“Asian Tigers,” Like All “Islamist” Outfits, Wants the Same Thing America Wants, War In N. Waziristan

Peshawar, May.1 (ANI): The audacious step taken by extremists to kill former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) official Squadron Leader Khalid Khwaja, who was kidnapped from North Waziristan in March, shows that they are prepared to counter any offensive which Pakistani security forces might initiate to crush them.
According to observers, Khwaja’s murder was primarily aimed at forcing the government to accept their demands of releasing some of the top Afghan Taliban commanders, including second-in command Mullah Ghani Baradar and Mansoor Dadullah.

“That they have taken this extreme step shows that they are ready for the consequences, which could eventually include a major military operation in North Waziristan,” The Daily Times quoted a vocal supporter of the extremists, as saying.

He said that the Asian Tigers, the group which had claimed to have kidnapped Khwaja along with his former colleague Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar, commonly known as Colonel Imam, and British journalist Assad Qureshi, actually wants the Pakistani forces to launch an offensive in North Waziristan also.

“They would like North Waziristan to become embroiled in this battle and the Pakistan Army to be engaged in a wider battlefield. They are mostly outsiders and include the Punjabi Taliban and Mehsud fighters of the TTP evicted from South Waziristan as a result of the Pakistan Army operations there,” he said.

It is also believed that the day the Asian Tigers released a video tape showing Khwaja admitting to have been spying for the Central Investigation Agency (CIA), it was evident that he would e eliminated by the terror group. (ANI)

‘Asian Tigers’ kill Khalid Khwaja on expiry of deadline

‘Asian Tigers’ kill Khalid Khwaja on expiry of deadline


By Mushtaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: The mysterious and until now unknown militant organisation, the Asian Tigers, executed former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Khalid Khwaja near Mir Ali town in North Waziristan on Friday after holding him hostage for more than a month.

“We decided to kill Khalid Khwaja as the deadline we had given for our demands expired on Friday. The ISI and the government did not take our demands seriously,” said a spokesman for the Asian Tigers in an e-mail sent to this scribe soon after the killing of the elderly Khwaja.

Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khwaja, Colonel (retd) Sultan Amir Tarar, commonly known as Col Imam, and documentary maker Asad Qureshi, had gone to North Waziristan on March 26 to make a documentary about the Taliban. They suddenly disappeared and nothing was heard of them until the Asian Tigers claimed responsibility of their kidnapping.

The Asian Tigers, which is believed to be run by a group of Punjabi Taliban and Mehsud militants, had accused Khwaja of working for the ISI and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US.

Tribal sources in Mir Ali, the second largest town of North Waziristan after its regional headquarters Miramshah, said villagers were offering the Friday prayers when firing was heard in Karamkot village, five kilometres west of the main Mir Ali-Miramshah Road.

Villagers said they came out of the mosque and saw the bullet-riddled body of an elderly person lying on a small road of Karamkot village. “We did not know about this old man but he was looking graceful. Someone had just shot him dead. He was shot in the head and chest and was still bleeding when we reached there,” said Muhammad Israr, a shopkeeper in Mir Ali Bazaar. He said he was among the few people who had reached there first and saw the body.

Some villagers said they saw armed people reaching there in a car and firing at the bearded man with AK-47assault rifles.

His assailants had placed a computer-generated letter on his body, alleging he was killed for his association with the ISI and CIA and his negative role in the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa military operation in Islamabad.

Terrified tribesmen did not want to take any risk by shifting the body to a proper place. By evening, the once powerful and now toothless political administration sent a Jirga of elders and some low-level government officials to collect the body of the former ISI officer.

The Jirga, which was holding white flags, later took possession of the body and shifted it to the military camp in Mir Ali.

Muhammad Omar, a spokesman for Taliban Media Centre that is believed to be operated by the Punjabi Taliban, called this scribe saying the other two men, Colonel Imam and Asad Qureshi, might meet the same fate if the government did not consider the demands of the Asian Tigers seriously.

He claimed all major militant organisations operating in the region had a unanimous opinion about punishing Khwaja. “Everybody wanted him to be executed as he had confessed of all charges against him,” explained Omar who spoke in Urdu.

He claimed that Khwaja and Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz, the former MMA MNA from Karak, during their previous visit to North Waziristan had brought a list of 14 senior Taliban commanders, majority of them Punjabis associated with the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and told the TTP leaders, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rahman that they were getting financial assistance from the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Omar even mentioned names of militant commanders identified as Indian agents by Khwaja and said among them were Qari Zafar, Rana Afzal, Ustad Abdul Samad, Qari Ehsan, Qari Basit, Ustad Aslam, Yasin, Qari Assadullah, Qari Imran, Qari Hamza, Ustad Khalid, Abu Huzaifa, Matiur Rahman and Qari Hussain Ahmad Mehsud. The last-named is considered to be the master trainer of suicide bombers.

Omar narrated a long list of allegations against Khwaja. He said one of the main causes of his death was his support to the Afghan Taliban and strong opposition to the Pakistani Taliban. “He would call us terrorists and refer to the Afghan Taliban as Mujahideen,” Omar recalled.

In the recent videos released by the Asian Tigers, Colonel Imam had claimed that he had come to North Waziristan on the advice of former Army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg while Khwaja said he had gone there on the advice of former ISI chief Lieutenant General (retd) Hameed Gul, General (retd) Aslam Beg and Colonel Sajjad of the ISI.

Meanwhile, senior Afghan Taliban commanders, who were negotiating with the Asian Tigers through two senior Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders from Orakzai Agency, said the group comprised 30-40 people, Punjabi and Mehsud, all expelled from their respective groups — the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the TTP.

They said the two TTP leaders had held a meeting with members of Asian Tigers about their demands. The group, they said, told the TTP leaders that they would inform them about the demands within two days. The Taliban commanders said the group was supposed to convey them the demands on Saturday but they killed Khalid Khwaja without any reason.

The Taliban felt someone very powerful was behind the group as despite having limited number of fighters, it was freely moving in the region. “The group is run by Usman Punjabi and Sabir Mehsud — both were expelled from their respective organisations,” the Taliban commander said, wishing not to be named.

Obama takes direct aim at anti-government rhetoric

[You can call him "Barry," but don't you call him "fascist."]

Obama takes direct aim at anti-government rhetoric

By PETE YOST and MARK S. SMITH (AP) – 1 hour ago

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — President Barack Obama took aim Saturday at the angry rhetoric of those who denigrate government as “inherently bad” and said their off-base line of attack ignores the fact that in a democracy, “government is us.”

Obama used his commencement speech at the University of Michigan to respond to foes who portray government as oppressive and tyrannical. He also appealed for a more civil political debate and advised graduates to seek out and consider alternative views on the issues of the day, even if it makes their “blood boil.”

Just 45 miles from the immense Michigan Stadium, capacity of 106,201, 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin held court in Clarkston, tearing into Obama’s policies at a forum hosted by the anti-tax Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

The president told students and others in the audience — the school stopping giving out tickets once 80,000 were distributed — that debates about the size and role of government are as old as the republic itself.

“But it troubles me when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad,” said Obama, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree. “For when our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it conveniently ignores the fact in our democracy, government is us.”

Obama didn’t mention Palin in the speech, according to remarks the White House released in advance, nor was there any reference to the tea party movement. Palin, a potential Obama opponent in 2012, told activists that “big government” led by Obama’s White House has become “intrusive” in Americans’ lives.

In Obama’s view, there are some things that only government can do.

Government, he said, is the roads we drive on and the speed limits that keep us safe. It’s the men and women in the military, the inspectors in our mines, the pioneering researchers in public universities.

The financial meltdown dramatically showed the dangers of too little government, he said, “when a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly led to the collapse of our entire economy.”

Obama told both sides in the political debate to tone it down. “Phrases like ‘socialist’ and ‘Soviet-style takeover,’ ‘fascist’ and ‘right-wing nut’ may grab headlines,” he said. But such language “closes the door to the possibility of compromise.”

That kind of passion isn’t new, he acknowledged. Politics in America, he said, “has never been for the thin-skinned or the faint of heart. … If you enter the arena, you should expect to get roughed up.”

Obama hoped the graduates hearing his words can avoid cynicism and brush off the overheated noise of politics. In fact, he said, they should seek out opposing views.

His advice: If you’re a regular Glenn Beck listener, then check out the Huffington Post sometimes. If you read The New York Times editorial page the morning, then glance every now and then at The Wall Street Journal.

“It may make your blood boil. Your mind may not often be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship,” he said.

