ISLAMABAD: Former ISI official Colonel Imam and a British journalist of Pakistani origin Asad Qureshi were released on Thursday in North Waziristan by a militant group calling itself the Asian Tigers.
The group belongs is believed to be operating in North Waziristan and kidnapped the two on March 26, 2010. Among the people abducted was former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, who was recently killed by the group.
Khwaja’s body was found near a stream in Karam Kot, about seven kilometres south of North Waziristan’s main town of Mirali.
Locals said they had seen Khwaja’s body, but did not pick it up for fear of attacks from the militants.
A senior official said a jirga of residents and clerics deputed by the local administration finally retrieved Khwaja’s body.
Officials said Khwaja’s body was taken to Islamabad and handed over to his family. A note was found with his body which said that Khwaja was working for the Americans and anybody working for them would meet the same fate. — DawnNews
PESHAWAR: Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar has reportedly sent a jirga to negotiate the safe release of kidnapped former Inter Services Intelligence officials Colonel Imam, who was abducted along with his murdered ex-colleague Khalid Khwaja.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Javed Pracha claimed that a jirga sent by Mullah Omar has reached Miranshah to hold talks with the kidnappers without any preconditions. The Asian Tigers, the group which claimed to have kidnapped both Imam, Khwaja and a British journalist of Pakistan origin, had asked Pracha to negotiate with the government.
[Depending upon what happens in Kandahar, the scenario that finally plays-out in Afghanistan could be very similar to the one described in the following report. In the end, the US may well leave behind a partitioned Afghanistan, with one half belonging to Sunni Taliban and the other to Tajik and Uzbek Northern Alliance. If that is the American solution, then "Pashtunistan" would be the logical next step.]
Indrani Bagchi, TOI Crest
Whether we have a Pakistan version of WikiLeaks in the making is secondary.What is of greater importance is the tangled web of Pakistan government assistance to the Taliban and associated terror groups,their apparent blowback inside Pakistan and the future of Afghanistan and the US-led war in there.And why,despite WikiLeaks,nothing will change.
The 92,000 US military documents made public by WikiLeaks,a whistle-blowing organisation,early this week were intriguing.They detailed the grim reality of the war: the hunt to kill insurgent leaders,the death of Afghan civilians,the unreliability of Afghan forces,the corruption of political leaders and Pakistan’s perfidy.One “knew this all along”,but somehow the proof in black and white still robbed you of your breath.
For the US,though,the leaks are not going to change policy on the ground in Afghanistan.This became clear when US president Barack Obama got Congress to clear a $59 billion war funding bill,a couple of days after the WikiLeaks expose.It may not be a “blank cheque”,but the cheque is nonetheless substantial.Moreover,experts point out that the revelations contain few surprises.Says terrorism analyst Bill Roggio,”The documents really do not shed any new light on the situation there,and I do not perceive the public to be upset enough to pressure the government over Pakistan’s complicity in the Afghan war.”
The US has been careful not to openly criticise Pakistan or its army chief Ashfaq Kayani (who was DG ISI during much of the time in question and,therefore,responsible for running the Taliban),because ultimately,the US needs Pakistan.It needs Pakistan’s cooperation to target Taliban/al-Qaida operatives and leaders in northwestern Pakistan;it needs to keep Pakistan stable;it needs Kayani on their side so he can go after some parts of the Taliban;most important,it needs him to ensure their supplies travel from Karachi to Khyber without being torched or attacked.
Despite the importance of Kayani,who got a three-year extension,there is a subtle shift in the US stance.It sent a strong signal when it banned some of Pakistan’s favourite terrorists in the Haqqani network.Politically,the pressure on Pakistan is only likely to intensify.Hillary Clinton fired off on the Pakistan government knowing where Osama bin Laden was.But a stronger message was sent via British prime minister David Cameron.”I choose my words very carefully.It is unacceptable for anything to happen within Pakistan that is about supporting terrorism elsewhere.It is well-documented that that has been the case in the past,and we have to make sure that the Pakistan authorities are not looking two ways,” he told BBC Today.These remarks were promptly endorsed by the US State Department,which means the UK and US may be reading from the same sheet of music.
But that’s pressure Pakistan has been able to withstand all these years.Certainly,under Kayani,there has been greater clarity that Pakistan would pursue its own interests regardless of what Washington thought of them.Ultimately,Pakistan wants to bring together all the Taliban/Islamist groups to form part of the power structure in Kabul.
Unfortunately for Pakistan,this goal is going to become more and more difficult to achieve,particularly as the Taliban groups – like the Afghan,Pakistani and Punjabi Taliban as well as non-Taliban groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba – slip in and out of each other’s lives.That’s how a group like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,a creation of the Pakistan establishment,appears to have gone over to the dark side.The Haqqanis are close to the Pakistan army,but not so all the other Taliban groups.Pakistan’s balancing act will become more and more difficult as these groups make common cause in their dislike for the Pakistani establishment and as a new generation of Taliban leaders take over the reins,one with more tenuous links with the Pak army.
Antonio Guistozzi at The Century Foundation,who has written perhaps the most authoritative study in recent times,’Negotiating with the Taliban’,puts it clearly.”The Pakistani army clearly sees the Taliban as a useful tool for its geopolitical ambitions in Afghanistan,but among the Taliban,the Pakistani patron is far from popular.Apart from Haqqani and his network (always the closest to the Pakistanis),the other networks tolerate Pakistani influence rather than appreciate it.To some extent,the distinction between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban is arbitrary.”
Despite this,Pakistan will continue to play the Taliban and the US,because its ultimate enemy is India,and it needs to secure itself with US aid against what it believes is a rampaging India.To the extent that the US negotiates for an honourable exit from Afghanistan,the Americans will continue to play this game,intermittently letting their anger get the better of them.
George Friedman of Stratfor,a global intelligence company,puts it in a geopolitical context.The Taliban know they are not being defeated on home turf.Pakistan knows the US is leaving but will continue to need the US as their security against India.And the US will support Pakistan because it doesn’t want to have India as the sole regional power here.”Since the US wants neither an India outside a balance of power nor China taking the role of Pakistan’s patron,it follows that the risk the US will bear grudges is small.And given that,the Pakistanis can live with Washington knowing that one Pakistani hand is helping the Americans while another helps the Taliban.”
The churn on Afghan policy in the wake of WikiLeaks converges with a growing assessment among experts that the US is prosecuting affairs wrongly in Afghanistan.
In the past few years,Guistozzi points out,the Taliban have been extending their governance outreach in the southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan,where they are in control.On the other hand,between the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan government,the record has been dismal because they’re spending more time securing themselves.In fact,many have suggested that the international community work harder to secure the northern and western areas of Afghanistan,which still has a relatively thinner Taliban presence.
Last week,this idea was sharply articulated by Robert Blackwill,former US ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration.”Washington should move to ensure that north and west Afghanistan do not fall too,using,for many years to come,US air power and special forces – some 40,000-50,000 troops along with the Afghan army and the help of like-minded nations.Such a de facto partition would be a profoundly disappointing outcome to America’s 10 years in Afghanistan.But,regrettably,it is now the best that can realistically and responsibly be achieved.” This would be a de-facto partitioning of Afghanistan,enabling the US and the international community to arm and fund the erstwhile Northern Alliance or the non-Taliban Pashtuns (if any).
Pakistan won’t like it,because it could spawn the cancer of Pashtunistan again.But the idea has gathered resonance among many Afghan watchers,though there is no sign the Obama administration is anywhere close to that yet.Even if it isn’t,it’s a good way of ensuring greater Pakistani cooperation for the US project in Afghanistan.
But helping the non-Taliban forces in Afghanistan in the wake of a US withdrawal is exactly what countries like India,Iran,Uzbekistan,Tajikistan and Russia plan on doing.India will not countenance an extremist Sunni configuration in Kabul.Iran,though it has been funding some Taliban groups in the past couple of years,is equally clear that a Sunni dispensation in Kabul is against its interests as is Russia – a conclusion sharpened after the recent terror attacks in Moscow.China will continue to play the Pakistan card,so despite extremist threats to its Xinjiang province,China is not likely to get into the act here.
The WikiLeaks revelations are not about to change the course or direction of the war.The foreseeable future will depend on how the coming Kandahar offensive by General Petraeus plays out,not by whistleblowers.The damning truth is less the documents than the fact that most of this was known and the war continues to be lost.That’s the reality laid bare by WikiLeaks.
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 30 / Trend A. Badalova /
Nabucco gas pipeline consortium, designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU countries, postponed the pre-qualification tender for the supply of pipes. Bloomberg reported that with reference to the representative of the “Nabucco” project in Vienna Gabriele Egartner that the cause of delay was the large number of applications for participation in the tender.
