The CIA’s Previous Man In India’s RAW, Major Rabinder Singh

Spy versus Spy: Games India and the US play

April 08, 2008

In May, it will be four years since Major Rabinder Singh, a joint secretary at the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency, who was found to have been working for some years as a mole of the Central Intelligence Agency, gave a slip to R&AW’s counter-intelligence division, which had placed him under surveillance, and fled to the United States along with his family via Katmandu, Nepal.

L’Affaire Rabinder Singh remains as mysterious today as it was in 2004. Nobody has an idea of what damage he caused to India’s national interests and national security. In the meanwhile, he and his family reportedly live comfortably in the US.

There have been instances of the penetration of the National Security Council Secretariat, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office, by the CIA after Dr Manmohan Singh became prime minister. Some NSCS staffers were suspected of having clandestine links with a lady CIA officer posted as a diplomat in the US embassy in Delhi. Her task was to liaise with the concerned government departments in connection with the Indo-US Cyber Security Forum set up jointly by the US and India when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister. She utilised this opportunity to allegedly recruit moles in the NSCS, which coordinates the work of the Indo-US Cyber Security Forum.

The Indian intelligence community had been penetrated by the CIA at the middle and senior levels some years ago. In the 1980s, when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister, an Indian Police Service officer, who served in R&AW as a director (one rank below joint secretary) and headed the agency’s office in Chennai, was found to have been working for the CIA for some years. The Intelligence Bureau office in Chennai detected his clandestine contacts with a CIA officer who was posted as a consular officer at the US consulate in Chennai and alerted R&AW. The agency immediately had him detained and interrogated. He was in preventive custody in New Delhi’s Tihar jail for a year till his interrogation concluded. However, he was not prosecuted.

In the 1990s, when P V Narasimha Rao was prime minister, a very senior Indian Police Service officer serving in the Intelligence Bureau — who would have been in the running for appointment as the director, IB — was suspected to have been working for a woman CIA officer (Heidi August), then posted as a diplomat at the US embassy in Delhi. A junior Intelligence Bureau officer accidentally discovered that she had a mobile phone, which was registered in the senior officer’s name. Joint enquiries by the IB and R&AW exposed this officer’s suspect links with August; he was sent on premature retirement.

These were the better-known cases of penetration, which received publicity in the media. There were other cases of penetration of the intelligence community, which the government of the day managed to keep under wraps.

Penetration of an intelligence agency by a foreign agency is nothing unusual. It happens often. MI6, the British external intelligence agency, was famously penetrated by the KGB, the Soviet intelligence agency, through the India-born Kim Philby, who worked for MI6 under the cover of a journalist. Philby fled to Moscow aboard a Soviet submarine before he was exposed and lived there until his death.

There is also the case of Aldrich Ames, a middle-level CIA officer in charge of counter-intelligence against the Soviet and Russian intelligence agencies. He was exposed as a mole of Soviet intelligence who unveiled the identities of many CIA moles in the Soviet and Russian governments to their intelligence agencies. These moles were later executed. Ames was prosecuted and now serves a life sentence without parole.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

<!–Image: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) is welcomed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama upon her arrival at his Palace temple in Dharamsala on aprch 21, 2008. Thousands of Tibetan exiles greeted US House speaker Nancy Pelosi as she made the first high-level official visit to see the Dalai Lama following a wave of unrest in Tibet.”Today we are here at a sad time to join you in shedding the bright light of truth on what is happening in Tibet,” Pelosi told Tibetan leaders in the northern hill town of Dharamsala, the base of the exiled spiritual leader.
Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images–>

Also read: Did the CIA help Rabinder Singh flee?

Spy versus Spy: Games India and the US play

April 08, 2008

Rabinder Singh has been able to defeat every effort by the Indian government to arrest him. In the midst of the high-pitched noises about the strong India-US relationship, many of his former colleagues believe, Singh lives in an American sanctuary.