The speech was part of a busy weekend for the president. He planned to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner Saturday evening near the White House and visit the Gulf Coast on Sunday morning for a firsthand update on the massive oil spill.

Obama’s helicopter landed on a grass practice football field next to the stadium on a damp, overcast day. It was biggest crowd that the president had addressed since his inauguration.

The president’s appearance in Michigan — a battleground in the 2008 White House race that’s likely to play a big role in the fall congressional campaign — comes as the state struggles with the nation’s highest unemployment rate, 14.1 percent. It’s also has an unhappy electorate to match.

In the Republican’s weekly radio and Internet address, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich, said Obama’s visit was a chance “to show the president, firsthand, the painful plight of the people of Michigan.” Many of the graduates Obama addresses will soon learn how tough it is to find a job in this economy, Hoekstra said, adding that the share of young Americans out of work is the highest it’s been in more than 50 years.

Speaking before Obama was Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who’s known to be on his short list of possible Supreme Court nominees. She said Michigan residents owe him thanks for “delivering on health care reform” and “for supporting our auto industry. General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, they all have bright futures now, where a year ago, much darker clouds than these loomed overhead.”

Obama’s speech was the first of four he is giving this commencement season.

On May 9, he’ll speak at Hampton University, a historically black college in Hampton, Va., founded in 1868 on the grounds of a former plantation.

He’s also addressing Army cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on May 22, continuing a tradition of presidents addressing graduates at the service academies. He announced his Afghanistan troop surge at West Post last December.

Also this year, for the first time, Obama plans a high school commencement. It’s part of his “Race to the Top” education initiative, with its goal of boosting the United States’ lagging graduation rate to the world’s best by 2020.

High schools across the country have competed for the honor, submitting essays and videos. A vote on the White House website yielded three finalists, and Obama will choose among them next week.

Smith reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Kathy Barks Hoffman in Lansing and Corey Williams in Clarkston contributed to this report.

A Russian-Uzbek challenge to the US

[We must very near to "zero hour" in the great game.  (That is the point in the geo-strategic competition where the cost of continuing is higher than anything to be gained from any possible outcome, comparable to the so-called "point of no return" in an international airplane flight over water.)  Events have been changing so rapidly, beginning with the Taliban arrests, then events in Kyrgyzstan, Poland and Abkhazia, that we can say fairly confidently that some very big changes are in the works, or at least planned.  These changes are on the scale of the Russia/Georgian conflict of 2008.  If Putin hadn't then outmoved Brzezinski's raiders, we would be playing in a different game, even now.  Whatever happens next will take place very quickly, to deflect new SCO initiatives next month which could seriously complicate matters for Washington.]

A Russian-Uzbek challenge to the US

by M. K. Bhadrakumar *

An earlier article published by Voltaire Network, which analyzed the situation in Kyrgyzstan when it was still in turmoil, entertained the possibility that Washington might have had a hand in the events leading to the overthrow of its former lackey. As can be seen below, the Manas military base is clearly not the sole U.S. interest in Kyrgyzstan and developments show that while Washington is beaming at Roza Otunbayeva’s interim Government, Russia and other neighbouring countries are increasingly taking a much dimmer view.

JPEG - 28.5 kb
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Uzbek President Islam Karimov (C) meet to discuss the situation in Kyrgyzstan in Moscow’s Kremlin on April 20, 2010.

Reports have appeared in the Russian media doubting the pedigree of the revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Moscow seems to be edging away from the interim administration head, Roza Otunbayeva, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to London and Washington.

The reports hint at covert United States backing for the uprising in Bishkek. They claim a drug mafia incited the latest regime change in Bishkek with covert US support – “the geostrategic interests of the US and the international narco-mafia happily merged … It was only logical to use the services of narco-barons to overthrow [former president Kurmanbek] Bakiyev, who demanded from the US more and more payments for his loyalty”.

A Russian commentator told Ekho Moscow radio, “The revolution in Kyrgyzstan was organized by the drug business.” Kyrgyzstan is a hub of drug trafficking. The acreage of poppy cultivation in Kyrgyzstan has exponentially increased and is comparable today to Afghanistan.

There have been reports in the Russian (and Chinese) press linking the US base in Manas with drug barons. Iranian intelligence captured the Jundallah terrorist leader, Abdulmalik Rigi, when he was traveling in a Kyrgyz aircraft en route to an alleged rendez-vous in Manas.

The Russian media leaks enjoy some degree of official blessing. They highlight circumstantial evidence questioning the nature of the revolt in Bishkek. Meanwhile, the influential think-tank Stratfor has rushed the interpretation alleging a Russian hand. Between these claims and counter-claims, Moscow seems to be veering to the assessment that Washington has benefited from Otunbayeva’s political consolidation in Bishkek.

As a Russian commentator put it, “There are further indications that Moscow is cautious about the new Kyrgyz administration … The truth is that there are no 100% pro-Russian politicians in Kyrgyzstan’s interim government … and quite a few of them are definitely associated with the West.”

Indeed, Otunbayeva told the Washington Post and Newsweekthat the US lease on the Manas air base would be extended “automatically” and that “we will continue with such long-term relations” with the US.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Robert Blake said in Bishkek after two days of consultations with Otunbayeva that her leadership offered “a unique and historic opportunity to create a democracy that could be a model for Central Asia and the wide region”.

http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/jpg/roza2.jpg

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Kyrgyz interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva attend a news conference in Bishkek April 14, 2010. The United States said it was prepared to help Kyrgyzstan’s new rulers, putting pressure on ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who hinted he may go into exile.

Blake hailed the regime change in Bishkek as a “democratic transition” and promised US aid to “find quick ways to improve the economic and social situation”.

The sporadic attacks on ethnic Russians in Kyrgyzstan (estimated to number 700,000) have also set alarm bells ringing in Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the military to take necessary measures. A Kremlin spokesman said these would include increased security for “Russian interests” in Kyrgyzstan.

Moscow seems unsure whether the attacks on the Russians are isolated incidents. An overall slide toward anarchy is palpable with armed gangs taking the law into their hands and the clans in southern Kyrgyzstan rooting for Bakiyev’s reinstatement. At any rate, Medvedev manifestly changed tack on Tuesday after talks with visiting Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. He clearly distanced Russia from identifying with Otunbayeva’s interim government. Medvedev said:

Essentially, we need to revive the state, the state does not exist at this time, it has been deposed. We are hoping that the interim administration will make all the necessary measures to achieve that, as anarchy will have a negative effect on the interests of the Kyrgyz people and also their neighbors. Legitimization of the authorities is extremely important, which means there need to be elections, not a de facto fulfillment of powers. Only in this case can [Russia’s] economic cooperation be developed.

Russia has extended humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan, but full-fledged economic cooperation will be possible only after the proper institutions of power have been created. Uzbekistan’s president shares this view.”

The joint Russian-Uzbek stance challenged the interim government not to regard itself as a legally constituted administration, no matter Washington’s robust backing for it.

Clearly, Moscow and Tashkent are pushing Otunbayeva to not make any major policy decisions (such as over the US Manas base). She should instead focus on ordering fresh elections that form a newly elected government.

Otunbayeva had indicated her preference for far-reaching constitutional reforms to be worked out first that would transform Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary democracy from the current presidential system of government. Moscow sees this as a ploy by the interim government to postpone elections and cling onto power with US backing.

Meanwhile, Bakiyev, who fled to Kazakhstan last weekend, has since shifted to Belarus. It is unclear whether Minsk acted on its own to give asylum to Bakiyev. Soon after reaching Minsk, Bakiyev announced that he hadn’t yet resigned from office. “There is no power which will make me resign from the presidential post. Kyrgyzstan will not be anyone’s colony,” he said. Bakiyev called on world leaders not to recognize Otunbayeva’s government.

Bakiyev’s stance puts Washington in a bind. The US got along splendidly with Bakiyev and it is getting into stride equally splendidly with Otunbayeva. But it has no means of persuading Bakiyev to agree to a lawful, orderly transition of power to Otunbayeva.

Nor can Washington politically underwrite Otunbayeva’s government if its legitimacy is doubted in the region (and within Kyrgyzstan itself). Besides, Otunbayeva is not acquitting herself well in stemming the country’s slide toward clan struggle, fragmentation and anarchy.

During his two-day visit to Moscow, Karimov made it clear that Tashkent took a dim view of the regime change in Bishkek.