“Now we have more participants than expected”, Egartner said.
She said that the tender will be continued, as soon as a list of contenders is checked.
The consortium announced about the beginning of the pre-qualification tender for the supply of durable goods (pipes, valves) for the construction of Nabucco gas pipeline in April. The total cost of the tender package is 3,5 billion euros.
One of the parties which declared its interest in participating in the tender was German company Europipe.
The Nabucco gas pipeline project worth 7.9 billion euro envisages gas supplies from the Caspian region to EU countries. Participants are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE. Each has an equal 16.67-percent share.
Construction is planned to launch in 2011, with first supplies being commissioned in 2014.
Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at email@example.com
Washington (CNN) — A verbal flash-fire erupted on the House floor Thursday night over nine-year battle to pass a benefits bill for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the 9/11 attacks.
Frustrated with Republican votes against the $7.4 billion measure because Democrats suspended the rules to prevent them from offering unrelated amendments — and at the same time requiring a two-thirds majority to pass — Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner excoriated the minority party.
“It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes,” Weiner said during an impassioned, 90-second speech. “It is a shame. A shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care–then vote no! But don’t give me the cowardly view that ‘Oh, if it was a different procedure.’”
The bill failed to get the 291 votes it needed for passage, polling just 255 votes. But that 255 votes easily surpassed the 218 needed for a simple majority. Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney — the sponsor of the bill who has been working on the legislation since just after terrorist attacks — is working to convince her party’s leadership to hold a simple majority vote before the ninth anniversary of the attacks. She told CNN Friday that passing the bill under suspension rules was “a very high bar.”
“My goal is to have it on the floor again under regular rule, majority rule, which would require only 218 votes. We clearly had the 218 votes to pass it,” Maloney said.
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, another Republican, opposed the legislation on the basis of cost. He called the bill an “irresponsible overreach” that “does not contain the necessary protections to safeguard taxpayer dollars from abuse, waste and fraud.”
“I think this is another example of the Democrats’ insatiable appetite for the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” Smith said Thursday night on the House floor.
But Rep. Pete King, R-New York — who actually voted in favor of the bill — tipped the debate in another direction, focusing on the Democratic tactic that kept the Republicans from offering up an amendment on illegal immigration.
“But what we are doing tonight is a cruel hoax and a charade,” King said from the House floor, every bit as passionately as Weiner would moments later. “Everyone knows that this bill will not get the two-thirds majority required on the suspension calendar. Everyone also knows that this bill would pass with a clear majority if the Democrat leadership would allow it to come to the floor under the regular procedures of the House.
“The reason H.R. 847 is not being brought up under regular order is because the majority party is petrified of having its members face a potential vote on illegal immigration,” he said. “You can blame it on the Republicans — and I’ve been strongly critical on the Republican position on this issue — but the reality is you could pass this bill if you wanted to.”
King’s words set off Weiner.
“It takes great courage to wait until all Members have already spoken and then stand up and wrap your arms around procedure,” Weiner began. “We see it in the United States Senate every single day when Members say, ‘We want amendments. We want debate. We want amendments, but we’re still a ‘no.” And then we stand up and say, ‘Oh, if only we had a different process, we’d vote yes.
“You vote yes if you believe yes,” he said. “You vote in favor of something if you believe it’s the right thing. If you believe it’s the wrong thing, you vote no.”
King tried to interject, but Weiner refused to yield the floor.
“The gentleman gets up and yells, trying to intimidate people into believing he’s right — he is wrong!” Weiner shouted. “The gentleman is wrong! The gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing!”
“I will not stand here and listen to my colleague say, ‘Oh, if only I had a different procedure that allows us to stall, stall, stall and then vote no.’ Instead of standing up and defending your colleagues and voting no on this humane bill, you should urge them to vote yes, something the gentleman has not done,” Weiner concluded, punctuating his final words with an index finger in the air.
King told CNN Friday that if the bill went to simple majority vote he “would sit with the Democrats all day and defend the bill against the Republicans.”
Weiner defended his outburst and acknowledged that many people are unhappy with what they see as partisan bickering in Congress, but he said that many people may not understand what’s actually happening. Suspending the rules for certain votes, he said, “is a common procedure … used all the time.”
“Frankly, it was beyond a lot of people’s understanding why anyone would want to politicize this and make it a long, drawn-out fight,” he told CNN.
“On 25 April, 2007, ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khowst and Lowgar Province.”
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ATTACKS WERE CARRIED-OUT BY MOTORCYCLE-RIDING TERRORISTS.
THE FOLLOWING ISI IDs WERE TAKEN FROM THE WOUNDED ATTACKERS
WikiLeaks Expose: Time to snub Pakistan and the US
|Ramananda Sengupta | 2010-07-30 12:59:18|
[This one describes it as an air blast near the ship, which left some powder burns and a 60cm hole four meters above the water line. After pointing-out the powder burns, the report goes on to then explain the lack of shrapnel holes by claiming the blast was not near the ship. It was a missile bearing a focused lethality DIME munition, in my opinion.]
Anna Zacharias, Loveday Morris and Eugene Harnan
FUJAIRAH // Officials said yesterday they suspected a stray mine or a collision damaged a Japanese oil tanker as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
Investigators are examining the M. Star, moored about 13 nautical miles off the Port of Fujairah, whose crew reported an explosion around 4.30am on Wednesday.
Its owner, Mitsui OSK Lines, said it was “highly likely” to have been caused by an outside attack, as some of the ship’s 31 crew members saw a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.
Investigations by federal authorities, insurers and Mitsui OSK are expected to last two or three days. Damage to the ship was caused by a collision, said Capt Mousa Murad, the general manager of the Port of Fujairah.
“The cause of the collision is not clear from the dent in the ship,” he said, declining to rule out the possibility that it was struck by a mine or in a targeted attack. Windows and doors were blown out at deck-level, far above the waterline where the ship was dented. “The accommodation has been damaged, from the deck until the control room, especially aluminium doors.”
There was internal flooding in the crew’s quarters, but no water had entered from outside the ship, he said. There was one breach of the hull, a 60cm hole four metres above the waterline, under a lifeboat-storage station.
There was no oil or other pollution spilling from the damaged vessel. Manoj Mathew, the ship’s captain, said in a letter to Fujairah port’s harbour master that “the vessel is completely stable and seaworthy and proceeding safely”.
The letter said the second officer suffered minor injuries, which were treated onboard.
The ship arrived in Fujairah around 6.40pm on Wednesday. It was carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude oil from Qatar to Japan.
“What is certain is this is caused by an external force,” said Ravi Gupta, a ship repair expert for Clarkson Technical Services in Fujairah.
Mr Gupta discounted the possibility that there could have been a collision with another vessel. “This was definitely not a collision, as there is no scraping marks,” he said.
“Even if it was a submarine on the surface and the crew didn’t see it, there would be scratch marks.”
The damage to the superstructure and deck looked as though it had been caused by a strong force of air pressure, he said.
Ajit Shenoi, a professor in ship science at Southampton University in Britain, said the shattered windows and internal damage could have been caused by shockwaves from a collision. But the external damage was inconsistent with this explanation, he added.
“It looks as though an explosion in the air or water near the ship is the most likely cause,” he said. “Looking at the image of the ship, you’d expect more abrasion on the plating if it was a collision with a submarine or another ship, and there’s localised blackening on the red paint indicating an explosion.”
Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser on terrorism and security at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai, said the damage to the ship’s starboard, near the stern, appeared to match that of a floating mine. Although sea mines were designed to cause more damage, one that was 20 years old would have lost some of its potency, he said.
“They tried to clear as many as possible, but there were many thousands put down during the Iran-Iraq war,” Mr Alani said.
“It’s not a [rocket-propelled grenade]. The collapsed area, if it were an RPG, would be a round spot. There would be more blackness. It doesn’t look like there was a direct impact point, which you would see with an RPG.” The damage at the water level also indicated a mine, he added.
A UAE-based ship surveyor, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s the kind of damage you might see from a ship hitting another ship, but it would have been hard for the crew to miss another ship, and anything that left an impact like that would have left scratch marks.
“The damage is just above the water line, so it’s something that’s floating on the water.
“It’s definitely not an internal explosion. A missile or an RPG would have pierced the hull. It’s probably a low-grade or old floating mine that has exploded some distance away from the ship.”
As a cheap and easy way of blocking sea access, mines were used extensively during the first Gulf War and the Iran-Iraq war.