Rabinder Singh’s case has been hushed up by the governments of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. It is alleged that the moment R&AW officers grew suspicious about Singh at the beginning of 2004, it immediately alerted the Vajpayee government, which did not want it to be played up to avoid embarrassment during the campaign for the general election.

The Manmohan Singh government did not want the case to be vigorously pursued lest it become a hurdle in the way of its policy of developing a new strategic relationship with the US. Other political parties showed no interest in the case. There was neither a detailed parliamentary enquiry nor even a token debate in Parliament.

What ominously distinguished the Rabinder Singh case from other past cases of penetration of Indian intelligence by foreign agencies was that the moment he came under suspicion, the CIA helped him and his family escape to the US via Katmandu, allegedly giving them US passports under false names. This was similar to what the KGB did for Philby. The KGB, in Philby’s case, and the CIA in Singh’s issue, went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their mole was not arrested and interrogated by helping them escape.

Deniability is an important principle religiously followed by intelligence agencies all over the world. They refrain from doing things which might amount to their admitting that a particular officer was their mole. When their mole comes under suspicion and is about to be arrested, they do not help him to escape arrest because that would amount to their admitting that he or she was a mole. They let the mole be arrested and interrogated by local counter-intelligence and compensate for the hardships suffered by the mole in jail by looking after his family. This is the unwritten rule of business in the intelligence game.

Image: Former CIA operative Aldrich Ames (centre) comes out of a US federal court on April 28, 1994, after he pleaded guilty to espionage and tax evasion charges and was sentenced to life in prison.
Photograph: Robert Giroux/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: Remember Rabinder Singh?

Spy versus Spy: Games India and the US play

April 08, 2008

The agencies help or even force a mole to escape only when that mole is part of a spy ring operated by them and they are worried that his arrest and interrogation might expose other moles, probably doing more important work. The KGB went to extraordinary lengths to help Philby escape to the then USSR because he was aware of the identities of other KGB moles in British intelligence. The Russian intelligence did not help Ames escape because he was not part of a ring.The fact that the CIA went to extraordinary lengths to help or probably even force Rabinder Singh to escape clearly indicated that he was part of a ring and that the CIA wanted him to escape so that the identities of other CIA moles in Indian intelligence were not exposed.

The case of Rabinder Singh was much, much more important and ominous than any other instance of CIA penetration of R&AW, the Intelligence Bureau and the National Security Council Secretariat. Singh was a mediocre officer who did not have much access to sensitive intelligence. But he was a very good networker who entertained lavishly and maintained excellent relations with other R&AW officers, who had access to much more sensitive intelligence which would have been of use to the CIA.

The suspicion was that he helped the CIA not by giving sensitive intelligence, but by giving introductions to other officers, who had access to it. He was what in intelligence parlance is called a talent spotter par excellence, someone who helped the CIA recruit other moles. That is what Philby used to do for the KGB.

Singh’s escape was a very serious breach of security, the like of which had not happened in the history of Indian intelligence. Philby’s case was thoroughly investigated by the British government and the House of Commons informed of the results of the enquiry. There was a detailed US Congressional enquiry into the Ames case and the voluminous Congressional report on the enquiry is available to the American public.

The Manmohan Singh government asked P K Hormis Tharakan, the R&AW chief from 2005 to 2007, to look into the Singh case and submit his findings. Tharakan interviewed senior R&AW officers, serving as well as retired, under whom Singh had worked, but his report has remained confined to the archives of R&AW and the Prime Minister’s Office.

A retired senior R&AW officer told India Abroad, “Only the Indian-American community can help find Rabinder Singh in the US. I have no hope because even if Indian Americans meet him at parties or ethnic events he must have a different identity, a new passport and some facade of a business address. How will they recognise him? I think it’s a hopeless case. The Indian government will have to live with the shame called Rabinder Singh.”