Using strong language, Karimov said, “There is a serious danger that what’s happening in Kyrgyzstan will take on a permanent character. The illusion is created that it’s easy to overthrow any lawfully elected government.” He warned that instability in Kyrgyzstan may “infect” other Central Asian states.

Russia and Uzbekistan have found it expedient to join hands. Medvedev stressed that his talks with Karimov in Moscow were “trusting and engaging with regard to all aspects of our bilateral relations, international and regional affairs”. Karimov reciprocated, “Uzbekistan sees Russia as a reliable, trusted partner, which shows that Russia plays a critical role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world, but in Central Asia in particular.”

“Our viewpoints coincided completely,” Karimov asserted. He added, “What is going on today in Kyrgyzstan is in nobody’s interests – and above all, it is not in the interests of countries bordering Kyrgyzstan.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also underscored the regional alignment. “Uzbekistan is the key country in Central Asia. We have special relations with Uzbekistan,” he said.

Conceivably, Russia and Uzbekistan will now expect the Kyrgyz developments to be brought onto the agenda of the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is scheduled to take place in Tashkent in June.

A semi-official Russian commentary said, “The summit may help to work out mechanisms to ensure security in the country and in the whole region.” The SCO secretary general (who is based in Beijing) visited Bishkek last week and met Otunbayeva.

Washington faces a potential diplomatic headache here. It needs to ensure the forthcoming SCO summit doesn’t becomes a replay of the 2005 summit, which questioned the raison d’etre of the American military presence in Central Asia.

If Washington forces the pace of the great game, a backlash may ensue, which could snowball into calls for the eviction of the US from the Manas base, as some influential sections of Kyrgyz opinion are already demanding.

If that were to happen, the big question would be whether Otunbayeva would be able to get the American chestnuts out of the fire. Hailing from the southern city of Osh but having lived her adult life in the capital, which is dominated by northern clans, she lacks a social or political base and is at a disadvantage.

The geopolitical reality is that Kyrgyzstan has to harmonize with the interests of the regional powers – Russia and Uzbekistan in particular – as should the US, in the larger interests of regional stability. The fact remains that Russian and Uzbek (and Kazakh) influence within Kyrgyz society and politics remains preponderant. And China too has legitimate interests.

The Kremlin will not fall into the same bear trap twice. In Georgia under somewhat similar circumstances the US took generous help from Russia in the stormy winter of 2003 to clear the debris of the “Rose” revolution and “stabilize” the ground situation before promptly installing Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been a thorn in the flesh for Moscow ever since.

 M. K. Bhadrakumar
Ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey

France implicated in Hariri murder case

France implicated in Hariri murder case

Mohammed Zuheir Siddiq, key witness in Hariri’s murder case
A witness who gave false testimony in the case of the murder of the former Lebanese premier says France had provided him with a forged passport to help him get away with perjury.

A report by the Volatairenet website said that France had provided Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq — the key witness in the case of Rafiq Hariri’s murder — with a forged passport to grant him immunity from prosecution.

The report came amid accusations by the US and Israel against Syria and Hezbollah, claiming that traces of their involvement were found in Hariri’s assassination in 2005.

According to the report, a UN probe committee headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis had relied on the testimony given by Siddiq, who claimed to be a former senior Syrian intelligence official.

In his testimony, Siddiq had accused the Syrian and Lebanese presidents of masterminding the murder. He also accused seven Syrian and four Lebanese generals of organizing the assassination.

After presenting his testimony, Siddiq took refuge in the Spanish property of Rifaat al-Assad, who is the pro-US uncle of incumbent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Siddiq was then offered support by the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE).

While being under the protection of DGSE, the French police department eavesdropped on his telephone calls and found out that Siddiq had lied to the tribunal tasked with probing Hariri’s murder case that he was a senior Syrian official.

It was later reported in Lebanese media that Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt had paid him to commit perjury.

In their defense, Hariri and Jumblatt denied paying for perjury, but admitted to having encouraged Siddiq to testify, believing he was sincere.

Siddiq was then arrested in France under an international arrest warrant issued by the Lebanese judiciary but was later released with Paris refusing to extradite him to Lebanon.

He was living in Paris for a while but later vanished into thin air in March 2008. The French government did not provide any explanation on the issue.

Siddiq was then traced in the UAE, where he was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison for carrying a forged Czech passport.

After being released from prison in the UAE, Siddiq told reporters that he received his passport from the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to escape Lebanese justice.

Hariri was Lebanon’s most prominent politician since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. He was killed in a massive truck bombing that set off a spiral of political turmoil in Lebanon.

US Military Escalates Its Dirty War In Afghanistan

US Military Escalates Its Dirty War In Afghanistan

…a secret area of a prison facility at Bagram Air Base is being used to subject detainees to beatings, sleep deprivation and psychological stress, as part of an interrogation regime

By James Cogan

Afghans protest killings by US troops
Afghan protesters shout anti-American slogans during a protest in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 12, 2010. International troops opened fire on a bus carrying Afghan civilians early Monday, killing four people and setting off anti-American protests in a southern city that is a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency. (Photo: AP)

The New York Times reported Sunday that American special forces units are operating in and around the Afghan city of Kandahar, assassinating or capturing alleged leaders and militants of the Taliban resistance ahead of the major US-NATO offensive scheduled for June.

Suggestive of the sinister and murderous character of such operations, the Times noted that the “opening salvos of the offensive are being carried out in the shadows”. It reported that “elite” units had been “picking up or picking off insurgent leaders” for the past several weeks.

A “senior American military officer” boasted that “large numbers of [the] insurgent leadership based in and around Kandahar have been captured or killed”, but that it was “still a contested battle space.”

The Times reported that “more than a dozen military and civilian officials directly involved in the Kandahar offensive” had agreed to speak about the special forces’ activities because it would help “scare off insurgents” before the bulk of American troops move into Taliban-held areas of the city. This claim is either patent nonsense or deliberate deception. The Taliban do not require an article in the American media to inform them that “large numbers” of their fighters are being killed or captured.

The real motive for the article is to introduce the audience of the New York Times and broader public opinion to the reality of the dirty war that the Obama administration is presiding over in Afghanistan. Assassination, or alternatively, detention without trial under the harshest conditions, is the preferred method of the US military to suppress resistance to the neo-colonial agenda of US imperialism.

The commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is applying the same tactics that he used during the Bush administration’s “surge” in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, when he was serving under General David Petraeus as the head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

A teacher from the area, Mohammed Sharif, told the New York Times, “People are fed up with these night raids and wilful operations. They are raiding houses during the night, killing innocent people. Sometimes they kill opposition people as well, but usually they are harming ordinary and innocent people.”

WSWS.org, Apr. 29, 2010

JSOC units are drawn from the Army’s Delta Force and Ranger battalions, the Navy Seals and specialized units of the Air Force. Regular Marine and Army battalions were used during the battles for Karbala, Najaf and Fallujah in 2004. The Iraq “surge” was marked by the use of JSOC, aided by local collaborators, to kill or capture suspected insurgents ahead of the deployment of larger formations into resistance-held areas.

The secretive mass killings and stories of brutal imprisonment generated terror in urban centers like Ramadi, Baqubah, Mosul, Basra, Amarah and the suburbs of Baghdad. It is credited by sections of the US military as playing an equally decisive role in subduing resistance as the parallel policy of bribing insurgents to cease fighting in exchange for amnesty and cash.

The coming assault on Kandahar is the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s plan to shatter the Afghan insurgency and finally impose American control over the country. Kandahar and the neighboring province of Helmand have been the main support bases of the Taliban movement since the mid-1990s. Large swathes of both provinces have remained under its influence since the US invasion in 2001. The majority of the predominantly ethnic Pashtun population is virulently opposed to the presence of foreign forces. They do not accept the authority of the thoroughly corrupt Afghan puppet government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

The bulk of the 30,000 additional troops ordered to Afghanistan this year by Obama are being deployed to either Kandahar or Helmand. Reflecting the views of the White House and the Pentagon, the New York Times referred to the coming operation as a “make-or-break offensive”.

Thousands of troops have been positioned to cut off the possibility of reinforcements to or escape from Kandahar. According to the Times’ sources, American units have established “several dozen” positions guarding the roads in and out of the city. A 12,000-strong US, British and Canadian force and 10,000 Afghan government soldiers will eventually be involved in the assault.

Before they are moved in, however, JSOC’s death squads have been unleashed.