Minesweeping operations continue in the region. In 2008, HMS Chiddingfold, a British minesweeper, was called to the northern Gulf by the Kuwaiti and Iraqi governments to find and dispose of leftover mines for shipping routes to be opened. Most mines in the region are thought to have been disposed of, but a few areas are still classed as dangerous.
Others discounted the theory that the ship hit a mine. Richard Skinner, the managing director of Orchid Maritime, a private security firm that specialises in maritime security, said there had probably been a collision.
“If it was a mine or something in the water, it is not really consistent with an explosion from a device like that,” he said.
It was unclear what type of vessel might have struck the tanker or what its fate might be. There have been collisions in the area in the past. In January 2007, a US Navy submarine collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz damaging its stern. Prof Shenoi said it was unlikely that the M Star would have failed to pick up another vessel, or a submarine on the surface, on its radar, or vice versa.
The US Fifth Fleet said no American or coalition vessels had been operating in the area at the time. “The investigation into the cause is ongoing and we are keeping abreast of the situation,” said Lt John Fage, a spokesman for the fleet. WAM, the state news agency, quoted Emirati and Omani officials who attributed the damage to a freak wave caused by a “tremor” on Wednesday night.
However, according to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, there was no unusual seismic activity around the time of the incident. Mitsui OSK said yesterday that, based on its investigation so far, wave damage was “highly unlikely”.
“It is clearly not a natural incident because no wave could cause that type of damage,” Mr Skinner said. Mr Gupta agreed, saying: “As the damage is to the stern quarter of the ship, wave damage just to this location seems unlikely.”
* The National
[If this was a false flag incident, to provoke a conflict with Iran, then the flash of light on the horizon reported by the tanker crew (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion) could have been from a missile fired from an American or Israeli F-16, or any American plane. The photo could show evidence of a possible blast wave, without leaving behind physical evidence of missile fragments or shrapnel holes.]
[The argument given below to support the idea that a sub caused this dent is that the picture shows the supertanker after unloading, implying that the dent may have been below the waterline. It appears that this tanker is still fully loaded, a similar photo below shows a loaded tanker (lower right) and the red line is still above water. If it was a submarine, it was running on the surface. It looks like it could have been a blast concussion of some type, on closer examination. If it was caused by something fired on the horizon (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion), then it would have had to have been some sort of exotic weapon that expels no shrapnel.]
Still unclear how the Japanese tanker was indented on the open seas.
- It is possible that in the case of a collision with a submarine or a mine, “said Captain Mousa Mourad today – the day after a mysterious incident.He is the chief port of Fujairah in United Arab Emirates, where the tanker has been built to further investigations.
|Herje: Skirmish consequential tanker apparent damage even indoors.|
Fear of terrorism
The Japanese super tanker M. Star was on the way from Qatar to Japan through the Strait of Hormuz off Oman, with over two milllioner barrels (270,200 tons) of crude oil, when it was struck by a violent collision.
First, did the crew of the tanker that hit a huge wave, and there were reports of an earthquake in the area. The shipping company Mitsui OSK said, however, that the ship was attacked, writes Svenska Dagbladet.
It is still unclear what really happened, and the incident has created fear of terrorist attacks in the strait, where 40 percent of the world’s oil transport by sea must go through, according to BBC News.
|Threw AROUND: Furniture was tossed around, and the crew thought they were attacked.|
SEOUL -(Dow Jones)- South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un-chan tendered his resignation Thursday, taking responsibility for the government’s failure to get parliamentary approval to develop a science-business hub in a central region.
“It’s regrettable that I wasn’t able to get the project past the parliament. I feel guilty that the failure may lead to a waste of national resources,” Chung said during a press conference.
Premiership is largely a ceremonial post in South Korea, where power is concentrated in the president’s office.
Chung’s fate as prime minister has drawn keen attention since the National Assembly last month voted down a revised bill aimed at constructing a business park instead of the originally planned administrative town in the central region of Chungcheong.
Formerly president of Seoul National University, Chung was named prime minister last September and was in charge of drawing up revisions for the planned town, called Sejong City, and to get the development plan passed in parliament.
He had expressed his intention to resign several times to President Lee Myung- bak following the ruling party’s defeat in general elections last month.
Lee is expected to accept his resignation, which will likely speed up the process of a widely anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, Yonhap news agency reported earlier Thursday.
Any reshuffle isn’t likely to affect Lee’s economic team, including finance minister Yoon Jeung-hyun, according to local media.
-By In-Soo Nam, Dow Jones Newswires; 822-3700-1902; In-Soo.Nam@dowjones.com
By Erich Follath
Former Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen once told me, half with amusement and half with resignation, that military people around the world are all more or less the same. “They can only be happy when they have the most up-to-date toys,” he said.
If this is true, Beijing’s generals must be very happy at the moment. China has increased its military budget by 7.5 percent in 2010, making funds available for new fighter jets and more cruise missiles. Beijing’s military buildup is a source of concern for Western experts, even though the US’s military budget is about eight times larger. Some feel that China poses a threat to East Asia, while others are even convinced that Beijing is preparing to conquer the world militarily.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike, say, the United States, the People’s Republic has not attacked any other country in more than three decades, not since it launched an offensive against Vietnam in 1979. And even though Beijing’s leaders periodically rattle their sabers against Taiwan, which they refer to as a “renegade province,” they have no intention of entering into any armed conflicts.
Unlike many in the West, they have long since recognized that bombs are little more than deterrents these days. In today’s asymmetric conflicts, it is difficult to hold on to territory captured in bloody battles. War is an instrument of the past, and Mao’s argument that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” no longer holds true today.
Soft Is the New Hard
It is, however, true that the Chinese are in the process of conquering the world. They are doing this very successfully by pursuing an aggressive trade policy toward the West, granting low-interest loans to African and Latin American countries, applying diplomatic pressure to their partners, pursuing a campaign bordering on cultural imperialism to oppose the human rights we perceive to be universal, and providing the largest contingent of soldiers for United Nations peacekeeping missions of all Security Council members. In other words, they are doing it with soft power instead of hard power.
Beijing is indeed waging a war on all continents, but not in the classical sense. Whether the methods it uses consistently qualify as “peaceful” is another matter. For example, the Chinese apply international agreements as they see fit, and when the rules get in their way, they “creatively” circumvent them or rewrite them with the help of compliant allies.
But why are politicians in Washington, Paris and London taking all of this lying down, kowtowing to the Chinese instead of criticizing them? Does capturing — admittedly lucrative — markets in East Asia and trying to impress the Chinese really help their cause?
The Communist Party leaders manipulate their currency to keep the prices of their exports artificially low. The fact that they recently allowed their currency, the renminbi, to appreciate slightly is evidence more of their knack for public relations than of a real change of heart. They are known for using every trick in the book when buying commodities or signing pipeline deals, with participants talking of aggressive and pushy tactics. Meanwhile, these free-market privateers unscrupulously restrict access to their own natural resources. They denounce protectionism, and yet they are more protectionist than most fellow players in the great game of globalization.
’21st-Century Economic Weapon’
Beijing recently imposed strict export quotas on rare earths, resources that are indispensable in high technology, where they are essential to the operation of hybrid vehicles, high-performance magnets and computer hard drives. Some 95 percent of metals such as lanthanum and neodymium are mined in the People’s Republic, giving Beijing a virtual monopoly on these resources. It clearly has no intention of exporting these metals without demanding substantially higher export tariffs. In fact, China apparently wants to prohibit exports of some rare earths completely, starting in 2015. Concerned observers in Japan have described the valuable resources are a “21st-century economic weapon.” The Chinese have dismissed protests from Washington and Brussels with the audacious claim that World Trade Organization (WTO) rules allow a country to protect its own natural resources.
China, a WTO member itself, is now playing a cat-and-mouse game with the organization. Despite several warnings, Beijing still has not signed the Agreement on Government Procurement, and it continues to strongly favor domestic suppliers over their foreign competitors in government purchasing. To secure a government contract in China, an international company has to reveal sensitive data as part of impenetrable licensing procedures and even agree to transfer its technology to the Chinese — often relinquishing its patent rights in the process.
China, for its part, is waging a vehement campaign in the WTO to be granted the privileged status of a “market economy.” If it succeeds, it will be largely spared inconvenient anti-dumping procedures in the future. But do China’s Communist Party leaders seriously believe that the rest of the world will actually reward them for their dubious trading practices?
The answer is yes, and they have good reason to be optimistic. When it comes to diplomacy, Beijing knows how to win. Whether it’s at the WTO, the United Nations or other international organizations, China is in the process of outmaneuvering the West everywhere.
