ISI’s Divide and Rule Policies–Jan. 8, 2001

[In a prescient description of Pakistan's sectarian issues and government multiplication of those divisions, written before 911, B. Raman describes Pakistan today.  Read HERE]

PAKISTAN’S INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE (ISI)

Jan. 8, 2001

In their efforts to maintain law and order in Pakistan and weaken nationalist and religious elements and political parties disliked by the army, the ISI and the army followed a policy of divide and rule.  After the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, to keep the Shias of Pakistan under control, the ISI encouraged the formation of ant-Shia Sunni extremist organisations such as the Sipah Sahaba .  When the Shias of Gilgit rose in revolt in 1988, Musharraf used bin Laden and his tribal hordes from the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to suppress them brutally.  When the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM—now called the Muttahida Qaumi Movement) of Altaf Hussain rose in revolt in the late 1980s in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur in Sindh, the ISI armed sections of the Sindhi nationalist elements to kill the Mohajirs.  It then created a split between Mohajirs of Uttar Pradesh origin (in Altaf Hussain’s MQM) and those of Bihar origin in the splinter anti-Altaf Hussain group called MQM (Haquiqi–meaning real).  In Altaf Hussain’s MQM itself, the ISI unsuccessfully tried to create a wedge between the Sunni and Shia migrants from Uttar Pradesh.

Having failed in his efforts to weaken the PPP by taking advantage of the exile of Mrs.Benazir and faced with growing unity of action between Altaf Hussain’s MQM and sections of Sindhi nationalist elements, Musharraf has constituted a secret task force in the ISI headed by Lt.Gen.Mahmood Ahmed, the DG, and consisting of Lt.Gen.(retd) Moinuddin Haider, Interior Minister, and Lt.Gen.Muzaffar Usmani, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, to break the PPP, the MQM and the Sindhi nationalists.

This task force has encouraged not only religious political organisations such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rahman etc, but also sectarian organisations such as the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of Riaz Basra, living under the protection of the Taliban and bin Laden in Kandahar in Afghanistan, to extend their activities to Sindh.

These organisations have now practically got out of the control of the ISI.  Instead of attacking the PPP, the MQM and the Sindhi nationalists and bringing them to heel as Musharraf had hoped they would, they have taken their anti-Shia jehad to Sindh and have been recruiting a large number of unemployed Sindhi rural youth for service with the Taliban.  Sindh, which was known for its Sufi traditions of religious tolerance, has seen under Musharraf a resurgence of the street power of the JEI and the JUI, which had been practically driven out of the province in the 1980s, by the PPP, the MQM and the Sindhi nationalists, and has seen in recent months anti-Shia massacres of the kind used by Musharraf in Gilgit in 1988.  Over 200 Shias have been gunned down, including 30 doctors of Karachi, and the latest victims of the sectarian Frankenstein let loose by Musharraf in Sindh have been Shaukat Mirza, the Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil, and Syed Zafar Hussain Zaidi, a Director in the Research Laboratories of the Ministry of Defence, located in Karachi, who were gunned down on July 28 and 30,2001, respectively.  The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for both these assassinations.

As a result of the policy of divide and rule followed in Sindh by the ISI under Musharraf, one is seeing in Pakistan for the first time sectarian violence inside the Sunni community between the Sunnis of the Deobandi faith belonging to the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Sunnis of the more tolerant Barelvi faith belonging to the Sunni Tehrik formed in the early 1990s to counter the growing Wahabi influence on Islam in Pakistan and the Almi Tanzeem Ahle Sunnat formed in 1998 by Pir Afzal Qadri of Mararian Sharif in Gujrat, Punjab, to counter the activities of the Deobandi Army of Islam headed by Lt.Gen.Mohammed Aziz, Corps Commander, Lahore.

The Tanzeem has been criticising not only the Army of Islam for injecting what it considers the Wahabi poison into the Pakistan society, but also the army of the State headed by Musharraf for misleading the Sunni youth into joining the jehad against the Indian army in J & K and getting killed there in order to avoid the Pakistani army officers getting killed in the jehad for achieving its strategic objective.  The ISI, which is afraid of a direct confrontation with the Barelvi organisations, has been inciting the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi to counter their activities .

This has led to frequent armed clashes between rival Sunni groups in Sindh, the most sensational of the incidents being the gunning down of Maulana Salim Qadri of the Sunni Tehrik and five of his followers in Karachi on May, 18,2001, by the Sipah Sahaba, which led to a major break-down of law and order in certain areas of Karachi for some days.

