In search for Osama and other top leaders of Al-Qaeda, CIA accelerated drone attacks in 2009 against suspected targets. Hillary Clinton on her last visit to Pakistan blurted out that Osama and other senior Al-Qaeda leaders were present in FATA since 2002 and it was incomprehensible that Pakistan leadership didn’t know about it. Gordon Brown substantiated this claim and now Obama has stated that Al-Qaeda is present in Pakistan from where planning for another attack on US homeland is in the offing. What it amounts to is that the US and Britain suspect that Pakistan is sheltering Osama and is linked with Al-Qaeda as well as with Afghan Taliban.

Knowing his fragile medical condition, it is humanly not possible for Osama to remain in hiding for eight years in treacherous terrain of FATA that had come under the strong influence of CIA and FBI from 2002 onwards. ISI was virtually pushed into the background so that covert operations could proceed unhindered and unobserved. Tons of armaments with Indian markings hidden in tunnels and caves unearthed from Swat and South Waziristan speak volumes of involvement of foreign agencies. Under such circumstances, to expect Osama to leave the companionship of time-tested Afghan Taliban and marry up with unknown and untested Pakistani Taliban with whom former have not established any association is far-fetched. Moreover, the ISI had helped in tracing and arresting hundreds of Al-Qaeda leaders including Khalid Sheikh and Abu Faraj. There was no reason for Pakistan under Musharraf that had ditched Afghan Taliban and had put all eggs in the basket of USA to shelter Osama. One can at best laugh at the silly fabrication that has no head or tail.

The theory of Al-Qaeda safe havens in FATA has been invented to deflect attention from US failures. Osama has been kept alive to justify continued occupation of Afghanistan. Now that Gen McChrystal’s wish of additional 30,000 troops has been fulfilled, rather than feeling relieved and more confident, he has come out with another lame excuse that unless Osama is captured or killed, Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated. Knowing his nature of disease he contracted many years ago, medically his survival under adverse conditions is next to impossible.Osama is dead, so the US should stop flogging the dead horse and let his soul rest in peace.

Supreme Court declares NRO null and void

Supreme Court declares NRO null and void

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has declared the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void in a short order.

In a landmark decision, the apex court unanimously decided that the ordinance was unconstitutional.

All old cases that had been dismissed under the NRO stand revived and can now be reopened as per the court orders.

The court said that all orders that were passed and all acquittals under the NRO were illegal and never existed.

The apex court in its order also said that all convictions that were held prior to the enactment of the NRO stand revived as well.

Letters made to Swiss courts requesting the withdrawal of cases were also declared unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court asked the government to take action against the former attorney general for making these requests.

Presidential Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar called the verdict ‘shocking’ but said that the government will respect the courts decision.

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Babar, however, pointed out that the president and the provincial governors enjoyed immunity from legal proceedings under the constitution.

Mumbai suspect is US double agent, India claims

Mumbai suspect is US double agent, India claims

An American man charged with plotting the attacks on Mumbai was a double agent for both the United States and al-Qaeda terror group Lashkar e Taiba, Indian officials have claimed.

By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: 6:22PM GMT 16 Dec 2009

David Headley, a Pakistan-born American national arrested in Chicago in October, is alleged to have carried out reconnaissance missions in the run-up to the Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed.

He is also believed to have been present in the terrorists’ “control room” in Pakistan where their handlers directed the killing spree over an open telephone line.

According to Indian officials, Headley travelled to India again in March this year, with the knowledge of American agencies who did not inform their Indian counterparts. During the trip, Headley is alleged to have collected intelligence for future terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets, including India’s National Defence College.

Indian officials are desperate to question Headley but have been frustrated by American refusals to grant them access. A team of Indian investigators travelled to Washington shortly after Headley was arrested in October but soon returned after their American counterparts told them they would not be able to meet him.

They want to question him about the Mumbai attacks involved Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency in any way and the role of Indian extremists in providing logistical support.

American officials say that under US law they cannot force any person in their custody to give evidence to foreign agencies. But Indian intelligence officers have questioned why Washington is not doing more to help their own inquiry and suggested Headley’s connections with American intelligence agencies is behind the reluctance.

Headley, who was born Daood Syed Gilani and schooled in Pakistan before moving to Philadelphia with his American mother in 1977, was convicted of smuggling heroin into the United States in 1998. He served only 15 months in jail after agreeing to become an informant for the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA). He changed his name to David Headley in 2006.

According to Indian officials he continued to serve as a DEA informant until shortly before his arrest in October. Indian intelligence sources believe Headley may have been recruited to work for the CIA which, along with the FBI, shared intelligence with the DEA and other government agencies after the creation of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre in 2004.

B. Raman, a former senior official in India’s intelligence agency, said: “He was working for Lashkar e Taiba, taking photographs and video recordings of the [Mumbai] hotels and harbour. And he was an agent for the DEA on drugs, so in that sense he was a double agent.

“Indian officials are very keen to question him about his network, but we can’t because we might find out about any connections with the CIA or ISI. They don’t want that to happen. The Americans say ‘you ask us what you want us to find out and we’ll share the information’,” he added.