In recent years, China’s leaders have frequently joined forces with up-and-coming India, such as when the two countries jointly managed to torpedo UN climate negotiations and the Doha trade talks. More importantly, China’s leaders have gained the support of African, Latin American and Central Asian countries with their major projects, gifts and goodwill.
The Chinese have paid particular attention to nations with large oil and natural gas reserves, such as Venezuela, Kazakhstan and Nigeria, but they also cultivate relations with third-tier countries — countries that the West tends to ignore but that have voting rights in international bodies like anyone else. Beijing has forgiven billions in loans to African nations and pampered them with infrastructure projects. It has generally tied its assistance merely to two conditions that are relatively painless for the countries in question, namely that they have no official relations with Taiwan and that they support the People’s Republic in international organizations.
What Beijing is not demanding of these countries is even more telling. Unlike Washington, London or Berlin, the Chinese do not tie their development aid to any conditions relating to good governance. While the West punishes authoritarian behavior by withholding funds (and, in some cases, indirectly threatens “regime change”), Beijing has no scruples about pampering the world’s dictators by building them palaces and highways to their weekend villas — and assuring them territorial integrity, no matter what human rights violations they are found guilty of.
Opportunity, not Problem
China has friendly relations with some of the world’s most problematic countries, including failed states and countries on the brink of failure such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar and Yemen. “For the West, failed states are a problem. For China, they’re an opportunity,” writes American expert Stefan Halper in the magazine Foreign Policy, referring to these countries as “Beijing’s coalition of the willing.”
The diplomatic weapon is having its intended effect. Already, the pro-Chinese voting bloc led by African nations has managed to obstruct progress in the WTO. Meanwhile in the United Nations, the People’s Republic’s influence is clear: Within the last decade, support for Chinese positions on human rights issues has risen from 50 percent to well over 70 percent.
Washington, in turn, is no longer even included in certain key groups. The United States was not invited to take part in the East Asia Summit, and it was denied the observer status it had sought in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a sort of anti-NATO under China’s de facto leadership that includes Russia and most of the Central Asian countries. Iran, on the other hand, was.
A Model Worth Emulating
Of course, none of this means that the West has already lost the battle for influence in Africa, Latin America and Asia. While Beijing cozies up to dictators, an approach the West cannot and should not take, America and Europe can compete, and even excel, in another area: by offering the ideal model of a democracy worth emulating.
There has been much speculation in recent months that developing countries could be increasingly eyeing China’s blend of a market economy and Leninism, economic diversity and strict one-party control as an attractive alternative to democracy. The United States engages too little in self-reflection while the Europeans are too involved with themselves, and both make themselves less attractive as a result, says former Singaporean diplomat and political science professor Kishore Mahbubani. He believes that China’s momentum is ultimately unstoppable. Many people in the West who have always viewed trade unions as disruptive and given little heed to human rights violations agree with him.
But even though the People’s Republic may have become more attractive for some authoritarian rulers, only a few see it as a model. Beijing has already installed more than 500 Confucius Institutes around the world, in hopes of promoting what it views as China’s cultural superiority. One of the results of a 10-fold increase in scholarships at Chinese universities is that almost twice as many Indonesians are now studying in China as in the United States.
But whether it’s Harvard, high-tech cell phones or Hollywood, people in many parts of the world still see the West as the home of everything desirable. Besides, many who flirt with Chinese-style dirigisme see it only as a transitional phase that makes sense from an economic point of view, and that ultimately — as in South Korea, for example — leads to a democracy with functioning institutions.
More Forceful Approach Required
What no one in Asia, Latin America or Africa wants is another messianic US president in the vein of George W. Bush, who believed that he could forcefully impose the American model on other countries. Many people in developing countries can easily distinguish between pompous arrogance and healthy self-confidence. And especially in China, people tend to regard an excessive willingness to compromise as a weakness, and the stubborn adherence to one’s own positions as a strength.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the woman at the helm of the world’s former top exporting nation, ought to take a much more forceful approach to dealing with the leaders of the current export champion than she did during her recent visit to Beijing. She ought to point out that Germany has to draw the line somewhere: for instance, that it will not support China’s bid for preferential status in the WTO as long as Beijing violates its rules. She should also make clear that Germany will not condone the ongoing industrial espionage activities of Chinese agents in German high-tech centers, the continued illegal copying of patents and the fleecing of German small and mid-sized companies in China.
When China asks for the lifting of visa restrictions, Germany should ask the Chinese what it can expect in return. And Berlin needs not be concerned that China could react to such criticism by no longer doing business with Germany. The People’s Republic acts out of self-interest and needs the West about as much as the West needs China. Besides, the Chinese are used to playing hardball.
How Taiwan Gets What It Wants
Ironically, Taiwan serves as a prime example of how to deal with Beijing. In a SPIEGEL interview 15 years ago, then Prime Minister Lien Chan complained to me that the People’s Republic was cutting the ground from under Taipei’s feet. He said that, although only 30 nations recognized Taiwan at the time, that would change. But it didn’t. In fact, the total is now only 23 nations.
Nevertheless, Taiwan’s new leadership is taking a pragmatic approach and, realizing that it cannot win against China, has decided to embrace the mainland Chinese. After tough negotiations, the Taiwanese are now making deals with their big brother. In a trade agreement signed in late June, Taiwan achieved a reduction in Chinese tariffs on $13.8 billion (€10.6 billion) worth of goods it sells to China each year, while Beijing came away from the trade deal with a reduction of tariffs on only $2.9 billion of the goods it exports to Taiwan.
“We did not make any compromises when it comes to our independence, and we achieved a favorable agreement,” says Wu-lien Wei, Taiwan’s representative in Berlin. Perhaps one needs to be Chinese in order to avoid being ripped off by Beijing.
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
Leaks in the Pipeline
As the pipeline was expanded it began to spring big leaks. Problems with the pipeline had existed from the beginning, but by 1985 they were becoming more obvious. Twenty nine of the forty Oerlikon anti aircraft guns the CIA had purchased in Switzerland at over $1 million a piece never made it to Afghanistan. Somewhere along the line these and many other weapons were put to other uses by either the Afghans, the Pakistanis, or the CIA itself. A significant amount of the leaking was (as it stiff is) coming from within Pakistan, where corrupt government and rebel officials have suddenly become quite rich. Pakistani General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, head of the ISID up to 1987, and his successor, General Hamid Gul, are suspected to have been prime benefactors of the pipeline. They and their subordinates within the ISID’s National Logistics Cell (NLC) could easily have made a fortune off CIA supplies.
Since the genesis of the pipeline, the NLC has had the sole responsibility of transporting newly arrived weapons from Karachi to Quetta and Peshawar (weapons that come by plane, especially those that are American or British made, are flown directly to these cities).
NLC trucks have special passes that allow them to travel unharassed by customs or police officials on their several hundred mile drive. Along the way it is very easy for the NLC officials to exchange the new weapons and other supplies for old ones from the government’s stock.
Widespread corruption also exists among the rebel leaders but has gone practically unnoticed in the U.S. thanks to CIA propaganda. The same kinds of things that tarnished the contra’s image, such as killing civilians, drug smuggling and embezzlement are practiced by many Afghan rebels. Taking no prisoners, assassinating suspected government collaborators, destroying government built schools and hospitals, killing “unpious” civilians are just a few of the inhumane acts they have carried out. But the picture we receive of the rebels in the U.S. is of an uncorrupt, popular group of freedom loving people who aspire toward a democratic society.
The CIA and the State Department have worked hard to project this image. In 1984 Walter Raymond, on loan to the NSC from the CIA, “suggested” to Senator Humphrey (RNH) that Congress finance a media project for the rebels that would shed favorable light on the rebels’ side of the war.
Humphrey got Congress to easily approve the new “Afghan Media Project” which was handed over to the United States Information Agency (USIA) and Boston University. AA Boston University the project was headed up by a man named Joachim Maitre, an East German defector who had close connections with International Business Communications and the Gulf and Caribbean Foundation (both of which served important roles in illegally raising funds for the Nicaraguan contras). He also had worked closely with Oliver North to make TN’ commercials attacking Congressmen who had opposed aid to the contras.
Maitre escaped criticism for his contra connections and proceeded to train Afghan rebels to report on and film the war. Since it is illegal for the USIA to disseminate information in the U.S., the Afghan Media Project’s films and reports were to be sold only to foreign news agencies. However, American journalists who have a quick story to write or don’t want to enter Afghanistan have often found the rebels’ information too tempting to pass up. CBS, the station that has covered the Afghan war the most and in a very pro-rebel light, may have been one guilty party. CBS used footage provided by the rebels claiming that it was taken by its cameraman, Mike Hoover.