Musharraf, the commando, believes in achieving his objective by hook or by crook without worrying about the means used.  In his anxiety to bring Sindh under control and to weaken the PPP, the MQM and the Sindhi nationalists, he has, through the ISI, created new Frankensteins which might one day lead to the Talibanisation of Sindh, a province always known for its sufi traditions of religious tolerance and for its empathy with India.

Musharraf is under pressure from sections of senior army officers concerned over these developments to suppress the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.  He and Lt.Gen.Haider have been making the pretence of planning to do so.  It is to be seen whether they really would and, even if they did, whether they would or could effectively enforce the ban on them.

In India, there is a point of view in some circles that the only way of effectively countering the ISI activities against India is to have an Indian version of the ISI, with extensive powers for clandestine intelligence collection, technology procurement and covert actions and that the proposed Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) should be patterned after Pakistan’s ISI rather than after the DIA of the US and the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) of the UK, which are essentially agencies for the analysis and assessment of military intelligence in a holistic manner, with powers for clandestine collection only during times of war or when deployed in areas of conflict and with no powers for covert action.

The principle of civilian primacy in the intelligence community is widely accepted in all successful democracies and the discarding of this principle in Pakistan sowed the seeds for the present state of affairs there.  In our anxiety for quick results against the ISI, we should not sacrifice time-tested principles as to how intelligence agencies should function in a democratic society.

In the 1970s,Indian policy-makers wisely decided that the Indian intelligence should not get involved in clandestine procurement of denied technologies since the exposure of any such procurement could damage the credibility and trustworthiness of the Indian scientific and technological community in the eyes of other countries.

This is what has happened to Pakistan.  Its intelligence community did some spectacular work in clandestine procurement and theft of technologies abroad.  But, once the details of this network were exposed, post-graduate students of Pakistan in scientific subjects, its academics, research scholars and scientists are looked upon with suspicion in Western countries and find it difficult to enter universities and research laboratories for higher studies and research and get jobs in establishments dealing in sensitive technologies and are less frequently invited to seminars etc than in the past.  In its anxiety to catch up with India in the short term, Pakistan has damaged its long-term potential in science and technology.

Pakistan refuses to hand over Taliban big guns to US

Pakistan refuses to hand over Taliban big guns to US

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Pakistan is unlikely to hand over Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar and other recently detained Afghan Taliban leaders to Afghanistan despite the demand by President Hamid Karzai’s government and requests by the US authorities. Highly informed sources told The News that the government had decided in principle not to deliver the Taliban leaders to the Afghan government. “This decision is final,” a senior government official said.

According to sources, President Karzai had made the demand for Mulla Baradar’s extradition to Afghanistan soon after his arrest in Pakistan. He then sent Afghan Interior Minister Muhammad Hanif Atmar to Islamabad on a quick visit to discuss the arrest of Mulla Baradar and other Afghan Taliban leaders with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik and to look into the possibility of their early transfer to Afghanistan.

Afghan government officials in Kabul are arguing that since Mulla Baradar and other Taliban leaders captured in Pakistan were Afghans therefore they must be sent back to their country. These officials said the Afghan government at this stage wasn’t talking about putting the Afghan Taliban leaders on trial in Afghanistan, but simply wanted them to be returned to their homeland.

A number of US officials have also requested the Pakistan government to deliver Mulla Baradar to Afghanistan. Reports carried by sections of the US media said American officials would like to interrogate Mulla Baradar alone rather than in presence of Pakistani intelligence agents. It was pointed out that this could be done at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan where the US runs a detention centre.

The official sources said Pakistan had provided access to the US operatives to Mulla Baradar, but these interrogation sessions were held in presence of Pakistani officials. The US officials are reportedly interested in having exclusive meetings with Mulla Baradar and other detained Afghan Taliban leaders.

Several Afghan Taliban figures were recently captured in Pakistan. Besides Mulla Baradar, the other ranking Taliban leader who was arrested was MullaAbdul Kabir, the operational commander for the four eastern Afghan provinces of Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar and Nuristan. He had served as deputy prime minister and governor of Logar and Nangarhar provinces during Taliban rule. He was reportedly apprehended in Nowshera district in NWFP.

