ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani

“On 25 April, 2007, ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khowst and Lowgar Province.”


Cards of Pakistani Intelgence Ageces Men Involved Attack on JSQM Rally


KARACHI: Witnesses term Tahir Plaza attack ‘pre-planned arson’

Educationist shot dead by the BLA in Quetta

LeB claims responsibility for Pak naval base attack

The Motorcycle Assassins of Pakistan Strike Again and Again, With Impugnity

Our mission of self-destruction

Two BSO-Azad activists gunned down in Khuzdar

Acidifying two little sisters

Residence of police official attacked with grenade

Security forces apprehended four suspects

2 FC men among dozen injured in Quetta blast

11 dead, 30 hurt in Karachi blast

Third gun attack on brigadier in Islamabad

WikiLeaks Expose: Time to snub Pakistan and the US–(Sify)

WikiLeaks Expose: Time to snub Pakistan and the US

Ramananda Sengupta | 2010-07-30 12:59:18
​S M Krishna<br>

Iyou asked anyone in India, there’s nothing new in WikiLeaks’ recent revelations about Pakistani perfidy.

But what the leaks do give India, apart from a chance for the smug ‘I told you so’ act, is a valid excuse to stop all, and by that I mean all, contact with Pakistan.

Forget people to people contact, forget friendship trains and buses, forget ministerial-level meetings.  Recall our high commissioner from Islamabad, expel the Pakistani high commissioner from New Delhi.

After all, the leaks confirm that the Pakistan was involved in the July 2008 attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Four Indians, including our defence attache, a press counselor, and two officers of the Indo-Tibetan border police, were among the 58 people killed. And that is a clear act of war.

After all, we don’t really need to wait for another WikiLeaks leak to conclusively prove that Pakistan orchestrated the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, apart from various other terrorist strikes across India.

“Why on earth are elements of the Pakistani military supporting the Taliban?” asks Time magazine columnist Joe Klein.

And here’s his answer: “In a word, India. India is, first and last, the strategic obsession of the Pakistani military. The US has come and gone from the region in the past; the perceived Indian threat is eternal.”

In other words, regardless of the number of times we sue for peace, we will always be seen as ‘Enemy Number 1′.

So given that, what is there to talk about?

Kashmir? It’s Indian territory. What’s there to discuss?

Afghanistan? They love us, and they hate Pakistan for foisting the Taliban on them, and the Taliban hates Pakistan for betraying it post 9/11.  Deal with it.

Talks? Only after terrorist swine like Hafiz Saeed are either hanged in public or locked up permanently. Only after the jihadi networks in Pakistan are completely, and convincingly shut down.

Only then can we actually work towards bridging the so-called ‘trust deficit’. If we don’t trust them, and they don’t trust us, what’s the point in talking?

Of course, we don’t have anyone in the government willing or able to take such a step.

But suppose we did… what would happen?

First, obviously, Pakistan would go crying to Uncle Sam, saying unless Washington forced India back to the negotiating table, it would have to divert troops currently fighting ‘extremists’ on the border with Afghanistan towards the Indian border.

Suppose New Delhi still refused. And pointed out that:

a) America plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2012 anyway.

b) The Wikileak expose clearly shows that America is – knowingly – giving money and military aid to a country that is using them to attack American interests in Afghanistan. Why should India be a part of this foolishness?

And c) Instead of asking India to step up to the plate each time for talks, why couldn’t Washington pressure it’s “front-line ally in the war against terror” to act against known terrorists like Hafiz Sayeed and co?

What could Pakistan’s next step be then?

To organise more terror attacks on India?

That happens regardless of peace talks, (in fact, every peace talk is usually followed by one, ostensibly by elements in Pakistan opposed to peace).

Kargil, after all, happened months after Prime Minister AB Vajpayee made his historic peace trip to Lahore.

Why should we continue to offer the olive branch, or beg and plead for peace each time, time after time?  Why should we send our foreign minister to be humiliated in Islamabad?

Then what? Would Pakistan make impassioned pleas at international forums about India’s intransigence? Let it. Any nation that prefers Pakistan to India, is welcome to it.

Would the much-maligned Inter-Services Intelligence then try to hit at Indian interests in Afghanistan? They’ve already done that, and will continue to do so, talks or no talks.

Islamabad believes Afghanistan is its fiefdom, that a friendly Afghanistan, like when the Taliban was in power, gives it ‘strategic depth’. In other words, plausible denial:

“Poppy cultivation? What can we do? It’s a free country!”

“Terrorism? Not us! it came from those pesky Talibs now ruling Afghanistan. If the all powerful US, and earlier the Soviet superpower, could not do anything, you expect us poor Pakistanis to fix it? Ok, ok, we’ll try… Could you please give us a submarine or three,  some F-16s, and of course truckloads of dollars, to fight them terrorists?”