Corruption surrounding the CIA’s Afghan program has begun to surface during the last several years. For example, the fact that the rebels have been harvesting a large amount of opium was brought to light by the New York Times in 1986.
And DEA officials have privately admitted recently that the shipment of CIA weapons into Pakistan has allowed the trade in heroin three tons of which reaches the U.S. every year to flourish as never before.
One DEA official noted that virtually no heroin was refined in Pakistan before 1979, but “now Pakistan produces and transships more heroin than the rest of the world combined.” Neither U.S. nor Pakistani drug enforcement officials are any match for these heavily armed drug dealers.
In spite of these problems, from 1986 to the present, the CIA has expanded the pipeline to handle over $1 billion in new monies. As part of this package the CIA is sending the rebels highly sophisticated American made weaponry. Ironically, the CIA particularly its former Deputy Director John McMahon originally opposed this idea and insisted on continuing the supply of average Soviet styled weapons.
But by March 1986 the impasse was broken. On March 4, McMahon resigned from the CIA; one week later UN negotiator Diego Cordovez announced that he had “all the elements of a comprehensive settlement of the Afghan problem.”
With McMahon gone and the prospects for peace again on the horizon, members of the 208 Committee, with the President’s approval, decided immediately to send the rebels several hundred of the world’s most sophisticated anti aircraft gun, the American-made Stinger.
Although the Stingers are delivered more carefully than other weapons (they are flown on U.S. airplanes through Germany en route to Pakistan), once in Pakistan they can easily fall into dangerous hands. Initially the Stingers were safeguarded by keeping them from the rebels. Although the media began in April 1986 to report on the rebels’ immediate successes with the Stingers, the rebels hadn’t even touched one yet. Ethnic Pushtuns in the Pakistani Special Forces, disguised as rebels, were the ones firing the Stingers then, and many probably still are today.
Meanwhile, a group of “ex-Army specialists” hired by the CIA were training the rebels to use the new weapon. Once the rebels were adequately trained, the politics of the pipeline began to come into play. The ISID distributed a disproportionate amount of the Stingers to the more radical fundamentalist groups.
ISID has skewed the distribution of weapons to favor the fundamentalists all along, but it took the Stinger issue to highlight this fact. These are the groups that were responsible for selling nearly a dozen Stingers to Iranian Revolutionary Guards in July 1987 and who are stockpiling their weapons to continue their jihad if and when the U.S. cuts off its supply.
The CIA was aware of the Iran connection two months before it was revealed and before Congress approved sending more Stingers. It is also aware now that by arming these same groups, the U.S. is setting the scene for a major post withdrawal bloodbath.
But today President Reagan is flaunting the covert operation in Afghanistan as the prize of the Reagan Doctrine. The Soviets are finally negotiating in “good faith,” he claims, because U.S. aid allowed the “freedom fighters” to keep up their fight. Although the War has had its costs, the benefit of driving the Soviets out will make them worth it. The costs of intentionally prolonging the Afghan war have been a flourishing drug trade, an estimated one million dead, and the provisions for a bloody Islamic revolution. Unfortunately, in light of the administration’s hardening stance in the current negotiations, we must wonder whether the “bleeders” are really ready to end it now.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28, 1988.
Newsweek, March 23,1987
United States Department of State Special Report, no. 112, December 1983.
See James Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (Bantam: New York, 1982), pp. 473,475.
Miami Herald, June 5, 1983.
Boston Globe, January 5, 1980; Daily Telegraph (London), January 5, 1990.
Wall Street Journal, April 19,1994.
Washington Post, February 2, 1979; Maclean’s (Toronto), April 30, 1979.
ABC News, “20/20,” June 18,1981.
Sam Bamieh told of this deal during his sworn testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs committee in July 1987; also see. Bruce Amstutz, Afghanistan: The First Five Years (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1986), p. 202; the information about the Omani and Pakistani bank accounts came from several confidential sources.
See Bamieh testimony, ibid.
Baltimore Sun, April 4,1982.
Richard Cronin, “Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance Facts,” Congressional Research Service, July 20,1987, p. 2.
This inadequate accounting process was discovered in January 1986 when, at the request of Senators Humphrey (Rep. New Hamp.) and Chic Hecht (Rep. Nev.), a group of Senate intelligence staffers visited Pakistan (Confidential Source).
Philadelphia Inquirer. February 29, 1988; The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1987.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 29,1988.
Washington Post, September 25,1981.
Classified State Department Cables, May 14 and August 9, 1979, Spynest Documents, op. cit., n. 9, vol. 29; Selig Harrison, “The Soviet Union in Afghanistan in Containment: Concept and Policy (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1986), p. 464
New Republic, July 18,1981; Daily Telegraph, January 5,1980.
Le Monde, in Joint Publication and Research Service (JPRS) (U.S. Gov.), October 9, 1981; Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1981.
New York Times; May 4, 1983; Eight Days (London), in JPRS, October 31, 1981.
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1988.
New York Times, July 24,1982.
New York Times, May 4,1983.
Richard Cronin, “Afghanistan: United Nations Sponsored Negotiations,” Congressional
Research Service, July 23, 1986, p. 8.
New York Times, May 4, 1983.
Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1983.
Some of the more radical fundamentalist groups have already succeeded in carrying out cross border attacks against the Soviets and have vowed to continue (Arab News, April 6,1987). For a more thorough discussion of the goals of the resistance see Olivier Roy, Islam and the Afghan Resistance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986)
Washington Post, March 30, 1983.
This news was leaked by the Soviets to the United News of India, cited in Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1983.
New York Times, May 4,1983.
New York Times, May 27,1983.
Washington Post, December 29,1983.
New York Times, July 4,1983.
Washington Post January 13, 1985.
This was the Tsongas resolution which was finally passed on October 4,1994.
Washington Post, January 13, 1987.
Afghan Update (published by the Federation for American Afghan Action), July 13,1985.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 29,1988.
Confidential source who travelled with the resistance and showed the author photographs of explosives with the name of this company on them.
FBIS, May 14,1985.
New York Times, June 19,1986.
Wall Street Journal, February 16,1988.
Thames Television (London), “The Missile Trail” on This Week, September 17,1987.
Rumor has it that Nigeria was the third country, but it could have been Chile who sold Blowpipes to the CIA for its operation in Nicaragua.
Joint Senate Congressional Hearings on the Iran Contra Affair, May 20,1987; Exhibit
JKS 6. The proposed plan would allow the CIA to acquire Soviet bloc weapons for the Afghan rebels, the contras, UNITA and other “freedom fighters” without Congressional appropriations or approval.
The Wall Street Journal on February 16, 1988 revealed that weapons for the rebels had been purchased from Poland. A confidential source informed the author that Stettin was the port they were being shipped out of.
The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1987.
Jack Anderson in the Washington Post, May 12,1987.
Washington Post, January 13,1987.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28, 1988.
The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1988.
Columbia Journalism Review May/June, 1987; it is also worth noting that Maitre was a senior editor for CIA connected Axel Springer Publishing Company in Germany. He also, for no apparent reason, has military clearance. After the bombing of Libya, Maitre was one of the people who debriefed the American pilots.
Announced at USIA conference on Afghanistan in Washington, D.C., May 5,1987.
Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1988. CBS contract journalist Kurt Lohbeck also has strong ties to “Behind the Lines News Service,” an operation set up by arch conservatives Hugh Newton and Antony Campaigne.
New York Times, June 6,1986.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28,1988.
McMahon was the focus of attacks by rebel supporters on the CIA’s Afghan program (especially by the Federation for American Afghan Action which claimed responsibility for McMahon’s eventual resignation). Also see Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981 1997 (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987).
FBIS, March 18,1986.
Warren Carroll, “The Freedom Fighter,” (Heritage Foundation), cited in Afghan Update, May 27, 1986.
Washington Post, February 8, 1987.
Strategic Investment Newsletter, March 9, 1987; Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1988.
Independent (London), October 16, 1987.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28,1988
Martin A. Lee
Isn’t this treason?
Now explain how and why our talk show hosts persist in inviting Hamid Gul on their shows to provide “analysis” on political events. For example, in this video of Dunya Today of July 27 with Dr. Moeed Pirzada, observe how Dr. Pirzada invites Hamid Gul on his show in order to assist him in clearing his name from allegations against him in the Western media. Note how innocently Dr. Pirzada asks Hamid Gul why everytime the discussion of Afghan Taliban is brought up in the international media, why his name is brought up as if Dr. Pirzada has been asleep for the last 16 years and has no idea why Hamid Gul’s name would be associated with the Taliban.
|Author: Dr. Greg Austin
From: EastWest Institute
The chasm between certain political values in Europe and those in the United States was exposed yet again this past week in the ruling of seven judges of the European Court of Human Rights that a particular American prison regime (at ADX Florence) may be a treatment too harsh even for people who might be convicted of terrorism charges.