Mulla Abdul Salam and Mulla Mir Mohammad, the Taliban “shadow” governors for the northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces, respectively, were also held in Nowshera district. But the Afghan Taliban leader who was arrested in Pakistan much earlier was Younis Akhundzada, also referred to as Akhundzada Popalzai. He had served in important positions in the Taliban government during 1994-2001 and was reportedly made the “shadow” governor for Zabul province.

The Taliban, it may be added, had appointed “shadow” governors for 32 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Meanwhile, Afghan Taliban sources said that replacements had been named for all their leaders recently detained in Pakistan. Though the Taliban are officially denying the arrests of all these leaders including Mulla Baradar, in private they have started conceding this fact.

Sir, the militants have multiplied

Sir, the militants have multiplied

—Sher Ali Khan

When Rana Sanaullah visited Jhang, it was a cause of great worry for the citizens when SSP leader Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi was included in the entourage and given full government protocol

The recent admission by Rana Sanaullah about his association with the banned militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) illuminates that Pakistan is a country where a nexus between politicians and militants is still active. Since only a few political parties have picked up on this issue, it is worrying to assume that relationships between the government and militant outfits still exist. Furthermore, the core principle of any constitutional democratic set-up is that the representative of the government is an extension of the state; therefore by the minister associating with a banned militant group, the government’s policies regarding militants and terrorists have come into conflict. In understanding this, one has to realise that militants are non-state rogue actors and to combat them the resolve must start from within the government.

To begin with, the word militant is derived from the Latin word “militare”, which means to serve as a soldier. Militants are soldiers who are not associated with any government military organisation and are not accountable to the state. Thus historically, religious militants in world politics share a common set of characteristics. As non-state actors, militants are able to find several ways to integrate into society. Taking advantage of the weaknesses from within the state, religious militants disrupt the social order within society.

To disrupt the social order, the first denunciation by religious militants is of the secularism of the state. Secondly, they critique the domestic ills of society, which allows them to connect with the general public. Furthermore, as universalists, they apply their ideological pretences to anyone who is a believer. This allows them to develop a trans-state ideology, which transcends the physical borders of that respective country. The danger of being universalists means that anyone in society who is a non-believer is essentially a second class citizen. Consequently, militants in general do not fit into the framework of normal constitutional governance.

Throughout history, mercenaries or militant outfits have been used as a security advantage for the state. Going back to the time of the Romans, barbarians were used in the army as a strategic advantage. To combat the possibility of disruption in public life, these barbarians would be kept on the outskirts and were not allowed to enter Rome with arms. When the barbarians were integrated into Rome, some problems occurred. The barbarians were then given federate status, which placed them above Roman law by not having to pay taxes or give up their arms. These federate troops fought under their own command and were not subject to the Roman Army’s training. Fed with clothes, weapons and shelter, the barbarians left Rome susceptible to an internal attack. This by many is seen as one of the reasons for the decline of Rome.

Like Rome, in Pakistan too the establishment has created accepted roles for militant groups in society that are separate from the common citizen. As a strategic advantage in places like Afghanistan and Kashmir, militant groups are put into the grey area of policy making. The hangs-ups of these policies create two very important issues: one is that these organisations remain rogue non-state actors and secondly they are not integrated into the public sphere with the same rules as the common citizen. Also, since their economic interests are separate from the state, their connection to Pakistan is further detached. That means that the militant interest in Pakistan flourishes only if the government meets their common interest.

In Southern Punjab, there are private and heavily armed militias roaming freely. To be specific, the threat of Deobandi-Sunni groups such as the SSP and Laskhar-e-Jhangvi is that they are connected in a universalist manner. Thus their ties with trans-national terrorist groups such as al Qaeda are active to this day. The lack of regulation regarding militant groups means that banned and unbanned militant groups continue to work openly, as seen when Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was leading a procession on Kashmir Solidarity Day in Lahore recently. Then in Jhang, leaders of the SSP are often seen around the city with fully masked and armed men. When Rana Sanaullah visited Jhang, it was a cause of great worry for the citizens when SSP leader Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi was included in the entourage and given full government protocol.

Thus the impact of this incident with the provincial law minister is quite clear. For a country that is trying to fight terror on a national level, it has failed to make its own government representatives accountable to the national policy. It also means that the government — provincial and federal — is not implementing the writ of the state. Without the implementation of the writ of the state, order in the country cannot be sustained. Consequently, for a constitutional democracy, which is demanding by nature, the citizens and politicians have to obey a high standard of moral character and understanding. This is clearly lacking. Thus in circumstances like this when the state fails to follow the ethical guidelines of the constitution, it loses its respect and bond with the people. As a result, the state has to take steps to regain moral authority. This can only be done if the government works to socially and politically cast out such lawmakers and government representatives that openly give patronage to militant groups.