An unnamed US official told the Los Angeles Times last month that a number of JSOC’s units had been transferred to Afghanistan under the Obama administration because “hunting season is over in Iraq”. According to the LA Times’ sources, JSOC currently has 5,800 personnel at its disposal in Afghanistan—double the number used during the Iraq surge. They are conducting assassination or snatch missions across the country, assisted by Special Forces units from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and some NATO states.

There is no concrete figure as to how many alleged insurgents have been assassinated in Kandahar or elsewhere in Afghanistan. JSOC operations take place under the cloak of total censorship. Nor does the US military provide any details as to the criteria used by JSOC to determine its choice of victims. It is not known, for example, if the killings are limited to armed combatants, or extends to anyone who provides political or material support to the insurgency. There is also no accountability as to how the identity of targets is verified, given that most operations take place in the dead of night, or over how many civilians are being killed or injured in the process.

There is a litany of recorded cases in which non-combatants were massacred during operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In the most recent example, raids last Friday and Saturday night on alleged Taliban in the eastern Afghan province of Logar resulted in the death of the local school principal and religious leader. The killing provoked an eruption of anger. A crowd of Afghans surrounded and set ablaze a column of 12 trucks carrying fuel to a nearby NATO base.

A teacher from the area, Mohammed Sharif, told the New York Times, “People are fed up with these night raids and wilful operations. They are raiding houses during the night, killing innocent people. Sometimes they kill opposition people as well, but usually they are harming ordinary and innocent people.”

Alleged insurgents who are detained disappear into various US and Afghan government-run prisons. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported on April 15 that a secret area of a prison facility at Bagram Air Base is being used to subject detainees to beatings, sleep deprivation and psychological stress, as part of an interrogation regime. The allegations were based on interviews or signed statements by nine former inmates. The charges were predictably denied by the US military.

JSOC also works closely with the CIA’s “Special Activities Division”, which is particularly involved in the assassination of alleged Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militants in the remote tribal agencies of North West Pakistan. The main method currently used for the killings is Hellfire missiles launched from remotely flown Predator drones. According to the Pakistani military, such strikes have slaughtered well over 700 innocent civilians since Obama took office, fueling support in the border region for the anti-occupation insurgency. On the weekend, two more Predator attacks were carried out in the agency of North Waziristan, killing at least 12 people.

An article in Monday’s New York Times detailed the latest innovations of the CIA to carry out its remote-controlled assassinations. They include the coffee-cup-sized, 35-pound “Small Smart Weapon” that can be “fitted with four different guidance systems that allow it to home in on targets as small as a single person in complete darkness” and a “small thermobaric warhead, which detonates a cocktail of explosive powders on impact to create a pressure wave that kills humans but leaves structures relatively intact”.

Justified in 2001 as a “war on terrorism”, the Afghan occupation has always been an attempt to impose US dominance over a strategic area of Central Asia. The only change in the conduct of the war from the Bush to the Obama White Houses has been the escalation of the number of troops involved and the greater use of a secretive apparatus of assassins to carry out the murderous repression of the Afghan people.

Revenge Rapes In Northern Afghanistan

“In My Father’s House They Gathered All the Women into One Room”

Visiting the victims of Afghanistan’s revenge rapes.

BY ANNA BADKHEN

Balkh

Kampirak, Amir Jan, and Qulyambo

O, daughters of Balkh! Your unrivaled beauty is the stuff of legends. One of your own has enchanted Alexander the Great with her pulchritude. And the violence you have suffered under the breast-shaped clay roofs of your Baktrian homes is unspeakable, unspoken, and unpunished.

In late 2001, after helping kick the Taliban out of northern Afghanistan, two militias allied with the United States raped and plundered their way through your villages. One was the ethnic Uzbek militia of General Abdul Rashid Dostum; the other was made up of ethnic Hazara followers of the warlord Muhammad Mohaqiq. They killed your men, slaughtered and stole your livestock, pillaged your homes, and violated your sisters, mothers, and daughters. Some of them took the time to explain why they had picked you as their victims: Because you are Pashtun, the ethnic group that made up most of the Taliban.

They were victorious; they were in the mood to avenge the rapes and massacres Taliban fighters had committed against their own wives, sisters and daughters. In the evolution of warfare, swords replaced javelins and guns replaced swords — but rape has remained just as efficient a weapon as it was when the Achaemenid armies lay waste to this land, 2,600 years ago. You, daughters of Balkh, were the latest targets of the latest revenge cycle that swept through your country. Wheat in your fields has shuddered at the anguished screams of generations of your foremothers.

Eight years ago, four Pashtun women told me of their assailants, three fighters from Dostum’s militia, Junbish-e-Milli-e-Islami who took turn raping them all night. Technically, only one of them, Nazu, was a woman; her daughters were 10, 12, and 14. The youngest, Bibi Amina, was playing with the fringe of the giant red scarf that covered her head and smiling. It seemed to me that she had not understood what had been done to her. The local police chief, an ethnic Tajik, said at the time that his men were too few, and too poorly armed, to hunt down the assailants. He was waiting for reinforcements.

Years passed; the militiamen who ravaged the Pashtun villages in Balkh remained free. Their warlords became government ministers; their lower-ranking commanders received posts in parliament; many of the rank-and-file fighters joined the police and thearmy. Their victims stopped talking about the crimes they had endured: Rape in Afghanistan carries a mark of unutterable disgrace.

Under their breast-shaped roofs – perfect hemispheres that face the limpid clay sky and virescent fields of wheat — the women grieve quietly, and alone. They knead their tragedies into the golden sundials of nan they bake in smoky tandoor ovens in their impoverished courtyards; they weave them into the oil-black braids of their young, beautiful daughters; they immure them into the crumbling house walls they mend with fistfuls of straw and mud. When they do speak of those terrible days after the Taliban fell, they equivocate.

“They touched all the women and the teenage girls,” one widow, whose cheeks and forehead are dotted with deep-blue marks of tribal tattoos, whispers to me in the corner of her dust-choked house.

“They dragged us out of our homes. Women and girls are ashamed to talk about what happened then,” says another, modestly covering her face with a tatteredscarf the color of ripe wheat.

In my father’s house they gathered all the women in one room,” says the third. Her amber eyes bore through me. “We will never forgive these crimes. Until we die.”

Last month, the Afghan government confirmed that it had signed into force the National Stability and Reconciliation Law — and what a tragic misnomer that is. The law effectively amnesties all warlords and fighters responsible for large-scale human rights abuses in the preceding decades. “Their view,” says Farid Mutaqi, a human rights worker in Mazar-e-Sharif, “is that justice should be the victim of peace.”

You know what this means, daughters of Balkh: This means your rapes will never be punished. Perhaps, in some future iteration of war that has been rolling back and forth through these green wheat fields almost incessantly for millennia, they will be avenged — through some other rapes, of some other women.

“Panjshiri Mafia,” Afghanistan’s Massoud Legacy

[The foreign impediment to democratic government in Afghanistan.]

Panjshiris loom over Loya Jirga

Edward Girardet

The real issue at hand is that the Panjshiris fail to see the need to share their power with anyone else. They perceive themselves as the country’s natural born leaders, gained by their ability to resist both the Soviets and the Taleban, with an undisputed right to represent Afghanistan, largely to the detriment of other tribal or ethnic groups

The powerful Panjshiris are seeking to impose their dominance at the Loya Jirga, but they risk losing everything unless they make a greater effort to support a truly broad-based Afghan administration.

The 70-mile-long Panjshir valley remains littered with military wreckage from the Soviet occupation of the1980s when the Red Army repeatedly tried — and failed — to quash the region’s armed resistance led by guerrilla leader Ahmed Shah Massoud.

The Northern Alliance commander — who was assassinated last September 9, two days prior to the Al Qaeda attacks in the US, by suspected members of the militant Islamic group and now lies buried on a hill overlooking
the Panjshir River — also represented the main opposition to the Taleban.

As with the Soviets, Massoud succeeded in preventing them from taking the Panjshir — and thus acquiring direct access to the north-east of the country — as part of their strategy to control the entire country.
Over a dozen years after Moscow’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the symbolism of the shattered Red Army tanks and armoured personnel carriers lying by the roadside or half-submerged in the river as it churns its way down from the snow-capped Hindu Kush mountains is more than one of victory over a 20th century Super Power. It is one of resilience, obstinacy, and, increasingly, arrogance. And it is this arrogance that is causing one of the greatest problems for Afghanistan today.

Representing a population of less than 300,000 both inside and outside the valley, the Panjshiris are asserting a disproportionate and often heavy-handed control over Kabul. The Panjshiris currently control three key ministries — defense, interior, and foreign affairs — and are now seeking to impose their dominance at the Loya Jirga.