The Court was happy enough for four people indicted on terrorism charges to be extradited from the UK to the United States, and so dismissed a number of their pleadings. Yet the Court upheld, temporarily at least, the claims of three of them about just how ugly prison life would be for them. The Court kept in place a restraining order against their extradition until it studied the matter more closely.
On top of that, the court also held that the term of imprisonment that the four faced was so long – life without parole or 50 years for one – that their appeal against extradition on those grounds alone was admissible for further hearing. The cases have been in and out of the Court beginning in 2007 for two of the applicants and since 2008 for the other two.
The European judges are troubled by the United States application of “special administrative measures” (SAMs) in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. According to the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, SAMs are applied “when there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury” to others. The main feature of the prison regime in ADX Florence that is under challenge is a more or less permanent form of solitary confinement applied selectively to certain prisoners. Its opponents regard this as inhumane in the extreme or at best counter-productive for the purposes it is intended to serve.
Human rights organizations, doctors, criminologists, and prisoners’ rights groups in the United States have long railed against the conditions in supermax prisons like ADX Florence. It houses some 40 or so convicted terrorists and almost 400 other serious criminals.
This latest example of an Atlantic “values” gulf in the court has a lesson for NATO. There is not a strong political and social consensus in Europe that matches the commitment of United States national officials to fight international terrorism the way the American government is doing it. There is ample other evidence of this gulf in values, not least the political furore in Europe over extraordinary renditions of terrorist suspects. The same sort of divide is appearing in the policies of key NATO members in respect of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan with military forces.
What is the real problem here? NATO has seen far more serious challenges in the past to its cohesion and solidarity from differences across the Atlantic. Not too many of Europe’s citizens really feel any sympathy for the four indicted prisoners.
But the new mood at a political level may be different. There are signs that the traditional solidarity of NATO among security elites and among political and social leaders may be in some sort of serious decline. We need to study this question and, if the above diagnosis is correct, find explanations and ways to address it. More importantly, there has to be a better answer for it than we are hearing from some as to why it should still matter.
NATO solidarity matters for good reasons of hard international security that have little to do with political values. An over-emphasis on values in the new NATO security concept to the relative neglect of solving the concrete security problems as we will face them outside Europe or on its periphery in the coming decade may be to the long term detriment of NATO solidarity.
|U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on July 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)|
by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) — A new report found a majority of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, in spite of Pakistan’ s role as a key ally in the U.S. fight against radicalism.
Regard for the United States in Pakistan ranks lowest among 22 countries surveyed in the Pew Global Attitudes survey, with nearly 60 percent of Pakistanis describing the United States as a nemesis and only 17 percent expressing a favorable view of the country.
“America’ s overall image remains very negative in Pakistan,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the non-partisan Pew Research Center.
The Pew Research Center report, titled “America’ s Image Remains Poor: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips in Pakistan,” comes at a time when the Obama administration is trying to strengthen ties with Pakistan.
Indeed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month visited Pakistan and pledged 1.5 billion dollars a year over a five-year period in a bid to beef up Islamabad’ s capacity to aid U.S. strategic goals.
But despite the official line of warming ties, the study found that U.S. President Barack Obama is widely unpopular in Pakistan — a sentiment that bucks the trend of many other countries’ admiration for the U.S. president.
That in spite of his outreach to the Muslim world since taking office and a speech from Cairo, Egypt last year that sought to mend fences in light of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A mere eight percent of Pakistanis expressed confidence that the U.S. president will make the right choices in world affairs — his lowest rating among 22 nations, the report found.
“Obama’ s famous global popularity does not extend to Pakistan,” Kohut said.
Kamran Bokhari, regional director of Middle East and South Asia at global intelligence company Stratfor, said the president initially generated much hope in the Muslim world as a result of his outreach efforts.
But the U.S. surge policy in Afghanistan, which has increased civilian casualties, has undermined Pakistanis’ expectations of Obama. Pakistanis now view him in the same negative light as they did former President George W. Bush.
“Whatever expectations were there are gone now,” Bokhari said.
Many hold the view that Obama will ultimately do what is in the United States’ best interest, which is not always in line with what Pakistan wants, he added.
The recent WikiLeaks fiasco– more than 90,000 U.S. military documents were this week leaked and posted on the Internet– has also re-enforced feelings of mistrust.
Some of the documents charged Pakistan with playing double agent and providing sanctuary to Taliban fighters while objecting to U.S. forces entering parts of Pakistan where Taliban are holed up.
“WikiLeaks has eroded a good deal of the goodwill and trust that had been built up,” Bokhari said. “I don’ t want to exaggerate the extent to which it is a setback, but it does complicate cooperation.”
Pakistanis’ support for the United States in the fight against radicalism has declined since last year. Fewer want Washington to provide support for Pakistani troops, although around half of those surveyed are still in favor of such efforts, the study found.
Pakistanis widely oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan and nearly two-thirds want U.S. and NATO forces to withdraw as soon as possible, the survey said.
Few believe the conflict across the border could seriously impact Pakistan and 25 percent said a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would be bad, whereas 18 percent said it would be good. Twenty-seven percent said it would not matter and 30 percent expressed no opinion, the report found.
But despite a panoply of negative opinions, most Pakistanis want better relations with the United States, and the number of those for whom an improving relationship is important rose to 64 percent from 53 percent last year.
The findings are based on face-to-face interviews taken last spring with 2,000 Pakistani adults, mostly in urban areas.
“There’s a lot of conspiracy theory that informs the opinions of the Pakistanis,” Bokhari said, adding that such thinking can be found across all facets of society, including the political and military elite.
There also exists an overall fear that India ranks higher on the U.S. list of friends than Pakistan — a reflection of a pre-existing negative opinion of the United States, he said.
[Once again, we see American naval forces being positioned and used to coerce weak foreign governments and to grab newly discovered gas and oil deposits. (SEE: China discovers 180 oil and gas fields in South China Sea) The armada amassed in the S. China Sea, like the 4th Fleet now parked in Costa Rica, are muscle to enforce American demands. China has now sent in its own Navy, which is currently staging simultaneous war games with the US/S. Korean task force. (SEE: PLA Navy conducts live-ammunition training in South China Sea)]
by Xinhua writers Wu Liming, Chen Yong
BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) — The United States has played up the South China Sea issue again in the international arena.
At the ASEAN Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked at length about U.S. “national interests” in the South China Sea.
Hintting there is what she called “coercion” in the region, Clinton called for consistence with customary international laws, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in particular.
It is ironic that the United States is asking others to abide by the UNCLOS while itself still shunning a UNCLOS full membership.
It is known to all that the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified the UNCLOS, as some U.S. politicians insist that the ratification would “diminish” U.S. “capacity for self-defense.”
While disputes remain between China and several countries around the South China Sea, they have already concluded the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in accordance with the UNCLOS.
Thanks to the DOC, the situation in the South China Sea remains peaceful, and no party has ever used “coercion” and posed any threat to regional peace or navigation security in the South China Sea.
Ignoring the advise of the Chinese delegation, Clinton, with a prepared script at hand, tried to make an issue of the South China Sea at the meeting, claiming she was objecting to the “use or threat of force” in this ocean area.
The question is: as the situation in the South China Sea is peaceful, what is the logic in Clinton’s “objection? “
So her real intention is questionable.
History has repeatedly proven that the involvement of a superpower in disputed areas did, more often than not, complicate the situation and bring tragedy to parties concerned.
Superpowers often adopted the strategy of “divide and rule.” They stired up tensions, disputes and even conflicts, then set foot in to pose as a “mediator” or a “judge” in a bid to maximize their own interests.
In the 19th century, the British empire adopted the tactics of “divide and rule” to fight powers in the European continent.
Nowadays, the United States is resorting to the same old trick when dealing with some disputes and conflicts in the international arena.
|English.news.cn 2010-07-29 23:33:19|
|A missile mosquito craft moves during a live-ammunition military drill held by the South China Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea July 26, 2010. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)|
BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) — The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy had conducted a large scale of live-ammunition training exercise in the South China Sea, according to a front-page report on Thursday’s PLA Daily newspaper.
The exercise, which was carried out on July 26, brought together a large group of warships, submarines and combat aircraft.