In any developing democratic system, the state has to provide a moral framework for governance. To implement its writ of state, the government will have to set a moral example for the people. When representatives of the government conflict with government policy, the government’s authority is maligned. If the government wants to combat the growing militancy throughout the country, it has to outlaw representatives of the government who associate with militant groups. Till this is achieved, the government’s resolve to fight militancy will be incomplete.

The writer is a freelance journalist and recent graduate from UC Riverside with a degree in Political Science. He can be reached at sherakhan46@gmail.com

Big question mark on Malik as his dismissal record unveiled

Big question mark on Malik as his dismissal record unveiled


By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik is not qualified to be a member of parliament as official documents prove he was dismissed from the service in 1998 and even his appeal against the dismissal was turned down by the president of Pakistan in 1999.

Article 63(i) of the Constitution clearly disqualifies a person from becoming member of parliament if a person has been dismissed from the service of Pakistan or service of a corporation or office set up or controlled by the federal government, provincial government or a local government on the grounds of misconduct or moral turpitude.

Documents available with The News show the then-president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar rejected Rehman Malik’s appeal on April 22, 1999 against his dismissal from service as additional director-general of the FIA.

Malik, who fled the country during the Nawaz Sharif’s tenure and had been declared an absconder by the courts, came back to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile in 2007, along with Benazir Bhutto, and got elected as senator because of the National Reconciliation Ordinance, which had ostensibly erased his past record. However, the recent declaration of the NRO as void ab initio by the Supreme Court has revived the record and made Malik vulnerable to lose both his ministry as well as the Senate seat for being a dismissed government employee.

Despite messages left at this office, residence and even sent on his cell phone, Rehman Malik did not talk to this correspondent to clarify his position. However, his counsel Amjad Iqbal Qureshi when approached said he was absolutely ignorant about his dismissal from the government service. Qureshi said he had never represented Malik on service matters but guessed Mr Malik had resigned from service.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar when approached said he is not aware of Rehman Malik’s case but said perhaps he was once told by the interior minister that his dismissal was set aside by the competent forum.

Babar said the president has the authority under Section 23 of the Civil Servants Act of 1973 to set aside the dismissal order of any government servant. He, however, was not sure if in case of Rehman Malik the incumbent president had done so before he contested the Senate election.

Official record available with the Establishment Division, however, confirmed that Rehman Malik was dismissed from the government service and the situation remains unchanged as of today.

Documents reveal on May 21, 1998, Rehman Malik, the then-additional director-general of FIA, was placed under suspension with effect from November 17, 1997, through an interior ministry notification. He was issued a show-cause notice on August 13, 1998, through registered post as well as through a press advertisement on account of his unauthorised absence from Islamabad with effect from June 26, 1998.

He was also charged with receiving two Honda cars from Toyota Motors as illegal gratification; falsely involving two persons in an FIA case in Lahore; misuse of official position for obtaining quota of bitumen from the petroleum ministry for his brother-in-law at lower rates; misuse of official position for installation of telephone of telephone exchange at his residence; living beyond means as evident from telephone bills and electricity charges; theft of electricity at his residence by abusing his official position; and misuse of official transport. AW Qazi, the then food secretary, was the inquiry officer in this case.

Rehman Malik submitted his reply to the show-cause notice on August 17, 1998, to the authorised officer, denying the charges against him but did not request for personal hearing. Since Malik fled to the UK and was living in London, therefore, on account of his absence from the station duty the authorised officer recommended imposition of major penalty of dismissal from service upon him under the Government Servants (E7D) Rules, 1973. On Nov 4, 1998, through another interior ministry’s notification and following the approval of the competent authority his dismissal from service order was issued. Rehman Malik was, however, given the right to appeal to the appellate authority under the Civil Servants (Appeal) Rules, 1977, within a period of 30 days from the date of issue of the same notification.

Against his dismissal from the service order, Rehman Malik submitted an appeal to the president of Pakistan against the imposition of major penalty of dismissal from service on him. The then interior secretary Hafeezullah Ishaq on February 2, 1999 moved the summary to the president through the prime minister recommending in paras 7 and 8 of the summary that the appeal of the dismissed officer may be rejected.