They are doing this through a combination of bribes and intimidation, including physical threats, of the delegates, who, for the first time, seem to represent the Afghan grassroots over the interests of the warlords.

The real issue at hand is that the Panjshiris fail to see the need to share their power with anyone else. They perceive themselves as the country’s natural born leaders, gained by their ability to resist both the Soviets and the Taleban, with an undisputed right to represent Afghanistan, largely to the detriment of other tribal or ethnic groups.
Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who was appointed head of the Northern Alliance following Massoud’s death, recently maintained that the Panjshiris had assumed control in Kabul because there was no one else proficient enough to run the key ministries.

While claiming to support any government named by the Loya Jirga, he also said that he would not relinquish control until peace and security were “fully restored” and “acceptable”. To do so otherwise, he maintained, would be “irresponsible”.

Another problem is that, since Massoud’s death, there is no single leader amongst the Panjshiris capable of making decisions as a group. As a result, each faction, whether headed by Fahim or Interior Minister Yunus Qanuni, is doing its utmost to retain power.

This is compounded by the lack of any clearly stated policy by the United States. “The message that needs to be communicated is that the Americans will not tolerate any form of government that does not fully represent a broad-based consensus,” said one senior UN official.

The US is regarded as the only power in the position to assert firm influence over the Panjshiris. In addition, he maintained, the international donors need to impose conditional aid based on how the country’s leadership perform over the next 18 months.

During the Soviet-Afghan war, Massoud and his men, primarily Panjshiris but also other northern Tajiks, represented one of Afghanistan’s most effective fighting forces. They were revered by Afghans throughout much of the country, and became the favourites of many journalists and aid workers.

I first came across Massoud in the summer of 1981. I had trekked several hundred miles by foot across north-eastern Afghanistan to report on this “extraordinary” guerrilla commander, an Afghan “Che Guevera” who was not only good at fighting but also cared for the civilian population.
As the Soviet war dragged on, Massoud’s reputation grew. I met with him on various occasions throughout the 1980s and 1990s. There was no doubt that he was an impressive man with strong leadership qualities coupled with a vision for an independent and moderate Afghanistan uniting all ethnic and tribal groups.

Not only did he succeed in leading his valley against the Soviet empire, but he later developed his Shura-e-Nezar (Supervisory Council of the North — soon to be labelled the Northern Alliance) into the only force capable of staving off the Taleban.

And the Panjshiris knew it. With Massoud their hero, they walked tall wherever they went, instantly recognisable by their longish hair, camouflaged uniforms and woollen Chitrali caps. When the Soviets finally left in February 1989 and the communist regime in Kabul fell more than two years later, the Panjshiris were among the first to enter the capital.
They immediately began to dominate the city by packing the government with their own people, competent or not. Corruption abounded and their disdain for other ethnic groups, particularly the Pashtuns, became more pronounced. Massoud’s insistence on holding the capital in 1994 during the bitter factional fighting with other former mujahed fronts, such as Guldbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami, resulted in the destruction of much of the city and the loss of over 50,000 lives. His forces also brutally put down Hazara opposition to his authority.

As a politician, Massoud failed badly. He had genuinely sought to bring together Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and tribal groups as part of a new government of unity, but there was too much distrust and the Pashtuns considered him too powerful. By the time the Taleban took control in 1996, Massoud and his Panjshiris — once the heroes of the Jihad — had become overwhelmingly unpopular both in Kabul and many other parts of the country.

Massoud was fully aware of his shortcomings. He was also informed of the abuses committed by his Panjshiri supporters. Prior to his assassination, Massoud warned his commanders to never again commit the mistakes of the early 1990s. This was reiterated during the Bonn talks in December 2001. The only way for a new government to succeed, he had stressed, was through equitable power sharing among all groups.

The reality today, however, is far different. Since re-taking Kabul last November, the Panjshiris have once again sought to control as much as possible. Known as the “Panjshiri Mafia”, they immediately took the main ministries and are now involved in mafia-style rackets ranging from imposing their own taxi cartels to beating up competitive Pashtun merchants.

For a faction that claims to represent Afghanistan as a whole, the Panjshiris have promoted Massoud’s image to one of almost mythical proportions. His portrait appears in virtually every shop, tea house and mosque in Kabul and the northern areas. It is also featured in every police or army facility. All of this does not go down well with Afghans, particularly Pashtuns, who do not regard Massoud as their leader.
“If the Panjshiris were really interested in projecting a unified image, they should include other heroes such as Abdul Haq,” said Anders Fange, a senior UN official with many years experience in Afghanistan, referring to the renowned Pashtun resistance commander who was killed by the Taleban in eastern Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001.

Perhaps most critical of all, the Panjshiris run the Amniyat, the National Security Directorate, or secret police, which, as with the Soviet-backed KHAD of the 1980s, is much feared and largely run by armed thugs. In a move that may totally torpedo the credibility of the Loya Jirga, UN special representative Lakhdar Brahimi and the assembly commission made a last minute decision on Sunday to grant the Amniyat full access to the proceedings.

This unexpected move came despite warnings by various advisors, including senior UN, aid agency and peacekeeping representatives, to keep the Amniyat out. According to one UN official, who requested anonymity, the secret police can now be expected to step up its pressure in favour of the Panjshiris, whose current support within the Loya Jirga, UN estimates believe, stands at barely 20 per cent.

Regardless what happens at the Loya Jirga, the Panjshiris are clearly determined to hold on to their influence. But their arrogance may also prove to be their downfall. Unless they make a greater effort to support a truly broad-based Afghan administration, they risk losing everything.
They may end up with another war on their hands, but this time as an unpopular minority faction with no international sympathy or support.

Geneva-based Edward Girardet is director of Media Action International and editor of the Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan. He is currently writing a book on 23 years of reporting the wars in Afghanistan

Documentation of Links Between Altaf Hassain, Ahmed Shah Massoud and India

[Here are a couple of old Frontier Post clippings that confirm the main thesis I developed in my investigative series on the origin of the "Pakistani Taliban (ttp)" : US/Pakistan Showdown/Throwdown July12Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan PsyopThe American War on WanaWaging War Upon Ourselves ; Image of the Beast ]

Masoud joins hands with India

The Frontier Post, July 1, 1999By AIMAL KHAN PESHAWAR – In the wake of mounting tension at the Line of Control (LoC), India has stepped up its secret contacts with former defence minister of Afghanistan and arch rival of ruling Taliban militia Ahmad Shah Masoud. The process of secret consultations between Indian officials and Masoud has significantly increased in the past few weeks. According to credible Afghan sources, unprecedented warmth was witnessed in relations between India and Masoud during the month of June which also saw increased exchange of visits between the two sides. India has traditionally been supporting Afghanistan’s opposition Northern Alliance ever since the rise of Taliban. The sources said Masoud sent his nephew, Wadood, along with his close aide Dr Mehdi on a secret mission to New Delhi in early June with an undisclosed agenda. However, it was believed that the Tajik commander wanted to capitalise on the on-going tension along the LoC between India and Pakistan by getting New Delhi’s backing for his summer offensive. India has frequently accused Afghanistan’s Taliban fighters of having joined the ranks of Kashmiri Mujahideen in the on-going conflict in Kargil and Drass regions of Kashmir. The most intriguing aspect of the on-going secret contacts between Masoud and India is that the latter is asking the Tajik warlord to hand it over some of those Pakistani and Taliban prisoners, who were in his custody so that later on New Delhi could produce them before international media as “captured Pakistani intruders” from Kargil region, added the sources. Similarly, a high level Indian delegation, led by a former Indian ambassador to Afghanistan R. A Qureshi and comprising among others Indian ambassador to Tajikistan, visited Masoud’s stronghold in Panjsher valley and held a detailed meeting with him. Interestingly, in one such meeting between the Indian officials and leaders of Afghan opposition, held at Farkhar in Takhar province three weeks ago, a high ranking official from a neighbouring Muslim country also participated, added the source. India, the sources added, assured Masoud of its all out support to his summer military offensive against Taliban. In the background of Pakistan’s increased engagement in Kashmir, Masoud is considering it an appropriate time to launch an attack on the Taliban’s positions in Kundooz and northern Kabul. Masoud was asked by the Indians to utilise his network for sabotage activities in Pakistan and to create law and order situation, the sources disclosed. According to Afghan observers, the recent rocket and missile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad and the heavy explosions in the Afghan capital were seen as an attempt by the opposition to win the support from its Indian master by displaying its might and capability.