Image: An undated portrait of Kim Philby. Just as the KGB went to extraordinary lengths to help Philby escape to the then USSR, the CIA ensured that Rabinder Singh was flown out before he could be apprehended so that its secrets were safe.
Photograph: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: The forgotten spy


US home sales plummet, personal bankruptcies soar

Foreclosures continue to increase. In 2008, more than 1.7 million mortgages fell to foreclosure or similar actions. In 2009, the number swelled to 2 million, and in 2010, the figure is expected to increase to 2.4 million, according to Moody’s Economy.com.  The looming glut of new foreclosed homes will drive down home values by as much 10 percent next year, bringing to 40 percent the four-year drop-off, the New York Times reports.

US home sales plummet, personal bankruptcies soar

By Tom Eley
6 January 2010

An important measure of future home sales fell far more sharply in November than economists had expected. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) index on pending home sales-contracts agreed upon but not finalized-dropped by 16 percent in November, more than three times what economists interviewed by the Dow Jones Newswires had anticipated.

The pending home sales index registered declines in every region: 26 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, 15 percent in the South, and 3 percent in the West.

“It will be at least early spring before we see notable gains in sales activity as home buyers respond to the recently extended and expanded tax credit,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.

The sharp drop-off was caused, in part, by a surge of pending home sales in October, as buyers sought to take advantage of a federal tax credit set to expire on November 30. After Congress reinstated the credit until April 30, the pressure to buy before the deadline was removed and the pool of home buyers shrank.

Yun expressed guarded optimism over the fact that the NAR pending sales index remained 15.1 percent above the abysmal reading from last November. “The fact that pending home sales are comfortably above year-ago levels shows the market has gained sufficient momentum on its own,” he said.

Currency markets seemed not to share the sentiment. The dollar had a turbulent day in wake of the NAR report, first tumbling against the yen and the euro as investors speculated the home sales figures would lessen the likelihood of an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve Board, but then recuperating its losses as the “safe haven” currency of choice.

The NAR report follows the release last week of a Case-Schiller report showing home prices were flat in October, in spite of the surge in purchases based on the home buyer tax credit and exceptionally low mortgage interest rates. This was not enough, a Tuesday New York Times editorial points out, “to overcome the drag created by a glut of 3.2 million new and existing unsold single-family homes-about a seven-month supply.”

“The situation, we fear, will only get worse in months to come,” the Times writes, citing increasing mortgage rates, the ending of the eventual ending of the home buyer tax, and an anticipated “flood” of foreclosed homes.

Foreclosures continue to increase. In 2008, more than 1.7 million mortgages fell to foreclosure or similar actions. In 2009, the number swelled to 2 million, and in 2010, the figure is expected to increase to 2.4 million, according to Moody’s Economy.com.

The looming glut of new foreclosed homes will drive down home values by as much 10 percent next year, bringing to 40 percent the four-year drop-off, the New York Timesreports. This will swell the ranks of “under water” homeowners-those who owe more on their mortgage than their home’s market worth. Moody’s estimates that one third of all US homeowners, 16 million in all, find themselves in this predicament. The abandonment of homes in negative equity is now a leading cause of foreclosures.

Last spring, President Obama claimed that his $75 billion Making Home Affordable Act would help to permanently renegotiate the mortgage payment terms for millions of homeowners by providing incentives to lenders to lessen monthly payments. The administration ruled out lowering principal, the outstanding and typically overvalued balances homeowners owe banks on mortgages.

An almost statistically insignificant share of homeowners, about 30,000, have seen their mortgages permanently modified as a result of the program. Many of the roughly 750,000 homeowners approved for temporary modifications may be in worse shape than before. Banks admit reporting homeowners accepting modifications to credit ratings agencies as delinquent. Most of the modifications last only three to five months.

Obama’s “housing rescue” was in fact another facet of the multitrillion-dollar Wall Street bailout, only serving to shield the banks from writing down the value of their grossly overvalued mortgage loans while providing rich new revenue streams to carry out “trial” loan modifications.

In the interim, the banking industry has, with the support of the Obama administration and both parties in Congress, successfully thwarted legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to write down the outstanding balances on overvalued homes.