On April 4, 1999, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif accordingly advised the president, saying, “While filing the subject matter appeal, the appellant A Rehman Malik, former additional director-general (BS-21), FIA, has also misrepresented his current status vis-‡-vis the Service of Pakistan. The president is, therefore, advised in terms of Rule 2(a) and Rule 6 of the Civil Servants (Appeal) Rules, 1977, to approve recommendations of the interior division as per para 7 duly endorsed by the establishment division at para 10 of the summary; or to pass such orders, as the president may deem appropriate please. sd Prime Minister.”

Following the advice of the prime minister, the then president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar endorsed Rehman Malik’s dismissal, saying, “Perusal of the record reveals that the recommendation in para 8 of the summary proposing dismissal to reject the appeal of Mr A Rehman Malik, former additional director-general, (BS-21), FIA, in terms of Rule 2(a) and Rule 6 of the Civil Servants (Appeal) Rules, 1977. sd Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, President.”

Turning Local Writers and Intellectuals Into Weapons

Creel, Goebbels and us

By Jawed Naqvi
Some of the provisions of the US bill that purports to curb “anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East” have set off alarm bells in the Arab world. –Photo by AFP
It is a fallacy that dictatorships control our thoughts and democracies free them. The fact is that the two work in tandem, often as pacesetters to spur each other.Joseph Goebbels stands accused as the forefather of thought-control and mass hysteria the Nazis whipped up against anyone who came in their way. Goebbels, however, had a role model in George Creel, a veteran journalist of the Denver Post who was enlisted by President Woodrow Wilson to turn a nation of pacifist Americans into warmongers and haters of Germans.

Creel headed the Committee on Public Information set up by Wilson at the start of the First World War to coordinate “not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the propagation of faith”. With the state’s enormous resources and with the help of a conniving (democratic?) media Creel found success within six months.

“The war-mongering population … wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb to limb, go to war and save the world,” wrote Noam Chomsky about America’s diabolical manouevre that the Nazis were to emulate years later. “It was a major achievement, and it led to a further achievement. Right at that time and after the war the same techniques were used to whip up a hysterical Red Scare, as it was called.”

Intellectuals, including eminent writers, were more vulnerable to the nationalistic virus than they are thought to have been. In Britain, around the same time as Creel’s exploits, David Lloyd George, chancellor of the exchequer, was given the task of setting up a war propaganda bureau (WPB). He appointed the successful writer and fellow Liberal MP Charles Masterman as head of the organisation.

Masterman invited 25 leading British authors to the WPB headquarters to discuss ways of promoting Britain’s interests during the war. Those who attended the meeting included Arthur Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett, John Masefield, Ford Madox Ford, William Archer, G.K. Chesterton, Sir Henry Newbolt, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Gilbert Parker, G.M. Trevelyan and H.G. Wells. All the writers present at the conference are said to have agreed to the utmost secrecy, and it was not until 1935 that the activities of the WPB became known to the general public. Some who attended the meeting agreed to write pamphlets and books that would promote the government’s view of the situation.

The information ministry set up in Britain during the two wars was to become the prototype for similar ministries in India and Pakistan, and elsewhere in the developing world.  [It is apparent from the plethora of Pakistani and Indian writers who fit the bill that the British plot to use native writers and intellectuals as instruments of war is still working to fan the flames of hatred.  Beginning with the "Reagan Revolution," the effort to identify and develop writers to serve as the Empire's vanguard became American state policy.  This policy accounted for many of the younger neoconservative writers, as well as young foreign assets.  Who in Pakistan today fits that description?  Who provides the sharp incessant drumbeat against India, or for the joint US/Pakistani military mission in Pakistan? ] Like Creel, who had on his committee the secretary of state, navy and so forth, the ‘information ministries’ are ably assisted in India and Pakistan by every government department, led by the home and defence ministries and their intelligence outfits, to create and disseminate propaganda.

A new US bill aimed at taming the foreign media perceived as hostile to American interests is expected to continue to lean on the tradition set by Woodrow Wilson and which has been dutifully followed by eager beavers elsewhere. There are of course different ways of dealing with a channel like Al Jazeera for example. One is to not allow it to broadcast in a country by legal or bureaucratic fiat, as happens to be the case in India.