Ahmad Shah Masoud provides shelter to most wanted terrorists

The Frontier Post, April 16, 1999

PESHAWAR – Some of the most wanted terrorist, belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), have taken refuge with the Tajik warlord Ahmad Shah Masoud in northern Afghanistan, it has been learnt on good authority.

It is instructive to point out here that many MQM hard-core activists, wanted by the law-enforcing agencies for their alleged involvement in heinous crimes, have gone either underground or left the country so as to escape the crackdown in urban Sindh.

According to reliable Afghan sources, some alleged terrorists belonging to the MQM have been spotted at Jabul-i-Siraj, and some other areas under the control of anti-Taliban northern alliance in recent weeks.

To provide a safe heaven for their party activists in Afghanistan, key MQM leaders met the opposition ambassador Wali Masoud, who is also a brother of Ahmad Shah Masoud, in London some time back, confided the sources.

Following these high-level contacts between the MQM leaders and Masoud’s representatives, workers of the Karachi-based ethnic group were provided shelter in Parwan and Takhar provinces, currently under the control of Masoud.

Most of the MQM activists crossed into Afghanistan via a neighbouring Muslim country, added these sources.

Majority of them used Quetta as base camp for their onward journey to Afghanistan, while few of them proceeded via Peshawar.

The exact number and names of these MQM activists, taking asylum in Masoud-controlled areas, however, is still not known but travelers coming from these areas confirmed the presence of these terrorists in Jabul-i-Siraj. The presence of MQM activists in the areas, controlled by the anti-Taliban opposition, has added a new dimension to the Pakistani internal politics.

Ahmed Massoud, the Afghan Who Sold-Out To Every Side, Lionized By Western Press

[Ahmed Shah Massoud was the American "wild card," who took pay-offs from every side, while cutting a secret deal with the Russians, allowing them to concentrate their firepower on Massoud's enemies, the Pashtuns.  These American buy-offs of both Massoud and Hekmatyar mean that the US was funding both sides after the Russians left, in effect underwriting the seige and ruthless bombardment of Kabul, which followed.  This pattern, of underwriting of both factions in every struggle continued to provide the script for the ongoing fake wars, especially the drama in Pakistan.  Duplicity is the key to the war of terror.]

The Afghan Who Wouldn’t Fight

Bruce G. Richardson

“Massoud sometimes used to stage sham skirmishes with the Russians to put off chances of suspicions about his activities among other Mujahideen groups”

Massoud+Hekmatyar+Pak-Arab Masters
Massoud (2nd from left) signing agreement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most wanted criminal in Afghanistan, in presence of their Pakistani and Arab masters.

In 1983, when Massoud stopped fighting, the Central Intelligence Agency came to the disturbing conclusion that he had cut a deal with the Soviets. What made this particularly worrisome was that it was not the first time.

In 1981 and again in 1982, Massoud had stopped fighting, in exchange for Soviet offers of food, money and guarantees that the Red Army would leave his villages alone. This is an argument routinely enlisted by Massoud supporters to justify his war record. To carry that argument to its logical conclusion, we see that such actions prolonged the war by allowing 40th Army troops to be relieved of duty in the Panjshir and free to kill Afghans elsewhere, not to mention to facilitate the free-flow of war materiel to Soviet military units. For the entire occupational decade, Massoud remained in the service of his Russian patrons.

At that time, the Agency reckoned that there were about three hundred serious commanders in action against the Soviets. The critical factor of terrain made Massoud indispensable. His Panjshir Valley redoubt lies close to the capital and airfields where the 40th Army were based. The Soviets also realized the strategic importance of securing their vulnerable lines of supply and communication along the precipitous Salang Highway that threaded its way through the imposing Hindu Kush massive from Hairatan to Kabul. Indeed, of such importance was this safety net for the prosecution of war, 40th Army commander General Boris Gromov noted that, “Massoud could convert the area into a graveyard for the Russian troops by only throwing rocks had he chosen to do so. We simply could not survive without keeping this area open.”

The CIA realized early on that geographically, Panjshir was the key. In 1983, the Central Intelligence Agency dispatched Gust Avrakotos, acting chief of the South Asia Operation Group to London, acknowledging MI6’s intimate connection to Massoud and to find out why Massoud had once again stopped fighting. At this time, U.S. law prohibited government officials from traveling to Afghanistan. The CIA could not, therefore, contact Massoud directly. British SAS commandoes, however, had no such impediments and made frequent trips to Panjshir.

…US kept Massoud and his resistance at arm’s length, perhaps because they were receiving weapons from Iran, with logistical aid from Russia and the Central Asian republics. According to a Human Rights Watch report on the regional weapons trade, one Iranian shipment seized in Kyrgyzstan in 1998 contained ammunition for T-55 and T-62 tanks, antitank mines, 122mm towed howitzers and ammunition, 122mm rockets for Grad multiple launch systems, 120mm mortar shells, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and small arms ammunition.

Paul Wolf, GlobalResearch.ca, September 14, 2003

According to Avrakotos, MI6 representatives related that Massoud complained of “receiving a disproportionate share of military hardware through the Pakistani ISI conduit,” a supply system heretofore agreed upon by both the ISI and CIA, and that is why he stopped fighting. MI6 also claimed to have set up an arms pipeline for Massoud independent of the ISI. CIA Station Chief, Howard Hart, was deeply suspicious, even angered by Massoud’s refusal to attack Soviet convoys on the Salang highway. He passed on his doubts to Langely. It was also of concern to the Agency that Massoud employed Soviet airborne commandos as his personal bodyguards. According to A.Fedotov, former CPSU and currently chief of the Ukrainian successor agency to the KGB, the SBU, the names of two bodyguards have been revealed, Islamutdin and Isometdin respectively.

However, Brigadier Muhammad Yousaf, who alone was in charge of weapons distribution to the Afghan resistance and renowned author of the “Bear Trap” challenges Massoud’s position. He states that Hekmatyar and Massoud each received equal arms shipments of 19-20% from the U.S. funded, ISI pipeline in spite of the fact that ISI chief General Akhtar harbored the deepest suspicions about Massoud.

Akhtar profoundly resented the gushing publicity about “this Afghan who wouldn’t fight.” He also knew that MI6 agents masquerading as journalists were part of Massoud’s propaganda machine. As a case in point, British author Sandy Gall, allows that MI6s requested that he embark on a mission to Panjshir to produce a TV documentary that would show Massoud as a guerrilla chief possessed of military and tactical genius. Gromov would later write in his memoir “Limited Contingent” that “Massoud sometimes used to stage sham skirmishes with the Russians to put off chances of suspicions about his activities among other Mujahideen groups.” A fact corroborated by the head of First Department KGB, Leonid Shebarshin, in his account of the Soviet/Afghan War, “The Hand of Moscow.” Shebarshin characterized the fabled Panjshir offensives as fiction.

A series of clandestine CIA teams carrying electronic intercept equipment and relatively small amounts of cash — up to $250,000 per visit — began to visit Massoud in the Panjshir Valley. The first formal group, code-named NALT-1, flew on one of Massoud’s helicopters from Dushanbe to the Panjshir Valley late in 1997.

The Washington Post, February 23, 2004

In 1984, CIA agent Gust Avrakotos, known amongst his colleagues at the Agency as “Dr. Dirty”, due to his clandestine activity around the globe, flew to Peshawar in disguise to meet with Massoud’s brother behind Deans Hotel. At this meeting, Avrakotos stated that the CIA would establish a Swiss bank account for Ahmad Shah, and that a circuitous arms pipeline that would circumvent the established ISI route would also be established.The question that cries out for explanation is.why? Both MI6 and CIA were under no illusions about Massoud’s contractual obligations to the Russians. What could possibly motivate two governments engaged in covert anti-Soviet operations to ignore wholesale collaboration by a major recipient of their military and economical aid?