Also on Tuesday, the National Bankruptcy Research Center released data showing that 1.41 million personal bankruptcy petitions were filed in 2009, a figure representing more than 1 percent of all US households and an increase of 32 percent from the previous year. The year has seen the most bankruptcies since 2005, when Congress passed legislation at the behest of the banking and credit card industries aimed at preventing filings by putting in place punitive restrictions.

Significantly, a large majority of filings occurred in the Chapter 7 category, which forces filers to liquidate assets in order to gain debt relief. Chapter 7 filings increased by 42 percent in 2009. The 2005 law aimed to steer those entering bankruptcy toward Chapter 13, which requires those seeking relief to submit to a debt repayment plan.

There were 113,274 filings in December, up one third from December 2008. It was the 12th straight month in which filings exceeded 100,000.

Bankruptcy filings increased in all 50 states in 2009. The states with the highest filing rates were Nevada, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Indiana. Those with the sharpest increases over 2008 filing rates were Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming and Utah, all of which saw increases of between about 60 percent and 80 percent, according to Professor Ronald Mann of Columbia Law School, who analyzed the data. At the county level, the highest bankruptcy rates occurred in three suburban counties in the South around Memphis, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Bankruptcies are affecting wider layers of the population, the data indicate. Courts have seen an increase in joint-bankruptcy filings, suggesting that more families are seeking protection from their creditors.

“I can’t see over the top of the files on my desk,” Cathleen Moran, a California bankruptcy attorney, told the Wall Street Journal. “Ms. Moran’s clients in 2008 typically were people who earned between $40,000 and $80,000. That changed last year when a rash of people who earned $100,000 to $300,000 began filing as well,” the newspaper explains.

Local figures from the US Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Wisconsin reported by the Green Bay Gazette verify the national data. Filings increased there by 31.5 percent between September 2008 and September 2009, with a sizable majority of Chapter 7 petitions.

Bobbie Lison, budget counselor at the local Catholic Charities, pinned the increase on job losses. “A lot of people, when they first lost their jobs or their hours were cut, used credit cards to supplement their spending,” he told the Gazette. “But a lot of credit card companies have cut limits or raised interest rates. If you’re at the point where you have no more credit or your rates or minimum payments went up, you might be out of options.”

Lison also cited medical bills. “People have tremendous medical bills,” he said. “And they might not have insurance because either they lost their job or they work part-time. They might not be able to afford COBRA prices, and even something minor can get very expensive.”

The economic crisis is also driving large numbers of small businesses into bankruptcy. The credit analysis company Equifax recently reported that small business bankruptcies increased by 44 percent nationally for the year ending on September 30 over the previous year. In California, the percentage increase was nearly twice as large, 81 percent.

Economists sought solace in recent figures from the manufacturing sector. US factory orders increased by 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted $365 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The increase was greater than expected, and is partially attributable to increasing oil prices. The figures came on the heels of a survey released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management suggesting that manufacturing activity increased for the fifth straight month and similarly positive industrial production data from other countries.

Yet US manufacturing output in November remained more than 13 percent lower than its level in December 2007.

The dubious nature of the rebound in manufacturing was illustrated by new sales figures released Tuesday by the auto industry. Among the Big Three US auto companies, only Ford saw an increase in December 2009 from December 2008, when the collapse in auto sales was already under way. Ford’s sales for the year as a whole fell by 15 percent.

General Motors suffered a 6 percent decline in December sales, capping a dismal year that saw total sales drop by almost one third. Chrysler, which like GM was forced into bankruptcy by the Obama administration and is now controlled by Italian automaker Fiat, also saw a December sales drop of 4 percent. In 2009, its sales volume fell by 36 percent from 2008, plummeting below the 1 million vehicle mark for the first time since 1962. For the industry as a whole, 2009 is likely to produce the worst year since 1970.

As bad as these number are, they would have been far worse were it not for the Obama administration’s “cash-for-clunkers” tax credit for auto purchases. The program primarily served to rid automakers of bloated inventory.

New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman on Monday warned that the overall increase in manufacturing output may well follow a similarly illusory trajectory.