The other way is to bomb the supposedly recalcitrant broadcasters as happens in the Middle East.  [SEE: NATO Bombing of Serbian TV]

The remains of RTS in BelgradeRadio Television Serbia (RTS) in Belgrade

In Pakistan journalists can be killed or made to ‘disappear’. In India, in the tradition of Creel, they are co-opted.

Some of the provisions of the US bill that purports to curb “anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East” have set off alarm bells in the Arab world. The bill pleads gratuitously that though freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the foundations of free and prosperous societies worldwide, “with the freedom of the press and freedom of expression comes the responsibility to repudiate purveyors of incitement to violence”.

Then it comes to the point. “For years, certain media outlets in the Middle East, particularly those associated with terrorist groups, have repeatedly published or broadcast incitements to violence against the United States and Americans.”

“Television channels that broadcast incitement to violence against Americans, the United States and others have demonstrated the ability to shift their operations to different countries and their transmissions to different satellite providers in order to continue broadcasting and to evade accountability.”

“Television channels such as al-Manar, al-Aqsa, al-Zawra, and others that broadcast incitement to violence against the United States and Americans aid Foreign Terrorist Organisations in the key functions of recruitment, fundraising, and propaganda.”

So what is one to do about the US concerns? The American bill provides that the US would “designate as Specially Designated Global Terrorists satellite providers that knowingly and willingly contract with entities designated as [such] … to broadcast their channels, or to consider implementing other punitive measures against satellite providers that transmit al-Aqsa TV, al-Manar TV, al-Rafidayn TV, or any other terrorist owned and operated station.”

The United States would consider state-sponsorship of anti-American incitement to violence when determining the level of assistance to, and frequency and nature of relations with, all states.

And finally, it would “urge all governments and private investors who own shares in satellite companies or otherwise influence decisions … to oppose transmissions of telecasts by … Specially Designated Global Terrorist owned and operated stations that openly incite their audiences to commit acts of terrorism or violence against the United States and its citizens”.

How is Pakistan going to cope with its provisions? The best hope is that it will target only the ‘rogue’ channels in the Middle East, but who knows.

The truly amazing thing about the success of institutionalised propaganda is that it gets people worked up into such a frenzy that they readily embrace the absence of morality in their connivance.

A few weeks ago I met a group of pleasant, prosperous and generally agreeable Indians in San Francisco. The discussion revolved around the sacrifices that American democracy had to make to accommodate the authoritarian provisions of the Patriot Act.

Those present were Brahmins from Maharashtra, who would normally have fought the fascism of Mumbai’s Shiv Sena. But what one of them said to me on behalf of the others left me marvelling at the penetrating yet dangerous logic. “The Patriot Act has corroded some of my democratic rights, true. But I accept it because it has given me security against terrorism.”

The power of Creel and Goebbels over the people’s mind is like nuclear waste. It is not going away anytime soon, and its lethal effects could last for decades, even centuries.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.

Disturbing moves to create super-police for Arab satellite TV stations

[This will prove to be a major blow to democracy and liberation movements in the Arab dictatorships.  Egypt and the Saudis are once again serving Zionist interests in Israel and the US by this attempt to ban freedom of the press when it tells the cold hard truth about any of the governments involved.]

Disturbing moves to create super-police for Arab satellite TV stations

Published on 23 January 2010

When Arab information ministers meet in Cairo on 24 January they are to discuss a joint proposal by the Egyptian and Saudi governments for the creation of a regional office to supervise Arab satellite TV stations.

The proposal is partly a response to bill adopted last month by the US House of Representatives that could result in satellite operators themselves being branded as “terrorist entities” if they contract their services to TV stations classified as “terrorist” by the US Congress. It is also an outcome of discussions begun by the Arab League in 2008.

“This proposal is disturbing, to say the least,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The danger is that this super-police could be used to censor all TV stations that criticise the region’s governments. It could eventually be turned into a formidable weapon against freedom of information.”

This “Office for Arab Satellite Television” would be in charge of enforcing guidelines aimed at ensuring that Arab TV stations respect the ethical standards and moral values of Arab society as well as ensuring that they no longer serve as fronts or outlets for “terrorist” organisations.

The original proposal for such an office was made in February 2008 by Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa. It was recently revived by the Saudi government, which controls Arabsat, and the Egyptian government, which controls Nilesat.

It seems that Riyadh and Cairo hope to ride a current that supports the reaffirmation of traditional values. The main TV stations targeted by the proposal are Al Jazeera, the Hamas station Al-Aqsa TVand the Hezbollah station Al-Manar.