During the exercise, warships and submarines from the Navy’s South China Sea Fleet performed precision strikes on surface targets by firing guided missiles while surface warships conducted anti-missile air defense operations, said the PLA’s official newspaper.
A naval aviation fleet also participated in air control operations, according to the report, which did not specify the exact location of the training or the number of participating warships.
In overseeing the training, General Chen Bingde, PLA’s chief of the General Staff, said that the PLA should “pay close attention to the development of situation and tasks” and make “solid preparation for military struggle which depends on massive military training” .
The Secretary of State pulls a 180 on Beijing.
On Friday Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the peaceful resolution of competing sovereignty claims to the South China Sea is a U.S. “national interest.” “The U.S. supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various territorial disputes without coercion,” she said in Hanoi during a regional security conference, the Asean Regional Forum. “We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant.”
Beijing quickly reacted. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi characterized Clinton’s comments as “an attack on China,” and in a sense he was right. China has claimed virtually all that body of water as its own. By doing so, Beijing has said it has sovereignty over the continental shelves of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Most of China’s claims there are baseless, and some are ludicrous. That is perhaps why the Chinese have resorted to force to grab islands and islets from other claimants. China seized the western Paracels from Vietnam in 1974 and Mischief Reef from the Philippines in 1995.
Beijing opted for the softer approach by signing a multi-nation code of conduct in 2002. It was seen as largely succeeding in its recent efforts to gain control by preventing other claimants from banding together. China had shrewdly maintained a policy of participating in only bilateral negotiations so that it could use its heft to maximum advantage.
Yet it was nonetheless meeting resistance from nations in the region–especially Vietnam–and so it changed tack recently. When Jeffrey Bader, the top Asia official at the National Security Council, and James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, traveled to Beijing in March, Chinese officials for the first time said the South China Sea was one of their country’s “core interests” and that they would brook no American interference there.
Beijing has tried to paint Clinton’s words as the U.S. inserting itself into the region, but that could not be further from the truth. Up until now, Washington has been largely oblivious to Chinese attempts to make the South China Sea a “Chinese lake.” It ignored Beijing’s seizure of territory and even did little to protect ExxonMobil ( XOM - news - people ) when China, in 2008, tried to intimidate the company from entering into an exploration deal with PetroVietnam, the state energy company, in the South China Sea. In adjacent areas it has done virtually nothing to prevent China’s navy from harassing Japanese warships, as it did most recently in April, and to stop Chinese submarines from regularly violating Japanese waters, which they have been doing for most of this decade.
In short, America looked like it was acceding to Chinese demands for control over the South China Sea. Beijing had overplayed its hand in recent months, however, and nations in the region were looking to oppose the Chinese. Nonetheless, all of them were seeking safety in numbers, with none wanting to aggravate Beijing by leading from the front.
Up until now, the U.S. was reluctant to confront China as it waited for Beijing to assume a constructive role as a great power. The Chinese, however, interpreted Washington’s hope and patience as evidence of American weakness and decline. But in a few short sentences on Friday, Clinton changed that perception, both inside and outside China.
Her South China Sea declaration has been called a “landmark” and a “pivot.” It is, and it may end up as the moment she redirected not only America’s China policy but the China policies of nations in the region.
Beijing’s unimpeded advance to global domination has just hit resistance. And it’s about time.
Gordon G. Chang is the author ofThe Coming Collapse of China. He writes a weekly column for Forbes.
Local residents evacuate in a flood-hit area of Nowshera.– AFP Photo
Villagers gather beside their collapse house caused by heave monsoon rainfall on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan.—AP
A boy removes wood at his collapsed mud house in a flood-hit area.—AFP
People use a boat to rescue people stranded.—AP
PESHAWAR: The death toll in three days of flooding in Pakistan reached at least 313 on Friday, rescue and government officials said, as rains bloated rivers, submerged villages, and triggered landslides.
The rising toll from the monsoon rains underscore the poor infrastructure in Pakistan, where under-equipped rescue workers were struggling to reach people stranded in far-flung villages. The weather forecast was mixed, with some areas expected to see reduced rainfall and others likely to see intensification.
Television footage showed striking images of people clinging to fences and other stationary items as water at times gushed over their heads.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa appeared to be the hardest hit, and Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for the province, said it was the worst flooding in the region since 1929. The highway connecting Peshawar to Islamabad was shut down after the water washed away bridges and other links.
At least 291 people died in various parts of that province over the last three days, said Mujahid Khan of the Edhi Foundation.
In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, at least 22 people had been confirmed dead as of Thursday evening, the region’s prime minister, Sardar Attique Khan, told reporters.
The tolls from the deluge were expected to rise because many people were still missing. Poor weather this week also may have been a factor in Wednesday’s Airblue plane crash that killed 152 people in Islamabad.
In the Swat Valley, residents were forced to trudge through knee-deep water in some streets.
A newly constructed part of a dam in the Charsadda district collapsed, while the UN said it had reports that 5,000 homes were underwater in that area. Hussain estimated 400,000 people were stranded in various northwest villages.
”A rescue operation using helicopters cannot be conducted due to the bad weather, while there are only 48 rescue boats available for rescue,” he said on Thursday.
Pakistan’s poorest residents are often the ones living in flood-prone areas because they can’t afford safer land.
Balochistan province has also been hit hard by the recent rains. Last week, flash floods in the region killed at least 41 people and swept away thousands of homes. The UN statement Thursday said 150,000 people were affected there.
The UN said Punjab province was also hit by some flooding. Crops were soaked in farmlands throughout the country. The UN said the humanitarian community was trying to put together a proper response, but the rains were making many roads impassable, complicating efforts to assess needs.
The evidence is clearly that of a collision with another vessel. Notice the large paint scrapes.
By ADAM SCHRECK (AP) – 7 hours ago
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Investigators in the UAE are looking into whether a Japanese tanker damaged at the mouth of the Persian Gulf was involved in a collision, backing away from an earlier theory that natural causes were to blame, the top port official where the vessel is moored said Thursday.
But the ship’s owner refused to speculate on what had set off Wednesday’s incident, which it originally had described as an explosion on the tanker, until there was more information. The company initially said it suspected the ship had been attacked as it entered the tense Strait of Hormuz — a possibility that has not been ruled out.
Captain Musa Murad, director general of the port of Fujairah, said damage to the ship’s hull and interior is being investigated, but that clues point to a crash of some sort. The ship dropped anchor at the Emirati port for inspections late Wednesday.
“There was a collision. … What it is, we don’t know. That’s why the investigation is going on,” he told The Associated Press.
Emirati state media reported the previous day that an unusually large swell caused by a tremor damaged the ship. Officials elsewhere in the region also pointed to large waves or seismic activity in the area.
Murad dismissed those theories Thursday, saying they came from erroneous reports by local authorities before the ship had been examined in port. “It’s not correct,” he said.
A photo released by the Emirates state news agency WAM after the tanker arrived in Fujairah showed a large, square-shaped dent near the waterline on the rear starboard side of the ship’s hull. Murad said he also saw damage to crew quarters inside the vessel.
Setsuo Ohmori, deputy chief of mission at Japan’s embassy to the UAE, said “relevant people” were examining the tanker in Fujairah.
“We are waiting for the results of the investigation,” he said.
Wednesday’s incident aboard the M. Star supertanker happened shortly after midnight as the ship entered the Strait of Hormuz, heading out of the Gulf, Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said.
Mitsui said earlier the explosion seemed to be caused by “an attack from external sources” while the tanker passed through the western part of the strategically vital waterway, a narrow chokepoint between Iran and an enclave of Oman surrounded by Emirati territory.
The company has hired a group of “experts on explosives” as part of the investigation, which could take some time to complete, said Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the region, said it is monitoring the situation but does not know what caused the blast. It ruled out a collision involving its fleet.
“We didn’t have any U.S. or coalition ships in the vicinity of the tanker at the time,” said fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost. She said the Navy is not involved in the investigation for now but is willing to assist.
If the tanker was attacked, it would be a rare assault on a merchant ship in the Gulf or at the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for about 40 percent of oil shipped by tankers worldwide.
Al-Qaida has in the past carried out attacks on oil infrastructure on land in nearby Saudi Arabia, as well as a 2002 suicide bombing against a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.
One of the tanker’s 31 crew members noticed a flash of light right before the explosion, suggesting something may have struck the vessel. The explosion occurred at the back of the tanker, near an area where rescue boats are stored, causing cuts to a crew member who was struck with broken glass.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from the petroleum port of Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said.
Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi and Shino Yuasa contributed from Tokyo.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By: Peter Chamberlin
How could a bunch of “lone wolf” researchers be considered dangerous to the United States? The official explanation given is that we confuse those who hear or read what we have to say, undermining the national unity and trust in government which is necessary to wage war. That is as good an excuse as any to explain why the American people have not rallied around this war of terror. The national unity that politicians whine about was achieved only once in the beginning of this war, before the politicians and the corporations revealed the war for what it has always been–a war to control oil and gas.
The great danger posed by conspiracy theorists is that we will finally wake the people up to the fact that we have been deceived, in order trick us into allowing the armed forces of the United States to be used as a mercenary force, an army of conquest, to be used to rob the people of Asia of their God-given natural resources. The danger of the “conspiracy theorist” is that he will awaken the people from their trance-like slumber which binds them, trapped somewhere between the waking world and the dream state. In this state, most of us meekly “support the troops” as they mercilously clear the ground of resisters to the great conspiracy. The danger is that we will shock them and turn their thoughts toward this ugly reality of the waking world.
The “conspiracy theorist” is discredited because he or she dares to look for alternatives to the idiotic official excuses given for key events like the 911 and London subway bombings, or for historic, pivotal political assassinations. Researchers who dare to look beyond explanations which are obviously lies automatically become delegated to the lunatic fringe. With the Internet becoming the researchers’ primary source of information, it has became possible for national security organizations to control nearly all critical information, thus insuring that no one would find any hidden proof of the crimes of the past. This federal oversight meant that it became necessary for theorists to switch tactics and shift our focus from looking for evidence of government crimes in the past (which have had time to be covered-up), to rooting-out proof of ongoing crimes and criminal plans for the future. In today’s environment of massive social and political discontent, hard proof of either ongoing war crimes or of criminal conspiracies to commit future crimes, could very likely prove to be the spark that lights the “prairie fires” of a grass roots revolution. This is the real danger of uncontrolled research.
The sudden and widespread popular reactions to the Wikileaks story which contains proof of US and NATO war crimes, demonstrates the potential powderkeg to be tapped by the right torcher-bearer. Government leaders undoubtably understood the great potential danger risked by allowing the release of the Wiki documents, but, being the practitioners of Nazi mind-science that they are, they fully understood the potential rewards to be reaped by the correct handling of the leaks and Western reporting on them. Popular emphasis upon the Pakistani angle of Wiki revelations could help create a national consensus for attacking Taliban bases in Pakistan.
The Wikileaks were a document dump, intended to overwhelm researchers and to preoccupy they, studying the Empire’s past moves, in order to distract us from our new focus upon the present, looking towards the future. Look for the release of an even greater document dump from Wikileaks in the near future, as they dump their Iraq files onto the Internet. Another effect of the Wiki document dump is that it has flooded search engines with countless new variations on the search for “American war crimes,” or info on important key battles or screw-ups, making it even more impossible to find information on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or anything covered in the leaks. This will muddy the waters for us even more and make it even less likely in the future that we will stumble across important evidence of ongoing criminal activity.
The nature of our conspiracy research is searching to find preventative answers, evidence to reveal overlooked evidence which could possibly preempt ongoing conspiracy plans. My focus for several years now has been to find preventive evidence of America’s true intentions in Pakistan. I have chosen Pakistan because I figured it to be the primary focus of the whole ongoing criminal American conspiracy (which involves many foreign co-conspirators), the critical component to the entire pipeline scheme. No matter how far into Central Asia the evidence has gone, it always relates back to Pakistan, certainly as the port for the pipeline plans, but also, just as important, to the thirty-year old scheme to create an army of “Islamists,” created to serve the Empire builders’ plans. Without Pakistan, none of the current plans for Empire would have even been possible.
For this unshakeable loyalty, if nothing else, we owe Pakistan a great debt. But Pakistan has gone far beyond mere loyalty in serving American interests, risking everything to serve as America’s secret sword. Pakistan risked its very existence in this capacity, standing alone on the lofty Himalayan peaks, toe-to-toe against the intimidating Soviet Union. They exposed their entire population to thermonuclear blackmail or potential elimination, to serve as the American stand-in for the historic confrontation which brought the Communist empire to its knees. Pakistan has given and risked so much for us that our leaders have decided to sacrifice the Nation on the altar of self-aggrandisement. The greatest service we could do to them and to ourselves today would be to throw a monkey wrench into their plans for our Pakistani friends.
Sadly, the ongoing insidious criminal plans of the Empire extend far beyond Pakistan, reaching into every country on the earth, extending its tentacles like some great octopus, grasping to control every life within its reach. In the past, many researchers who got too close to the “Octopus” were eliminated, usually in an unconventional manner, usually in bizarre “suicides” . Now, our numbers have grown so great that it has altered the equation a bit, there are too many of us to kill today. The idea of using anti-Empire activists, such as myself, to help advance their plans and to agitate the public into a frenzy, has been a risky one. When the time comes to flip right-wing and left-wing activists towards the Empire’s preferred “consensus” there has always been a great inherent danger that the activists would not follow the trail of breadcrumbs leading us into new American police state.
That is the great weakness in the Empire’s plan–by continually operating in a Hegelian manner (always manipulating both left and right, to force a consensus), every argument put forth by politicians or behaviorists, seeking to confine us within a narrow political spectrum, reaches a flipping point, where both synthesis and antithesis change direction, heading towards, instead of away from each other. It is at this flipping, or tipping point, where the original argument fizzles-out, losing its steam and forward momentum, and the threat we represent becomes the greatest. The greatest danger in allowing us to access inconvenient or incriminating evidence from the Internet comes just at the point of flipping. This is why the Internet has not yet been pulled out from under us.
This is why the Wikileak leaks are like a two-edged sword, they could just as easily cut the legs out from under us as they could undercut the criminal war for resources. Instead of following the game plan and jumping on the national bandwagon of a “patriotic” war on Pakistan, we must find the strength to muster our own groundswell of support by exposing the criminal intentions which have underwritten this war from the beginning, bringing the American people together to oppose the planned expansion of the war.
We are a threat if we start to come together. The ideas that bind us all here in the alternative media are exactly the sort of thinking that must be eliminated. The path to either victory or defeat for the anti-Empire side, just as it is for the bad guys, lies in changing the thinking of the people. The bad guys are intent on erasing the polluting ideas of freedom, liberation and individualism from the human lexicon, replacing all of these cherished concepts with ideas of hopelessness, terror and submission (SEE: Bombing Improper Thoughts). We must be just as committed to reinforcing visions of hope, fighting terror with truth and reason, building the fires of resistance within the beseiged minds of our countrymen and our fellow man.
The greatest danger to the Empire is that you will refuse to lie down and submit. If enough people begin to feel this way, then the tide will turn towards freedom’s shore.
The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have reacted with predictable shock and dismay to the appearance on the non-profit website WikiLeaks of some 92,000 U.S. military documents on the calamitous war in Afghanistan. Material on the conduct of German, French, and Polish troops — fellow-members of the International Security Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) — is a sort of bonus. The New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegelcollaborated in analysing and placing substantial amounts of the information on the Internet, though they have withheld details that are likely to heighten the danger to U.S. troops and their partners. The White House, however, says the leaks might put American lives and those of partners at risk and could threaten national security. The U.K. expresses similar concerns. The documents show that intelligence is unreliable and often unverifiable; that ISAF communications frequently break down; that there are technical problems with equipment, including drone aircraft; and that troops are so frightened of suicide bombers and Taliban collaborators that they have killed hundreds of civilians by shooting and bombing indiscriminately. Furthermore, large numbers of ordinary Afghans fear and hate the foreign troops and are victims of the corruption and brutality that pervade the U.S-backed Hamid Karzai government. Taliban forces, for their part, are increasingly well-trained and adept, and their roadside bombs have killed over 2,000 civilians.
The WikiLeaks exposé has been likened to the 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers, the contents of which significantly strengthened worldwide opposition to the Vietnam war, and also to the publication of pictures of U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. It turns out that the CIA has its own secret operation to kill suspected Taliban leaders, that incident reports conceal civilian deaths and other failures, and that the U.S. military has covered up the Taliban’s acquisition of heat-seeking missiles. Politically speaking, there is deepening international concern that the ISAF presence is not doing anything other than wrecking Afghanistan and strengthening the Taliban. The U.S., in particular, has persistently underestimated the weakness and incompetence of the Afghan government. Therefore, prosecuting anyone found responsible for the leak amounts to nothing more than shooting the messenger. That will address neither the chaos in Afghanistan nor the fact that a war effort that has already cost over $300 billion is totally directionless. The very concept of a victory, military or political, is now completely unintelligible and the official lies about Afghanistan can no longer be sustained.