“To work off their excess inventories, [companies] slash production; once the excess has been disposed of, they raise production again, which shows up as a burst of growth in GDP,” Krugman wrote. “Unfortunately, growth caused by an inventory bounce is a one-shot affair unless underlying sources of demand, such as consumer spending and long-term investment, pick up.”

But consumer spending, which counts for some two thirds of US economic output, will not improve absent a major expansion in jobs and improving wages, or a sudden rebound in home values. No serious observer expects any of these events to take place in the short term, if ever.

Another survey released Tuesday by the Conference Board found that the lowest proportion of American workers ever, 45 percent, report being happy with their jobs. Among the leading causes of worker dissatisfaction, according to the report, are wages failing to keep pace with inflation and increasing health insurance costs absorbing take-home pay.

Dawood is a terrorist, has ‘strategic alliance’ with ISI, says US

Dawood is a terrorist, has ‘strategic alliance’ with ISI, says US

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

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WASHINGTON: Nearly 17 years after Dawood Ibrahim’s infamous D-company fled to Karachi after devastating Mumbai with serial bomb attacks that killed 258 people, the United States has highlighted Pakistan’s patronage of the underworld don and said the “criminal-terrorism fusion model” he represents is “a credible threat to US interests in South Asia.”

A US Congressional report released Tuesday identified the D-company as a “5,000-member criminal syndicate operating mostly in Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates,” which has a “strategic alliance” with ISI and has “forged relationships with Islamists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and al-Qaida.”

The report, prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the research wing of Congress, is aimed at priming US lawmakers on various issues, and has no immediate policy implications. The US Department of Treasury has already designated Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2006 and President Bush designated him, as well as his D-Company organization, as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Neither action has persuaded US “ally” Pakistan, which shelters Ibrahim but denies he is in the country, to prosecute him or extradite him to India or US Aside from periodic hand-wringing, Washington too has made little effort to force Pakistan to give up Ibrahim or other terrorists such as Omar Sheikh Saeed, an accused in the Daniel Pearl beheading case who is also suspected of wiring $ 100,000 to 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta.

In fact, the same day as the CRS report on criminal-terrorism nexus was released, Washington was also forced to focus on the nexus between Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India and its fall-out in Afghanistan, following reports that the massacre of seven CIA agents at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan was masterminded by Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani commando-turned-jihadi.

Kashmiri’s initial terrorist forays into India were largely ignored by Washington, the same way it overlooked the jihadi activities of Masood Azhar, Hafeez Saeed and other terrorist leaders under the pretense that it did not affect US interests.

The latest CRS has a different tone altogether. It makes no secret of Pakistan’s sponsorship of the criminal-terrorist Ibrahim, saying his “D-Company is believed to have both deepened its strategic alliance with the ISI and developed links to Lashkar-e-Taiba

Bomber Report Will Expose Anti-Terror System Not Allowed to Work

National Security Adviser Says Airline Bomber Report Will ‘Shock’ Americans

FOXNews.com

James Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, says Americans will feel “a certain shock” when a report is released today detailing the intelligence failures that could have prevented the Christmas Day attack.

Suspected airplane bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (FNC)

Americans will feel “a certain shock” when a report is released today detailing the intelligence failures that could have prevented the alleged Christmas Day airline bomber from ever boarding the plane.

In an interview Wednesday with USA Today, White House national security adviser James Jones said President Obama “is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on.”

“That’s two strikes,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the failed Northwest jet attack and the shooting massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in November. The Army base attack left 13 dead after officials failed to act on intelligence identifying suspected gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as a threat to fellow soldiers.

Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, told the paper that Obama “certainly doesn’t want that third strike, and neither does anybody else.”

The White House on Thursday plans to make public the declassified account of the near catastrophe on Christmas Day, and President Obama was to address Americans about its findings and recommendations. Obama, too, was to reveal new steps intended to thwart terrorist attacks, as he promised earlier in the week.

No firings over the December security debacle are expected — for now, at least.

For an administration rocked by the breach of security, the day was meant to be a pivot point from an incident that has dominated attention.