The Arab League’s 22 member countries are nonetheless far from being unanimous about the proposal. In fact, the battle lines have been drawn between those in favour and those against. The pro camp centres on Saudi Arabia and Cairo. Those already clearly defined as members of the contra camp include Lebanon and Qatar.

There are many stumbling blocks on the road to agreement. Some fear this office would end up controlling content on privately-owned TV stations. Others have voiced concern about loss of sovereignty. Technical questions have been raised. Who will be members of this office? How will they be appointed? What will their exact powers be? And what punishments will they be able to impose?

The issue of funding has also been raised as well as the more symbolic question of where the office will be located. Will it be attached to the Arab League’s secretariat or to the Standing Committee of Arab Media?

Holbrooke Refuses To Implicate America’s Old Ally–LeT

[SEE: The Lashkar-e-Taiba Was from the Outset Clearly a U.S. Enterprise ]

Lashkar-e-Taiba (ran a training camp) 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.Mar. 12, 1999

US envoy refuses to blame LeT for Kabul attack

By Our Correspondent
“In regard to this attack, I don’t accept the fact that this was an attack on an Indian facility like the (Indian) embassy,” he said. “They were foreigners, non-Indian foreigners hurt. It was a soft target. Let’s not jump to conclusions.” – Photo by Reuters.

WASHINGTON: US envoy Richard Holbrooke has rejected New Delhi’s claim that recent terror strikes in Kabul specifically targeted Indians.

At a Tuesday afternoon briefing at the State Department, Mr Holbrooke urged both India and Pakistan to stop blaming each other without substantial proof.

Responding to a question from an Indian journalist, Mr Holbrooke refused to accept claims by Indian and Afghan officials that recent terrorist attacks in Kabul were launched by Lashkar-e-Taiba and were aimed specifically at Indians.

“In regard to this attack, I don’t accept the fact that this was an attack on an Indian facility like the (Indian) embassy,” he said. “They were foreigners, non-Indian foreigners hurt. It was a soft target. Let’s not jump to conclusions.”

Mr Holbrooke also criticised the tendency in India and Pakistan to blame each other for such incidents.

“I understand why everyone in Pakistan and everyone in India always focus on the other. But please, let’s not draw a conclusion for which there’s no proof,” said the US envoy when asked to comment on a bomb attack in Kabul last week that also killed some Indian citizens.

Although he spoke at length on relations between India and Pakistan and how their rivalry posed a dilemma for the US, — which has good relations with both — he emphasised that he wanted to confine his comments to their role in Afghanistan and did not want to get involved in other issues involving the two countries.

Without uttering the “K” word, Mr Holbrooke debunked suggestions that Washington should help India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue as part of a regional approach to end the Afghan war.

“Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India… share a common strategic space,” he said. “And in order to understand America’s policy and America’s policy dilemma, one has to understand that both India and Pakistan have legitimate security interests in the region.”

Mr Holbrooke also rejected the suggestion that to bring stability to Afghanistan, it’s also necessary to address the Kashmir issue. “People who have advocated that are making a proposal which I believe runs counter to stability in Afghanistan. Afghanistan must be dealt with on its merits,” he said.

Stressing that Pakistan and India had a “complicated historic relationship” going back to the partition in 1947 and before, Mr Holbrooke observed that “people must respect” this historical background while dealing with the two countries.

This indicates a major shift in the previous policy of trying to persuade Pakistan to stop seeing India as an adversary.

“What happened then (in 1947) affects us today. But I need to stress that both countries have legitimate security interests (in Afghanistan),” he said.

But as President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other US officials “have said repeatedly, there are many countries that have legitimate security interests in what happens in Afghanistan”, he added.

Asked if the Indian demand that Pakistan hand over terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks had come up in his talks with officials from the two countries, Mr Holbrooke said: “Well, of course both sides raise issues like that, but it will not serve any purpose for me to make public confidential discussions.”

He stressed that America’s relations with both countries were good, but acknowledged that “both in New Delhi and in Islamabad, people come up to us and say, oh, you’re pro-the other country, you’re favouring one country over another”.

Dismissing such concerns as “not true”, Mr Holbrooke said that the US wanted to keep improving its relations with both.

“We seek to do everything we can to help Pakistan economically, which is, I think — which is my highest priority,” he said.

“And we work closely with India on a whole range of issues.”