Though seemingly illogical, could it be possible that the British were still to this day actively seeking revenge over the humiliation suffered in the nineteenth century at the hands of the Pashtun tribes? As difficult as this may be to comprehend, 19th century Afghanistan history has amply demonstrated this phobia and the retributive foreign policy trait from Whitehall. From the American perspective, one could argue that Washington did not seek a military victory in Afghanistan, indeed, Agency insiders have not only talked disparagingly about Pashtuns but have also said they would not be overly concerned if the “Afghans went on killing one another.” In their cold and calculating worldview, this would diminish the chance of a “fundamentalist government” from emerging in an anticipated leadership vacuum following a cessation of hostilities. This hypothesis is currently supported by Bush administration bellicosity towards the Pashtuns. During the initial days of the U.S. invasion the CIA attempted to render the Pashtuns statistically insignificant with the publication of fabricated census reports. With Massoud at the reins of power, the U.S. reasoned, a pro-Western government would emerge. But on the question of credibility, the transparency of Massoud’s so-called pro-Western orientation became clear. See newly released “Through Our Enemies Eyes.””Massoud misled the media and Western politicians about his radical anti-Western views, his intimate relationship with the Russians, as well as his misogynistic orientation for over twenty years.”

Massoud joints hands with the Russian puppets

Massoud with criminal Parchami Generals
Ahmad Shah Massoud, Qasim Fahim and other commanders of Shura-e-Nezar with Parchami (Russian puppets regime) army generals Nabi Azimi, Noor-ul-Haq Ulomi, Asif Delawar and others.

In recognition of promiscuous Swiss bank accounts and cash distributions provided by the CIA and other intelligence agencies to combatants in a time of war has led international jurists to seek an amendment to the Geneva Conventions. The distribution, such as provided Massoud by CIA and MI6, reportedly in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars belongs to the Afghan people and was never earmarked for Massoud’s personal expenditures. Also, there is the concern that such an amorphous cash distribution to combatants in order to secure an outcome during hostilities must be perceived as “interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.” An eventuality currently codified and considered a violation of international law under the Convention.

The proposed amendment would stipulate full financial disclosure and accountability of covert and overt funds from a government entity to combatants. The original Swiss account established in 1984, for Ahmad Shah Massoud, is at the core of an ongoing rift between Fahim and Massoud’s surviving brothers. Fahim claims the funds are the property of Shura-i-Nizar, while the Massouds steadfastly maintain that the money is for the sole discretion of the Massoud family to utilize as they see fit.

The current power base in Afghanistan, notably that of Ishmael Khan, Muhammad Fahim, Rashid Dostum and Burhanuddin Rabbani, have individual net worth in the hundreds of millions. In addition, each enjoys a lavish lifestyle, complete with well armed militias, the finest of automobiles, the finest in cuisine, sumptuous palaces in which to live, heated swimming pools, while the Afghan people, people they claim to represent are starving, lack potable water and shelter and or access to the most rudimentary educational opportunities and basic medical services.

It is to this terrible injustice, created by the intelligence services of Russia, the U.S., Iran, Great Britain and others that our esteemed jurists are dedicated to prevent in the future. It is a mockery of justice and an insult to ones intelligence to suggest that somehow the monsters bosses of the Northern Alliance hold legal title to these enormous sums, as if somehow they were gained through lawful endeavors. There is, however, hope, it is the fervent hope of the body of distinguished jurists that the enormous sums of ill-gained money now in the hands of those who are collectively known as the “warlords” can be foreclosed upon and returned to benefit Afghanistan and the people as a whole. World-class sociologists have stated unequivocally that closure from the horrors of war will not take place unless and until these predators are de-fanged.

Unfortunately for Afghanistan, at present the warlords are subsidized clients of Russia, the U.S., Iran, Great Britain and others.

“The CIA had pumped cash stipends as high as $200,000 a month to Massoud and his Islamic guerrilla organization, along with weapons and other supplies. Between 1989 and 1991, Schroen had personally delivered some of the cash. But the aid stopped in December 1991.”

“Ghost Wars”, by Steve Coll

When advised by recent travelers to Kabul of a route that threads its way out to the airport and renamed in Massoud’s honor, or of the larger-than-life posters of his image that litter the cityscape, protected by strong-arm thugs, one is reminded that while in the service of the 40th Army, Ahmad Shah Massoud was unmoved by a series of intelligence reports that concluded that the Soviets were laying waste to a huge strip of land between the Pakistani border and their major garrisons and cities in Afghanistan. Villages were being bombed, irrigation canals destroyed, livestock slaughtered, crops burned, and civilians murdered, tortured and forced to flee the country. The Russian war machine had embarked on a scorched-earth policy. This will be Massoud’s lasting historical legacy.

Justice perverted, Massoud’s inner circle survives today, thanks to American airpower and diplomatic cover. In a cruel twist of irony, the war criminals and collaborators who were complicit in Massoud’s extra-curricula activities, and those who sold out the Afghan people for rubles and dollars, now represent the current power structure in Afghanistan. In order to legitimize their hold on power, the “Panjshiri Mafia” has elevated the persona of Ahmad Shah Massoud to national hero status. While the world sleeps, anesthetized from the horrors of 25 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan by an uninformed press in tandem with Massoud’s propaganda machine, the remnants of Massoud’s criminal enterprises now seek absolution from their crimes against humanity by attaching themselves to their manufactured saint. Responsibility for this miscarriage, however, must also be borne by their patrons.Russia, the U.S., Iran, Britain and others who routinely employ criminals in order to secure a government or cause amenable to their dictate.

Note: In addition to publications enumerated in the text also see “Charley Wilson’s War” by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, N.Y., 2003

“Al Qaida” Assassins Disguised as Newsmen, the Gambit That Killed Ahmed Shah Massoud

[SEE: The Afghan Who Wouldn't Fight]

Al Qaida believed planning to disguise assassins as newsmen

Special From Geostrategy-Direct.comABU DHABI — Saudi Arabia has warned that Al Qaida was using journalists as a cover for operations

Days before September 11, Taliban used operatives disguised as journalists to assassinate Afghan rebel commander Ahmed Shah Massoud. AP/Hasan Jamali


The Saudi Interior Ministry said Al Qaida operatives were believed to have been disguised as television journalists and cameramen. The ministry said Al Qaida was stuffing TV cameras with explosives to assassinate senior officials and visiting leaders.

“All measures have been taken to prevent their objectives,” Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al Turki said.

On April 11, the ministry issued a warning of an Al Qaida attack in Saudi Arabia. Al Turki said the alert would result in greater security procedures during photo opportunities with visiting officials and delegations.   Al Turki urged Saudi and other journalists to carry official credentials. He said Al Qaida could exploit a journalist with a booby-trapped camera.

In 2001, Taliban used operatives disguised as journalists to assassinate Afghan rebel commander Ahmed Shah Massoud. Several days later, Al Qaida conducted the air suicide strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

The Saudi Information Ministry has confirmed the Al Qaida threat. The ministry called on editors and reporters to always carry their official press cards during work.

“This step is aimed at preventing attempts by terrorists to disguise as journalists to carry out terrorist attacks,” the Information Ministry said

Anti-state forces behind Balochistan violence: PPP

[SEE: The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army]

Anti-state forces behind Balochistan violence: PPP

By Saleem Shahid
The meeting condemned the target killing and acid attacks on women and appealed to political parities and common people to raise their voice against such cruelties. — Photo by APP

QUETTA: President of the Balochistan chapter of Pakistan People’s Party Senator Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani has called upon the PPP leaders and workers to play their role in overcoming the problems arising out of the targeted killing of innocent people.

Addressing a meeting of provincial office-bearers of his party on Friday, he said that some international forces were involved in criminal activities to create law and order problems in the province.

He said the hidden hands wanted to spark ethnic violence in Balochistan. He said the elements running the so-called human rights movement were following an agenda of hatred and violence.

Mr Raisani said that targeted killings of teachers, women and other innocent people would turn the future of the Baloch youth dark.

He said that people should beware of the conspiracy being hatched to pit the Baloch and the Pakhtun against each other.

Mr Raisani said that anti-state elements which destroyed peace in Fata and Swat were now committing heinous crimes in Balochistan.

He condemned the target killing of Prof Nazima Talib and termed her assassination a violation of Baloch and Pakhtun traditions.

He said that it was the PPP government which had given the gift to the nation adopting 18th Constitutional Amendment and provincial autonomy.

He said that incidents of acid throwing on women in Dalbandin and Kalat were damaging interests of the Baloch people.

The meeting condemned the target killing and acid attacks on women and appealed to political parities and common people to raise their voice against such cruelties.

The participants of the meeting determined to support the policies of the PPP leadership.