“In many ways, this will be the close of this part of the investigation,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

For nearly the last two weeks, Obama and his team have spent enormous time responding to the crisis of a 23-year-old Nigerian man who was in a database of possible terrorists and managed to fly from Nigeria through Amsterdam to Detroit with an explosive concealed on his body. The White House is eager to start putting public attention back to its efforts to expand health care and boost the economy, while careful to say Obama will be monitoring security improvements.

The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was indicted Wednesday on charges of attempted murder and other crimes for trying to blow up an airliner.

His father had warned U.S. officials that Abdulmutallab had drifted into extremism in the Al Qaeda hotbed of Yemen but that threat was never identified fully by intelligence officials, a breakdown that has drawn intense, candid criticism from the president himself.

Still, even with whatever details and improvements are revealed Thursday, questions will remain. Senate committees plan hearings later this month.

And it remains unclear whether any top officials from Obama’s not-quite-year-old administration will be fired over the debacle.

“I don’t know what the final outcome in terms of hiring and firing will be,” Gibbs said.

He said no personnel announcements were expected on Thursday.

Two legislative officials familiar with intelligence matters, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate, said Wednesday that it appeared unlikely that anyone in the Obama administration would be fired over the incident. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Obama’s comments Thursday will be his sixth on the incident, encompassing two statements to reporters during his Hawaii vacation and two more from the White House, a written statement on New Year’s Eve and his radio address last weekend.

The president blistered the intelligence community earlier this week, saying flatly that the government had enough information to uncover the plot and disrupt the attack. “It was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had,” Obama said.

Charlie Allen, the former head of collection at CIA, said the government suffers from a shortage of experienced intelligence analysts.

Analysts take pieces of information — like the disparate threads available before Christmas — look at them, correlate them, and then make a “very strong leap in order to reach a decision,” Allen said. “It takes experience.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Al-CIA-da Is Not the Big Monster They Claim It Is

Al Qadeas-and-Al Qaedas

By B.Raman

(January 07, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Unless a terrorism analyst poses to himself the right questions and seeks answers to them, he will not be able to understand what is going on in the world of jihadi terrorism and will be repeatedly taken by surprise.

There have been many surprises since 9/11—- some of a tactical nature and some of a strategic nature.

As examples of tactical surprises, one could mention the July 2006 explosions in Mumbai’s suburban trains, the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai and the December 25,2009, attempt by a Nigerian student trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen to blow up a US plane as it approached to land at Detroit.

As examples of strategic surprises, one can cite the spectacular come-back of the Afghan Taliban post-2004, the emergence on the scene of the Pakistani Taliban after the raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad by the Pakistan Army in July 2007, the activities of Al Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia, the come-back of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which could turn out to be as spectacular as the come-back of the Afghan Taliban, and indications of new tactical alliances being formed by some of these organisations without any sign of either the Afghan Taliban or the pre-9/11 Al Qaeda of Osama bin Laden ( AQ–OBL)
having any major influence over them.

The periodic messages of Osama bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri are interpreted by many as indicative of their being in total control of the myriad jihadi movements, all having the same strategic objective of humiliating the US, destroying Israel and forming an Islamic Caliphate. These interpretations have not been corroborated by acceptable evidence. Many of the assessments on the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda of OBL seem to be based not on concrete evidence, but on unquestioned pre-conceived ideas.

Such pre-conceived ideas, which come in the way of an objective analysis, are many. They are not subjected to intense scrutiny. One such pre-conceived idea presently under circulation is that the spectacular attack on the CIA’s Chapman forward base near Khost in Afghanistan on December 30,2009, must have been carried out by the Haqqani network of Afghanistan operating from North Waziristan. Why? Because, Khost is its area of operation, where it has operated with success in the past.

Any scrutiny of this supposition should have given rise to the following questions/arguments:

* The Haqqani network is supposed to be close to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Would the ISI have wanted its strategic asset to massacre seven CIA officers and one officer of the Jordanian intelligence related to the King, who is close to Pakistan’s military leadership?