But coming back to intransigent India, what else could Pakistan do? Run and whine to its all-weather friend China?

Would Beijing be willing to go to war with India, just because it refused to talk with Pakistan?

Would Pakistan then rattle its own nuclear arsenal? And tell the world that it was planning to nuke India because New Delhi was not talking to it?

In an earlier column, I had argued that we need to step away from the three-step routine we invariably follow when it comes to Pakistan:

“One: Pakistan (and let’s not fall for that nonsense about the ordinary Pakistani loving India, or the ISI being a rogue element outside the government’s control) initiates, aids and abets terror strikes in India.

Two: In response, India makes a lot of noise, pledges to hunt down the perpetrators, and insists that talks will not take place till the terrorists are dealt with by Pakistan.

Three: Following Pakistan’s nuclear sabre-rattling and US orders to act with restraint, India offers to forget the past and continue the talks. Public memory is short…”

Right now, our government believes that ‘dialogue is the only way forward’.

Right now, our television channels gleefully bring us sneering soundbytes from Hamid Gul, the former ISI chief and one of the key players in the Pakistan-Taliban nexus, and a known India-baiter.

Right now, some Pakistani terrorist swine is plotting yet another strike against India.

Although Washington is currently defending Pakistan, and asserting that Islamabad had actually been brought to heel, the WikiLeaks expose might just provoke, or force, the United States to rethink its Af-Pak policy.

Isn’t it time we too reviewed our Pakistan – and perhaps even our US – policy?

Damaged oil tanker may have hit old mine

[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.]

Damaged oil tanker may have hit a mine

Anna Zacharias, Loveday Morris and Eugene Harnan

Investigations are going on and the owners say the blast is “highly unlikely” to have been caused by an outside attack. Paulo Vecina / The National

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

Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

[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.]


Speculation That A Submarine may have indented supertanker

[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.]

Submarine may have indented supertanker

MYSTICAL: Bulken the hull is clear, but shows no obvious burn marks or signs of an explosion. The crew, however, argue that they saw a bright light and heard an explosion during the event. Photo: SHE

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.

S Korea Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan Tenders Resignation

S Korea Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan Tenders Resignation

South Korean new Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan attends the inauguration ceremony at government complex building on September 29, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea.  Chung is 63-year-old former president of Seoul National University (SNU) inaugurated as second prime minister under the Lee Myung-Bak government in the September shakeup that replaced six ministers.

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;

China’s Soft Power Is a Threat to the West

China’s Soft Power Is a Threat to the West

By Erich Follath


China may have no intentions of using its growing military might, but that is of little comfort for Western countries. From the World Trade Organization to the United Nations, Beijing is happy to use its soft power to get what it wants — and it is wrong-footing the West at every turn.

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

The Afghan Pipeline By Steve Galster. – 2

The Afghan Pipeline- 2

By Steve Galster

Never ending Flow: The Afghan Pipeline By Steve Galster [1988]

General Akhtar Abdul Rahman Former ISI Chief under US Backed General Zia

General Hamid Gul Former ISI Chief under US Backed General Zia

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

Hamid Gul Calling Baitullah Mehsud “Mujahid” (Freedom Fighter)

Hamid Gul callling Baitullah Mehsud and Faqir Muhammad “Mujahids”

Watch this video clip (submitted by Zalaan) which shows Hamid Gul in 2008 calling Baitullah Mehsud and Faqir Muhammad “Mujahid” and well wishers of Pakistan.

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.

Protecting Terrorists: Lessons for NATO?

Protecting Terrorists: Lessons for NATO?

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.

Why most Pakistanis label U.S. “enemy” despite alliance

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)
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.

U.S. Making Power Play In South China Sea

[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)]

U.S. involvement will only complicate South China Sea issue

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.

PLA Navy conducts live-ammunition training in South China Sea 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) (wy)
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” .

Editor: yan

Hillary Clinton Changes America’s China Policy

Hillary Clinton Changes America’s China Policy

Gordon G. Chang

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 ExxonMobilXOM – 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.

Photos of Poor Pakistanis and Flood Water–(Dawn)

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

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

A boy removes wood at his collapsed mud house in a flood-hit area.—AFP

People use a boat to rescue people stranded.—AP

People use a boat to rescue people stranded.—AP

Peshawar Region Devastated By Monsoon Flooding

Floods kill at least 313 in KP, AJK

The tolls from the deluge were expected to rise because many people were still missing. — Photo by AFP

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.

New M. Star Tanker Photo Shows Proof of Collision

The evidence is clearly that of a collision with another vessel.  Notice the large paint scrapes.

Tanker probe eyes possible Persian Gulf collision

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.