Oil, gas Cos warned to quit Balochistan

Oil, gas Cos warned to quit Balochistan

QUETTA – Lashkar-e-Balochistan, an armed Baloch militant organisation, has warned different companies working in Balochistan for oil and gas exploration to quit the province or face dire consequences.
The warning was given through a pamphlet dropped at the Khuzdar Press Club. The organisation said in the pamphlet said that looting of Baloch resources won’t be tolerated any more.
According to the pamphlet, Bolan Mining Company and other firms, working on Chamalang, Reko Diq and Saindak projects, were playing a crucial role in looting the provincial resources.
It said that under the pretext of exploration of oil and gas, personnel of intelligence agencies have started a survey of Baloch areas. +ACI-Oil and gas companies are warned that they should quit Balochistan otherwise they should get ready for dire consequences,+ACI- it added.

Russian Bombers Target Sporting Events

Bomb explodes at Russian racetrack, wounding 15

By SERGEI VENYAVSKY

A homemade bomb exploded at a racetrack in southern Russia on Saturday, wounding 15 people, rescue workers said. No one was reported killed.

Emergency Situations Ministry duty officer Marat Prokopenkov said the bomb exploded near a VIP box during a horse race in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, one of the predominantly Muslim republics in Russia’s restive North Caucasus.

No one immediately claimed responsible for Saturday’s bombing, which occurred as Russia celebrated May Day.

In the neighboring republic of Ingushetia, a man was shot dead by policemen after opening fire at a sports complex, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Madina Khadziyeva said.

The man opened fire after policemen began to search him at the entrance to the sports complex in the city of Nazran, where the Ingush leader and other officials were attending a national judo competition, the spokeswoman said.

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the Ingush president, barely survived an assassination attempt last year.

The identity of the dead gunman was not immediately clear, Khadziyeva said.

The region regularly experiences attacks carried out by Islamic militants or criminal groups.

US root of global terror: Ahmadinejad

US root of global terror: Ahmadinejad

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he has ‘documented evidence’ that Washington and Israel are linked to leading terrorist organizations in the world.

“We have documents that prove [Washington] is the root of world terrorism. It has been aiding and abetting extremist groups over the past years,” said President Ahmadinejad in a Saturday ceremony marking World Labor Day.

He added the commotion caused by the US in some parts of the world shows in fact that US officials are up to no good in that exact location and should be held responsible.

Dem. Sen. Bill Nelson to Obama, “We’re just not going to let you (drill).”

A boat with an oil boom tries to contain oil spilled from the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

An oil boom-equipped boat tries to contain oil from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig on Friday.

Photograph by Gerald Herbert, AP

[SEE:  Calamity nears as oil slick reaches US coast]

Florida senator wants plans for drilling halted

Sen. Bill Nelson says the oil rig disaster changed his mind.

more about “US oil spill“, posted with vodpod

FERNANDINA BEACH – As sheens of spilled oil drifted in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Friday that President Barack Obama should drop plans for expanded oil exploration off Florida’s coast.

“I’ve said to the White House, ‘Don’t you dare think about your five-year plans [for offshore oil leases] … We’re just not going to let you,’ ” the Florida Democrat said hours after visiting Pensacola and checking preparations for a potential oil landfall.

Obama proposed expanded oil drilling in the Gulf and preparations for oil and gas exploration along the South Atlantic in March. The Interior Department has been collecting public comments on plans that would be implemented in five year-phases, holding a hearing in Jacksonville last month.

Coastlines in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi are all at risk from the spill that began reaching Louisiana Friday. That oil is flowing from a deep-sea rig near Louisiana that exploded last week and collapsed.

The spill could begin reaching the Panhandle Monday, Nelson said.

People bracing for that moment seemed panicked and not fully prepared, he said, describing a packed meeting in Pensacola’s chamber of commerce, where state and local officials and worried residents all came for answers.

“I don’t think they thought there would be … a spill” until now, Nelson said. He said oil industry backers had promoted their safety systems as nearly foolproof.

“Unfortunately, mechanisms fail,” he said.

State officials declared an emergency condition in several Panhandle counties, and environmental groups solicited volunteers to stand ready to travel to clean oil-covered wildlife.

Nelson said the state’s multibillion-dollar tourist industry and fisheries shouldn’t be imperiled for oil’s sake. He said the spill may ultimately serve as a lesson that the country needs to develop cleaner energy sources.

Nelson had cautiously supported Obama when he outlined plans to expand Gulf drilling outside a 125-mile buffer around the state and allow early exploration for oil and gas on the South Atlantic coast, including the northern half of Florida.

Asked whether he wanted the White House to indefinitely give up thoughts of drilling off Florida, he said: “Essentially, yes.”

steve.patterson@jacksonville. com, (904) 359-4263

A boat with an oil boom tries to contain oil spilled from the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

An oil boom-equipped boat tries to contain oil from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig on Friday.

Photograph by Gerald Herbert, AP

Thai Democratic-Revolution Threatens to Turn Into Civil War

[It's shaping-up into a classic contest between red T-shirts and yellow T-shirts.]

Thai standoff may worsen to civil war: crisis group

BANGKOK
Main Image

(Reuters) – A prolonged and increasingly violent stand-off between government and red shirt protesters in Bangkok is worsening and could deteriorate into “an undeclared civil war,” the International Crisis Group said.

“The Thai political system has broken down and seems incapable of pulling the country back from the brink of widespread conflict,” the Brussels-based conflict resolution group said in a report released late on Friday.

“The stand-off in the streets of Bangkok between the government and Red Shirt protesters is worsening and could deteriorate in undeclared civil war.”

Thailand should consider help from neutral figures from the international community, drawn perhaps from Nobel peace laureates, to avoid a slide into wider violence, it said.

Clashes between the military and the red shirts, made up of mostly rural and urban poor, have killed 27 people and injured nearly 1,000 in a seven-week-old drive to force early elections.

Dozens of mysterious explosions have hit the capital, including grenade attacks on April 22 in the business district that killed one and wounded scores.

Bangkok anxiously awaits an army operation to eject the Red Shirts from their tent city, fortified with ramshackle barriers of tires and bamboo poles, which could lead to a bloodbath.

The fault lines are widening between the establishment — big business, the military brass and an educated middle class — and the protesters, many of whom support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup.

Civil society groups brought the government and the protesters together but the talks faltered over when to hold elections. The red shirts offered a 90-day timeframe, but the prime minister rejected that last weekend.

The crisis comes as Thailand faces its first prospect of royal succession in more than six decades.

The government has stepped up accusations that the red shirt movement has republican leanings – a provocative claim in a country where many consider the king almost divine – and that key figures are part of a loose network to overthrow the monarchy.

The report recommended the creation of a high-level group of international figures, noting that Nobel Laureate and East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta was in Bangkok this week at his own initiative and could be joined by other figures.

The group should bring the two sides together to end the military operation and limit the protests “to a small, more symbolic number of people who do not disrupt life in Bangkok.”

It could also begin negotiations on an interim government of national unity and preparations for elections.

The government is unlikely to welcome such mediation. The foreign minister this week upbraided Western diplomats for talking with red shirt leaders at the encampment, which lies near embassies in the area that could be affected by violence.

REMOVE BARRICADES

The crisis has cast a pall over the economy, decimating the tourist industry, closing businesses and depressing consumer sentiment. Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said Thailand’s economic growth rate could be cut by two percentage points if it continues all year.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban ordered police to dismantle the red-shirts’ barricades by the entrance to Chulalongkorn Hospital, which protesters raided on Thursday night, thinking troops were hiding there.

“I have this time made a clear order that metropolitan police must remove the blockage,” Suthep said. “If they fail to comply with the order, I will have others to do the job.”

Sometimes called “tomatoes” for a perceived sympathy for the red shirts, police have been lukewarm at best in checking the seven-week protests.

Nor are the red shirts in unison. Their leaders ordered the barricade removed from the hospital on Friday, only to have a rogue major-general who has overseem their security restore it.

They again demanded their supporters remove the barricade after apologizing for the raid that forced the hospital to close and evacuate patients.

It was their second setback in a week after security forces on Wednesday stopped an attempt to hold “mobile rallies” outside their 3 sq-km (1.2 sq-mile) camp/

The incursion raised concerns about how much control leaders have over their followers, particularly over Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol and the shadowy “black clad” paramilitaries that have appeared amongst the red shirts as their defenders.

Prime Minister Abhisit said in a statement after the hospital raid that the government would not allow “intimidation of the public and will act according to necessity to prevent that.”

The red shirts have ignored repeated warnings like that.

Royalist “yellow shirts,” who besieged Bangkok’s airports for a week in 2008 in a campaign to topple a pro-Thaksin government, have re-emerged to demand military action to disperse the red shirts, warning they could again take matters in their own hands.

(Editing by Ron Popeski)