* While criticising pro forma the increased Drone strikes by the CIA on the hide-outs of the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, the Pakistani political and military leadership has not come in the way of these strikes, which have been helping in their own operations against the Pakistani Taliban. Would it have been in the interest of the Pakistani Army and the ISI to help the Jordanian double agent in wiping out a forward CIA base which was playing an important role in facilitating the Drone strikes against the Pakistani Taliban?

If the Haqqani network could not be responsible, who else could be? The Afghan Taliban has ruled itself out of the credit line by making premature claims of having been responsible without being able to give any evidence in support of its claim.

The only claims, which cannot be dismissed as implausible, have come from the Pakistani Taliban. While the Afghan Taliban projected it as a pentration operation through one of its members in the Afghan National Army, the Pakistani Taliban, in its initial statement itself, projected it as a penetration operation through a foreign ( non-Afghan) double agent. Its second claim identifying the foreign agent as a Jordanian might have been made after the US media had identified the agent, but no details had appeared in the media when it made its first claim. It is this which makes its claim difficult to dismiss easily.

There have been reports of a claim by Al Qaeda of OBL too. It is difficult to say presently whether this claim could be authentic. If there is an Al Qaeda involvement, the possibility is more of the involvement of Al Qaeda of Iraq ( or Mesapatomia) because of the past links of the Jordanian double agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi with Al Qaeda of Iraq. Even when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al Qaeda of Iraq, was alive, there were reports of differences between him and Al Qaeda of OBL and Zawahiri. There were reports and indications that he was not amenable to the influence of bin Laden and was waging his jihad against the Americans according to his own lights and his own reading of the situation on the ground, while ostensibly proclaiming his loyalty to bin Laden. The followers of Zarqawi, including Al-Balawi, had stronger reasons to avenge the death of their Iraqi Sheikh than the followers of bin Laden in the Af-Pak region. The possibility that the idea of the operation against the CIA officers was a brain-child of al-Balawi and not of any unit of Al Qaeda cannot be easily dismissed.

The premature claims of the Afghan Taliban clearly show that the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans do not have a common command and control. Even earlier, this was obvious from the fact that while the Afghan Taliban looked upon the Pakistani Army as its guardian angel, the Pakistani Taliban looked upon it as its hated enemy. There were many indicators that the Afghan Taliban was not happy with the repeated attacks of the Pakistani Taliban on the Army and the ISI. Similarly, the Afghan Taliban has never supported the projection by Zawahiri of the Pakistani Army as anti-Islamic.Recent messages emanating from bin Laden and Zawahiri do not show much enthusiasm for the attempts of Zarqawi’s followers in Iraq to stage a come-back.

I had often mentioned in the past that as a jihadist movement, the Taliban is not a monolithic phenomenon. There are Talibans and Talibans each calling for a different strategy by the international community to deal with the threat, Recent events in Fort Hood, Detroit, Chapman, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq show that there are now Al Qaedas and Al Qaedas.It no longer seems to be a monolithic movement. Myriad Al Qaedas have bloomed and continue to bloom. What one requires is not a single strategy which can deal with all of them, but a mix of strategies suited to different groups. This makes counter-terrorism even more complicated and difficult than it has been.

Balochistan reaches boiling point

By Aleem Maqbool
BBC News, Gwadar

Pakistani armed Bugti tribals keep vigil at the conflict area in the town of Dera Bugti in Pakistan's volatile southwestern Baluchistan province, 23 January 2006.

There has been an insurgency in Balochistan for more autonomy

The threats to Pakistan’s future do not just come from the recent wave of militant attacks, but also from discontent in communities around the country.

Gwadar is almost as remote a town in Pakistan as you can get. On the coast of the country’s largest province, Balochistan, close to the Iranian border, it is nearly 2,000km (1,250 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

Down on the shabby beaches, people earn a living the way they have done for generations, fishing and boat-building.

It might, at first, feel like it is a world away from the violence elsewhere.

But trouble’s simmering here too.

‘Fight for rights’

In a small, dark, compound, we met members of various separatist groups – the Baloch National Front, Balochistan Republican Party and Balochistan Liberation Army.

The Pakistani government doesn’t do anything for us… nobody cares
Shaukat,
Gwadar fisherman

We hear their grievances, and their threats.

“What else do we have left,” says Rehman Arif, of the BRP, “except our guns, and to fight for our rights?

“This region of Balochistan, which has seen civilisation for thousands of years, is being oppressed by Pakistan. We’re ready to accept assistance from anyone in our fight. We appeal to India for help.”

This public plea for help from the country’s sworn enemy will alarm Pakistanis.

Map

So too might the fact that almost everyone we came across in the town supported moves for their province to break away from Pakistan.

“The Pakistani government doesn’t do anything for us,” says Shaukat, a fisherman. “They only work for themselves. We just labour hard, but nobody cares,” he says, before wading into the water and clambering onto his boat for another long day at sea.

Poverty here, and right across the province of Balochistan, is on the rise. It is, once again, stirring decades-old feelings of resentment towards the country’s establishment.

Many Baloch feel they have been cheated, and that while Pakistan plunders their local resources, like natural gas, coal and copper, local people remain poor.

“We’ve got nothing,” says Tariq Ashraf, a businessman in Gwadar’s old quarter. “You can see all the children, look at them, look at the dirt, look at the houses. The politicians just give us promises.”

Resentment

The Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, has a new promise, and he has come to Gwadar to make it. He tells us his government will develop the port, and bring business and jobs here, for the people of Balochistan.

Haji Saleh Muhammed, crane operator

Haji Saleh Muhammed says jobs don’t go to locals

“They were not given their rights for the last 62 years [since the creation of Pakistan], therefore we have launched a package with the title ‘Aghaze Huqooq-i-Balochistan’ [The beginning of the rights of the people of Balochistan]. That is why I am here.”

And it is not just the prime minister. The entire cabinet flies in for, among other things, a meeting on a ship in Gwadar Port.

It was meant to provide a boost to the area, and help attract investment. However, the sight of huge government convoys and reports of the millions of rupees of expenditure on the cabinet meeting did not impress some. Many in Gwadar supported the separatist’s call for a strike.

Even with new development projects there is resentment. Many here feel that any benefits that development brings will leave the area.

By chance, not far from the port, clutching a folder, we find Haji Saleh Muhammed.

“I am from Gwadar, I am a port crane operator,” he says. He opens the file, that he says he always keeps with him, to show us his qualifications and certificates, received during 12 years working in Dubai.

“I came back to work in my city, but they have brought people from outside. Karachi people are working here, I am just sitting around.

“Gilani says jobs will come here, but most will go to outsiders.”

On the beach, we even found a policeman who said the poverty and injustice had got so bad, he would lay down his life for Baloch independence.

Last chance

Prime Minister Gilani reiterated to us his assertion that there was considerable evidence that India is already supporting the Baloch separatists, but accepted that the region had been neglected by Pakistan in the past.

However, he also insisted that the general picture is much better than it appears.

“Balochs are patriotic, 99.9% support Pakistan. There are maybe a handful of people who are towing the foreign agenda of somebody else – we are negotiating with them,” he says.

“The time will come when the people themselves will realise that we are on the right path, and they will start supporting us.”

Mr Gilani’s going to have to work fast here, because it feels like the last chance people are going to give the politicians to reduce poverty and inequality.

If they fail, Balochistan could quite easily become a focal point in Pakistan’s destabilisation.

Fixing Intel-REPOSTED-(this document contains a Trojan…do not go to link)

[After warning others about my own bad experiences with Adobe documents {SEE:

Adobe Acrobat Fully Infested With Various Malware, Some Deadly},  I read this NATO document, and sure enough, I am infested with another trojan.  Why is it that so many Western sources load the documents they produce for public consumption with this garbage?  They can achieve the same results using other backdoors, so why do they use these malware devices--strictly for the harassment value?]

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Fixing Intel